Monday, October 6, 2008

Inner Education : Buddhist Thinking Contains a Theory of Education

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Inner Education

Buddhist Thinking Contains a Theory of Education

Praggananda Sraman

(This article still to be edited).


AN- Ańguttara Nikāya
DN- Dīgha Nikāya
Dh- Dhammapada
Iti- Itivuttaka
MN- Majjhima Nikāya
SM- Samyutta Nikāya
Sn- Suttanipāta
Ud- Udāna
Vis- Visuddhi Magga
Vm- Vinaya Mahāvagga


The Buddha said to the demon Ālāvaka, “Paňňājīvam jīvitamahu seţţham” -- by means of knowledge one can attain perfection (Parisujjhati), by which we mean perfect knowledge, as provided by the Buddha, for either the mundane or the supramundane.

In Mangala Sutta, it is mentioned:

“Bahūsaccanca sippaňca vinayo ca susikkhito,
Subhāsita ca ya vācā, etam mańgala-muttamam.”

To have vast learning, to acquire skill in handicraft and technology (that are not blame worthy); to be well versed in, and to observe, the disciplines (that applies to oneself); to use benign speech, these are of sublime auspiciousness.

In the present world, many institutes are providing various higher educations, so-called higher knowledge. What do they mean by higher education? More than 2550 years ago, a great teacher, the Buddha, in this world taught inner eduction -- inner knowledge, inner realization. Without gaining inner education, it cannot be called higher knowledge, or at least it shouldn't be. True higher education depends on one’s moral conduct or morality (Sīla), on a concentrative mind (Samādhi), and on perfect wisdom (Paňňā).

The Buddha often gave counsel to the Bhikkhus thus:
"Such and such is virtue (Sīla); such and such is concentration (Samādhi); and such and such is wisdom (Paňňā). Great becomes the fruit, great is the gain of concentration when it is fully developed by virtuous conduct; great becomes the fruit, great is the gain of wisdom when it is fully developed by concentration; utterly freed from the taints of lust, becoming, and ignorance is the mind that is fully developed in wisdom."
(Iti sīlanti evam sīlam, ettakam sīlam. Ettha catupārisuddhisīlam sīlam cittekaggatā samādhi, vipassanāpaññā paññāti veditabbā. Sīlaparibhāvitoti ādīsu yasmim sīle ţhatvāva maggasamādhim phalasamādhim nibbattenti. Eso tena sīlena paribhāvito mahapphalo hoti, mahānisamso. Yamhi samādhimhi ţhatvā maggapaññam phalapaññam nibbattenti, sā tena samādhinā paribhā-
vitā mahapphalā hoti, mahānisamsā. Yāya paññāya ţhatvā maggacittam phalacittam nibbattenti, tam tāya paribhāvitam sammadeva āsavehi vimuccati).

In the present day, we often talk about world peace. We hear about peace talks, peace conferences, and peace agreements. The world has heard much talk throughout the centuries. But huamnity is still facing the same threat: itself. World peace cannot be gained unless one’s inner peace is attained. The Buddha taught us how to attain inner peace. He taught us about inner education, about non-violence. As we say, “world peace through inner peace.”

Why it is such a difficult task to gain world peace? It is because we ourselves are not peaceful. The threefold training is still applicable, i.e., Morality, Concentration, and Wisdom. Morality to control our desires and our bodies, concentration to maintain mindfullness, and wisdom to gain inner knowledge, as a whole. Why they are applicable? Because everything is burning:

“Bhikkhus, everything is burning. And, what, Bhikkhus, is everything that burning? The eye, Bhikkhus, is burning, material shapes are burning, consciousness through the eye(s) is burning, impingement on the eye is burning, in other words the feeling which arises from impingement on the eye, be it pleasant or painful, or neither painful nor pleasant, that too is burning. With what it is burning? I say it is burning with the fire of passion, with the fire of hatred, with the fire of stupidity; it is burning because of birth-aging-dying, because of grief, sorrow, suffering, lamentation and despair.”

(“Sabbam, bhikkhave, ādittam. Kiñca, bhikkhave, sabbam ādittam? Cakkhu ādittam, rūpā ādittā, cakkhuviññāņam ādittam, cakkhusamphasso āditto, yamidam
cakkhusamphassapaccayā uppajjati vedayitam sukham vā dukkham vā adukkhamasukham vā tampi ādittam. Kena ādittam? Rāgagginā dosagginā mohagginā
ādittam, jātiyā jarāya maraņena sokehi paridevehi dukkhehi domanassehi upāyāsehi ādittanti vadāmi).

The sources of this writing are mostly derived from Tipitaka canonical texts and from other papers respectively. This is a short essay concerning the theory of Buddhist education. I hope it will help make sense of and be of use for the field of education.

Buddhist theory of Education

The verb 'educate' means to train the mind and the character of somebody. And the noun 'education' means training and instruction in any particular place, such as teacher’s house, school, college, university, and so on -- to give knowledge and develop skills. Men receive their early education at home. No civilized or modern society can afford to neglect the education of its young generation. For their knowledge, ability and the development of character and mental power result from such training, i.e., intellectual, moral, physical, and so on. It is also said that it is the field of study dealing with how to learn or teach.

Education is one of the most essential needs of humanity. We say humans need food to sustain their lives, clothes for covering shameful parts of theier bodies, houses or other suitable shelters for protection from the elements, and medicine for disease prevention. Often neglected in this listing is education; education about one's place in this world as human beings. Here we see education is also one of the essentials.

A person possesses sense faculties such as eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind. It is through these faculties that one experiences the world, being educated, so to speak, by experience. Throughout childhood, he learns different things in different ways, either moral or immoral, good or bad, proper or improper, etc. In order to understand what is moral or immoral, he has to develop his knowledge, and it is in that sense that we use the word 'education'. When he is able to understand or analyse what is moral or immoral, what is good for the many, good for society, and good for himself, it means he is properly educated.

The teachings of the Buddha are based on morality. They also emphasize a well concentrated mind and wisdom. This is otherwise known as the threefold training.

About 2250 years ago, the Buddha appeared in this world with a new education method for the welfare of all. He declared, “This is my Dhamma (teaching)." Then he taught his Dhamma to his students, and they became liberated themselves.

We find the following aspects of this Dhammic Education:

1. the teacher- the Buddha
2. the teaching- the Dhamma
3. method of the teaching- the middle way
4. the pupils- monks, nuns, and lay people

This should be considered the educational theory. Further on we will try to analyse how they are connected to the theory of Buddhist education.

The Buddha as a Teacher

Indeed the Buddha was a teacher, not only of men but also the gods (satthā devamanussanam). As an incomparable teacher, the Buddha had many designations. On some occasions the Buddha addressed himself as “the Gotama Buddha with threefold knowledge" (tevijjā samanna Gotama). The threefold knowledge is as following:

1. the knowledge of his previous births, a cognitive ability that enabled him to grasp the outcome of one’s own actions.
2. the divine eye, the ability to know empirically how beings fared in the cycle of birth and death (samsāra)
3. the knowledge of how to rid oneself of all cankers

With the dawn of these three cognitive abilities, the Buddha was in full command of all forms of knowledge, secular, spiritual, life here and here after, life in bondage, and the life that transcended all form of bondage. Thus his enlightenment made him an unequalled teacher of both men and gods.

In Buddhist Pāļi texts weoften find some words that refer to the Buddha as a teacher, such as Satthā, Akkhataro, Garu, Thero, Ācāriyo, Upājjhāyo, and so on. Though they all refer to the word teacher, they have different meanings.

The word Satthā was used almost exlusively in reference to the Buddha. The term is sometime seen used, though very rarely, to identify any teacher of repute. However, the main characteristics that marked him out from the rest are more prominently stressed. The term Satthā is applied only to those teachers who could claim to posses unlimited cognitive abilities and affective qualities.

Mention is made of five kinds of individuals recognized as teachers. There were teachers defective in moral conduct (Aparisuddha Sīlo) but feigned good conduct (Parisuddha Sīlo). There were teachers impure in their livelihood (Aparisuddha Jīvo) while claiming to be pure (Parusuddha Jīvo). There were others who were defective in counselling (Aparisuddha Dhamma). There were also still others who, while being improper in their approach (Aparipuddha veyyakarano), maintained themselves as proper (Parisuddha veyyakarano). And finally, there were yet others who, having hardly any purity of vision, claimed to possess purity of insight and vision (Parisuddhaňāņa dassana).

The Buddha made it clear by precept and example that it was improper to recognize such an individual as a teacher for they lacked both the cognitive and affective features (Vijjācaraņa) of a real teacher. The Buddha is well known as Vijjācaraņasampanno. According to him, a good teacher is one whose moral conduct is pure, livelihood is blameless, counselling is faultless, skill in analysis is inspiring, and insight and vision are pure.

The Buddha exceeded his contemporaries in these remarkable qualities. For instance, the Buddha was known as the creator of the unknown path, one who knows unknown paths and proclaimer of un-proclaimed path (Paţipadāňāņadassanam). He was the one who knew the path, the one skilled in the path and one who trod the path. The Pāļi word Akkhattaro is another popular term used in reference to the Buddha as a teacher. It means preacher, story teller, or expounder. Etymologically it means one who is skilled in the art of explaining even the most difficult concept. According to Dhammapada commentary it is used in the sense of one who is gifted with the skill of communication (Akkhataravasenaye patipanno). When we come to know the Buddha’s discourses, we see how skilled the Buddha was in expounding difficult or critical issues with various parables and similes to help his student understand.

One of the remarkable designations of the Buddha is “Anuttaro purisadamma sārathi,” meaning 'supreme teacher'. In the Buddhist psychotherapy tradition it is meant as ‘Unsurpassable Trainer’. He also is called a Muni, a lover of silence.

There are three special terms used in Pāļi text reference to the Buddha as a teacher. They are Guru, Ācāriya, and Upājjhāya. More precisely, the last two terms are seen used in reference to any teacher, as is evident from the Book of Disciplines (Vinaya Piţaka). The word Ācāriya generally means teacher. Literally, it means a teacher with good conduct, and Upājjhāya means the preceptor. After founding the Sangha community, the Buddha suggested to disciples who were to become an Ācāriya or an Upajjhaya that the relationship between teacher and student should be like a father to his son (Upājjhayo bhikkhave saddhiviharikamhi putta cittam upatthāpessa’ti). From this we can see how kind the Buddha was as a teacher.

In conclusion of this section, I’d like to mention that the Buddha not only claimed to be a teacher but also likened himself to another sort of professional, a physician. It is mentioned in the following text:

“I’m a Brahmim,
Responsive to requests, open-handed,
Bearing my last body,
An unsurpassed doctor & surgeon,
You are my children, my son,
Born from my mouth, born of the Dhamma
Created by the Dhamma,
Heirs of the Dhamma
Not heirs in material things.

The Buddha proclaimed himself an “Unsurpassable Doctor and Surgeon” and the Dhamma as medicine. He is the father of his students as they were born from his mouth.

To Kasibharadwaja, the Brahmin farmer, the Buddha said that he was also a farmer (Ahampi kho, kasāmi ca vapami ca, kasitva ca vapitva cabhunjāmi’ti).

Dhamma as a Teaching

In an ultimate sense, the main objective of education is self-actualization. Some would like to call it enlightenment, as alluded to above. It is to be noticed that one cannot experience self-actualization until one’s cognitive, affective and connotative abilities are developed to the highest level. This progress, however, varies with each individual, and that too largely depends on one’s own right and supreme effort.

We come to know just how painful the six years of struggle that the Buddha endured were! The Buddha first went to a teacher named Ālārakālāma, and secondly to the teacher Ruddka Rāmāputta. He was not satisfied with their teachings, so finally he decided that he must acheive Enlightenment on his own. He realized the four noble truths himself. He said, "These truths that I have actualized give vision, give knowledge -- lead to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. ( tathāgatena abhisambuddhā, cakkhukaraņī ñāņakaraņī upasamāya abhiññāya sambodhāya nibbānāya samvattati.)

