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What is The Triple Gem?

The Triple Gem, or “Pra Ratanatrai” in Thai (Pra refers to “high” or “sacred” things, Ratana means gem,and Trai means triple) is the term used to refer to the three objects of Refuge taken by all Buddhists.

When you become a Buddhist, you will be asked to take refuge in the Triple Gem as part of your Initiation process, and (hopefully), in most cases, will receive a teaching on the meaning of what the triple Gem represents in Buddhism.  This article intends to explain the basic importance of paying reverence to the triple gem, and the reasons why they are seen as so important by Buddhists of all traditions and lineages.

Symbolic Image representing the Triple Gem

symbol of the Triple Gem

The three objects of Refuge are these;

  • The Buddha
  • The Dharma
  • The Sangha

These three objects are seen as the essential core elements which keep the Buddhist faith in existence, and are thus considered to be the source of inspiration in the practise which leads us to Enlightenment and release from further suffering in the Realm of Causal Existence (Becoming and Passing away – all things are impermanent, have a beginning and an End, which leads to dissatisfaction).

For this reason, a Buddhist takes refuge in the Triple Gem until reaching Enlightenment.

This is normally chanted to oneself whilst bowing three times before the image of the Buddha in the Shrine, or even mornings before beginning the day and night times before sleeping at home.

This is normally performed using the Pali language. The chanting goes like this (Thailand phonetic pronunciation);

  • Puttang Saranang Kajchaami (I take Refuge in the Buddha)
  • Tammang Saranang Kajchaami (I take Refuge in the Dhamma)
  • Sangkhang Saranang Kajchaami (I take Refuge in the Sangha)

Then the same again with the word “Tudtiyambi” as a prefix – which means “for the second time”

  • Tudtiyambpi Puttang Saranang Kajchaami 
  • Tudtiyambpi Tammang Saranang Kajchaami
  • Tudtiyambpi Sangkhang Saranang Kajchaami

Then the same again with the word “Dtadtiyambi” as a prefix – which means “for the third time”

  • Dtadtiyambpi Puttang Saranang Kajchaami
  • Dtadtiyambpi Tammang Saranang Kajchaami
  • Dtadtiyambpi Sangkhang Saranang Kajchaami

Alternatively, in other countries, the words are spelled like this;

  • Buddham saranam gacchāmi – I go for refuge in the Buddha.
  • Dhammam saranam gacchāmi – I go for refuge in the Dharma.
  • Sangham saranam gacchāmi – I go for refuge in the Sangha

The reason why all of these three aspects are seen as equally precious, is the fact that;
If there was no Sangha (monks), then the Dhamma would not be able to reach us, for it is the monks who are the living embodiment of the teachings (Dhamma), and it is they who speak the teachings to us and write books for us, and it is they who propagate the practice in the present so that it may still continue in the future.

The Dhamma is the truth of all things in the Universe, always was, is and shall be valid, and is thus the true source which can be uncovered or revealed, enabling our Enlightenment. The Dhamma is the direct cause of our Enlightenment, and is synonymous with the practise.

The Buddha is the being who became Enlightened (knowing the Dhamma in it’s entirety), and is the one who expounded the Dhamma, revealing it to us, so that we could know it and learn to abide by it, using it as a tool to attain Enlightenment with. Without the Buddha, we may never have been lucky enough to encounter the Dhamma, and therefore, the Buddha is seen as the source of the existence of the Dhamma teachings on this planet. Without him, the Dhamma would indeed still be existent, but it would be invisible, unheard of and unknown to Humans, and perhaps the Devas as well.

Important Notes;

The Buddha did not invent the Dhamma, the Dhamma is the true nature of all things in Existence (this is in fact the meaning of the word Dhamma – “nature of things”).
The Buddha even said that the Dhamma existed before he found it, was always true, is now in the present also true, and will still be true in the future, regardless how long a time passes. The Dhamma is the Universal laws that apply to the physical world, and also the non physical world (emotional, mental, spiritual) and these rules and laws apply to life, becoming and all things in existence. They are pure, and unchangeable. The Dhamma teaches that all things are impermanent and changeable, but in fact, the Dhamma that refers to the laws which govern existence itself never changes. The fact that all things are impermanent was true then, is true now, and in the future will still be true – this is an unchangeable truth, and that is what we call a “Dhamma”.

