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Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, and all of the others, including Love.One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left.Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment.

When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, "Richness, can you take me with you?" Richness answered, "No I can't..There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place for you here."

Love decided to ask Vanity, who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel, "Vanity, please help me!" "I can't help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat," Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, "Sadness let me go with you." "Oh...Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!"

Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her!

Suddenly, there was a voice, "Come Love, I will take you." It was an elder. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder her name.

When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way. Love, realizing how much he owed the elder, asked Knowledge, another elder, "Who helped me?"

"It was Time," Knowledge answered.

"Time?" asked Love. "But why did Time help me?

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, "Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.

The lovely mangoes and monsoon rains , a reason enough to smile in hot summers in india ; enjoying nature's bounties in the lap of mother earth below blue skies and being able to enjoy all this love is my feeling of being blessed by God . Sitting with a smile with the same feeling of ' i knew it !'..Coinciding with summer solistice of 2011 , three year tete-a-tete with yahoo people comes to a glorious end , leaving me feeling more assured of my intution whenever it has occured to me .

Coming from a person who has been close to understanding the spiritual essence , one might label it as a sense gratification to indulge in the comfort that nature provides . Still the hot summers make you feel weary in a short span of time and the rains are elixir of life ! the rainy season inspired many a poets of all genres to describe its beauty in most delicate and yet exquisite words.

And this comforting silence makes the voices within me more louder , shhhh.... trying to hear them what they say ...

Certain excellent things i have learnt in past 6 years of seclusion is : Trust your INTUTION , that small faint voice in your heart and head that says something to u . Whenever something is not right and you just cant clearly pin point whats wrong ,and that faint voice says something , listen to it , dont shut it inside !!!

ITS THIS VOICE , you will be happy if you learn to listen to it , you will always be thankful ,it can happen in any situation , taking one way or the other while being lost in traffic on road or while being lost in the traffic of your thoughts or while taking any major decisions of your life , learn to hear that faint voice ..

Strong samskaras of dharma play a significant role in forming correct intution and hence guiding from within . Here , dont confuse "dharma" with several " religions and sects " , "following certain rituals " etc . Dharma means in context of vipassna meditation posts i have posted below . It means universal truths in perfect rhythm ,harmony and balance with nature .

It is a curse to the person himself and others and whole humanity infact, if a person has knowledge of material creation and is wealthy coz of his heritage or lineage or efforts but is not a dharma follower! Who would disagree with me seeing the levels of corruption( moral , intellectual and financial) and anti-human and anti-life activities going on in our present environs. The true dharma guides one towards his or her destiny otherwise one will never know how to optimise one's resources of time , energy and wealth and knowledge in a worthy manner .

In this competitive environment , most are trained by our present education to serve our needs and replenish our greed usually and to live out an animal existence pursuing survival instinct and sense pleasures as an end in itself , unless some good karma bestows one with wisdom and dharma , a possession of lucky few , and prods them to use their gifts guided by dharma in every breath and moment of their existence , speech and deeds .

The current blog of mine is an effort in this direction to let as many people gain the benefit of dharma as possible and live a happy life ever with peace , stability , and luminosity and a sense of purpose throughout their existence .

May all beings be happy and liberated !

How to continue practising after the end of the course

Working one day after the other, we have come to the closing day of this Dhamma seminar. When you started the work, you were asked to surrender completely to the technique and discipline of the course. Without this surrender, you could not have given a fair trial to the technique. Now ten days are over; you are your own master. When you return to your home, you will review calmly what you have done here. If you find that what you have learned here is practical, logical, and beneficial to yourself and to all others, then you should accept it--not because someone has asked you to do so, but with a free will, of your own accord; not just for ten days, but for your whole life.

The acceptance must be not merely at the intellectual or emotional level. One has to accept Dhamma at the actual level by applying it, making it a part of one's life, because only the actual practice of Dhamma will give tangible benefits in daily life.

You joined this course to learn how to practise Dhamma--how to live a life of morality, of mastery over one's mind, of purity of mind. Every evening, Dhamma talks were given merely to clarify the practice. It is necessary to understand what one is doing and why, so that one will not become confused or work in a wrong way. However, in the explanation of the practice, certain aspects of the theory inevitably were mentioned, and since different people from different backgrounds come to a course, it is quite possible that some may have found part of the theory unacceptable. If so, never mind, leave it aside. More important is the practice of Dhamma. No one can object to living a life that does not harm others, to developing control of one's mind, to freeing the mind of defilements and generating love and good will. The practice is universally acceptable, and this is the most significant aspect of Dhamma, because whatever benefit one gets will be not from theories but from practice, from applying Dhamma in one's life.

In ten days one can get only a rough outline of the technique; one cannot expect to become perfect in it so quickly. But even this brief experience should not be undervalued: you have taken the first step, a very important step, although the journey is long--indeed, it is a lifetime job.

A seed of Dhamma has been sown, and has started sprouting into a plant. A good gardener takes special care of a young plant, and because of the service given it, that little plant gradually grows into a huge tree with thick trunkand deep roots. Then, instead of requiring service, it keeps giving, serving, for the rest of its life.

This little plant of Dhamma requires service now. Protect it from the criticism of others by making a distinction between the theory, to which some might object, and the practice, which is acceptable to all. Don't allow such criticism to stop your practice. Meditate one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. This regular, daily practice is essential. At first it may seem a heavy burden to devote two hours a day to meditation, but you will soon find that much time will be saved that was wasted in the past. Firstly, you will need less time for sleep. Secondly, you will be able to complete your work more quickly, because your capacity for work will increase. When a problem arises you will remain balanced, and will be able immediately to find the correct solution. As you become established in the technique, you will find that having meditated in the morning, you are full of energy throughout the day, without any agitation.

When you go to bed at night, for five minutes be aware of sensations anywhere in the body before you fall asleep. Next morning, as soon as you wake up, again observe sensations within for five minutes. These few minutes of meditation immediately before falling asleep and after waking up will prove very helpful.

If you live in an area where there are other Vipassana meditators, once a week meditate together for an hour. And once a year, a ten-day retreat is a must. Daily practice will enable you to maintain what you have achieved here, but a retreat is essential in order to go deeper; there is still a long way to go. If you can come to an organized course like this, very good. If not, you can still have a retreat by yourself. Do a self-course for ten days, wherever you can be secluded from others, and where someone can prepare your meals for you. You know the technique, the timetable, the discipline; you have to impose all that on yourself now. If you wish to inform your teacher in advance that you are starting a self course, I shall remember you and send my metta, vibrations of good will; this will help to establish a healthy atmosphere in which you can work better. However, if you have not informed your teacher, you should not feel weak. Dhamma itself will protect you. Gradually you must reach a stage of self-dependence. The teacher is only a guide; you have to be your own master. Depending on anyone, all the time, is no liberation.

Daily meditation of two hours and yearly retreats of ten days are only the minimum necessary to maintain the practice. If you have more free time, you should use it for meditation. You may do short courses of a week, or a few days, even one day. In such short courses, devote the first one third of your time to the practice of Anapana, and the rest to Vipassana.

In your daily meditation, use most of the time for the practice of Vipassana. Only if your mind is agitated or dull, if for any reason it is difficult to observe sensations and maintain equanimity, then practise Anapana for as long as necessary.

When practising Vipassana, be careful not to play the game of sensations, becoming elated with pleasant ones and depressed with unpleasant ones. Observe every sensation objectively. Keep moving your attention systematically throughout the body, not allowing it to remain on one part for long periods. A maximum of two minutes is enough in any part, or up to five minutes in rare cases, but never more than that. Keep the attention moving to maintain awareness of sensation in every part of the body. If the practice starts to become mechanical, change the way in which you move your attention. In every situation remain aware and equanimous, and you will experience the wonderful benefits of Vipassana.

In active life as well you must apply the technique, not only when you sit with eyes closed. When you are working, all attention should be on your work; consider it as your meditation at this time. But if there is spare time, even for five or ten minutes, spend it in awareness of sensations; when you start work again, you will feel refreshed. Be careful, however, that when you meditate in public, in the presence of non-meditators, you keep your eyes open; never make a show of the practice of Dhamma.

If you practise Vipassana properly, a change must come for better in your life. You should check your progress on the path by checking your conduct in daily situations, in your behavior and dealings with other people. Instead of harming others, have you started helping them? When unwanted situations occur, do you remain balanced? If negativity starts in the mind, how quickly are you aware of it? How quickly are you aware of the sensations that arise along with the negativity? How quickly do you start observing the sensations? How quickly do you regain a mental balance, and start generating love and compassion? In this way examine yourself, and keep progressing on the path.

Whatever you have attained here, not only preserve it, but make it grow. Keep applying Dhamma in your life. Enjoy all the benefits of this technique, and live a happy, peaceful, harmonious life, good for you and for all others.

One word of warning: you are welcome to tell others what you have learned here; there is never any secrecy in Dhamma. But at this stage, do not try to teach the technique. Before doing that, one must be ripened in the practice, and must be trained to teach. Otherwise there is the danger of harming others instead of helping them. If someone you have told about Vipassana wishes to practise it, encourage that person to join an organized course like this, led by a proper guide. For now, keep working to establish yourself in Dhamma. Keep growing in Dhamma, and you will find that by the example of your life, you automatically attract others to the path.

May Dhamma spread around the world, for the good and benefit of many.

