BUDDHIST MEDITATION IN BURMA
DR. ELIZABETH K. NOTTINGHAM
(PAMPHLET NO. I)
31A, INYAMYAING, RANGOON
Create a reservoir of calm and balanced
energy through Buddhist Meditation
THRAY SITHU U BA KHIN
INTERNATIONAL MEDITATION CENTER
(List of Government Appointments held)
4-1-48 to 25-3-53 " " " " " " Accountant General of Burma (Retired)
26-3-53 to 29-2-56 " " " " " " Officer on Special Duty, Auditor General's Department
1-3-56 to 10-6-56 " " " " " " Officer on Special Duty, Ministry of Trade Development
11-6-56 to 20-6-56 " " " " " " 1. Director of Commercial Audit
2. Officer on Special Duty, Ministry of Trade Development
21-6-56 to 31-3-58 " " " " " " 1. Director of Commercial Audit
2. Officer on Special Duty, Ministry of Trade Development
3. Chairman/Deputy Chairman, State Agricultural Marketing Board
1-4-58 to 16-3-59 " " " " " " 1. Director of Commercial Audit
2. Officer on Special Duty, Ministry of Trade Development
3. Deputy Chairman, State Agricultural Marketing Board
4. Principal, Government Institute for Accounts and Audit
17-3-59 to 31-8-59 " " " " " " 1. Director of Commercial Audit
2. Officer on Special Duty, Ministry of Trade Development
3. Principal, Government Institute for Accounts and Audit
1-9-59 Onwards " " " " " " 1. Director of Commercial Audit
2. Principal, Government Institute for Accounts and Audit
(Also served as Chairman/Vice-Chairman/member of many important
Government Commissions of Enquiry and Departmental Committees.
At present, member of the Committee of Advisors to the Planning Commission,
member of the Standing Committee for Co-ordination and Supervision and
member of the Contracts Committee in the Ministry of National Planning)
1. Foreword - page (i)
2. Buddhist Meditation in Burma - page 3
3. List of some men of Standing (Local & Foreign) - page 11
4. Apreciations - page 15
5. List of Foreign Visitors who came for discussion - page 22
6. The Three Basic Stages of development - page 23
7. System of Training - page 26
8. Personal Experiences of Candidates - page 1-15
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Reprinted 1961 - 3,000 Copies.
"Through worldly round of many births
Iran my course unceasingly
Seeking the maker of the house:
Painful is birth again and again,
House-builder! I behold thee now,
Again a house thou shalt not build;
All thy rafters are broken now,
The ridge-pole also is destroyed;
My mind, its elements dissolved,
The end of craving has attained“
"Buddhist Meditation in Burma" is a paper read by Dr. Elizabeth K. Nottingham at Harvard to the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in November 1958. The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion which is composed of eminent Professors of Religion in the
United States, has as its President, Dr. James L. Adams, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge 38, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Dr. Nottingham, Professor of Sociology, who was in Burma from June 1957 to February 1958 as a Fulbright Lecturer on Sociology at the Rangoon University took a course of meditation for (10) days at the International Meditation Center, Inyamyaing, during the month of August 1957. The paper is an exposition of her own experiences during the course of meditation at the Center. Dr. Nottingham recently received a grant from the American Philosophical Society to help in the preparation of a manuscript on "Trends of Change in Burmese Buddhism."
The International Meditation Center which was founded in 1952 is growing from strength to strength and its success may be judged from the appreciation of the foreigners of various walks of life. The list of some men of standing, both local and foreign, who have undergone courses at the Center may be seen on page 11.
The Center is open to all foreigners who speak English and any one interested in the work of the Center may contact Thray Sithu U Ba Khin, the President, at the Center on Sundays between the hours of 8 to 11 in the mornings and 2 to 6 in the evenings.
U Ba Pho
International Meditation Center,
31. A, Inyamyaing, Rangoon.
Rangoon, January 1960.
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Opportunity has been taken to include in this reprint appreciations of those who have taken courses of meditation at the Center since the issue of this pamphlet. We offer our heart-felt congratulations to those who have devoted their time and energy to the cause of the Center.
Dated Rangoon, 11th March 1961.
BUDDHIST MEDITATION IN BURMA
On a little knoll, in the heart of Rangoon's Golden Valley district, the one-time residential center of British colonial officialdom, stands a small modern pagoda. Its golden spire and umbrella - hti sparkling in the sunlight, while at night its electric lights twinkle against the darkened sky. Unlike most Burmese pagodas, this is not a solid structure; its central chamber is a shrine room, while eight smaller pie-shaped rooms, each topped with its own little hti, surround this central shrine. These small separate rooms or "caves" are for the practice of Buddhist meditation. Over the archway
which gives entrance to the property a sign reads - "International Meditation Center, founded 1952", while inside there Stands a notice board with the further Information that this Center is the property of the Vipassana Association whose headquarters are in the Office of the Accountant General. To an American the idea of a center for religious meditation being the property of a voluntary association with its central focus in a government department may perhaps seem surprising. Even to Burma, the fact that the Teacher, or saya, of this Center is a prominent government official rather than a monk , is regarded as somewhat unusual.
U Ba Khin, the saya - or, if one prefers the Indian term, the guru - of the International Meditation Center is indeed an unusual person. In addition to his purely voluntary and quite time-consuming activities as teacher of meditation at the Center, he is also a highly responsible government official. As Chairman of Burma's State Agricultural Marketing Board, which handles the rice crop, the export and sale of which is crucial to the country's economic existence, U Ba Khin's responsibility to the government is outstanding and his competence and absolute integrity a matter of public concern. In his former capacity as Accountant General as well a s in his present office as Chairman of the S.A.M.B., he has good reason to know how vital are the honesty and efficiency of Burma's civil servants if she is to consolidate and maintain her existence as an independent state.
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The Center Sponsors each month meditation courses of ten days duration under the personal direction of the saya. The courses are geared to the needs and the capacities of the individual, whether he be from the east or from the west. They are engaged in by a wide variety of people, ranging from an ex president of the Burmese Republic to an attendant at a gas Station. Senior and junior officials of the government Services, mainly from the offices of the Accountant General and the S.A.M.B., furnish the majority of the candidates, with a sprinkling of university professors, foreign visitors including one member of the American Foreign Service and other Burmese householders and housewives.
At the beginning of every course, each trainee takes a vow of loyalty to the Buddha and his teaching - a vow which is modified in the case of non-Buddhists - and promises not to leave the Center
during the training period and in other ways to be obedient to the direction of the Teacher. He also promises to obey eight of the ten Buddhist Precepts, three more than the usual five precepts that are considered to be binding on all devout Buddhist laity. The Five Precepts require that the individual refrain from taking the life of a sentient being, from taking what is not given, from fornication, from speaking falsely and from intoxicating liquor. Those who abide by eight precepts are also required, as are all monks, to refrain from eating after twelve noon each day. Trainees at the Center, are also required to hold a strict vegetarian diet for the period of the course. During the training period they are provided with sleeping quarters, as well as all meals, free of Charge.
