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       Some may raise the questions: Of what use are the studies and practices of Dhamma? Why do we have to study and practise? What is known as 'kammattha.gif (845 bytes)na'? And what is meant by 'Kammattha.gif (845 bytes)na'? What result can practising students achieve?

To these questions the following manifold answers can be given:

1. Of what use are the studies and practices of Dhamma?

        Some may feel that, in the studies of Dhamma they are given scanty marks, while others think that their age is premature in the process. However, in the ultimate analysis, it can be seen that Dhamma is a subject with the lion's share of the marks. Though we may get few marks for morals at school, we can see that marks for morals are given throughout our lives. Even after death, marks are doggedly given and deducted for our morals, as can be seen in news items praising and criticizing people for good and evil deeds, as the case may be. For those who have reasonably good deeds to their credit, monuments will be erected after their death by later generations as a sign for homage. Moreover, they will be cited as examples for posterity to follow. On the other hand, wrongdoers, for failure to study and practise morals, will receive contrary results. They will be criticized and vilified even while they are still alive and after death, their behavior will be cited as something from which one should refrain, It may thus be said:

"Marks for morals can be given and deducted throughout one's life and the general public has a right to give and take away marks for morals while one is still in the land of the living and after death."

2. why do we have to study and practise what is known as "Kammatthana''?

       Kammattham.gif (839 bytes)na has to be learnt and practised because it represents a given level of observance of Dhamma. It is a formula for mental exercise or training. From this standpoint, we can see that human life can be decomposed into 2 main parts:


2.1 The Body or the Form

We find that before our body can learn to do things including writing, sitting sideways on tile floor and walking courteously, it has to undergo training. Such training may take some people a great deal of time, others little time. In sum, our body is not as serviceable as it should be. What is worse, it can even be offensive if we use it, for instance, to inflict harm on other's body, property and chastity. The fact that we can lead a reasonably tranquil life and are well respected and praised by others is due to a reasonably advanced degree of bodily and verbal disciplining. On the other hand, those who have not had such training tend to get results contrary to what has been stated.

2.2 Cittam.gif (73 bytes) or the Mind

      It is considered to be the most important part of human beings. The majority of us have not had adequate mental disciplining and have become for instance, sensitive, callous, irritable, troubled and unduly worried about things which should not be worrisome. As stated by an adage, "the mind is the master, while the body is the servant" If this is true while the master has not undergone adequate coaching, bodily and verbal behaviours may not be upright. Mental schooling is thus crucial since, the master is good, he can regulate the actions of the servant, that is, the body, to steer them in the right direction. The Buddha has, therefore prescribed, for example, the Precepts for corporal grooming and the practice which is known as Kammattha.gif (845 bytes)na for mental drilling. His reasons are, for instance:

        "The mind tends to lead wordly beings, mental exercise is a virtue.

        A trained mind brings with it happiness; those who follow the dictates of the (untrained) mind are in trouble.

        Be wise with regard to your mental processes and handle your mind in the same way as one would carry a bowl brimful of (boiling) oil.

        Persist in being meticulous with your mind. Intelligent people tend to handle their mind with caution.

        If sinful acts originate from a given disposition, steer your mind away from it."

        It is clear from these Sayings of the Buddha how important the mind is, why there is a need for mental exercise, and what benefit a well-trained mind can bring to one. To train the mind which is difficult to regulate and break in and to prevent it from drifting into a bad disposition, it is imperative that we use the instrument which the Buddha named Kammattham.gif (839 bytes)na.


3. What is meant by Kammatthana?
         An easily intelligible interpretation defines it as a means to train the human mind to be tranquil. It is a formula for mental exercise. However, a literal interpretation according to the Buddha, renders it as a task to be accomplished by the mind or a task to be accomplished by man through his mind. It falls into 2 types:


3.1 Samatha Kammattha.gif (845 bytes)na :

This means a procedure for tranquilization of the mind by means of attaching it to a given disposition or a given object instead of allowing it to wander from one thing to another and turn a person into a scatterbrain. Under this rubric, the Buddha demonstrated 40 methods by which or 40 things to which the mind can be tethered, there being a diversity of mental foundations. As the saying goes, "What is one man's meat is another man's poison'' or "Nam.gif (839 bytes)nam.gif (839 bytes) Cittamm.gif (851 bytes)" (people are different in their mentality). In this connexion, the Buddha classified mental foundations into 6 types each with a different carita:

       3.1.1 Those who are haughty, enamoured of beauty, pleased with beautiful things and cleanliness, desirous of things which are agreeable to their body and mind, and attached to orderliness. Their disposition is ''Ram.gif (839 bytes)ga-carita'' (Sensual).

        3.1.2 Those who are irritable, peevish, agile, fluent and outspoken and inclined to get others into trouble. Their disposition is ''Dosa-carita'' (Irritable).

        3.1.3 Those who are forgetful, unmindful, affected by errors in speaking, untidy in their work habit, lethargic, not agile or inactive and disorderly in their work. Their disposition is "Moha-carita" (Delusive).

        3.1.4 Those who are gullible and inclined to believe what others say. Their belief is based on neither principles nor the use of the intellect, and they take others' words for what constitutes merit-making or a sinful act. Their disposition is ''saddham.gif (839 bytes)-carita'' (Faithful).

        3.1.5 Those who are, for instance quickwitted, brilliant, blessed with a photographic memory and a ready and accurate grasp of things, self- confident and possessed of such attributes as a flair for all things and a ready ability to see through persons. Their disposition is ''Buddhi- carita'' (Awakened).

