Buddha `s Cultivation

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Buddha `s Cultivation
BUDDHA `S CULTIVATION
 

Compiled by Bhikku Thich Hanh Dinh
 
 
Buddhist calendar 2565 - 2021
 

BUDDHA `S CULTIVATION
 
INTRODUCTION
            Humans are born to enjoy the five pleasures such as 1. Wealth, 2. Form, 3. Fame, 4. Food, 5. Sleeping, etc. Humans go through a cycle of aging, disease, and ultimately death. It is human life, and people from countless lifetimes dream of temporary life. After death, humans will continue to reincarnate in the six realms of desire such as Heaven, Human being, Demi-god, Hell being, Hungry ghosts, and Animals. Therefore, people want to end the suffering of greed, hatred, and delusion; the suffering of old age, sickness, and death; the suffering of samsara, then people practice to become Bodhisattvas, become Buddhas, then people will end the above-mentioned suffering. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have entered samsara for countless lives to be close to and teach sentient beings the way to escape from samsara, also known as the path of rebirth.
          Being a human body is very difficult and meeting the Buddhadharma is even more difficult because the Buddhadharma is the true Dharma. Why do we say so? Because only the Buddhadharma guides people to escape birth and death, or in other words, only the Buddhadharma teaches people to practice to become Saints, Bodhisattvas, and become Buddhas. Humans have suffering, happiness, and wisdom. Therefore, people can cultivate and progress. Therefore, if the sages want to achieve enlightenment, they must have a human body to practice and study. Today, whoever encounters the true Dharma should seize this opportunity to practice and advance in life. Don't let the time pass by and waste a lifetime. If you want to escape the suffering of birth and death, you must become a Saint, a Bodhisattva, and a Buddha. So, how should you practice becoming a Buddha?
        All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have undergone practice as followed 1) Generate the Bodhi mind, 2) Cultivate the Bodhi mind, 3) Practice the Bodhisattva`s way. Thereby, They became Bodhisattvas and Buddhas. In real life, if people want to become a doctor, they have to finish elementary, high school, and then go to medical university. After completing the medical program, they can be certified as a Doctor. Similarly, if you practice Buddhism, you must first practice I – Humanity path, II - Heavenly path, III – Saint path, IV - Bodhisattva path, and V - Buddha path. These are the practice of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

 
SUMMARY

I – Cultivating Humanitarian
          1) Take refuge in the Triple Gems
          2) Cultivate the 5 precepts
          3) Cultivate the four gratitudes
II - Cultivating the Heavenly path
          1) Cultivate 10 good precepts
III – Cultivating Arahan path
          1) Cultivate precepts
          2) Practice meditation
          3) Cultivate wisdom
IV – Cultivating Bodhisattva path
          A. Generate Bodhicitta - Bodhi mind
          B. Cultivate Bodhicitta - Bodhi mind
          1) Practice almsgiving
          2) Practice Sila - Precepts
          3) Practice patience
          4) Practice diligently
          5) Practice Samadhi - Concentration
          6) Cultivate wisdom
          C. Practicing Bodhicitta - Bodhisattva path
V - Cultivating Buddha path
 
I – CULTIVATING OF HUMAN PATH:   
         If you want to become a Saint, you must first cultivate human morality, and then cultivate the Holy Way. Why? If you are unfilial to your parents; you don`t have basic human morality, how can you become a Saint? Being a moral human is to practice 3 deeds such as 1 – Taking refuge in the Triple Gems; 2 - Practice keeping the 5 precepts; 3 - Cultivate the four gratitude.
1) Taking refuge in the Triple Gems:  
         Buddhists are children of the Buddha, you must first make a ceremony to take refuge in the Triple Gems. Because the Triple Gems are the wisdom boat to bring sentient beings to the shore of enlightenment. To take refuge in the Triple Gems is to return to take refuge in the Buddha because the Buddha is the enlightened one; To take refuge in the Dharma is to take refuge in the teachings of the Buddha; Relying on the Sangha is a group of monks who are practicing and studying according to the Dharma.
2) Practice the 5 precepts:
          In addition, you must observe the 5 precepts to prevent you from creating bad karma such as 1) no killing, 2) no stealing, 3) no sexual misconduct, 4) no lying, 5) no drinking alcohol.
3) Cultivate the four great gratitudes:
          Buddha taught: "Ethical people must be grateful and repay the four great gratitudes". The four gratitudes consist of 1) Parent; 2) Government; 3) Teacher; 4) Triple Gems.
          1. Gratitude to parents:
The Patriarchs taught: "From ordinary people to Saints, how can a human body be made without parents?" Therefore, people must know that this body was born and raised by parents. You have to be grateful and repay the kindness of your parents' birth and upbringing. This is filial piety, the basic human morality. If you are unfilial, how can you become a saint?
          In the history of Buddhism, when Suddhodana King passed away, the Buddha returned to the Kapilavastu kingdom to carry the coffin to show his gratitude to his father's birth and upbringing.
In the Ksitigarbha Sutra, Ananda told that Shakyamuni Buddha went to the Dao Loi heaven (the Dao Loi heaven is the second of the six desire heaven) to find his mother, Queen Maya. The purpose was that he wanted to preach the Ksitigarbha Sutra to His mother and the Gods there. Because He wanted Mrs. Maya to become enlightened and practice like Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. This is His gratitude to the mother.
          In the Ksitigarbha Sutra, the Buddha told about the cultivation of the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. Ksitigarbha in the distant past was a filial daughter. This daughter, in order to save her mother, developed the Bodhi mind to save all sentient beings. Over many lifetimes, He saved his mother and sentient beings. Therefore, He became the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha.
          The Buddha taught: “The filial mind is the Buddha-mind; Filial action is Buddha's conduct." Those who want to practice Buddhism cannot forget their parents' kindness and nurture.
          2. Gratitude to the government and donors:
          You must be grateful to the people who keep the country peaceful and the donors who have built all the facilities in society for you to benefit such as the farmers who grow rice for you to eat, the weavers who weave clothes for you to wear, workers who to build hospitals, schools, houses for you to live in, etc
         3. Gratitude to teachers and good friends:
          As you study from kindergarten to university, you are taught by many teachers. They have guided you to common knowledge, towards goodness, and towards happiness. This is educational gratitude.
Practitioners must be especially grateful toward teachers and grateful to the Patriarchs and intellectuals, who have guided us on the path of the Holy Path. The Dharma Master often teaches: “The person who gave birth to me in this world is my parents; The person who gave birth to me in the path is the Dharma Master.” So, a practitioner of the Holy Way must respect and repay gratitudes to Dharma Masters.
4. Gratitude to Triple Gems:
       Buddhism shows you what is right and what is wrong; what is good and what is evil; Especially the knowledge of the truth. This is something that people should be grateful for and repay.
These are the foundation of human moral cultivation. Next, the practitioner must practice the Heavenly Way.