The routine may seem exacting to those unacquainted with the schedule of meditation hours that are common in the East. The hours allotted to relaxation and sleep are more generous at the International Center than at some other meditation centers in Burma. U Ba Khin believes that a prerequisite for all successful practice in meditation is good health. Trainees get up each morning a little after four, and are in meditation from 4.30 to 6.00 AM. Breakfast at 6.00 AM. is followed by a second period of meditation from 7.30 to 10.30 AM. after which lunch, the last meal of the day, is taken.
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12.30 to 5.00 is the afternoon meditation period, and at 5.00 PM. there is a period for rest and relaxation, followed by an
informal talk from the Teacher from 6.00 to 7.00 PM. The evening meditation period, from 7.00 to 9.00 PM. ends the day and most of the trainees are ready to take to their beds - or rather their mats - at 9.00 PM.
The training the Student undergoes is thought essentially a process of purification or refinement of the moral, mental and Spiritual perceptions. The Buddha admonished his followers, "Cease to do evil, learn to do good, purify the mind." The training at the Center is directed towards the fulfillment of this injunction. In line with the classic Buddhist tradition the requirements for such training fall into three parts, Sila, Samadhi and Panna. These three Pali words might be regarded as the watchwords of the Center. Sila signifies morality, the purification of conduct; hence at least formal or temporary adherence to the Five Precepts are a minimum essential for all
who would proceed to further mental and spiritual training. Samadhi is concentration, a mental discipline that has much in common with yoga. Though training in samadhi may take place in Buddhist context it is not in itself necessarily Buddhist. It is merely a means though an exacting and essential one, whereby the Student learns, in the words of the Teacher, to "put a ring through the nose of the bull of consciousness", and so harness that wayward will o' the wisp, the faculty of attention. Panna, wisdom or insight, is the product of Vipassana, or Buddhist meditation properly so called.
Sila, samadhi and panna are thus stages in the achievement of spiritual proficiency and according to Buddhists, in the process of detachment from the craving that binds all living things to the wheel of existence and rebirth. They constitute a grouping into three
parts of the eight requirements of the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path for the realization of the Cessation of Suffering.
About the practices of Sila, little needs here to be said. It is taken for granted as a basic requirement for all trainees. The westerner may have to exercise conscious control in re-
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fraining from swatting mosquitoes, but he soon learns to regulate his hunger and otherwise fairly readily adapts himself to the routine. Samadhi, however - the practice of concentration -
demands patience and persistent endurance, just how much only those who have attempted to practice it can know. There are a number of techniques used by Buddhists in the practice of concentration. The beginner at the Center is taught to concentrate on the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. In doing this he must be tireless in excluding all other thoughts and at the same time learn to relax his body and gradually to narrow the focus of his attention until he is eventually aware only of a tiny "spot" at the base of the nose. Little by little all conscious awareness of breathing stops and he is mindful only of a minute point of light and warmth. It may take four or five days of practice to achieve this result, though some students succeed within a much shorter period. Other Systems of Buddhist concentration may adopt slightly different means - some begin the practice by concentration on an external object, such, for example, as a neutral colored disc. But no matter what the
precise means employed the aim is the same, namely the attainment of one-pointedness - the power to gather up the attention into a single powerful lens and to focus it at will upon any object, material or ideational. Samadhi, then, is a technique that can be practiced by members of any - or of no - religious faith. A developed power of concentration is, needless to say, of inestimable value in the ordinary, everyday business of life. It may well make the difference between an efficient or an inefficient public servant or professional worker. Of this fact the saya is well aware. Samadhi, however, is essential for the practice of meditation, and without a strong "lens" of concentration the Student can never hope to attain panna, that is wisdom or insight.
The practice of vipassana, the heart of meditation, the means by which panna or insight is attained, is something to be experienced rather than described. A non-Buddhist, and a non-adept, can say but little and should perhaps be content to say nothing at all. Nevertheless, an attempt will be made to describe its underlying principles.
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Vipassana is grounded in the Four Noble Truths, the outstanding contribution of the Buddha to the world's religious thought. The First Noble Truth, that suffering is basic to all existence, is not regarded as requiring merely a cool intellectual assent from the devotee. The reality of this First Noble Truth must be faced and experienced
subjectively before the other Truths, which locate the cause and point out the method of release from suffering, can be realized. Suffering, in the Buddhist sense, is not simply something to be "accepted" as a preferably - temporary condition of one's own being or as a more permanent state for the world's unfortunates. Rather it is to be viewed as an integral part of matter and mind (Rupa and Nama) the very stuff of existence itself. The Pali words Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta, which may be translated as Impermanence, Suffering and the Non-Self - or perhaps as the illusion of the separate self - are the key themes in this meditation. These themes are to be experienced introspectively, - in accordance with his capacity - by the meditator as on-going processes of his own organism. He must endeavor to become aware of his mental and bodily components in the process of change, to experience impermanence as suffering, and to perceive with his
inward eye the illusory nature of the separate self.
Only when suffering is thus faced and realized can the way to release be opened. In meditation the Student should develop sharpened consciousness of the imperious nature of his desires and of his attachment to them. This is what the Buddha meant by tanham, or craving, which he saw as the cause of all suffering, and so enunciated in his Second Noble Truth. If the trainee longs with an intense desire for release from this condition of craving and for the calm of Nirvana, or the Great Peace, he may then gain some insight into the Third of the Noble Truths, namely, that to free oneself from craving is the way to be released from suffering. In so far as his desire to detach himself from craving is sincere and deep he will act upon the Fourth Noble Truth and follow more closely in the Eightfold Noble Path. By so doing he should
experience, even in his present life, some measure of the great Peace.
It is a challenging experience for a westerner to undergo a course in meditation at the International Center. He not only
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may explore new realms of consciousness, but he can scarcely avoid the attempt to re-phrase his experiences, where possible, in terms of his traditional religious beliefs. Furthermore, certain incidents, certain expressions in both the Old and the New Testaments spring to life, so to say, and take on new and vivid meaning. For
instance, the Biblical verse "If thine eye be single thy whole body will be full of light" may be experienced subjectively as almost literal truth by one who in practicing samadhi is able to approach onepointedness in his concentration. Indeed, many biblical phrases that to a westerner may have seemed vague or merely allegorical take on specific meaning, thus recalling the fact that Judeo-Christianity is a faith of eastern rather than western origin.
Even a westerner who does not accept the major premises of the Buddhist faith will, if he follows instructions given at the Center faithfully, experience a deep and invigorating calm, a calm possibly deeper than anything he has previously known. He may or may not enter into the more rarefied forms of consciousness - jhanic states, in Buddhist terms - for individuals vary very much both in their capacity and in their willingness to do this. Nevertheless he will almost
certainly learn to tighten his control of his mental processes to experience a feeling of cleansing, strengthening and relaxed peace. He may also learn something of the technique for inducing such peaceful states at will, an accomplishment not to be despised in these days of hurry and of strain. To do so, as it seems to the writer, what is required is not a willingness to renounce one's traditional religious faith - or even one's agnosticism - but an open-minded determination to experience something new. There is no compulsion exercised at the Center to make Buddhists out of Christians or Jews. The saya invites his students freely to take and use what appears to them to be good and, should they so wish, to leave the rest. The atmosphere of tolerance and of active loving-kindness that surrounds the western visitor to the Center does much to strengthen the appeal of the mental and spiritual discipline.
