OBSERVE THE SIX SENSES TO LEARN ABOUT THEIR NATURE

| Maui Retreat 2016 Morning Instructions (40:11-41:14)

Our habit is to refer to these 6 senses as myself – ‘I’m seeing something, I’m hearing something, I’m thinking something, I’m feeling something”. We should instead remind ourselves that our 6 senses are nature. (Yogi’s note: The senses have their own nature and we try to observe and learn about their nature.)

So, instead of buying into that way of talking to ourselves, we could may be change the words so that we can go into the other mode; if we could remind ourselves ‘Oh, the mind is thinking, this is the nature of the mind’, or ‘The mind is feeling this’ and see why the mind is feeling this - if we could remind ourselves that all of this is happening of its own nature.

‘Seeing is happening, hearing is happening, aversion is happening’ instead of ‘I’m seeing, I’m hearing, I’m feeling, I’m angry’.

WHEN WE KEEP BEING AWARE, THE MIND EVENTUALLY UNDERSTANDS

| Singapore Retreat 2014 141108 Discussion Group 4B-4A (29:50-30:28)

When we just keep recognizing, even it’s the same thing over and over again, eventually the mind learns something from it.

That’s called practicing; we’re interested, we’re practicing, we’re being aware. By itself, the practice grows.

You’re doing what you should do; right practice. We need to be mindful all the time.

CULTIVATING THE WHOLESOME MIND REDUCES THE POWER OF DEFILEMENTS

| Singapore Retreat 2014 141103 Discussion Group 1B-1A (00:54-04:04)

When any understanding arises or even when you cultivate any wholesome mind such as awareness, metta, Buddhanusati, or your breath, it reduces the power of the defilement – any craving or aversion.

Even if you don’t understand, if you just grow the wholesome minds, when the wholesome mind becomes stronger than the unwholesome mind, you will not feel depressed. Depression is just when the unwholesome mind is stronger than the wholesome mind.

When you try to practice, when you try to be aware, you’re actually cultivating the wholesome minds – sila, samadhi, pañna; and once they become stronger, the depression will go down.

When there is awareness, you’ll know that something unwholesome is going on in the mind, you have the information, then you’ll stop the mind from continuing to grow the unwholesome thoughts and concentrate on being aware; you grow the awareness rather than the unwholesome thoughts.

DYING WITH AWARENESS IS DYING WITH A WHOLESOME MIND

| Singapore Retreat 2014 141103 Discussion Group 2B-2A (4:08-5:50)

Yogi: Is awareness going to help in our rebirth if we die in an accident?

Sayadaw: In the end, we should die with awareness. Awareness is a wholesome mind – in the awareness, there are sati, samadhi, faith, effort and panna – and these 5 spiritual faculties are there to support your next life.

That’s why we can use anxiety (when dying) as an object when awareness is present. Awareness is a wholesome mind; the anxiety is the effect of past kamma. There are two kamma – one is the effect of past kamma, and the other is new, present kamma. Awareness is present kamma.

THE TWO WAYS DEFILEMENTS DISAPPEAR

| Singapore Retreat 2014 141103 Discussion Group 2A-2B (24:22-27:06)

You cannot let go of anger, only wisdom can let go of anger. Only wisdom can prevent defilements from arising.

Awareness sometimes cannot. Awareness knows the object – craving or aversion. Then you watch, watch, watch and learn something. When understanding comes, then the defilement disappears.

Sometimes when you watch for a long time, defilement cannot grow because you cannot think, then slowly the defilement fades away. When you’re aware continuously, the defilement doesn’t have a chance to think about the storyline. The defilement calms down.

There are two ways that the defilement goes away: one is because of concentration – if you are aware continuously, the mind cannot think about the story; that’s why defilement has no chance to come.

Why does defilement continue? Sometimes defilement arises and continues a long time – the whole day, the whole evening and even into the next day – because you allow the mind to continue to think about the story – you feed the defilement; you’re thinking about the storyline again and again.

Another way is that you learn from the defilement. When you understand something – that defilement is conditioning, or defilement is nobody, defilement is nature, defilement is Anatta, this is cause-and-effect process, there is nobody there – if some understanding arises, or when the defilement becomes just an object, any understanding arises, then the defilement disappears.

SAYADAW’S TAKE ON REBIRTH

| Singapore Retreat 2014 141104 Discussion Group 3B-3A (52:10-53:22)

Whether there is rebirth or not, just think of it simply; the birth of anger and we get angry again and again. That’s rebirth, that’s samsara.

Birth is becoming; existence again and again, something comes into being, over and over again.

The experiences in our lives are coming into being again and again; on a simple scale we can understand it’s happening again and again.

Now, we have pleasant experience; we want to have that pleasant experience again and again, we want that rebirth. We want samsara to go on, but we don’t realize that it’s suffering because when we don’t have it, we’re going to be upset.

So many of us, we come to meditate because we want to feel good while we’re meditating. Again, it’s the greed.

We want good rebirth again and again. Again, we’re hoping for samsara, but we don’t realize that.

LEARNING HOW TO PRACTICE CORRECTLY IS A KIND OF WISDOM

| Singapore Retreat 2014 141103 Discussion Group 2B-2A (1:38:08-1:39:20)

First, you need to learn how to practice properly. That in itself is a kind of understanding.

Now, we have all these questions, right? We have confusion and we ask: ‘Sayadaw, at this time, what should I do; at that time what should I do?’ I give you some answers, but you have to practice. When you practice, you start getting your own answers. ‘Oh, at this time the mind will do this; when I practice like this, this happens.’ ‘When this happens, I should do this.’ You start to know how to practice correctly.

You’re doing something, ‘Oh, I’m getting tense’. Then you check: ‘Oh I have the wrong attitude’. You realized the tension goes away; then, you can continue to practice. This is when you’re becoming more skillful in your own practice.

