Her Royal Highness Somdet Phra Srinagarindra Boromarajajonani, the Princess Mother, seeing that the hand-book,“The Rudiments of Mental Collectedness”,by Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara (Suvaddhano) of Wat Bovoranives Vihara, offers a simple and practical guide to those interested in the practice of mental collectedness,has graciously made known her opinion and has also asked the Venerable Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara to write additional explanations on Panna or wisdom that is the ability to know, on Nivarana or obstacles to enlightenment, and on Kammatthana or the removal of Nivarana through meditation, to be used as guide for mental conduct in which Panna is employed to prevent as well as remove egotism and heedlessness.The employment of wisdom will enable a person to succeed in living a peaceful and happy life.
In addition, Her Royal Highness came across the text of a special sermon entitled “A New Year Present” which Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara delivered at various government offices at the beginning of the year 2523 (1980) and thus thought it appropriate to publish” The Rudiments of Mental Collectedness” and “A New Year Present” together into a hand-book for the benefit of the public for the celebration of Her Royal Highness eightieth birthday on October 21,2523 (1980).
Later,Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother requested Mom Luang Chirayu Navawongs to translate into English the hand-book on “The Rudiments of Mental Collectedness” as well as other articles in the same hand-book, for the benefit of foreigners interested in the study of Buddhism. Mom Luang Chirayu Navawongs has translated the said hand-book and consulted throughout with Phra Suddhinano (Ian Neumegen) of Wat Bovoranives Vihara, then as a final step he submitted the full text to Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother for Royal approval.
Wat Boboranives Vihara and Mahamakut Royal Academy foundation, together with Wat Nyanasamvararam and the foundation for Wat Nyanasamvararam, as well as foundation for the Promotion of Buddhist Meditation have received the Royal permission to have the hand-book published with both the Thai and English versions in commemoration of the Princess Mother’s seventh cycle of her birthday anniversary on October 21, 2527 (1984)
On this gracious occasion, may the Triple Gem protect Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother and bestow upon her longevity, serenity, happiness and health as well as glorious development in the Supreme Truth proclaimed by the Buddha.
RUDIMENTS OF SAMADHI OR MENTAL COLLECTEDNESS
Mental collectedness or mental evenness is included in many sets of Buddhist teachings. As the Three Trainings we find Sila, good behaviour, Samadhi, mental collectedness, and Panna, wisdom or the ability to know. In the Eightfold Path to Enlightenment we find Samma-Samadhi, right collectedness of minds as the concluding constituent, and in many other sets of teachings mental collectedness is also found. In many sutttas or dialogues there are also sayings of Lord Buddha which preach development of mental collectedness. For example, in a certain passage Lord Buddha said: “Omonks, develop mental collectedness, for a man whose mind is collected and intent knows things as they really are”, thus mental collectedness is very important in the practice of Buddhist teachings.
Mental collectedness, however, should be cultivated not only in religious matters but also in all general work. Collectedness of heart and mind is required in all kinds of work, in the general conduct of one’s life as well as in carrying out religious observances. Quite a few people think that Samadhi, mental collectedness is only for religious endeavour, i.e. for those who wish to practice as monks, novices and the regular templegoers. This understanding is incorrect, so the general meaning of Samadhi will be given first.
By Samadhi, collectedness, evenness of awareness, is meant ordinarily the steady settling of the awareness on an object of attention, The settling of the mind in this manner is the ordinary meaning of Samadhi which is required in all kinds of work to be done: in studying as well as working. To succeed in study one needs mental collectedness for reading, writing or listening to a lecture given by a teacher or a lecturer. In other words, one should read, write and listen attentively, with a collected and alert mind. This attention or ability to concentrate is a co-ordination of physical and mental activities. For example, in reading, the body must be ready to read, The book must be opened, the eyes must be on the letters and the mind must also read.