There are six supreme qualities of his teaching:

1. The teaching comprising the four paths (Magga) and four fruitions (Phala), Nibbāna or inner peace and the theories are well expounded (Svākkhato) by himself (the Buddha).
2. It can be seen and realized by oneself if one practices the method (Sandiţţhiko).
3. It yields immediate results to those who practice the teaching and the fruition consciousness follows the path consciousness (Akāliko).
4. It is distinct and pure and it is worthy of inviting others to come and see it (Ehipassiko)
5. It is worthy of being perpetually borne in mind (Opaneyyiko)
6. It can be experienced by the wise individually (Paccatam veditabbo viňňuhi)

After having attained enlightenment, he soon collected 60 other Arahants as his students, and he sent them forth to give the message of his teaching all over:

“Go forth, O Bhikkhus, for the good of many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, benefit, and happiness of gods and men. Let not two go by one way. Preach, O Bhikkhus, the Dhamma, which is excellent in the beginning, lovely in the middle, and lovely in the end, both in the spirit and in the letter. Proclaim the holy life, altogether perfect and pure.”

(“Ehi bhikkhū”ti bhagavā atadāvoca– “svākkhāto dhammo,
cara brahmacariyam sammā dukkhassa antakiriyāyā…….)”

The Buddha’s message was about what he realized, i.e., Nibbāna; perfect liberation, perfect peace through the self-actualization. Is the Buddha’s teaching only to attain the Nibbāna? Ultimately, yes, it is! But later on the Buddha gradually started to teach many others topics, not only to the Bhikkhus but also to the kings, warriors, Brahmins, merchants, lay people, and so on. That’s why the Buddha said, "Preach the teaching all over, including to gods for their happiness and benefit."

Present subjects which are most studied by students were also taught by the Buddha about 2550 years ago, such as Biology, Physiology, Medical science, Commerce, Cosmology, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Science, and many other topics regarding the issues of humanity. In that sense the Buddha said this Dhamma is excellent in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end, to all.

The basis of his teaching is the four noble truths: all phenomena are full of suffering (Dukkha sacca), there is a cause of suffering (Samudayasacca), there is an end to suffering (Nirodhasacca), and there is a path which leads to the end of suffering (Maggasacca). And that path is called Middle path (Majjhimapatipada).

When we come to know the historical background of his mission, we see the Buddha had to face quite quite a few critics. Even some of his contemporary teachers had doubts as to whether the Buddha was truly a Buddha or not. Some said the Buddha was a materialist since He was teaching that human beings are only a combination of five aggregates (Paňcakkhandhas), and there is no self (Anatta). Some of them said He was an eternalist (Sassatha vādi), some said He was a nihilist (ucchedavādi). But the Buddha remarked, “I’m neither one nor the other. I’m not a generalist but an analyser." (Vibhajjavado kho aham ettha, manavā, nāhām ekamsovādo).

Let's illuminate this argument further. The Buddha’s theory of personality is clear-cut and comprehensive in contrast to what we read in other Indian religions. One finds a thorough analysis of this broad concept in the “Net of views" (Brahmajāla Sutta). The basis of all Indian religions stems from this concept. The debate on happiness or unhappiness, release or bondage, eternalism or nihilism, heaven and hell, and a host of other spiritual matters pivots on the idea of personality. For instance, existence, according to some, was eternal (Sassata) because of the projected an idea of a permanent soul. To others, existence appeared to cut itself off completely (ucchedavāda) with the dissolution of the material body. Still others, like eel-wrigglers (Amaravikkhepika), had hardly any definite answer to offer since they were prone to swing blindly from one idea to another.

In a similar manner, there arose as many theories about man, his existence, and his future destiny as religions, especially among the contemporary Brahmin traditions. All these theories, without exception, sprang either from the backdoor of eternalism or nihilism. But the reality of mind-matter (Nāmarūpa) has been proven by the Buddha.

In the present world, the studies of modern science and technology are developing without any bound. Their theories scour the cosmos looking for answers. The Buddha, too, was addressing these very same, fundamental questions when He expounded the theories of Dependant Origination (Paţiccasamuppāda) and cause and effect (Hetupaccayuppanna dhamma), which present the most important and remarkable essence of the Buddha’s teaching. But unlike science, his purpose was not twisted to produce the atomic bombs and destructive weapons of war that have become such a threat to the living planet. The purpose was to eradicate or remove the defilements of the mind, the very causes of unhappiness, human suffering, and aversion. The theory is as follows:

“When this exists, that comes into being; with the coming into being of this, that exists. When this doesn’t exist, that too doesn’t come into being; with the cessation of this, that too ceases to exist.”

(Imasmim sati idam hoti, imassa uppada idam uppajjati, imasmim asati idam na hoti imassa nirodha idam nirujjhatai).

The suffering in our present lives, the Buddha discovered, is caused by birth (jātipaccaya jarāmaraņa, soka, parideva-dukkha . . .). He also discovered the solution. That is, if birth is stopped we are free from all worldly suffering.

The Buddhist scholars describe this sort of education, saying, “Education that doesn’t open up the vistas of life -- its credit and debit, its optimistic and pessimistic angles -- before the eyes of the student, can hardly be called education." The Buddha tried his best to train his students as he trained himself.

We learn just how liberal a teacher the Buddha was from his early discourses. It clearly shines through in The Kālāma Sutta:
“Come Kālāmas, Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing, nor upon tradition; nor upon rumour; nor upon what is in scriptures; nor upon surmise; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another’s seeming abilities; nor upon the consideration that this monk is our teacher, Kālāmas, when you yourselves know these things are bad, these things are blameworthy, these things are censured by the wise, undertaking and observation of these things lead to harm and ill. Abandon them.”

The Buddha, as a teacher, never forced His students to follow only his teachings. There were always options, and much time for their consideration, for those who were seekers of inner peace, inner education.

The Teaching Method

The unique method of learning that the Buddha pointed out is the middle way. Not only did He advise his students to follow the middle way, He also lived it. It is to be noticed that this method of teaching was born not just from mere theory but out of His own experience, His own experimentation.

From the beginning of his time as a teacher, the Buddha suggested to his students that they should not indulge (Na sevitabba) in the two extremes (Dve antā) of addiction to sensual pleasure (Kamesukamasukhallikanuyogo) or the addiction to self-mortification or self-torment (Attakilamathanuyogo). He gave a detailed explanation as to why it is so.

The addiction to sensual pleasure is:
1. Low (Hīno)
2. Vulgar (Gammo)
3. Ordinary (Puthujjaniko)
4. Ignoble (Anāriyo)
5. Not profitable (Anatthasamhito)

The addiction to self torment is-

1. Painful (Dukkho)
2. Ignoble (Anāriyo)
3. Not profitable (Anatthasamhito)

Avoiding both of them, the Buddha followed the middle way and attained Nibbāna (Nibbānaya samvattati).

The Buddha further said to his students: “The middle path gives vision, gives knowledge, leads to inner peace, to supra-knowledge, to awakening, and to Nibbāna,” (Sa Bhikkhave, majjhimapatipada cakkhukarani, ňāņakarani upasamaya abhiňňaya sambuddhaya nibbānaya samvattati.)

Such a great teacher was the Buddha. There is no better example than the most elegant expositions of the noble path itself:

“It is this noble eight-fold path itself, that is to say, right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right mode of living, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.” (Seyathidam, sammā diţţhi, sammā sańkappo, sammā vācā, sammā kammanto, sammā ajivo, sammā vyāmo, sammā sati, sammā Samādhi.)

Many benefited from this method. As we have seen the teachings are for the good of the many. Not only the monks or those seeking higher knowledge but also for society. From the following discourse by the Buddha, using this noble eightfold method, we see how the He healed the client as a physician:

“Monks, doctors give a purgative for warding off diseases caused by bile, diseases caused by phlegm, diseases caused by the internal wind property. There is a purging; I don’t say that there’s not, but it sometimes succeeds and sometimes fails. So I will teach you the noble purgative that always succeeds and never fails, a purgative whereby beings subject to birth are freed from birth; beings subject to aging are freed from aging; beings subject to death are freed for death; beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress & despair are freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress & despair. Listen and pay a close attention I shall say.”

“As you say, lord,” the monks responded.

The blessed one said; “Now, what is the noble purgative that always succeeds and never fails, a purgative whereby beings subject to birth are freed from birth; beings subject to aging are freed from aging; beings subject to death are freed for death; beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress & despair are freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress & despair?”

“In one who has right view, wrong views purged away, and the many evils, unskilful mental qualities that come into play in dependence on wrong view are purged away as well, while the many skilful mental qualities that depend on right view go to the culmination of their development.
In one who has right resolve, wrong resolve is purged away…
In one who has right speech, wrong speech is purged away…
In one who has right action, wrong action is purged away…
In one who has right livelihood, wrong livelihood is purged away…
In one who has right effort, wrong effort is purged away…
In one who has right mindfulness, wrong mindfulness is purged away…
In one who has right concentration, wrong concentration is purged away…
In one who has right knowledge, wrong knowledge is purged away…

In one who has right release, wrong release purged away, and the many evil, unskilful mental qualities that come into play in dependence on wrong release are purged away as well, while the many skilful mental qualities that depend on right release go to the culmination of their development.”

“This, monks, is the noble purgative that always succeeds and never fails; a purgative whereby beings subject to birth are freed from birth; beings subject to aging are freed from aging; beings subject to death are freed for death; beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress & despair are freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress & despair.”

Gradually, the Buddha started to set up various kinds of methods according to the students’ temperaments. He used to say that such knowledge comes to us through the proper exercise of our mental faculties (Indriya bhāvanā). The controlling of sense faculties are said to be an effective way of gaining knowledge (Indriya samvara). In the first instance, one has to become familiar with many different aspects of the Buddha’s teachings. The syllabus consists of nine divisions:

1. Utterances (suttam)
2. Verses (geyyam)
3. Grammar (veyyakaranam)
4. Stanzas (gāthā)
5. Joyous utterance (udānam)
6. Questions (itivittakam)
7. Birth stories (jātakam)
8. Mysterious phenomena (abbhutam)
9. Catechism (vedaļļam)

It is sometimes described as the responsibility of the student to study all these with care and sagacity (pariyatti Dhamma). The acquisition of what is learnt (patipatti Dhamma) is said to be the second aspect of the Buddha’s teaching. The third aspect of the Buddha’s teaching is realization of the Dhamma (Pativeda sāsana), also called Self-actualization. Pativeda means penetration of or understanding in totality with one’s own effort (sammā vyāmo) the teachings of the Buddha. This is the ultimate goal of his teachings.

The choice of a lesson and its logical organization form yet another major factor in the Buddha’s theory of instruction. The Buddha’s main curriculum consisted especially of the four noble truths with their ancillary subjects such as genesis, the theory of Kamma (action and reaction), re-birth (Puņabbhava), noble paths (Ariyamagga), and inner peace (Nibbāna) without residue. Selecting a lesson most suitable to a student has the individual as its concern rather than any external factor such as caste, creed or colour. Buddhist psycho-dynamics help us understand that human behaviour stems from the function of certain conscious (Āramanna) and unconscious drives (Anusayāramanna). Of the many such drives, greed, anger and delusion rank foremost. For the purpose of deciding on a lesson best suited to his students, the Buddha usually appealed to these drives by preaching a sermon on charity (dana katha), morality (sīla kathā), heavens (saggakathā), the danger of passion (kāmanam ādinava), and defilements (samkilesam) as well as their cleansing (odānam).

The recitation of these texts, embracing many different topics, more often than not served the Buddha as a sort of diagnostic test to understand the real mental disposition of his students. Based on the results of this test, he spotted the most suitable lesson to guide the tutee in the direction of the true knowledge. To the Buddha, psychology and philosophy were essential ingredients of much practical value. These fundamentals, when utilized wisely, go a long way to facilitate learning. In his view, a good lesson consists of a gradual sequence (anūpabbam) and logical construction (anūdhammam). It also must be good at its start, its middle and its end (desitha Bhikkhave adikalyānam, majjhekalyānam, poriyosa kalyānam sattham sabbyanjanam kevalaparipunnam.) Moreover, the lesson must be a total unit covering all aspects of what the teacher wishes to communicate.