 II – CULTIVATING THE HEAVENLY PATH:
          If you want your next life to be reborn in the desire heaven, then you must keep the 10 precepts such as:
* The body has 3 precepts: 1) no killing, 2) No stealing, 3) no sexual misconduct.
* Speech has 4 precepts: 1) Don't lie, 2) Don't be double-tongued, 3) Don't speak harshly, 4) Don't use abusive language.
* The mind has 3 precepts: 1) No greed, 2) no anger, 3) No delusion.
 
III – CULTIVATING ARAHANT PATH:
          In Buddhism, Saints are also known as Arahant Saint, a liberated one, no longer reincarnated, because they have attained Nirvana.
* Definition: What is Nirvana?
          Nirvana is the unborn, pure, tranquil state of the true mind. Nirvana is the fruit of an Arahant.
       People are born, grow up, get old, get sick, and die. After death, people have to reincarnate for countless lives. The human and heavenly realms are still in Samsara. Therefore, the Buddha taught people to practice the path of escape from birth and death in samsara, also known as the path to get out of the world. In order to do so, people must practice Arahantship. Arahants have attained concentration and live in great concentration and enter Nirvana. Therefore, they are outstanding.
1) What is an Arahant?
+ For basic human morality:
- Saints or Divine beings do not kill people and animals. Killers go to hell, but if you kill them, you go to hell too. What's more, Saints can kill people or make laws to be killed.
- Saints do not steal.
- Saints do not desire love nor engage in sexual intercourse with anyone, In other words, Saints completely cut off the craving.
- Saints do not lie, do not speak harshly, do not speak with a double-tongue.
- Saints do not drink alcohol, use intoxicants, and gamble.
- Saints do not violate national laws.
+ For the mind:
- A Saint is a person who has no affliction, no suffering.
- A Saint is a person who does not hate, does not love, does not envy, does not lie, is not greedy, is not delusional, is not selfish, is not stingy, is not arrogant, etc.
- A Saint is a person who realizes the truth. Truth is the truth of life and the truth of the mind.
- A Saint is a person whose mind is completely pure. Because He practices meditation and He always lives in samadhi.
- A Saint is a liberated one. No birth means that they are no longer born and reincarnated. They want to live or die as they please.
- A Saint is a wise man. They have the ability to destroy afflictions, suffering, greed, anger, delusion, etc. In general, the destruction of ignorance.
- A Saint is a person who has attained Nirvana.
- Practitioners who have attained Arahanhood have 6 kabbalahs – Abhinna: 1) Eye divine (Ability to see all forms); 2) Ear divine (Ability to hear any sound, anywhere); 3) Mental telepathy (Ability to know thoughts of others ); 4) Psychic Travel (Ability to be anywhere and to do anything at will; 5) Knowledge of past and future lives of self and others; 6) Ability to end contamination.
2) How many Saints are there?
          There are four stages: 1) Sotapanna Saint (Stream enterer ); 2) Sakadagami Saint (Once returner); Anagami Saint (Non-returner) and Arahat (No rebirth).
3) What is Arahan`s cultivation?
          There are three points: 1) To keep Sila (Precepts); 2) To practice Samadhi; 3) To practice wisdom.
1)      To keep Precepts: Precepts help our body stop doing any evil.
2)      To practice meditation: Meditation is to purify the mind.
3)      To practice wisdom: Wisdom is to remove the suffering of the greedy, anger, ignorance, jealousy, selfishness, etc.
 
IV – CULTIVATING BODHISATTVA PATH:
1 - What is a Bodhisattva?
          Bodhisattvas and Arahan are both enlightened beings of truth, attaining Nirvana, liberated from samsara, .etc.  However, Arahants want to liberate from Samsara and did not want to return to Saha world anymore. Bodhisattvas are already out of the world, but the Buddha taught the Bodhisattvas to make a vow of great compassion and enter the world, to go down to the Saha realm to practice the Bodhisattva path to save sentient beings. That is the Bodhisattva.
2 - How many stages of the Bodhisattvas are there?
          The Bodhisattvas vow to practice rescue the all living being until They attain a Buddha. They have to undergo 52 stages to become a Buddha. Why are there so many levels of the Bodhisattvas? Because They have a big difference in concentration, kabbalah, and wisdom.
3 - What is Bodhisattva`s cultivation?
*The Bodhisattva practice 3 points: 1) To generate the bodhicitta vow; 2) To cultivate the bodhicitta vow; 3) To practice Bodhisattva path to save all living beings.
 
