Buddhism, Death & Rebirth, Philosophy, Society, Spirituality

Episode 43: Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta — Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion


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I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Varanasi in the Game Refuge at Isipatana. There he addressed the group of five monks:

“There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.

“And what is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding? Precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.

“Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress:[1] Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.

“And this, monks, is the noble truth of the origination of stress: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming.

“And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of stress: the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving.

“And this, monks, is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: precisely this Noble Eightfold Path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

“Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: ‘This is the noble truth of stress.’ Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: ‘This noble truth of stress is to be comprehended.’ Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before:’ This noble truth of stress has been comprehended.’

“Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: ‘This is the noble truth of the origination of stress’… ‘This noble truth of the origination of stress is to be abandoned’ [2] … ‘This noble truth of the origination of stress has been abandoned.’

“Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: ‘This is the noble truth of the cessation of stress’… ‘This noble truth of the cessation of stress is to be directly experienced’… ‘This noble truth of the cessation of stress has been directly experienced.’

“Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: ‘This is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress’… ‘This noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress is to be developed’… ‘This noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress has been developed.’ [3]

“And, monks, as long as this — my three-round, twelve-permutation knowledge & vision concerning these four noble truths as they have come to be — was not pure, I did not claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its deities, Maras, & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & commonfolk. But as soon as this — my three-round, twelve-permutation knowledge & vision concerning these four noble truths as they have come to be — was truly pure, then I did claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its deities, Maras & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & commonfolk. Knowledge & vision arose in me: ‘Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.'”

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the group of five monks delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being given, there arose to Ven. Kondañña the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.

And when the Blessed One had set the Wheel of Dhamma in motion, the earth devas cried out: “At Varanasi, in the Game Refuge at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahman or contemplative, deva, Mara or God or anyone in the cosmos.” On hearing the earth devas’ cry, the devas of the Four Kings’ Heaven took up the cry… the devas of the Thirty-three… the Yama devas… the Tusita devas… the Nimmanarati devas… the Paranimmita-vasavatti devas… the devas of Brahma’s retinue took up the cry: “At Varanasi, in the Game Refuge at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahman or contemplative, deva, Mara, or God or anyone at all in the cosmos.”

So in that moment, that instant, the cry shot right up to the Brahma worlds. And this ten-thousand fold cosmos shivered & quivered & quaked, while a great, measureless radiance appeared in the cosmos, surpassing the effulgence of the devas.

Then the Blessed One exclaimed: “So you really know, Kondañña? So you really know?” And that is how Ven. Kondañña acquired the name Añña-Kondañña — Kondañña who knows.

Courtesy of Access to Insight

Satsang

Episode 3: Organic & Spontaneous Satsang in London

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In this episode, I share the recent insights gathered in a spontaneous Satsang, unplanned and natural. There will be more organic Satsangs in the future. A Satsang is a sacred gathering, where beings meet to come to meet Themselves, as They really are — or meet reality, as it is.

Satsangs are lacking in Western societies by and large, and non-duality is not a buzz word on the streets and isn’t ready as a conversation starter at the cocktail bar, yet they have been going on in India since time immemorial. Regardless of this notion, we can also come together in a virtual Satsang where we share from across the globe and meet non-dual awareness together no matter your country, upbringing, age, or background. Those don’t matter, because they are not who you are!

In 2012 and 2016, I sat with my guru, Mooji, in Bethnal Green in London. He taught the way of the Satsang with the help of his master, Papaji, and his master, Sri Ramana Maharshi. Mooji has shown me the light that I needed to be propelled, against all odds, to awaken to my true nature. You can, too. Here’s a preview below of a Satsang by Papaji, a wise and hilarious character, now gone beyond. Enjoy, and om namo Buddhay!

Buddhism

Episode 2: Buddhist Methods of Awakening

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Have you been wondering what the difference is between Zen, Tantra, Dzogchen, Mahayana, Theravada, and all these Buddhism’s?

In episode 2, we go over a brief overview of the Buddhist traditions and what sort of material you can put into practice, today. I understand that everybody has a different temperament and no two humans are the same, so there’s a wide variety of techniques to help you awaken. I’ll let you listen, but here’s a few more tips:

If you have a keen intellect and been to years of university and enjoy a good book, then maybe studying Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist canons will be beneficial for you. There are 84,000 in all, so you won’t be curled up for reading! “Sutra” or “Sutta” means “string/thread” — a discourse as part of an entire tapestry. So take each as both a part and a whole. Don’t think you have to read in chronological order or get through all of them. (That’s for monk-hood, right there!) You can choose what you feel drawn to here, in this collection of Buddhist suttas.

Do you love the outdoors? A woodsman? A hiker? Skiing down the slopes of a snowy mountain, somewhere north? Dzogchen is be a good bet! Dzogchen, my favourite practice, pulls your attention outwards into the widest expanse possible. Beyond body, beyond mind, beyond environment… but interacting with all of them. When you’re in nature, and you’re thinking and strategising, just notice that… and then open into the wider expanse of your noticing. Where are the thoughts now? Are they controlling you, or are they simply happening in this larger awareness? The trees are still, the sky is wide, and you are here. Present. Pain can happen, happiness, joy, stress, stillness, worry — anything! But keep opening. Open to that. You can handle it, because it’s part of you but it’s not all that you are. You are larger than you ever know. You are awareness, itself. What colour are those tree branches? How is the ripple of the wind on your skin, underneath your fleece? What is that noise, over there?

Or, if you’re crazed by the arts — acting, throwing paint on canvas or yourself, a gallery-watcher, writer, poet, or feel the pull of a higher sense of the mystical, I recommend Tantra. Tantra is an unlimited practice which includes yoga, visualisation “meditation”, and drawing/gazing at/colouring mandalas. Yoga is a fluid practice, challenging the notions of what’s possible by the body/mind continuum. Yoga asanas can be interpreted in different ways, by both the Vedas and Patanjali up to the present day, but you will find truth in there — after all, you’re using your own body and mind which is in your own awareness! So play with yoga. Also play with visualisation. You can

Mother, father? Car mechanic? Love to bake and see the organic order in the vegetables you chop, the molasses on your spoon, the cinnamon in your nostrils? Zen. If you’re active and enjoy your dynamic life, both focused and intensive, then Zen is your friend. It’s the best combination of both worlds. When you’re focused on a task, then you commit yourself just to that task. If you chop, you chop. If you taste, you taste. If you need to stop chopping and take care of the baby or the dog, do that. Do it mindfully, fully. Move your attention from one task to the next with focus and awareness that you’re doing that or that it’s happening. Most importantly, when a friend comes to visit, be with that friend.

And for the more adventurous of spirit, advanced spiritual seekers, and those who want to delve deep into the question of existence itself, try non-dual self-enquiry or the netti-netti method.

The Buddha noted that any teaching is just a raft, bringing us across the water. When the raft arrives, there’s no need for the raft anymore.

As always, if you have any questions, don’t be shy to get in touch. We share this life together — not separately.