Hãy cống hiến cho cuộc đời những gì tốt nhất bạn có và điều tốt nhất sẽ đến với bạn. (Give the world the best you have, and the best will come to you. )Madeline Bridge
Thành công là tìm được sự hài lòng trong việc cho đi nhiều hơn những gì bạn nhận được. (Success is finding satisfaction in giving a little more than you take.)Christopher Reeve
Khởi đầu của mọi thành tựu chính là khát vọng. (The starting point of all achievement is desire.)Napoleon Hill
Sự hiểu biết là chưa đủ, chúng ta cần phải biết ứng dụng. Sự nhiệt tình là chưa đủ, chúng ta cần phải bắt tay vào việc. (Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.)Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Người tốt không cần đến luật pháp để buộc họ làm điều tốt, nhưng kẻ xấu thì luôn muốn tìm cách né tránh pháp luật. (Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.)Plato
Đừng than khóc khi sự việc kết thúc, hãy mỉm cười vì sự việc đã xảy ra. (Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. )Dr. Seuss
Tìm lỗi của người khác rất dễ, tự thấy lỗi của mình rất khó. Kinh Pháp cú
Trong sự tu tập nhẫn nhục, kẻ oán thù là người thầy tốt nhất của ta. (In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.)Đức Đạt-lai Lạt-ma XIV
Khó thay được làm người, khó thay được sống còn. Khó thay nghe diệu pháp, khó thay Phật ra đời!Kinh Pháp Cú (Kệ số 182)
Trong cuộc sống, điều quan trọng không phải bạn đang ở hoàn cảnh nào mà là bạn đang hướng đến mục đích gì. (The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand as in what direction you are moving. )Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Lời Phật dạy về sự hòa hợp trong cộng đồng và xã hội - II. Rèn luyện cá nhân

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Introduction

The Buddha teaches that our views influence all other aspects of our lives. The influence begins with the impact of our views upon our motivation. In the structure of the eightfold path, wrong view is the condition for wrong motivation, for intentions governed by lust, ill will, and violence, while right view is the condition for right motivation, for intentions governed by non-attachment, benevolence, and compassion.1 The Buddha compares wrong view to a bitter seed, from which there inevitably arise bitter plants (AN 10:104, NDB 1485): “Just as a seed of neem, bitter cucumber, or bitter gourd, planted in moist soil and receiving water, would all lead to fruits with a bitter flavor, so for a person of wrong view . . . whatever bodily action, verbal action, and mental action he undertakes in accordance with that view, and whatever his volition, yearning, inclination, and activities, all lead to harm and suffering. For what reason? Because the view is bad.”

Right view, in contrast, is like the seed of a sweet plant: “Just as a seed of sugar cane, hill rice, or grape, planted in moist soil and receiving water, would all lead to fruits with a sweet and delectable flavor, just so, for a person of right view . . . whatever bodily action, verbal action, and mental action he undertakes in accordance with that view, and whatever his volition, yearning, inclination, and volitional activities, all lead to well-being and happiness. For what reason? Because the view is good.”

Thus when we adopt wrong view, that view shapes our intentions in ways that manifest as unwholesome attitudes and bad actions. For the Buddha, the motivation to behave morally is undercut by the belief that there is no personal existence beyond death, no valid distinctions between good and bad deeds, and no freedom to choose between the right and the wrong. In contrast, the motivation to behave morally is buttressed by the belief that death does not mark the complete end of personal existence, that there are valid distinctions between good and bad deeds, and that our destiny is not rigidly determined by external forces. But the process of personal transformation does not occur automatically. For right view to exercise a positive influence, personal effort is required, a deliberate endeavor to harmonize our conduct with our understanding and intentions.

The texts included in Part II illustrate the transformative impact of right view and right intentions on conduct. I have organized the passages in accordance with a traditional classification of meritorious action into three classes: giving, virtuous behavior, and mental cultivation (dāna, sīla, bhāvanā). This corresponds with the Buddha’s own method of expounding the Dhamma, in which he begins with generosity, proceeds to good conduct, and then, when the listener is ready, teaches the four noble truths and the eightfold path.

I begin with suttas that highlight different aspects of generosity or giving. Generosity (cāga) might be seen as an expression of the right intention of renunciation. It is the antidote to miserliness, an outgrowth of attachment, which, as Text II,1(1) shows, is a reluctance to share one’s possessions, friends, and even knowledge with others. As the opposite of miserliness, generosity, as stated in II,1(2), issues forth in the act of giving (dāna), by which one relinquishes attachment to things and delights in sharing them with others. Giving thereby creates bonds of solidarity with others and fosters a sense of mutual support.