May all beings be happy, be peaceful be liberated!

Review of the technique

Ten days are over. Let us review what you have done during
these ten days. You started your work by taking refuge in the
Triple Gem, that is, in Buddha, in Dhamma, in Sangha. By doing
so you were not being converted from one organized religion
to another. In Vipassana the conversion is only from misery to
happiness, from ignorance to wisdom, from bondage to
liberation. The entire teaching is universal. You took refuge
not in a personality, dogma, or sect,but in the quality of
enlightenment. Someone who discovers the way to
enlightenment is a Buddha. The way that he finds is called the
Dhamma. All who practise this way and reach the
stage of saintliness are called Sangha. Inspired by such
persons, one takes refuge in Buddha,Dhamma, and Sangha in
order to attain the same goal of purity of mind. The refuge is
actually in the universal quality of enlightenment which one
seeks to develop in oneself.

At the same time, in any person who progresses on the path
there will arise a feeling of gratitude and also a volition to
serve others without expecting anything in return. These two
qualities were notable in Siddhattha Gotama, the historical
Buddha. He had achieved enlightenment entirely by his own
efforts. Nevertheless, out of compassion for all beings, he
sought to teach the technique he had found to others.

The same qualities will appear in all who practise the
technique and who eradicate, to some extent, the old habit of
egotism. The real refuge, the real protection, is the Dhamma
that you develop in yourself. However, along with the
experience of Dhamma there is bound to grow a feeling of
gratitude to Gotama the Buddha for finding and teaching this
technique, and gratitude as well to those who selflessly strove
to maintain the teaching in its original purity through
twenty-five centuries to the present day.

With this understanding you took refuge in the Triple Gem.

Next you took five precepts. This was not a rite or ritual. By
taking these precepts and following them you practised sila,
morality, which is the foundation of the technique. Without a
strong foundation the entire structure of meditation would be
weak.Sila is also universal and nonsectarian. You undertook
to abstain from all actions, physical or vocal, that would
disturb the peace and harmony of others. One who breaks
these precepts must first develop great impurity in the mind,
destroying his own peace and harmony. From the mental level
the impurity develops and expresses itself vocally or
physically. In Vipassana you are trying to purify the mind so
that it becomes really calm and peaceful. You cannot work to
purify the mind while you still continue to perform actions that
agitate and defile it.

But how are you to break out of the vicious cycle in which the
agitated mind performs unwholesome actions that agitate it
still further? A Vipassana course gives you the opportunity.
Because of the heavy programme, the strict discipline, the
vow of silence, and the strongly supportive atmosphere, there
is hardly any likelihood of your breaking the five precepts.
Thus during the ten days you are able to practise sila, and with
this base you can develop samadhi; and this in turn becomes
the base for insight, with which you can penetrate to the
depths of the mind and purify it.

During the course you undertook to observe the five precepts
in order to be able to learn this technique. Having learned it,
one who then decides to accepts and practise Dhamma must
observe the precepts throughout life.

Next you surrendered to the Buddha and your present teacher
for the ten days of the course. This surrender was for the
purpose of giving a fair trial to the technique. Only someone
who has surrendered in this way can work putting forth full
efforts. One who is full of doubts and scepticism cannot work
properly. However, surrendering does not mean developing
blind faith; that has nothing to do with Dhamma. If any doubt
arose in the mind, you were encouraged to come to the
teacher as often as necessary for clarification.

The surrender was also to the discipline and timetable of the
course. These were designed, based on the experience of
thousands of previous students, to enable you to work
continuously so as to derive the greatest possible advantage
from these ten days.

By surrendering you undertook to work exactly as you were
asked. Whatever techniques you might have been practising
previously you were asked to lay aside for the period of the
course. You could obtain the benefit and judge the value o the
technique only by practising it exclusively, in the proper way.
Mixing techniques, on the other hand, could have led you into
serious difficulties.

Then you started your work by practising Anapana meditation
in order to develop mastery of the mind, concentration--
samadhi. You were told to observe mere, natural breath
without adding any word, shape, or form. One reason for this
restriction was to preserve the universality of the technique:
breath is common and acceptable to everyone, but a word or
form may be acceptable to some and not to others.

But there is a more important reason for observing mere
respiration. The whole process is an exploration of the truth
about oneself, about the mental-physical structure as it is, not
as you would like it to be. It is an investigation of reality. You sit
down and close your eyes. There is no sound, no outside
disturbance, no movement of the body. At that moment the
most prominent activity within yourself is respiration. You
begin by observing this reality: natural breath, as it
enters and leaves the nostrils. When you could not feel the
breath, you were permitted to breathe slightly hard, just to fix
your attention in the area of the nostrils, and then once again
you came back to natural, normal, soft breathing. You started
with this gross, apparent truth, and from it you moved further,
deeper, in the direction of subtler truths, of ultimate truth. On
the entire path,at every step you remain with the truth that
you actually experience, from the grossest to the subtlest. You
cannot reach ultimate truth by starting with an imagination.
You will only become entangled in greater imaginations, self-

If you had added a word to the object of respiration, you might
have concentrated the mind more quickly, but there would
have been a danger in doing so. Every word has a particular
vibration. By repeating a word or phrase, one creates an
artificial vibration in which one becomes engulfed.

At the surface level of the mind a layer of peace and harmony
is created, but in the depths impurities remain. The only way to
get rid of these deep-lying impurities is to learn how to observe
them, how to bring them to the surface so that they may pass
away. If one observes only a particular artificial vibration, one
will not be able to observe the various natural vibrations
related to one's impurities, that is, to observe the sensations
arising naturally within the body.Therefore, if one's purpose is
to explore the reality of oneself and to purify the mind, to use
an imaginary word can create obstacles.

Similarly visualization--mentally picturing a shape or form--can
become a barrier to progress.The technique leads to the
dissolving of apparent truth in order to reach ultimate truth.
Apparent,integrated truth is always full of illusions, because at
this level sanna operates, perception, which is distorted by
past reactions. This conditioned perception differentiates and
discriminates, giving rise to preferences and prejudices, to
fresh reactions. But by disintegrating apparent reality, one
gradually comes to experience the ultimate reality of the
mental-physical-structure: nothing but vibrations arising and
passing away every moment. At this stage no differentiation is
possible,and therefore no preferences or prejudices can
arise, no reactions. The technique gradually weakens the
conditioned sanna and hence weakens reactions, leading to
the stage in which perception and sensation cease, that is,
the experience of nibbana. But by deliberately giving
attention to a shape, form, or vision, one remains at the level
of apparent, composed reality and cannot advance beyond it.
For this reason, there should be neither visualization nor

Having concentrated the mind by observing natural breath,
you started to practise Vipassana meditation in order to
develop panna--wisdom, insight into your own nature, which
purifies the mind. From head to feet, you began observing
natural sensations within the body, starting on the
surface and then going deeper, learning to feel sensations
outside, inside, in every part of the body.

Observing reality as it is, without any preconceptions, in order
to disintegrate apparent truth and to reach ultimate truth--this
is Vipassana. The purpose of disintegrating apparent reality is
to enable the meditator to emerge from the illusion of "I". This
illusion is at the root of all our craving and aversion, and leads
to great suffering. One may accept intellectually that it is an
illusion, but this acceptance is not enough to end suffering.
Regardless of religious or philosophical beliefs, one remains
miserable so long as the habit of egotism persists. In order to
break this habit one must experience directly the insubstantial
nature of the mental-physical phenomenon, changing
constantly beyond one's control. This experience alone can
dissolve egotism, leading to the way out of craving and
aversion, out of suffering.

The technique therefore is the exploration, by direct
experience, of the real nature of the phenomenon that one
calls "I, mine". There are two aspects of this phenomenon:
physical and mental, body and mind. The meditator begins by
observing the reality of the body. To experience this reality
directly, one must feel the body, that is, must be aware of
sensations throughout the body. Thus observation of body--
kayanupassana--necessarily involves observation of
sensations --vedananupassana. Similarly one cannot
experience the reality of the mind apart from what arises in the
mind. Thus, observation of mind--cittanupassana--necessarily
involves observation of the mental contents--

This does not mean that one should observe individual
thoughts. If you try to do that, you will start rolling in the
thoughts. You should simply remain aware of the nature of the
mind at this moment; whether craving, aversion, ignorance,
and agitation are present or not. And whatever arises in the
mind, The Buddha discovered, will be accompanied by a
physical sensation. Hence whether the meditator is exploring
the mental or the physical aspect of the phenomenon of "I",
awareness of sensation is essential.

This discovery is the unique contribution of the Buddha, of
central importance in his teaching.Before him in India and
among his contemporaries, there were many who taught and
practised sila and samadhi. Panna also existed, at least
devotional or intellectual wisdom: it was commonly accepted
that mental defilements are the source of suffering, that
craving and aversion must be eliminated in order to purify the
mind and to attain liberation. The Buddha simply found the way
to do it.