Apart from any possible meaning that the meditation Center might have for westerners is the question of its actual present meaning for those Burmans who make up the bulk of
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its membership. Most of those who come to receive training, or who, having received it, frequent the Center are, broadly speaking, middle class people in active middle and young adult life. Almost without exception they are old enough to remember the war years and the Japanese occupation, the tragic murder of General Aung San and the stormy years of the birth of the new republic. They remember, too,
the period of post independence insurrection, when at the height of the Karen rebellion the government was in effective control only of Rangoon. If it is true that stress and suffering are generating forces in religious revival there is no doubt that Burma's responsible middle classes have had their fill of both. Few Americans appreciate the suffering and destruction that the war and postwar periods have witnessed in Burma, or the amount of dislocation of Communications and of economic life that still prevail. The leading members of the International Center, therefore, have been led by many vicissitudes of fortune to learn how to live in good times and in bad, in safety and in peril. In the quest for that calm of spirit that would enable them not merely to exist with the unawareness of mere animals, but to turn their experiences to positive account, some have been discovering anew the ancient truths of their Buddhist faith.
Furthermore, most of those who attend the Center are occupied in business and in the professions, and the program at the Center is geared to their needs. It is a fellowship of laity, under lay leadership, and Buddhist meditation is presented to them not as something that may be practiced only in the seclusion of the monastery but rather as an activity for Buddhist "householders" those who are immersed in family cares and public responsibilities. For these people the Center affords a Fellowship of the like minded. For Buddhists are not organized in congregations as are most western religious groups - indeed, the need for such organized gatherings is hardly felt in the country districts where a whole village may, in effect, compose the community of faithful laity which Supports and frequents a particular monastery. In a big city, however, where territorial bonds are less strong, there would seem to be a growing need for voluntary religious associations with some congregational features. Each Sunday, for instance, the Center is open from seven in the morning until late in the after-
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noon to all who wish to take advantage of a quiet time for meditation, of informal instruction and advice from the Teacher, of a communal lunch and the companionship of friends. The degree of devotion which the Center in turn, inspires in some of its supporters may be judged from the number of volunteer workers always on band to supervise the kitchen and the house-keeping, to initiated new students and take care of foreign visitors and to keep watch over the premises during the
night. The increasing numbers of those who came for instruction, and the spontaneous manner in which funds are supplied for new building, seem to show that the Center fulfills a growing need.
To what extent are such meditation Centers typical developments in the Buddhist practice of Burma today? Granted that the individualistic tendencies within Buddhism are very strong, so that in important respects the International Meditation Center must be considered as unique, nevertheless, there seems to be a definite tendency in the contemporary emphasis on Buddhism in Burma to place especial stress on the practice of meditation. Meditation occupies a central place in orthodox Buddhist practice, and, though in popular Buddhist observance it has at times played a minor role, it has always been a main activity of those monks who do not specialize in scholarly pursuits. Today, however, the government, acting through the intermediary of the Buddha Sassana Council - a body drawn from monks and laymen which is responsible for the wellbeing of Buddhism in Burma and its extension both the Union and also in foreign lands - Claims, in a report issued on the Situation of Buddhism in Burma since 1955, that there exist at present some 216 meditation centers within the Union as of November 1956. Of these centers, some under monastic and others under lay leadership, a total of 142 were recognized by the Sassana Council and received government subsidies. Other Centers, like the International, depend entirely on voluntary support. The Council also Sponsors a central meditation center in Rangoon, where those who wish to undergo training as teachers of meditation, and who are approved by the Council will receive a small monthly stipend to defray their maintenance expenses while receiving such training in Rangoon. In addition, a certain number of students from overseas, who have expressed a wish to receive training in meditation in Burma, have also
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been subsidized by the Council. During the period covered by the report eleven foreigners from nine different countries received such subsidies.
Though the numbers of those actually practicing meditation systematically in Burma today may well be small indeed in proportion to its total population of Buddhists, nevertheless meditation enjoys the prestige of government support and more particularly the
interested support of Prime Minister U Nu himself - so that to a degree it has become almost fashionable. Shrines for meditation are sometimes to be found in government offices, and official leave may be granted for the practice of vipassana.
While a number of Westerners would probably admit l hat the extension of relaxation and mental control - perhaps even of meditation itself - might furnish a needed corrective to the frenetic activity and hypertension attendant on living in their own countries, what shall be said as to the social value of today's emphasis on the practice of meditation in a country such as Burma ? Does this overt attempt to foster it by governmental and other agencies, merely accentuate an existing over strong tendency to withdraw from social responsibilities either for religious reasons or out of downright idleness? Or, on the other hand, may it not possibly help to create a
reservoir of calm and balanced energy to be used for the building of a "welfare state" and as a bulwark against corruption in public life? Such questions are far easier to ask than to answer. Both possible alternatives would appear to exist, and any accurate assessment must necessarily depend on the Situation - or even the individual under consideration. Undoubtedly U Nu and U Ba Khin combine the practice of meditation with the exercise of exacting public responsibilities. If it is actually true that meditation "keeps them going," then the promotion of the means whereby other such individuals may be produced could be important for Burma's national existence.
Can meditation, then, be viewed not only as a means of self development - a development that must be regarded by Buddhists not in terms of one short lifetime but against the almost timeless background of thousands of rebirths - but also
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as this worldly social task? Do there exist elements in the broad tradition of Buddhism itself, which, if now emphasized, might furnish the moral motive power that Burma needs? Perhaps there is this much that may be said; if one of the effects of meditation on its practitioners is to strengthen and deepen their adherence to the Five Precepts here and now, both public and private life would be benefited. And there is also the positive example of the Buddha Himself, Who for forty-five years after His Enlightenment, instead of withdrawing from the world to enjoy in peace and solitude the liberation He had won, labored on as a Teacher of a struggling humanity.
Dr. Nottingham was quite modest when she wrote in the Guest Book that she had learnt from the Center how to find a deep pool of quiet in the midst of the activities of a busy life, although she might not have been able to learn very deeply about the dhamma. It was an agreeable surprise when I read her paper on "Buddhist Meditation in Burma" to find that she understands Buddhism very deeply indeed.
Her expressions (1) of onepointedness of Mind with a minute point of light and warmth at the base of the nose (Citta Visuddhi) (2) of the awareness of mental and bodily components in the process of change (Anicca) (3) of the experiencing of impermanence as suffering (Dukkha) and (4) of perceiving with inward eye the illusory nature of the separate self (Anatta) are really very commendable.
I congratulate Dr. Nottingham very warmly for the paper which deserves world-wide attention and interest.