Giving can be practiced for different reasons, but as Text II,1(3) states, the foremost reason for giving is “for the purpose of ornamenting the mind.” The act of giving can also be performed in different ways, but according to Text II,1(4), it is best when based on faith, done respectfully, at the right time, with a generous heart, and importantly, without denigrating the recipient. Giving particularly means offering to those in need the things that might alleviate their plight. Texts II,1(5) and II,1(6) say that chief among material gifts is the gift of food, but superior to all material gifts, states II,1(7), is the gift of the Dhamma.

The key to virtuous behavior (sīla), according to Text II,2(1), is moral introspection; that is, inward self-inspection of the likely consequences of one’s intended actions. Here, the Buddha teaches his son, the novice Rāhula, that before acting one should reflect on the impact one’s action is likely to have upon oneself and others. One’s decision to reject the action or to pursue it should accord with the result of one’s reflections, on whether it is likely to lead to harm for oneself and others or to bring benefits for oneself and others. This already introduces a social dimension into one’s private moral deliberations. The other-regarding component, however, is to be balanced by an “enlightened self-interest” that rests on considering the effect of one’s intended action on oneself. One is not to do good for others in ways that compromise one’s own moral integrity.

Virtuous behavior itself is cultivated by undertaking precepts and acting in accordance with the ten courses of wholesome action. The five precepts (pañcasīla) constitute the most fundamental moral code taught by the Buddha: abstaining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, and the use of intoxicants. Following these precepts, according to Text II,2(2), is called accomplishment in virtuous behavior. A broader moral code, which includes as well inward attitudes and right view, is laid out in the ten courses of wholesome action, which expand the requirements of right speech and also include mental orientations. The precepts and courses of wholesome action regulate bodily and verbal conduct, ensuring that we do not inflict harm on others. They also mold our intentions so that we recognize what kind of attitudes lead to conflict and disharmony and replace them with benign intentions that promote concord. Text II,2(3) shows that the benefits of observing the precepts do not accrue solely to oneself but extend to countless others, giving “an immeasurable number of beings freedom from fear, enmity, and affliction.” Thus virtuous behavior unifies self-benefit and the benefiting of others; it merges the imperative of enlightened self-interest with that of ethical altruism.

Running parallel with the adoption of wholesome conduct is the endeavor of inner cultivation. Mental cultivation involves a double process aimed at shifting the mind away from defiled emotions and at generating mental qualities conducive to lightness, purity, and inner peace. Since many of the Buddha’s discourses deal with these two processes, I have had to limit my selection to texts that seem most relevant to promoting social harmony.

Text II,3(1), an excerpt from the Simile of the Cloth, enjoins the removal of sixteen mental defilements. On inspection it will be seen that virtually all these defilements — states such as greed and ill will, anger and hostility, envy and miserliness — have wide-ranging social ramifications. Thus the process of mental training, while bringing inner purification, simultaneously conduces to social harmony.

In an autobiographical discourse partly cited as Text II,3(2), the Buddha explains how, when he was striving for enlightenment, he divided his thoughts into two categories — the good and the bad — and then used appropriate reflection to eliminate the bad thoughts and cultivate the good thoughts. His reflections take into account not only the effect his thoughts would have on himself but also their impact on others. The bad thoughts are those that lead to harm for others, the good thoughts are those that are harmless. Text II,3(3) explains the process of what is called “effacement” (sallekha), the removal of unwholesome qualities, as the relinquishment of forty-four defilements, a comprehensive scheme that includes several subsidiary groups such as the five hindrances, the ten wrong courses of action, and others.

Along with the elimination of defilements, the training of the mind involves the cultivation of virtuous qualities. Among the virtues most crucial to establishing social harmony are those comprised under the “four immeasurables” (appamaññā) or the “four divine abodes” (brahmavihāra): loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity.2 Text II,4(1) is the standard canonical formula for the four immeasurables. As defined by the Pāli commentaries, loving-kindness is the wish for the welfare and happiness of all beings; compassion is the desire to remove suffering; altruistic joy is gladness at the success and good fortune of others; and equanimity is impartiality and freedom from bias.3

As the foundation for the other three, loving-kindness receives the most attention in the Nikāyas. I reflect this emphasis by highlighting loving-kindness in Texts II,4(2)–(5). We here see the Buddha praise the development of loving-kindness as the foremost of meritorious deeds pertaining to the cycle of rebirths. It creates affection in others and ensures self-protection. It leads to higher rebirth and serves as a condition for the extinction of defilements. Among all virtuous qualities, wisdom is considered supreme, for wisdom alone can permanently uproot the ignorance and craving that tie us to the cycle of birth and death. Nevertheless, as Text II,4(5) indicates, loving-kindness and the four foundations of mindfulness, the practice that leads to wisdom, are not mutually exclusive but can be developed in unison. It is by cultivating the foundations of mindfulness and generating wisdom that one protects oneself; it is by loving-kindness that one protects others. Finally, Text II,4(6) shows how meditative absorption on loving-kindness can be used as a basis for developing insight and reaching the final goal, the unshakable liberation of mind that comes with the destruction of defilements.

