[无量香光 · 显密文库 · 手机站]

PART 1 - 阿罗汉向:灭苦正道 The Direct Route to the End of All Suffering
{返回 阿罗汉向•阿罗汉果 The Path to Arahantship 文集}



The Direct Route to the End of All Suffering


A Compilation of Venerable Acariya Maha Boowa's Dhamma Talks
About the Development of His Meditation Practice.


At present, all that is left of Buddhism are the words of the Buddha. Only his teachings—the scriptures—remain. Please be aware of this. Due to the corruption caused by the defiling nature of the kilesas, true spiritual principles are no longer practiced in present-day Buddhism. As Buddhists, we constantly allow our minds to be agitated and confused, engulfed in mental defilements that assail us from every direction. They so overpower our minds that we never rise above these contaminating influences, no matter how hard we try. The vast majority of people are not even interested enough to try: They simply close their eyes and allow the onslaught to overwhelm them. They don’t even attempt to put up the least amount of resistance. Since they lack the mindfulness needed to pay attention to the consequences of their thoughts, all their thinking and all they do and say are instances of the kilesas giving them a beating. They surrendered to the power of these ruinous forces such a long time ago that they now lack any motivation to restrain their wayward thoughts. When mindfulness is absent, the kilesas work with impunity, day and night, in every sphere of activity. In the process, they increasingly burden and oppress the hearts and minds of people everywhere with dukkha.


In the time of the Buddha, his direct disciples were true practitioners of the way of Buddhism. They renounced the world for the express purpose of transcending dukkha. Regardless of their social status, age or gender, when they ordained under the Buddha’s guidance, they changed their habitual ways of thinking, acting, and speaking to the way of Dhamma. Casting the kilesas aside, the disciples ceased to follow their lead from that moment on. With earnest effort, they directed all their energy toward purifying their hearts and cleansing them of the contamination created by the kilesas.

In essence, earnest effort is synonymous with a meditator’s endeavor to maintain steady and continuous mindful awareness, always striving to keep a constant watch on the mind.


When mindfulness oversees all our mental and emotional activities, at all times in all postures, this is called “right effort”. Whether we’re engaged in formal meditation practice or not, if we earnestly endeavor to keep our minds firmly focused in the present moment, we constantly offset the threat posed by the kilesas. The kilesas work tirelessly to churn out thoughts of the past and the future. This distracts the mind, drawing it away from the present moment, and from the mindful awareness that maintains our effort.


For this reason, meditators should not allow their minds to wander into worldly thoughts about the past or the future. Such thinking is invariably bound up with the kilesas, and thus, hinders practice. Instead of following the tendency of the kilesas to focus externally on the affairs of the world outside, meditators must focus internally and become aware of the mind’s inner world. This is essential.


Largely because they are not sufficiently resolute in applying basic principles of meditation, many meditators fail to gain satisfactory results. I always teach my pupils to be very precise in their pursuit and to have a clear and specific focus in their meditation. That way they are sure to get good results. It is important to find a suitable object of attention to properly prepare the mind for this kind of work. I usually recommend a preparatory meditation-word whose continuous mental repetition acts as an anchor that quickly grounds the meditator’s mind in a state of meditative calm and concentration. If a meditator simply focuses attention on the presence of awareness in the mind without a meditation-word to anchor him, the results are bound to be hit and miss. The mind’s knowing presence is too subtle to give mindfulness a firm basis, so the mind soon strays into thinking and distraction—lured by the siren call of the kilesas. Meditation practice then becomes patchy. At certain times it seems to progress smoothly, almost effortlessly, only to become suddenly and unexpectedly difficult. It falters, and all apparent progress disappears. With its confidence shaken, the mind is left floundering. However, if we use a meditation-word as an anchor to solidly ground our mindfulness, then the mind is sure to attain a state of meditative calm and concentration in the shortest possible time. It will also have the means to maintain that calm state with ease.


I am speaking here from personal experience. When I first began to meditate, my practice lacked a solid foundation. Since I had yet to discover the right method to look after my mind, my practice was in a state of constant flux. It would make steady progress for awhile only to decline rapidly and fall back to its original untutored condition. Due to the intense effort I exerted in the beginning, my mind succeeded in attaining a calm and concentrated state of samadhi. It felt as substantial and stable as a mountain. Still lacking a suitable method for maintaining this state, I took it easy and rested on my laurels. That was when my practice suffered a decline. My practice began to deteriorate, but I didn’t know how to reverse the decline. So I thought long and hard, trying to find a firm basis on which I could expect to stabilize my mind. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that mindfulness had deserted me because my fundamentals were wrong: I lacked a meditation-word to act as a precise focus for my attention.