The early Buddhist texts also say that the Buddha did not teach his students everything he knew. It seems the Buddha had many other methods but did not use them because they were unessential to the aim of His teachings. A competent teacher, in the opinion of the Buddha, is comparable to a clever physician. Just as the role of a doctor is to prescribe the most suitable medicine on the diagnosis of a disease, so too is a teacher to prescribe a remedy based solely on the psychological make-up of the student himself. By no means does teaching imply a device for storing inert ideas by the students; rather, it is a dynamic way of activating the psychological process to ensure self-actualization.

There are certain other matters of mere metaphysical importance the Buddha left unexplained (Avyākatadhamma). From among these categories, only what belongs to the former group should form the basis of lesson. According to him, the teaching materials for a lesson should always pivot on the need to explicate the four noble truths or the perfect realization of Nibbāna.

Cūlamaluka putta, who entertained erroneous thoughts about the Buddha and the teachings (Dhamma), questioned the Buddha and also vowed to leave the monk-hood if he did not get satisfactory answers. His folly was obvious. The Buddha, however, lifted him out of his intellectual fog by guiding him in the right direction. A person who is sick from a poisonous arrow hardly needs to waste any time digging up useless information about the arrow. Instead he needs to remove the arrow and dress the wound properly so that his life may be out of danger. He said that a person who is tormented by samsaric experiences need only learn how to extinguish said torment.

The Buddha classified his teaching by their utility. These items of knowledge, he explained, are of practical value. The four noble truths, the noble paths, the three signata (tilakkhaņa), the theory of causality, kamma and rebirth are the specific topics he explained, according to the Sangīti Sutta of Majjhima Nikāya. The comprehension of these items of knowledge helps one to reach the goal of self-actualization. On the other hand, the Buddha left certain metaphysical doctrinal points unexplained. They were left unexplained (avyākatadhamma) because they did not serve the single purpose.

In order to guide the students to realize the teaching (Dhamma), he adopted four ways of analysis (vyākaraņa). Of the four analyses, the first three approaches are of positive value:

1. a categorical answer (ekamsa vyākaraņa)
2. an analytical answer (vibhājja vyākaraņa)
3. an answer in the form of a counter question (patipuccha vyākaraņa)

The fourth analysis implies a case where the Buddha did not give any answer at all. He simply set the question aside, which is called Thāpaniya vyākaraņa. Thus, it is characterized by its pragmatic value.

In the texts, we see how, after listening to teaching of the Buddha, the listeners would often say, “How wonderful your teaching is! You made me understand such a difficult question in easy way.” Following these methods of the Buddha’s teaching, many of his students were able to achieve inner peace. He guaranteed that who ever came to learn would surely achieve inner peace within a maximum of seven years or a minimum of seven days if they practice in the right way.

Such a teacher was the Buddha, such a teaching of such a teacher, and such kinds of methods of this teaching.

Monks, Nuns, and Lay People as Students

This is a noble teaching taught by the noble one who also saw his followers as noble ones. The Buddha said to His students that they were not only students but also His sons and daughters. He always encouraged the students and welcomed them. He was very kind to them, saying, “Come, o students, this teaching is well expounded, lead the holy life to make a complete end of suffering" (ehi bhikkhu, svākkhāto dhammo, care brahmacariyam, sammā dukkhassa antakiriya). He further said, “Do also spread the teachings to others. There are beings with little dust in their eyes, which, on hearing the teachings (Dhamma), will fall away. There will be those who understand the teachings."

The community of monks and students is called the Sangha. At that time there were sixty-one arahants, including the Buddha, in this world. With these pure ones, the Buddha founded a celibate order that was democratic in constitution and communistic in distribution.
The original members were drawn from the highest strata of society and were all educated and rich men, but the community of the Sangha was open to all worthy ones, irrespective of caste, class or rank, black or white, east or west. Both young and old, belonging to all the castes, were freely welcomed in the community and loved like brothers of the same family without any distinction. This noble community, the Sangha, stands to this day and is the oldest historic body of celibates in this world.

Not all were expected to leave the household and enter the homeless life. As lay followers, some were able to lead a good life in accordance with the teachings and attain sainthood. Venerable Yasa’s parents and his former wife, for instance, were the foremost lay followers of the Buddha. As we have seen, the followers of the Buddha did not all belong to the higher classes, but also included the lower classes. They enriched the method of teaching. The experiences of each individual counted a lot for the organization of a lesson. With the spread of the Buddha’s teachings, it is a well known fact that many different people belonging to different walks of life flocked to the Buddha for spiritual guidance. Among them were kings and warriors, merchants and average folks, barbers, and scavengers, farmers and traders, teachers and ascetics, women and children, demon and thugs, criminals and robbers, the crippled and the healthy, happy ones as well as sorrow-stricken ones. Some were intelligent while others were dull-witted, and most of them were uninitiated in education.

The Buddha, who was confident in establishing his Sangha, said He would not pass away until His students were established. He was satisfied with his students and said they-

1. practice well the threefold training of morality, concentration, and wisdom (Supatipanno)
2. practice righteously the threefold training (ujupatipanno)
3. practice to realize inner peace with righteousness of conduct leading to Nibbāna. (ňāyapatipanno)
4. practice to be worthy of veneration, numbering four pairs of noble eight noble persons. (sāmicipatipanno)
5. are worthy of receiving offering (āhuneyyo)
6. are worthy of receiving offerings specially set aside for guests (pāhuneyyo)
7. are worthy of receiving offering offered with the belief that the offering will bear fruits in future existences (dakkhineyyo)
8. are worthy of receiving reverential salutation of men, gods, Brahma (anjalikaraņeyyo)
9. are the peerless fertile field for planting the seeds of merits (Anuttaro puňňakkhettam lokassa)

The Sangha's component students are the peerless Gems of this world (Sangharatana). In texts they are mentioned in the following manner:

“Under Gotama Buddha’s teaching, these noble ones (Arahant) strive with steadfastness of purpose, concentrating their minds, and attaining release from moral defilements. Winning their well-deserved destination (Nibbāna), the noble ones enter that deathless Dhamma that is Nibbāna and dwell in the blissful attainment of arahantship. Yes, the preciousness of the Sangha excels all precious things.”

The patronization of Kings and wealthy contemporaries of the Buddha helped to promote and propagate the Buddhist teachings. Likewise the King Bimbisāra, Kosala, and Ajātasattu, and wealthy persons like Anāthapindika, Visākā, and many others helped to support and spread the teachings of the Buddha.

The Buddha also had difficulties with His students sometimes, but he was able to remedy the situations using various methods of teaching. There are too many to mention. But we can be positive in saying they gave opportunities for Him to introduce new lessons. Angulimāla, one of His more remarkable students, was an interesting case. The Buddha used an effective psychological device to turn Angulimāla -- then a ruthless murderer and criminal -- into a follower. He was chasing after the Buddha at a terrific speed in order to cut off a finger to complete the garland of thousand fingers for his teacher. The Buddha was walking at a leisurely pace and was ordered to stop by the criminal. “I have already stopped, Angulimāla, stop yourself (tittha aham Angulimāla; tvam ca titthi’ti).” This psychological device awoke in Angulimāla sense of optimism and faith in the Buddha.

The demon Ālāvaka was another difficult student. The Buddha's encounter with him was yet another interesting event. It shows the Buddha’s unpurpassed abilities at establishing rapport even with the most difficult students. The story tells that the Buddha obeyed Ālāvaka up to three times when the latter wanted him to leave and enter his den. The fourth time, however, the Buddha remained as firm as a solid rock refused to move out as Ālāvaka desired. The attitude of the Buddha not only motivated Ālāvaka to have confidence in the Buddha but also gradually triggered a very useful conversation about the ethics of social behaviour.

The story of Suchiloma, a demon thug who the Buddha convinced to follow the teachings, is another very remarkable instance. It reasserts how the Buddha used his knowledge of psychology as a supreme tool in teaching. Once the Buddha was staying in Gaya in Suchiloma's residence. The demon saw the Buddha and made his way near him. Having come closer, Suchiloma pressed his body against the Buddha, and He bent His body away. Then Suchiloma asked the Buddha, “Monk, do you fear me?” The Buddha replied, “No, sir, I fear you not, though your touch be unpleasant.” This unusual encounter eventually gave rise to a remarkable conversation on the nature of human emotions and their origins. This conversation made a meaningful impression, the essence of true education.

In Closing

In this paper, we have discussed the essential aspects of education from a buddhist perspective. While not the typical type of education that most people are familiar with, one's inner education is invaluable, because a person at peace and attuned to himself has learned the highest lesson possible: the lesson of the Buddha.


Ańguttara Nikāya (The Gradual saying of the Buddha)
(Vol.I-V) F.L. Woodward, and Rhys Davids, Published by “The Pāļi Text Society” London

A Manual of Buddhism
By- Ven. Mahāthera Ladi Sayadow (Aggamahāpandita)
Published and distributed by- Mother Ayeyawaddy Publishing House, Yangon, Myanmar

· R Spence Hardy
Published by- MM Publishers Pvt, Ltd, Delhi

Pāli-English Dictionary
By- Rhys Davids and Stead, London

Buddhist Dictionary
By Nyānatiloka, Taiwan Printed

Early Buddhist Discourse
By Sue Hamilton, Printed in Great Britain, TJ Internation, Padstow, Cornwall

Education for Peace
By Henry Weerasinghe, Sarvodaya Vishva Lekha, Sri Lanka, 1992

Published by Selangor Buddhist Vipassanā Meditation society, Malaysia
(also of Pāli Texts Society, London)

Ten Suttas from Dīgha Nikāya
Ministry of religious Affair
Union of Myanmar

The teaching of the Buddha
Ministry of religious Affair
Union of Myanmar

The Buddha and His Teachings
By Ven. Nārada

The Buddha and His Teachings
By Malasekera, Sri Lanka

The Net of Views
By Bhikkhu Bodhi, BPS, Kandy, Sri Lanka
2500 years of Buddhism
By Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Government of India

Buddhism as Religion
By H Hackmann, Lic. Theol
Published by Neeraj Publishing House, Delhi

Udāna (The utterance of the Buddha)
Pāli Texts Society, London

Itivuttaka (thus said the buddha)
Pāli Texts Society, London

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The moments are in the pictures

The moments with Myanmar nuns in classroom

With newly ordained trainee novices in Southern Thailand island, Koh Phangang

With the Children in Dhamma School at Dhammakaya, Kingsley, Perth, Australia

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Upcoming Events

Mission Korea

Yes, the trips are finally finalized. What a accomplishment it was!!!

I'm grateful to Upasika Cherry, Upasaka Mike, and the all kalyanamittas from Dhammaloka for their kindness, the universal love and compassion. Thank you Hong Eng for Encouragement!

Hope to see all of you soon again!!