II. Personal Training

1. GENEROSITY

(1) Miserliness

“There are, monks, these five kinds of miserliness. What five? Miserliness with regard to dwellings, miserliness with regard to families, miserliness with regard to gains, miserliness with regard to praise, and miserliness with regard to the Dhamma. These are the five kinds of miserliness. Of these five kinds of miserliness, the vilest is miserliness with regard to the Dhamma. The spiritual life is lived for the abandoning and eradication of these five kinds of miserliness.”

(AN 5:254–55, NDB 839)

(2) Accomplishment in Generosity

“What is accomplishment in generosity? Here, a noble disciple dwells at home with a mind free from the stain of miserliness, freely generous, open-handed, delighting in relinquishment, devoted to charity, delighting in giving and sharing. This is called accomplishment in generosity.”

(from AN 4:61, NDB 450)

(3) Reasons for Giving

“There are, monks, eight reasons for giving. What eight?

(1) One gives a gift from desire. (2) One gives a gift from hatred. (3) One gives a gift from delusion. (4) One gives a gift from fear. (5) One gives a gift, thinking: ‘Giving was practiced before by my father and forefathers; I should not abandon this ancient family custom.’ (6) One gives a gift, thinking: ‘Having given this gift, with the breakup of the body, after death, I will be reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world.’ (7) One gives a gift, thinking: ‘When I am giving this gift my mind becomes placid, and elation and joy arise.’ (8) One gives a gift for the purpose of ornamenting the mind, equipping the mind. These are the eight grounds for giving.”

(AN 8:33, NDB 1166)

(4) A Superior Person’s Gifts

“There are, monks, these five gifts of a superior person. What five?

He gives a gift out of faith; he gives a gift respectfully; he gives a gift at the right time; he gives a gift with a generous heart; he gives a gift without denigration.

(1) “Because he gives a gift out of faith, wherever the result of that gift ripens he becomes rich, affluent, and wealthy, and he is handsome, comely, graceful, endowed with supreme beauty of complexion.

(2) “Because he gives a gift respectfully, wherever the result of that gift ripens he becomes rich, affluent, and wealthy, and his children and wives, his servants, messengers, and workers are obedient, lend their ears to him, and apply their minds to understand him.

(3) “Because he gives a gift at the right time, wherever the result of that gift ripens he becomes rich, affluent, and wealthy, and benefits come to him at the right time, in abundant measure.

(4) “Because he gives a gift with a generous heart, wherever the result of that gift ripens he becomes rich, affluent, and wealthy, and his mind inclines to the enjoyment of excellent things among the five cords of sensual pleasure.

(5) “Because he gives a gift without denigrating himself and others, wherever the result of that gift ripens he becomes rich, affluent, and wealthy, and no loss of his wealth takes place from any quarter, whether from fire, floods, the king, bandits, or unloved heirs.

“These, monks, are the five gifts of a superior person.”

(AN 5:148, NDB 763–64)

(5) The Gift of Food (1)

“Monks, if people knew, as I know, the result of giving and sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would they allow the stain of miserliness to obsess them and take root in their minds. Even if it were their last morsel, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared it, if there were someone to share it with. But, monks, as people do not know, as I know, the result of giving and sharing, they eat without having given, and the stain of miserliness obsesses them and takes root in their minds.”

(It §26)

(6) The Gift of Food (2)

“A woman noble disciple, by giving food, gives four things to the recipients. What four? She gives long life, beauty, happiness, and strength. By giving long life, she herself will be endowed with long life, human or divine. By giving beauty, she herself will be endowed with beauty, human or divine. By giving happiness, she herself will be endowed with happiness, human or divine. By giving strength, she herself will be endowed with strength, human or divine. A woman noble disciple, by giving food, gives those four things to the recipients.”

(AN 4:57, NDB 447)

(7) The Gift of the Dhamma

“Monks, there are these two kinds of gifts. What two? The gift of material goods and the gift of the Dhamma. Of these two kinds of gifts, the gift of the Dhamma is foremost. There are these two kinds of offerings . . . these two kinds of generosity . . . these two objects of relinquishment. What two? The relinquishment of material goods and relinquishment [by giving] the Dhamma. These are the two kinds of relinquishment. Of these two kinds of relinquishment, relinquishment [by giving] the Dhamma is foremost.”

(AN 2:141–44, NDB 182)

2. VIRTUOUS BEHAVIOR

(1) Moral Introspection

“What do you think, Rāhula? What is the purpose of a mirror?”