It won’t do if the eyes alone read but the mind does not. If the mind thinks about something else, the eyes that look at the letters will stay fixed. The eyes do not recognize the letters and do not get the massage. It is necessary that the mind reads too. When the mind as well as the eyes read, then one gets the massage from what one is reading. Understanding what one reads can be called a sort of knowledge-knowledge arising from reading.
When the mind and the eyes read in co-ordination, that is in a state of togetherness or collectedness, the reading will be fast, the massage will be quickly understood and well-remembered. This reading mind is the mind in the state of ordinary mental collectedness, that is the mind is not scattered and is set only on the reading. The same thing happens in writing. To succeed well in writing one must write with one’s mind while the hand is writing. If the mind does not write, thinking about many other matters instead, one does not succeed in writing and one does not even form the letters well. The mind must write too, that is it must pay attention to writing while the hand moves. It is the same with listening; while the ears listen the mind must listen too. If the mind does not listen one would not understand the sound that reaches the ears. So the mind must listen, and the mind will listen well only when it is collected and clear; it will listen attentively.
Thus, it can be seen that mental collectedness is needed in studying reading, writing and listening. It is the same with working: mental collectedness is needed in doing physical work, also in speaking as well as in planning one’s work. With mental togetherness one succeeds in doing one’s work well. Looking at it this way we see that mental collectedness forms an essential basis for all kinds of work. This is the general use of mental collectedness which is needed in studying as well as in doing all other kinds of work.
Now we shall talk about the development of mental collectedness for in order to put one’s mind in a state of mental orderliness one requires some practice or training. The ordinary mental collectedness which we all have to a certain degree is not comprehensive enough. The mental power is still weak, struggling and wavering; it can be easily swayed by the various thoughts and feelings that pass through the mind. These feelings are mental and perceived constantly through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the skin and the mind itself, namely through the six organs of sense.
In this way sensual love, hatred and delusion take turns at occupying the mind. While the mind, which is already fickle, is being disturbed by the various feelings mentioned above, it is difficult to maintain mental collectedness in studying or in doing nay work. It may be seen that sometimes one can hardly concentrate one’s attention on reading, writing or on listening to a lecture because one’s mind is dashing to various objects of attraction, repulsion and delusion and it becomes so disturbed that mental balance is not possible.
This state of mental disturbance renders one unable to read, to write or to listen well and, as a result, the study suffers. It is the same with working: one cannot work well while one’s mind is fretting under the power of the feelings and under the conditions arising from the feelings known as Kilesa or defilements, such as sensual love, hatred and delusion. The mind that has been trained to be collected tends to be like that. The integrity of such a mind cannot be very strong even while it is not disturbed by any attracting feeling. Consequently, it is advisable that one develops mental collectedness.
There are two main objectives in the development of collectedness of mind: one is to neutralize or counterbalance the effect of the present arising of feelings and disturbances and the other is to develop more comprehensive mental collectedness so that disturbances do not arise in the future.
Regarding the first objective, the feeling or the disturbance arising in the mind is sometimes the feeling of sensual love, As the feeling of this love distracts the mind and disturbs the mental evenness, one must learn to quieten one’s mind in the face of sensual love which is detrimental to the study or the word to be done as well as to the keeping of oneself within the boundaries of the law and morality. This is one of the things taught by Lord Buddha: one must learn to have a controlled mind so that it will not be disturbed by attachment to any feelings.
Sometimes anger arises in the mind, heating it up and agitating it. This feeling is also dangerous as it is detrimental to one’s mental integration. Thus one should learn to always be collected and to be able to quieten the mind in times of anger. Sometimes delusion comes up; this defilement may appear as dreamy drowsiness, as fretful irritability or as mental uncertainty. One should learn to develop mental collectedness and free one’s mind from delusion.
Now we come to the principle of teaching mental development in Buddhism. During daily life, a way to bring more collectedness to the mind and to quieten the mind when it comes under the power of sensual love, hatred or delusion mentioned previously is to change the feeling for the mind. As it is already known that the feeling of sensual love can give rise to loving fondness, the feeling should be replaced by a feeling free from sensual love.