This is of course seemingly self contradictory to say all things are changing, but that this fact is unchangeable.. but this is one of the perplexities of Dhamma when seen from our unenlightened perspective. Once the basic principles of Dhamma have been grasped however, these perplexities disappear and the practitioner ceases to wonder about the self contradictory concepts which occur when attempting to explain the limitless with a limited tool such as Human language.

Reference Links;

Wikipedia – Three Jewels
How to Chant Namo Tassa

What is Kammathana?

Kammatthana

Kammatthana literally means “basis of work” or “place of work”. It describes the contemplation of certain meditation themes used by a meditating monk so the forces of defilement (kilesa), craving (tanha), and ignorance (avijja) may be uprooted from the mind. Although kammatthana can be found in many meditation-related subjects, the term is most often used to identify the forest tradition (the Kammatthana tradition) lineage founded by Ajarn Sao Kantasilo Mahathera and his student Ajarn Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera.

The origin of the name Forest tradition came from the theory that the Buddha himself gained awakening in a forest, gave his first sermon in a forest, and passed away in a forest. The qualities of mind he needed in order to survive physically and mentally in the wilds, were key to his discovery of the Dhamma. Therefore every practitioner should take the wilderness as the teacher, conform to the ways of nature – the samsara itself — and break through to truths transcending them entirely.

Ajarn Sao (1861-1941) originally belonged to the Dhammayut order in that he unusually had no scholarly interests but was devoted to the practice of meditation. He trained Ajarn Mun in strict discipline and canonical meditation practices, set in the context of the dangers and solitude of the wilderness.

Ajarn Mun (1870-1949) was the son of rice farmers in the northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani province, northeastern Thailand. Ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1892, he felt that Customary Buddhism had little to offer and so he joined the Dhammayut order, taking a student of Prince Mongkut as his preceptor. Unlike many Dhammayut monks, he wasn’t interested in the scholarly environment of his preceptor’s temple and went to live with Ajarn Sao. After wandering for several years with Ajarn Sao, Ajarn Mun set off on his own in search of the truth and spent the remainder of his life wandering through central Thailand, Burma, and Laos, dwelling for the most part in the forest, engaged in the practice of meditation. Eventually, when Ajarn Mun had reached the point where he believed the noble attainments was reachable, he returned to the northeast to inform Ajarn Sao and then to continue wandering. Gradually he attracted followers that were impressed by his demeanor and teachings. They believed that he embodied the Dhamma and Vinaya in everything he did and said. Instead of teaching a single meditation technique, Ajarn Mun taught them full panoply of skills and then sent them into the wilds. In 1928, a Dhammayut authority ordered Ajarn Mun‘s followers to establish monasteries and help propagate the government’s program for the purpose of domestication against these forest wanderers. Ajarn Mun and a handful of his students left for the north, where they were still free to roam. In the early 1930’s, Ajarn Mun was appointed the abbot of an important monastery in the city of Chieng Mai, but fled the place before dawn of the following day. He returned to settle in the northeast only in the very last years of his life. He maintained many of his dhutanga practices up to his death in 1949.

Ajarn Lee Dhammadharo (1907-1961) was one of the foremost teachers in the Thai forest ascetic tradition of meditation founded at the turn of the century by his teacher, Ajarn Mun. His life was short but eventful. Known for his skill as a teacher and his mastery of supranatural powers, he was the first to bring the ascetic tradition out of the forests of the Mekhong basin and into the mainstream of Thai society in central Thailand.

The forest meditation tradition subsequently spread throughout Thailand and to several countries abroad.

Basic Teachings

This sect follows the Vinaya (monastic discipline) faithfully. They believe the rules of the Vinaya, instead of simply being external customs, played an important role in physical and mental survival. The practitioners observe many of what are known as the thirteen classic dhutanga (ascetic) practices, such as living off almsfood, wearing robes made of cast-off rags, dwelling in the forest, eating only one meal a day. The teaching focuses on the customs of the noble ones: the practices that had enabled the Buddha and his disciples to achieve awakening in the first place. And they believe the true Dhamma cannot be found in old customs or texts but in the well-trained heart and mind.