International Meditation Center,
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LIST OF SOME MEN OF STANDING
WHO HAVE TAKEN COURSES OF MEDITATION
AT THE CENTER
1. Agga Maha Thray Sithu, Agga Maha Thiri Thudhamma, > Sao Shwe Theik. - Former President of the Union of Burma, The Hon'ble Speaker, Chamber of Nationalities.
2. The Hon'ble U Jin, Speaker, - Chamber of Deputies.
3. Thado Maha Thray Sithu, Maha Thiri Thudhamma > U Lun Baw. - The Hon'ble Deputy Prime Minister, Burma.
4. Thray Sithu U San Nyun, - The Hon'ble Minister for Marine & Transport.
5. Thado Maha Thray Sithu, Maha Thir Thudhamma > U Bo Byi. - Judge, Supreme Court.
6. U Aung Khine, - Judge, High Court.
7. Daw Mya Sein, M.A., B. Litt, - Lecturer, Rangoon University.
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1. Mr. J. Van Amersfoort, President of the Netherlands Buddhist Association, 38, Adelheidstraat, The Hague, Holland.
2. Dr. Huston Smith, Ph. D. (with Mrs. Huston Smith) Professor of Philosophy, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
3. Dr. Leon E. Wright, Ph. D., Professor of Religion, Howard University, Washington, American University, Washington.
4. Dr. Elizabeth K. Nottingham, Professor of Sociology, No. 1, Ascon Avenue, Forest Hills, New York.
5. Mr. Walter Nagel, Rice Marketing Expert, Ness 7-9, Post Abfertigung, Hamburg, W. Germany.
6. Mr. Richard Kelly, British Civil Servant, (with Mrs. Kelly), Commercial Counselor, C/o Trade Division, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
7. Mr. John E. Coleman of S.E.A. Supply Corporation, Advisers to Government of Thailand, (Specialist in Criminology).
8. Miss Marion Dix, Director, World in Focus Films-Lecturer, No. 1131, Atlee Drive, La Canada, California.
9. Dr. Winston L. King, Ph. D. (with Mrs. King). Professor of Religion, Grinnel College, Iowa City, USA.
10. Miss Clarissa Van Strum. (Buddhist Nun-Medavi), California, USA.
11. Mrs. K. G.W. Barteil, c/o Westminster Foreign Bank, Paris.
12. The late Mr. M. Nordberg, President, Friends of Buddhism, Helsinki, Finland. Sao Shwe Thaik. U Bo Gyi.
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13. Mr. Rodney Timmins, 64. Adelaide Street, Armadale, Melbourne. S.E. 3., Australia.
14. Mrs. K.A. Stutes, Route I. Box 103, Fairbanks, Texas, U.S.A.
15. Mr. Tawat Wasuwong, 76/2, Chula Sai 2, Yayatai, Bangkok, Thailand.
16. Mrs. H. Köerner, C/o Dr. H. Köerner, Representative at Rangoon, Fritz Werner, A.G. Berlin, West Germany.
17. Miss Friedgart Köerner, - do -
18. Dr. John Smith Hislop, M.A., D.Ed., President. Board of Trustees, Spiritual Regeneration Movement Foundation, California. Vice President, California City Development Co., 5512, Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood 28, California, USA.
19. Mr. Gerson Bernstein, Hair Stylist, Los Angeles, USA.
20. Mr. Ronald W. Jue, San-Jose University, Department of Philosophy, California, USA.
21. His Excellency Mr. Eliashiv Ben-Horin, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for Israel, Burma.
22. Miss Harodi, Nursing Advisor, Base Military Hospital, Mingaladon, Rangoon.
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23. Dr. P.S. Jaini, M.A., PhD (London), TRIPITAKACRYA, Lecturer in Pali and Sanskrit Buddhism, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, U.K.
24. Mrs. Beulah C.Smith, 475, A. Avenue, Coronado, California, USA.
25. Mr. Robert H. Hover, Mechanical Engineer and Research Specialist, (Missile and Space Craft Industry) 14713, So La Mesa Drive, La Mirada, California, USA.
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With dreadful thump the thunderbolt annihilates the rock.
The fire whipped by the driving wind annihilates the wood.
The radiant orb of solar flame annihilates the dark.
Developed understanding, too, annihilates inveterate
Defilements netted over growth. The source of every woe.
This blessing in this very life a man himself may know.
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Mr. J. Van Amersfoort.
"I was out of Dukkha and felt a refreshing coolness and delight, which words cannot describe. It is an escape and a refuge from all daily troubles, too great to be understood, when not experienced. And the great bliss is that every one can achieve this state; provided he has a pure mind at least for the time of concentration, has the right intentions, attentiveness and concentration, and anyhow tries to live as pure as possible.
Another necessity is, that he has no fear whatsoever and a complete faith in Ins Guru. I hope with all my heart that Guru U Ba Khin will have many followers and disciples in the near future, who can be helped by him as much as l have been."
Dr. Huston Smith, Ph. D.
"This has been, I believe, the most interesting and revealing part of our world trip. It is most refreshing to find persons interested not merely in theory but also in practice - U Ba Khin is the first person I have met on this trip who said not merely "Let's talk" but "Let's do something." We have met with great kindness here and we are grateful."
Dr. Leon E. Wright, Ph. D.
"Vipassana Meditation so convinced and so communicated at this Center has a role to play unique in the religious evolution of world experience and Thray Sithu U Ba Khin our illustrious and honored Guruji, is its most effective prophet. It would be difficult for me personally to return thanks for the incalculable benefits received both in this setting and from this relationship."
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"I am firmly convinced that you were destined to show me the intimacies of Buddhist meditation at its very best. If I brought something to the encounter in terms of "Parami",
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you gave it direction and most meaningful engagement in your inspirationally challenging and genuinely productive method. I shall be with Anicca as long as I live, and as often as [ do, my spirit shall gratefully acknowledge the Guruji who made it possible. You are that Guruji and have always my deepest respect and my purest love."
Dr. Elisabeth K. Nottingham.
"It was a lovely and rewarding experience that I have had with you and your disciples. Each time I came I felt surrounded and borne up by loving kindness. Your fellowship has meant more to me than any other single thing during my happy months in Burma.
Though I may not have been able to learn very deeply about the Dhamma, I have learned from you and from your Center how to find a deep pool of quiet in the midst of the activities of a busy life. Thanks to your patient teaching I can now enter such a state at will."
Mr. Walter Nagel. (West-Germany)
"The world is facing serious problems and may see chaos threatening mankind.
You are showing a way out, teaching the individual how to find peace and complacency and how to lead himself and others to a better life. You, yourself are the best example how religious belief and deep understanding of fellow beings can well be combined with the strenuous duties and responsibilities of a high position in outer life.
As a foreigner in Burma, one cannot get acquainted with Burma, its life and notions without also studying this side of the Burmese character."
Mr. Richard Kelly.
"Guruji has shown us the way and has given us the power to follow it. There has been no greater experience in this life."
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Mr. John E. Coleman.
"The Karmic forces that led me to you and your inspiring guidance have made on me an indelible Impression of the light of the Dhamma.