Best Wishes of Pavarana, the Full Moon Day

Discussion on Buddhist Teachings and Meditation
By- Pannananda

Place- Dhammaloka Buddhist Monastery
(Buddhist Society of Western Australia)
18 Nanson Way, Nollamara
Western Australia
For more info-

Date- 20/09/2008, Saturday

05: 00 pm- General Introduction
05:20 pm- Sitting Meditation
05:50 pm- Discussion on “KARMA” (Its origin, nature, consequence)
06:20 pm- Open Discussion
06:40 pm- Loving Kindness Meditation
07:00 pm- The Conclusion of the Day

Date- 27/09/2008, Saturday

05:00 pm- Welcoming
05:10 pm- Sitting Meditation
05:40 pm- Discussion on “Two Kinds of Buddhist Meditation Method” Tranquillity (Samatha), Insight (Vipassanā). What is the Reason Behind this?
06:20 pm- Open D iscussion
06:40 pm- Loving Kindness Meditation
07:00 pm- Conclusion of the Day

Date- 04/09/2008, Saturday

05:00 pm- Welcoming
05:10 pm- Sitting Meditation
05:40 pm- Discussion on “PAŢHAMA BUDDHAVACANA” The Very First Words of the Buddha, Sowing the Seed of the Buddha’s Teaching.
06:20 pm- Open Disc ussion
06:40 pm- Loving Kindness Meditation
07:00 pm- Conclusion of the Day

Date- 11/10/2008, Saturday

05:00 pm- Welcoming
05:10 pm- Breathing Meditation
05:40 pm- Discussion on “Early Buddhism,” and the Present Buddhists.
06:20 pm- Open Discussion
06:40 pm- Loving Kindness Meditation
07:00 pm- Conclusion of the Day

NB- It is free of charge
(Donation appreciated, if you enjoy it yourself)


Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Seekers of Mental Happiness,

BPS 1101


AN- Aṅguttara Nikāya
CBBEF- The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation
DN- Dīgha Nikāya
Iti- Itivuttaka
KN- Khuddaka Nikāya
PTS- Pāli Text Society
SN- Saṁyutta Nikāya
VM- Vinaya Mahāvagga
Vism- Visuddhimagga


This is the assignment for 1st unit of BPS 11101, Introduction to Buddhist Psychology, external studies of Diploma of Buddhist Psychotherapy, 2006. At the beginning of the Study Guide mentioned that as external studies is more difficult than face to face teaching. It is true. The assessments for this unit that have specified are most important and essential for present favorite subject Buddhist Psychotherapy. Since I was introduced to this subject, was so interesting on this subject. Fortunately, I have a chance of study with Sophia College, as I have realized they are succeed in this field. It is true that eastern and western psychology have different arguments. It is also true that between Asian and western Buddhism have different views as I have discussed in the section 1 (Seekers of mental happiness). A clear video of this argument seems so clear in Dr. Patricia Sherwood’s Lectures. What I have emphasis that the essence of Buddhist teaching to Psychotherapy as it is specified. I say Buddhism as Psychotherapy, there are many evidences to prove this comment. As it also have been discussing in section 2. The section 3 as titled “The wheel of life and application to Buddhist Psychotherapy.” This is the teaching what the Buddha realized by himself, enjoyed himself, 2550 years. It is the Paṭiccasamuppāda, what the Theravada tradition says this is the original, and true that the same thing have explained in different ways in different other Buddhist traditions. As for the western, one of the great Buddhist Scholar Ven. Nyanatiloka in his Book “Buddhist Dictionary”, says “thought this subject has been very frequently treated by western authors, by far the most of them have completely misunderstood the true meaning and purpose of the doctrine of dependent origination (Paṭccasamuppāda), and even the 12 terms themselves have often been rendered wrongly.” It is what the Buddha said not easy to understand as we are the ordinary persons. It has been discussed in section 3 with the words limitation. Especially original Pāli canonical texts have been emphasized in this writing. Hope it would make a sense for further development of this subject.

Core Concepts of Buddhism Influencing Mental Health


“Sabbo loko pakampito”, (All the world is quaking). Here all the world is our mind. The Buddha could see people are suffering from painful emotions, painful thoughts, painful relationships, and painful experiences. The negative emotions, anxiety, stress, depression, anger, guilt, shame, frustration, boredom, and so on. Because of these sufferings people seek for therapist. Present Therapists called them negative mental emotions. The Buddha said they are suffering (Dukkha), hindrance (Nivarṇa), and fetter (Saṁyojana) in our daily life, life to future. Main objective of the Buddhist Psychotherapy is to stop negative emotions arising, let positive emotions arise, to develop and cultivate them. In this case morality (Sīla), concentration (Samādhi), and perfect wisdom or insight is essential. This is the foundation.

Seekers of Mental happiness-

‘Come, O students (Bhikkhus), the method is well expounded; lead the holy life to make a complete end of suffering.’(Ehi Bhikkhu, svākkhāto dhammo, care brahmacariya, sabba dukkhassa antakiriyya). From that time to till now people are following the method to get rid from suffering themselves. The method is called the intermediate way, or the middle way (Majjhimapatipadā). This is the way which leads to the end of suffering.

Present Buddhism it quite difference from the early Buddhism as it is practicing as a religion. It is true. Especially the Buddhists in East and South-East Asia. Even though the Buddha once suggested to Kālāmas-

“Come Kālāmas, do not be satisfied with hearsay or with tradition or with legendary lore or with what has come down in your scriptures or with conjecture or with logical inference or with weighting evidence or with liking for a view after pondering it over or with some one else’s ability or with the thought “The monk is our teacher”. When you know in yourselves that “these ideas are unprofitable, liable, to censure, condemned by the wise, being adopted and put into effect they lead to harm and suffering, then you should abandon them…when you know in your selves “these things are profitable” then you should practice them and abide in them”.
What is profitable? What is not profitable? How to measure? Buddha’s teaching emphasizes one’s perfect knowledge, the insight (paññā) of the individual. To gain happiness we should develop our insight which is hidden within us. Once the Buddha said to demon Ālāvaka as “Paññājivṁ Jīvitamahu seṭṭhaṁ” means by means of knowledge one can attain perfection (Parisujjhati). The perfect perfection only leads by the perfect knowledge, as provided by the Buddha, of either mundane or supra mundane.

While some Asian are seeking for mental happiness through religious performing or mystical practices, but in West a new group of Kālāma appeared, hopefully. A new group of mental happiness seekers. As one Western Buddhist convert expressed his opinion as “It provides one with guidelines for loving kindness in one’s life today rather than just raging around consuming the most we can and ripening into life in a greedy sort of way or just giving up and doing nothing”.

Dr. Patricia Sherwood provides clear and meaningful information about the new Kālāmas, the Westerns.

Dr. Patricia Sherwood says that she spoke to saw Buddhism as providing understanding and skills that work in their daily lives to create the experience of peace. They appreciated Buddhism’s recognition of the need to train the mind. According to the early Buddhist teaching the theme was only controlling the mind (Manena sambharo sādhu), because mind leads us, leads our world.

Buddhism in Australia

Dr. Patricia Sherwood recognizes that most of the research on Buddhism in Australia has on migrant from South, East Asia and their experiences on resettlement in Australia (Ata, 1982; Grant, 1979; Knowels, 1986; Jupp, 1989; Jayasuriya and Sheldrake, 1982). Burmese Theravada tradition, Ch’an sect; Soto Zen Buddhist society, were formed time to time. The first Tibetan Lamas came to Australia in 1974 and a number of Tibetan centres opened across Australia. As with other western countries, Western Buddhists in Australia have been influenced primarily by Theravada Buddhism until 1960’s, followed Zen and Chinese Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism. Buddhism is in the fastest growing religion in Australia.

Mental Health Projection

‘Go forth, O Bhikkhus, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, benefits, and happiness of gods and men. Let not two go by one way. Preach, O Bhikkhus the Dhamma, which is excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle, and excellent in the end, both in the spirit and in the letter. Proclaim the holy life, altogether perfect and pure. (Caratha bhikkhave carikaṁ, bahūjana hitāya…)

Present mental health projection, as we find clear figure in her lectures, all of them as like the happiness for many, the good for many.

In this lecture she addresses the nature of socially engaged Buddhism in mental health projection, she points out following aspects-
1. Education of the Adult Public
2. Education of Children
3. Working with the sick and dying in the hospitals/ hospices
4. Working with the sick in the community
5. Visiting prisons
6. Working with drug addicts
7. Fund rising for the poor and needy in Australia, or over the world as well
8. Speaking up for human and against oppression
9. Compassionate activities on behalf of non-human sentient beings

Upon a time Buddhist monks traveled place to place, Kandahar (Afghanistan) to Iran, Siberia, Java, to send theses messages. Many foreign Students came to Central Asia to learn about the method of mental happiness projection. Present days, The Buddhist Peace fellowship works for East Timorese for aboriginal right issues, impacts of globalization. Dr. Sherwood says that several organizations explains the need to give to the poor by arguing that giving is profound way of developing Mettā and an essential part of human Kamma.

These all mental projections hopefully are working. Many organizations, communities are involved in such projects. Dr. Sherwood is working herself, succeed in her mission. She proved that this mission is helpful and useful for the people of society. Such kind of projections is need for the stability of personal and the society. The Buddha said to monks-

“O Monks, this method (Dhamma), excellent in the beginning, in the middle, and excellent in the end, both in the spirit and in the letter. Proclaim the holy life, altogether perfect and pure.”

This is the only way as the Buddha said (Ekāyano ayaṁ Bhikkhave maggo) which Dr. P Sherwood says- which

1 Need for meaning (atthāya)
2 Need for compassion (Hitāya)
3 Need for the health and peace (Sukhāya)
4 Need for connectedness (Saṅgama)

The philosophy of four noble truths, which is the heart of the Buddha’s teaching we find here the similarity to Buddhist psychotherapy. Suppose there is a mental illness, the cause of mental illness, if the illness is curable, and the therapy for curing. Here we find the similarity as following
1. if there is a mental illness- Noble truth of suffering (Dukkha Sacca)
2. the cause of the illness- Noble truth of the cause of Suffering (Samudaya Sacca)
3. the illness is curable- Noble truth of cessation of suffering (Nirodha sacca)
4. the method of healing- Noble truth of the path which leads to the cessation of suffering (Magga sacca)

The core concepts of Buddhism influencing mental health are many to quote as we found a huge collection in Pāli Buddhist texts. There are some performances as called meritorious performances (Puññākiriya vatthu), said to be helpful to make mind purified as are following-

1. Generosity or charity (Dāna)
2. Observing morality (Sīla)
3. Meditation or concentrative mind (Bhāvanā)
4. paying due respect to those who are worthy of it (Apacayana)
5. helping others in performing good deeds (Veyyavacca)
6. sharing one’s merit (Pattidāna)
7. rejoicing in others’ good deeds and saying “well done, well done…” when one sees, hears or known them (Pattānumodana)
8. listening to the well doctrine, listening to the counselor, and respect to them (Dhammasavana)
9. teaching the doctrine or counseling (Dhammadesanā)
10. straightening one’s views, having faith in Kamma and its results (Diṭṭhijukamma)

Buddhist teaching to live in four sublime states-
1. Mettā- loving-kindness and benevolence for the welfare of all beings
2. Karuṇā- Compassion on seeing miserable beings and wishing them to be liberated from suffering
3. Mūditā- Sympathetic joy on seeing happy beings
4. Upekkhā- Equanimity or stability of mind without love or hatred towards all sentient beings.

In very briefly, there is very popular verse from the Dhammapada, it is-
“To do good, not to do bad, purifying one’s mind, this is the teaching of the Buddha(s).”


The highest gain is the health (Arogya parama lābha), either physical health or mental health. With the decline of religion and the rise of science, jurisdiction over the problems of happiness and suffering were transferred from the former to the later. Scientific medicine took responsibility for the physical sufferings and scientific psychology and psychiatry- and their common issue, psychotherapy- assumed authority over problems of the mind, emotions, and behavior. In this field Buddhist psychotherapy is the unique as it is proved by Dr. Patricia Sherwood.

Section 2

Introduction to the Notion of Buddhist Psychotherapy: Meeting of Western and Eastern Psychologies


Psychotherapy is the treatment of mental illness by discussing with the client. Problem which rather than by giving them drugs, solving the problem in natural way. It has recognized as the branch of western medicines. Steadman’s Electronic Dictionary defines counseling as “A professional relationship and activity in which one person endeavors to help another to understand and to solve his or her adjustment problems; the giving of advice, opinion, and instruction to direct the judgment or conduct of another.”

