Monday, February 2, 2015

Dhamma Talks - Day 11

How to continue practising after the end of the course
Working one day after the other, we have come to the closing day of this Dhamma seminar. When you started the work, you were asked to surrender completely to the technique and discipline of the course. Without this surrender, you could not have given a fair trial to the technique. Now ten days are over; you are your own master. When you return to your home, you will review calmly what you have done here. If you find that what you have learned here is practical, logical, and beneficial to yourself and to all others, then you should accept it--not because someone has asked you to do so, but with a free will, of your own accord; not just for ten days, but for your whole life.
The acceptance must be not merely at the intellectual or emotional level. One has to accept Dhamma at the actual level by applying it, making it a part of one's life, because only the actual practice of Dhamma will give tangible benefits in daily life.
You joined this course to learn how to practise Dhamma--how to live a life of morality, of mastery over one's mind, of purity of mind. Every evening, Dhamma talks were given merely to clarify the practice. It is necessary to understand what one is doing and why, so that one will not become confused or work in a wrong way. However, in the explanation of the practice, certain aspects of the theory inevitably were mentioned, and since different people from different backgrounds come to a course, it is quite possible that some may have found part of the theory unacceptable. If so, never mind, leave it aside. More important is the practice of Dhamma. No one can object to living a life that does not harm others, to developing control of one's mind, to freeing the mind of defilements and generating love and good will. The practice is universally acceptable, and this is the most significant aspect of Dhamma, because whatever benefit one gets will be not from theories but from practice, from applying Dhamma in one's life.
In ten days one can get only a rough outline of the technique; one cannot expect to become perfect in it so quickly. But even this brief experience should not be undervalued: you have taken the first step, a very important step, although the journey is long--indeed, it is a lifetime job.
A seed of Dhamma has been sown, and has started sprouting into a plant. A good gardener takes special care of a young plant, and because of the service given it, that little plant gradually grows into a huge tree with thick trunk and deep roots. Then, instead of requiring service, it keeps giving, serving, for the rest of its life.
This little plant of Dhamma requires service now. Protect it from the criticism of others by making a distinction between the theory, to which some might object, and the practice, which is acceptable to all. Don't allow such criticism to stop your practice. Meditate one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. This regular, daily practice is essential. At first it may seem a heavy burden to devote two hours a day to meditation, but you will soon find that much time will be saved that was wasted in the past. Firstly, you will need less time for sleep. Secondly, you will be able to complete your work more quickly, because your capacity for work will increase. When a problem arises you will remain balanced, and will be able immediately to find the correct solution. As you become established in the technique, you will find that having meditated in the morning, you are full of energy throughout the day, without any agitation.
When you go to bed at night, for five minutes be aware of sensations anywhere in the body before you fall asleep. Next morning, as soon as you wake up, again observe sensations within for five minutes. These few minutes of meditation immediately before falling asleep and after waking up will prove very helpful.
If you live in an area where there are other Vipassana meditators, once a week meditate together for an hour. And once a year, a ten-day retreat is a must. Daily practice will enable you to maintain what you have achieved here, but a retreat is essential in order to go deeper; there is still a long way to go. If you can come to an organized course like this, very good. If not, you can still have a retreat by yourself. Do a self-course for ten days, wherever you can be secluded from others, and where someone can prepare your meals for you. You know the technique, the timetable, the discipline; you have to impose all that on yourself now. If you wish to inform your teacher in advance that you are starting a self-course, I shall remember you and send my metta, vibrations of good will; this will help to establish a healthy atmosphere in which you can work better. However, if you have not informed your teacher, you should not feel weak. Dhamma itself will protect you. Gradually you must reach a stage of self-dependence. The teacher is only a guide; you have to be your own master. Depending on anyone, all the time, is no liberation.
Daily meditation of two hours and yearly retreats of ten days are only the minimum necessary to maintain the practice. If you have more free time, you should use it for meditation. You may do short courses of a week, or a few days, even one day. In such short courses, devote the first one third of your time to the practice of Anapana, and the rest to Vipassana.
In your daily meditation, use most of the time for the practice of Vipassana. Only if your mind is agitated or dull, if for any reason it is difficult to observe sensations and maintain equanimity, then practise Anapana for as long as necessary.
When practising Vipassana, be careful not to play the game of sensations, becoming elated with pleasant ones and depressed with unpleasant ones. Observe every sensation objectively. Keep moving your attention systematically throughout the body, not allowing it to remain on one part for long periods. A maximum of two minutes is enough in any part, or up to five minutes in rare cases, but never more than that. Keep the attention moving to maintain awareness of sensation in every part of the body. If the practice starts to become mechanical, change the way in which you move your attention. In every situation remain aware and equanimous, and you will experience the wonderful benefits of Vipassana.
In active life as well you must apply the technique, not only when you sit with eyes closed. When you are working, all attention should be on your work; consider it as your meditation at this time. But if there is spare time, even for five or ten minutes, spend it in awareness of sensations; when you start work again, you will feel refreshed. Be careful, however, that when you meditate in public, in the presence of non-meditators, you keep your eyes open; never make a show of the practice of Dhamma.
If you practise Vipassana properly, a change must come for better in your life. You should check your progress on the path by checking your conduct in daily situations, in your behavior and dealings with other people. Instead of harming others, have you started helping them? When unwanted situations occur, do you remain balanced? If negativity starts in the mind, how quickly are you aware of it? How quickly are you aware of the sensations that arise along with the negativity? How quickly do you start observing the sensations? How quickly do you regain a mental balance, and start generating love and compassion? In this way examine yourself, and keep progressing on the path.
Whatever you have attained here, not only preserve it, but make it grow. Keep applying Dhamma in your life. Enjoy all the benefits of this technique, and live a happy, peaceful, harmonious life, good for you and for all others.
One word of warning: you are welcome to tell others what you have learned here; there is never any secrecy in Dhamma. But at this stage, do not try to teach the technique. Before doing that, one must be ripened in the practice, and must be trained to teach. Otherwise there is the danger of harming others instead of helping them. If someone you have told about Vipassana wishes to practise it, encourage that person to join an organized course like this, led by a proper guide. For now, keep working to establish yourself in Dhamma. Keep growing in Dhamma, and you will find that by the example of your life, you automatically attract others to the path.
May Dhamma spread around the world, for the good and benefit of many.
May all beings be happy, be peaceful be liberated!
May all of you experience Real happiness
May all of you experience Real joy
May all of you experience Real peace.
