Category Archives: Beginners Buddhism

The Buddha giving Teachings

The Goal of Meditation

The Goal of Meditation is often seen as the Ultimate Goal aimed at with Buddhist Practitioners.  Vipassana is often mistaken for Samatha Meditation, and Both are often mistakenly thought of as the Mission at hand. Meditation practice, and it’s highest states are however, not the goal of goals.

The Lord Buddha reached these Meditative Attainments to their full capacity with his 2 Lersi teachers. This did not Enlighten Him or release him from Samsaric wheel of Rebirth, which was of course his aim and goal from the beginning.

The purity and stainless mind which comes with Buddhahood or Arahantship however, was not his goal at the beginning, for it was only later as meditative ability and insight, along with the experiences leading to his realization of the middle path. The middle path is a Dhamma he realized some time before his enlightenment.

The realization of the middle path, and the confrontation with the stains of wrong view which obscured the Dhamma from the eyes of all Beings in Samsara, is what led him to begin the quest for removal of impurities, which leads to Arahantship). After attaining the Meditative Jhanas in all their possible levels, the Buddha realized that this would take him no further, and so he left to tarry onwards, for it was the presence of stains, kilesa, impurity, defilement and wrong views which was the goal (to remove them).

The Buddha giving Teachings

Buddha giving Teachings

This was he goal, not meditation. meditation lets you see the defilement stains or kilesa arising from false views of reality, and that is what is then going to lead you to conclude what needs to be removed to become free and see clearly.

Selfishness is what has to be removed, for selfishness arises from the false view of a separate self.. removal of this false view will remove the selfishness that comes from the false view of a self.

Na Mo Put Taa Ya

The Five Lotuses Seen by Brahma – Na Mo Put Taa Ya – 5 Syllables of the Five Buddhas

So the way to remove Kilesa, is to remove Avijja (false views) this is done with Vipassana (insight development). Successful Manifestation of the Practice as a Fully Realized Innate Natural Poise is the true correct practice of the 8 fold path.

8 fold path is the theoretical categorization of the middle path

The Noble 8 fold path is the theoretical categorization of the middle path as explained to Humans by the Lord Buddha. One could split it into 12, 7, or however many abstract facets of practice one can concoct if one wishes, the core truth remains undivided, and is one single poised practice.

Taking Refuge

Taking Refuge in the Triple Gem

The Buddha Dhamma and Sangha are the True refuge of Buddhists

Taking Refuge means, that we Refuge in the Attainments of the Lord Buddha, as a Faith instiller to let us know that a Human can do this (self liberation).
We Refuge in the Dhamma, the teachings which lead to liberation.
And we Refuge in the Sangha

What does ‘Sangha mean?

The Sangha is generally used as a word to refer to the company of Monks and Nuns, but actually, Sangha means the company of true spiritual practitioners who should be sought out as true companions and positive influence on our life.

So we Take Refuge in those that have Attained Liberation, and follow in their footsteps, by Taking Refuge in the study and practice of the Dhamma in the present time, and by Taking Refuge in the right company and Refuging in those who have gone further and attained more self mastery, and can be seen as our guides and teachers, as well as spiritual companions.

Links
The Sangha – Dhamma Diary
What is The Triple Gem?
What is Dhamma?

TheThreejewels

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

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.

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
.

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.