The Center, the people associated with the Center, and Guruji U Ba Khin can only command first place among my memories.
With the light of the Dhamma as our guide, may we all soon win the Deathless."
Miss Marion Dix.
"Taking the course under Sayagyi at the International Meditation Center has been a wonderful, enlightening experience which will remain with me always. Through my films, and my own experiences, I hope to make this clearer too, to my American lecture audiences. I shall miss the whole cheerful group at the Center. I hope to return."
Mrs. A. Stutes.
I cannot find words to express my thanks for what you have done for me. I know I shall never forget you and the wonderful people at the Center.
Dr. John Smith Hislop. M.A., D.Ed.
What an amazing and extraordinary life is yours!
At the very top, the noblest task possible in life is that of guiding men to the Path of liberation and Illumination. And this you do. How few men can truly help others - and of those and of all the world what a mere handful do.
To you, Guruji, for your action in life goes all reverence and all honor. I hold you to be one of the truly great men of the world.
" " " " " "
At the moment, the dominant treasure l carry from your Island of Light is the growing perception of Anicca in all formations.
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" " " " " "
As I contemplated Anicca, I gave thanks to yourself, to Buddha, and to the devas and brahmas who implement His protection. And each day I salute the genius that points out the freeing fact of Anicca.
His Excellency Mr. Eliashiv Ben-Horin,
I doubt whether an ordinary being can point to so many periods in his lifetime that further his inner development as much as
these ten brief days under your guidance. No doubt due to my insufficient Parami, my achievement here may have fallen somewhat short of what it could have been. By perseverance I hope, however, to improve. And I already take back with me considerable added strength and composure.
You yourself are the finest example of what you set out to obtain in your pupils. Your wisdom, your tolerance and patience, and your deep, loving devotion leave a profound impact on the personality of those who come and sit at your feet. To yourself and to your dedicated helpers goes my true gratefulness.
Dr. P.S. Jaini.
Words are not adequate to express my gratitude for the great blessings I have received from you. It was some good destiny that
guided me to your feet for I had not planned this visit. Perhaps it was your own loving kindness that brought me here! In the endless cycles of birth and death a week or two in the search of Nibbana is not even a drop in the ocean. And yet, sir, when the Sankharas of this body fail, I shall have only these few moments, the most noble ones of my life, to sustain me till I reach the final goal! May this seed grow within me in the form of bodhi!
It is very painful to depart from this blessed place after living under your loving care and constant guidance. I shall be carrying with me many many sweet memories, but Guruji, I shall forever be praying for your unfailing noble presence which alone gives strength and confidence to my feeble mind.
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Mr. Robert H. Hover.
Guruji Ba Khin is a giant in the world today - remarkable and singular. He is a master teacher, a master of his subject, a master in direct practical day by- day application of his enormous power in National Government. His great gift, to those who will listen and do, is what man needs most - control of the mind and of the mental forces. This great gift is made all the greater because it i truly given. He has single handedly seeded, and is nurturing that long-sought anal between religion and science - the development of the Natural Human.
To the technically trained: listen to Guruji as you
would to a Poet, for meaning - do not dissect his words. They are the language of his specialty.
For your priceless gift to me of Anicca, Guruji, for your continual example of great kindness and Inspiration of steadfastness, I am indebted to you for the rest of my lives.
May the skies henceforth be fair and bright over your Island of Peace.
Mrs. Beulah C. Smith.
Sayagyi's gift or power and his utter devotion to its dispensation - together with the tireless efforts of the entire group in behalf of the comfort, well being and development of the aspirant give the word "dedication" new meaning. For the privilege of taking the course and the many blessings received , I shall always be deeply grateful.
" " " " " "
'Just as a man who tames a calf would tie it
to a post, so here
'Should his own mind by mindfulness be
firmly to the object tied.'
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Dr. Elizabeth K. Nottingham. For her paper "Buddhist meditation in Burma" presented to the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion at Harvard which is now receiving the attention of the eminent men of religion all over the world.
Dr. John Smith Hislop. For his inspiring talks and exposition of Buddha Dhamma at Los Angeles and elsewhere which were responsible for the coming direct to Burma of a good number of Students
for meditation at the Center.
Dr. Leon. E. Wright. For his untiring effort during the last three years to bring the essence of Buddhism to lime-light by giving a series of lectures and engaging in question and answer discussions at several universities, Jewish synagogues, theosophical societies and Symposiums. (See extract from letter of 29-11-60 at page 23 ).
" " " " " "
Miss Marion Dix.
For that part of her documentary color film "Life in Burma" which portrays the functions and activities of the International Meditation Center where she herself took a course in 1957; for her patient explanation of the techniques of meditation to those of her film-lecture audiences who became interested in Buddhist Meditation and also for her relentless effort to bring about a US Nationwide television programmed on the night of 12th April 1959.
' When a wise man, established well in virtue,
'Develops consciousness and understanding, 'Then
as a bhikkhu ardent and sagacious, 'He succeeds in
disentangling this tangle.
( 21 )
Letter dated29th November 1960, from Dr. L.E. Wright,
Ph. D., 4700,13th Street N. W. Washington 11 D.C. (extract)
" " " " " "
As you may have heard or, better, as you have been aware, I have not been idle since my return to America. I have been invited to speak at influential Jewish synagogues, theosophical societies, College classrooms at Princeton University, Bucknell University, Howard University, American University, Colgate University, Unitarian Churches, international round tables - all in the capacity of interpreting Buddhism from the point of view of the essence of Buddhism, which is meditation. The response has been consistently phenomenal. In each instance (at times the presentation has been called the finest in the West) the audience has risen to the occasion in response to a first hand experience and requested earnestly and insistently the appearance here in America of this Guru of which they have heard so much spoken so appreciatively. Many ministers have admitted (my audiences have been for the most part in white settings) that they and their people all College men and women, have understood for the first time. Believe me, Guruji, words are utterly inadequate to suggest the tremendous acceptance and appreciation of Buddhist meditation, thanks to you, my Guruji. I have reached close to some ten thousand persons in these three years and am in the process of confronting thousands more. Yes, to you belongs the credit for this seemingly providential development in my life and in the lives of so many more. Saw Tun Lin will give you programs* from just one of these Symposiums. In this particular group of presentations, the consensus was that Buddhism was easily the best of the lot. Such was the sentiment expressed in a note from the Rector of that church.
*Sample at back inner cover.
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LIST OF FOREIGN VISITORS WHO CAME FOR
DISCUSSION ON THE WORK OF THE CENTER
DURING THE YEAR 1959.