A - Generate Bodhicitta:
Generating Bodhicitta is generating great compassion and becoming a Buddha to save all sentient beings in the ten directions of the universe. Bodhi is enlightenment. Generating bodhicitta is generating the mind to attain Buddhahood and save all sentient beings in the ten directions of The universe.
          All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the past have all generated great compassion and vowed to attain Buddhahood for all sentient beings in the ten directions of the universe. Because the Buddha's compassion is immense, it covers all sentient beings in the whole universe. That's why we say that Buddhism is to open the mind. We often behave and live with the mind of greed, hatred, delusion, anger, resentment, love, selfishness, jealousy, etc. These thoughts are deluded minds; The deluded mind is not real, it is crazy, it is afflictive, it is suffering. Pure mind, the compassionate mind is the true mind because it is already present in the minds of sentient beings. But sentient beings refuse to live with it, abandon it. Buddhism is also known as the Way to open compassion. Therefore, the Buddhas teach sentient beings to generate great compassion to help sentient beings open their compassion in order to destroy the delusions of greed, hatred, delusion, selfishness, jealousy, etc.
          Everyone has compassion, but we don't know how to develop and expand it. It's not far away; it is in us. We open our minds to compassion with no guilt, no shortening of life, no suffering, and no cost at all. So why don't we open our minds to compassion? So, what are we waiting for? This compassion is our true mind. Now, let's expand our compassion through the aforementioned aspiration. Alright then, Buddha is us, we are Buddha!
          All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have generated the Bodhi mind, due to this cause of Bodhi, they have achieved Bodhi fruition today.
          In the Amitayus Sutra, it told that Amitabha Buddha was a Phap Tang Bhikkhu. He generated the Bodhi mind through 48 vows to save all sentient beings. Thanks to these forty-eight vows, today the Phap Tang Bhikkhu became a Buddha with the name Amitabha. He is propagating the Dharma to save sentient beings in the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. Of the 48 vows, the 18th vow is to lead sentient beings to the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss. Therefore, Buddhists recite the Amitabha Sutra to pray for transcendence.
In the Medicine Sutra, Medicine Buddha generates Bodhi mind through 12 vows to save living beings. Therefore, Buddhists recite the Medicine Sutra to pray for peace.
In the Universal Gate Sutra, Lord Guan Yin sends out 12 vows to save living beings. Therefore, Buddhists chant this Sutra to pray for peace.
         In the Ksitigarbha Sutra, Ksitigarbha generates the Bodhi mind: "If hell exists, I will not become a Buddha; All sentient beings are saved completed, I will finally attain Bodhi." Therefore, Buddhists recite the Ksitigarbha Sutra for death prayer. So, we chant the sutras to learn the bodhicitta of the Venerables. If we all generate the Bodhisattva mind and practice the Bodhisattva mind, then we are Bodhisattvas. Only then is the true meaning of chanting sutras. How do we vow?
+ I vow to become a Buddha and save all sentient beings in the ten directions of the universe.
 
B – Cultivate The Bodhicitta - the Bodhi mind

         The first step is to generate bodhicitta, the next step is to practice bodhicitta. For example, someone wants to be a doctor. They already have an intention first, then they have to practice that will, by the way, they have to study and practice medical knowledge. Thanks to that, they can become doctors in the future. Therefore, the Buddha taught practitioners that generating the Bodhi mind is not enough, practitioners must cultivate the Bodhi mind to achieve Bodhi. Practitioners cultivate the Bodhi mind through the six Paramitas (Perfections). Paramita is translated as crossing the shore of enlightenment, meaning sentient beings are at the edge of delusion; Sentient beings must practice the six paramitas before they reach the shore of enlightenment.
The Six Paramitas (The six Perfections) include: 1) Paramita Giving – Perfection of giving; 2)  Paramita Sila – Perfection of Precept; 3) Paramita patience – Perfection of Patience; 4) Paramita Diligence - Perfection of Diligence; 5) Paramita Samadhi – Perfection of Concentration; 6) Paramita Wisdom – Perfection of wisdom.

 1) Practicing the Paramita Giving - The perfection of giving:
a. Benefits of giving:
+ Giving of ordinary people:
          In the world, we see rich people, intelligent people, healthy people, beautiful people, long life, high education, a position, and a good reputation in society. Their achievements are all due to merit. Those merits are due to the practice of giving. Therefore, good people often practice giving to seek blessings and favors. This is a giving of ordinary people.
+ Giving of Bodhisattvas:
          Practitioners who practice the Bodhisattva's Paramita giving aim to 1) destroy the mind of greed, 2) To benefit sentient beings. This is the Bodhisattva's Paramita giving.
b. The giving methods:
          The giving methods include materials, Dharma talks, and the giving of fearlessness.
* The material giving includes money, material things, labor workings, etc.
* Dharma giving is giving the Buddha's advice, or guided in the practice of escaping from birth and death.
* The giving of fearlessness are words of encouragement for people to overcome their fears and sorrows, especially peace of mind when dying.
c. How does the Bodhisattva practice the perfection of giving?
          Practitioners before and after must contemplate not to cling to the ego. Thus, the meditator is purified and liberated from suffering. This is called the perfection of giving.
* Practitioners let go and do not see themselves giving.
* Practitioners let go and do not see the giving objects.
* Practitioners let go and do not see the recipient.
 