I was forced to begin my practice anew. This time I first drove a stake firmly into the ground and held tightly to it no matter what happened. That stake was buddho, the recollection of the Buddha. I made the meditation-word buddho the sole object of my attention. I focused on the mental repetition of buddho to the exclusion of everything else. Buddho became my sole objective even as I made sure that mindfulness was always in control to direct the effort. All thoughts of progress or decline were put aside. I would let happen whatever was going to happen. I was determined not to indulge in my old thought patterns: thinking about the past—when my practice was progressing nicely—and of how it collapsed; then thinking of the future, hoping that, somehow, through a strong desire to succeed, my previous sense of contentment would return on its own. All the while, I had failed to create the condition that would bring the desired results. I merely wished to see improvement, only to be disappointed when it failed to materialize. For, in truth, desire for success does not bring success; only mindful effort will.


This time I resolved that, no matter what occurred, I should just let it happen. Fretting about progress and decline was a source of agitation, distracting me from the present moment and the work at hand. Only the mindful repetition of buddho could prevent fluctuations in my meditation. It was paramount that I center the mind on awareness of the immediate present. Discursive thinking could not be allowed to disrupt concentration.


To practice meditation earnestly to attain an end to all suffering, you must be totally committed to the work at each successive stage of the path. Nothing less than total commitment will succeed. To experience the deepest levels of samadhi and achieve the most profound levels of wisdom, you cannot afford to be halfhearted and listless, forever wavering because you lack firm principles to guide your practice. Meditators without a firm commitment to the principles of practice can meditate their entire lives without gaining the proper results. In the initial stages of practice, you must find a stable object of meditation with which to anchor your mind. Don’t just focus casually on an ambiguous object, like awareness that is always present as the mind’s intrinsic nature. Without a specific object of attention to hold your mind, it will be almost impossible to keep your attention from wandering. This is a recipe for failure. In the end, you’ll become disappointed and give up trying.


When mindfulness loses its focus, the kilesas rush in to drag your thoughts to a past long gone, or a future yet to come. The mind becomes unstable and strays aimlessly over the mental landscape, never remaining still or contented for a moment. This is how meditators lose ground while watching their meditation practice collapse. The only antidote is a single, uncomplicated focal point of attention; such as a meditation-word or the breath. Choose one that seems most appropriate to you, and focus steadfastly on that one object to the exclusion of everything else. Total commitment is essential to the task.


If you choose the breath as your focal point, make yourself fully aware of each in-breath and each out-breath. Notice the sensation created by the breath’s movement and fix your attention on the point where that feeling is most prominent; where the sensation of the breath is felt most acutely: for example, the tip of the nose. Make sure you know when the breath comes in and when it goes out, but don’t follow its course—simply focus on the spot where it passes through. If you find it helpful, combine your breathing with a silent repetition of buddho, thinking bud on the point of inhalation and dho on the point of exhalation. Don’t allow errant thoughts to interfere with the work you are doing. This is an exercise in awareness of the present-moment; so remain alert and fully attentive.


As mindfulness gradually establishes itself, the mind will stop paying attention to harmful thoughts and emotions. It will lose interest in its usual preoccupations. Undistracted, it will settle further and further into calm and stillness. At the same time, the breath—which is coarse when you first begin focusing on it—gradually becomes more and more refined. It may even reach the stage where it completely disappears from your conscious awareness. It becomes so subtle and refined that it fades and disappears. There is no breath at that time—only the mind’s essential knowing nature remains.


{返回 阿罗汉向•阿罗汉果 The Path to Arahantship 文集}

下一篇:阿罗汉向•阿罗汉果 The Path to Arahantship 目录 CONTENTS
 PART 1 - 如果正确地修行,身念住非常猛烈 PROPERLY D..
 PART 1 - 从那时起我加紧用功 FROM THEN ON I A..
 APPENDIX - 心的内在是光明与清净的 BEING INTRIN..
 词汇注释 GLOSSARY 阿姜(ācariya)
全文 标题
 瑜伽师地论讲记 卷第三 (3)[栏目:瑜伽师地论讲记·妙境长老]
 第二章 第九节 菩提心、觉性赤裸(赤露)、觉性(本然明觉)、大悲A[栏目:藏传佛教宁玛派大圆满法初探]
 净土大经科注 第三十八集[栏目:净土大经科注讲记·净空法师]



- 手机版 -
www.goodweb.net.cn Copyrights reserved