This attitude toward the Dhamma parallels what ancient cultures called “warrior knowledge” — the knowledge that comes from developing skills in difficult situations — as opposed to the “scribe knowledge” that people sitting in relative security and ease can write down in words. A text is pointers for training and authoritative only if its teachings are borne out in practice. Thus the ultimate authority in judging a teaching is not whether the teaching can be found in a text but the results of relentless honesty in putting the Dhamma to the test and carefully monitoring. So that one learned gradually by trial and error to the point of an actual noble attainment. Instead of simply imparting verbal knowledge, a practitioner will be put into situations where they would have to develop the qualities of mind and character needed in surviving the battle with their own defilements. These included resilience, resolve, and alertness; self-honesty and circumspection; steadfastness in the face of loneliness; courage and ingenuity in the face of external dangers; compassion and respect for the other inhabitants of the forest.

It will appear of its own accord to the person who practices; because virtue, concentration, and discernment all exist in our very own body, speech, and mind. These things are said to be;

Akaliko: Ever-present.
Opanayiko: Bring the mind inward to investigate body, speech, and mind when a practitioner contemplate what already exists within him/her.
Aloko: Blatantly clear both by day and by night;
Paccattam: Knew clearly for themselves after bringing their minds inward to contemplate what was already there.
Keeping awareness with the breath is directed thought. Knowing the characteristics of the breath is evaluation. Spreading the breath so that it permeates and fills the entire body is rapture. The sense of serenity and well-being in body and mind is pleasure. When the mind is freed from the Hindrances so that it’s one with the breath, that’s singleness of preoccupation. All of these factors of jhana turn mindfulness into a factor of Awakening.

Breath Training

The most important meditation technique is this sect is to focus on the in-and-out breath and to keep mindfulness in charge, together with the meditation word, buddho (“Buddha”, used as the meditation word), in and out with the breath. The meditation word is like bait; it should be dropped once the mind is in place. Being mindful and alert to the in-and-out breath is the actual meditation. When the body is still, the practitioner gain knowledge from the body. When the mind is still, the practitioner gain knowledge from the mind. When the breath is still, the practitioner gain knowledge from the breath.

There are five levels to the breath:

  1. The breath that we breathe in and out.
  2. The breath that goes past the lungs and connects with the various properties of the body, giving rise to a sense of comfort or discomfort.
  3. The breath that stays in place throughout the body. It doesn’t flow here or there. The breath sensations that used to flow up and down the body stop flowing. The sensations that used to run to the front or the back stop running. Everything stops and is still.
  4. The breath that gives rise to a sense of coolness and light.
  5. The really refined breath, so refined that it’s like atoms. It can penetrate the entire world. Its power is very fast and strong.

There are two kinds of breath evaluation: the first is to evaluate the in-and-out breath. The second is to evaluate the inner breath sensations in the body until the practitioner can spread them out through all the properties of the body to the point where the practitioner forget all distractions. If both the body and mind are full, there’s a sense of rapture and ease that results from the directed thought and evaluation. This is Right Action in the mind.

Breath Training and Eight Noble Paths

The in-breath stress is the stress of arising and the out-breath stress is the stress of passing away. When a practitioner concentration has strength through the breath training, the ability to discern stress, its cause, its disbanding, and the path to its disbanding will rise within the breath. When all of these aspects of the Noble Path — virtue, concentration, and discernment — are brought together fully mature within the heart, the practitioner gain insight into all aspects of the breath. This includes the knowledge of the relation between the breathing method and good/bad mental states. The breath that fashion the body, the factors that fashion speech, the factors that fashion the mind, whether good or bad, letting them be as they truly are, in line with their own inherent nature. As the practice itself, it can be concluded in the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path:

Right View – Knowing when the breath is coming in, knowing when it’s going out, knowing its characteristics clearly — i.e., keeping the views in line with the truth of the breath.
Right Consideration – Knowing which ways of breathing are uncomfortable, knowing how to vary the breath.
Right Speech – The mental factors that think about and properly evaluate all aspects of the breath.
Right Action – Knowing various ways of improving the breath; breathing, for example, in long and out long, in short and out short, in short and out long, in long and out short, until the breath becomes most comfortable.
Right Livelihood – Knowing how to use the breath to purify the blood, how to let this purified blood nourish the heart muscles, how to adjust the breath so that it eases the body and soothes the mind, how to breathe to feel full and refreshed in body and mind.
Right Effort – Trying to adjust the breath so that it comforts the body and mind, and to keep trying as long as possible.
Right Mindfulness – Being mindful of the in-and-out breath at all times, knowing the various aspects of the breath — the up-flowing breath, the down-flowing breath, the breath in the stomach, the breath in the intestines, the breath flowing along the muscles and out to every pore — keeping track of these things with every in-and-out breath.
Right Concentration – A mind intent only on matters of the breath, not pulling any other objects in to interfere, until the breath is refined, giving rise to fixed absorption and then liberating insight.

