ภาษาไทย
Growing in Goodness and Virtue
Ajahn Dtun
April 21, 2013
Within the teachings of the Lord Buddha, the Buddha instructed  the  community  of  his  disciples  (monks,  nuns,  laymen  and laywomen) to become acquainted with the truths of nature; that is, with regards to one’s own body, the bodies of others and all material objects - all come into being and exist for a period of time before finally  ceasing  to  be.  The  Buddha  was  teaching  that  we  should know the nature of things as they truly are: once born, the natural course for all beings is that they must break apart – disintegrate. We must have the sati-paññā (mindfulness and wisdom) to know things as they really are by studying one’s own body and mind, and by contemplating the Dhamma so as to totally cleanse one’s heart  of  the  kilesas  (defilements)  of  greed,  anger  and  delusion. These impurities fill the hearts of all beings, bringing with them the endless suffering that comes from the wandering on through saṁsāra (the beginningless cycle of birth, death and rebirth). Taking a human birth and meeting with the teachings of the
Lord Buddha is something extremely hard to come by in this world. People,  however  are  still  heedless,  deludedly  taking  pleasure in forms,  sounds,  odours,  tastes  and  bodily  sensations,  along  with material objects, with there being a never-ending search for wealth, honour and praise. Actually we have previously come across and known all of these things through countless lifetimes.

However, the kilesas within the heart of all beings are never satiated, never knowing enough. When we meet with old things, we think they are new, deludedly enjoying materiality which results in an endless succession of dying and being reborn in saṁsāra. Therefore, it is something very rare indeed that we should be born as humans and meet with the teachings of the Lord Buddha. The human realm is truly an excellent realm for it is the realm in which all the Buddhas have attained enlightenment, hence making their  hearts  pure.  Most  of  the  arahant  (fully  enlightened  being) disciples also purified their hearts here in this human realm. So why is it that, having taken this human birth, we still do not make the effort to work for the heart’s purification here in this very lifetime? Why  let  time  slip  by  unproductively  when  time  is  relentlessly passing by? One’s life is continually diminishing, getting shorter and shorter. One who is heedful will, for this reason, put forth great effort to perform only good, virtuous deeds by observing sīla (moral precepts), practicing samādhi (concentration) and cultivating paññā (wisdom) within their heart, for this is the path of practice for the realization of Nibbāna - the complete ending of suffering.

All the Buddhas pointed to the path of sīla, samādhi, and paññā - virtue,  concentration  and  wisdom  -  as  being  the  path  that  will direct  one’s  heart  towards  purity;  that  is,  the  complete  absence of greed, anger and delusion, or in other words, the realization of Nibbāna within one’s own heart. When  the  time  and  opportunity  is  appropriate,  we  perform acts of goodness so as to develop pāramī  (spiritual perfections) within one’s heart. Having correct or right view, we will wish to make offerings in order to increase our virtue and pāramī. When developing  virtue  and  goodness,  however,  don’t  go  delaying  slowing down one’s heart by doing acts that make us ‘lose points’; that  is,  behaviour  that  obstructs  the  development  of  all  that  is virtuous. For example, when we do things which are immoral, or improper, this is called ‘losing points’; for such actions interrupt one’s continuing growth in goodness. Whenever we behave improperly or  immorally,  it  will  prevent  us  from  performing  virtuous  acts such as observing moral precepts, developing concentration and cultivating  wisdom  within  one’s  heart  -  for  moral  and  immoral behaviour are mutually obstructive to each other.

When taking birth in each and every lifetime, all the Buddhas would  re-establish  or  continue  anew  with  their  aspiration  for Buddhahood. They gave up all that is unskillful, bad or immoral. In each lifetime, they cleansed their hearts by performing only good deeds until finally making the heart pure.