        3.1.6 Those who are unduly anxious, obsessed, up in the clouds, lacking in self-confidence, undecided, hesitant and affected with an inability to have a full grasp of things and irresolute even after reflection. Their disposition is "Vitakka-carita'' (Worrisome).

       these 6 types of disposition may be said their mental groundwork or habit or ingrained nature; but it must be understood that usually people are affected by some disposition or other according to circumstances. The Buddha, nevertheless, characterized a person according to a given disposition by virtue of its dominant manifestation.

       In order to enable a person to reap reasonable benefit from Kammattham.gif (839 bytes)na in conformity with their disposition, the Buddha demonstrated as many as 40 different stances or things to which the mind can be tethered.

3.2 Vipassana.gif (845 bytes) Kammattha.gif (845 bytes)na:

This means the use of the intellect to ponder over things in their true perspective with a view to relinquishing eventually delusive love and hatred and infatuation with things. The Buddha specified as many as 73 things to be contemplated in the process.

However, in this context, we shall take up only Samatha Kammattham.gif (839 bytes)na , as the objectives of teaching schoolchildren Kammatthana and of persuading them to practise it solely what follows:

        3.2.1 A desire to enable schoolchildren to concentrate their metal power which is dissipated, wasted and under-utilized on a daily basis for the purpose of its optimum use. This is because such mental power is like an ordinary system, In its natural state a torrent is less devastating than a smaller quantity of water which is pumped through a pipe. Piped water, compressed and propelled as it is, has an enhanced capacity to devastate things. The concentrated human mind is of the same nature; but to be so forceful, the mind requires resoluteness and perseverance for its prime motive power.

        3.2.2 A wish to See schoolchildren avail themselves of the power mentioned above to concentrate their disposition of mind on whatever they are doing. This may, for instance, be studying, listening to a lecture or familiarizing themselves with textbooks, This is to avert situation where schoolchildren sit in class-rooms, while their minds wander about out-side, thereby interrupting and detracting from the full impact of their thinking and learning processes, In this connexion, schoolchildren can see for themselves that their class-mates manifest incredibly differing levels of performance despite the fact that the time spent in class, the textbooks used and the teachers involved are identical. This is by virtue of differences in mental behaviour of schoolchildren some of whom are tranquil while others are given to flights of fancy while studying.

        3.2.3 An urge to see to it that schoolchildren can find mental tranquillity, as their body and mind have toiled all day long. While sometime their body has taken a rest, their mind has not. If this happens too frequently, their corporal and mental health is bound to suffer. While their bodily deterioration may not be too intractable. Impairment of mental health could entail an ultimate loss of the entire personality. Those who have due regard for their own welfare should thus maintain their corporal and mental health intact through due recreation, treatment and protection of their body and mind. There is no more effective method of exercising, treating and protecting one's mind than the practice of Dhamma or Kammattham.gif (839 bytes)na since it helps the mind to repose and find tranquillity to a degree proportional to its practice.

        3.2.4 An expectation to ensure that schoolchildren whose mind has been trained confine their emotions and bodily and verbal behaviours within the limits of morality and laws resist from giving free reins to such things as love and anger.

        3.2.5 A hope to make sure that Kammattham.gif (839 bytes)na is used as a tool for marshalling mental power in support of studies, as has been stated before. This is to enhance schoolchildren's power of, for instance, retention, comprehension, decision and tackling quizzes.

        3.2.6 An ambition to enable schoolchildren whose mind has been well-trained to avoid anxiety, worry and trepidation over and submis-siveness to developments of their daily life by maintaining their mind above these events except where they are directly affected.

        3.2.7 A longing to see that schoolchildren develop a taste for Dhamma, mental tranquillity and calm and to discover for themselves that there is no mundane taste comparable to that ot Dhamma. Kammattham.gif (839 bytes)na is an instrument which can readily be adopted by adherents of all religions. Practitioners of Kammattham.gif (839 bytes)na count amongst them Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Moslems, as the path to virtues can be taken to advantage by all. While their means may differ, the end to be attained consists, in all cases, of tranquillity, equanimity and mental immaculacy.

Besides devoting ourselves to the kind of meditation known as Samatha Kammattham.gif (839 bytes)na, why, it may well be asked as follow:


4. Is only one of the 40 methods or things to tranquilize the mind with revealed?

The answer is that there are several reasons for this.

        4.1 This type of meditation was used by the Buddha as the stepping-stone to attainment of the ultimate status of Sammam.gif (839 bytes)sambuddha (the Fully Self-enlightened One).

        4.2 This sort of meditation, viewed as something to which our mind can be tethered, is inherent in man. We need not bother to search it out, as it is at our fingertips and on call.

        4.3 It is the kind of meditation currently and formerly popular with practitioners.

        4.4 It is the type of meditation which is in keeping with a variety of dispositions. It can be practised to advantage by people regardless of the nature of their disposition.

        4.5 This method is neither unduly difficult nor complex. It produces particularly distinctive results, and it would be difficult for it to lead schoolchildren astray.


5. How does one call this type of Kammatthana ?

It is known as aam.gif (860 bytes)nam.gif (839 bytes)pam.gif (839 bytes)nasati Kammattham.gif (839 bytes)na'' or "aam.gif (860 bytes)nam.gif (839 bytes)pam.gif (839 bytes)nasati Bham.gif (839 bytes)vanam.gif (839 bytes)" meaning "concentrating the mind on inhaled and exhaled air."

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