“For the purpose of reflection, Bhante.”

“So too, Rāhula, an action with the body should be done after repeated reflection; an action by speech should be done after repeated reflection; an action by mind should be done after repeated reflection.

“Rāhula, when you wish to do an action with the body, you should reflect upon that same bodily action thus: ‘Would this action that I wish to do with the body lead to my own affliction, or to the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both? Is it an unwholesome bodily action with painful consequences, with painful results?’ When you reflect, if you know: ‘This action that I wish to do with the body would lead to my own affliction, or to the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both; it is an unwholesome bodily action with painful consequences, with painful results,’ then you definitely should not do such an action with the body. But when you reflect, if you know: ‘This action that I wish to do with the body would not lead to my own affliction, or to the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both; it is a wholesome bodily action with pleasant consequences, with pleasant results,’ then you may do such an action with the body.

“Also, Rāhula, while you are doing an action with the body, you should reflect upon that same bodily action thus: ‘Does this action that I am doing with the body lead to my own affliction, or to the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both? Is it an unwholesome bodily action with painful consequences, with painful results?’ When you reflect, if you know: ‘This action that I am doing with the body leads to my own affliction, or to the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both; it is an unwholesome bodily action with painful consequences, with painful results,’ then you should suspend such a bodily action. But when you reflect, if you know: ‘This action that I am doing with the body does not lead to my own affliction, or to the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both; it is a wholesome bodily action with pleasant consequences, with pleasant results,’ then you may continue in such a bodily action.

“Also, Rāhula, after you have done an action with the body, you should reflect upon that same bodily action thus: ‘Did this action that I did with the body lead to my own affliction, or to the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both? Was it an unwholesome bodily action with painful consequences, with painful results?’ When you reflect, if you know: ‘This action that I did with the body led to my own affliction, or to the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both; it was an unwholesome bodily action with painful consequences, with painful results,’ then you should confess such a bodily action, reveal it, and lay it open to the Teacher or to your wise companions in the holy life. Having confessed it, revealed it, and laid it open, you should undertake restraint for the future. But when you reflect, if you know: ‘This action that I did with the body did not lead to my own affliction, or to the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both; it was a wholesome bodily action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results,’ you can abide happy and glad, training day and night in wholesome states.”4

(MN 61, MLDB 524–26)

(2) Accomplishment in Virtuous Behavior

“What, monks, is accomplishment in virtuous behavior? Here, a noble disciple abstains from the destruction of life, abstains from taking what is not given, abstains from sexual misconduct, abstains from false speech, abstains from liquor, wine, and intoxicants, the basis for heedlessness. This is called accomplishment in virtuous behavior.”

(from AN 4:61, NDB 449–50)

(3) Protecting Countless Beings

“Here, a noble disciple, having abandoned the destruction of life, abstains from the destruction of life. By abstaining from the destruction of life, the noble disciple gives to an immeasurable number of beings freedom from fear, enmity, and affliction. He himself in turn enjoys immeasurable freedom from fear, enmity, and affliction. This is the first gift, a great gift, primal, of long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated and never before adulterated, which is not being adulterated and will not be adulterated, not repudiated by wise ascetics and brahmins.

“Again, a noble disciple, having abandoned the taking of what is not given, abstains from taking what is not given. By abstaining from taking what is not given, the noble disciple gives to an immeasurable number of beings freedom from fear, enmity, and affliction. He himself in turn enjoys immeasurable freedom from fear, enmity, and affliction. This is the second gift. . . .

“Again, a noble disciple, having abandoned sexual misconduct, abstains from sexual misconduct. By abstaining from sexual misconduct, the noble disciple gives to an immeasurable number of beings freedom from fear, enmity, and affliction. He himself in turn enjoys immeasurable freedom from fear, enmity, and affliction. This is the third gift. . . .

“Again, a noble disciple, having abandoned false speech, abstains from false speech. By abstaining from false speech, the noble disciple gives to an immeasurable number of beings freedom from fear, enmity, and affliction. He himself in turn enjoys immeasurable freedom from fear, enmity, and affliction. This is the fourth gift. . . .

“Again, a noble disciple, having abandoned liquor, wine, and intoxicants, abstains from liquor, wine, and intoxicants, the basis for heedlessness. By abstaining from liquor, wine, and intoxicants, the noble disciple gives to an immeasurable number of beings freedom from fear, enmity, and affliction. He himself in turn enjoys immeasurable freedom from fear, enmity, and affliction. This is the fifth gift, a great gift, primal, of long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated and never before adulterated, which is not being adulterated and will not be adulterated, not repudiated by wise ascetics and brahmins.”