Sensual love may be replaced by loving kindness, Metta, which is pure love found among friends, relatives and among parents and their children. The same method can be used to neutralize delusion. Delusion is to be replaced by a concrete thought or feeling free from delusion, or by keeping one’s wits about oneself.
The state of the mind depends on the kind of thought or feeling on which the mind dwells. When the mind dwells upon sensual love, the feeling of love or fondness will arise. If the mind does not dwell on sensual love but on an opposite kind of thought, then equilibrium and tranquility will arise. Similarly, we feel angry because our mind dwells on an angry thought or feeling.
When the mind changes its footing and dwells on an opposite thought or feeling, anger will subside. The same thing can be said of delusion: when the mind dwells on a foundation other than delusion, delusion then becomes ineffective. Lord Buddha pointed out various thoughts or feelings to set the mind on when the mind comes under the influence of certain feelings. With this knowledge and also some practice in mental collectedness, one should know how o calm the mind in times of disturbance and succeed in doing so. This is one of the objectives of mental development which deserves practice.
Secondly, one practices mental collectedness in order to augment and fortify one’s mental power and ability. This is similar to taking physical exercise to increase physical strength. When one takes physical exercise regularly one’s physical strength will become better. Similarly, mental wholeness will become greater with regular exercise of mental collectedness by employing one of the methods for increasing the establishment of mental collectedness. The stability of mental integration can be increased in this way, just as physical strength can be increased by taking physical exercise regularly. This is the training in mental collectedness.
Now in the same manner there are two ways in the development of mental collectedness. One of them is for the neutralization of the existing mental attachments or afflictions mentioned previously. Those who have had reasonable experience of mental collectedness should be able to discipline their mind well and will not succumb to the objects of thought arising from sensual love, hatred and delusion.
Those people will be able to calm down their minds and keep them safe. The mental objects and defilements will cause no harm to their study or work, nor to law and order or morality. Besides, mental collectedness is needed in carrying out any work to be done. To begin with, mental togetherness is needed in studying: it is also needed in reading, in writing and in listening. Mental integration gives one more capacity for study and work and this will enable one to study better and to work better. What has been said shows the general principles of the practice and use of mental collectedness, which include the general meaning of mental collectedness, its development and its application.
Now, here is a brief description of meditation, that is the way to develop mental collectedness. It is prescribed in the texts that for developing collectedness of mind one should seek a suitable place which is not subject to noise and disturbance. A quiet place in a forest, at the foot of a tree or in a quiet building is suitable for the purpose. The intention is to find any reasonably peaceful place.
One should then go there and sit down with legs crossed, traditionally with the right foot on the left foot, hands are put on the lap; the right hand place on the left hand. The body should be straight. One may, however, sit with one’s legs folded to one side, etc. This is up to one’s comfort and ease.
One should then close the eyes and collect one’s faculties together and be aware of the touching sensation of the breath. One can know whether the breathing is in or the breathing is out. If it should be asked where one should be aware of this breathing in and out, the answer would be that an easy spot where one can be aware of this is the outermost point of one’s nostrils or the upper lip which the air touches on being breathed in.
The inhaled air touches the outermost points of the nostrils and the upper lip while the abdomen expands, and the exhaled air touches at the same spots when the abdomen contracts. Easily feel the air which goes in from the tip of the nostrils to the abdomen which expands, and feel the air going out from the contracting abdomen to the end of the nostrils. First get to know the process of breathing in and out as described above. In breathing in the breath starts from the nostril cavities and goes to the swelling abdomen; and in breathing out the breath leaves the contracting abdomen and flows to the tip of the nose.
This is known as the path of the wind (namely the breath). Now it is not necessary to follow the breath down to the abdomen; it is only necessary to rest one’s attention upon the tip of the nose so that one knows if breathing is in or out.