2) Practicing the Paramita Sila - The perfection of precepts:
a. Benefits of keeping precepts:
          The Buddha taught human beings to keep precepts to help the body stop creating evil karma. For example, the precept of not killing. If practitioners don't kill, no government will arrest them.
b. The types of precepts:
* The Buddhist precepts include 4 types of precepts as 1) 5 Buddhist precepts, 2) 8 precepts for one day practice, 3) 10 good precepts and 4) a Bodhisattva precept.
*Monk`s precepts include 3 categories such as 1) Novice Precepts for males and females, 2) Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni`s Precepts, 3) Bodhisattva Precepts.
c. How does the Bodhisattva practice the Paramita precepts?
          Practitioners before and after must contemplate not to cling to the ego. Thus, the meditator is purified and liberated from suffering. This is called the Paramita precept.
* Practitioners let go and do not see themselves upholding the precepts.
* Practitioners let go and do not see keeping the precepts.
* Practitioners let go and do not see other people not upholding the precepts.
 
3) Practicing the Paramita patience - The perfection of patience:
a. The benefits of patience:
          Patience is the eradication of anger and hatred and the cultivation of a pure and compassionate mind.
b. How does the Bodhisattva practice the Paramita patience?
          Patience does not mean that everyone who says right or wrong or does right and wrong is patient. This is not so. Patience is being patient with one's own anger. Because the mind of anger is an evil mind, not a true heart, not a compassionate and wise mind. When a meditator gets angry, he must be patient and destroy his anger. Only in this way can practitioners cultivate and develop compassion and wisdom to save sentient beings. After the meditator calms his mind, he can enlighten the opponent.
          Practitioners before and after must contemplate not to cling to the ego. Thus, the meditator is purified and liberated from suffering. This is called the Paramita of patience.
* Practitioners let go and do not find themselves patient.
* Practitioners let go and do not see the practice of patience.
* Practitioners let go and do not see others being patient.
 
4) Practicing the Paramita diligence – The perfection of diligence:
a. Benefits of diligence:
          Diligence is to destroy the mind of laziness. As we all know, if we are lazy to study and practice, so we can not become doctors, dentists, doctorates, master's degrees,  professors, or scientists. In similar, people are lazy to study and practice, so they can not become Saints, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas. Therefore, meditators must always be as diligent so much as possible.
b. How does the Bodhisattva practice the Paramita diligence?
          Practitioners before and after must contemplate not to cling to the ego. Thus, the meditator is purified and liberated from suffering. This is called the perfection of diligence.
* Practitioners let go and do not see themselves as diligent.
* Practitioners let go and do not see the practice of diligence.
* Practitioners let go and do not see others as lazy.
 
5) Practicing the Paramita Samadhi - the Perfection of concentration:
          People are born and grow up to learn a profession to earn money to take care of their material life. Then they worry about building a happy family. Some people take care of business and trade, some people take care of culture, politics, and society, some people fight for fame and status, some people worry about war, some people rob, ect. Every day, people live with greed, hatred, delusion, etc. That is also the reason why people are insecure and unhappy and has led to conflicts in the family and in society; delusional thought also leads to wars all over the world. Therefore, the practitioner must immediately stop these delusions. In order to be able to stop the above-mentioned delusions, the meditator must specialize in Samatha meditation. Meditation can only generate Samadhi - concentration. Concentration has many degrees such as concentration in the realm of form heaven and concentration in the realm of formless heaven.
             a. Practicing Samatha meditation:
Samatha meditation means simply to examine and to stop. Practicing Samatha meditation only generates concentration power. Samatha meditation calls the cause. Samadhi is the effect. So, Samatha meditation usually only applies the method of counting breathing.
             b. Meditation benefits:
          Before practicing Samatha, the meditator must know what the purpose of the meditation practice is. If you don't know the purpose, your practice isn't ideal. Therefore, you should understand the benefits of Samatha meditation as follows:
- Reduce thinking.
- Reduce worry.
- Less stress.
- Balance body and mind.
- Memory recovery.
- Destroy the mental disorder.
- Attain Samadhi power.
- Achieve mindfulness.
- Become peaceful and pure in mind.
            c. How does the Bodhisattva practice Paramita samadhi?
          Practitioners before and after must contemplate not to cling to the ego. Thus, the meditator is purified and liberated from suffering. This is called Paramita meditation.
* Practitioners let go and do not see themselves meditating.
* Practitioners let go and do not see meditation practice.
* Practitioners let go and do not see others not meditating.
          d. Method of practicing Samatha:
We practice Samatha meditation only to eliminate distractions and to concentrate. Therefore, we must prepare mentally before practicing meditation. We do not think about family activities, business, social affairs, natural disasters, floods, wars, etc. Why? If you think about these things, your mind will become more chaotic. How can you concentrate? When we count our breaths, we also don't think about the body, but only the mind. Only then will we be able to partially focus on samadhi.
Sitting meditation to count breathing. It consists of 3 parts such as 1. Sitting posture, 2. Meditation practice, and 3. Release meditation.
          1) Meditation posture:
          Sitting on the ground is more convenient because it makes it easier for you to concentrate. Elderly people can sit on chairs. When sitting on the ground, it is recommended to sit on a cushion or meditation pillow that is at least 10 cm high or more depending on your height. You can sit cross-legged, semi-legendary, or ordinary folding legged, etc.
* Sitting cross-legged is when the left foot is on to the right thigh and the right foot is on to the left thigh so that the knees support the ground, and the back is easier to straighter.
* Sitting semi-legged is when only one foot rests on the thigh or the other leg so that the knees support the ground to make the back straight.
* Sitting ordinary folding-legged is to fold the left leg in, then fold the right leg in so that it is comfortable.
       The first thing to do is to stabilize the sitting posture, the second is to straighten the back, the third to straighten the neck, the fourth to look down the bridge of the nose, relax, the fifth to bend the tongue to the upper teeth, the sixth to not tighten the waist of the pants. The seventh, the right-hand rests on the left hand and the whole body relaxes. While meditating, we can keep our minds in front of the chest.
          2) Practice meditation:
          Inhale deeply through the nose, bring the breathing down the abdomen, exhale slowly through the mouth. (3 times)
Next, let the breath come in and out naturally through the nostrils, without having to try to inhale and exhale. Just watch the breath coming in and out. Breathe in, then exhale silently count one; Inhale, then exhale silently count two and count to ten, then start counting again from one to ten.
        We can sit for 15 minutes or 30 minutes as we like. It is best to set alarm to ring for 15 or 30 minutes at your discretion so that when you sit down, you no longer think about the time.
3) Discharge meditation – Massage of the body:
        Inhale deeply through the nose, bring the breathing down to the abdomen, exhale slowly through the mouth. (3 times)
        Rub hands to warm them, and massage eyes, nose, face, forehead, head, ears, neck, back.
        Rotate the shoulders in a circle from the outside to the inside, do 5 times, and reverse. Use the left hand to massage the right arm from the inside out and switch sides.
       Next, massage your back and kidneys. Squeeze your hands, then bring them back, punch your kidney. The kidney is located opposite the navel. Stretch your legs out and massage legs from the inside out, so that the tendons are stretched, then stand up.
 