(from AN 8:39, NDB 1174)

(4) The Bad and the Good

“Monks, I will teach you what is good and what is bad. And what is the bad? The destruction of life, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, false speech, divisive speech, harsh speech, idle chatter, covetousness, ill will, and wrong view. This is called the bad.

“And what is the good? Abstention from the destruction of life, abstention from taking what is not given, abstention from sexual misconduct, abstention from false speech, abstention from divisive speech, abstention from harsh speech, abstention from idle chatter, non-covetousness, benevolence, and right view. This is called the good.”

(AN 10:178, NDB 1526)

(5) Impurity and Purity

“Impurity by body, Cunda, is threefold. Impurity by speech is fourfold. Impurity by mind is threefold.

“And how is impurity by body threefold? (1) Here, someone destroys life. He is murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings. (2) He takes what is not given. He steals the wealth and property of others in the village or forest. (3) He engages in sexual misconduct. He has sexual relations with women who are protected by their mother, father, mother and father, brother, sister, or relatives; who are protected by their Dhamma; who have a husband; whose violation entails a penalty; or even with one already engaged. It is in this way that impurity by body is threefold.

“And how, Cunda, is impurity by speech fourfold? (1) Here, someone speaks falsehood. If he is summoned to a council, to an assembly, to his relatives’ presence, to his guild, or to the court, and questioned as a witness thus: ‘So, good man, tell what you know,’ then, not knowing, he says, ‘I know,’ or knowing, he says, ‘I do not know’; not seeing, he says, ‘I see,’ or seeing, he says, ‘I do not see.’ Thus he consciously speaks falsehood for his own ends, or for another’s ends, or for some trifling worldly end. (2) He speaks divisively. Having heard something here, he repeats it elsewhere in order to divide those people from these; or having heard something elsewhere, he repeats it to these people in order to divide them from those. Thus he is one who divides those who are united, a creator of divisions, one who enjoys factions, rejoices in factions, delights in factions, a speaker of words that create factions. (3) He speaks harshly. He utters such words as are rough, hard, hurtful to others, offensive to others, bordering on anger, unconducive to concentration. (4) He indulges in idle chatter. He speaks at an improper time, speaks falsely, speaks what is unbeneficial, speaks contrary to the Dhamma and the discipline; at an improper time he speaks such words as are worthless, unreasonable, rambling, and unbeneficial. It is in this way that impurity by speech is fourfold.

“And how, Cunda, is impurity by mind threefold? (1) Here, someone is full of covetousness. He longs for the wealth and property of others thus: ‘Oh, may what belongs to another be mine!’ (2) He has a mind of ill will and intentions of hate thus: ‘May these beings be slain, slaughtered, cut off, destroyed, or annihilated!’ (3) He holds wrong view and has an incorrect perspective thus: ‘There is nothing given, nothing sacrificed, nothing offered; there is no fruit or result of good and bad actions; there is no this world, no other world; there is no mother, no father; there are no beings spontaneously reborn; there are in the world no ascetics and brahmins of right conduct and right practice who, having realized this world and the other world for themselves by direct knowledge, make them known to others.’ It is in this way that impurity by mind is threefold.”

“These, Cunda, are the ten courses of unwholesome kamma. . . . It is because people engage in these ten courses of unwholesome kamma that hell, the animal realm, the sphere of afflicted spirits, and any other bad destinations are seen.

“Purity by body, Cunda, is threefold. Purity by speech is fourfold. Purity by mind is threefold.

“And how, Cunda, is purity by body threefold? (1) Here, someone, having abandoned the destruction of life, abstains from the destruction of life. With the rod and weapon laid aside, conscientious and kindly, he dwells compassionate toward all living beings. (2) Having abandoned the taking of what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given. He does not steal the wealth and property of others in the village or in the forest. (3) Having abandoned sexual misconduct, he abstains from sexual misconduct. He does not have sexual relations with women who are protected by their mother, father, mother and father, brother, sister, or relatives; who are protected by their Dhamma; who have a husband; whose violation entails a penalty; or even with one already engaged. It is in this way that purity by body is threefold.