1. Dr. & Mrs. Erick A. Czemak, Head of German Technical Team to Burma.
2. Dr. Rudolf Meyer, Managing Director, Fritz Werner, A.G. Berlin, West Germany.
3. Dr. & Mrs. Joseph M. Kitagawa, PhD, History of Religions field. University of Chicago.
4. Dr. Melford Spire, Professor, University of Washington.
5. Dr. E. Michael Mendelson, School of Oriental and African Studies, London University.
6. Mr. Heinrich Dumoulin, Jochi University, Kioi-cho Chiyodaku, Tokyo.
7. Dr. G. S. Melkote, M.P., 118, North Avenue, New Delhi.
8. Miss Adelaide Stedman, (Christian Science).
9. Dr. R. Panikkar, Benares Hindu University.
10. Dr. and Mrs. H. Koerner, Representative at Rangoon, Fritz Werner, A.G. Berlin, West Germany.
( 23 )
THE THREE BASIC STAGES OF TRAINING
AT THE INTERNATIONAL MEDITATION CENTER
Foreigners, irrespective of their religious beliefs, who have come to the center for a course of training have found no difficulty in developing the following three stages.
Stage 1 :
(a) To abstain from killing any living being
(d) telling lie
(c) taking intoxicating drinks.
To develop the power of concentration to onepointedness. This is developed by focusing ones attention to a spot on the upper lip just beneath the nose synchronizing the inward and outward motion of respiration with
(a) the silent sound of 'Amen' in the case of Christians,
(b) 'Aum' in the case of Hindus,
(c) 'Allah' in the case of Mohammedans and
(d) 'Sat-Nam' in the case of Sikhs.
This is done till the wavelength of respiration becomes finer and finer and the Mind gets settled down to a point and the candidate secures what may be called the one-pointedness of the mind.
With the power of mind so developed, the candidate is trained to become sensitive to the atomic reactions which are ever taking place in himself. It is a practical demonstration of the theory of atomic reactions in Man which are vividly described by Dr. Isaac Asimov, Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the Boston University School of Medicine, in his book Inside the Atom". (See extracts from the Book enclosed)
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This study of nature in Man, as it really is, will pave the way for greater experiences ahead.
The results which follow this course are definite and the candidate realizes on his own that a change for the better is taking place in him slowly but surely.
Extract from 'Inside the Atom' by Isaac Asimov
What all things are made of
There are so many things in the world that are so completely different from one another that the variety is bewildering. We can't look about us anywhere without realizing that.
For instance, here I sit at a desk. made out of wood.
I am using a typewriter made out of steel and other metals. The typewriter ribbon is of silk and is coated with carbon. I am typing on a sheet of paper made of wood pulp and am wearing clothes made of cotton, wool, leather, and other materials. I myself am made up of skin, muscle, blood, bone, and other living tissues', each different from the others.
Through a glass window I can see sidewalks made of crushed stone and roads made of a tarry substance called asphalt. 1t is raining, so there are puddles of water in sight. The wind is blowing, so I know there is an invisible something called air all about us.
Yet all these substances, different as they seem, have one thing in common. All of them - wood, metal, silk, glass, flesh and blood, all of them - are made up of small, separate particles. The earth itself the moon, the sun, and all the stars are made up of small
To be sure, you can't see these particles. In fact. if you look at a piece of paper or at some wooden or metallic object, it doesn't seem to be made of particles at all. It seems to be one solid piece.
( 25 )
But suppose you were to look at an empty beach from an airplane, The beach would seem like a solid, yellowish Stretch of ground. It would seem to be all one piece. It is only when you get down on your hands and knees on that beach and look closely that you see it is really made up of small, separate grains of sand.
Now the particles that make up everything about us are much smaller than grains of sand. They are so small, in fact, that the strongest microscope ever invented could not make them large enough to see, or anywhere near large enough. The particles are so small that there are more of them in a grain of sand than there are grains of sand on a large beach. There are more of them in a glass of water than there are glasses of water in all the oceans of the world. A hundred million of them laid down side by side would make a line only half an inch long.
These tiny particles that all things are made of are called atoms.
Extract from Page 159 of Inside the Atom
by Isaac Asimov
"For one thing, chemists now have a new tool with which to explore the chemistry of living tissue. (This branch of the science is called biochemistry.) In any living creature. such as a human being, thousands upon thousands of chemical reactions are all going on at the same time in all parts of the body. Naturally, chemists would like to know what these reactions are. If they knew and understood them all, a great many of the problems of health and disease, of life. aging, and death, might be on the way to solution. But how are all those reactions to be unraveled? Not only are they all going on at the same time, but there are different reactions in different parts of the body and different reactions at different times in the same part of the body.
It is like trying to watch a million television sets all at once, each one tuned to a different channel, and all the programs changing constantly."
INTERNATIONAL MEDITATION CENTER
The Vipassana Association,
Office of the Accountant General, Burma.
(Location: 31 A, Inyamyaing Rd., off University Avenue, Rangoon)
1. The International Meditation Center is founded with the sole object of promoting the practice of Buddhist Meditation according to the teachings of the Lord Buddha.
2. It is open to members of the Association and also to foreigners who are really anxious to experience the "Nibbanic Peace Within."
3. Courses of training in practical Buddhist Meditation will be given in English and each candidate for the course must be prepared :
(a) to submit himself wholly to the Guru and to pay the respects normally due from a disciple to a Teacher;
(b) to observe strictly the eight Precepts (Uposatha Sila);
(c) to remain within the precincts of the Center for the entire period of the course.
4. The initial course will be for a period of 10 days which may be extended according to individual needs.
5. Individual development depends on one's own Paramis and his capability to fulfill the five Elements of Effort (Padhaniyanga), viz, Faith, Health, Sincerity, Energy and Wisdom.
6. In practical work, every candidate will be required
to follow strictly and diligently the three indisputable steps of Sila, Samadhi and Panna of the Eightfold Noble Path or the seven stages of Purity (Satta Visuddhi).
7. It is the responsibility of the candidate to restrain himself properly to ensure, that the eight Precepts (Uposatha Sila) are duly observed. With a view to
( 27 )
promoting Sila, he should further restrain the sense-centers (Indriya Samvara) by keeping himself alone, 'as far as practicable, in a cave or a secluded spot.
8. The Guru will arrange for the development of his power of concentration to onepointedness (Citta Ekaggata). For this purpose, the training to be given will be in accordance with the principles enunciated in the Anapana Sati Sutta or the Visuddhi Magga Athakatha as may be found suitable to the candidate.
(In this respect, the Guru is merely a Guide. The success in the development of the power of concentration to perfection (Samma Samadhi ) depends entirely on the right exertion (Samma Vayama) and the right mindfulness (Samasati) of the candidate concerned. The achievement of Appana Samadhi (Attainment-Concentration) or Upacara Samadhi (Neighborhood- Concentration) is a reward which goes only to highly developed candidates).
9. When the candidates have developed sufficiently well in the power of concentration, they will be acquainted with the
fundamental principles of Buddha - Dhamma closely connected with the practical lessons in Vipassana which are to follow.
10. The course of training will then be changed to Vipassana or Insight. This involves an examination of the inherent tendencies of all that exist within one's own self. The candidate learns in course of time by personal experience, the nature of Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta as taught by the Buddha. May be, following a realization of the Four Noble Truths, he breaks through to a state beyond Suffering (Dukkha - Nirodha), enters the first stream of Sotapanna, and enjoys the fruit (Phala) of his endeavors in the "Nibbanic Peace Within."