May all beings be happy!  

Dhamma Talks - Day 10

Review of the technique
Ten days are over. Let us review what you have done during these ten days. You started your work by taking refuge in the Triple Gem, that is, in Buddha, in Dhamma, in Sangha. By doing so you were not being converted from one organized religion to another. In Vipassana the conversion is only from misery to happiness, from ignorance to wisdom, from bondage to liberation. The entire teaching is universal. You took refuge not in a personality, dogma, or sect, but in the quality of enlightenment. Someone who discovers the way to enlightenment is a Buddha. The way that he finds is called the Dhamma. All who practise this way and reach the stage of saintliness are called Sangha. Inspired by such persons, one takes refuge in Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha in order to attain the same goal of purity of mind. The refuge is actually in the universal quality of enlightenment which one seeks to develop in oneself.
At the same time, in any person who progresses on the path there will arise a feeling of gratitude and also a volition to serve others without expecting anything in return. These two qualities were notable in Siddhattha Gautama, the historical Buddha. He had achieved enlightenment entirely by his own efforts. Nevertheless, out of compassion for all beings, he sought to teach the technique he had found to others.
The same qualities will appear in all who practise the technique and who eradicate, to some extent, the old habit of egotism. The real refuge, the real protection, is the Dhamma that you develop in yourself. However, along with the experience of Dhamma there is bound to grow a feeling of gratitude to Gautama the Buddha for finding and teaching this technique, and gratitude as well to those who selflessly strove to maintain the teaching in its original purity through twenty-five centuries to the present day.
            With this understanding you took refuge in the Triple Gem.
Next you took five precepts. This was not a rite or ritual. By taking these precepts and following them you practised sila, morality, which is the foundation of the technique. Without a strong foundation the entire structure of meditation would be weak. Sila is also universal and non-sectarian. You undertook to abstain from all actions, physical or vocal, that would disturb the peace and harmony of others. One who breaks these precepts must first develop great impurity in the mind, destroying his own peace and harmony. From the mental level the impurity develops and expresses itself vocally or physically. In Vipassana you are trying to purify the mind so that it becomes really calm and peaceful. You cannot work to purify the mind while you still continue to perform actions that agitate and defile it.
But how are you to break out of the vicious cycle in which the agitated mind performs unwholesome actions that agitate it still further? A Vipassana course gives you the opportunity. Because of the heavy programme, the strict discipline, the vow of silence, and the strongly supportive atmosphere, there is hardly any likelihood of your breaking the five precepts. Thus during the ten days you are able to practise sila, and with this base you can develop samadhi; and this in turn becomes the base for insight, with which you can penetrate to the depths of the mind and purify it.
During the course you undertook to observe the five precepts in order to be able to learn this technique. Having learned it, one who then decides to accepts and practise Dharnma must observe the precepts throughout life.
Next you surrendered to the Buddha and your present teacher for the ten days of the course. This surrender was for the purpose of giving a fair trial to the technique. Only someone who has surrendered in this way can work putting forth full efforts. One who is full of doubts and scepticism cannot work properly. However, surrendering does not mean developing blind faith; that has nothing to do with Dhamma. If any doubt arose in the mind, you were encouraged to come to the teacher as often as necessary for clarification.
The surrender was also to the discipline and timetable of the course. These were designed, based on the experience of thousands of previous students, to enable you to work continuously so as to derive the greatest possible advantage from these ten days.
By surrendering you undertook to work exactly as you were asked. Whatever techniques you might have been practising previously you were asked to lay aside for the period of the course. You could obtain the benefit and judge the value of the technique only by practising it exclusively, in the proper way. Mixing techniques, on the other hand, could have led you into serious difficulties.
Then you started your work by practising Anapana meditation in order to develop mastery of the mind, concentration--samadhi. You were told to observe mere, natural breath without adding any word, shape, or form. One reason for this restriction was to preserve the universality of the technique: breath is common and acceptable to everyone, but a word or form may be acceptable to some and not to others.
But there is a more important reason for observing mere respiration. The whole process is an exploration of the truth about oneself, about the mental-physical structure as it is, not as you would like it to be. It is an investigation of reality. You sit down and close your eyes. There is no sound, no outside disturbance, no movement of the body. At that moment the most prominent activity within yourself is respiration. You begin by observing this reality: natural breath, as it enters and leaves the nostrils. When you could not feel the breath, you were permitted to breathe slightly hard, just to fix your attention in the area of the nostrils, and then once again you came back to natural, normal, soft breathing. You started with this gross, apparent truth, and from it you moved further, deeper, in the direction of subtler truths, of ultimate truth. On the entire path, at every step you remain with the truth that you actually experience, from the grossest to the subtlest. You cannot reach ultimate truth by starting with an imagination. You will only become entangled in greater imaginations, self-deceptions.
If you had added a word to the object of respiration, you might have concentrated the mind more quickly, but there would have been a danger in doing so. Every word has a particular vibration. By repeating a word or phrase, one creates an artificial vibration in which one becomes engulfed. At the surface level of the mind a layer of peace and harmony is created, but in the depths impurities remain. The only way to get rid of these deep-lying impurities is to learn how to observe them, how to bring them to the surface so that they may pass away. If one observes only a particular artificial vibration, one will not be able to observe the various natural vibrations related to one's impurities, that is, to observe the sensations arising naturally within the body. Therefore, if one's purpose is to explore the reality of oneself and to purify the mind, to use an imaginary word can create obstacles.
Similarly visualization--mentally picturing a shape or form--can become a barrier to progress. The technique leads to the dissolving of apparent truth in order to reach ultimate truth. Apparent, integrated truth is always full of illusions, because at this level sanna operates, perception, which is distorted by past reactions. This conditioned perception differentiates and discriminates, giving rise to preferences and prejudices, to fresh reactions. But by disintegrating apparent reality, one gradually comes to experience the ultimate reality of the mental-physical-structure: nothing but vibrations arising and passing away every moment. At this stage no differentiation is possible, and therefore no preferences or prejudices can arise, no reactions. The technique gradually weakens the conditioned sanna and hence weakens reactions, leading to the stage in which perception and sensation cease, that is, the experience of nibbana. But by deliberately giving attention to a shape, form, or vision, one remains at the level of apparent, composed reality and cannot advance beyond it. For this reason, there should be neither visualization nor verbalization.