The  arahant  disciples  also  set  their  hearts  upon  building  up the spiritual perfections in order to transcend dukkha (suffering, discontentment); namely, for the realization of Nibbāna. They had patience and endurance by not acting upon their kilesas, for doing anything immoral or unwholesome would be a cause for suffering both here in the present and also in the future. They accumulated only  goodness  by  performing  the  meritorious  acts  of  observing moral precepts, developing concentration and cultivating wisdom. As a result, their store of virtue and pāramī gradually grew until their hearts became strong and unshakeable. They had mindfulness and wisdom investigating, penetrating through to the truth regarding their body or personal condition, realizing that the bodies of all sentient beings are merely aggregates of earth, water, air and fire that  come  together  only  temporarily:  once  born,  no-one  can  go beyond ageing; no-one can go beyond sickness, and so no-one can go beyond death. When there is birth, change then follows, until ultimately the body breaks apart. If we understand clearly that once having come into being, all natural conditions and phenomena will go through change until eventually disintegrating, and that the mind is unable to dictate that they be otherwise - stable or constant. As a consequence, we will make the effort to have sati-paññā, mindfulness and wisdom, seeing through things to what they truly are, not being heedless in  one’s  life  but  rather  attempting  to  progressively  build  up and  increase  one’s  spiritual  perfections  and  virtue.  Sati-paññā investigates  any  dukkha,  or  defilements,  that  are  within  one’s heart - these being born of delusion, with greed, anger, satisfaction and dissatisfaction as their outcome. One must recognize that all emotions of discontentment or unsatisfactoriness are unfavorable and so must seek out the path that avoids or subdues this dukkha, hence bringing an end to the greed, anger and delusion that are within one’s heart. 

We should all try, therefore, not to be negligent in our lives. Always have mindfulness and wisdom watching over and tending to the mind in each and every moment by striving to remove any kilesas and harmful thoughts from one’s mind. One’s thoughts do not arise from trees, houses, cars or one’s personal wealth. Rather, all  thoughts,  or  dukkha,  originate  from  within  one’s  mind.  If  we hold to incorrect or wrong views, our thinking will, as a result, be mistaken. If we do not have the sati-paññā to restrain our thoughts, we will speak or act in ways that are improper or harmful. We  must  have  mindfulness  guarding  over  the  mind,  for  the mind  is  the  kilesas’  place  of  birth.  Patiently  persevere  with  any unwholesome  thoughts  that  arise  by  looking  for  skilful  ways  to reflect upon and discard - at that very moment - any greed, anger, satisfaction  and  dissatisfaction  from  one’s  heart,  not  keeping  or holding to such adverse mental states. One has to know how to let go of one’s attachment towards emotions and thoughts by not acting or speaking unskillfully. If we have mindfulness watching over the mind, staying in the present moment, we will be wise to any  defiled  emotions,  recognizing  that  they  are  states  of  mind, naturally subject to arising and ceasing.

However,  if  one’s  mindfulness  and  wisdom  are  lacking  in strength,  not  having  the  energy  or  the  wisdom  to  reflect  upon one’s emotions or kilesas in order to remove them from the heart, we must then bring mindfulness to focus upon one’s meditation object so as to establish concentration, thus cutting any adverse emotions out from the heart. Constantly recollect the Lord Buddha, or his teachings, by reciting the meditation word ‘buddho, buddho, buddho...’ silently within your mind so as to give rise to samadhi, the peacefulness and coolness of mind. The mind will be still and concentrated - all thoughts, both good and bad, will be absent from the mind.

Once  the  mind  has  firm,  strong  mindfulness,  one  will  have the  wisdom  to  continually  reflect  upon  and  abandon  any  kilesas from one’s heart. Even if the gross kilesas of greed and anger arise, mindfulness  and  wisdom  will  be  abreast  of  them.  When  more moderate  or  subtle  defilements  arise,  sati-paññā  will  gradually become  wise  to  them  by  having  the  skilful  means  to  see  the emotions for what they truly are: impermanent and without any self entity, thus releasing one’s hold of them. We make an effort, therefore, to remain focused upon growing in goodness and virtue, along with building up the spiritual perfections. What is important is that we don’t go making any bad kamma by performing  unwholesome  or  immoral  deeds.  We  need  to  have patience and a commitment to following the teachings of the Lord Buddha by refraining from doing anything that is bad or immoral and by practicing only that which is good, for this is what cultivates one’s heart to go beyond all suffering, bringing true, genuine happiness. To experience true happiness, we must develop the mind by practicing  according  to  the  teachings  of  the  Lord  Buddha.  Once we are familiar with practicing generosity, we can then cultivate the mind even further by keeping the five precepts. If one’s mind grows in strength, we may, on occasion, keep the eight precepts, or even choose to observe them as one’s normal manner of being.

