We must know what methods one has to basically follow and how one has to maintain the meditation in order to make the meditation more successful. If we do not become aware of that it becomes impossible for us to make a success of the meditation.
In the Tika Nipata of Anguttara Nikaya we come across a very valuable sutta. The name of the sutta is Pathama Papanika Sutta. May be most of us have read this. We should read such suttas frequently. Our problem is not reading suttas frequently. Therefore the best thing is to note down at least the name of the sutta when we refer to a teaching. Then we get a chance to refer to it frequently. We get used to it. If we note down a Dhamma fact it will help us to avoid unskillful activities such as keeping on thinking of useless things.
Then we have something wonderful to do. When we note down Dhamma facts we can refer to them again and again. Then we become someone who does this habitually. It is very valuable when we are on the path to Dhamma. Otherwise we get misled even by a minor matter. Because at such times there is nothing to refer to. Therefore we should referring to teachings frequently.
When we read a sutta we get knowledge from it. We must make use of that knowledge for a long time. Therefore keep a record of the suttas you have studied. Some day you will realize the value of such teachings. We should make use of them not only today but for a very long time in the future.
In this sutta in Anguttara Nikaya Buddha tells us:
‘Oh Monks, the businessman with three characteristics does not qualify to get wealth he has not received or enhance the wealth he has acquired’. Oh monks, this businessman does not engage methodically in his activities in the morning. He does not engage methodically in his activities during the noon. Nor does he do so in the evening. Oh monks. A businessman with these three characteristics does not qualify to receive wealth or enhance the wealth he has already received.
That businessman does not attend to his work methodically in the morning, noon or evening. Sometimes he does a little in the morning, does nothing in the daytime and does a little in the evening. He does not engage in his business activities methodically throughout the day. Consequently he does not earn any new wealth or he does not increase the wealth he has already received. He fails to improve his wealth. The wealth deteriorates. Don’t we understand it?
We have seen some businessmen do something in the morning. Idle in the daytime. Idle in the evening too. Some others idle in the morning in laziness. He starts work very late in the daytime. By that time others have completed their work. He cannot reach the expected progress. Whatever progress he has achieved gets deteriorated.
Therefore Buddha tells us
‘In the same way Oh Bhikkhus, a Bhikkhu with three characteristics does not qualify to attain merit that he has not received or to improve on the merit he has already achieved. What are these three factors? This Bhikkhu does not engage in his Samadhi objective methodically in the morning. He does not do so in the midday. He does not do so in the evening. Oh Bhikkhus, A Bhikkhu with such characteristics is not qualified to attain merit that has not gained or to improve the merit already possessed’.
The reason is his not carrying out the meditation appropriately throughout the day. He meditates for a little while in the morning, idles in the midday, and in the evening meditates for a little while. He does not carry out these activities so that they are not systematically divided throughout the day. Therefore it is not possible for him to achieve merit he has not attained. It is not possible to improve on the merit he has already achieved. Why? He does not practise after allocating the entire time in a balanced manner.
You may note how we meditate. Sometimes we do not meditate in the morning. Sometimes we do not mediate in the day time. Not in the evening also. Some people meditate in the morning for a few days. After that he does not meditate. We do not do it systematically. If there is no systematic way how can we attain merit that has not been achieved?
If we carry out several meditations little by little throughout the day it will be possible to attain some degree of success after sometime. If we do not follow that system afterwards also our success gets diminished. We find it impossible to maintain that success beyond that. Therefore we must get all these clarified.
That is why we said that once we learn a preaching we must continue to be in touch with it. If we had not studied this Dhamma we would not have got the results of it. Why? We would not have been aware of the existence of this fact in the Dhamma.
If we do not make use of the Dhamma we have studied we will not be able to get its benefits. That is why we wanted you to remember the suttas you have studied. It may not be possible to remember the entire sutta. But if you at least note down the name of the sutta, and if you can have in your memory a rough idea of the facts in the sutta it will be very useful. You may maintain a brief note to the effect ‘There is a sutta like this. Such and such facts are indicated in that sutta’. That will serve as a handbook. It contains the teachings necessary for our progress on the path.
By Dr Padmaka Silva, Compiled with instructions by Ven Ariyawansa Thero (Mahamevnawa Sri Lanka).
This article has been taken from Daily News online edition.