Having concentrated the mind by observing natural breath, you started to practise Vipassana meditation in order to develop panna--wisdom, insight into your own nature, which purifies the mind. From head to feet, you began observing natural sensations within the body, starting on the surface and then going deeper, learning to feel sensations outside, inside, in every part of the body.
Observing reality as it is, without any preconceptions, in order to disintegrate apparent truth and to reach ultimate truth--this is Vipassana. The purpose of disintegrating apparent reality is to enable the meditator to emerge from the illusion of "I". This illusion is at the root of all our craving and aversion, and leads to great suffering. One may accept intellectually that it is an illusion, but this acceptance is not enough to end suffering. Regardless of religious or philosophical beliefs, one remains miserable so long as the habit of egotism persists. In order to break this habit one must experience directly the insubstantial nature of the mental-physical phenomenon, changing constantly beyond one's control. This experience alone can dissolve egotism, leading to the way out of craving and aversion, out of suffering.
The technique therefore is the exploration, by direct experience, of the real nature of the phenomenon that one calls "I, mine". There are two aspects of this phenomenon: physical and mental, body and mind. The meditator begins by observing the reality of the body. To experience this reality directly, one must feel the body, that is, must be aware of sensations throughout the body. Thus observation of body--kayanupassana--necessarily involves observation of sensations--vedananupassana. Similarly one cannot experience the reality of the mind apart from what arises in the mind. Thus, observation of mind--cittanupassana--necessarily involves observation of the mental contents--dhammanupassana.
This does not mean that one should observe individual thoughts. If you try to do that, you will start rolling in the thoughts. You should simply remain aware of the nature of the mind at this moment; whether craving, aversion, ignorance, and agitation are present or not. And whatever arises in the mind, The Buddha discovered, will be accompanied by a physical sensation. Hence whether the meditator is exploring the mental or the physical aspect of the phenomenon of "I", awareness of sensation is essential.
This discovery is the unique contribution of the Buddha, of central importance in his teaching. Before him in India and among his contemporaries, there were many who taught and practised sila and samadhi. Panna also existed, at least devotional or intellectual wisdom: it was commonly accepted that mental defilements are the source of suffering, that craving and aversion must be eliminated in order to purify the mind and to attain liberation. The Buddha simply found the way to do it.
What had been lacking was an understanding of the importance of sensation. Then as now, it was generally thought that our reactions are to the external objects of sense--vision, sound, odour, taste, touch, thoughts. However, observation of the truth within reveals that between the object and the reaction is a missing link: sensation. The contact of an object with the corresponding sense door gives rise to sensation; the sanna assigns a positive or negative valuation, in accordance with which the sensation becomes pleasant or unpleasant, and one reacts with craving or aversion. The process occurs so rapidly that conscious awareness of it develops only after a reaction has been repeated many times and has gathered dangerous strength sufficient to overpower the mind. To deal with the reactions, one must become aware of them at the point where they start; they start with sensation, and so one must be aware of sensations. The discovery of this fact, unknown before him, enabled Siddhattha Gautama to attain enlightenment, and this is why he always stressed the importance of sensation.   Sensation can lead to reactions of craving and aversion and hence to suffering, but sensation can also lead to wisdom with which one ceases reacting and starts to emerge from suffering.
            In Vipassana, any practice that interferes with the awareness of sensation is harmful, whether it is concentrating on a word or form, or giving attention merely to physical movements of the body or to thoughts arising in the mind. You cannot eradicate suffering unless you go to its source, sensation.
The technique of Vipassana was explained by the Buddha in the Satipatthana Sutta, the "Discourse on the Establishing of Awareness." This discourse is divided into sections examining the various aspects of the technique; observation of body, of sensations, of mind, and of the mental contents. However, each division or subdivision of the discourse concludes with the same words. There may be different points from which to begin the practice, but no matter what the starting point, a meditator must pass through certain stations, certain experiences on the path to the final goal. These experiences, essential to the practice of Vipassana, are described in the sentences repeated at the conclusion of each section.
The first such station is that in which one experiences arising (samudaya) and passing away (vaya) separately. At this stage the meditator is aware of consolidated, integrated reality in the form of gross sensations within the body. One is aware of a sensation, perhaps a pain, arising. It seems to stay for some time and ultimately it passes away.
Going further beyond this station, one penetrates to the stage of samudaya-vaya, in which one experiences arising and passing away simultaneously, without any interval between them. The gross, consolidated sensations have dissolved into subtle vibrations, arising and falling with great rapidity, and the solidity of the mental-physical structure disappears. Solidified, intensified emotion and solidified, intensified sensation both dissolve into nothing but vibration. This is the stage of bhanga--dissolution--in which one experiences the ultimate truth of mind and matter: constantly arising and passing away, without any solidity.
This bhanga is a very important station on the path, because only when one experiences the dissolution of the mental-physical structure does attachment to it go away. Then one becomes detached in the face of any situation; that is, one enters the stage of sankhara-upekkha. Very deep lying impurities--sankhara--buried in the unconscious now start appearing at the surface level of the mind. This is not a regression; it is a progress, for unless they come to the surface, the impurities cannot be eradicated. They arise, one observes equanimously, and they pass away one after another. One uses the gross, unpleasant sensations as tools with which to eradicate the old stock of sankhara of aversion; one uses the subtle, pleasant sensations as tools with which to eradicate the old stock of sankhara of craving. Thus by maintaining awareness and equanimity towards every experience, one purifies the mind of all the deep-lying complexes, and approaches closer and closer to the goal of nibbana, of liberation.
Whatever the starting point, one must pass through all these stations in order to reach nibbana. How soon one may reach the goal depends on how much work one does, and how large an accumulation of past sankhara one has to eradicate.
In every case, however, in every situation, equanimity is essential, based on an awareness of sensations. Sankhara arise from the point of physical sensation. By remaining equanimous towards sensation, you prevent new sankhara from arising, and you also eliminate the old ones. Thus by observing sensations equanimously, you gradually progress towards the final goal of liberation from suffering.
Work seriously. Do not make a game of meditation, lightly trying one technique after another without pursuing any. If you do so, you will never advance beyond the initial steps of any technique, and therefore you will never reach the goal. Certainly you may make trials of different techniques in order to find one that suits you. You may also give two or three trials to this technique, if needed. But do not waste your entire life merely in giving trials. Once you find a technique to be suitable, work at it seriously so that you may progress to the final goal.
May suffering people everywhere find the way out of their misery.
May all of you enjoy Real happiness
May all of you enjoy Real joy
May all of you enjoy Real peace
May all beings be happy!  