What had been lacking was an understanding of the
importance of sensation. Then as now, it was generally
thought that our reactions are to the external objects of
sense--vision, sound, odour,taste, touch, thoughts. However,
observation of the truth within reveals that between the object
and the reaction is a missing link: sensation. The contact of an
object with the corresponding sense door gives rise to
sensation; the sanna assigns a positive or negative valuation,
in accordance with which the sensation becomes pleasant or
unpleasant, and one reacts with craving or aversion. The
process occurs so rapidly that conscious awareness of it
develops only after a reaction has been repeated many times
and has gathered dangerous strength sufficient to
overpower the mind. To deal with the reactions, one must
become aware of them at the point where they start; they start
with sensation, and so one must be aware of sensations. The
discovery of this fact, unknown before him, enabled
Siddhattha Gotama to attain enlightenment,and this is why he
always stressed the importance of sensation. Sensation can
lead to reactions of craving and aversion and hence to
suffering, but sensation can also lead to wisdom with which
one ceases reacting and starts to emerge from suffering.

In Vipassana, any practice that interferes with the awareness
of sensation is harmful, whether it is concentrating on a word
or form, or giving attention merely to physical movements of
the body or to thoughts arising in the mind. You cannot
eradicate suffering unless you go to its source, sensation.

The technique of Vipassana was explained by the Buddha in
the Satipatthana Sutta, the "Discourse on the Establishing of
Awareness." This discourse is divided into sections examining
the various aspects of the technique; observation of body, of
sensations, of mind, and of the mental contents. However,
each division or subdivision of the discourse concludes with
the same words. There may be different points from which to
begin the practice, but no matter what the starting point, a
meditator must pass through certain stations, certain
experiences on the path to the final goal. These experiences,
essential to the practice of Vipassana, are described in the
sentences repeated at the conclusion of each section.

The first such station is that in which one experiences arising
(samudaya) and passing away (vaya) separately. At this stage
the meditator is aware of consolidated, integrated reality in
the form of gross sensations within the body. One is aware of a
sensation, perhaps a pain, arising. It seems to stay for some
time and ultimately it passes away.

Going further beyond this station, one penetrates to the stage
of samudaya- vaya, in which one experiences arising and
passing away simultaneously, without any interval between
them. The gross, consolidated sensations have dissolved into
subtle vibrations, arising and falling with great rapidity, and
the solidity of the mental-physical structure disappears.
Solidified, intensified emotion and solidified, intensified
sensation both dissolve into nothing but vibration. This is the
stage of bhanga--dissolution--in which one experiences the
ultimate truth of mind and matter: constantly arising and
passing away, without any solidity.

This bhanga is a very important station on the path, because
only when one experiences the dissolution of the mental-
physical structure does attachment to it go away. Then one
becomes detached in the face of any situation; that is, one
enters the stage of sankhara -upekkha. Very deep lying
impurities--sankhara--buried in the unconscious now start
appearing at the surface level of the mind. This is not a
regression; it is a progress, for unless they come to the
surface, the impurities cannot be eradicated. They arise, one
observes equanimously, and they pass away one after
another. One uses the gross, unpleasant sensations as tools
with which to eradicate the old stock of sankhara of aversion;
one uses the subtle, pleasant sensations as tools with which
to eradicate the old stock of sankhara of craving. Thus by
maintaining awareness and equanimity towards every
experience, one purifies the mind of all the deep-lying
complexes, and approaches closer and closer to the goal
of nibbana, of liberation.

Whatever the starting point, one must pass through all these
stations in order to reach nibbana.How soon one may reach
the goal depends on how much work one does, and how large
an accumulation of past sankhara one has to eradicate.

In every case, however, in every situation, equanimity is
essential, based on an awareness of sensations.Sankhara
arise from the point of physical sensation. By remaining
equanimous towards sensation, you prevent new sankhara
from arising, and you also eliminate the old ones.Thus by
observing sensations equanimously, you gradually progress
towards the final goal of liberation from suffering.

Work seriously. Do not make a game of meditation, lightly
trying one technique after another without pursuing any. If you
do so, you will never advance beyond the initial steps of any
technique, and therefore you will never reach the goal.
Certainly you may make trials of different techniques in order
to find one that suits you. You may also give two or three trials
to this technique, if needed. But do not waste your entire life
merely in giving trials. Once you find a technique to be
suitable, work at it seriously so that you may progress to the
final goal.May suffering people every where find the way out of
their misery.

May all beings be happy!

Day Nine Discourse

Application of the technique in daily life--the ten parami

Nine days are over. Now is the time to discuss how to make use of this technique in daily life. This is of the utmost importance. Dhamma is an art of living. If you cannot use it in daily life, then coming to a course is no better than performing a ritual or ceremony.

Everyone faces unwanted situations in life. Whenever something unwanted happens, one loses the balance of one's mind, and starts generating negativity. And whenever a negativity arises in the mind, one becomes miserable. How is one not to generate negativity, not to create tension? How is one to remain peaceful and harmonious?

Sages who started exploring the reality of mind and matter within found a solution to the problem: whenever a negativity arises in the mind for whatever reason, one should divert one's attention elsewhere. For example, one might get up, drink some water, start counting, or start reciting the name of a deity or saintly person towards whom one has devotion. By diverting the attention one will emerge from the negativity.

A workable solution. But other explorers of inner truth went to the deepest level of reality, to ultimate truth. These enlightened persons realized that by diverting the attention one creates a layer of peace and harmony at the conscious level, but one has not eliminated the negativity that has arisen. One has merely suppressed it. At the unconscious level, it continues to multiply and gather strength. Sooner or later, this sleeping volcano of negativity will erupt and overpower the mind. So long as negativities remain, even at the unconscious level, the solution is only partial,temporary.

A fully enlightened person finds a real solution: don't run away from the problem; face it. Observe whatever impurity arises in the mind. By observing one does not suppress it, nor does one give it a free licence to express itself in harmful vocal or physical action. Between these two extremes lies the middle path: mere observation. When one starts to observe it, the negativity loses its strength and passes away without overpowering the mind. Not only that, but some of the old stock of that type of impurity will also be eradicated. Whenever a defilement starts at the conscious level, one's old stock of that type of defilement arises from the unconscious, becomes connected with the present defilement, and starts multiplying. If one just observes, not only the present impurity but also some portion of the old stock will be eradicated. In this way, gradually all the defilements are eradicated, and one becomes free from misery.

But for an average person, it is not easy to observe a mental defilement. One does not, know when it has started and how it has overpowered the mind. By the time it reaches the conscious level, it is far too strong to observe without reacting. Even if one tries to do so, it is very difficult to observe an abstract defilement of the mind--abstract anger, fear, or passion, Instead, one's attention is drawn to the external stimulus of the defilement, which will only cause it to multiply.

However, enlightened persons discovered that whenever a defilement arises in the mind,simultaneously two things start happening at the physical level: respiration will become abnormal, and a biochemical reaction will start within the body, a sensation. A practical solution was found. It is very difficult to observe abstract defilements, in the mind, but with training one can soon learn to observe respiration and sensation, both of which are physical manifestations of the defilements. By observing a defilement in its physical aspect, one allows it to arise and pass away without causing any harm. One becomes free from the defilement.

It takes time to master this technique, but as one practises, gradually one will find that in more and more external situations in which previously one would have reacted with negativity, now one can remain balanced. Even if one does react, the reaction will not be so intense or prolonged as it would have been in the past. A time will come when in the most provoking situation, one will be able to heed the warning given by respiration and sensation, and will start observing them, even for a few moments. These few moments of self-observation will act as a shock absorber between the external stimulus and one's response. Instead of reacting blindly, the mind remains balanced, and one is capable of taking positive action that is helpful to oneself and others.

You have taken a first step towards eradicating your defilements and changing the habit pattern of the mind, by observing sensations within yourself.

From the time of birth, one is trained always to look outside. One never observes oneself, and therefore one is incapable of going to the depths of one's problems. Instead one looks for the cause of one's misery outside, always blaming others for one's unhappiness. One sees things from only one angle, a partial view, which is bound to be distorted; and yet one accepts this view as the full truth. Any decision made with this incomplete information will only be harmful to oneself and others. In order to see the totality of the truth, one must view it from more than one angle. This is what one learns to do by the practice of Vipassana: to see reality not only outside
but inside as well.

Seeing from only one angle, one imagines that one's suffering is caused by other people, by an external situation. Therefore one devotes all one's energy to changing others, to changing the external situation. In fact, this is a wasted effort. One who has learned to observe reality within soon realizes, that he is completely responsible for his misery or happiness. For example, someone is abused by another person, and becomes unhappy. He blames the person who abused him for making him unhappy. Actually the abuser created misery for himself, by defiling his own mind. The person who was abused created his own misery when he reacted to the abuse, when he started defiling his mind. Everyone is responsible for his or her own suffering, no-one else. When one experiences this truth, the madness of finding fault with others goes away.

What does one react to? An image created by oneself, not the external reality. When one sees someone, one's image of that person is coloured by one's past conditionings. The old sankhara influence one's perception of any new situation. In turn, because of this conditioned perception, bodily sensation becomes pleasant or unpleasant. And according to the type of sensation, one generates a new reaction. Each of these processes is conditioned by the old sankhara. But if one
remains aware and equanimous towards sensations, the habit of blind reaction becomes weaker, and one learns to see reality as it is.

When one develops the ability to see things from different angles, then whenever another abuses or otherwise misbehaves, the understanding arises that this person is misbehaving because he is suffering. With this understanding, one cannot react with negativity, but will feel only love and compassion for the suffering person, as a mother would feel for a sick child. The volition arises to help the person come out of his misery. Thus one remains peaceful and happy, and helps others also to become peaceful and happy. This is the purpose of Dhamma: to practise the art of living, that is, to eradicate mental impurities and to develop good qualities, for one's own good and for the good of others.

