Brahmavihara Dhamma

Part III by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw

(52) Manner of practising to get Attaditthi rejected

The manner of rejecting Ditthi by one contemplating on his consciousness of mind, as and when it arises either from thoughts or imagination, ‘touch’, ‘hearing’, and ‘seeing’, after immersing in Metta bhavana from which he or she has risen, is similar in nature to what the present meditators are contemplating. The only difference is that it may be with or without the basic jhana. The method of contemplation is, however, the same.

If the strength of contemplation and awareness becomes slackened while contemplating based on jhana on the phenomena, as and when they arise on their own, respectively, metta-jhana should again be developed and revived. When calmness or peace of body and mind has been resuscitated, contemplating and noting of the phenomenal occurrences wherever they become manifested should again be carried out.

The present Yogis (meditators) here are initially contemplating on the rising and falling movements of the abdomen which is regarded as fundamental. In the course of contemplating and noting as described, the imagination and thoughts that may occur should again be contemplated and noted. Thereafter, contemplating and noting be reverted to the rising and falling of the abdominal movements. If bodily sensations of pain, stiffness and hotness are felt, then these sensations should be contemplated and noted, as and when they occur. Afterwards, it should be reverted back to contemplation and noting of the rising and falling movements of the abdomen tending and stretching of hands and feet, if taken place, should likewise be noted. While contemplation is done in the like manner, the sense-object of contemplation and noting, and the knowing-mind will be distinguishably known. Cause and Effect are also distinctly realised. The nature of their impermanence (anicca), suffering (dukkha) and non-Self (anatta) will be apprehended with the personal knowledge in the process of contemplating and noting the psycho-physical phenomena. When bhanga-nana (Insight knowledge into the dissolution of things) gets strengthened with constant awareness as stated, contemplating and noting should be spread widely beginning from every sensation of touch and contact covering the whole body. If tiresomeness occurs while so meditating and if contemplating and noting loses its momentum, the mind that contemplates and notes be reverted to the usual rising and falling of the abdominal wall. Only when the body and mind becomes tranquil, further contemplation of all bodily phenomena should be carried on and noted.

When contemplation gains strength in the manner as stated, achievement of progressive insight will be advanced towards baya-nana, adhinava-nana, nibbida-nana, muncitukamyata-nana and patisankha-nana and thereafter, the stage of sankharupekkha-nana will be reached. At that stage, all objects of contemplation, will be perceived automatically without making exertion. Vipassana, with its penetrating insight will also occur spontaneously. Then, one will be unable to pursue and note with his knowledge the arising of a number of sensations occurring over the whole body, and only automatic awareness of a few usual sensations is taking place. It is also very delicate and gentle. And awareness is also very, very clear. There are times when continuous contemplation is to be carried on one after the other on roughly about three phenomena, such as, the nature of the rising of the abdomen, falling of the abdomen, and stiffness felt in the sitting posture, the entire body being thought of as having vanished altogether. Sometimes, the meditator may become aware of only the two occurrences, viz: “rising” and “falling” of the abdomen, oblivious of the fact that he is sitting. Occasionally, moments may arise when consciousness fails to grasp the “rising and falling” of the abdomen, and if it so happens, he may be fixing his attention only on the clear knowing mind merely contemplating and noting it as “knowing”, “knowing”. While being conscious of what is happening, awareness becomes greatly accelerated, and sudden cessation of the contemplating object and mind will be perceived and realised. The knowledge and perception of the cessation of all rupas and namas is “magga-nana”

As a matter of fact, rejection of attaditthi called arammananussaya has been made completely even before attaining magga-nana with the faculty of Vipassana insight knowledge which has become aware of the existence of only rupa and nama, in the course of his contemplation and noting.

Ariyamagga, which realises the nature of cessation of all rupa-nama-sankharas totally, dispels that attaditthi called santananusaya. From then onwards, the false view of the existence of ‘an individual’, ‘a being’, ‘an atta-being’, and ‘a living entity’ has been completely wiped out. This explains in brief that manner of practising, meditation to be able to reject attaditthi, though one may be developing metta towards the pannatti beings, and it is in conformity with the instructions given by the Buddha as: “ditthin ca” – towards attaditthi which clings to the view that there is really atta, individuality or Self, or a being, “anupagamma – having no desire to grasp with attachment.

If attaditthi is rejected by methodical contemplation and noting through earnest meditation, micchaditthi, the. Then false view or misconception will be totally eradicate after rejecting ditthi, “silava” – one should also be accomplished with sila (morality). This sila can be fully accomplished. Purified sila will, of course, remain in tact in the case of laymen if they, strictly and respectfully observe either the Five, Eight, or Ten Precepts – the basic requirement of bhavana. As regards Patimokkha Sila, i.e. a collection of precepts prescribed for monks and nuns, this can be fully accomplished if the moral practices are respectfully observed according to the Rules of Vinaya. Such precepts both for laymen and Bhikkhus should be fully perfected before practising meditation. It has been instructed to fulfil this perfection in moral practices with the words – “karaniyamatta kusalena, etc.” appearing in the Metta Sutta.

In this regard, it means to refer to the accomplishment or ariyamagga sila. This too, being embraced in the attributes of ariyamagga which has uprooted the “ditthi” it is already included in the expression: “Not having a desire to grasp or cling to ‘attaditthi”‘ which means, ‘having rejected ‘attaditthi”‘ . Nevertheless, to make it more convincing that ariya-magga-sila has also been accomplished, it was repeated with the word – “silava” – i.e. one should be accomplished with sila (morality). Furthermore, ‘,’dasanena,” – with the insight-knowledge of sotapattimagga which realises . and perceives , Nibbana, the state of cessation, of all sahkhiiradukkha, “Sampanno ” – having been accomplished, it would not also cling to ditthi, nay, would reject ditthi. It conveys the same sense as the expression “accomplishment of ariyamagga-phala”. This again is a repetition to make the meaning all the more obvious.