When you have free time, try developing samādhi by practicing meditation. Most people, however, think they don’t have the time to  practice,  being  too  busy  with  their  external  work  and  duties along with their family obligations. That people do not have the time  to  practice  is  because  they  don’t  see  the  use  or  benefit  of meditation; consequently, they misguidedly take pleasure with the things of the world. We practice meditation in order to develop strong mindfulness, wisdom  so  that  it  can  discard  all  dukkha  from  the  mind,  hence curing  one’s  heart  of  its  suffering  and  discontent.  Everyday, therefore,  we  should  train  and  develop  ourselves  by  giving  ten or fifteen minutes to quieting the mind, or longer than this if one wishes; work at it, really develop it. We are our own refuge, so we must  make  an  effort  to  train  and  develop  ourselves,  for  if  they can train elephants and dogs to be tame, or break horses of their wildness, then why can’t we train our own heart to be good? We think that this mind is our own, yet as soon as the mind becomes troubled or distressed, why is it then that the mind only thinks of bad things - things bound up with kilesas? Why is there always dukkha burning within the heart? For this reason, we must have mindfulness and wisdom rising up to overthrow the kilesas within one’s heart. Look for ways to let go of the defilements, thus lessening and weakening them. We really have to train this mind: train it according to the teachings of Lord Buddha, for his path is the most excellent of ways which makes it possible for the hearts of all beings to be cleansed until
purified.

And so, time is passing by. Last year has passed by according to  conventional,  mundane  view  or  belief,  now  being  considered as the ‘old year’. Today is the second day of the New Year. The old year, along with all of our experiences - one’s joys and one’s sorrows - has passed by. Don’t do again anything that proved not to be good; always regard these things as lessons that educate one’s heart. Anything that was good and wholesome should be gathered together to be further enhanced. The past has gone by; the future has yet to come. One should have mindfulness and wisdom tending to one’s heart, so as to keep it established in virtue and goodness. Everyday, therefore practice only goodness, and one’s heart will, as a consequence, be cool and calm - true happiness will arise. All conventions and designations are merely mundane concepts or assumptions - that’s all they are. The days are passing by: from days  into  months,  from  months  into  years,  this  is  completely natural. However, months, years, ‘New Years Day’… are all assumed names and concepts; nevertheless, the days and nights remain just the same as ever, but it’s the mind that feels it has to change or improve on things by giving meaning and names to them. In this that we have assumed to be the New Year, we will have to establish certain wholesome states, making goodness and virtue arise in our hearts. If we are accustomed to practicing generosity, and we desire to enhance this goodness even more, we must then observe  the  moral  precepts.  Once  observing  the  moral  precepts has become one’s normal manner, and should we wish for an even greater kind of goodness, we then should train and develop the mind in meditation so as to give rise to the mindfulness and wisdom that will be able to see through to the truths regarding one’s own body, the bodies of others, and all material objects: everything in this world comes into being, exists, and ultimately breaks apart.

When the body has broken apart, will one’s mind go to a realm that is high and refined or to one that is low and coarse? Does the heart have a true refuge or not? Or do we only have our homes, our wealth and our possessions, believing these to be one’s refuge? We can, however, only depend on these things temporarily. When the body breaks apart, the mind is completely incapable of taking one’s wealth or one’s physical body along with it. There is only the goodness and virtue that one has accumulated through the practice of sīla, samādhi and paññā that can go along with the mind. So, try establishing correct or right view within one’s heart in order to build up the spiritual perfections, thus effecting a lessening in the number of one’s future lives until finally realizing Nibbāna here in one’s own heart.

At  present,  you  all  have  faith  in  this  supreme  dispensation  of  the  Lord  Buddha,  routinely  coming  to  make  offerings  (to  the community of monks), even though it may not always be here at Wat Boonyawad. Normally, at the appropriate time and opportunity, you will go and give offerings at various monasteries, some being close and others being far from your homes, due to having practiced such  generosity  since  past  lives  through  into  this  present  life. You  have  thus  developed  a  strong  tendency  to  further  practice generosity and to build up the spiritual perfections. This can be considered to be one’s deep-rooted conditioning, having faithfully practiced like this since the past, hence causing one to live life with right view in one’s heart; and as such, one’s virtue and goodness will continue to grow further. And so, I would like to call upon the spiritual perfections of all the Buddhas and the greatness of their teaching, along with the spiritual perfections of all the arahant disciples; may their goodness and  virtue  be  your  highest  object  of  recollection,  together  with the virtue of the Sangha, since the past until the present, as well as the goodness they will continue to cultivate in the future, and the goodness of all of you - ever since one’s former lives until the present - so that you will aspire to further practice goodness in order to realize Nibbāna.

May  all  this  goodness  create  the  conditions  for  you  all  to experience growth and prosperity in your lives, realizing whatever you  may  wish  for  -  provided  it  is  within  the  bounds  of  correct morality.

May the vision of Dhamma arise in your practice and may you all realize Nibbāna.

May it be so.
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