There are ten good mental qualities--parami--that one must perfect to reach the final goal. The goal is the stage of total egolessness. These ten parami are qualities that gradually dissolve the ego, thereby bringing one closer to liberation. One has the opportunity to develop all ten of these qualities in a Vipassana course.

The first parami is nekkhamma--renunciation. One who becomes a monk or a nun renounces the householder's life and lives without personal possessions, even having to beg for his or her daily food. All this is done for the purpose of dissolving the ego. How can a lay person develop this quality? In a course like this, one has the opportunity to do so, since here one lives on the charity of others. Accepting whatever is offered as food, accommodation, or other facilities, one gradually develops the quality of renunciation. Whatever one receives here, one makes best use of it, working hard to purify the mind not only for one's own good, but also for the good of the unknown person who donated on one's behalf.

The next parami is sila--morality. One tries to develop this parami by following the five precepts at all times, both during a course and in daily life. There are many obstacles which make it difficult to practice sila in worldly life. However, here in a meditation course, there is no opportunity to break the precepts, because of the heavy programme and discipline. Only in speaking is there any likelihood of one's deviating from strict observance of morality. For this reason one takes a vow of silence for the first nine days of the course. In this way, at least within the period of the course, one keeps sila perfectly.

Another parami is viriya--effort. In daily life one makes efforts, for example to earn one's livelihood. Here, however, the effort is to purify the mind by remaining aware and equanimous.This is right effort, which leads to liberation.

Another parami is panna--wisdom. In the outside world, one may have wisdom, but it is the wisdom one gains from reading books or listening to others, or merely intellectual understanding. The real parami of wisdom is the
understanding that develops within oneself, by one's own experience in meditation' One realizes directly by self-observation the facts of impermanence, suffering, and egolessness. By this direct experience of reality one comes out of suffering.

Another parami is khanti--tolerance. At course like this, working and living together in a group,one may find oneself becoming disturbed and irritated by the actions of another person. But soon one realizes that the person causing a disturbance is ignorant of what he is doing, or a sick
person. The irritation goes away, and one feels only love and compassion for that person. One has started developing the quality of tolerance.

Another parami is sacca--truth. By practising sacca one undertakes to maintain truthfulness at the vocal level. However,sacca must also be practised in a deeper sense. Every step on the path must be a step with truth, from gross, apparent truth, to subtler truths, to ultimate truth. There is no room for imagination. One must always remain with the reality that one actually experiences at the present moment.

Another parami is adhitthana--strong determination. When one starts a Vipassana course, one makes a determination to remain for the entire period of the course. One resolves to follow the precepts, the rule of silence, all the discipline of the course. After the introduction of the technique of Vipassana itself, one makes a strong determination to meditate for the entire hour during each group sitting without opening eyes, hands or legs. At a later stage on the path, this parami will be very important; when coming close to the final goal, one must be ready to sit without break until reaching liberation. For this purpose it is necessary to develop strong

Another parami is metta--pure, selfless love. In the past one tried to feel love and goodwill for others, but this was only at the conscious level of the mind. At the unconscious level the old tensions continued. When the entire mind is purified, then from the depths one can wish for the happiness of others. This is real love, which helps others and helps oneself as well.

Yet another parami is upekkha--equanimity. One learns to keep the balance of the mind not only when experiencing gross, unpleasant sensations or blind areas in the body, but also in the face of subtle, pleasant, sensations. In every situation one understands that the experience of that moment is impermanent, bound to pass away. With this understanding one remains detached,equanimous.

The last parami is dana--charity, donation. For a lay person, this is the first essential step of Dhamma. A lay person has the responsibility of earning money by right livelihood, for the support of oneself and of any dependents. But if one generates attachment to the money that one earns, then one develops ego. For this reason, a portion of what one earns must be given for the good of others. If one does this, ego will not develop, since one understands that one earns for one's own benefit and also for the benefit of others. The volition arises to help others in whatever way one can. And one realizes that there can be no greater help to others than to help them learn the way out of suffering.

In a course like this, one has a wonderful opportunity to develop this parami. Whatever one receives here is donated by another person; there are no charges for room and board, and certainly none for the teaching. In turn, one is able to give a donation for the benefit of someone else. The amount one gives will vary according to one's means. Naturally a wealthy person will wish to give more, but even the smallest donation, given with proper volition, is very valuable in developing this parami. Without expecting anything in return, one gives so that others may experience the benefits of Dhamma and may come out of their suffering.

Here you have the opportunity to develop all ten of the parami. When all these good qualities are perfected you will reach the final goal.

Keep practising to develop them little by little. Keep progressing on the path of Dhamma, not only for your own benefit and liberation, but also for the benefit and liberation of many.

May all suffering beings find pure Dhamma, and be liberated.

May all beings be happy!

The law of multiplication and its reverse, the law of eradication
-equanimity is the greatest welfare-- equanimity enables one to
live a life of real action--by remaining equanimous, one
ensures a happy future for oneself.

Eight days are over; you have two more left to work. In the
remaining days, see that you understand the technique
properly, so that you may practise it properly here and also
make use of it in your daily life. Understand what Dhamma is:
nature, truth, universal law.

On one hand there is a process of constant multiplication. On
the other hand, there is a process of eradication. This was well
explained in a few words: by nature arising and passing away.
If they arise and are extinguished,their eradication brings
true happiness.

Every sankhara, every mental conditioning is impermanent,
having the nature of arising and passing away. It passes away,
but next moment it arises again, and again; this is how the
sankhara multiplies. If one develops wisdom and starts
observing objectively, the process of multiplication stops and
the process of eradication begins. A sankhara arises, but the
meditator remains equanimous; it loses all its strength and is
eradicated. Layer after layer, the old sankhara will arise and
be eradicated, provided one remains equanimous. As much as
the sankhara are eradicated, that much happiness one
enjoys, the happiness of freedom from misery. If all the past
sankhara are eradicated, one enjoys the limitless happiness of
full liberation.

The old habit of the mind is to react, and to multiply reactions.
Something unwanted happens,and one generates a sankhara
of aversion. As the sankhara arises in the mind, it is
accompanied by an unpleasant physical sensation. Next
moment, because of the old habit of reaction, one again
generates aversion, which is actually directed towards the
unpleasant bodily sensation. The external stimulus of the
anger is secondary; the reaction is in fact to the sensation
within oneself. The unpleasant sensation causes one to react
with aversion, which generates another unpleasant sensation,
which again causes one to react. In this way, the process of
multiplication begins. If one does not react to the sensation
but instead smiles and understands its impermanent nature,
then one does not generate a new sankhara, and the sankhara
that has already arisen will pass away without multiplying.
Next moment, another sankhara of the same type will arise
from the depths of the mind; one remains equanimous, and it
will pass away. Next moment another arises; one remains
equanimous, and it passes away. The process of eradication
has started.

The processes that one observes within oneself also occur
throughout the universe. For example,someone sows the seed
of a banyan tree. From that tiny seed a huge tree develops,
which bears innumerable fruit year after year, as long as it
lives. And even after the tree dies, the process continues,
because every fruit that the tree bears contains a seed or a
number of seeds, which have the same quality as the original
seed from which the tree grew. Whenever one of these
seeds falls on fertile soil it sprouts and grows into another tree
which again produces thousands of fruit, all containing seeds.
Fruit and seeds, seeds and fruit; an endless process of
multiplication. In the same way, out of ignorance one sows the
seed of as sankhara, which sooner or later gives a fruit, also
called sankhara, and also containing a seed of exactly the
same type. If one gives fertile soil to the seed it sprouts into a
new sankhara, and one's misery multiplies. However, if one
throws the seeds on rocky soil, they cannot sprout; nothing
will develop from them. The process of multiplication stops,
and automatically the reverse process begins, the
process of eradication.

Understand how this process works. It was explained that
some input is needed for the flow of life, of mind and matter, to
continue. The input for the body is the food one eats, as well
as the atmosphere in which one lives. If one day one does not
eat, the flow of matter does not stop at once. It continues by
consuming the old stocks of energy contained within the body.
When all the stored energy is consumed, only then the flow
stops, the body dies. The body needs food only two or three
times a day, but the flow of the mind requires an input every
moment. The mental input is sankhara. Every moment the
sankhara that one generates is responsible for sustaining
the flow of consciousness. The mind that arises in the next
moment is a product of this sankhara.Every moment one gives
the input of sankhara, and the flow of consciousness
continues. If at any moment one does not generate a new sankhara
the flow does not stop at once; instead it draws on the
stock of old sankhara. An old sankhara will be forced to give its
fruit, that is, to come to the surface of the mind in order to
sustain the flow; and it will manifest as a physical sensation. If
one reacts to the sensation, again one starts making
new sankhara, planting new seeds of misery. But if one
observes the sensation with equanimity, the sankhara loses
its strength and is eradicated. Next moment another old
sankhara must come up to sustain the mental flow. Again one
does not react, and again it is eradicated. So long as one
remains aware and equanimous, layer after layer of
old sankhara will come to the surface and be eradicated;
this is the law of nature.

One has to experience the process oneself, by practising the
technique. When one sees that one's old habit patterns, old
sufferings have been eliminated, then one knows that the
process of eradication works.