Dhamma Talks - Day 9

Application of the technique in daily life--the ten parami
The nineth day is over. Now is the time to discuss how to make use of this technique in daily life. This is of the utmost importance. Dhamma is an art of living. If you cannot use it in daily life, then coming to a course is no better than performing a ritual or ceremony.
Everyone faces unwanted situations in life. Whenever something unwanted happens, one loses the balance of one's mind, and starts generating negativity. And whenever a negativity arises in the mind, one becomes miserable. How is one not to generate negativity, not to create tension? How is one to remain peaceful and harmonious?
Sages who started exploring the reality of mind and matter within found a solution to the problem: whenever a negativity arises in the mind for whatever reason, one should divert one's attention elsewhere. For example, one might get up, drink some water, start counting, or start reciting the name of a deity or saintly person towards whom one has devotion. By diverting the attention one will emerge from the negativity.
A workable solution. But other explorers of inner truth went to the deepest level of reality, to ultimate truth. These enlightened persons realized that by diverting the attention one creates a layer of peace and harmony at the conscious level, but one has not eliminated the negativity that has arisen. One has merely suppressed it. At the unconscious level, it continues to multiply and gather strength. Sooner or later, this sleeping volcano of negativity will erupt and overpower the mind. So long as negativities remain, even at the unconscious level, the solution is only partial, temporary.
A fully enlightened person finds a real solution: don't run away from the problem; face it. Observe whatever impurity arises in the mind. By observing one does not suppress it, nor does one give it a free licence to express itself in harmful vocal or physical action. Between these two extremes lies the middle path: mere observation. When one starts to observe it, the negativity loses its strength and passes away without overpowering the mind. Not only that, but some of the old stock of that type of impurity will also be eradicated. Whenever a defilement starts at the conscious level, one's old stock of that type of defilement arises from the unconscious, becomes connected with the present defilement, and starts multiplying. If one just observes, not only the present impurity but also some portion of the old stock will be eradicated. In this way, gradually all the defilements are eradicated, and one becomes free from misery.
But for an average person, it is not easy to observe a mental defilement. One does not, know when it has started and how it has overpowered the mind. By the time it reaches the conscious level, it is far too strong to observe without reacting. Even if one tries to do so, it is very difficult to observe an abstract defilement of the mind--abstract anger, fear, or passion, Instead, one's attention is drawn to the external stimulus of the defilement, which will only cause it to multiply.
However, enlightened persons discovered that whenever a defilement arises in the mind, simultaneously two things start happening at the physical level: respiration will become abnormal, and a biochemical reaction will start within the body, a sensation. A practical solution was found. It is very difficult to observe abstract defilements, in the mind, but with training one can soon learn to observe respiration and sensation, both of which are physical manifestations of the defilements. By observing a defilement in its physical aspect, one allows it to arise and pass away without causing any harm. One becomes free from the defilement.
It takes time to master this technique, but as one practises, gradually one will find that in more and more external situations in which previously one would have reacted with negativity, now one can remain balanced. Even if one does react, the reaction will not be so intense or prolonged as it would have been in the past. A time will come when in the most provoking situation, one will be able to heed the warning given by respiration and sensation, and will start observing them, even for a few moments. These few moments of self-observation will act as a shock absorber between the external stimulus and one's response. Instead of reacting blindly, the mind remains balanced, and one is capable of taking positive action that is helpful to oneself and others.
You have taken a first step towards eradicating your defilements and changing the habit pattern of the mind, by observing sensations within yourself.
From the time of birth, one is trained always to look outside. One never observes oneself, and therefore one is incapable of going to the depths of one's problems. Instead one looks for the cause of one's misery outside, always blaming others for one's unhappiness. One sees things from only one angle, a partial view, which is bound to be distorted; and yet one accepts this view as the full truth. Any decision made with this incomplete information will only be harmful to oneself and others. In order to see the totality of the truth, one must view it from more than one angle. This is what one learns to do by the practice of Vipassana: to see reality not only outside but inside as well.
Seeing from only one angle, one imagines that one's suffering is caused by other people, by an external situation. Therefore one devotes all one's energy to changing others, to changing the external situation. In fact, this is a wasted effort. One who has learned to observe reality within soon realizes, that he is completely responsible for his misery or happiness. For example, someone is abused by another person, and becomes unhappy. He blames the person who abused him for making him unhappy. Actually the abuser created misery for himself, by defiling his own mind. The person who was abused created his own misery when he reacted to the abuse, when he started defiling his mind. Everyone is responsible for his or her own suffering, no-one else. When one experiences this truth, the madness of finding fault with others goes away.
What does one react to? An image created by oneself, not the external reality. When one sees someone, one's image of that person is coloured by one's past conditionings. The old sankhara influence one's perception of any new situation. In turn, because of this conditioned perception, bodily sensation becomes pleasant or unpleasant. And according to the type of sensation, one generates a new reaction. Each of these processes is conditioned by the old sankhara. But if one remains aware and equanimous towards sensations, the habit of blind reaction becomes weaker, and one learns to see reality as it is.
When one develops the ability to see things from different angles, then whenever another abuses or otherwise misbehaves, the understanding arises that this person is misbehaving because he is suffering. With this understanding, one cannot react with negativity, but will feel only love and compassion for the suffering person, as a mother would feel for a sick child. The volition arises to help the person come out of his misery. Thus one remains peaceful and happy, and helps others also to become peaceful and happy. This is the purpose of Dhamma: to practise the art of living, that is, to eradicate mental impurities and to develop good qualities, for one's own good and for the good of others.
There are ten good mental qualities--parami--that one must perfect to reach the final goal. The goal is the stage of total egolessness. These ten parami are qualities that gradually dissolve the ego, thereby bringing one closer to liberation. One has the opportunity to develop all ten of these qualities in a Vipassana course.
The first parami is nekkhamma--renunciation. One who becomes a monk or a nun renounces the householder's life and lives without personal possessions, even having to beg for his or her daily food. All this is done for the purpose of dissolving the ego. How can a lay person develop this quality? In a course like this, one has the opportunity to do so, since here one lives on the charity of others. Accepting whatever is offered as food, accommodation, or other facilities, one gradually develops the quality of renunciation. Whatever one receives here, one makes best use of it, working hard to purify the mind not only for one's own good, but also for the good of the unknown person who donated on one's behalf.