11. He, who can enjoy this Nibbanic Peace Within, is an Ariya. He may enjoy it as and when he may like to do so. When in that state of Peace Within called "Phala," but for the super-mundane consciousness in relation to the Peace of Nibbana, no feeling can
( 28 )
be aroused through any of the sense-centers. At the same time, his body posture becomes tightened. In other words, he is in a state of perfect physical and mental calm, as in the case referred to by the Buddha in His dialog with Pukkusa of Malla while halting at a place on His way to Kusinara for the Maha-Parinibbana.
"Personal Experience of Candidates (Buddhists and non-Buddhists)"
Pamphlet printed by the Vipassana Association in Rangoon
sometime after 1954, pp.1-15:
The case of Mr. A.
Mr. A was here in Rangoon on a business tour during the latter part of December 1952. He took advantage of his short stay in Burma by coming in contact with Sithu U Ba Khin and obtaining from him a practical course in Buddhist Meditation. His experience is narrated in a brief statement made by him on the eve of his departure from Rangoon. This, together with the explanatory remarks thereon of U BA Khin, will give the reader a clear and concise account of the course of training in practical Buddhist Meditation being given at the International Meditation Center, Inyamyaing, Rangoon.
Statement of Mr. A.:
Experience of a state of purity of Mind (Samadhi) and of Vipassana under the leading and with the help of my Guru Sithu U Ba Khin, Accountant General of Burma.
Being a Buddhist for about 18 years, having been a member of the Sangha (Buddhist Monks) during one year in Mongolia and Tibet, where I practiced many meditations (so-called White Magic), I must and wish to state with all my heart, that I never experienced of even heard about the meditation as is being done under the direction of Guru Sithu U Ba Khin. I came to Rangoon on a business trip for seven days only, but managed with the help of said Guru to reach the Samadhi and Vipassana in this short time, which I myself (and nobody else) would have believed possible.
After only two preliminary meditation lessons of half-an-hour each, I saw the light clearly within me: meaning, that the
Mind becomes powerful and bright, freed from disturbances, pure and serene. The technique is rather simple, concentration on the breath leading to one-pointedness; but the Guru can better inform you about that. After some developed meditation on Saturday-night (20th December 1952), Vipassana was started at 10 o'clock in the morning of Sunday, 21st December 1952. I concentrated on the burning in my body - concentrated with other words in Dukkha (Suffering) - felt the burning inside till I felt myself almost burning like steam on the surface of water. Then I had to concentrate the total heat, total suffering, on the central part of my body until the suffering grew even unbearable.
At the last moment when I felt myself about dying, it was as if my heart was pulled out of my body and at the same moment - wanting eagerly to be freed from Dukkha - with a sudden but a small flash of light I was out of it and felt a refreshing coolness and delight,
which word cannot describe. It is an escape and a refuge from all daily trouble, too great to be understood, when not experienced. And the great bliss is that every one can achieve his state; provided he has a pure mind at least for the time of concentration, has the right intentions, attentiveness and concentration, and anyhow tries to live as pure as possible.
Another necessity is, that he has no fear whatsoever and a complete faith in his Guru. I hope with all my heart that Guru U Ba Khin will have many followers and disciples in the near future, who can be helped by him as much as I have been.
Rangoon, 22nd December 1952, -Sd/- (A)
Explanatory remarks of Sithu U Ba Khin on the statement of Mr. A. dated 22-12-52.
Mr. A. and myself had a preliminary discussion as to
the method to be followed for practical Buddhist Meditation and he agrees with me that the best course towards progressive realization of the Truth is to follow strictly and diligently the there indisputable steps of Sila, Samadhi and Panna of the Eightfold Noble Path laid down by Buddha in the Dhamma Cakka Pavattana Sutta.
Step I. - Raise the standard of Morality to the prescribed minimum (Sila);
Step II. - Develop the power of concentration to one-pointedness of Mind (Samadhi);
Step III. - Gain insight into the ultimate realities of nature within one's own self (Panna).
2. I have no reason to doubt the moral qualities of Mr. A who has impressed me very much on first contact. Accordingly, I put him straight away on a course of Anapana Sati. He did very well in the initial course. And in just a few hours of solid work he was able to develop his power of concentration to one-pointedness (Samadhi). In fact by the time I needed him for the change of the course of training to Vipassana, he could keep the Light (Patibhaga-Nimitta) before his Mind's eye for quite a long time and had begun to play with it. I should say he is a man of no small Parami.
3. We know from science that everything that exists in the Universe is composed of electrons, all in a state of perpetual change or flux. The Karaja Kaya - the Coarse body - of our own selves cannot therefore be an exception to the rule. Mr. A. knows this. He knows, too, what Nama, Rupa and the Kalapas are, together with their composition, characteristics and tendencies. With the powerful lens of Samadhi which he has developed, he should now be fit for the introspective and analytical study of the true nature of Rupa and Nama.
4. Just at the right moment, soon after 10 o'clock on Sunday, the 21st December 1952, Mr. A. was called upon to focus his whole attention searchingly into his own self, from point to point, to examine and to feel the changing process - the radiation, the vibration and the friction - caused by the whirling movement of an infinite number of kalapas (electronic units). The human body, as it were, is a sum total of innumerable millions into millions of kalapas, each breaking down simultaneously as it arises. A Kalapa is akin to - bur infinitely smaller - than a visible spark. In reality, the human body is nothing but atomic energy, conditioned by forces of one's own deeds, words or thoughts. Thanks to all the Devas who have guided us in our work, Mr. A. got the thread of it almost instantaneously and in a few minutes he began to have a sharp sense of feeling of the radiation, then of vibration and the again of the friction of electronic units within, which spread like wild
fire to all parts of the body in the course of just one-half of an hour. He was encouraged not to relax but to keep on feeling with greater intensity and to keep on knowing with a clearer sense of perception.
He knew also that, feeling (Vedana), perception (Sanna), Volitional energies (Sankhara) and Consciousness (Vinnana) - the four Namakkhanda - are also fleeting, passing away and dying out along with Rupa. He was then advised to make an analytical survey of the whole being both in respect of Nama and Rupa in terms of the doctrines of Anicca (Impermanence), Dukkha (Suffering) and Anatta (Absence of Ego-centralism). Lest he entertained any doubt as to what was happening, he was asked to examine the body temperature of his own-self and others nearby which were just normal. The fact is that as he proceeded with the meditation, he had a better and better telescopic view of the Ultimate Realities (Paramattha Dhatu). Meanwhile he was explained how the
predominating factor tejo (radiation) in a kalapa is responsible for the burning sensation, how the non-stop replacement of wasting kalapas by a continuous influx of food property (nutrient) creates vibration, how the breakdown and replacement of these kalapas (electronic units), individually and collectively, causes friction and how a telescopic view of the true nature of these things can be obtained by one who owns the powerful lens of Samadhi.
Samadhim bhikkhave bhavetha,
Samahito Yathabhutam pajanati.