Meditation paths

With respect to the meditation on physical events that qualifies as the great frame of reference (mahasatipatthana), when the practitioner’s mind has fully developed the four paths to success (listed as bellow), complete with mindfulness and alertness, the results in terms of the body are the stilling of pain. In terms of the mind, they can lead all the way to the transcendent: the stages of stream-entry, once-returning, non-returning, and arahantship. The four paths to success are:

Chanda (desire): Have a friendly interest in the breath, keeping track of it to see when breath is in and what breathe in with it.
Viriya (persistence): Be diligent in all affairs related to the breath and be in charge of the breath.
Citta (attention): Focus intently on the breath. Be observant of how the external breath comes in and connects with the internal breath in the upper, middle, and lower parts of the body; in the chest — the lungs, the heart, the ribs, the backbone; in the abdomen — stomach, liver, kidneys, intestines; the breath that goes out the ends of the fingers and toes and out every pore.
Vimansa (discrimination): Contemplate and evaluate the breath that comes in to nourish the body to see whether it fills the body, to see whether it feels easy and natural, to see if there are many parts the body still have to adjust it. Notice the characteristics of how the external breath strikes the internal breath, to see if they connect everywhere or not, to see how the effects of the breath on the properties of earth, water, and fire arise, remain, and pass away.
In terms of concentration, there are three levels in the practice:

Momentary concentration- the mind gathers and settles down to a firm stance (a underlying level) and rests there for a moment before withdrawing.
Threshold concentration – the mind gathers and settles down to its underlying level and stays there before withdrawing to be aware of a nimitta (mental sign, image, or vision). Or without retreating, the practitioner meditates until an uggaha nimitta (arising image) appears, contemplates that image until the mind lets go of it and reverts to its underlying level and stays there for a fair while before withdrawing again.
Fixed penetration – the mind settles down to a firm stance on its underlying level and stops there in singleness endowed with the five factors of jhana. Keep on contemplating that image until the mind reverts to a firm stance on its underlying level, reaching the singleness of the first level of jhana. When the mind withdraws, keep contemplating that image over and over again until the practitioner can take it apart as a patibhaga nimitta (counterpart image).
Note: jhana (Skt. dhyana): Mental absorption. A state of strong concentration focused on a single physical sensation (resulting in rupa jhana) or mental notion (resulting in arupa jhana). Develompent of jhana arises from the temporary suspension of the five hindrances through the development of five mental factors: vitakka (directed thought), vicara (evaluation), piti (rapture), sukha (pleasure), and ekaggatarammana (singleness of preoccupation).

Seven factors of Awakening

Forest tradition practitioners believe the hindrances are the breath impregnated with ignorance and darkness, thus the untended and undirected breath is full of darkness. This state cuts and closes off our path to enlightenment. Only if these hindrances are removed, the mind will be radiant and bright. And seeing the Dhamma can be clear in both cause and effect. Concentration is the most effective way to divest our hearts of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, etc. And it is composed of seven basic qualities as the factors of Awakening. Appreciating all seven of these qualities and developing them in full measure within the heart will result a single point awakening in a single moment.

1. Mindfulness (sati-sambojjhanga): The mind is centered firmly on the breath, aware of the body, feelings, mind, and mental qualities.

2. Analysis of present qualities (dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhanga): Let the breath spread throughout the body to care for its various parts, making an enlarged frame of reference. To adjust, improve, choose, and use our breaths so that they give us comfort.

3. Persistence (viriya-sambojjhanga): Stick with the state as the practitioner keeps warding the Hindrances from the heart. Don’t fasten on or become involved with distracting perceptions.

4. Rapture (piti-sambojjhanga): When the mind is quiet, the breath is full and refreshing. The practitioner is free from the hindrances and from every sort of restlessness; it gives rise to a feeling of brightness, fullness, and satisfaction. This is the breath of cognitive skill (vijja), meaning the breath lies under the direction of mindfulness.

5. Serenity (passaddhi-sambojjhanga): The breath is solid throughout the body. The elements are at peace, and so is the mind. Feelings are still experienced as they are felt, but at this point they don’t give rise to craving, attachment, states of being, or birth. Awareness is simply aware.