The next parami is sila--morality. One tries to develop this parami by following the five precepts at all times, both during a course and in daily life. There are many obstacles which make it difficult to practice sila in worldly life. However, here in a meditation course, there is no opportunity to break the precepts, because of the heavy programme and discipline. Only in speaking is there any likelihood of one's deviating from strict observance of morality. For this reason one takes a vow of silence for the first nine days of the course. In this way, at least within the period of the course, one keeps sila perfectly.
Another parami is viriya--effort. In daily life one makes efforts, for example to earn one's livelihood. Here, however, the effort is to purify the mind by remaining aware and equanimous. This is right effort, which leads to liberation.
Another parami is panna--wisdom. In the outside world, one may have wisdom, but it is the wisdom one gains from reading books or listening to others, or merely intellectual understanding. The real parami of wisdom is the understanding that develops within oneself, by one's own experience in meditation' One realizes directly by self-observation the facts of impermanence, suffering, and egolessness. By this direct experience of reality one comes out of suffering.
Another parami is khanti--tolerance. At course like this, working and living together in a group, one may find oneself becoming disturbed and irritated by the actions of another person. But soon one realizes that the person causing a disturbance is ignorant of what he is doing, or a sick person. The irritation goes away, and one feels only love and compassion for that person. One has started developing the quality of tolerance.
Another parami is sacca--truth. By practising sacca one undertakes to maintain truthfulness at the vocal level. However, sacca must also be practised in a deeper sense. Every step on the path must be a step with truth, from gross, apparent truth, to subtler truths, to ultimate truth. There is no room for imagination. One must always remain with the reality that one actually experiences at the present moment.
Another parami is adhitthana--strong determination. When one starts a Vipassana course, one makes a determination to remain for the entire period of the course. One resolves to follow the precepts, the rule of silence, all the discipline of the course. After the introduction of the technique of Vipassana itself, one makes a strong determination to meditate for the entire hour during each group sitting without opening eyes, hands or legs. At a later stage on the path, this parami will be very important; when coming close to the final goal, one must be ready to sit without break until reaching liberation. For this purpose it is necessary to develop strong determination.
Another parami is metta--pure, selfless love. In the past one tried to feel love and goodwill for others, but this was only at the conscious level of the mind. At the unconscious level the old tensions continued. When the entire mind is purified, then from the depths one can wish for the happiness of others. This is real love, which helps others and helps oneself as well.
Yet another parami is upekkha--equanimity. One learns to keep the balance of the mind not only when experiencing gross, unpleasant sensations or blind areas in the body, but also in the face of subtle, pleasant, sensations. In every situation one understands that the experience of that moment is impermanent, bound to pass away. With this understanding one remains detached, equanimous.
The last parami is dana--charity, donation. For a lay person, this is the first essential step of Dhamma. A lay person has the responsibility of earning money by right livelihood, for the support of oneself and of any dependents. But if one generates attachment to the money that one earns, then one develops ego. For this reason, a portion of what one earns must be given for the good of others. If one does this, ego will not develop, since one understands that one earns for one's own benefit and also for the benefit of others. The volition arises to help others in whatever way one can. And one realizes that there can be no greater help to others than to help them learn the way out of suffering.
In a course like this, one has a wonderful opportunity to develop this parami. Whatever one receives here is donated by another person; there are no charges for room and board, and certainly none for the teaching. In turn, one is able to give a donation for the benefit of someone else. The amount one gives will vary according to one's means. Naturally a wealthy person will wish to give more, but even the smallest donation, given with proper volition, is very valuable in developing this parami. Without expecting anything in return, one gives so that others may experience the benefits of Dhamma and may come out of their suffering.
Here you have the opportunity to develop all ten of the parami. When all these good qualities are perfected you will reach the final goal. Keep practising to develop them little by little. Keep progressing on the path of Dhamma, not only for your own benefit and liberation, but also for the benefit and liberation of many.
May all suffering beings find pure Dhamma, and be liberated.
May all of you enjoy Real happiness
May all of you enjoy Real joy
May all of you enjoy Real peace.
May all beings be happy! 

Dhamma Talks - Day 8

The law of multiplication and its reverse, the law of eradication-equanimity is the greatest welfare-- equanimity enables one to live a life of real action--by remaining equanimous, one ensures a happy future for oneself.
The eighth day is over; you have two more left to work. In the remaining days, see that you understand the technique properly, so that you may practise it properly here and also make use of it in your daily life. Understand what Dhamma is: nature, truth, universal law.
On one hand there is a process of constant multiplication. On the other hand, there is a process of eradication. This was well explained in a few words: by nature arising and passing away. If they arise and are extinguished, their eradication brings true happiness.
Every sankhara, every mental conditioning is impermanent, having the nature of arising and passing away. It passes away, but next moment it arises again, and again; this is how the sankhara multiplies. If one develops wisdom and starts observing objectively, the process of multiplication stops and the process of eradication begins. A sankhara arises, but the meditator remains equanimous; it loses all its strength and is eradicated. Layer after layer, the old sankhara will arise and be eradicated, provided one remains equanimous. As much as the sankhara are eradicated, that much happiness one enjoys, the happiness of freedom from misery. If all the past sankhara are eradicated, one enjoys the limitless happiness of full liberation.
The old habit of the mind is to react, and to multiply reactions. Something unwanted happens, and one generates a sankhara of aversion. As the sankhara arises in the mind, it is accompanied by an unpleasant physical sensation. Next moment, because of the old habit of reaction, one again generates aversion, which is actually directed towards the unpleasant bodily sensation. The external stimulus of the anger is secondary; the reaction is in fact to the sensation within oneself. The unpleasant sensation causes one to react with aversion, which generates another unpleasant sensation, which again causes one to react. In this way, the process of multiplication begins. If one does not react to the sensation but instead smiles and understands its impermanent nature, then one does not generate a new sankhara, and the sankhara that has already arisen will pass away without multiplying. Next moment, another sankhara of the same type will arise from the depths of the mind; one remains equanimous, and it will pass away. Next moment another arises; one remains equanimous, and it passes away. The process of eradication has started.