“And how, Cunda, is purity by speech fourfold? (1) Here, someone, having abandoned false speech, abstains from false speech. If he is summoned to a council, to an assembly, to his relatives’ presence, to his guild, or to the court, and questioned as a witness thus: ‘So, good man, tell what you know,’ then, not knowing, he says, ‘I do not know,’ or knowing, he says, ‘I know’; not seeing, he says, ‘I do not see,’ or seeing, he says, ‘I see.’ Thus he does not consciously speak falsehood for his own ends, or for another’s ends, or for some trifling worldly end. (2) Having abandoned divisive speech, he abstains from divisive speech. Having heard something here, he does not repeat it elsewhere in order to divide those people from these; or having heard something elsewhere, he does not repeat it to these people in order to divide them from those. Thus he is one who reunites those who are divided, a promoter of unity, who enjoys concord, rejoices in concord, delights in concord, a speaker of words that promote concord. (3) Having abandoned harsh speech, he abstains from harsh speech. He speaks such words as are gentle, pleasing to the ear, and lovable, as go to the heart, are courteous, desired by many, and agreeable to many. (4) Having abandoned idle chatter, he abstains from idle chatter. He speaks at a proper time, speaks truth, speaks what is beneficial, speaks on the Dhamma and the discipline; at a proper time he speaks such words as are worth recording, reasonable, succinct, and beneficial. It is in this way that purity by speech is fourfold.

“And how, Cunda, is purity by mind threefold? (1) Here, someone is without covetousness. He does not long for the wealth and property of others thus: ‘Oh, may what belongs to another be mine!’ (2) He is benevolent and his intentions are free of hate thus: ‘May these beings live happily, free from enmity, affliction, and anxiety!’ (3) He holds right view and has a correct perspective thus: ‘There is what is given, sacrificed, and offered; there is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is this world and the other world; there is mother and father; there are beings spontaneously reborn; there are in the world ascetics and brahmins of right conduct and right practice who, having realized this world and the other world for themselves by direct knowledge, make them known to others.’ It is in this way that purity by mind is threefold.”

“These, Cunda, are the ten courses of wholesome kamma. . . . It is because people engage in these ten courses of wholesome kamma that the devas, human beings, and any other good destinations are discerned.”

(from AN 10:176, NDB 1519–22)

3. REMOVING THE DEFILEMENTS OF THE MIND

(1) Sixteen Defilements of the Mind

“What, monks, are the defilements that defile the mind? Covetousness and unrighteous greed is a defilement that defiles the mind. Ill will . . . anger . . . hostility . . . denigration . . . insolence . . . envy . . . miserliness . . . deceit . . . fraud . . . obstinacy . . . rivalry . . . conceit . . . arrogance . . . vanity . . . heedlessness is a defilement that defiles the mind. Knowing that covetousness and unrighteous greed is a defilement that defiles the mind, a monk abandons it. Knowing that ill will . . . heedlessness is a defilement that defiles the mind, a monk abandons it.”

(from MN 7, MLDB 118)

(2) Two Kinds of Thoughts

“Monks, before my enlightenment, while I was still an unenlightened bodhisatta, it occurred to me: ‘Suppose that I divide my thoughts into two classes.’ Then I set on one side thoughts of sensual desire, thoughts of ill will, and thoughts of harming, and I set on the other side thoughts of renunciation, thoughts of benevolence, and thoughts of harmlessness.

“As I dwelled thus, diligent, ardent, and resolute, a thought of sensual desire, a thought of ill will, or a thought of harming arose in me. I understood thus: ‘This bad thought has arisen in me. This leads to my own affliction, to others’ affliction, and to the affliction of both; it obstructs wisdom, causes difficulties, and leads away from nibbāna.’ When I considered: ‘This leads to my own affliction,’ it subsided in me; when I considered: ‘This leads to others’ affliction,’ it subsided in me; when I considered: ‘This leads to the affliction of both,’ it subsided in me; when I considered: ‘This obstructs wisdom, causes difficulties, and leads away from nibbāna,’ it subsided in me. Whenever a thought of sensual desire, a thought of ill will, or a thought of harming arose in me, I abandoned it, removed it, did away with it.

“Monks, whatever a monk frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of sensual desire, he has abandoned the thought of renunciation to cultivate the thought of sensual desire, and then his mind inclines to thoughts of sensual desire. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of ill will . . . thoughts of harming, he has abandoned the thought of harmlessness to cultivate the thought of harming, and then his mind inclines to thoughts of harming.

“Just as in the last month of the rainy season, in the autumn, when the crops thicken, a cowherd would guard his cows by constantly tapping and poking them on this side and that with a stick to check and curb them. Why is that? Because he sees that he could be flogged, imprisoned, fined, or blamed [if he let them stray into the crops]. So too I saw in unwholesome states danger, degradation, and defilement, and in wholesome states the blessing of renunciation, the aspect of cleansing.

“As I dwelled thus, diligent, ardent, and resolute, a thought of renunciation, a thought of benevolence, or a thought of harmlessness arose in me. I understood thus: ‘This good thought has arisen in me. This does not lead to my own affliction, or to others’ affliction, or to the affliction of both; it aids wisdom, does not cause difficulties, and leads to nibbāna. If I think and ponder upon this thought even for a night, even for a day, even for a night and day, I see nothing to fear from it. But with excessive thinking and pondering I might tire my body, and when the body is tired, the mind becomes disturbed, and when the mind is disturbed, it is far from concentration.’ So I steadied my mind internally, quieted it, unified it, and concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind should not be disturbed.