6) Cultivate the Paramita wisdom – The perfection of wisdom:
a. Wisdom benefits:
      Wisdom is the ultimate goal of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Because wisdom can eradicate the suffering of greed, hatred, and delusion; the suffering of samsara and can get peace and happiness in the mind.
b. The practice of wisdom:
     Wisdom practices are a method of Vipassana meditation. Vipassana meditation is able to generate wisdom. So, we can say that Vipassana is the cause. Wisdom is the effect. Why did the Buddha not say to practice meditation but to practice wisdom? Because the Buddha wanted to teach practitioners to aim for the ultimate goal of attaining samadhi and wisdom. There are many methods of meditation to attain wisdom. But the practice of meditation is the means, not the ultimate goal that the Buddha wanted to aim for. Therefore, the Buddha taught to attain samadhi and wisdom. Practitioners who want to gain wisdom must practice meditation methods such as:
* Contemplation of the impure body: Contemplation of the impure mind is to destroy the lust of love and sex. Because craving is the root of birth and death.
* Contemplation of the mind of impermanence: Contemplation of the mind of impermanence is to recognize the false mind and the true mind. This method helps the practitioner to reflect on himself.
* Contemplation of feeling: Contemplation of feeling is to leave the feeling of suffering and happiness.
* Contemplation of mental qualities: Contemplating Mental qualities that have temporary and impermanent so as not to be attached to external objects.
* Contemplation of causes and conditions: Contemplation of causes and conditions is to enlighten the formation of phenomena and everything.
* Contemplation of compassion: Contemplation of compassion destroys the mind of anger.
* Contemplation of the five aggregates (form, feeling, perception, Mental information, consciousness): Contemplation of the five aggregates is to discern mind and body being temporary and impermanent.
The Dharmas are like a pill to cure the diseases of sentient beings. People with abdominal pain should take medicine for abdominal pain; People with headaches take headache medicine. Likewise, the meditator practices vipassana depending on his illness.
          c. How does the Bodhisattva practice the Paramita wisdom?
          Practitioners before and after must contemplate not to cling to the ego. Thus, the meditator is purified and liberated from suffering. This is called the Paramita wisdom.
* Practitioners let go and do not see themselves meditating.
* Practitioners let go and do not see the Vipassana practice.
* Practitioners let go and do not see others not practicing.
          d. Practice meditation
          As mentioned above, Shakyamuni Buddha taught many methods of meditation to reach the ultimate wisdom. Here, we only mention four methods of meditation through  Four Frames of Reference in Satipatthana Sutta.
 
 
Majjhima Nikaya
10. Satipatthana Sutta
Four Frames of Reference

 
1 - (A. Body) Contemplating the impure body:
 Definition:
        Contemplating the impure body to eliminate craving. Unclean means not purely. Contemplation of impurity means observing the human body in detail. The goal is not to give rise to the male-female sexual attachment.
 