One should naturally collect one’s mental awareness together and be conscious of the touching sensation of the breath. Initially, in developing this collected-awareness, counting may be used as an aid: thus, breathing in 1, breathing out 1; breathing in 2, breathing out 2; 3-3; 4-4; 5-5. Then back to 1 again, thus, 1-1; 2-2; 3-3; 4-4; 5-5; 6-6. Back to 1 again, thus 1-1; 2-2; to 7-7 Back to 1 again, thus, 1-1; 2-2; to 8-8. Back to 1 again, thus, 1-1; 2-2; to 9-9. Back to 1 again, thus 1-1; 2-2; to 10-10. Then back to the beginning and thus 1-1 to 5-5, and 1-1 to 6-6 etc. Repeat this counting several times until the mind is reasonably collected and the awareness is reasonably steady. After that it is not necessary to count in pairs; count singly 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 etc. When the mind has become well-collected and the awareness is really even, one should stop counting and one can just be aware of the breath at the tip of nose or on the upper lip.
The counting method method described above is the method taught by the teachers in the treatise of Visuddhi Magga (the Path of Purity) Other ways of counting may be used, such as 1-1 up to 10-10 and then come back to 1-1 again.
One may count beyond 10-10, if one wishes. However, the teachers recommend counting up to 10-10 only because they think that counting to a much higher number than ten would require too much contrived attention from the mind. So they recommend counting with a limit that does not require too much effort in counting.
Another method recommended by the teachers is to say to oneself “Bud” on breathing in, and “dho” on breathing out. Thus: Bud-dho, Bud-dho, etc. Dham-mo or San-gho may be used in the same way. When the mind has become collected, one stops saying to oneself Bud-dho etd., and one is aware of the air touching the tip of the nose or the upper lip. Practice this until the mind remins collected for a long while. What K have told you today is only the first steps of the drill. Let those interested in mental wholeness and mental purity (as well as success in study and work) put them into practice.
May all beings be free from enmity.
May they be happy and free from fear.
AN EXPLANATION OF PANNA :
WISDOM OR THE ABILITY TO KNOW
“Wisdom is the people’s gem” , said Lord Buddha. Unlike other creatures that inhabit the world, human beings are born with a gem of wisdom. Because of this innate wisdom a human being is called “Manussa”. A human being can also develop and increase his wisdom; because of this as human beings we have the ability to change our jungle life into a city life of civilization, culture, governmental systems, religions as well as many other aids to physical well-being and mental happiness.
Other living creatures do not have any of these things which arise out of the power of this innate wisdom. The Triple Gem, namely Buddha (the Enlightened One), the Dhamma (the supreme teaching of the Truth of Nature, Righteousness and Deliverance) and the Sangha (the brotherhood of those who practice rightly), also arise out of wisdom. One should, however, keep in mind that in order to be the people’s gem the wisdom must be of proper quality.
This innate gem of wisdom has the following as its characteristics : intelligence, experience, good judgement, common sense and the ability to behave rationally in all matters. The proper wisdom thus referred to has as its foundation the innate wisdom which people have since their birth and is called Sajati-panna (innate wisdom), and it also has proper education or training as its other foundation.
Innate wisdom has a powerful ability to enable the owner to perceive, to learn, to understand and to realize the objects of his interest. If this innate wisdom, which is a mental power, is developed in a wrong way, it will increase the owner’s cunning in committing wicked crimes and in causing harm and injury.
Hence, Lord Buddha taught us not to take wisdom lightly. One should use one’s innate wisdom to meditate and study so that by means of cause and effect one may attain to the truth, that is true progress, to secure all those things which form the Eightfold Noble Path which Lord Buddha had been following until he achieved enlightenment and which he later taught.
The Eightfold Noble Path consists of Samma-ditthi “right view” , Samma-sankappa “right resolve” (these two form a study for wisdom), Samma-vaca “right speech” , Samma-kammanta “right behaviour” . Samma-ajiva “right living” (these three form a study for normalcy in words and deeds), Samma-vayama “right effort” , Samma-sati “right mindfulness” and Samma-samadhi “right collectedness” (these last three form a study of the mind or mental-integration).