The processes that one observes within oneself also occur throughout the universe. For example, someone sows the seed of a banyan tree. From that tiny seed a huge tree develops, which bears innumerable fruit year after year, as long as it lives. And even after the tree dies, the process continues, because every fruit that the tree bears contains a seed or a number of seeds, which have the same quality as the original seed from which the tree grew. Whenever one of these seeds falls on fertile soil it sprouts and grows into another tree which again produces thousands of fruit, all containing seeds. Fruit and seeds, seeds and fruit; an endless process of multiplication. In the same way, out of ignorance one sows the seed of a sankhara, which sooner or later gives a fruit, also called sankhara, and also containing a seed of exactly the same type. If one gives fertile soil to the seed it sprouts into a new sankhara, and one's misery multiplies. However, if one throws the seeds on rocky soil, they cannot sprout; nothing will develop from them. The process of multiplication stops, and automatically the reverse process begins, the process of eradication.
Understand how this process works. It was explained that some input is needed for the flow of life, of mind and matter, to continue. The input for the body is the food one eats, as well as the atmosphere in which one lives. If one day one does not eat, the flow of matter does not stop at once. It continues by consuming the old stocks of energy contained within the body. When all the stored energy is consumed, only then the flow stops, the body dies. The body needs food only two or three times a day, but the flow of the mind requires an input every moment. The mental input is sankhara. Every moment the sankhara that one generates is responsible for sustaining the flow of consciousness. The mind that arises in the next moment is a product of this sankhara. Every moment one gives the input of sankhara, and the flow of consciousness continues. If at any moment one does not generate a new sankhara the flow does not stop at once; instead it draws on the stock of old sankhara. An old sankhara will be forced to give its fruit, that is, to come to the surface of the mind in order to sustain the flow; and it will manifest as a physical sensation. If one reacts to the sensation, again one starts making new sankhara, planting new seeds of misery. But if one observes the sensation with equanimity, the sankhara loses its strength and is eradicated. Next moment another old sahkhdra must come up to sustain the mental flow. Again one does not react, and again it is eradicated. So long as one remains aware and equanimous, layer after layer of old sankhara will come to the surface and be eradicated; this is the law of nature.
One has to experience the process oneself, by practising the technique. When one sees that one's old habit patterns, old sufferings have been eliminated, then one knows that the process of eradication works.
An analogous technique exists in modern metallurgy. To super-refine certain metals, to make them ultra-pure, it is necessary to remove even one foreign molecule in a billion. This is done by casting the metal in the shape of a rod, and then making a ring of the same metal that has already been refined to the required purity. The ring is passed over the rod, and generates a magnetism that automatically drives out any impurities to the extremities of the rod. At the same time, all the molecules in the rod of metal become aligned; it becomes flexible, malleable, capable of being worked. In the same way, the technique of Vipassana can be regarded as the passing of a ring of pure awareness over the physical structure, driving out any impurities, with similar benefits.
Awareness and equanimity will lead to purification of mind. Whatever one experiences on the way, whether pleasant or unpleasant, is unimportant. The important point is not to react with craving or aversion, since both will create nothing but misery. The only yardstick to measure one's progress on the path is the equanimity that one has developed. And the equanimity must be at the level of bodily sensations if one is to go to the depths of the mind and to eradicate the impurities. If one learns to be aware of sensations and to remain equanimous towards them, it becomes easy to keep one's balance in external situations as well.
The Buddha was once asked what real welfare is. He replied that the highest welfare is the ability to keep the balance of one's mind in spite of all the vicissitudes, the ups and downs, of life. One may face pleasant or painful situations, victory or defeat, profit or loss, good name or bad name; everyone is bound to encounter all these. But can one smile in every situation, a real smile from the heart? If one has this equanimity at the deepest level within, one has true happiness.
If equanimity is only superficial it will not help in daily life. It is as if each person carries a tank of petrol, of gasoline, within. If one spark comes, one fruit of a past reaction, immediately a great explosion results, producing millions more sparks, more sankhara, which will bring more fire, more suffering in future. By the practice of Vipassana, one gradually empties the tank. Sparks will still come because of one's past sankhara, but when they come, they will burn only the fuel that they bring with them; no new fuel is given. They burn briefly until they consume the fuel they contain, and then they are extinguished. Later, as one develops further on the path, one naturally starts generating the cool water of love and compassion, and the tank becomes filled with this water. Now, as soon as a spark comes, it is extinguished. It cannot burn even the small amount of fuel it contains.
One may understand this at the intellectual level, and know that one should have a water pump ready in case a fire starts. But when fire actually. comes, one turns on the petrol pump and starts a conflagration. Afterwards one realizes the mistake, but still repeats it next time when fire comes, because one's wisdom is only superficial. If someone has real wisdom in the depths of the mind, when faced with fire such a person will not throw petrol on it, understanding that this would only cause harm. Instead one throws the cool water of love and compassion, helping others and oneself.
The wisdom must be at the level of sensations. If you train yourself to be aware of sensations in any situation and to remain equanimous towards them, nothing can overpower you. Perhaps for just a few moments you observe without reacting. Then, with this balanced mind, you decide what action to take. It is bound to be right action, positive, helpful to others, because it is performed with a balanced mind.
Sometimes in life it is necessary to take strong action. One has tried to explain to someone politely, gently, with a smile, but the person can understand only hard words, hard actions. Therefore one takes hard vocal or physical action. But before doing so, one must examine oneself to see whether the mind is balanced, and whether one has only love and compassion for the person. If so, the action will be helpful; if not, it will not help anyone. One takes strong action to help the erring person. With this base of love and compassion one cannot go wrong.
In a case of aggression, a Vipassana meditator will work to separate the aggressor and the victim, having compassion not only for the victim but also for the aggressor. One realizes that the aggressor does not know how he is harming himself. Understanding this, one tries to help the person by preventing him from performing deeds that will cause him misery in the future.
However, you must be careful not to justify your actions only after the event. You must examine the mind before acting. If the mind is full of defilements, one cannot help anyone. First one must rectify the faults in oneself before one can rectify the faults in others. First you must purify your own mind by observing yourself. Then you will be able to help many.
The Buddha said that there are four types of people in the world: those who are running from darkness towards darkness, those who are running from brightness towards darkness, those who are running from darkness towards brightness, and those who are running from brightness towards brightness.
For a person in the first group, all around there is unhappiness, darkness, but his greatest misfortune is that he also has no wisdom. Every time he encounters any misery he develops more anger, more hatred, more aversion, and blames others for his suffering. All those sankhara of anger and hatred will bring him only more darkness, more suffering in the future.
A person in the second group has what is called brightness in the world: money, position, power, but he too has no wisdom. Out of ignorance he develops egotism, without understanding that the tensions of egotism will bring him only darkness in future.