An analogous technique exists in modern metallurgy. To
super-refine certain metals, to make them ultra-pure, it is
necessary to remove even one foreign molecule in a billion.
This is done by casting the metal in the shape of a rod, and
then making a ring of the same metal that has already
been refined to the required purity. The ring is passed over the
rod, and generates a magnetism that automatically drives out
any impurities to the extremities of the rod. At the same time,
all the molecules in the rod of metal become aligned; it
becomes flexible, malleable, capable of being worked. In the
same way, the technique of Vipassana can be regarded as the
passing of a ring of pure awareness over the physical
structure, driving out any impurities, with similar benefits.

Awareness and equanimity will lead to purification of mind.
Whatever one experiences on the way, whether pleasant or
unpleasant, is unimportant. The important point is not to react
with craving or aversion, since both will create nothing but
misery. The only yardstick to measure one's progress on the
path is the equanimity that one has developed. And the
equanimity must be at the level of bodily sensations if one is to
go to the depth of the mind and to eradicate the impurities. If
one learns to be aware of sensations and to remain
equanimous towards them, it becomes easy to keep one's
balance in external situations as well.

The Buddha was once asked what real welfare is. He replied
that the highest welfare is the ability to keep the balance of
one's mind in spite of all the vicissitudes, the ups and downs,
of life. One may face pleasant or painful situations, victory or
defeat, profit or loss, good name or bad name; everyone is
bound to encounter all these. But can one smile in every
situation, a real smile from the heart? If one has this
equanimity at the deepest level within, one has true

If equanimity is only superficial it will not help in daily life. It is
as if each person carries a tank of petrol, of gasoline, within. If
one spark comes, one fruit of a past reaction, immediately a
great explosion results, producing millions more sparks,
more sankhara, which will bring more fire, more suffering in
future. By the practice of Vipassana, one gradually empties
the tank. Sparks will still come because of one's past sankhara,
but when they come, they will burn only the fuel that they bring
with them; no new fuel is given. They burn briefly until they
consume the fuel they contain,and then they are extinguished.
Later, as one develops further on the path, one naturally
starts generating the cool water of love and compassion, and
the tank becomes filled with this water. Now, as soon as a
spark comes, it is extinguished. It cannot burn even the small
amount of fuel it contains.

One may understand this at the intellectual level, and know
that one should have a water pump ready in case a fire starts.
But when fire actually. comes, one turns on the petrol pump
and starts a conflagration.Afterwards one realizes the
mistake, but still repeats it next time when fire comes, because
one's wisdom is only superficial. If someone has real wisdom in
the depths of the mind, when faced with fire such a person will
not throw petrol on it, understanding that this would only
cause harm. Instead one throws the cool water of love and
compassion, helping others and oneself.

The wisdom must be at the level of sensations. If you train
yourself to be aware of sensations in any situation and to
remain equanimous towards them, nothing can overpower
you. Perhaps for just a few moments you observe without
reacting. Then, with this balanced mind, you decide what
action to take. It is bound to be right action, positive, helpful to
others, because it is performed with a balanced mind.

Sometimes in life it is necessary to take strong action. One has
tried to explain to someone politely, gently, with a smile, but
the person can understand only hard words, hard actions.
Therefore one takes hard vocal or physical action. But before
doing so, one must examine oneself to see whether the mind is
balanced, and whether one has only love and compassion for
the person. If so, the action will be helpful; if not, it will not help
anyone. One takes strong action to help the erring person.
With this base of love and compassion one cannot go wrong.

In a case of aggression, a Vipassana meditator will work to
separate the aggressor and the victim,having compassion not
only for the victim but also for the aggressor. One realizes that
the aggressor does not know how he is harming himself.
Understanding this, one tries to help the person by preventing
him from performing deeds that will cause him misery in the

However, you must be careful not to justify your actions only
after the event. You must examine the mind before acting. If
the mind is full of defilements, one cannot help anyone. First
one must rectify the faults in oneself before one can rectify the
faults in others. First you must purify your own mind by
observing yourself. Then you will be able to help many.

The Buddha said that there are four types of people in the
world: those who are running from darkness towards
darkness, those who are running from brightness towards
darkness, those who are running from darkness towards
brightness, and those who are running from brightness
towards brightness.

For a person in the first group, all around there is
unhappiness, darkness, but his greatest misfortune is that he
also has no wisdom. Every time he encounters any misery he
develops more anger, more hatred, more aversion, and
blames others for his suffering. All those sankhara of
anger and hatred will bring him only more darkness, more
suffering in the future.

A person in the second group has what is called brightness in
the world: money, position, power, but he too has no wisdom.
Out of ignorance he develops egotism, without understanding
that the tensions of egotism will bring him only darkness in

A person in the third group is in the same position as one in the
first, surrounded by darkness; but he has wisdom, and
understands the situation. Recognizing that he is ultimately
responsible for his own suffering, he calmly and peacefully
does what he can to change the situation, but without
any anger or hatred towards others; instead he has only love
and compassion for those who are harming him. All he creates
for the future is brightness.

Finally a person in the fourth group, just as one in the second,
enjoys money, position, and power, but unlike one in the
second group, he is also full of wisdom. He makes use of what
he has in order to maintain himself and those dependent on
him, but whatever remains he uses for the good of others, with
love and compassion. Brightness now and for the future too.

One cannot choose whether one faces darkness now or
brightness; that is determined by one's past sankhara. The
past cannot be changed, but one can take control of the
present by becoming master of oneself. The future is merely
the past plus what is added in the present. Vipassana
teaches how to become master of oneself by developing
awareness and equanimity towards sensations. If one
develops this mastery in the present moment, the future will
automatically be bright.

Make use of the remaining two days to learn how to become
master of the present moment, master of yourself. Keep
growing in Dhamma, to come out of all misery, and to enjoy
real happiness here and now.

May all beings be happy!

Importance of equanimity towards subtle as well as gross
sensations--continuity of awareness-- the five friends--faith,
effort, awareness, concentration, wisdom .

Seven days are over;you have three more left to work. Make
best use of these days by working hard and continuously,
understanding how you ought to practise.

There are two aspects of the technique: awareness and
equanimity. One must develop awareness of all the sensations
that occur within the framework of the body, and at the same
time one must remain equanimous towards them. By
remaining equanimous, naturally one will find, sooner or
later, that sensations start to appear in areas that were blind,
and that the gross, solidified, unpleasant sensations begin to
dissolve into subtle vibrations. One starts to experience a very
pleasant flow of energy throughout the body.

The danger when this situation arises is that one takes this
pleasurable sensory experience as the goal towards which
one was working. In fact, the purpose of practising Vipassana
is not to experience a certain type of sensation, but rather to
develop equanimity towards all sensations.Sensations keep
changing, whether gross or subtle. One's progress on the
path can be measured only by the equanimity one develops
towards every sensation.

Even after one has experienced a free flow of subtle vibrations
throughout the body, it is quite possible that again a gross
sensation may arise somewhere, or a blind area. These are
signs not of regression but of progress. As one develops in
awareness and equanimity, naturally one penetrates deeper
into the unconscious mind, and uncovers impurities hidden
there. So long as these deep-lying complexes remain in the
unconscious, they are bound to bring misery in the future. The
only way to eliminate them is to allow them to come up to the
surface of the mind and pass away. When such deep-
rooted sankhara arise on the surface, many of them may be
accompanied by unpleasant, gross sensations or blind areas
within the body. If one continues to observe without reacting,
the sensation passes away, and with it the sankhara of which
it is a manifestation.

Every sensation, whether gross or subtle has the same
characteristic of impermanence. A gross sensation arises,
seems to stay for some time, but sooner or later passes away.
A subtle sensation arises and passes away with great rapidity,
but still it has the same characteristic. No sensation is
eternal. Therefore one should not have preferences or
prejudices towards any sensation. When a gross, unpleasant
sensation arises, one observes it without becoming
depressed. When a subtle, pleasant sensation arises, one
accepts it, even enjoys it, without becoming elated or
attached to it. In every case one understands the
impermanent nature of all sensations; then one can smile
when they arise and when they pass away.

Equanimity must be practised at the level of bodily sensation in
order to make a real change in one's life. At every moment
sensations are arising within the body. Usually the conscious
mind is unaware of them, but the unconscious mind feels the
sensations and reacts to them with craving or aversion. If the
mind is trained to become fully conscious of all that occurs
within the physical structure and at the same time to maintain
equanimity, then the old habit of blind reaction is broken. One
learns how to remain equanimous in every situation, and can
therefore live a balanced, happy life.

You are here to experience the truth about yourself, how this
phenomenon works, how it generates misery. There are two
aspects of the human phenomenon: material and mental, body
and mind. One must observe both. But one cannot actually
experience the body without awareness of what arises in the
body, that is, sensation. Similarly one cannot observe mind
separately from what arises in the mind, that is, thought. As
one goes deeper in experiencing the truth of mind and matter,
it becomes clear that whatever arises in the mind is also
accompanied by a physical sensation. Sensation is of central
importance for experiencing the reality of both body and mind,
and it is the point at which reactions start. In order to observe
the truth of oneself and to stop generating mental defilements,
one must be aware of sensations and remain equanimous as
continuously as possible.

For this reason, in the remaining days of the course, you must
work continuously with closed eyes during meditation hours;
but during recess periods as well, you must try to maintain
awareness and equanimity at the level of sensations. Perform
whatever action you must do in the usual way, whether
walking, eating, drinking, or bathing; don't slow the action
down. Be aware of the physical movement of the body, and at
the same time of the sensations, if possible in the part of the
body that is in motion, or else in any other part. Remain aware
and equanimous.

