10. How does Dhamma annihilate hindrances ?
These Nivarana have to be annihilated through complete deracination. Eradication can be at two levels,
namely, at the level of everyday life, and at the level where Kammatthna principles are turned to account.
10.1 Nivarana : Their causes in daily life can be extinguished, according to the Buddha, as shown below :
10.1.1 Attachment to beautiful things : Use the intellect to scrutinize the quintessence of things so as to arrive at the conclusion that, in the ultimate analysis, beauty of form, taste, smell sound and touch is more apparent than real. All these are only delusive make-believe (My). 10.1.2 III Will : Approach it from the standpoint of forgiveness. Contemplate the demerits of spite. Inculcate in those who exasperate us love and kindness. 10.1.3 Drowsiness : This can be sured by observing moderation in partaking of food (avoiding excesses and deficiencies), perseverance and constant pondering over perseverance.
An alternative course of action to 10.1.3 is to follow the guide-lines given to Moggallna (a leading disciple) by the Buddha:
10.1.3.1 Contemplation of Sa : This means refreshing old memories through recollection. 10.1.3.2 Contemplation of knowledge : This is reflection on the knowledge which has been acquired. 10.1.3.3 Memorizing of Mantr : This means memorizing what needs to be retained and reciting several Mantr. 10.1.3.4 Probing of ears and stroking of body : This is probing the ears with fingers and stroking the body with the palm of one's hand. 10.1.3.5 Standing up and rubbing one's eyes : Taking one's bearings. One stands up, wets one's eyes and face and looks in all directions. 10.1.3.6 Emission of light: This is to ascertain the degree of luminosity and assure ourselves that we are on a well-lit spot. 10.1.3.7 Cakama : This is walking to and fro over a distance of 10 to 20 wa (each wa being equivalent to 2 metres). 10.1.3.8 Lying on one's right side : In this posture one foot needs to be just out over the other. One needs to be mindful, before falling into a slumber, to get up at the pre-determined time or to get up as soon as one is awake.
10.1.4 Uddhacca-kukkucca : The remedy for it is physical therapy. This means labouring through physical exertion or mental therapy, whereby, if the mind should be distracted with a given subject-matter, it should be immunized against agitation over it. In other words, a futile interest in fanciful topics should be thrown over. 10.1.5 Vicikicch : The remedy for this is to seek advice from the erudite and benevolent friends. Such advice should also comprise studies and research conducted, with a sagacious mental stratagem, with a view to shedding light on the subject-matter of one's scepticism.
10.2 While Dhamma operates to annihilate Nivarana in our daily life without having to resort to Kammatthna, at this level of annihilation, it can not eradicate them. It thus behoves us at the same time to fall back also on the second means, namely, such outcome of Kammatthna as has been dealt with under the rubric on Jhna. The corpus of Jhna or Dhamma, coming to light in the four Jhna, will serve to annihilate the 5 Nivarapa.
10.2.1 Samdhi : This is the condition in which a tranquil mind finds itself. It can eliminate root causes of love and satisfaction called Kmachanda. 10.2.2 Pti : Euphoria, whenever it arises, will drive out III Will. 10.2.3 Vitakkha : This is reflectiveness which is sufficiently potent to do away with drowsiness which is known as Thna-middha. 10.2.4 Sukha : This is corporal and mental comfort which can put an end to flights of fancy or Uddhacca-kukkucca. 10.2.5 Vicra : It is penetration and deliberation with the help of the intellect with a view to dissipating any scepticism or Vicikicch. While the four Jhna made up of 5 elements, namely, Vitakka, Vicra, Pta, Sukha, and
Samdhi can be likened to light, carnal desire, III Will, drowsiness, fanciful boredom and scepticism, to darkness. It is to be understood that.
"Where there is light, darkness cannot co-exist with it. Where there is darkness, it is impossible for light to be emitted. In a similar vein, the five elements of Jhna and the 5 Nivarana can not co-exist in the same space at the same time."
Such is how, through Kammatthna, Dhamma is the Destroyer of Nivarana.
11. How does Dhamma operate as the Creator ?
It follows from the operation of Dhamma to annihilate Nivarana at two foregoing levels that Dhamma is reputed to be the Creator of man, who has been transformed from a being subject to the influence of Nivarana into an entity abiding by the mental principles of Dhamma. A wicked person has thus turned over a new leaf. Besides, through the practice of the said npnasati Kammatthna Dhamma is capable of bestowing on its practitioners benefit which can be put in a nutshell.