A person in the third group is in the same position as one in the first, surrounded by darkness; but he has wisdom, and understands the situation. Recognizing that he is ultimately responsible for his own suffering, he calmly and peacefully does what he can to change the situation, but without any anger or hatred towards others; instead he has only love and compassion for those who are harming him. All he creates for the future is brightness.
Finally a person in the fourth group, just as one in the second, enjoys money, position, and power, but unlike one in the second group, he is also full of wisdom. He makes use of what he has in order to maintain himself and those dependent on him, but whatever remains he uses for the good of others, with love and compassion. Brightness now and for the future too.
One cannot choose whether one faces darkness now or brightness; that is determined by one's past sankhara. The past cannot be changed, but one can take control of the present by becoming master of oneself. The future is merely the past plus what is added in the present. Vipassana teaches how to become master of oneself by developing awareness and equanimity towards sensations. If one develops this mastery in the present moment, the future will automatically be bright.
Make use of the remaining two days to learn how to become master of the present moment, master of yourself. Keep growing in Dhamma, to come out of all misery, and to enjoy real happiness here and now.
May all of you enjoy Real happiness
May all of you enjoy Real joy
May all of you enjoy Real peace
May all beings be happy! 

Dhamma Talks - Day 7

Importance of equanimity towards subtle as well as gross sensations--continuity of awareness--the five friends--faith, effort, awareness, concentration, wisdom
Seven days are over: you have three more left to work. Make best use of these days by working hard and continuously, understanding how you ought to practise.
There are two aspects of the technique: awareness and equanimity. One must develop awareness of all the sensations that occur within the framework of the body, and at the same time one must remain equanimous towards them. By remaining equanimous, naturally one will find, sooner or later, that sensations start to appear in areas that were blind, and that the gross, solidified, unpleasant sensations begin to dissolve into subtle vibrations. One starts to experience a very pleasant flow of energy throughout the body.
The danger when this situation arises is that one takes this pleasurable sensory experience as the goal towards which one was working. In fact, the purpose of practising Vipassana is not to experience a certain type of sensation, but rather to develop equanimity towards all sensations. Sensations keep changing, whether gross or subtle. One's progress on the path can be measured only by the equanimity one develops towards every sensation.
Even after one has experienced a free flow of subtle vibrations throughout the body, it is quite possible that again a gross sensation may arise somewhere, or a blind area. These are signs not of regression but of progress. As one develops in awareness and equanimity, naturally one penetrates deeper into the unconscious mind, and uncovers impurities hidden there. So long as these deep-lying complexes remain in the unconscious, they are bound to bring misery in the future. The only way to eliminate them is to allow them to come up to the surface of the mind and pass away. When such deep-rooted sankhara arise on the surface, many of them may be accompanied by unpleasant, gross sensations or blind areas within the body. If one continues to observe without reacting, the sensation passes away, and with it the sankhara of which it is a manifestation.
Every sensation, whether gross or subtle has the same characteristic of impermanence. A gross sensation arises, seems to stay for some time, but sooner or later passes away. A subtle sensation arises and passes away with great rapidity, but still it has the same characteristic. No sensation is eternal. Therefore one should not have preferences or prejudices towards any sensation. When a gross, unpleasant sensation arises, one observes it without becoming depressed. When a subtle, pleasant sensation arises, one accepts it, even enjoys it, without becoming elated or attached to it. In every case one understands the impermanent nature of all sensations; then one can smile when they arise and when they pass away.
Equanimity must be practised at the level of bodily sensation in order to make a real change in one's life. At every moment sensations are arising within the body. Usually the conscious mind is unaware of them, but the unconscious mind feels the sensations and reacts to them with craving or aversion. If the mind is trained to become fully conscious of all that occurs within the physical structure and at the same time to maintain equanimity, then the old habit of blind reaction is broken. One learns how to remain equanimous in every situation, and can therefore live a balanced, happy life.
You are here to experience the truth about yourself, how this phenomenon works, how it generates misery. There are two aspects of the human phenomenon: material and mental, body and mind. One must observe both. But one cannot actually experience the body without awareness of what arises in the body, that is, sensation. Similarly one cannot observe mind separately from what arises in the mind, that is, thought. As one goes deeper in experiencing the truth of mind and matter, it becomes clear that whatever arises in the mind is also accompanied by a physical sensation. Sensation is of central importance for experiencing the reality of both body and mind, and it is the point at which reactions start. In order to observe the truth of oneself and to stop generating mental defilements, one must be aware of sensations and remain equanimous as continuously as possible.
For this reason, in the remaining days of the course, you must work continuously with closed eyes during meditation hours; but during recess periods as well, you must try to maintain awareness and equanimity at the level of sensations. Perform whatever action you must do in the usual way, whether walking, eating, drinking, or bathing; don't slow the action down. Be aware of the physical movement of the body, and at the same time of the sensations, if possible in the part of the body that is in motion, or else in any other part. Remain aware and equanimous.
Similarly, when you go to bed at night, close your eyes and feel sensation anywhere within the body. If you fall asleep with this awareness, naturally as soon as you wake up in the morning, you will be aware of sensation. Perhaps you may not sleep soundly, or you may even remain fully awake throughout the night. This is wonderful, provided you stay lying in bed and maintain awareness and equanimity. The body will receive the rest it needs, and there is no greater rest for the mind than to remain aware and equanimous. However, if you start worrying that you are developing insomnia, then you will generate tensions, and will feel, exhausted the next day. Nor should you forcefully try to stay awake, remaining in a seated posture all night; that would be going to an extreme. If sleep comes, very good; sleep. If sleep does not come, allow the body to rest by remaining in a recumbent position, and allow the mind to rest by remaining aware and equanimous.
The Buddha said, "When a meditator practises ardently, without neglecting for a moment awareness and equanimity towards sensations, such a person develops real wisdom, understanding sensations completely." The meditator understands how one who lacks wisdom reacts to sensations, and multiplies his misery. The meditator also understands how one who bears in mind the impermanent nature of all sensations will not react to them, and will come out of misery. The Buddha continued, "With this thorough understanding, the meditator is able to experience the stage beyond mind and matter--nibbana." One cannot experience nibbana until the heaviest sankhara have been eliminated--those that would lead to a future life in a lower form of existence where misery would predominate. Fortunately, when one starts to practise Vipassana, it is these very sankhara that arise first. One remains equanimous and they pass away. When all such sankhara have been eradicated, then naturally one experiences nibbana for the first time. Having experienced it, one is totally changed, and can no longer perform any action that would lead to a future life in a lower form of existence. Gradually one proceeds to higher stages, until all the sankhara have been eradicated that would have led to future life anywhere within the conditioned world. Such a person is fully liberated and therefore, the Buddha concluded, "Comprehending the entire truth of mind and matter, when he dies he passes beyond the conditioned world, because he has understood sensations perfectly".