6. Concentration (samadhi-sambojjhanga): The breath is firm, steady, and unwavering. The mind takes a firm stance in a single preoccupation so the knowledge arises. The practitioner will perceive kamma and its results, both in ourselves and other people in this state.

7. Equanimity (upekkha-sambojjhanga): When body, feelings, mind, and mental qualities are fully snug with one another in these two types of breath — the mind stays with these aspects of the breath — it goes to be still with a spacious sense of relaxation, not fastening onto many sign, preoccupation, or anything at all.

When mindfulness saturates the body the way flame saturates every thread in the mantle of a Coleman lantern, the elements throughout the body work together, both the body and mind become buoyant. The sense of the body will immediately become thoroughly bright, helping to develop both body and mind. The practitioner can now sit or stand for long periods of time without getting tired, to walk for great distances without getting fatigued, to go for unusually long periods of time on just a little food without getting hungry, or to go without food and sleep altogether for several days running without losing energy.

Samatha and Vipassana

Tranquillity meditation (samatha) is a mind snug in a single preoccupation. It doesn’t establish contact with anything else; it keeps itself cleansed of outside preoccupations. Insight meditation (vipassana) is when the mind lets go of all preoccupations in a state of all-around mindfulness and alertness. When tranquillity imbued with insight arises in the mind, five faculties arise and become five kinds of strength:

1. Saddhindriya (Saddha-balam): conviction; the practitioner gain conviction in the results from his/her efforts.

2. Viriyindriya (Viriya-balam): persistence arises and becomes resilient without flagging or getting discouraged.

3. Satindriya (Sati-balam): mindfulness be robust and vigorous. The awareness becomes entirely radiant in every posture: sitting, standing, walking, and lying down. This all-around awareness is what is meant by the great frame of reference.

4. Samadhindriya (Samadhi-balam): concentration becomes firmly established.

5. Panyaindriya (Panya-balam): discernment of all things right and wrong. Discernment can make the mind attain stream-entry, once-returning, non-returning, or even arahantship.

When these five strengths appear in the heart, the heart will be fully mature. The practitioner’s conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment will all be mature and pre-eminent in their own spheres. The mind will have the power to demolish all defilement in the heart.

Further information on the following links;

Kammathana 40 Vipassana techniques of Mindfulness

Download and listen to “Letting Go”, a free Mp3 teaching by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Metta - Loving Friendliness

What is Metta?

Metta is normally translated as “Compassion”, or “Loving Kindness”. The great meditation teacher Henepola Gunaratana Maha Thaera gives a perhaps more fitting translation; “Loving Friendliness”. This is perhaps more fitting due to the fact that Compassion is also used to translate the word “Karuna” (otherwise translated as “Generosity”). Loving Friendliness indeed includes both compassionate and amicable thought processes. In Buddhism we will refer to this kind of thought that is orientated around well wishing, friendly, compassionate and concerned (for the wellness of other beings). Metta is not something we all have automatically, and therefore is an aspect of thought which must first be developed. One of the best ways to do this is by practicing meditation to develop Metta.

Metta - Loving Friendliness

Metta meditation

Metta (Loving Kindness/Friendliness) meditation is an extremely important element of Buddhist practice, and a useful tool for reducing worry, and mental stress and suffering. Development of Metta is essential, as successful attainment of the kind and compassionate mind will lend peace, and quietness to the mind and heart, which helps so much when meditating, because when we have Metta we do not have any remorse or regret or guilty feelings blocking our thoughts. This will aid us in being able to concentrate on the object of meditation with a still mind.
One of the Western world’s most proficient teachers in meditation is the Sri Lankan master Bhante G (Henepola Gunaratana), who is the resident Master at Bhavana Society in Virginia U.S.A.
Included in this post is the download for his most clear and easily understandable teaching on how to practise and develop Metta using simple gradual techniques.
Metta is not felt from the beginning, we have to develop it slowly in our hearts; Bhante G explains how to do this in an extremely clear way.

DOWNLOAD METTA MEDITATION TEACHING BY BHANTE G (HENEPOLA GUNARATANA)

Below Pic – Bhante G meditating with a 4 year old daughter of one of his students in Argentina

The Noble Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path is the main body of applied practice for Buddhists to attain the perfection of Merits and Moral Behavior, which is considered to be the safe path leading to liberation from suffering, Cessation of Illusory Perception, and Ultimate Enlightenment (Nirvana).