Oh Monks! Develop the power of concentration,
He who has the power of concentration can see things in their true state.
5. Just before noon, Mr. A. was feeling intensely the heat of radiation. Not only that, he was also seeing sparks of light emitting from all over the body.
"Yes, Mr. A., are you quite convinced now that human body is composed of electrons, all changing fast and yet never coming to an end, and that there is no such thing as substantiality in it?", I remarked.
"I am quite convinced of that", was the reply.
"In that case," I said, "Fix your attention to these sparks of light and think that they are also impermanent and subject to the law of Anicca."
He did so and those sparks of light were suppressed and eliminated. I explained later these were "Obasa," one of the ten Upakkilesa (Defilements) and that if they were allowed to remain long, piti would creep in and the course of meditation would be diverted.
6. But for a break of about half-an-hour for lunch in the room adjacent to the Meditation Chamber, Mr. A. was on the course again; for he was already engrossed in it and he knew that "continuity of
practice is the secret of success." As he proceeded with the meditation, he could think of nothing but Dukkha in all its variety. At times, it seemed as thought he were struggling, with words of "Dukkha, Dukkha" or "Suffering" in a low tone. After an elaborate explanation of what he was experiencing with reference to the teachings of Buddhas, I said:
"It is the realization of the Truth of Suffering by actual experience - the real and not the imaginative - which will lead you to the Extinction of Suffering (Dukkha-Nirodha)."
"The attachment to Self has been so strong that you will not discard it unless the 'Suffering Within' which you feel is stronger."
"If you get out of Dukkha, you also get out of Nama and Rupa. If you can get out of Nama and Rupa, you will surely get out of Samsara."
"Suffering arises from Kilesa, the origin of Dukkha. Kilesa is just like fire, it burns. There will be burning within, for so long as there is fuel of Kilesa to burn. Burn it all by a contemplative meditation of Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta, without relaxation, and you will surely come to the end of Kilesa."
"It is really an endurance feat. Forbear it until you are firmly convinced of this Truth of Suffering and until you become truly afraid of, disgusted with, and disinclined to Nama and Rupa which are identified with Dukkha."
"Think, then, of Dukkha-Nirodha, the end of Suffering. Long for it. Just transmit your thought to it. Mind you, the escape is from the centre."
(Such were my instructions. The words used might not be the same but the sense is there.)
7. It was already 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Some of my disciples had turned up for meditation. Mr. A. was at that time in a lying posture. I advised him to sit down with his legs crossed at one corner of the room and encouraged him to go ahead, ever mindful of Dukkha and eager to get out of it.
All was quiet in the meditation room. The silence was however broken by Mr. A. at 16 minutes past four.
He gave me to understand he was suddenly relieved of the burning heat by a stream of coolness which was most refreshing. He felt as if he was re-born.
I was really very glad, called, "Sadhu" three times and congratulated him on his success.
After a spell of 5 minutes or so, I said: "Well, Mr. A., please come forward, Let us have another try."
He came forward and was seated just in front of me. With instructions suitable to the occasion, I asked him to collect himself again and to go into the fruition state (Phala) with a vow to rise up just after 5 minutes. He did so without any difficulty. There was no such burning as was experienced by him throughout the day. Just a radiation to remind him of the true nature of things inside, i.e., Anicca, Dukkha & Anatta.
I was not satisfied with that as yet. I wanted to be doubly sure. So I him go into that State again for another 15 minutes, I am glad to say that he got through this test also quite successfully.
8. We had achieved our objective. Mr. A. was really very pleased and grateful. He had still plenty of work to do in Rangoon. I should not therefore detain him any longer. He must have rest for the remainder of the day. I therefore sent him back to his hotel with instructions to see me the next day at 6 o'clock in the afternoon.
When we met again on the following day, we had a quiet discussion on certain aspects of the Dhamma as well as on matters personal. As desired by me, he joined with my other disciples in meditation and went into the state of "Nibbanic Peace Within" for 15 minutes. He rose up just in time.
To my mind, Mr. A. has fulfilled the requirements of the Eight-fold Noble Path.
During the course of training, there was no occasion for him to break the three fundamental requirements of Sila, viz., Samma Vaca, Samma Kammanta & Samma Ajiva.
By Samma Vayama and Samma Sati, he has acquired 'Upacara Samadhi' (Neighborhood concentration. He was able to keep the Patibhaga Nimitta for a length of time.
By Samma Sankappa, he has understood the true nature of this and has realized the Truth.
9. In practical Buddhism what really counts is the realization of the Truth. Whatever may be the Kamathana method adopted, it must be in the order of Sila, Samadhi, Panna of the Eight-fold Noble path. Go step b step along this path and you will still be in the
confines of any Kamathana system, because the real essential feature in Buddhist Meditation is to get to the origination and dissolution of Mind and Matter in his body. For instance, the course followed by Mr. A. is in accords with the fundamental requirements of Anapana Sati Sutta or of Anapana section of the Mahasatipathana Sutta. It also accord with the treatise in the Parajikan Athakatha for the realization of the Truth by an analysis of the 'Kalapas' in the body with the lens of Samadhi obtained through Anapana Sati. Let us now see also how it fits in with the seven stages of Purity (Visuddhi) in the Visuddhi Magga (the Path of Purity).
1. Sila Visuddhi:
Mr. A. can be said to have compleied with it during the course of meditation.
2. Citta Visuddhi (Purity of Mind):
He has developed his concentration to one-pointedness (Citta-Ekaggata).
3. Ditthi Visuddhi (Purity of Understanding):
There is every evidence from the course of meditation that he has known by experience the true nature of Nama & Rupa.
4. Kankha Vitarana Visuddhi (Purity of escape from doubt):
Realizing that Nama & Rupa are in a state of perpetual change, he is freed from all doubts as to Self-entity whether of the past, present or future.
5. Maggamaggananadassana Visuddhi (Purity of knowledge as to which is the right or wrong Path):
When defilements appear, he is able to overcome them, i.e., he can differentiate between right & wrong Path.
6. Patipadananadassana Visuddhi (Purity of knowledge of the right course):
He has no doubt, for what he has succeeded, as to the prospect of reaching the goal and that it is now just a question of time.
7. Nanadassana Visuddhi (Purity of the Eye & Wisdom): He knows for himself what a change has occurred when passed through the stream of Sotapanna.
10. Ketam Samapajjanti. Ariya pana sabbe pi Samapajjpanti.
Who can go into states of Peace Within?
All Ariyas can go into states of (Nibbanic) Peace Within.
Therefore the real test as to whether one has become an Ariya lies in his ability to go in to the fruition state (Phala) as he may like. While in that State, he is oblivious of any feeling through the five organs of senses. At the same time, his body posture (Iriyapatha) becomes firm and tightened in the same way as one who goes into a Jhanic trance. As between Jhana and Phala there are great variations in the mode
of entry and exit. An experienced teacher alone will be able to differentiate between the two to the satisfaction of a disciple. Mr. A. has satisfied these requirements. Shall we call him an Ariya?