11.1 Benefit at the General Level
11.1.1 Ability to control one's own mind : That is to say, domestication of one's mind without being dominated by its each and every dictate 11.1.2 Ability to find mental tranquility, at will, through the practice of Kammatthna. A session of Kammatthna will, after a while, bring mental equanimity, provided that the mind is not too obsessed with flights of fancy. 11.1.3 Strength of conviction : There will not be wavering according to emotions and developments of the moment or misguided persuasion on the part of others. 11.1.4 Dissipation of fancifulness, arising on various occasions, as a result of appreciation of its demerits and those of anxiety. The mind is precluded from falling prey to those mental stances. 11.1.5 Schoolchildren should, before embarking on reading, maintain mental tranquility for 10-15 minutes. Reading afterwards will be more rewarding, as memory and comprehension will have taken a turn for a better. 11.1.6 Those who suffer from insomnia could, after having contemplated "Bud" on inhalation of air and "dho" on exhalation of air in a lying posture for a while, fall into a relaxed slumber.
11.2 Benefit at the Intermediate Level
11.2.1 Elimination of as many wicked stance from the mind as the intensity of one's practice permits. 11.2.2 Maintenance of the mind in a good temperament and protecting it from such feelings as anxiety, fancifulness and touchiness. 11.2.3 Concentration of all righteous stances into one space, that is Samdhi. 11.2.4 Ability to scrutinize a given stance so as to bring forth its impermanence and its capacity to cause Dukkha and the Non-self Nature of animals man, 'us' and 'them'. 11.2.5 Ability to allow full play, to righteous and wicked mental stances as and when they emerge. In sum, the practice of npnasati is meant for :
Enhancing energy generated by all parts of the body and mental energy with a view to combating a person's disorder including, for instance, corporal and mental malaise.
Refreshing everybody's acquired knowledge to serve as the basis of ultimate knowledge, Vimutti. This liberates the mind from the dominion of Kilesa, initially to give a person a temporary breath-space but ultimately to secure for his or her access to mental immaculacy.
11.3 Benefit at an Advanced Level
11.3.1 A tranquilized mind completely free from wickedness. 11.3.2 A refined, discreet and delicate mind instead of something coarse existing previously. 11.3.3 A mind as cool as or even cooler than the body of someone who has just taken a bath. 11.3.4 A tranquilized mind immersed in happiness untarnished by trouble. 11.3.5 An ability immediately to eliminate sinful thoughts from the mind. 11.3.6 A capacity to get rid of greed, covetousness, sadness and regretfulness. 11.3.7 Averting Dukkha. 11.3.8 Attainment of Righteous Dhamma. 11.3.9 As an ultimate objective, generation of Nibna in the mind.
It can thus be seen that benefit, derivable at the three levels, is with one's reach but varies according to each practioner's capacity for and intensity of practice. As a result of such practice, Dhamma functions as the Creator of Rightousness in the human mind.
12. How does Dhamma function as the Protector or Preserver ?
As a result of Dhamma's creative activities, whoever practices Buddhism's Moral Principles will be protected by Dhamma to the full extent of its observance on his or her part. This is in conformity with the Buddha's Sayings:
"Dhamma protects its practitioners just as an enormous umbrella protects people in a shower. A rolled umbrella in hand cannot protect people from being drenched just as Dhamma can not maintain its students who have not put it to use".
"Well-observed Dhamma brings with it happiness". It will be found that Dhamma can function as the Protector only provided that the person in question practised it well, that is, righteously; for Dhamma is such that, to cherish it, either it has to be offered to one or one has to seek for it"
"Apart from being protected by Dhamma, its practitioners will also make themselves useful to the public at large".
"Practitioners of Dhamma do not frequently go to disreputable places which are bound to get them in to trouble".
"Honour befalls practitioners of Dhamma. Dhamma is the insignia of hermits."
"Sages should give up black morality which is sinful and adhere to white morality which is meritorious. One should thus pay reverence to Dhamma while making a sagacious choice of its elements and abiding by them in a bona fide manner".
An indispensable element of the practice of Kammatthna known as npnasati consists of Saddh which is conviction that such results as have been described will reasonably be secured. Earnest practice should be accompanied by Sacca which comprises sincerity, determination and abstention from deceiving oneself and others.
If schoolchildren should want to go about it in a business-like manner with a view to securing an end above and beyond mental tranquility, i.e. attainment of Samdhi in their studies, guidelines laid down by Phra Dhammavarodom (Seng Uttamathera), late abbot of Rajathiwat Monastery Bangkok, Thailand in his Tools for Kammatthna could be adopted. The method is suitable for group practice or regular individual practice. According to him, the steps of Kammatthna to be followed are as given below.