Thus the Eightfold Noble Path briefly consists of Panna “wisdom” , Sila “normal behaviour” and Samadhi “mental-collectedness”. This shows that for the right practice of Sila and Samadhi Wisdom is the leader. In general, however, as steps for practice, Sila “normal behaviour”, Samadhi “mental-collectedness” and Panna “supreme wisdom” are listed in that order. Lord Buddha vouched that “right view” (Samma-ditthi) is the leading qualification.
When one has right view, one knows whether an action is right or wrong. When a person with “right view” has, in addition, “right effort” (Samma-vayama) and “right mindfulness” (Samma-sati) , he world be persistent and mindful in refraining from doing anything that is wrong and in performing everything that is right, both in meditation practice and in daily life, until complete righteousness is achieved.
All these steps depend on mental collectedness, for a mind that lacks collectedness and evenness is restless and incapable of developing the innate wisdom further. A mind without evenness is like a swaying electric torch which cannot illumine anything to be clearly seen. Hence, one must develop the spontaneous ability to have a mind that is still and steady but fully aware, collected and integrated so that one may pursue more closely the Eightfold Noble Path.
THE HIGHEST WISDOM
This article on “meditation for the removal of Nivarana or the obstacles to enlightenment” contains various teachings given by Lord Buddha and collected from various sources. The article contains the prin-ciples that Lord Buddha regarded as very necessary for removing any one of the obstacles and also for the practice of meditation.
This is the principle of “Yoniso manasikara” , which means “practicing deeply, in a skilful, subtle, profound way”. This is to use wisdom to enable one to realize fully the true reasons for correct, consistent and regular practice. The use of wisdom in this way will prevent one from going astray, from having too high an opinion of oneself and from being heedless, forgetful and unaware.
The use of wisdom is like the wearing of an armour to protect oneself against the danger of holding on to a misconception by mistake. The exercise of wisdom is precisely the study of Dhamma. To try to practice mental collectedness without the correct method that is skilful, profound and refined, that is without exercising wisdom, amounts to not studying or practicing according to Dhamma. One may go astray, may become attached to the sensations or thoughts or Nimitta perceived during practice or arising from certain powers gained through mental collectedness. This attachment may cause the meditator to fall out of his mental evenness and out of correct practice.
Lord Buddha also said: “Wisdom is the light of the world”. The use of wisdom to intensify wisdom so as to make it shine more brightly, step by step, forms a cause that makes one see Sacca or the Truth, that is, makes one realize the truth fully and gain happiness from the lowest level to the highest one.
This is because the highest wisdom is the fullest wisdom; it makes the mind shine forth, that is, causes it to become clear and bright to the fullest extent. This allows the mind to see the Truth as it really is and attain the highest bliss just as Lord Buddha and his enlightened followers attained in the past. Hence, Lord Buddha gave the advice, saying: “Do not underestimate your wisdom”. Lord Buddha advised the use of wisdom always.
A person who trains himself to use his innate wisdom and develop wisdom until he realizes the Truth, will conduct himself in the right path all the time and will be automatically free from defilements and lust.
NIVARANA, OBSTACLES TO ENLIGHTENMENT, AND KAMMATTHANA, MEDITATION SUBJCTS FOR THEIR REMOVAL
The mind’s lack of mental collectedness is due to the presence in it of Nivarana, obstacles to enlightenment or mental hindrances, which prevent tranquility from arising in the mind and prevent the mind from exercising its wisdom. An additional explanation on the five obstacles and the meditation for their removal is given here.
1. Kamachanda, or an inclination toward and longing for sensual pleasures, if strong, may be removed by meditation using unpleasant things, such as a corpse or the unseemly side of a living body.
