We were discussing about the individuals mentioned by Buddha in Kilesa Parinibbana Sutta. We discussed about two individuals in detail. Buddha mentioned about a person who attains Parinibbana in this life itself who practises Dhamma and meditation with ease. They do not exert themselves as much as the persons mentioned earlier. The persons mentioned earlier did not have much comforts. They had to exert a lot. They have to meditate with a lot of commitment.
The person we are discussing now has comforts. He practises Dhamma and meditation with ease. Buddha says that he lives after attaining the first, second, third and fourth Jhanas. Either first or second Jhana. If not third or fourth Jhanas. He lives after attaining one or all of these Jhanas.
Like the previously mentioned individuals this individual also remains in these Jhanas and concentrations in association with the Sekha strengths. When he practises in that manner, Indriya Dhamma spring strongly in him. Buddha states that such a person after practicing Dhamma and meditation comfortably attains Parinibbana in this life itself.
Buddha then mentions about another individual who lives after developing Jhanas and Samadhis. He practises Jhanas and concentration while associating with the five Sekha Dhamma. But Indriya Dhammas arise in him not strongly as in the case of the previous person. Therefore he does not get the opportunity to attain Parinibbana in this life. He will attain Parinibbana in a subsequent life.
In that manner Buddha has shown us that there are four types of individuals according to the way they attain Parinibbana. Accordingly there are several factors we can understand. We must understand them. Earlier I explained about five meditations. It becomes further clarified that by practicing those five meditations we have the opportunity to clear the way to Nibbana. Isn’t it clear that we have an opportunity to develop the path to Nibbana? It is clear. Even if the path is cleared can everyone end the Sansaric journey in the same manner? No.
Some people end the Sansaric journey in this life itself. Some people in the next birth. So we have to understand it. What should we do after understanding? We should practise these meditations with Saddha. Then our Sansaric journey will end according to our nature, that is, in the way the Indriya Dhammas arise.
If Indriya Dhamma arise strongly we will attain Parinibbana in this life itself. Have you got any confidence about it now? Are you prepared to accept it? Agree to accept it? Nothing can be done by disagreeing. Mere acceptance is not sufficient. Having accepted it, it must be practised as indicated in the Dhamma.
Consider Asubha Bhavana, Ahare Patikkhulata Bhavana, Marana Sati. Some people consider these as very simple. But they help us to improve our life up to Parinibbana. That is what I am trying to explain to you. Many people think that it is easy, simple and small. Having thought so they look for bigger things. Do you now realize that they are not simple things? Those are Dhammas that help us to attain Parinibbana.
So what we have to do is to develop confidence in this Dhamma and proceed without getting into a hurry. The aforesaid first two individuals practise this Dhamma with great difficulty exerting a lot of energy. They have few comforts. But the next two individuals have comforts. Why? Because they have developed the Jhana concentration and while experiencing its pleasure they practise the Dhamma.
Many people think that they do not have a strong concentration. Many people sit down to meditate with the determination to develop a Jhana. They are with such expectations. Are these unnecessary expectations mentioned in the preachings? No. What we have to do is to practise these meditations. If one has the fortune he will be able to attain a Jhana concentration. He gets the opportunity to remain practicing the Samadhi comfortably.
Can’t we meditate even though we do not have the fortune? Can. Does it mean that he attains the Parinibbana without the Samadhi? No. Such people develop Samadhi up to a certain level. The existing Samadhi improves ultimately. Earlier also there was a certain level of Samadhi. But they are not fortunate enough to make it strong. Therefore comfort is less. When they are practicing the path of Dhamma their comforts are less. But before passing away that Samadhi becomes strong. They take pains and as a result strong Samadhi develop at the last moment.
Therefore even if we have a small Samadhi, think of continuing the meditation with due respect and in association with that Samadhi. Do not worry or get into a hurry thinking “Oh, I don’t have a big Samadhi. I have no Samadhi”. One may have a certain level of Samadhi. What he has to do is to continue meditation with great confidence and respect.
The relevant meditation has to be carried out continuously. Many people give up saying “This meditation does not suit me”. Why do they give up? They look for strong Samadhi. They do not think of the benefits of meditation.
Some say “I am practicing the Asubha meditation. But it does not develop in me. Therefore I am giving it up” Why? The problem is not the failure to develop the Asubha. He has no strong Samadhi. That is why he is giving up Asubha. Think carefully why one gives up Asubha after some time. He does not get a Samadhi as expected by him. That means he is not practicing the Asubha to get the benefits associated with Asubha. He is doing so to get a big Samadhi. When he does not get the Samadhi he abandons the Asubha and starts another.
Therefore we should not meditate with Samadhi as the objective or in search of Samadhi. We should practise the meditation with the object of achieving the benefits coming from meditation. By carrying out that meditation some day we will attain the Samadhi. Meditation should not be done with Samadhi as the objective. One who meditates looking for Samadhi gives up the meditation after some time. Why? Because his target is somewhere else. What he is doing is not practicing meditation. He is searching for Samadhi.
Therefore whether the Samadhi is strong or weak should not be our concern. It does not matter even if only a small Samadhi is there. He treats that Samadhi with respect and carries on the relevant meditation. Then if some benefit is due to result from that meditation it will be received.
Now you may have understood that it is possible to attain Parinibbana in this life itself for an individual who practises these five meditations based on the fact explained by Buddha if the Indriya Dhamma become strong. However he is doing so with great suffering. Why? Because he has no strong concentration. He has no comforts. Nothing can be done because it is the nature of his merit.
Based on what does this Samadhi Samapatti formed? Based on merit. If we have performed some merit that merit helps us to acquire strong Samadhi. Nothing else. That does not mean that we do not have merit. Why does it not imply that? Because we cannot find it out. What we have to do is not to inquire into whether we have merit or not. There is no use in finding out. But we must have confidence in the fact that we have merit. Based on what? We met worthy friends. We came across the Dhamma. We could enter this noble life. Based on these factors you may come to the conclusion that we have merit.
Establish yourself on this conclusion and continue to practise these Dhammas. While practicing develop confidence in the understanding of Buddha. We have now come across what Buddha preached. That means there is merit. We met worthy friends. That means there is merit in us. We could enter the noble life. That is we have merit.
Keep on practicing thinking “I should not cover up the merit I have. I must practise with dedication”. Then you will get the relevant results and benefits. It may not happen in a day or two or in months. Commit your entire life and practise.
Then you will realize the benefits. Those who practise meditation should be aware of these facts. If one is not aware and get confused he may abandon the meditation. Why? He has no idea of the results. No idea as to what is going to happen. Such people practise for a short while and give up.
How many times have you given up Asubha meditation? How many times have you changed the meditation subject thinking “This is not suited for me?” Isn’t it rarely that you think “I must do it without a break?’ If you develop a confidence in the Dhamma you will not give up meditation. You will do it little by little. Therefore develop confidence in this Dhamma and practise at least the five aforesaid meditations. May the extremely rare fortune for that dawn on you.
By Dr Padmaka Silva, Compiled with instructions by Ven Ariyawansa Thero.
This article has been taken from Daily News online edition.