13. Tools of Kammatthana Laid down by Phra Dhammavarodom.
13.1 Make an effort to do away with anxiety over past and future affairs, whatever they may be. 13.2 Check in spirit of self-respect and reverence to Dhamma, to see whether your practice of Sla is impeccable. If it is found to have a fault, concentrate your mind on observing the Sla first. 13.3 Sit sideways on the floor and raise your joined palm as sign of respect, then prostrate yourselves and recite prayers thrice to pay respect to the Buddha. 13.4 Recite prayers to pay homage to the Triple Gem.
Araha samm-sambuddho bhagav. The Exalted One is Arahant who is immaculate and untarnished by Kilesa and grief and has well and truly attained Self-Enlightenment.
Imehi sakkrehi ta bhagavanta abhipjaymi. I pay reverence to the Exalted One with all these offerings. (Prostrate yourselves together).
Svkkhto Bhagavat Dhammo. Dhamma is the religion which the Exalted One has duly proclaimed.
Imehi sakkrehi ta Dhamma abhipjaymi. I pay reverence to Dhamma with these offerings. (Prostrate yourselves together).
Supatipanno bhagavato svaka Sagho. Sagha who are obedient to the Exalted One and who have righteously followed the practice
Imehi sakkrehi ta Sagha abhipjayami. I pay reverence to this Sagha with these offerings. (Prostrate yourselves togethers).
If you are even more indefatigable, the said abbot recommended that you announce the following confession of faith with a view to securing desired results:
Natthi me sarana aa. I have no other refuge. Ratanattaya me sarana vara. The Triple Gem constitutes my Exalted Refuge.
Etena saccavajjena. With these truthful words, Sotthi me hotu sabbad. May I be blessed, at all times, with prosperity.
Proceed to pray together aloud or mentally, as the case may be.
I pray to the holder of the four Jhna and the victor of the Five Mra so that my mind may be liberated, from the domination of Nivarana, namely, Kmachanda,
Bypda, Thna-middha, Uddhacca-kukkucca and Vicikicch.
I swear and make a truthful oath of Dhamma which points to Magga so that my mind may be blessed with Bhvan, namely, Parikamma, Upacra, and Appan. May my mind also, through Cittasikkh, be blessed with 5 Nimitta incorporating the corpus of Jhna, namely, Vitakka, Vicna, Pti, Sukha and Ekaggat and attain, through Upekkh, the distinctive state of Samdhi.
I make a wish before Sagha Rattana who have righteously followed the practice so that 5 Vas composed of vajjana, Sampajjana, Adhitthna, Vutthna and Paccavekkhana may be secured through the practice of Bhvan.
May I be protected by the Buddha, Dhamma and Sagha. May mindfulness of breathing appear at the aperture of my mind, the Triple Gem protect me from perils and bring me happiness and, by virtue of the power of my wish, Vimutti and liberation from the domination of Mra result.
Once the prayer has been made, begin to sit in the manner already described. However, if, before being seated, you feel somewhat touchy, begin to radiate loving-kindness. This is meant to alleviate Patigha which has arisen.
14. What mental posture is to be adopted when mental changes as a result of Kammatthana have made themselves felt ?
On this the Buddha had laid down guidelines for observation and practice.
"As persevering practitioners of Bhvan gingerly guide their mind with Parikamma through the steps and are distinctively aware of their Samdhi and mental stability prevailing initially, their mind could be seen to be unmistakably immaculate. If they wish to maintain this mental state without falling back, they should scrutinize their mind to see whether it is marred by any of Nivarana. If it is ascertained that all 5 Nivarana have been suppressed, then the spotlessness of the mind will become even more dazzling. This is the state of Upacra-bhvan which is Bhvan approaching tranquility, as the 5 Nivarana constituting Kilesa besieging the mind has been held at bay.
After this, if Uggaha-nimitta or vivid visions appear in the form of luminous, balls, colours, rays or other things, the mind is to maintain in Upekkh or be detached or indifferent so that undue pleasure is not taken in these visions. As the visions disappear, there is no need to be regretful or to cease persevering. Continue gingerly to guide the mind as before. Concentrate the mind on contemplation of initial bodily behaviour as has been the case earlier on. Continue until visions appear and proceed to concentrate your mind as before. If visions recur, maintain your mind in a state of Upekkh.
Henceforth make a wishing for longer lasting visions and continue wishing for luminous balls which are, for instance, larger or smaller, closer or further away, lower or higher, moving into you and moving out of you.
To obtain all these eight changes (as to size, distance, level and position vis-a-vis you), make a wish for a change first and then make an effort to maintain the visions intact. It is imperative to study methods of observation to ascertain "how we can make visions appear, last, brighten and disappear."
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