The Buddha had a single purpose in all his preaching that was to guide man to the elimination of suffering, irrespective of caste, color, or creed. He was the first person in this world historically on record as having down a distinction between physical and mental illness. About 2550 years ago the Buddha detected the causes of mental illnesses, and shown that they are curable. The Buddha demonstrated monks that the mental illnesses can be cured only by making mind calm, pure, concentrated, and by insight developing. According to the Buddhist psychotherapy causes of mental illnesses are the defilement (Kilesa), hindrances (Nivaraṇa), fetters (Saṁyojana), and some negative mental emotions.

Buddhism as Psychotherapy

From psychotherapeutic point of view Buddhism is entirely Psychotherapy. There are many parables in Buddhist Pāli texts which refer to this argument.
A very wonderful dialogue of the Buddha found in the text that is “ Sabbe Puthijjanā Ummattakā” means all worldly beings are deranged. There are two kinds of diseases that the Buddha detected as-
1. Physical disease (Kāyika Roga)
2. Mental disease (Cetasikā Roga)

He further said “there are people who enjoy freedom from physical diseases for one years, for two years, for ten years, …….., for hundred years or more. But rare in this world are those who enjoy freedom from mental diseases even for a one moment! Except the Arahant or well trained disciples of the Buddha. At many occasion the Buddha claimed himself as a “Unsurpassable Physician and Surgeon” (Anuttaro bhisakko sallakatto), and also the “Unsurpassable Trainer” (Anuttaro purisadamma sārathi). The parable is interesting to quote-

"I am a Brahman,
Responsive to requests, open-handed,
Bearing my last body,
An unsurpassed doctor & surgeon.
You are my children,
My sons, born from my mouth, born of the Dhamma,
Created by the Dhamma,
Heirs to the Dhamma,
Not heirs in material things”

Psychology of East and West

Since the realization of the importance of psychology and psychotherapy as a subject of study in the West, much enthusiasm particularly with its practical application has been generated and as a result many works have been written on the subject. Prof. David J. Kalupahana says it is true that the scientific approaches of Buddhist psychology seemingly few (The Principal of Buddhist Psychology, State University of New York Press, 1987). Mr. Padmal de Silva in his paper says there are some problems of translation (Current Psychology, Vol- 9 No-3 Fall. 1990, pp 236-254, an Internet Collection). In Mahayana Buddhist countries too interest became manifest more than half century ago and since then eminent Buddhist scholars began gradually to take part in the discussions on this subject. A most well-known figure is Dr. D.T. Suzuki, internationally acclaimed exponent of Zen Buddhism. He and his colleagues, themselves internationally recognized psychologists. Their fruitful collaboration appeared in a book entitled “Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis.” Grove Press, Inc, New York, 1960. Now we look back to earlier. The condition of man today gives a sense of timeless to our underlying theme; the image of man as patient, society as sick and Buddha and Freud as physicians.

The basis of Buddhist psychology are-
1. The Nāma-rūpa analysis,
2. The Paṭicca-samuppāda analysis,
3. The Patthāna analysis
4. The classification of Citta (thought), and Cetasika (Mental factor).

The time of Sigmund Freud, his contemporary, and his analysis

The nature of Instincts: Buddhism, Schopenhauer and Freud
(sorry the diagram is not appearing here. )

We learn from this figure that the nature of instincts according to Freud and Schopenhauer’s point of view, is just only a modern scientific explanation or approaches to the Buddhist psychology that the causes of suffering is craving (Taṇha), and they are three, Sensual desire, craving for material things, and non-material things.

Buddhist psychotherapy acknowledges the connection between mind and body. Dr Padmasri de Silva says body and mind is psychophysical complex.
The psychophysical complex based on following aspects-

1. The five aggregates (Pañcakkhandha)
2. Mind (Nāma)
3. matter (Rūpa)
4. consciousness (Citta)
5. Mental state (Cetasika)
6. Repulsiveness (of the body) (Paṭikulamānasikāra)
7. six temperaments (Carita)

The Human Body
(sorry the diagram is not appearing here).

Healing Through Breathing

Dr. Patricia Sherwood says Buddhist psychotherapy has much to contribute to some critical process. Through the process of meditative breathing one can slow down the breathing sufficiently to be able to trace the patterns behind the anger and the explosion. She has proved this through her successful case studies. Joy Manne, PhD has explained in his Article titled “The Healing Breath”, table 2 Ānāpanassati and Contemporary Therapies. It shows the strong similarity between the Path of the Buddha recommended towards enlightenment and the range of contemporary methods for psychotherapy and personal and spiritual development. As following-
(sorry, the chart is disorganized here)

Contemporary Theory
Buddhist Breathing meditation
Breathing Therapy:
Minnicott (Freudian), Reich (Reichian), Bioenergeties (Lowen), Rebirthing (Orr, Ray, Leonard, Laut, Morningstar), Conscious Breathing Techniques ( Hendricks, Manne, etc)
1. As he breathes in a long breath he recognizes that he is breathing in along breath; as he breathes out….
2. ….as a short breath
Body Therapies
e.g. Reich, Lowen, Rebirthing, autogenic Traning, Gendlin, focusing, the new field of Somatic
3. he trains himself to breathe in and out experiencing his whole body
4. …calming bodily activities…
Positive emotions
All contemporary therapies and positive thinking techniques, etc.
5. ..experiencing joy…
6. experiencing well-being..
All forms of analysis and psychotherapy; all the new methods of personal growth and spiritual development, all the body therapies.
7. …experiencing mental processes
8. calming mental processes
9. experiencing (his) mind
Peak experiences
Humanistic and transpersonal psychology, Reichian, Bioenergetics, rebirthing, conscious breathing technique.
10. in pleasing the mind
11. concentrating the mind
12. releasing the mind
(not only according to the Buddhist definition)
Transpersonal psychology, Peak experiences, Satori
13. observing impermanence
14. ..observing freedom from passion
15. observing cessation
16. observing renunciation

This meditation is most effectual method that the Buddha said himself, Ānāpanassati Bhāvanā, is has the theme of meditation and has great fruition (Mahāpphālani hoti mahānisaṁsa), it has the fulfillment of Four foundation of mindfulness (Cattāro satipaṭṭhāne paripureti), the four foundation of mindfulness has the fulfillment of seven factors of Enlightenment (Sattabojjhaṅge paripureti), these seven factors of enlightenment have the fulfillment of self or perfect liberation (vijjāvimuttite paripureti).

Buddhist Psychotherapist
(sorry, the diagram is not appearing here).

The relationship between Buddhist therapist and client is compared to in the texts as affection between father and son (Ācāriyo bhikkhave antevāsikamhi putta cittaṁ upatthāpesseti, antevāsoko ācāriyamhi pitu cittaṁ upatthāpessati).
The psychotherapist has to be balanced in his verbally, bodily and mentally. Behavior of the therapist must be so pleasant to others. The therapist must refrain from false speech, harsh or unpleasant speech, gossip or frivolous talk, which serves no meaningful or useful purpose. The words use in therapeutic approaches should be well said, righteous, pleasant and truthful.

Seven qualities of Buddhist Instructors-
1. detailed in the knowledge of doctrine (Dhammāya)
2. The knowledge of the meaning what is thought to others (Atthāya)
3. Awareness of self (Attaññāya)
4. Knowing of the quantity of the consuming four requisites (Matthāya)
5. The knowledge of time for therapeutic approaches (Kālañña)
6. The awareness of behaviors of people (Parisajjhañña)
7. The knowledge of associating people (Puggalañña)

The mental activity of the therapist must get rid from thought of instance greed, of ill will, and wrong or mistaken beliefs to harm to one’s moral life. He must have to be fulfilled up the mind with four sublime states. Extending ultimate universal love and goodwill (Mettā) to beings without any discrimination is very essential as a Buddhist psychotherapist. Compassion (Karuṇā) for all living beings also one who in suffering, sympathetic joy (Mūditā) in others successes, equanimity (Upekkhā) in all vicissitudes at life are other three abodes.
(Sorry, there is diagrama but it is not appearing).
(BP- Buddhist Psychotherapist
C- Client
R&F- Relatives and friends)


The matter is what we have to emphasis is dialogue methods. And the dialogue method of Buddhist psychotherapy is extraordinarily stimulating, inspiring and intellectually rewarding. Buddhist psychological, philosophical, and ethical aspects are combined. In this case ethics should be developed.

Section 3

The Wheel of Life and Application to Buddhist Psychotherapy


As it is said in the second section’s conclusion that the Buddhist philosophical, psychological, and ethical aspects are mostly combined in discussion. We now would discuss about one of the Great, propound psychological philosophy of the Buddhist teaching which is the wheel of life and application to Buddhist psychotherapy. It is really little to understand as many of western scholars from west misunderstand of this.once one of the prominent disciples of the Buddha, named Ānanda, remarked that, despite its apparently difficulty the teaching of the interdependent origination (Paṭiccasamuppāda) is actually quite simple. The Buddha rebuked him saying not to say so, that infect this teaching is very deep and propound.

Psychological philosophy

A wonderful dialogue of the Buddha has found in the Tipiṭaka Pāli canon which covers all philosophical teaching of the Buddha, as following-

‘When this exists that comes into being; with the coming into being of this, that exists. When this does not exists that too does not come into being; with the cessation of this, that too ceases to exist.’

(Imasmiṁ sati idaṁ hoti, imassa uppāda idaṁ uppajjati, imasmṁ asati idaṁ na hoti, imassa nirodha idaṁ nirujjhati)

the realization of this theory is most important thing that indicate there are some causes of mental suffering, they are healable, and constantly changing, life to life, here and here after.

We are caused and effected (Paṭiccasamuppāda)

In our daily life, for all activities, we are caused and effected. How is it? Some one are put into prison as his punishment, because he did do something against law and order. You cut your finger by knife while having apple, may be because you did not take care when you were cutting or you were not mindful on it. You are not happy in your love, may be because of between you and her have no good understanding. Some are happy because they have good understanding to each other. You are succeeding because you strive diligently and in right way. Like this, everyday we are caused and effected in our daily performances.

In Buddhist term we find this teaching as called Paṭiccasamuppāda, which means cause and effect or dependent origination or because of. It is one of the most important and propound philosophy, as the teaching of the Buddha.

In this writing we will see only its general basis on our daily life. Even though of course this method is used in ultimate sense. This is the doctrine of the conditionally of all physical and psychological phenomena, a doctrine which together with that of impersonality, forms the indispensable condition for the real understanding and realization of the teaching of the Buddha. It shows the conditionally and dependant nature of the interruption flux of manifold physical and psychological phenomena of existence conventionally called the ego, or man or woman, we, animal etc. the dependent origination as following-

1. Through ignorance is conditioned the mental and formations arises. (Avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra).
2. Through the formations are conditioned consciousness arises. (Saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa).
3. Through consciousness is conditioned the mental and physical phenomena arise. (Viññāṇa paccayā nāma-rūpa).
4. Through the mental and physical phenomena are conditioned the six sense bases arise. (Nāma-rūpa paccayā saḷāyātana).
5. Through the six sense bases are conditioned the sensual impressions arise. (Saḷyātana paccayā phasso).
6. Through the impression is conditioned the feeling arises. (Phasso paccayā vedanā).
7. Through feeling is conditioned craving arises. (Vedanā paccayā taṇhā).
8. Through craving is conditioned clinging arises. (Taṇhā paccayā upādāna).
9. Through clinging is conditioned the process of becoming arises. (Upādāna paccayā bhava).
10. Through the process of becoming is conditioned rebirthing. (bhava paccayā jāti).
11. Through rebirth is conditioned aging, death (sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair) arise (12)(Jāti paccayā jarāmarana-dukkha-domanassa-upāyāsa).

