Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 184

Odds and Ends

(เก็บเล็กผสมน้อย)

Ven. Phrakhru Siddhiyanvidesh


[Phramaha Somboon Siddhiyano]

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ I


‘Odds and Ends’
copyright© 2009 By Ven.Phrakhru Siddhiyanavidesh

Author : Ven.Phrakhru Siddhiyanvidesh


[Phramaha Somboon Siddhiyano]

Editorial Board:
ï Ven.PhrakhruPanyasudhamwithet (Dr.PM.Laow Panyasiri)
ï Phramaha Phasakorn Piyobhaso
ï Phramaha Pranom Dhammaviriyo
ï Phra S. M. Sujano

Competer Graphic Concepts:


ïPhramaha Aphidech Yanasiri
ïPhra S. M. Sujano

Wolverhampton Buddha Vihara


Upper Zoar Street, Pennfields, Wolverhampton,
West Midlands, WV3 0JH
First Published : 25th October 2009
Printed in England : By Liquid Print Birmingham
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ II

Congratulation

It brings me a great sense of achievement to witness
the compilation of this book, which represents my life-span
work.
I would like to express my thanks to Phra S.
M. Sujano for collecting and compiling these articles
to produce this book. Previously, these articles were un-
noticed and scattered in many different places.
I hope that readers will benefit from this book.

Phavatu sabba mangalam !

Phrakru Siddhiyanavidesh
21 October 2009

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ III


Contents Page

Preface v
Biography of Luang Phor i
Massage from Ajahn Laow xiv
Massage from DAMC Centre xxv
Chapter 1. A Short story of the Buddha 1
Chapter 2. Introduction of Buddhism 8
Chapter 3. Buddhism in Thailand and its past and present 10
Chapter 4. Manussa Dhamma : Five precepts 21
Chapter 5. The Buddhist Celebration 30
Chapter 6. Introduction to Kathina 33
Chapter 7. The Consecration of Sima 41
Chapter 8. Dhammacakka Mudra or Dhammacakka Posture 52

Chapter 9. Introduction to Meditation 55


Chapter 10. Introduction to Insight meditation 61
Chapter 11. Conventional truth and Ultimate truth 71
Chapter 12. Insight meditation and three signs of being 78
Contents
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ IV
Chapter 13. Hindrances and Absolute Freedom 82
Chapter 14. Ego and Vipassana Meditation 89
Chapter 15. Where is real happiness 96
Chapter 16. Merit Making : Gratitude 101
Chapter 17. Looking into the True Nature of life 107
Chapter 18. Eyes on World 112
Chapter 19. The Significance of giving Dana 116
Chapter 20. Who ate goat’s dung ? 121
Chapter 21. Welcoming Speech 124
Chapter 22. Luang Por’s 77th Birthday Celebration 125
Chapter 23. New Year Message to all 128
Chapter 24. The Foundation Stone of Buddha Vihara 132
Chapter 25. The Foundation Stone at Panjab 133
Chapter 26. Opening Speech on Dr.Ambedkar 135
Chapter 27, He donated his life’s saving 138
Chapter 28. Good to Know 140