THE THEORY OF CAUSATION

        The Buddha taught that sentient beings will be reborn in the six realms for unlimited. The desire world is the world where there are men and women, also known as male and female. Because sentient beings in this realm like the sexual relationship between men and women. The six realms of desire consist of the heavenly realm, the human realm, Demi-God realm, hell realm, hungry ghost realm, and animal realm. Why do sentient beings in these six sensual realms have to reincarnate?
        In the Diamond Sutra and the Shurangama Sutra, master. Ananda often asked the Buddha: "World-Honored One! Why are sentient beings reincarnated? The Buddha replied: Because sentient beings crave love and sex, so sentient beings are reincarnated in the realm of desire". Therefore, we know that love and sex are the roots of samsara. and right now we are being reborn because we have been infected with craving.
        Exactly! We see in life that people are infected by smoke, alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. that they could not overcome. In similar, people had been being infected by love and sex for a lot of lives, so they could not abandon it. When people have just reached adulthood, the first thing teenagers often think of is love. This is the main reason to get married. Humans have since countless lifetimes trained in craving and married. Thus, this seed has become the habit and main purpose of life. When people are born and mature, people immediately think of love and sexual desire. No matter how deep the sea is, there is still a bottom, but man's desire for pleasure has no bottom. If someone is not satisfied with their happiness, they may commit suicide. Thereby, we see that the couple's happiness is the power of life for human beings. Lust is also like that, never making us satisfied. The more we have sex, the more our lust grows, the more we enjoy it, the more we crave for it, and eventually, we can't control ourselves.
          Animals don't have the same realization as humans, so they don't know how to fall in love, get engaged, or get married. If they want to have sexual relations, they can have sex with anyone of the opposite sex, whether it's parents or siblings. They only know how to deal with physiology, but do not know the difference between parents and relatives. Therefore, they become animals.
       Life has birth, there will be death, or in other words, the end of life is death, because of death, practitioners cultivate the path to liberation from samsara. If there is no death, then surely no one will practice the Way. People only know how to enjoy material things and pursue cravings. At the same time, the wicked will continue to do evil and they will dominate the world.
         Due to samsara, practitioners want to practice the path of liberation. If the practitioner wants to be liberated from samsara, he must cut off the craving. When the mind is not craving, then the meditator will attain samadhi, gain wisdom, reach the ultimate Nirvana and achieve Arahantship, or in other words, only the Arahants will end their craving and end the cycle of birth and death. The Buddha taught that practitioners who really want to escape the cycle of suffering must practice the method of contemplating the impure body. This method helps the practitioner to leave the mind of craving.

* The Buddha taught to contemplate the impure body in Satipatthana Sutta as followed:
      I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in the Kuru country. Now there is a town of the Kurus calledKammasadhamma. There the Blessed One addressed the monks, Monks.
Venerable sir, the monks replied.
          The Blessed One said this: This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and distress, for the attainment of the right method, and for the realization of Unbinding -- in other words, the four frames of reference. Which four?
     There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in and of itself -- ardent, alert, and mindful -- putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings...mind...mental qualities in and of themselves -- ardent, alert, and mindful -- putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world.
 
1 - (A. Body) Contemplating the impure body:
          And how does a monk remain focused on the body in and of itself?
[1] There is the case where a monk -- having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building -- sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect and setting mindfulness to the fore [lit: the front of the chest]. Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.
        Breathing in long, he discerns that he is breathing in long; or breathing out long, he discerns that he is breathing out long. Or breathing in short, he discerns that he is breathing in short; or breathing out short, he discerns that he is breathing out short. He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the entire body and to breathe out sensitive to the entire body. He trains himself to breathe in calming bodily fabrication and to breathe out calming bodily fabrication. Just as a skilled turner or his apprentice, when making a long turn, discerns that he is making a long turn, or when making a short turn discerns that he is making a short turn; in the same way, the monk, when breathing in long, discerns that he is breathing in long; or breathing out short, he discerns that he is breathing out short...He trains himself to breathe in calming bodily fabrication, and to breathe out calming bodily fabrication.
        In this way, he remains focused internally on the body in and of itself, or externally on the body in and of itself, or both internally and externally on the body in and of itself. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the body, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the body, or on the phenomenon of origination and passing away with regard to the body. Or his mindfulness that there is a body is maintained to the extent of knowledge and remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in and of itself.
[2] Furthermore, when walking, the monk discerns that he is walking. When standing, he discerns that he is standing. When sitting, he discerns that he is sitting. When lying down, he discerns that he is lying down. Or however his body is disposed of, that is how he discerns it.
         In this way he remains focused internally on the body in and of itself, or focused externally...unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in and of itself.
[3] Furthermore, when going forward and returning, he makes himself fully alert; when looking toward and looking away...when bending and extending his limbs...when carrying his outer cloak, his upper robe, and his bowl...when eating, drinking, chewing, and savoring...when urinating and defecating...when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, and remaining silent, he makes himself fully alert.
         In this way he remains focused internally on the body in and of itself, or focused externally...unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in and of itself.
[4] Furthermore... Just as if a sack with openings at both ends were full of various kinds of grain -- wheat, rice, mung beans, kidney beans, sesame seeds, husked rice - and a man with good eyesight, pouring it out, were to reflect, this is wheat. This is rice. These are mung beans. These are kidney beans. These are sesame seeds. This is husked rice, in the same way, monks, a monk reflects on this very body from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin and full of various kinds of unclean things: In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine.
         In this way he remains focused internally on the body in and of itself, or focused externally...unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in and of itself.
[5] Furthermore... Just as a skilled butcher or his apprentice, having killed a cow, would sit at a crossroads cutting it up into pieces, the monk contemplates this very body -- however, it stands, however it is disposed of -- in terms of properties: In this body, there is the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, and the wind property.
        In this way he remains focused internally on the body in and of itself, or focused externally...unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in and of itself.
[6] "Furthermore, as if he were to see a corpse cast away in a charnel ground -- one day, two days, three days dead -- bloated, livid, and festering, he applies it to this very body, This body, too: Such is its nature, such is its future, such its unavoidable fate ...
Or again, as if he were to see a corpse cast away in a charnel ground, picked at by crows, vultures, and hawks, by dogs, hyenas, and various other creatures...a skeleton smeared with flesh and blood, connected with tendons...a fleshless skeleton smeared with blood, connected with tendons...a skeleton without flesh or blood, connected with tendons...bones detached from their tendons, scattered in all directions -- here a hand bone, there a foot bone, here a shin bone, there a thigh bone, here a hip bone, there a backbone, here a rib, there a chest bone, here a shoulder bone, there a neck bone, here a jaw bone, there a tooth, here a skull...the bones whitened, somewhat like the color of shells...piled up, more than a year old...decomposed into a powder: He applies it to this very body, This body, too: Such is its nature, such is its future, such its unavoidable fate.
        In this way, he remains focused internally on the body in and of itself, or externally on the body in and of itself, or both internally and externally on the body in and of itself. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the body, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the body, or on the phenomenon of origination and passing away with regard to the body. Or his mindfulness that there is a body is maintained to the extent of knowledge and remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in and of itself.