Here we see from beginning to end of aspects of Paṭiccasamuppāda that the root cause of our suffering is ignorance (Avijjā), and because of ignorance how we proceed gradually to suffering. to remove the ignorance is most important. It is only possible by developing the pure knowledge. Because of our ignorance we do act either good or bad, and we sense it. This sense arises in mind through body which is called mind and matter (Nāma-rūpa). The have six sense faculties that are craving time to time. When the craving is clinging leads us to rebirth. And we are born and suffer from old age, sickness, death and so on.
And, of course, we are particularly interested in the principal of dependent origination insofar as it concerns the problem of suffering. We are interested in how it explains the situation in which we find ourselves here and now. In this sense it is important to notice that dependent origination is essentially and preliminary a teaching that has to do with the problem of suffering and how to free ourselves from suffering, how to make mind healthy and happy, and not description of the evolution of the universe.
Once the Buddha said that he who sees dependent origination sees the teaching (Dhamma), and who sees the Dhamma sees the Buddha. This is said, it is the key to liberation. Once we understand the function of dependent origination we can set about breaking its vicious circle. We can do this by removing the impurities of the mind and the ignorance, craving and clinging. Once these impurities are eliminated, actions will not be performed and habit energy will not be produced. Once actions ceases, suffering also ceases.
(Diagram 1)
In the diagram shown the relationship of dependence between three successive lives-

(there is a CHART but it is not appearing) it is important, if u need please, e-mail for this)

1. Ignorance (Avijjā)
2. Kamma-Formation (Saṅkhāra)

3. Consciousness (Viññāṇa)
4. Corporeality And Mentality (Nāma-Rūpa)
5. Six Sense Bases (Āyatana)
6. Impression (Phassa)
7. Feeling (Vedanā)

8. Craving (Taṇhā)
9. Clinging (Upādāna)
10. Process Of Becoming (Bhava)

11. Rebith (Jāti)
12. old age and Death (Jarā-maraṇa)

Past life

Present life

Present life

Future life
Kamma-Process (Kammabhava)
5 Causes- 1, 2, 8, 9, 10

Rebith-Process (Upapattibhava)

5 Results- 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Kamma- Process
5 Causes- 1, 2, 8, 9, 10

Rebirth- Process
5 results- 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Here, Kamma as a technical term never signifies anything but moral or immoral action. Here the Buddhist ethic is present and it should be developed. The volitional activities or Kamma formations, as either causing results in the present life or being the causes of future destiny and rebirth. Ultimately, we are in suffering and rounding ourselves in this cycle of rebirth. Ultimate goal of this teaching is to escape from this cycle or this suffering.


We see the present life causalities, our present consciousness, mentality and materiality (our bodies), our six senses faculties, contacts, and feelings are the causes of present life suffering. Healing is to control the faculties, concentrate and developing insight, to balance our feelings, desires, which are clinging and causing mental suffering.


Aṅguttara Nikāya. Vols. I-V. (1922-1938). (Edited by R. Morris & E. Hardy). London: Pall Text Society
Buddhist Dictionary, by Ven. Nyanatiloka, The Corporate Of Buddha Educational Foundation, 1998
Buddhist and Freudian psychology, de Silva, M.W.P. (1973),Colombo: Lake House Publishers.
Dhammapada. (Edited by S. Sumaṅgala, 1914). London: Pāli Text Society.
Dhammapadaṭṭhakathā, Vols. I-IV. (Edited by H.C. Norman, 1906-1914).
London: Pāli Text Society.
Dīgha Nikāya, Vols. I-III. (Edited by T.W. Rhys Davids & J.E. Carpenter, 1889-1910). London: Pāli Text Society.
Early Buddhism- A New Approach, by- Sue Hamilton, Great Britain, TJ International, Padstow, Comwall.
Itivuttaka-Udāna-, C.A.F Rhys Davids, Pāli Text Society, London,
Kalupahana, D.J. (1987). The principles of Buddhist psychology. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Majjhima Nikāya, Vols. I-III. (Edited by V. Treckner & R. Chalmers,
1888-1902). London: Pāli Text Society.
Puggalapaññatti (Designation of Human Type), by- C.A.F Rhys Davids, Pāli Text Society. London.
Rhys Davids, C.A.F. (1900). A Buddhist manual of psychological ethics.
(Translation of Dhammasaṅgani). London: Pāli Text Society.
Rhys Davids, T.W., & Stede, W. (Eds.) (1921-1925). The Pāli Text Society's Pāli-English dictionary. London: Pāli Text Society.
Samyutta Nikāya, Vols. I-V. (Edited by L. Feer, 1884-1898). London: Pāli Text Society.
Sutta Nipāta. (Edited by D. Anderson & H. Smith, 1913). London: The Pāli Text Society.
Steadman’s Dictionary, An internet collection.
The Birth of Indian Psychology and its Development in Buddhism, C.A.F. Rhys Davids, Oriental Books Reprint Corporation, Delhi, 1978.
The Buddha is in the Street, by- Dr. Patricia Sherwood
The Happiness Project, Ron. Leifer, M.D.1997, New York,
The Healing Breath, Joy Manne, Phd, E-mail- ,
The Teaching of the Buddha, By Ven. Narada, CBBEF, Taiwan
Vinaya Piṭaka. Vols. I-V. (Edited by H. Oldenberg, 1879-1889). London: Pāli Text Society.
Visuddhimagga, Vols. I-II. (Edited by C.A.F. Rhys Davids, 1920-1921).
London: Pāli Text Society. London: Wisdom Publications.

Please, feel free for MS copy if it is in good purpose

Thank you so much

Monday, September 1, 2008

BPS1102- The Mind & Its Dynamics in Buddhist Psychotherapy

Mindfulness of the Mind

Subject- Diploma of Buddhist Psychotherapy

BPS1102- The Mind & Its Dynamics in Buddhist Psychotherapy


Section 1-
Mind as Source of Happiness or Suffering- Page-

Section 2-
Cultivating Mindfulness in Buddhist Practice- Page-

Section 3-
Exploring Mindfulness in My Own Life- Page-

Section 4-
Mindfulness as Psychotherapy – Page-


Section 1

Mind as Source of Happiness and Suffering


“Mind precedes all unwholesome actions
Mind is their chief;
They are all mind-wrought.
If with an impure mind
A person speaks or acts
Misery follows him
Like the wheel the foot of the drawing ox.

Mind precedes all wholesome actions
Mind is their chief;
They are all mind-wrought.
If with a pure mind
A person speaks or acts,
Happiness follows him
Like his never-departing shadow.

That is we say Mind as source of happiness or suffering, our daily life actions or performances, good (Kusala) or bad (Akusala) either, with happiness or without. There is the discussion what the Buddhist psychology says about this.

The Mind

(The diagram is not appearing, sorry about that).

The Mental Properties

“The innate world view that happiness and suffering come from external sources leads us to believe that if we could only make others and the world be what we wanted them to be, then we would be happy”, here the external sources is the mental properties of the Mind are called Cetasika (Mental factors or mental properties). They are 52, are of happiness or suffering, either or neither.

Cetasika is the phenomenon, which is associated with the mind or consciousness. There are 52 mental states or properties, The Cetasika –

1. Arise together with consciousness (Citta)
2. Perish together with it
3. Have an identical object with it and
4. Have a common basis with it.

There are seven common properties of a mind; in Pāli it is called ‘Sabba Citta Sādhāarana’. So called on account of being common to all classes of consciousness and they are present in all consciousness:

1. Contact (Phassa)
2. Feeling (Vedanā)
3. Perception (Saññā)
4. Volition (Cetanā)
5. One pointed-ness of the mind (Ekāggatā)
6. Psychic life (Jīvita)
7. Attention (Mānasikāra)

Six particulars, so called because they invariably enter into composition with consciousness,

1. Initial application (Vitakka)
2. Sustained application (Vicāra)
3. Effort (Vīriya)
4. Pleasurable interest (Pīti)
5. Desire to do (Chanda)
6. Deciding (Adhimokkha)

The above thirteen kinds of mental properties are also called mixtures or better consciousness properties.

Immoral Mental Properties

1. Greed (Lobha)
2. Hate (Dosa)
3. Delusion (Moha)
4. Error (Diṭṭhi)
5. Conceit (Māna)
6. Envy (Issa)
7. Selfishness (Macchariya)
8. Worry (Kukkucca)
9. Shamelessness (Ahirika)
10. Recklessness (Anottappa)
11. Distraction (Uddhacca)
12. Sloth (Thina)
13. Torpor (Middha)
14. Perplexity (Vicikicchā)

Moral Mental Properties

The rest are called moral mental properties. They should be cultivated:

1. Disinterestedness (Alobha)
2. Amity (Adosa)
3. Reason (Amoha)
4. Faith (Saddhā)
5. Mindfulness (Sati)
6. Modesty (Hīri)
7. Discretion (Ottāpa)
8. Balance of mind (Tatramajjhattata)
9. Composure of mental properties (Kāyapassaddhi)
10. Composure on mind (Cittapassaddhi)
11. Buoyancy of mental properties (Kāyalahūta)
12. Buoyancy of mind (Cittalahūa)
13. Pliancy of mental properties (Kāyamadua)
14. Pliancy of mind (Cittamadua)
15. Adaptability of mental properties (Kāyakammaññata)
16. Adaptability of mind (Cittakammaññata)
17. Proficiency of mental properties (kāyapaguññata)
18. Proficiency of mind (Cittapaguññata)
19. Rectitude of mental properties (Kāyujukata)
20. Rectitude of mind (Cittujukata)
21. Right speech (Sammavācā)
22. Right action (Sammakammanta)
23. Right livelihood (Sammājīva)
24. Pity (Compassion)(Karūṇā)
25. Appreciation (Mūditā)

They are as sources of happiness and suffering. In canonical texts they are called as wholesome (Kusala) and unwholesome (Akusala).

Mental Properties with Good or Bad

Among them, some mental properties associated with either good or bad (Happiness or suffering). They are number 1 to 7 and 1 to 6, altogether 13 mental properties (contact, feeling,. will).

Mental Properties of Feeling

The six kinds of (external) objects such as form or sight (Rūpārammana), sound and so on, each of these same six objects can be subdivided into 3 aspects-

1 Desirable objects (Itthārammana) - beautiful appearance, sweet sound, enticing smell, relishing taste, sensual touch, good names, excellent building, houses, car, and so on.

2 Undesirable objects (Anitthārammana) - ugly appearance, horrid sound, oppressive smell, and insipid taste, unwholesome touch, bad names and squalid building, and so on.

3 Moderately desirable objects (Itthamajjhatthārammana) - an object which is not included in good or bad, desirable or undesirable.

The term Vedanā is either of Happiness or suffering. There are five kinds of feeling-

1 Happiness (Sukha), the Vedanā that enjoys that good taste.
2 Suffering (Dukkha), the Vedanā that enjoys the bad taste.
3 Mental well-being (Somanassa), so called because people enjoy the good taste, they do so joyfully. It becomes prominent while enjoying sensual pleasures.
4 Mental suffering (Domanassa), it is just the opposite feeling of Sukha or Somanassa
5 Neutral feeling (Upekkhā), the tastes that are not evidently good or evidently bad, the Vedanā that enjoys that taste is called Upekkha Vedanā, neutral feeling. Because enjoying or experiencing the taste if this Vedanā is not evident, one may not be aware of it when one is enjoying or experiencing it. But while experiencing many objects when one is sitting, walking, going or coming many neutral feelings that are not evidently experiencing the taste of the objects, are arising.

The feeling (in general) experiences the taste of the objects that have to do with wholesome states as well as those that have to do with unwholesome states. Since it can experience the taste of both good or bad and bad objects, noticing that when someone says- “I enjoy sensual pleasures,” or “I enjoy the taste of the Dhamma,” This is happiness or unhappiness meant.

Recognition of the Mind (Saññā)

It is making marks or noting. This making mark is evident only in those who are unintelligent and not well-informed. When children are told, “This is your father, this is your mother,” they store in their memory “Papa” and “Mama”. When we visit a strange town we note everything that is strange to us. So, far everybody’s Saññā functions in diverse ways, happiness or suffering.

Saññā of the Mind affords two advantages; when a person comes to know an action is good or wholesome. At a later time too he remembers that this action as it is good. Saññā is difference from Paññā (wisdom or knowledge) which recognizes only what is correct. But Saññā makes notes of what is wrong and what is right, (what is happiness and suffering).