You have made a small beginning on this path by practising to develop awareness of sensations throughout the body. If you are careful not to react to them, you will find that layer by layer, the old sankhara are eradicated. By remaining equanimous towards gross, unpleasant sensations, you will proceed to experience subtler, pleasant sensations. If you continue to maintain equanimity, sooner or later you will reach the stage described by the Buddha, in which throughout the physical structure, the meditator experiences nothing but arising and passing away. All the gross, solidified sensations have dissolved; throughout the body there is nothing but subtle vibrations. Naturally this stage is very blissful, but still it is not the final goal, and one must not become attached to it. Some of the gross impurities have been eradicated, but others still remain in the depths of the mind. If one continues to observe equanimously, one after another all the deeper sankhara will arise and pass away. When they are all eradicated, then one experiences the "deathless"--something beyond mind and matter, where nothing arises, and therefore nothing passes away--the indescribable stage of nibbana.
Everyone who works properly to develop awareness and equanimity will certainly reach this stage; but each person must work himself or herself.
Just as there are five enemies, five hindrances which block your progress on the path, there are also five friends, five wholesome faculties of the mind, which help and support you. If you keep these friends strong and pure, no enemy can overpower you.
The first friend is faith, devotion, confidence. Without confidence one cannot work, being always agitated by doubts and skepticism. However, if faith is blind, it is a great enemy. It becomes blind if one loses discriminatory intelligence, the proper understanding of what right devotion is. One may have faith in any deity or saintly person, but if it is right faith, with proper understanding, one will remember the good qualities of that person, and will gain inspiration to develop those qualities in oneself. Such devotion is meaningful and helpful. But if one does not try to develop the qualities of the person towards whom one has devotion, it is blind faith, which is very harmful.
For example, when one takes refuge in the Buddha, one must remember the qualities of a Buddha, and must work to develop those qualities in oneself. The essential quality of a Buddha is enlightenment; therefore the refuge is actually in enlightenment, the enlightenment that one develops in oneself. One pays respect to anyone who has reached the stage of full enlightenment; that is, one gives importance to the quality wherever it may manifest, without being bound to a particular sect or person. And one honours the Buddha not by rituals or ceremonies, but by practising his teachings, by walking on the path of Dhamma from the first step, sila, to samadhi, to panna, to nibbana, liberation.
Anyone who is a Buddha must have the following qualities. He has eradicated all craving, aversion, ignorance. He has conquered all his enemies, the enemies within, that is, the mental impurities. He is perfect not only in the theory of Dhamma, but also in its application. What he practises, he preaches, and what he preaches, he practises; there is no gap between his words and his deeds. Every step that he takes is a right step, leading in the right direction. He has learned everything about the entire universe, by exploring the universe within. He is overflowing with love, compassion, sympathetic joy for others, and keeps helping those who are going astray to find the right path. He is full of perfect equanimity. If one works to develop these qualities in oneself in order to reach the final goal, there is meaning in one's taking refuge in the Buddha.
Similarly, taking refuge in Dhamma has nothing to do with sectarianism; it is not a matter of being converted from one organized religion to another. Taking refuge in Dhamma is actually taking refuge in morality, in mastery over one's own mind, in wisdom. For a teaching to be Dhamma, it must also have certain qualities. Firstly it must be clearly explained, so that anyone can understand it. It is to be seen for oneself before one's very eyes, the reality experienced by oneself, not an imagination. Even the truth of nibbana is not to be accepted until one has experienced it. Dhamma must give beneficial results here and now, not merely promise benefits to be enjoyed in future. It has the quality of "come-and-see"; see for yourself, try it yourself, don't accept it blindly. And once one has tried it and experienced its benefits, one cannot resist encouraging and helping others to come and see as well. Every step on the path leads nearer to the final goal; no effort goes to waste. Dhamma is beneficial at the beginning, in the middle, at the end. Finally, any person of average intelligence, of whatever background, can practise it and experience the benefits. With this understanding of what it actually is, if one takes refuge in Dhamma and starts practising it, one's devotion has real meaning.
In the same way, taking refuge in Sangha is not a matter of getting involved with a sect. Anyone who has walked on the path of sila, samadhi, and panna and who has reached at least the first stage of liberation, who has become a saintly person, is a Sangha. He or she may be anyone, of any appearance, any colour, any background; it makes no difference. If one is inspired by seeing such a person and works to reach the same goal oneself, then one's taking refuge in Sangha is meaningful, right devotion.
Another friend is effort. Like faith, it must not be blind. Otherwise there is the danger that one will work in a wrong way, and will not get the expected results. Effort must be accompanied by proper understanding of how one is to work; then it will be very helpful for one's progress.

Another friend is awareness. Awareness can only be of the reality of the present moment. One cannot be aware of the past, one can only remember it. One cannot be aware of the future, one can only have aspirations for or fears of the future. One must develop the ability to be aware of the reality that manifests within oneself at the present moment.
The next friend is concentration, sustaining the awareness of reality from moment to moment, without any break. It must be free from all imaginations, all cravings, all aversion; qnly then is it right concentration.
And the fifth friend is wisdom-not the wisdom acquired by listening to discourses, or reading books, or intellectual analysis; one must develop wisdom within oneself at the experiential level, because only by this experiential wisdom can one become liberated. And to be real wisdom, it must be based on physical sensations: one remains equanimous towards sensations, understanding their impermanent nature. This is equanimity at the depths of the mind, which will enable one to remain balanced amid all the vicissitudes of daily life.
All the practice of Vipassana has as its purpose to enable one to live in a proper way, fulfilling one's worldly responsibilities while maintaining a balanced mind, remaining peaceful and happy within oneself and making others peaceful and happy. If you keep the five friends strong, you will become perfect in the art of living, and will lead a happy, healthy, good life.
Progress on the path of Dhanima, for the good and benefit of yourself and of so many.
May all suffering beings come into contact with pure Dhamma, to emerge from their misery and to enjoy real happiness.
May all of you experience Real happiness
May all of you enjoy Real joy
May all of you enjoy Real peace.
May all beings be happy!