Eightfold Path Visually Explained

The Noble Eightfold Path consists of;

  1. Right view (samma-ditthi),
  2. Right resolve (samma-sankappa),
  3. Right speech (samma-vaca),
  4. Right action (samma-kammanta),
  5. Right livelihood (samma-ajiva),
  6. Right effort (samma-vayama).
  7. Right mindfulness (samma-sati),
  8. Right concentration (samma-samadhi)

The Eightfold Path is well known in all Buddhist traditions and is the basis of the Buddhist practice. This having been said, it is not often clear as to how one should apply oneself to practicing and realizing the eightfold path as a manifest practice, constantly present in one’s daily life. This i feel is due to the fact that the eight classes of treading the path are listed, but rarely explained in the context of what consists of the practicing of each facet of the path.
For example; Right view (samma-ditthi) – it is easy to say that one should practice having the right view, but this suggestion is useless unless it is explained to the disciple what is meant by “right view” – “wrong view” should also be explained, in order for the practitioner to be able to differentiate between the two.

“Right View” (Samma Dhitthi) in the eightfold path, means that one is conscious and convinced of the truth of the concept of the “Four Noble Truths” – (Dhukka, Samutaya, Nirodha and Maggha).

Right effort (samma-vayama), means to practice and maintain the 4 Sammaphadana (leaving behind past negative actions, culturing future auspicious actions, avoiding further negative actions, and maintaining the merits of previous positive actions)
For those who wish to study the complete analysis of what consists of correctly applying the practice of the 8 fold path, i shall be publishing an article on this matter on the Dhamma blog here on the Dharmathai portal. This particular blog section of dharmathai dot com is for beginners Buddhism and therefore should not go into too much further detail on this matter here.

Wheel of Dependent Origination

Interdependent Origination

Interdependent Origination – Paticasammuphada

A Short Musing about the Interdependence of all things.

The Law of Interdependent Origination is another essential aspect of the inner meditative/analytical practise of a Buddhist.

Wheel of Dependent Origination

To give a basic explanation of what this law means, let us consider any thing around us in our environment which we can interact with. Let’s take a bottle of lemonade, for example.
If there was no bottle in existence then the lemonade would not be able to served to you (at least not in a bottle), if you didn’t exist as a customer, the bottle wouldnt be produced at all either! If there were no factories, workers, monetary system, sand on the beach (to make the glass for the bottle), then none of these things would have been able to exist.. the chain of interdependent factors allowing us all to exist in this Universe is endless and interwoven to include every single individual molecule and entity in existence. Everything that is, is inter-related and inter-connected. We could not exist without each other! – repeated long term consideration of this and the other basic concepts of Bhuddhist thought (Dharma), are the keys to liberation from suffering (through cutting the roots to the causes of suffering) and the path to Enlightenment and Nirvana

What is Dhamma?

“Dhamma” in Pali, meaning “Nature”, or, “the way things really are”. The study of the Dhamma consists of the renunciation of the causes of suffering and rebirth in illusory existences and realm, in order to escape the suffering that is inherent in all incarnate lifeforms by not havng to ever return. This is acehived by attaining what has come to be known as “Enlightenment”, or “Sainthood” (Arahantship).
Dhamma is a technique for self transformation and self  liberation (from suffering and eventual rebirth into further states of unsatisfactoriness (suffering/dhukka) Dhamma practise is applied on the basis of contemplation, renunciation and devotional practise whilst maintaining the precepts (either 5, 8, 10 or 227), and applying one’s life to the Eightfold Path as taught by the Buddha Sakyamuni. The liberated state (known as Arahantship whilst still alive, and Nirvana when cessation has occured), is attained by practising various techniques of what is now referred to as “Mindfulness meditation” or “Vipassana/Kammathana” practise. The word Vipassana means to develop the mind, or to develop the perception. Kammathana is a phrase which begin to be used more commonly in Thailand by the Forest Tradition Monks of the Tudong lineage of Ajarn Mun and Ajarn Chah. Kamma, meaning “action”, or “behaviour” and Thana meaning “basis” or “base”.


Bhikkhu Bua Nanasampanno (Ajarn Maha Bua Probably the only living student of the Master Ajarn Mun Bhuridatto, the founder of the Kammathana Ascetic tradition. Ajarn Pra Maha Bua Nanasampanno, is well known for the fluency and skill of his Dhamma talks, and their direct and dynamic approach. He was the abbot of Wat Pah Bahn Tahd in Udon Thani, Thailand, until his passing in 2011.