2. Vyapada, or the feeling of restlessness or annoyance arising out of ill-will, may be removed by cultivating Metta (loving kindness), Karuna (compassion, a wish to remove unhappiness for other people), Mudita (sympathetic joy, feeling happy, not jealous, at the good fortune of other people) and Upekkha (having equanimity, not being disturbed by such emotions as anger or attached to feelings of happiness, etc.). One should train one’s mind to be in such a way as it will have sympathy for unhappy people, a desire to help as much as one can, a happy feeling and not jealousy at other people’s good fortune, and the letting go of strong feelings, such as that of anger.
3. Thinamiddha , or the feeling of being discouraged, inert, gloomy and sleepy. This obstacle, if strong, may be removed by being engaged in careful meditatin using the virtues of Lord Buddha, his teaching, and the Sangha that carries on the teaching. One may also reflect carefully about one’s own virtues so as to bring about a feeling of cheerfulness. This cheerfulness will give strength back to the mind. One may, on the other hand, meditate using the consciousness of sight, reflecting about light and making the mind full of light.
4. Uddhaccakukkucca, or flurry or worry, thinking of many things rapidly one after another in a wool-gathering fashion, rapidly losing interest in the objects of thought, also feeling irritated. This Nivarana, if strong, may be removed by removed by using one of the ten Kasinas which are aids or objects for meditation. One may also remove this obstacle by awareness of one’s breathing in and out. One should train to allow the mind to attach to only one object for meditation. One may also contemplate one’s death and the religious emotion arising from this contemplation will calm down one’s flurry or worry.
5. Vicikiccha, or uncertainty and perplexity. This obstacle, if strong, should be removed by meditation using the elements or by practicing Vipassanakammatthana, an exercise in the use of intuition or innate wisdom, in order to realize the the nature of existence.
In addition, be aware of the heart and mind which is under the sway of Nivarana, the obstacles to enlightenment : with practice one becomes aware of them in the mind, and their bad effects. When wisdom or the ability to recognize the Nivarana and to realize their bad effects arises in one’s mind, the obstacles themselves will abate and disappear.
EGOTISM AND HEEDLESSNESS
Delusion mentioned earlier has as its characteristics drowsiness, torpor, etc. This elusion is a mental obstacle to enlightenment and can be removed by mental collectedness. There are other kinds of delusion which are worse. These are self-delusion or egotism and forgetfulness or heedlessness, which give rise to a sense of conceit or arrogance. This egotism and heedlessness arise from over confidence and from not exercising wisdom.
A person who sees the bad effects of self-delusion and unawareness should learn to use wisdom and clear awareness to keep the mind in a good state all the time and should not allow material gain, glory, praise and happiness to lead him on to conceit and arrogance. This egotism and heedlessness is dangerous to all virtues.
When one acquires anything, such as wealth, one should know that one has just got something that comes and goes. Where there can be acquisition there can also be loss. Separation is inherent in acquiring. This is true even of one’s own body. One finally loses what one has previously gained.
When a person who has the wisdom to know the truth acquires such pleasant things as wealth or fame, he will not be intoxicated by them and will not succumb to being egotistical or heedless. He would use them in a proper way for his and other people’s benefit and happiness. When the time comes for him to part with them he would not be affected strongly by grief and will not destroy himself. Such a person would be able to keep his virtues and his mind in a quiet state and can constantly enjoy happiness.
A NEW YEAR PRESENT
A special sermon
Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara
Of Wat Bovoranives Vihara
Religion and the Ten Guiding Principles for a King
Research indicates that government officials form an important factor in the question whether our country enjoys and happiness or endures decay and misery.
If the government officials observe moral principles, that is follow the The Royal Guiding Principles in their governing of the people, the people will live in peace and enjoy happiness.
If, on the other hand, the government officials are devoid of moral principles and govern the people in a manner contrary to or not conforming with the Ten Royal Guiding Principles, everywhere the people will suffer and will be compelled to take up arms, flee into the jungle and become engaged in endless killing and revenge.
Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara Abbot of Wat Bovoranives Vihara, has given a talk on the Ten Royal Guiding Principles which are the principles for a king and the principles of government for government officials and all those whose duty it is to govern. The talk was given so convincingly that it deserves serious consideration and acceptance by the government officials of all levels for their own wisdom and good fortune as a New Year gift from the Somdet. The Principles should always be observed for the well-being of all concerned.
Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara discussed the importance of the Ten Royal Guiding Principles in a thought-provoking way, saying that we usually are not conscious of the importance of a thing which we have in abundance. For instance, we are not conscious of our breathing. Similarly religion, which may be regarded as one of mainstays of life, seldom receives proper attention.
Religion is generally understood to mean teaching and everyone of us needs teaching for his heart regularly or occasionally.
By religion is also meant government. All of us must govern our hearts and must govern ourselves all the time.
Apart from this, we also have other people who govern us from outside. These people are primarily our superiors at our offices, at home, at school, at the temple, etc.
At the same time we must govern our own heart. We must learn how to teach our heart and train ourselves to live by the moral principles.
We do not always lead a good life merely because of our acquired knowledge and ability. In ourselves there are many unhealthy traits which in Buddhism are called Kilesa or defilements. They are sensual love, greed, anger, delusion and all other disturbing desires. Ignorance or false belief in various things keeps on bringing about the rise of these defilements. Hence, first of all we should not allow ourselves to think that it is enough for us to have knowledge and ability.
When we have a position and responsibility we must not be negligent of our duty. We must remember that the greater or the higher our position becomes the more numerous will be the temptations that will try to lead us astray.
It has been said, “A big object casts a big shadow”. The shadow is like the evil thoughts that lead us astray.
If we do not have a religion to teach us, to guide us in governing ourselves, to train us to abstain from doing things that should not be done, and to conduct ourselves in the proper way, then our higher position may only encourage us to conduct ourselves in worse ways.
We can do more bad things than a smaller person for he still has his superiors to watch over him. Persons in top positions do not have anyone to supervise them : they have already become like masters.
If we follow the teaching of a religion we shall not go astray. No matter where we may be, we shall conduct ourselves well and will not dare to do wrong. Big men and small men alike will not easily slip into wrong conduct, although they may be on their own without anybody else to watch or reprimand them.
As religion is the main guiding principle that watches over and gives us admonition, and as it serves as a control over our heart, we should all follow religion. It is not enough merely to learn of religion in a classroom or to listen to sermons in the temple, because that is like listening to radio or T.V. commercials. To really have a religion one must accept it, follow its teachings in the conduct of one’s life, and let it help raise one’s intelligence to a higher level.
The Ten Guiding Principles for a King are the principles for governing a larger group of people as well as a smaller one. These principles are meant for kings or administrators and are ten in number. They will be enumerated with brief comments :
1. Dana “giving”. This principle advises giving help to those that need help because they lack certain things. We help starving people by giving them food. If they lack clothing, then help should be given in the form of garments. If they need a place to live, then we should give them shelter. If they need medicine to cure their illness, then medical help should be given. In short, we should help by giving them what they need. This is called dana or “giving”.
2. Sila “self conduct”. We should refrain from doing evil things. We should refrain from doing anything that is bad and will create enmity. We should also refrain from saying evil things. We should both physically and verbally abstain from doing what should not be done.
3. Paricaga “giving up”. By this is meant giving up something of lesser use for something of greater use. For example, we should give up or spend some money to keep our body or parts of it in good shape. When we or others are ill, for instance, we should be willing to give up some wealth for the cure. We should be willing to give up a part of our body in order to save our life, if we wish to save it. And we should be able to give up everything, Namely wealth, a part of the body or even our life itself in doing what is right or in performing our duty. For example, if a soldier gives up everything willingly in the performance of his duty, namely the protection of his country, he is giving in the sense of paricaga.
4. Ajava “straightness”. This means to behave honestly toward one’s friends, colleagues and all the people and to be honest in carrying out one’s work and duty.