“Monks, whatever a monk frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of renunciation, he has abandoned the thought of sensual desire to cultivate the thought of renunciation, and then his mind inclines to thoughts of renunciation. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of benevolence . . . thoughts of harmlessness, he has abandoned the thought of harming to cultivate the thought of harmlessness, and then his mind inclines to thoughts of harmlessness.

“Just as in the last month of the hot season, when all the crops have been brought inside the village, a cowherd would guard his cows while staying at the root of a tree or out in the open, since he needs only to be mindful that the cows are there; so too, there was need for me only to be mindful that those states were there.”

(from MN 19, MLDB 207–9)

(3) Practicing Effacement

The Blessed One said: “Now, Cunda, here effacement5 should be practiced by you:

(1) ‘Others will inflict harm; we shall not inflict harm here’: effacement should be practiced thus.

(2) ‘Others will destroy life; we shall abstain from the destruction of life here’: effacement should be practiced thus.

(3) ‘Others will take what is not given; we shall abstain from taking what is not given here’: effacement should be practiced thus.

(4) ‘Others will be uncelibate; we shall be celibate here’: . . .

(5) ‘Others will speak falsehood; we shall abstain from false speech here’: . . .

(6) ‘Others will speak divisively; we shall abstain from divisive speech here’: . . .

(7) ‘Others will speak harshly; we shall abstain from harsh speech here’: . . .

(8) ‘Others will indulge in idle chatter; we shall abstain from idle chatter here’: . . .

(9) ‘Others will be covetous; we shall be uncovetous here’: . . .

(10) ‘Others will have ill will; we shall be benevolent here’: . . .

(11) ‘Others will be of wrong view; we shall be of right view here’: . . .

(12) ‘Others will be of wrong intention; we shall be of right intention here’: . . .

(13) ‘Others will be of wrong speech; we shall be of right speech here’: . . .

(14) ‘Others will be of wrong action; we shall be of right action here’: . . .

(15) ‘Others will be of wrong livelihood; we shall be of right livelihood here’: . . .

(16) ‘Others will be of wrong effort; we shall be of right effort here’: . . .

(17) ‘Others will be of wrong mindfulness; we shall be of right mindfulness here’: . . .

(18) ‘Others will be of wrong concentration; we shall be of right concentration here’: . . .

(19) ‘Others will be of wrong knowledge; we shall be of right knowledge here’: . . .

(20) ‘Others will be of wrong liberation; we shall be of right liberation here’: . . .

(21) ‘Others will be overcome by dullness and drowsiness; we shall be free from dullness and drowsiness here’: . . .

(22) ‘Others will be restless; we shall not be restless here’: . . .

(23) ‘Others will be doubters; we shall go beyond doubt here’: . . .

(24) ‘Others will be angry; we shall not be angry here’: . . .

(25) ‘Others will be hostile; we shall not be hostile here’: . . .

(26) ‘Others will be denigrators; we shall not be denigrators here’: . . .

(27) ‘Others will be insolent; we shall not be insolent here’: . . .

(28) ‘Others will be envious; we shall not be envious here’: . . .

(29) ‘Others will be miserly; we shall not be miserly here’: . . .

(30) ‘Others will be fraudulent; we shall not be fraudulent here’: . . .

(31) ‘Others will be deceitful; we shall not be deceitful here’: . . .

(32) ‘Others will be obstinate; we shall not be obstinate here’: . . .

(33) ‘Others will be arrogant; we shall not be arrogant here’: . . .

(34) ‘Others will be difficult to admonish; we shall be easy to admonish here’: . . .

(35) ‘Others will have bad friends; we shall have good friends here’: . . .

(36) ‘Others will be heedless; we shall be heedful here’: . . .

(37) ‘Others will be faithless; we shall be faithful here’: . . .

(38) ‘Others will be shameless; we shall be shameful here’: . . .

(39) ‘Others will have no fear of wrongdoing; we shall be afraid of wrongdoing here’: . . .

(40) ‘Others will be of little learning; we shall be of great learning here’: . . .

(41) ‘Others will be lazy; we shall be energetic here’: . . .

(42) ‘Others will be unmindful; we shall be mindful here’: . . .

(43) ‘Others will be foolish; we shall possess wisdom here’: . . .

(44) ‘Others will adhere to their own views, hold on to them tenaciously, and relinquish them with difficulty; we shall not adhere to our own views or hold on to them tenaciously, but shall relinquish them easily’: effacement should be practiced thus.”