Here is Wikipedia’s explanation of the word Kammathana;

In Buddhism, Kammathaana is a Pali word (Sanskrit: karmasthana) which literally means the place of work. Figuratively it means the place within the mind where one goes in order to work on spiritual development. More concretely, it refers to the forty canonical objects of meditation (samatha kammathaana), listed in the third chapter of the Visuddhimagga.
The Kammatthana collectively are not suitable for all persons at all times. Each kammatthana can be prescribed, especially by a teacher (kalyaana-mitta), to a given person at a given time, depending on the person’s temperament and state of mind.

The path to becoming an Arahant is preceded by 3 other stages, known as Sotapanna, Sakitakami, Anakami (and fourthly; Arahant). The Sotapanna state is known as “stream enterer”, Sakitakami is known as “Once returner”, Anakami as “Never Returner” and lastly the Arahant status (direct entry into Nirvana upon cessation of the five khandas). These 4 states are considered to be all states of “Noble Beings” – the four kinds of Noble persons are subclassified into 8; 4 path states and four “fruit” states.

Path means that one has not attained the state yet, but that one has entered into the way leading to the attainment of that state (fruit state) The most important goal for any serious Buddhist is to acheive as a minimum condition, the Sotapanna state (stream enterer). This is due to the fact that once attainment of stream entry is acheived, one is safe from danger of being reborn as a hell being, asura, peta, or animal. The Sotapanna will only be reborn as a Human Being or in the Celestial Realms as an Angelic Intelligence or a Brahma What is Dhamma? The Dhamma is the doctrine, or Teaching, way, of the Bhuddha. Dhamma also means “nature” or “the way things really are”.

The Dhamma is a path of practise that leads to wisdom and liberation from suffering. One’s understanding of Dhamma becomes ever deeper and profound as one advances along the path, old lessons revealing new truths as one develops deeper insight and understanding of Dhamma; “Just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual slope, a gradual inclination, with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch, in the same way this Doctrine and Discipline (Dhamma-Vinaya) has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual progression, with a penetration to gnosis only after a long stretch”. The basic gist of practising Dhamma is to Mindfully practise meditation, learn and teach Dhamma as one has understood it, and combine it with the moral principles of Sila (precepts), and to use these tools to live according to the principles of the Noble Eightfold Path..

What are the Four Noble Truths?

The basic principle foundation of Bhuddhist thought are known as the “Four Noble truths” which was the first revelation received by Bhuddha Sakyamuni.

The Four Noble Truths are;
1.The Nature of Suffering (Dukkha). Suffering is real, all Sentient beings suffer in one way or another.
2.Suffering’s Origin (Samudaya). If Suffering exists, then it must have a cause – that cause is craving, attachment and ignorance
3.Suffering’s Cessation (Nirodha). If there is a beginning to suffering, it must also have an end (called Nirodha – the extinguishing)
4.The way to end Suffering (Maka). The way to end Suffering is the Eightfold Path as explained by the Lord Bhuddha.
These 4 Truths can be likened to the following;

  1. Diagnosis of an illness
  2. Prognosis for the illness
  3. Recovery thereof
  4. Medicine to cure the disease

  1. Suffering is universal (Dhukka)
  2. The origin of suffering is attachment (Samutaya)
  3. The cessation of suffering is attainable (Nirodha)
  4. The Path to the cessation of suffering is detachment (Magkha )

5 Precepts

How to perform the taking of the five precepts in Buddhism with Pali language.
If asking for the 5 Precepts from a Monk, you should precede the Kata with this Chant;
Mayang Pantae Wisung Wisung Ragkhanadt Thaaya Dtisaranaena Saha Bpanja Siilaani Yaajaama
Tudtiyambpi Mayang Pantae Wisung Wisung Ragkhanadt Thaaya Dtisaranaena Saha Bpanja Siilaani Yaajaama
Dtadtiyambpi Mayang Pantae Wisung Wisung Ragkhanadt Thaaya Dtisaranaena Saha Bpanja Siilaani Yaajaamaa

Before the taking of the 5 precepts one is required to Chant the ovation to Buddha: NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMA SAMBUDDHASSA (X3)