5. Maddava “gentleness”. This means to speak gently and to act gently, not showing roughness or rudeness. This does not, however, mean weakness. It means gentleness : politeness with the absence of conceit. One should be polite in action as well as speech. Whenever one speaks one should speak gently and politely.
6. Tapa “perseverance”. A ruler should have courage to do what should be done and should not have any fear in doing it. He must not be lazy, he should do his duty with regularity and without any shortcomings. He should have courage and perseverance. He should be strong-willed and not become easily discouraged. If a ruler conducts himself in this manner he will be properly respected by those who have dealings with him and they will not ever think of disobeying him.
7. Akkodha “non-anger”. By this is meant having a heart full of kindness based on good wishes. A person practicing this principle does not become touchy and irritable. On the contrary such a person would be calm cool and collected, he would not indulge in putting blame on other people, he would know how to accept and to forgive, and he would be merciful.
8. Avihimsa “not causing injury”. By this is meant not causing troubles for other people both directly and indirectly. Living by this principle, a person would have a kind heart and would seek ways to help and would regularly help other people.
9. Khhanti “endurance or patience”. This means the capacity to endure hardship. For instance, to endure, when necessary, cold, heat, hunger, thirst and all other unpleasant and unenjoyable things. Endurance also includes enduring misery and physical pain during illness. One should also learn to put up with mental pain brought about by other people’s can bring pain and bruise one’s heart (if our heart is not fully pure) but in following this guiding principle one must learn to bear them.
10. Avirodhana “not going wrong”. A ruler should not do what he knows to be wrong. People occasionally do wrong things, some more often and some less. This arises. This arises out of their ignorance or through their carelessness. But one should not knowingly do what one already knows to be wrong. One should be careful while doing things and should try not to do any wrong things or as few as possible. When one is in a high position one must try to maintain fairness. One must never be biased because of love, hatred, delusion or fear. This is what is meant by “not going wrong”.
In the past, such learned scholars as Lord Buddha taught these Ten Guiding Principles to Kings for their use in governing their countries. After careful consideration one will see that these the principles are general principles of all government. So all people who govern should also follow these guiding principles. The people who are under the authority of other people as well as people in general should observe these principles in dealing with their superiors.
For example, when a ruler does the “giving”, the ones who are ruled should do some giving in return. A simple example is this : The ruler or the government spends money on the development of the country for the benefit of the development of the country for the benefit of the people, and the people pay taxes and other duties to the government so that the government may have some money to spend. This may be called mutual giving.
In summary, both sides should observe Sila, or correct self conduct towards one another. They should practice “giving up” for their mutual benefit. They should be honest wit one another and gentle with one another. They should practice perseverance and non-anger and should be kind to one another. They should not exploit one another; they should, on contrary, be helpful to one another. They should bear with one another and should conduct themselves properly towards one another.
If the Ten Guiding Principles are regularly followed, complete happiness and order will arise.
It can be said that these ten principles are the main religious rules which all government officials should observe for their own peace and prosperity as well as for the people in general.
May I ask all the rulers and the ruled, at all levels, to seriously consider these Ten Guiding Principles and use them as a guide in them as a guide in their conduct. May the Triple Gem and all sacred powers give protection to all of you who live by the Ten Guiding Principles, and may all of you enjoy happiness and well-being throughout the new year.
The Pali abstract noun “Samadhi” can be rendered variously as : collectedness, evenness, integration, comprehensiveness, togetherness, orderliness, unity, oneness, balance, singularity, integrity, wholeness or purity of awareness. Also : mental-calm, peace, stillness, clearness, stability, steadiness, unshakability; according to experience and meaning. In English no one word seems to suffice for this deepest level of the mind and of nature, the seat of intelligence, diligence and happiness, the home of Sila, Panna, and Metta, the spring-board for Vimutti (liberation).
Concentration is one of many abilities (characterized by localized activity) that is enhanced through Samadhi (characterized by lack of activity and lack of localization).
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