2 - (B. Feelings) Contemplating feeling:
       And how does a monk remain focused on feelings in and of themselves? There is the case where a monk, when feeling a painful feeling, discerns that he is feeling a painful feeling. When feeling a pleasant feeling, he discerns that he is feeling a pleasant feeling. When feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he discerns that he is feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling.
        When feeling a painful feeling of the flesh, he discerns that he is feeling a painful feeling of the flesh. When feeling a painful feeling, not of the flesh, he discerns that he is feeling a painful feeling, not of the flesh. When feeling a pleasant feeling of the flesh, he discerns that he is feeling a pleasant feeling of the flesh. When feeling a pleasant feeling, not of the flesh, he discerns that he is feeling a pleasant feeling, not of the flesh. When feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling of the flesh, he discerns that he is feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling of the flesh. When feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, not of the flesh, he discerns that he is feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, not of the flesh.
        In this way, he remains focused internally on feelings in and of themselves, or externally on feelings in and of themselves, or both internally and externally on feelings in and of themselves. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to feelings, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to feelings, or on the phenomenon of origination and passing away with regard to feelings. Or his mindfulness that there are feelings is maintained to the extent of knowledge and remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on feelings in and of themselves.

3 - (C. Mind) Contemplating impermanent of Mind
         If we want to eliminate afflictions and suffering, we must first know where they come from. Almost all afflictions and suffering arise from the mind of greed, hatred, and delusion in particular. They include 1. Basic afflictions, 2. Secondary afflictions, 3. Seven emotions, 4. Six types of desires, 5. Eight winds, etc.
1. Basic afflictions include 10 types such as 1. Body view, 2. Limited view, 3. Persistent view, 4. Extremist precepts, 5. False view, 6. Greed, 7. Anger, 8. Delusion, 9. Conceit, 10. Doubt.
2. Secondary afflictions: include 20 types such as 1. Anger, 2. Hatred, 3. Conceal, 4. Affliction, 5. Envy, 6. Selfishness, 7. Deceit, 8. Flatter, 9. Harm, 10. Pride, 11. No shame, 12. No respect, 13. Restless, 14. Asleep, 15.  No belief, 16. Laziness, 17. Abandoning oneself, 18.  No mindfulness, 19. Distraction, and 20. Unrighteousness.
3. Seven Emotions: Include 7 types such as 1) Happiness; 2) Sadness; 3) Love; 4) Hate; 5) Anger; 6) Fear; 7) Desire.
4. The six sensual attractions: 1) Lust of color; 2) Lust between male and female; 3) Lust for treatment; 4) Lust of sweet voices and speech; 5) Lust of flesh skin; 6) Lust of nice bodies.
5. Eight winds: 1) Win; 2) Lose; 3) Honor; 4) Disgrace; 5) Praise; 6) Blame; 7) Sorrow; 8) Joy.
        These things have caused sentient beings to become confused, suffer, break their minds, and lose the seed of wisdom. The meditator must understand that the thoughts of greed, hatred, delusion, love, hate, sadness, joy, etc. are all false thoughts, also known as false mind. False mind is impermanent; True mind is really true and is a Nirvana. The deluded thoughts are impermanent, temporary, not real, not pure, not true mind, so the practitioner does not cling to them, does not rely on, does not follow. When meditating the false thoughts of greed, hatred, and delusion arise, and the meditator sees and must discern them as impermanent, temporary, not dependent, not running, immediately the false thoughts disintegrate and disappear. When the delusions are completely quiet, the mind is pure and the true mind is revealed. This is Nirvana. The Patriarchs taught when meditating to know:

 
“Do not think evil, Do not think good,
Keep the mind pure, the True Mind manifests.
 

In Satipatthana Sutta, the Buddha taught about contemplating the impermanence of the mind as follows:
        And how does a monk remain focused on the mind in and of itself? There is the case where a monk, when the mind has passion, discerns that the mind has passion. When the mind is without passion, he discerns that the mind is without passion. When the mind has aversion, he discerns that the mind has aversion. When the mind is without aversion, he discerns that the mind is without aversion. When the mind has delusion, he discerns that the mind has delusion. When the mind is without delusion, he discerns that the mind is without delusion.
         When the mind is restricted, he discerns that the mind is restricted. When the mind is scattered, he discerns that the mind is scattered. When the mind is enlarged, he discerns that the mind is enlarged. When the mind is not enlarged, he discerns that the mind is not enlarged. When the mind is surpassed, he discerns that the mind is surpassed. When the mind is unsurpassed, he discerns that the mind is unsurpassed. When the mind is concentrated, he discerns that the mind is concentrated. When the mind is not concentrated, he discerns that the mind is not concentrated. When the mind is released, he discerns that the mind is released. When the mind is not released, he discerns that the mind is not released.
        In this way, he remains focused internally on the mind in and of itself, or externally on the mind in and of itself, or both internally and externally on the mind in and of itself. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the mind, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the mind, or on the phenomenon of origination and passing away with regard to the mind. Or his mindfulness that there is a mind is maintained to the extent of knowledge and remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the mind in and of itself.