The video demonstrates the sequences as written below

  • Buddhang saranang gacchami – I go to the Buddha for refuge.
  • Dhammang saranang gacchami – I go to the Dhamma for refuge.
  • Sanghang saranang gacchami – I go to the Sangha for refuge.
  • Dutiyampi Buddhang saranang gacchami – For the second time, I go to the Buddha for refuge.
  • Dutiyampi Dhammang saranang gacchami – For the second time, I go to the Dhamma for refuge.
  • Dutiyampi Sanghang saranang gacchami – For the second time, I go to the Sangha for refuge.
  • Tatiyampi Buddhang saranang gacchami – For the third time, I go to the Buddha for refuge.
  • Tatiyampi Dhammang saranang gacchami – For the third time, I go to the Dhamma for refuge.
  • Tatiyampi Sanghang saranang gacchami – For the third time, I go to the Sangha for refuge.

The Monk will then say

Dti Saranang Kamanang Nitidtang

You will then say; Aama Pantae

Then the Monk will usually chant the 5 Precepts one line at a time and you should repeat each of them after him in the same sequence

The Taking of 5 Precepts is performed by chanting the following Kata:  

  • 1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadang samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
  • 2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadang samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.  
  • 3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadang samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
  • 4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadang samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
  • 5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadang samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness. The 5 Precepts should be preceded by the prayer of refuge in the triple gem (Bhuddha, Dharma and Sangha)

Then the Monk will say; Imaani Sikkhaapadaani Siilaena Sukhadingyandti Siilaena Pookasmadtaa Sillaena Nippudting Yandti Dtassamaa Siilang Wisotaeyae

You will say ‘Saatu’ and bow three times to the monk

Below; Luang Phu Cha gives the 5 Precepts

What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is arguably not a Religion as such; rather a philosophy of life.
What is known in the present Day as Buddhism, started of course about 2550 years ago,with the appearance of a sage known as Siddhattha Gotama, otherwise known as the Buddha Sakyamuni.
Buddha, or Buddho can be roughly translated as “The Awakened one”.
Siddhattha Gotama in Pali (or Siddhartha Gautama in Sanskrit), was born in Lumbini in Nepal, roughly between the years 400 and 480 BC.
He was the son of a powerful member of his clan and held the approximate status of a prince. He lived in his father’s palace protected and oblivious to the sufferings that were at large in the wide world.
At the age of twenty-nine, he decided to leave the palace, his life of pleasure and comfort, and become an Ascetic, in order to find the solution to end all suffering. He studied under several famous Yogis for many Years until he became tired of the Hindu caste system and the principles of Indian ascetism and left the group, consquently losing all his followers too.
Instead he continued his search for truth through the practise of meditation.
Eventually, he reached the realisation of Enlightenment During a short period of time, Buddha established a reputation in western Hindustan by converting thousands of people to the Dhamma

The Practise of Dhamma is the way of life, and looking at life that is practised by Bhuddhists.
Dhamma/Bhuddhism, is the basically practise of “Mindfulness” (trying to be constantly aware). Mindfulness of ones actions, thoughts and reactions/feelings, along with meditative practise to increase the quality of mindfulness, leads to Insight. Insight removes suffering by recognizing the causes/roots of our sufferings (craving). The basic practise of the Good Bhuddhist is the “Eightfold Path”. The Eightfold Path is considered a perfect and complete system to attain liberation from suffering and it’s causes and reach Nibbana (Enlightenment). The only problem is, that is extremely difficult to maintain awareness/mindfulness of one’s thoughts speech and actions without losing one’s attention with all the outer distractions
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Dharma Thai Ramakian section - Thai Buddhism

Buddhism (Dharma) consists of both Inner, and Outer practise. There are three main levels on which must be worked on saimultaneously – the breat/speech, Mind/thought/intention, and, the body/ physical action.
This reflects how we can be affected by or influence the outside world in three ways/worlds.
In Thai we use the words “manoegamm, Wajeegamm and Gaiagam” to classify the three levels of partaking of karmik action (creating causes and effects). Manoe means mind, Wajee means speech, and Gaay/Gaaya means body. Gamm means karma – which we in the west seem to imagine as some kined of Cosmic retribution process to punish our ill deeds and reward our good deeds.
In fact, the word karma, or “Gamm” in Thai, means “Action/reaction” – any kind of action is a kind of gamm/karma the cause of a future result, and also the result of a previous cause. This is the law of cause and effect in motion, and the root of our endless wandering through Eternity as unenlightened beings in Samsaric existence – which is suffering and illusion.