Saññā Mistaken As Sati

Recalling one’s virtuous performances is due to Mindfulness (Sati), as well as to good Saññā. But true mindfulness occurs only in the realm ok Kusala (good performances). However there are also false Saññā and unreal Sati, too. Remembering one’s first love for many years is unwholesome (Akusala), and it is not real mindfulness.

Volition is Action

“Cetanāhaṁ bhikkhave kammaṁ vadāmi”- Monks- I declare Volition is action, the Buddha said. Following this statement, note that when the volition is forceful, action is strong; when the volition is feeble, action is weak, either in good or bad sense. Suppose, good is happiness, and bad is suffering. Buddhist teaching is to do good, not to do bad, can say, enjoy the happiness and prevent the suffering.


On this circumstance, either of happiness or suffering, rehabilitation is that the developing and cultivating the mental factors that are wholesome and indifference. Ven. Teubten Chodron says there are patience and love to be cultivated to oppose anger, and so on. This is the four sublime states of the mind, also called BrahmaVihāra. The perfect rehabilitation of the mind, they are

1. Mettā- loving-kindness, keeping mind incessantly occupied with mettā, for all. Mettā must be developed so that the mind becomes enriched with loving kindness.
2. Karūṇā- loving compassion, for all beings suffering from misery, must be developed and cultivated.
3. Mūditā- Sympathetic joy, at the success, prosperity and achievement of others. It is the sincere wish to let others continue enjoying their wealth, position, progress, happiness, fame, and so on.
4. Upekkhā- indifference feeling or equanimity, which is viewing rightly and having no partiality, an unshaken mind in blames and praises, good or bad.


The wholesome mental properties should be developed; mind should be cultured and cultivated through them. Even though, in Buddhist ultimate sense Mind (and Matter or Nāma-rūpa) is suffering (saṅkittena Pañcuppādanakkhandha dukkha). As long as we do or develop our wholesome actions, we are happy in this very life.

Section 2

Cultivating Mindfulness in Buddhist Practice


The word Bhāvanā we find often in Buddhist term which has various meanings. Generally in English is called Meditation. Literally it is meant ‘(something) calling into existence.’ But some traditional Buddhist scholars used to translate as ‘mental development’ or mental culturing. The word ‘meditation’ means many different things to many different people. And practicing meditation is not a ritual or a ceremony to be performed. It is no sense a mythical state. Meditation is a straightforward practice designed to cultivate awareness of the present moment. But in Buddhism, as the Buddha’s teaching, Buddhists give priority to practice meditation. The term Mindfulness which is called Sati, also has many different meanings as California Buddhist Vihāra society defines. The importance, cultivation, and all about the Mindfulness have explained in early Buddhist discourse which is called Discourse on Great Mindfulness (Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta).

This is The Only Way

(The cultivation of) Mindfulness, the Buddha said this is the only one way or direct way (Ekāyano maggo) for-

1. the Purification of beings (Mind)- (Sattānaṃ visuddhiyā)
2. for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation (Sokaparidevānaṃ samatikkamāya)
3. for the disappearance of pain and grief (Dukkhadomanassānaṃ atthaṅgamāya)
4. for reaching the noble path (ñāyassa adhigamāya)
5. for the realization of Nibbāna (Nibbānassa sacchikiriyāya)

And the way is four foundations of Mindfulness (Cattāro satipaṭṭhānā), they are

1. Mindfulness of the body in the body- (Kāyānupassanā)
2. Mindfulness of feelings –(Vedanānupassanā)
3. Mindfulness of consciousness –(Cittānupassanā)
4. Mindfulness of the nature (Dhamma)- Dhammānupassanā

Who is Mindful in Mindfulness?

As we have discussed that the human body is a psychophysical complex, nothing but only form, feeling, perception, formation, and consciousness. If it is asked who meditate then, answer is the consciousness (Viññāṇa) meditates depend on others or taking help from other aggregates.

So, when the consciousness conscious as desirable objects, or the negative emotions, anxiety, stress, depression, anger, guilt, shame, frustration, boredom, and so on, we suffer. So, our main purpose of the Buddhist Psychotherapy is to keep the Mind in possessive emotions, to make the Mind controlled, calm, and tranquil, to make it enable to be freed from suffering.

The intrinsic value of the method of cultivating Mindfulness is that, by making us more aware of ourselves, it can lead to an appreciation of our individual place in life with regards to the behaviors. We are able to face the vicissitudes of life peacefully, calmly and wisely. By following the method of Mind cultivating we will be able to live as neurosis-free beings, free from fear and worry. In our daily life, this alone is enough justification for the regular practice of this method or meditation. But it is also brings the further benefits of a greater understanding of life, leading to purity of behavior, speech, and thought, and a deep serenity born of seeing the world as it really is, not as we wish it to be. But in ultimate sense, as Buddhism prescribes that it is the way of making Mind enlightenment. Generally, our Minds are clouded by defilement, lust and ignorance, so, we are unable to see things in their proper nature. It is like looking through a veil or a piece of tinted glass. We do not see the things as we would like them to be. For instance, because we like to perceive our bodies as objects of beauty, we spend much time and efforts to decorate of beautify them with attractive clothes, cosmetics, and various perfumes. All of these establishments prevent us from seeing the real nature of the body, which in its true state is not so attractive. Buddhist meditation enables us to see the things as they really are, shorn of our preconceived ideas, our projections, our likes and dislikes. The elders say, ‘one who ever has not practiced meditation (Bhāvanā), can not claim that he or she is a real Buddhist.’ In this sense, according to Buddhist Psychotherapy point of view, we can say, who ever has not tried to cultivate the Mind or Mindfulness, he or she is the unable one to recognize that he or she is a human being.

In Buddhist practice there are two methods of Mind culturing, or two kinds of meditation.
1. Tranquility method (Samatha)
2. Insight method (Vipassanā)

Tranquility Method (Samatha)

Concentration is the indispensable foundation and precondition of insight by purifying the Mind from the five great internal hindrances.
It is the most effective method. The system of this method is taking one object through the Mind and being Mindful or contemplated on it time to time. When a meditator contemplates only one object time to time Mind becomes fully concentrated on the object. That time the unwholesome mental state can not arise on Mind, and continuous contemplation makes Mind peaceful and calm.

According to the Visuddhimagga commentary there are 40 kinds of Tranquility meditation or in 40 ways one can make Mind calm, tranquil, and one-pointed. They are following-

1. 10 device meditation (Kasina)
2. 10 Loathsome (Asubha)
3. 10 recollections (Anussati)
4. 4 Sublimes Abodes (Brahma-Vihāra)
5. 4 Immaterial Spheres (Arūpāyatana)
6. 1 Perception of the loathsomeness of food (Āhārepaṭikulasaññā)
7. 1 Analysis of the 4 elements (Catudhātuvavatthana).

It should be noticed that these 40 kinds of method are suitable to according to the persons’ temperaments. As we knew there are six kinds of person with different temperaments. For instance, those who are greedy rooted, all the time seeking for sensual pleasures; loathsome (Asubha) meditation is suitable for them. But the recollection (Anussati) meditation is suitable for as much as all kinds of tempered, especially the in breath and out breath meditation (Ānāpanassati).

Insight Method (Vipassanā)

Insight is the intuitive light flashing forth and exposing the truth of the impermanence, the suffering and the impersonal and unsubstantial nature of all corporeal and mental phenomena of existence. It is insight wisdom that is the decisive liberating factor in Buddhism, though it has to develop along with the two other trainings in morality and concentration.

The Buddha said this is the only way or (direct way) for the purification of the Mind. It trains us initially to see the Mind-body process as it occurs within ourselves, and then see the real nature of this external thing. We need to be aware of the Buddhist teaching with regard to the nature of the Mind and body which is said to consist of five portions. The meditator comes to see this individuality and as phenomena subjects to continues change.

The insight that we gain from this practice is unique because people do not usually look at their own experience in this way. In daily life, people often have distorted perceptions, views and opinions, which cloud their insight into reality. Therefore, this method of insight meditation is said to be direct way to purification.

There are some more modern explanation of this is found in the Book “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabit-Zinn. Some definitions also found in the lecture of California Buddhist Vihāra society in details. A 18 days of Mindfulness exercise quotes that this is such a pure Vipassanā meditation that we can apply in daily life. But it is true that it is not easy to see the reality unless the Mind is calmed, concentrated, and pure, unless the sense faculties are controlled.

In Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna, which is explained as the Mindfulness with clear Comprehension (Sampajānapabbaṃ)

The Postures of the Body

There are five kinds of body postures marked in this method. They are-

1. Going
2. Standing
3. Sitting
4. Lying
5. Body is in any disposed.

Being fully aware of his body posture is the method of this meditation. Such as, when he goes somewhere he knows, that I ‘m going, when he stands, he knows that I’m standing.

Mindfulness with Clear Comprehension

This is the method that fully comprehended in the every movement of the body. Such as one in going forward and in going back, applies clear comprehension. In looking straight on and in looking away from the front, applies clear comprehension. In bending his limbs and in stretching his limbs, applies clear comprehension. Eating, drinking, touching the thing, wearing cloths, whenever, applies the clear comprehension.

Samatha and Vipassanā Together!

Especially in Burma (Myanmar) some popular meditation centers notice about this argument whether it is Samatha or Vipassanā, or either. Because the Ānāpanassati Bhāvanā found in both methods. For a beginner the first stage of in Vipassanā meditation practice can be called a learning stage. Even though he or she is not the beginner but to start especially in sitting meditation should take breathing as primary object. Or the rise and fall of the abdomen or even something else which is physical. But a very meaningful and reliable explanation in this argument has found in the interview of Venerable Nyānaraṃsi in Eastern Horizon the Buddhist Magazine published in Malaysia. He says, “You can combine both methods. He recommends the Vipassanā method as a start and later one can learn Samatha. Samatha meditation functions as a support for the Vipassanā practice. As we say Samatha is the method which makes Mind calm, and without calm Mind one can not practice Vipassanā properly. Venerable Nyānaraṃsi recommends that a session of mettā meditation can be used to reduce restlessness in our Mind before switching back to Vipassanā. And mettā meditation is one of the Samatha meditations. When a person has gone through a long and intensive Vipassanā retreat, he is advice to take a period of rest for about two or three weeks to do mettā meditation. Very interesting to mention that he was the Conductor of the Meditation Center since I was practicing meditation in Burma.

Mind Mastery

There are 8 kinds of sphere of Mind mastery that we find in Buddhist texts. It is also like the practicing the right Mindfulness.

1. When, personally conscious of body, any one sees forms exterior to himself whether limited, lovely and ugly, he is thus conscious. ‘Having mastered them, I know, I see them’. This is the first sphere of mastery.
2. When, personally conscious of body, any one sees forms exterior to himself, whether boundless, lovely or ugly, he is thus conscious. ‘Having mastered them, I know, I see them’. This is the second sphere of mastery.
3. When, personally unconscious of body, any one sees forms exterior to himself, whether limited, lovely or ugly, he is thus conscious. ‘Having mastered them, I know, I see them’. This is the third sphere of mastery.
4. When, personally unconscious of body, any one sees forms exterior to himself, whether boundless, lovely or ugly, he is thus conscious’. ‘Having mastered them, I know, I see them’. This is the fourth sphere of mastery.
5. When, personally unconscious of body, any one sees the forms exterior to himself, blue, blue in color, blue in appearance, reflecting blue, he is thus conscious. ‘Having mastered them, I know, I see them.’ This is the fifth sphere of mastery.
6. When, personally unconscious of body, any one sees the forms exterior to himself, yellow, yellow in color, yellow in appearance, reflecting yellow, he is thus conscious. ‘Having mastered them, I know, I see them.’ This is the fifth sphere of mastery.
7. When, personally unconscious of body, any one sees the forms exterior to himself, red, red in color, red in appearance, reflecting red, he is thus conscious. ‘Having mastered them, I know, I see them.’ This is the fifth sphere of mastery.
8. When, personally unconscious of body, any one sees the forms exterior to himself, white, white in color, white in appearance, reflecting white, he is thus conscious. ‘Having mastered them, I know, I see them.’ This is the fifth sphere of mastery.