4 - (D. Mental Qualities) Contemplating Mental Qualities:

 

          And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in and of themselves?
[1] There is the case where a monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the five hindrances. And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the five hindrances? There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns that there is sensual desire present within him. Or, there being no sensual desire present within, he discerns that there is no sensual desire present within him. He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen sensual desire. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of sensual desire once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no further appearance in the future of sensual desire that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining hindrances: ill will, sloth and drowsiness, restlessness and anxiety, and uncertainty.)    
      In this way, he remains focused internally on mental qualities in and of themselves, or externally on mental qualities in and of themselves, or both internally and externally on mental qualities in and of themselves. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to mental qualities, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to mental qualities, or on the phenomenon of origination and passing away with regard to mental qualities. Or his mindfulness that there are mental qualities is maintained to the extent of knowledge and remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the five hindrances.
[2] Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the five aggregates for clinging/sustenance. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the five aggregates for clinging/sustenance? There is the case where a monk discerns: Such forms, such its origination, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception...Such are fabrications...Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.       
In this way, he remains focused internally on the mental qualities in and of himself, or focused externally...unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the five aggregates for clinging/sustenance.
[3] Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in and of himself with reference to the sixfold internal and external sense media? There is the case where he discerns the eye, he discerns forms, he discerns the fetter that arises dependent on both. He discerns how there is the arising of an unarisen fetter. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of a fetter once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no further appearance in the future of a fetter that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining sense media: ear, nose, tongue, body, and intellect.)
         In this way, he remains focused internally on the mental qualities in and of himself, or focused externally...unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of himself with reference to the sixfold internal and external sense media.
[4] Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the seven factors of awakening. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the seven factors of awakening? There is the case where, there being mindfulness, as a factor of awakening present within, he discerns that mindfulness as a factor of awakening, is present within him. Or, there being no mindfulness as a factor of awakening present within, he discerns that mindfulness as a factor of awakening, is not present within him. He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen mindfulness, as a factor of awakening. And he discerns how there is the culmination of the development of mindfulness as a factor of awakening once it has arisen. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining factors of awakening: analysis of qualities, persistence, rapture, serenity, concentration, and equanimity.)
In this way, he remains focused internally on mental qualities in and of themselves, or externally...unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the seven factors of awakening.
[5] Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the four noble truths. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the four noble truths? There is the case where he discerns, as it is actually present, that this is stress...This is the origination of stress...This is the cessation of stress...This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. 
      In this way, he remains focused internally on mental qualities in and of themselves, or externally on mental qualities in and of themselves, or both internally and externally on mental qualities in and of themselves. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to mental qualities, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to mental qualities, or on the phenomenon of origination and passing away with regard to mental qualities. Or his mindfulness that there are mental qualities is maintained to the extent of knowledge and remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves with reference to the four noble truths...

5 - (E. Conclusion)     
Now, if anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for seven years, one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here and now, or - if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return.
         Let alone seven years. If anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for six years, five, four, three, two years, one year; seven months, six months, five, four, three, two months, one month, half a month, one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here and now, or if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance - non-return.
         Let alone half a month. If anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for seven days, one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here and now, or - if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance-non-return.
         This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and distress, for the attainment of the right method, and for the realization of Unbinding - in other words, the four frames of reference. Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.
         That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words.

C - Practicing Bodhicitta mind - Bodhisattva path:     
       The practice of bodhicitta is also known as practicing the Bodhisattva path. Bodhisattvas practice 1) Practicing all precepts, 2) Practicing all good Dharma precepts, 3) Benefiting all sentient beings. Therefore, Bodhisattvas must go into samsara to save all sentient beings. Only then will they be worthy of being Bodhisattvas.
 
V – CULTIVATING BUDDHA PATH:      
        Bodhisattvas and Arhats are not fully enlightened. Therefore, They must learn more about the Samadhi and the wisdom of the Buddhas. Bodhisattvas practice the Bodhisattva path to save sentient beings and at the same time, They cultivate 52 stages of Bodhisattva. Then They achieve Buddhahood.

CONCLUSION
         No one wants to get the suffering of birth, old age, sickness and death, the suffering of greed, hatred and delusion, the suffering of samsara. Therefore, if sentient beings want to be free from suffering and to get true happiness, they must become Buddhas. So, the meditator must first learn the Buddha's cultivation and then apply it to his spiritual life. This is the practice of Mahayana Buddhism. We pray that sentient beings have one heart towards the righteous Dharma so that they can soon achieve Bodhi fruition.

 
“Boundless sentient beings vow to save
Endless affliction vows to break
The Dharma-door of boundless vows to study
Unsurpassed Buddhahood vows to be.”
 
“Pray for this merit
Towards all
Disciples and sentient beings
All are fully Buddhahood.”

Namo Shakyamuni Buddha

For free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma
 
 

 
 
CHÙA PHẬT LINH
248A Quốc lộ 51, Xã Tân Hòa
Thị xã Phú Mỹ, Tỉnh Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu, Viet Nam
Tel: 0254 – 3891583
Website: WWW.chuaphatlinh.com

In summer retreat at Phat Linh temple Date 06/08/2021

Compiled by: Bhikkhu Thich Hanh Dinh

Translated completely on 20 September 2021
 Từ khóa: Buddha cultivation

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