Sayadaw’s teaching is mostly about pointing us to how to practice skillfully; that’s his main teaching.When we understand how to practice skillfully; because we’re practicing skillfully, that skillful practice will bring on other understanding. The main understanding that Sayadaw is trying to get us to have is the understanding of what skillful practice is.

 

WHY SAYADAW STARTED TO MEDITATE SERIOUSLY

| Singapore Retreat 2014 141107 Discussion Group 1B-1A (59:00-1:01:21)

I started practicing to be free from depression, not to get understanding. If I had some relief, that was enough.

Before that, I had already tried many techniques, many ways to be free from depression – but no way. I did this, did that, but couldn’t be peaceful. Then, I started to meditate. I knew how to practice very well; but I needed to apply the practice. This was my last chance. I had no way out; so, I started to meditate.

I didn’t believe yet, not much saddha. I tried for many days; then, after 3, 4 months of day-by-day and hard practice, I realized that whenever awareness was present, I had some relief.

After I had practiced continuously for 4 to 5 months, one day, I experienced a short, short period when the suffering was totally gone. It was short but very obvious. Then the mind said ‘This is the only way.’ This short experience totally changed my life; it was a most powerful experience, and there was no looking back since.

RIGHT SAMADHI (SAMMA SAMADHI)

| Singapore Retreat 2014 141106 Discussion Group 4A-4B (30:03-31:14)

In samatha practice, there is samma samadhi, right samadhi. Where right Samadhi is concerned, the practice is the same as vipassana.

In samatha also you don’t focus. You very gently and patiently reapply your attention on the object, over and over and over again. You’re only placing your attention on the object; you’re not placing your attention and pressing it into the object. Samatha is simply placing your attention on the object, over and over and over again until it becomes more powerful.

But now yogis have a misconception that to make the concentration stronger, they have to press into the object; but there is no need.

It’s a simple placing, over and over again.

If you’re doing right samatha practice, you don’t feel heavy; you feel light and clear, samma samadhi. If you are feeling heavy, it is already wrong samadhi.

[Yogi’s note: You don’t focus in samatha practice – you’re gently and patiently reapplying your attention on the object, over and over and over again until it becomes more powerful]

ONE OBJECT, ONE KNOWING MIND – NOT THAT THE SAME MIND KNOWS MANY OBJECTS

| Sasanarakkha Buddhist Sanctuary 2013 Retreat Guided Meditation (18:32-19.23)

One object, one knowing mind. If you recognize 2 objects at the same time, there are 2 knowing mind. If you know 3 objects, there are 3 knowing mind – different object, different mind; not only the same mind knowing many objects.

Many objects, many mind. Hearing consciousness and seeing consciousness are different; but you can experience at the same time.

If you don’t know what the mind is, then you cannot be aware of the mind.

[Yogi’s note: Each moment, a new mind and a new object arise; if you think that the object and mind are old, it’s just a thought, a concept, coming from a new thinking mind.]

FOCUSING WILL LEAD TO PAYING ATTENTION TO CONCEPTS

| Singapore Retreat 2014 141105 Discussion Group 2A-2B (30:15-31:48)

When you watch objects, don’t focus/concentrate on them because when you focus on them, you start to pay attention to the concept.

When we focus on the heartbeat, it comes with the concept that the heart is beating. So, when we are focusing, we start to follow the movement, and then we can move forward and backward, or even sideways.

The point is to step back, relax and just know. Just know, and don’t focus onto it. Left, right, up and down, all those are concepts.

When we follow the direction, it is a concept; and when we follow directions too much, we lose the reality. Some people breathe and their head goes up and down because they are following the breath; but it’s not necessary. You just need to feel the breath.
This happens when the mind pays attention to the direction, when it follows the concept.

TRAIN THE MIND TO RECOGNIZE THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS

| Singapore Retreat 2014 141105 Discussion Group 2A-2B (40:20-40:50)

Always remember that a feeling is just a feeling and a thought is just a thought. This is how you train your mind to watch your mind – watch the feeling mind and thinking mind.

Whether the thoughts or the feelings are pleasant or unpleasant, you must train the mind to recognize a feeling is just a feeling and a thought is just a thought (yogi’s note: that feeling mind and thinking mind are happening).

THE ADVANTAGE OF OPEN EYE MEDITATION

| Singapore Retreat 2014 141103 Discussion Group 2B-2A (33:18-34:07)

Whether we open our eyes or close our eyes when we meditate is not important; what is important is that awareness gets better.

If awareness is better when you close your eyes, then close your eyes; if awareness is better when you open your eyes, then open your eyes.

Awareness needs to be better.

There are lots of problems when a yogi closes his eyes – easy to be sleepy, easy to day dream, easy for imagination to set in.

If you open your eyes, you can be more alert and aware; and also you can practice seeing. When you close your eyes, you have no chance to practice seeing.

RELAX AND LET THE AWARENESS EXPAND

| Singapore Retreat 2014 141104 Discussion Group 4B-4A (10:07-11:51)

When you walk, you can do a more relaxed focus. Instead of noticing the feet, which is much more focused, aim for the lower half of the body. So, your awareness is on the lower half of the body; you’ll know a lot more things going on in the lower half of the body – sensations, footsteps, and so on.

A lady yogi, in the beginning, was so used to the old way of practicing – she couldn’t stop walking unnaturally, like doing one step and then one step. Even when she went walking in the village, she would walk in this stilted way. I told her to watch both feet at a time, not one foot at a time. Then, she started walking normally.

Initially you can watch the lower half of your body, and as you carry on, you’ll start to notice the upper half of your body; you start knowing everything. Then, you’ll start noticing hearing and seeing, thinking and feeling as well.