(from MN 8, MLDB 125–27)

4. LOVING-KINDNESS AND COMPASSION

(1) The Four Divine Abodes

[The Buddha told the young brahmin Subha:]6 “Here a monk dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, around, and everywhere and in every way, he dwells pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill will. When the liberation of mind by loving-kindness is developed in this way, no limiting kamma remains there, none persists there. Just as a vigorous trumpeter could make himself heard without difficulty in the four quarters, so too, when the liberation of mind by loving-kindness is developed in this way, no limiting kamma remains there,7 none persists there. This is the path to the company of Brahmā.

“Again, a monk dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with compassion . . . with a mind imbued with altruistic joy . . . with a mind imbued with equanimity, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, around, and everywhere and in every way, he dwells pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with equanimity, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill will. When the liberation of mind by equanimity is developed in this way, no limiting action remains there, none persists there. Just as a vigorous trumpeter could make himself heard without difficulty in the four quarters, so too, when the liberation of mind by equanimity is developed in this way, no limiting action remains there, none persists there.”

(from MN 99, MLDB 816–17)

(2) Loving-Kindness Shines Like the Moon

“Monks, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, these do not equal a sixteenth part of the liberation of mind by loving-kindness. The liberation of mind by loving-kindness surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant.

“Just as the radiance of all the stars does not equal a sixteenth part of the moon’s radiance, but the moon’s radiance surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant, even so, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, these do not equal a sixteenth part of the liberation of mind by loving-kindness. The liberation of mind by loving-kindness surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant.

“Just as in the last month of the rainy season, in the autumn, when the sky is clear and free of clouds, the sun, on ascending, dispels the darkness of space and shines forth, bright and brilliant, even so, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, these do not equal a sixteenth part of the liberation of mind by loving-kindness. The liberation of mind by loving-kindness surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant.

“And just as in the night, at the moment of dawn, the morning star shines forth, bright and brilliant, even so, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, these do not equal a sixteenth part of the liberation of mind by loving-kindness. The liberation of mind by loving-kindness surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant.”

(It §27)

(3) The Benefits of Loving-Kindness

“Monks, when the liberation of the mind by loving-kindness has been pursued, developed, and cultivated, made a vehicle and basis, carried out, consolidated, and properly undertaken, eleven benefits are to be expected. What eleven? (1) One sleeps well; (2) one awakens happily; (3) one does not have bad dreams; (4) one is pleasing to human beings; (5) one is pleasing to spirits; (6) deities protect one; (7) fire, poison, and weapons do not injure one; (8) one’s mind quickly becomes concentrated; (9) one’s facial complexion is serene; (10) one dies unconfused; and (11) if one does not penetrate further, one fares on to the brahma world. When, monks, the liberation of the mind by loving-kindness has been repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, made a vehicle and basis, carried out, consolidated, and properly undertaken, these eleven benefits are to be expected.”

(AN 11:15, NDB 1573–74)

(4) Still More Benefits

“Monks, if someone were to give away a hundred pots of food as charity in the morning, at noon, and in the evening, and if someone else were to develop a mind of loving-kindness even for the time it takes to pull a cow’s udder, either in the morning, at noon, or in the evening, this would be more fruitful than the former. Therefore, monks, you should train yourselves thus: ‘We will develop and cultivate the liberation of mind by loving-kindness, make it our vehicle, make it our basis, stabilize it, exercise ourselves in it, and fully perfect it.’ Thus should you train yourselves.”

(SN 20:4, CDB 707)

(5) Loving-Kindness and Right Mindfulness

“‘I will protect myself’: thus should the establishments of mindfulness be practiced. ‘I will protect others’: thus should the establishments of mindfulness be practiced. Protecting oneself, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself.

“And how is it, monks, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation [of the four establishments of mindfulness]. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

“And how is it, monks, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, loving-kindness, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

“‘I will protect myself’: thus should the establishments of mindfulness be practiced. ‘I will protect others’: thus should the establishments of mindfulness be practiced. Protecting oneself, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself.”

(from SN 47:19, CDB 1648–49)

(6) The Destruction of the Influxes

[The Venerable Ānanda is speaking to a householder named Dasama:] “Again, householder, a monk dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, and everywhere and in every way, he dwells pervading the entire world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, vast, exalted, measureless, without enmity, without ill will. He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This liberation of the mind by loving-kindness is constructed and produced by volition. But whatever is constructed and produced by volition is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ If he is firm in this, he attains the destruction of the influxes. But if he does not attain the destruction of the influxes because of that attachment to the Dhamma, because of that delight in the Dhamma, then, with the utter destruction of the five lower fetters, he becomes one of spontaneous birth, due to attain final nibbāna there without ever returning from that world.”8

(from MN 52, MLDB 456; AN 11:16, NDB 1575)


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