Similarly, when you go to bed at night, close your eyes and feel
sensation anywhere within the body. If you fall asleep with this
awareness, naturally as soon as you wake up in the morning,
you will be aware of sensation. Perhaps you may not sleep
soundly, or you may even remain fully awake throughout the
night. This is wonderful, provided you stay lying in bed and
maintain awareness and equanimity. The body will receive the
rest it needs, and there is no greater rest for the mind than to
remain aware and equanimous. However, if you start worrying
that you are developing insomnia, then you will generate
tensions, and will feel, exhausted the next day. Nor
should you forcefully try to stay awake, remaining in a seated
posture all night; that would be going to an extreme. If sleep
comes, very good; sleep. If sleep does not come, allow the
body to rest by remaining in a recumbent position, and allow
the mind to rest by remaining aware and equanimous.

The Buddha said, "When a meditator practises ardently,
without neglecting for a moment awareness and equanimity
towards sensations, such a person develops real wisdom,
understanding sensations completely." The meditator
understands how one who lacks wisdom reacts to sensations,
and multiplies his misery. The meditator also understands how
one who bears in mind the impermanent nature of all
sensations will not react to them, and will come out
of misery. The Buddha continued, "With this thorough
understanding, the meditator is able to experience the stage
beyond mind and matter--nibbana." One cannot
experience nibbana until the heaviest sankhara have been
eliminated--those that would lead to a future life in a lower
form of existence where misery would predominate.
Fortunately, when one starts to practise Vipassana, it is these
very sankhara that arise first. One remains equanimous and
they pass away. When all such sankhara have been
eradicated, then naturally one experiences nibbana for
the first time. Having experienced it, one is totally changed,
and can no longer perform any action that would lead to a
future life in a lower form of existence. Gradually one proceeds
to higher stages, until all the sankhara have been eradicated
that would have led to future life anywhere within the
conditioned world. Such a person is fully liberated and
therefore, the Buddha concluded, "Comprehending the entire
truth of mind and matter, when he dies he passes beyond the
conditioned world, because he has understood sensations

You have made a small beginning on this path by practising to
develop awareness of sensations throughout the body. If you
are careful not to react to them, you will find that layer by
layer, the old sankhara are eradicated. By remaining
equanimous towards gross, unpleasant sensations,you will
proceed to experience subtler, pleasant sensations. If
you continue to maintain equanimity, sooner or later you will
reach the stage described by the Buddha, in which
throughout the physical structure, the meditator experiences
nothing but arising and passing away. All the gross, solidified
sensations have dissolved; throughout the body there is
nothing but subtle vibrations. Naturally this stage is very
blissful, but still it is not the final goal, and one must not
become attached to it. Some of the gross impurities have been
eradicated, but others still remain in the depth of the mind. If
one continues to observe equanimously, one after another all
the deeper sankhara will arise and pass away. When they are
all eradicated, then one experiences the "deathless"--
something beyond mind and matter, where nothing arises, and
therefore nothing passes away--the indescribable stage of

Everyone who works properly to develop awareness and
equanimity will certainly reach this stage; but each person
must work himself or herself.

Just as there are five enemies, five hindrances which block
your progress on the path, there are also five friends, five
wholesome faculties of the mind, which help and support you.
If you keep these friends strong and pure, no enemy can
overpower you.

The first friend is faith, devotion, confidence. Without
confidence one cannot work, being always agitated by doubts
and skepticism. However, if faith is blind, it is a great enemy. It
becomes blind if one loses discriminatory intelligence, the
proper understanding of what right devotion is. One may have
faith in any deity or saintly person, but if it is right faith, with
proper understanding, one will remember the good qualities of
that person, and will gain inspiration to develop those qualities
in oneself. Such devotion is meaningful and helpful. But if one
does not try to develop the qualities of the person towards
whom one has devotion, it is blind faith, which is very harmful.

For example, when one takes refuge in the Buddha, one must
remember the qualities of a Buddha, and must work to develop
those qualities in oneself. The essential quality of a Buddha is
enlightenment; therefore the refuge is actually in
enlightenment, the enlightenment that one develops in
oneself. One pays respect to anyone who has reached the
stage of full enlightenment;that is, one gives importance to the
quality wherever it may manifest, without being bound to a
particular sect or person. And one honours the Buddha not by
rituals or ceremonies, but by practising his teachings, by
walking on the path of Dhamma from the first step,sila, to
samadhi, to panna, to nibbana, liberation.

Anyone who is a Buddha must have the following qualities. He
has eradicated all craving,aversion, ignorance. He has
conquered all his enemies, the enemies within, that is, the
mental impurities. He is perfect not only in the theory of
Dhamma, but also in its application. What he practises, he
preaches, and what he preaches, he practises; there is no
gap between his words and his deeds. Every step that he
takes is a right step, leading in the right direction. He has
learned everything about the entire universe, by exploring the
universe within. He is overflowing with love, compassion,
sympathetic joy for others, and keeps helping those who are
going astray to find the right path. He is full of perfect
equanimity. If one works to develop these qualities in
oneself in order to reach the final goal, there is meaning in
one's taking refuge in the Buddha.

Similarly, taking refuge in Dhamma has nothing to do with
sectarianism; it is not a matter of being converted from one
organized religion to another. Taking refuge in Dhamma is
actually taking refuge in morality, in mastery over one's own
mind, in wisdom. For a teaching to be Dhamma, it must also
have certain qualities. Firstly it must be clearly explained, so
that anyone can understand it. It is to be seen for oneself
before one's very eyes, the reality experienced by oneself, not
an imagination. Even the truth of nibbana is not to be accepted
until one has experienced it. Dhamma must give beneficial
results here and now, not merely promise benefits to be
enjoyed in future. It has the quality of "come-and-see";
see for yourself, try it yourself, don't accept it blindly. And
once one has tried it and experienced its benefits, one cannot
resist encouraging and helping others to come and see as
well. Every step on the path leads nearer to the final goal; no
effort goes to waste. Dhamma is beneficial at the beginning, in
the middle, at the end. Finally, any person of average
intelligence, of whatever background, can practise it and
experience the benefits. With this understanding of what it
actually is, if one takes refuge in Dhamma and starts
practising it, one's devotion has real meaning.

In the same way, taking refuge in Sangha is not a matter of
getting involved with a sect. Anyone who has walked on the
path of sila,samadhi, and panna and who has reached at least
the first stage of liberation, who has become a saintly person,
is a Sangha. He or she may be anyone, of any appearance,
any colour, any background; it makes no difference. If one is
inspired by seeing such a person and works to reach the same
goal oneself, then one's taking refuge in Sangha is
meaningful, right devotion.

Another friend is effort. Like faith, it must not be blind.
Otherwise there is the danger that one will work in a wrong
way, and will not get the expected results. Effort must be
accompanied by proper understanding of how one is to work;
then it will be very helpful for one's progress.

Another friend is awareness. Awareness can only be of the
reality of the present moment. One cannot be aware of the
past, one can only remember it. One cannot be aware of the
future, one can only have aspirations for or fears of the future.
One must develop the ability to be aware of the reality that
manifests within oneself at the present moment.

The next friend is concentration, sustaining the awareness of
reality from moment to moment, without any break. It must be
free from all imaginations, all cravings, all aversion; only then
is it right concentration.

And the fifth friend is wisdom-not the wisdom acquired by
listening to discourses, or reading books, or intellectual
analysis; one must develop wisdom within oneself at the
experiential level,because only by this experiential wisdom can
one become liberated. And to be real wisdom, it must be based
on physical sensations: one remains equanimous towards
sensations,understanding their impermanent nature. This is
equanimity at the depths of the mind, which will enable one to
remain balanced amid all the vicissitudes of daily life.

All the practice of Vipassana has as its purpose to enable one
to live in a proper way, fulfilling one's worldly responsibilities
while maintaining a balanced mind, remaining peaceful and
happy within oneself and making others peaceful and happy. If
you keep the five friends strong, you will become perfect in the
art of living, and will lead a happy, healthy, good life.

Progress on the path of Dhamma, for the good and benefit of
yourself and of so many.

May all suffering beings come into contact with pure Dhamma,
to emerge from their misery and to enjoy real happiness.

May all beings be happy!

Here is my favourite poem since my high school days, i am not sure if i have lived upto it but it never fails to inspire me whenever i read it. It touches my heart mind and soul .


IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are loosing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about , don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good , nor talk too wise;

IF you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Importance of developing awareness and equanimity towards
sensations--the four elements and their relation to sensations--the four
causes of the arising of matter--the five hindrances: craving, aversion,
mental and physical sluggishness, agitation, doubt

Six days are over; you have four more left to work. In four days you can
eradicate some of the mental defilements, and grasp the technique in
order to make use of it throughout your life. If you work with proper
understanding and learn how to apply the technique in daily life, then
certainly it will be very beneficial for you. Therefore understand the
technique properly.

This is not a path of pessimism. Dhamma teaches us to accept the bitter
truth of suffering, but it also shows the way out of suffering. For this
reason it is a path of optimism, combined with realism, and also
"workism"--each person has to work to liberate himself or herself.