It is important to cultivate Mindfulness, and for this Buddhist practice is unique. Jon Kabit-Zinn uses Mindfulness as Medicine. There is a saying in canon, ‘the world is leading by Mind’ (Cittena niyate loke). Lust, hate, love, compassion, violence etc are arising time to time though Mind. To overcome them we must cultivate Mindfulness or train the Mind. The Mind does this by following a threefold training; morality (Sīla, concentration (Samādhi) and discernment or wisdom (Paññā). Morality provides the joy & freedom from remorse that are essential for concentration. Concentration provides an internal basis of pleasure, rapture, equanimity, & singleness of Mind that is not dependent on sensual objects, so that discernment can have the strength to cut through the Mind’s clinging. Discernment functions by viewing these clinging as part of a chain; seeing their origin, their passing away, their allure, the drawbacks of their results, finally, emancipation from them, to be said Mindfulness is cultivated.

Section 3

Exploring Mindfulness in My Own Life

By the year 1999, for first time I had participated a 10 days meditation course since I was a 5th month novice (Samaṇera). But true that I could not enjoy the course, finally I found the reason that at that time I did not know why we should meditate. Even though I could not enjoy the meditation at that time but the habit of meditation as it was a schedule for meditation was strong with me and later on often I was keeping in practicing. At least once or twice or more a day I was practicing, and I discussed about the meditation course to friends that the teacher said so and so.

From my novice-hood I had a dream to visit Burma and practice there meditation. After the 10 days course the desire became stronger. Fortunately, in 2002 I got a scholarship from Burma Government to study in International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, Yangon. We started to attend the classes. The curriculums were from original Tipiṭaka, finally I came to know this curriculum is pure Buddhist teaching and derived from original texts.

Most important thing was the meditation classes, both practical and theory. We had been taught how to practice both Samatha and Vipassanā meditation, in daily life, and how to be mindful in every movement of the movements.

We had vacation twice in an academic year. That time mostly students used to go meditation centers, for that the authority takes care of them. I was undertaking meditation seriously. Day by day everything came into balance. Because there was only meditation, while eating, walking, bathing, every where. In sitting meditation I was recommended by the teacher that should start with in breathing and out breathing meditation or rising and falling movement of abdomen. This method helped to be interested and long times mindfulness.

This background is my present foundation of daily life mindfulness. For firstly I could not enjoy the course because I did not know about why should we meditate. Its like one who gets sick and then takes medicine. But in meditation center I was so delighted and encouraged because I knew that time why we should meditate. Because I had been taught that this or that is suffering, and the method which leads to the end of suffering. I realized Mindfulness is the best thing in our daily life.

What is the Felt Experience of Mindfulness?

Since that time, as I said I was suffering from loneliness, stress, and sleepless. When I came to undertaking mindfulness meditation, regular, time to time, I got a big change of my experience. I forgot all aloneness, kept balance in stress, and had good sleep later on. Still I do the same when ever I face such negative emotions. It helps me to be happy in my daily life.

How Has Mindfulness Helped Me Negotiate the Challenge in My Life?

Everybody has dreams in life. Me too, but it’s quite different than others as I m a Buddhist monk. Even though a Buddhist monk, as I’m said to be a Puthujjana (Worldly or the ordinary person). That this we are heard often from the text. That is I remember all the time that good and bad both is possible for me. Through my knowledge and my struggle may be I could gain some good but what we know the thing that all are impermanence (Anicca), suffering (Dukkha), non-self (Anatta). Such kind of mindfulness helped me to negotiate the challenge in my life.

Before practicing mindfulness and later the dreams have changed, with the balance. We feel sorry when we are lost; we lament, cry, or get angry. When we are in success, we are happy, become greedier, we look for more, proud, conceit, arrogance. When some one blames us we feel shame and sorry, when some one praises us we feel proud. Both are not good. That’s why the Buddha said one who is unshaken in either blame or praise; he or she is the perfect wise one. That the thing I remember in such situation, and it helps me to be balanced.

As I came to know the Buddha’s teachings, it reminds me that association with dislike one is suffering, disassociate from beloved one is suffering, not getting what one wants is suffering. Practicing equanimity (Upekkhā) is the best for this situation that I realized. If I do good, it will bring me good result; if I do bad it will bring me bad result. It is what the Buddha said the teaching of Kamma and Kammaivipāka, and Paṭiccasamuppāda.

Usually I start my day with good thing, such as I practice Ānāpanassati early in the bed. Wish all good to all; I control my verbal, bodily, and mental actions as much as I can. As a monk I show my loving kindness even to an insect in the street seeing it is in suffering. Knowingly I don’t hurt even an ant crossing the street. These things make me humble, and polite.

I would like to say mindfulness is a protection from all dangers, as medicine for recovering suffering, a key to mental happiness.

A very interesting verse always comes through my mind that-

“Mindfulness is the path to the deathless,
Mindful-less-ness is the path to death.
Mindful one does not die,
One who is not mindful,
Already dead.”

Section 4

Mindfulness and Psychotherapy

The Attitudinal Foundation of Mindfulness Practice

The judgment of good makes us feel good or happy. And the judgment of bad makes us feel bad or suffering. Jon Kabit-Zinn recommends that not to judge, just let it be and see how long it does, says, when you find the mind judging, you don’t have to stop it from doing that. All that is required is to be aware of it happening. No need to judge the judging and make matters even more complicated for yourself. Patience is a form of wisdom, in such situation we should be patience with the mind and its functions. The beginner’s mind, need to be cultivated first which is willing to see everything as if for the first time. In this case a particular technique might be use, either sitting meditation or Yoga (Samatha). It is just an experience for the further development of the beginner’s mind.
Thrust attitude and basic wisdom of individual is very important in all aspects of the meditation practice. Not in the reputation of teacher and authority, we must honor our own feeling and intuition, with us, here and now. However, a purpose can be a real obstacle this is because meditation is different from all other human activities. It has only one goal that is only to be with the mind. Accept that u have a headache, if you don’t, a conflict might arise between mind and its feelings. Accept when it should be. Often our minds get us caught in very much the same way in spite of all our intelligence. For this reason, cultivating the attitude of letting go, or non-attachment, is fundamental to the practice of mindfulness. The experience, letting go is a way of letting thing be, of accepting things as they are.

Therapy and Meditation

These both are a path to wholeness as it has distinct by the Author, with his case studies and his own experiences. The nature of meditation and therapy is the same, and a path to wholeness. He says if we really want to live a full life, both the ancient tradition of Buddhism and the modern one of psychotherapy tell us that we must recover the capacity to feel. Avoiding emotions will only wall us off from our true selves, infect there can be no wholeness without an integration of feelings. Both traditions have discovered that the way to plumb the full depths of our emotional being is by letting ourselves go, by surrounding to who we really are. And both traditions understand that we need a state of reverie in order to know our emotions. Whether that reverie comes through meditation or the quiet holding space of therapy, it is always necessary. The author further says that meditation seeks to create an inner holding environment for the raw material of emotional experience through non-judgmental awareness. Same way meditation acts like a stealth bomber, sneaking through all the defenses and illuminating the central fortress of the heart. Buddhism teaches us again and again that uncovering and experiencing difficult feelings does not make them go away, but does enable us to practice tolerance and understanding wit the entirety of our being. He comments that western therapy can learn to make use of the Buddhist emphasis on acceptance of feelings rather than talking and analyzing. The therapist and patient can create a situation in which these unacknowledged emotions are finally given breathing space.

Buddhism as Psychotherapy

In psychotherapeutic aspect of Buddhism is entirely psychotherapy. There are many references to refer this argument found in Canonical texts. Especially in Aṅguttara Nikāya it is mention that “there are two kinds of disease, Physical and mental. There are
People who enjoy freedom from physical disease for one year, two years,…….. even for a hundred year or more than. But rare in this world are that who enjoy freedom from mental disease even for a one moment, except the Arahant or a perfected disciple of the Buddha it is recognized by the Buddhist scholars that the ultimate aim of the Buddha, according to the Pāli Nikāyas, is to produce Arahant. Arahantship was the culmination of the original Buddhist practice. If the Arahant only is the person with perfect mental health, the aim of the Buddha was to produce mentally healthy personalities. This means that Buddhism as a psychotherapy or rather than ultimate psychotherapy.
The Buddha himself claimed in many occasions that he is not only the Buddha but also the “Unsurpassable physician and surgeon (anuttaro bhisakko sallakatto) and also the “Unsurpassable trainer of persons” (anuttaro purisadammo sārathi). In modern psychological language may be called as the “Super Psychiatrist” and the “Super Personality Trainer”.
There are many therapeutic technique of the Buddha. In Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta of Saṃyutta Nikāya is it mentioned that there are two extreme modes of living to be avoided. One is the pursuit of sensual pleasure which is bi-polarized as seeking sensual pleasure and avoiding sensual pains. The other extreme is self mortification and asceticism. Avoiding both, the Buddha teaches a third intermediate way called Majjhimapatipadā, which consists of an awareness of reality and is accompanied by thinking, speaking, acting and living in harmony with it.
The Freudian concept of ID, or Ego or Super Ego, what the Buddha said about 2550 years ago that is Taṇhā, thirst, is threefold, thirst for pleasure, the thirst for existence, and the thirst for non-existence. There are many other remarkable teaching of the Buddha which is related to this point, such as the teaching of self or non-self, the three universal characteristics, the dependent originations, Kamma and its results. Having seen all the therapeutic techniques of the Buddha we can say that Buddhism as psychotherapy.

The Essence of Buddha Abhidhamma

The Abhidhamma Piṭaka, which is the third and great collection of the Buddhist Teachings. The subject matter of Abhidhamma is the four ultimate realities and the causal relations between them. The treatment of the subject-matter is highly technical and remarkably systematic making use of purely philosophical terms true in the absolute sense.
If one can patiently study the treaties on Abhidhamma, one can not but admires the profound wisdom and the penetrative insight of the Buddha. But it is not easy to study one’s own effort. But there is well known treatise called Abhidhammattha Saṅgha, written by Ven. Anuruddha in India. The subject matter of this book is the essential facts of Abhidhamma.


There are two kinds of realities.
1 Paññatti Sacca- the conceptional or conventional truth or the name. Such as man, car, chair, table, and so on.
2 Paramāttha Sacca- the ultimate realities

From the point of scientific view, man, house or all living and non-living things are not ultimate realities since they are composed of electrons, protons, neutrons and energy. Furthermore, since all the sub atomic particles may be regarded as bundles of energy, only may be taken as the ultimate reality in science. Likewise, in Abhidhamma, all the ultimate realities have been analyzed.

There are four Paramāttha or ultimate realities in Abhidhamma
1 Citta- consciousness of the sense or awareness of an object, generally called the mind.
2 Cetasika- mental factors or mental concomitants. What we called the mind is actually a combination Citta and Cetasika. Cetasikas are 52 kinds.
3 Rūpa- corporeality or material quality. They are changeable. There are 28 kinds of Rūpa.
4 Nibbāna- extension of defilements and suffering, perfect liberation.

Citta and Cetasika collectively called Nāma (Mind). A person is made up of Rūpa, Citta and Cetasika, shortly called Nāma-rūpa- (Mind-matter). Nibbāna, the principal of cessation of suffering and lasting peace which always existing in nature. It can be realized only by the wisdom eye accompanied by the path and its fruition (Magga-phala Nana).
The study of Abhidhamma furnishes one with the right view that “I” or the Atta does not exist and what really exist in man are these four ultimate realities i.e. Citta, Cetasika, Rūpa. Understanding the mental states can help one to control one’s temperament. And to avoid unwholesome mental states, thus reducing mental suffering and curing many mental states.
Abhidhamma is really the golden knowledge which will help one to discard wrong views and to acquire the right view for one’s total liberation from all miseries.


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