In a few words, the entire path was explained:

All sakhara are impermanent"
When one perceives this with true insight,
then one becomes detached from suffering;
this is the path of purification.

Here the word sankhara means not only mental reactions, but also the
results of these reactions. Every mental reaction is a seed which gives a
fruit, and everything that one experiences in life is a fruit, a result of one's
own actions, that is, one's sankhara, past or present. Hence the meaning
is, "Everything that arises, that becomes composed, will pass away, will
disintegrate". Merely accepting this reality emotionally, or out of devotion,
or intellectually, will not purify the mind. It must be accepted at the actual
level, by experiencing the process of arising and passing away within
oneself. If one experiences impermanence directly by observing one's
own physical sensations, then the understanding that develops is real
wisdom, one's own wisdom. And with this wisdom one becomes freed
from misery. Even if pain remains, one no longer suffers from it. Instead
one can smile at it, because one can observe it.

The old mental habit is to seek to push away painful sensations and to
pull in pleasurable ones. So long as one is involved in the game of pain-
and-pleasure, push-and-pull, the mind remains agitated, and one's
misery increases. But once one learns to observe objectively without
identifying with the sensations, then the process of purification starts, and
the old habit of blind reaction and of multiplying one's misery is gradually
weakened and broken. One must learn how to just observe.

This does not mean that by practicing Vipassana one becomes a
"vegetable", passively allowing others to do one harm. Rather, one
learns how to act instead of to react. Previously one lived a life of
reaction, and reaction is always negative. Now you are learning how to
live properly, to live a healthy life of real action. Whenever a difficult
situation arises in life, one who has learned to observe sensations will
not fall into blind reaction. Instead he will wait a few moments, remaining
aware of sensations and also equanimous, and then will make a
decision and choose a course of action. Such an action is certain to be
positive, because it proceeds from a balanced mind; it will be a creative
action, helpful to oneself and others.

Gradually, as one learns to observe the phenomenon of mind and matter
within, one comes out of reactions, because one comes out of
ignorance. The habit pattern of reaction is based on ignorance.
Someone who has never observed reality within does not know what is
happening deep inside, does not know how he reacts with craving or
aversion, generating tensions which make him miserable.

The difficulty is that mind is far more impermanent than matter. The
mental processes occur so rapidly that one cannot follow them unless
one has been trained to do so. Not knowing reality, one remains under
the delusion that one reacts to external objects such as visions, sounds,
tastes, etc. Apparently this is so, but someone who learns to observe
himself will find that at a subtler level the reality is different. The entire
external universe exists for a person only when he or she experiences it,
that is, when a sensory object comes into contact with one of the sense
doors. As soon as there is a contact, there will be a vibration, a
sensation. The perception gives a valuation to the sensation as good or
bad, based on one's past experiences and conditionings, past
sankhara. In accordance with this coloured valuation the sensation
becomes pleasant or unpleasant, and according to the type of sensation,
one starts reacting with liking or disliking, craving or aversion. Sensation
is the forgotten missing Iink between the external object and the reaction.
The entire process occurs so rapidly that one is unaware of it: by the time
a reaction reaches the conscious level, it has been repeated and
intensified trillions of times, and has become so strong that it can easily
overpower the mind.

Siddhattha Gotama gained enlightenment by discovering the root cause
of craving and aversion, and by eradicating them where they arise, at the
level of sensation. What he himself had done, he taught to others. He
was not unique in teaching that one should come out of craving and
aversion; even before him, this was taught in India. Neither is morality
unique to the teaching of the Buddha, nor the development of control of
one's mind. Similarly, wisdom at the intellectual, emotional, or devotional
levels also existed before the Buddha. The unique element in his
teaching lies elsewhere, in his identifying physical sensation as the
crucial point at which craving and aversion begin, and at which they must
be eliminated. Unless one deals with sensations, one will be working
only at a superficial level of the mind, while in the depths the old habit of
reaction will continue. By learning to be aware of all the sensations within
oneself and to remain equanimous towards them, one stops reactions
where they start: one comes out of misery.

This is not a dogma to be accepted on faith, nor a philosophy to be
accepted intellectually. You have to investigate yourself to discover the
truth. Accept it as true only when you experience it. Hearing about truth is
important, but it must lead to actual practice. All the teachings of the
Buddha must be practised and experienced for oneself so that one may
come out of misery.

The entire structure of the body, the Buddha explained, is composed of
subatomic particles-- kalapa--consisting of the four elements and their
subsidiary characteristics, joined together. In the world outside as well as
within, it is easy to see that some matter is solid--earth element;
some is liquid--water element; some is gaseous--air element; and in
every case, temperature is present--fire element. However, someone
who examines reality within himself will understand the four elements at a subtler level. The entire range of weight from heaviness to lightness, is the field of earth element. Fire element is the field of temperature, from extreme cold to extreme heat. Air element has to do with motion, from a seemingly stationary state to the greatest movement. Water element concerns the quality of cohesiveness, of
binding together. Particles arise with a predominance of one or more
elements; the others remain latent. In turn, a sensation manifests in
accordance with the quality of the element that is predominant in those
particles. If kalapa arise with a predominance of fire element, a
sensation occurs of heat or cold, and similarly for the other elements.
This is how all sensations arise within the physical structure. If one is
ignorant, one gives valuations and reacts to the sensations, generating
new misery for oneself. But if wisdom arises, one simply, understands
that subatomic particles are arising with a predominance of one or
another element, and that these are all impersonal, changing
phenomena, arising to pass away. With this understanding, one does not
lose the balance of one's mind when facing any sensation.

As one continues observing oneself, it becomes clear why kalapa arise:
they are produced by the input that one gives to the life flow, the flow of
matter and mind. The flow of matter requires material input, of which
there are two types: the food one eats and the atmosphere in which one
lives. The flow of mind requires mental input, which again is of two types:
either a present or a past sankhara. if one gives an input of anger at the
present moment, immediately mind influences matter, and kalapa will
start to arise with a predominance of fire element, causing one
to feel a sensation of heat. If the input is fear, the kalapa generated at
that time will have a predominance of air element, and one feels a
sensation of trembling; and so on. The second type of mental input is a
past sankhara. Every sankhara is a seed which gives a fruit, a result after
some time. Whatever sensation one experienced when planting the
seed, the same sensation will arise when the fruit of that sankhara comes
to the surface of the mind.

Of these four causes, one should not try to determine which is
responsible for the arising of a particular sensation. One should merely
accept whatever sensation occurs. The only effort should
be to observe without generating a new sankhara. If one does not give
the input of a new reaction to the mind, automatically an old reaction will
give its fruit, manifesting as sensation.

One observes, and it passes away. Again one does not react; therefore
another old sankhara must give its fruit. In this way, by remaining aware
and equanimous, one allows the old sankhara to arise and pass away,
one after another: one comes out of misery.The old habit of generating
new reactions must be eliminated, and it can only be done gradually, by
repeated practice, by continued work.

Of course there are hindrances, obstacles on the way: five strong
enemies which try to overpower you and stop your progress. The first two
enemies are craving and aversion. The purpose of practising Vipassana
is to eliminate these two basic mental defilements, yet they may arise
even while you meditate, and if they overwhelm the mind, the process of
purification stops. You may crave for subtle sensations, or even
for nibbana; it makes no difference. Craving is a fire that burns, no matter
what the fuel; it takes you in the opposite direction from liberation.
Similarly, you may start generating aversion towards the pain that you
experience, and again you are off the track.

Another enemy is laziness, drowsiness. All night you slept soundly, and
yet when you sit to meditate, you feel very sleepy. This sleepiness is
caused by your mental impurities, which would be driven out by the
practice of Vipassana, and which therefore try to stop you from
meditating. You must fight to prevent this enemy from overpowering you.
Breathe slightly hard, or else get up, sprinkle cold water on your eyes, or
walk a little, and then sit again.

Alternatively, you may feel great agitation, another way in which the
impurities try to stop you from practising Vipassana. All day you run here
and there, doing anything except meditation. Afterwards, you realize that
you have wasted time, and start crying and repenting. But on the path of
Dhamma there is no place for crying. If you make a mistake, then you
should accept it in front of an elder in whom you have confidence, and
resolve to be careful not to repeat the mistake in future.

Finally, a great enemy is doubt, either about the teacher, or about the
technique, or about one's ability to practise it. Blind acceptance is not
beneficial, but neither is endless unreasoning doubt. So long as you,
remain immersed in doubts, you cannot take even one step on the path.
If there is anything that is not clear to you, do not hesitate to come to your
guide. Discuss the matter within, and understand it properly. If you
practise as you are asked to, the results are bound to come.

The technique works, not by any magic or miracle, but by the law of
nature. Anyone who starts working in accordance with natural law is
bound to come out of misery; this is the greatest possible miracle.

Large numbers of people have experienced the benefits of this
technique, not only those who came to the Buddha himself, but also many
in later ages, and in the present age. If one practises properly, making
efforts to remain aware and equanimous, then layers of past impurities
are bound to rise to the surface of the mind, and to pass away. Dhamma
gives wonderful results here and now, provided one works. Therefore
work with full confidence and understanding. Make best use of this
opportunity in order to come out of all misery, and to enjoy real peace.

May all of you enjoy real happiness.
May all beings be happy!

The Four Noble Truths: suffering, the cause of suffering, the eradication of suffering, the way to eradicate suffering--the chain of conditioned arising
Five days are over; you have five more left to work. Make best use of the remaining days by working hard, with proper understanding of the technique.

From observing respiration within a limited area, you have proceeded to observing sensations throughout the body. When one begins this practice it'is very likely that one will first encounter gross, solidified, intensified, unpleasant sensations such as pain, pressure, etc. You had encountered such experiences in the past, but the habit pattern of your mind was to react to sensations, to roll in pleasure and reel in pain, remaining always agitated. Now you are learning how to observe without reacting, to examine the sensations objectively, without identifying with them. Pain exists, misery exists. Crying will not free anyone of misery. How is one to come out of it? How is one to live with it?

A doctor treating a sick person must know what the sickness is, and what the fundamental cause of the sickness is. If there is a cause, then there must be a way out, by removing the cause. Once the cause is removed, the sickness will automatically be removed. Tberefore steps must be taken to eradicate the cause.

First one must accept the fact of suffering. Everywhere suffering exists; this is a universal truth. But it becomes a noble truth when one starts observing it without reacting, because anyone who does so is bound to become a noble, saintly person.

When one starts observing the First Noble Truth, the truth of suffering, then very quickly the cause of suffering becomes clear, and one starts observing it also; this is the Second Noble Truth.If the cause is eradicated, then suffering is eradicated; this is the Third Noble Truth--the eradication of suffering. To achieve its eradication one must take steps; this is the Fourth Noble Truth--the way to end suffering by eradicating its cause.

One begins by learning to observe without reacting. Examine the pain that you experience objectively, as if it is someone else's pain. Inspect it like a scientist who observes an experiment in his laboratory. When you fail, try again. Keep trying, and you will find that gradually you are coming out of suffering.

Every living being suffers. Life starts with crying; birth is a great suffering. And anyone who has been born is bound to encounter the sufferings of sickness and old age. But no matter how miserable one's life may be, nobody wants to die, because death is a great suffering.Throughout life, one encounters things that one does not like, and is separated from things that one likes. Unwanted things happen, wanted things do not happen, and one feels miserable.

Simply understanding this reality at the intellectual level will not liberate anyone. It can only give inspiration to look within oneself, in order to experience truth and to find the way out of misery. This is what Siddhattha Gotama did to become a Buddha: he started observing reality within the framework of his body like a research scientist, moving from gross, apparent truth to subtler truth, to the subtlest truth. He found that whenever one develops craving, whether to keep a pleasant sensation or to get rid of an unpleasant one, and that craving is not fulfilled, then one starts suffering. And going further, at the subtlest level, he found that when seen with a fully collected mind, it is clear that attachment to the five aggregates is suffering. Intellectually one may understand that the material aggregate, the body, is not "I", not "mine", but merely an impersonal, changing phenomenon which is beyond one's control; actually, however, one identifies with the body, and develops tremendous attachment to it. Similarly one develops attachment to the four mental aggregates of consciousness, perception, sensation, reaction, and clings to them as "I", "mine" despite their constantly changing nature. For conventional purposes one must use the words "I" and "mine", but when one develops attachment to the five aggregates, one creates suffering for oneself. Wherever there is attachment, there is bound to be misery, and the greater the attachment, the greater the misery.

There are four types of attachment that one keeps developing in life. The first is attachment to one's desires, to the habit of craving. Whenever craving arises in the mind, it is accompanied by a physical sensation. Although at a deep level a storm of agitation has begun, at a superficial level one likes the sensation and wishes it to continue. This can be compared with scratching a sore: doing so will only aggravate it, and yet one enjoys the sensation of scratching. In the same way, as soon as a desire is fulfilled, the sensation that accompanied the desire is also gone, and so one generates a fresh desire in order that the sensation may continue. One becomes addicted to craving and multiplies one's misery.Another attachment is the clinging to "I", "mine", without knowing what this 'I' really is. One cannot bear any criticism of one's "I" or any harm to it. And the attachment spreads to include

whatever belongs to "I", whatever is "mine". This attachment would not bring misery if whatever is "mine" could continue eternally, and the "I" also could remain to enjoy it eternally, but the law of nature is that sooner or later one or the other must pass away. Attachment to what is impermanent is bound to bring misery.

Similarly, one develops attachment to one's views and beliefs, and cannot bear any criticism of them, or even accept that others may have differing views. One does not understand that everyone wears coloured glasses, a different colour for each person. By removing the glasses,one can see reality as it is, untinted, but instead one remains attached to the colour of one's glasses, to one's own preconceptions and beliefs.

Yet another attachment is the clinging to one's rites, rituals, and religious practices. One fails to understand that these are all merely outward shows, that they do not contain the essence of truth.If someone is shown the way to experience truth directly within himself but continues to cling to empty external forms, this attachment produces a tug-of-war in such a person, resulting in misery.

All the sufferings of life, if examined closely, will be seen to arise from one or another of these four attachments. In his search for truth, this is what Siddhattha Gotamna found. Yet he continued investigating within himself to discover the deepest cause of suffering, to understand how the entire phenomenon works, to trace it to its source.

Obviously the sufferings of life--disease, old age, death, physical and mental pain--are inevitable consequences of being bom. Then what is the reason for birth? Of course the immediate cause is the physical union of parents, but in a broader perspective, birth occurs because of the endless process of becoming in which the entire universe is involved. Even at the time of death the process does not stop: the body continues decaying, disintegrating, while the consciousness becomes connected with another material structure, and continues flowing, becoming. And why this process of becoming? It was clear to him that the cause is the attachment that one develops. Out of attachment one generates strong reactions,sankhara, which make a deep impression on the mind. At the end of life, one of these will arise in the mind and will give a push to the flow of consciousness to continue.

Now what is the cause of this attachment? He found that it arises because of the momentary reactions of liking and disliking. Liking develops into great craving; disliking into great aversion,the mirror image of craving, and both turn into attachment. And why these momentary reactions of liking and disliking? Anyone who observes himself will find that they occur because of bodily sensations. Whenever a pleasant sensation arises, one likes it and wants to retain and multiply it.Whenever an unpleasant sensation arises, one dislikes it and wants to get rid of it. Then why these sensations? Clearly they occur because of the contact between any of the senses and an object of that particular sense: contact of the eye with a vision, of the ear with a sound, of the nose with an odour, of the tongue with a taste, of the body with something tangible, of the mind with a thought or an imagination. As soon as there is a contact, a sensation is bound to arise,pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.

And what is the reason for contact? Obviously, the entire universe is full of sense objects. So long as the six senses--the five physical ones, together with the mind--are functioning, they are bound to encounter their respective objects. And why do these sense organs exist? It is clear that they are inseparable parts of the flow of mind and matter; they arise as soon as life begins. And why does the life flow, the flow of mind and matter, occur? Because of the flow of consciousness, from moment to moment, from one life to the next. And why this flow of consciousness? He found that it arises because of thesakhara, the mental reactions. Every reaction gives a push to the flow of consciousness; the flow continues because of the impetus given to it by reactions. And why do reactions occur? He saw that they arise because of ignorance. One does not know what one is doing, does not know how one is reacting, and therefore one keeps generatingsa khara. So long as there is ignorance, suffering will remain.

The source of the process of suffering, the deepest cause, is ignorance. From ignorance starts the chain of events by which one generates mountains of misery for oneself. If ignorance can be eradicated, suffering will be eradicated.

How can one accomplish this? How can one break the chain? The flow of life, of mind and matter, has already begun. Committing suicide will not solve the problem; it will only create fresh misery. Nor can one destroy the senses without destroying oneself. So long as the senses exist, contact is bound to occur with their respective objects, and whenever there is a contact, a sensation is bound to arise within the body.

Now here, at the link of sensation, one can break the chain. Previously, every sensation gave rise to a reaction of liking or disliking, which developed into great craving or aversion, great misery.But now, instead of reacting to sensation, you are learning just to observe equanimously, understanding,--"This will also change." In this way sensation gives rise only to wisdom, to the understanding ofanicca. One stops the turning of the wheel of suffering and starts rotating it in the opposite direction, towards liberation.

Any moment in which one does not generate a newsakhara, one of the old ones will arise on the surface of the mind, and along with it a sensation will start within the body. If one remains equanimous, it passes away and another old reaction arises in its place. One continues to remain equanimous to physical sensations and the oldsak hara continue to arise and pass away, one after another. If out of ignorance one reacts to sensations, then one multiplies the sankhara, multiplies one's misery. But if one develops wisdom and does not react to sensations, then one after another the sankhara are eradicated, misery is eradicated.

The entire path is a way to come out of misery. By practising, you will find that you stop tying new knots, and that the old ones are automatically untied. Gradually you will progress towards a stage in which all sankhara leading to new birth, and therefore to new suffering, have been eradicated: the stage of total liberation, full enlightenment.

To start the work, it is not necessary that one should first believe in past lives and future lives. In practising Vipassana, the present is most important. Here in the present life, one keeps generating sankhara, keeps making oneself miserable. Here and now one must break this habit and start coming out of misery. If you practice, certainly a day will come when you will be able to say that you have eradicated all the oldsankhar a have stopped generating any new ones, and so have freed yourself from all suffering.

To achieve this goal, you have to work yourself. Therefore work hard during the remaining five days, to come out of your misery, and to enjoy the happiness of liberation.

May all of you enjoy real happiness.
May all beings be happy.