Contents ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ V


Preface

I feel great privilege to write an introduction for this book


‘Odds and Ends’ - article collection of Most Venerable
Phrakru Siddinyanvithet or known as Venerable Phramaha
Somboon, the most senior Theravada monks in the UK and
generally known as Luang Por. Luang Por – aged 85 - is a Thai
Buddhist missionary monk, who send to the United Kingdom by
the Department of Religious Affairs of Thailand in 1968 as a
Dhammaduta monk immediately after his completion of degree
from Mahamakut Buddhist University in Thailand. He lived in the
Buddhapadipa Temple, London for several years and also used to
be acting abbot of the temple for few years. Later, he voluntarily
accepted invitation from Indian Buddhists, Wolverhampton in the
sangha meeting at the Buddhapadipa Temple for certain months,
but that certain months last until present day and respectively all
Indian Buddhists called him as bhante Somboon.
Luang Por is a well verse in Buddhist teachings and
disciplines - calm, gentle, compassionate and generous -
Buddhist monk. He is well respected among Buddhist and non-
Buddhist locally and internationally. Apart from being spiritual
leader in different organizations, he also supports and provides
scholarships for needy pupils. He is tirelessly helping - dedicated
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ VI
and sacrificed most of his life - for the upliftment and creating
Buddhist awareness among the Ambedkarit Buddhists and as
well as supports their all activities.
This year 2009 at the request of the Luang Por, I was
chosen from the Buddhavihara Temple Kings Bromley by Venerable
Phrakru Pannyasudhammawithet or Dr. Ajahn Laow to observe
the rainy retreat with him in Wolverhampton Buddha Vihara for
three months. It was my privilege and honour. It is also a
meritorious opportunity to provide basic hospitality to Luang Por.
Although it was uncomfortable change, initially, and cultural
differences I came up with the plan to collect and publish Luang
Por’s work, which you are holding in your hands now, to make
myself fit into new culture. At the beginning, Luang Por was
slightly hesitant but later became convinced and then kindly
assisted with the project.
Over the past years since his arrival in the UK in 1968,
a number of articles have been written as a preparation or draft
for different occasions. Among them few articles have been
published and three quarters of it have been disregarded and
overlooked. Further, Luang Por has written several articles in
French, which have been excluded from the book due lack of
linguistic knowledge.
Some of the main articles describes in this book are the
short history of the Buddha, the first article of this book, in
which, Luang Por precisely presented life of the Buddha until
Preface ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ VII
enlightenment. An article ‘A History of Buddhism in Thailand’
is of equal interest to read in order to understand Thai Sangha
community and its governance in Thailand. Out of the ordinary
articles, understanding the five aggregates –pancakhanda- by
realizing three characteristics; impermanence, unsatisfactoriness
and non-self is the main purpose of the Buddhist meditation,
which Luang Por explains clearly with simple examples in his few
articles. ‘Detachment’ further article explains ‘is initial achievement
from insight meditation’. Every little gifts or generosities are highly
considered and praised by the Buddha so does by Luang Por
as he explained in his article. He respects generosity and treats
them highly regardless of donation. Therefore, with his special
request the news of generous donation also has been added at
the end of this book.
Further, some of the articles are excluded due similar to
the articles which have been included. Some of the articles
have been edited but preserved its nature. Its contents and main
concepts are remained the same, just a slightest changes have
been made to make it clear.
Of course, all friends are positively supportive and without
them it is far difficult to complete. Financial support, I would say,
is vital important, without it, it would not have been possible
published. Therefore, I would like to thank and appreciate everyone
for your generous financial support. Equally, I also would like
to thank everyone for providing articles and valuable advice.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ VIII Preface
Likewise, I am thankful to the members of Dr. Ambedkar Memorial
Committee of Great Britain for providing necessary needs while
I was assisting Luang Por in Wolverhampton. I also express my
humble thankfulness to Phrakru Panyasudhammawithet, the abbot
of the Buddhavihara Temple, Kings Bromley for providing necessary
advice and guidance towards the successful publication of this
book. I also would like to thank Phramaha Aphidech Netwila for
his graphic work on this book. Among all, certainly without the
kind support and assistance of Luang Por, it would have been
impossible to bring these words of wisdom. Ultimately, with the
help of all directions this book is with you today.

Ven. S. M. Sujano

Preface ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ IX


‘Odds and Ends’ ~ X
The short Biography of
Ven. Phrakhru Siddhiyanvidesh
[ Phramaha Somboon Siddhiyano]

M y mother’s name was Mrs. Bang Prasarkok and Father’s


name was Mr. Chand Prasarkok. My Father passed away
on the nineteenth of April 2506 (1963 C.E.) whereas my mother
on Twenty-fourth April 2527 (1984 C.E.).
I was born on 2468 B.E./1925 C.E. in Kabinburi District,
Prachinburi Province, Thailand and was brought up in the
Eastern part of Thailand. I got 3 brothers including myself and 5
Sisters, one of them died, when I was about 4 years old. With
regard to Thai tradition when the family gets boys they must
be ordained as novices or monks for respecting or reciprocating
their benefactors. I ordained as a novice for reciprocating my
grandmother when she was cremated. My teacher was preceptor
and Governor of Kabinburi District and he passed away too. I
gave up the novice-hood after a week and I continued learning at
a local primary school in Nadee village, I passed an examination
of the fourth form of school.
In 2488 BE/1945 C.E. I ordained as a monk in the form
of high ordination at Wat Phansee Temple under the preceptor-
ship of Phrakhru Banhankabintharakhet, announcer-preceptor
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ i
was Phra Ajahn Kud and assistant announcer-preceptor was
Phrapalad Lieam. After the ordination I went to reside at Wat
Phraneewong Temple for a year. After the Second World War
ended, I moved into Bangkok for Buddhist studies and lived in
Wat Tasnarunsuntarikaram Temple. I went to Buddhist school
(Nak dhamma studies) and school of Pali study.
After the completion of third grade of Buddhist school (Nak
dhamma) and the fifth grade of Pali studies, I joined Mahamakut
Buddhist University for further education on Buddhist philosophy.
Later, I enrolled for a special six months intensive degree up as
a Dhammaduta monk at the Training Institute for Dhammaduta
Bhikkhu going abroad immediately after completion of Bachelor in
Buddhist philosophy.
In 2511 B.E. / 1968 C.E. I was selected as a Dhammaduta
monk for the West by Department of Religious affairs of Thailand
to run the Wat Buddhapadipa Temple in London and then later I
was appointed as Deputy of the Temple.
On the thirteenth of October 2518 B.E./1975 C.E. I was invited
to co-operate to set up the Buddhist Union of Europe in Paris
by unanimous agreement of our representatives from 8 countries,
namely the West Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria,
England, France, Belgium and Italy. Later, in 2522 B.E./1980
B.E. I was appointed as a spiritual adviser for the Buddhist union
of Europe.
In 2529 B.E./1983 C.E. I was invited to stay and look
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ ii
after the Wolverhampton Buddha Vihara in Wolverhampton. I am
teaching Buddhist teachings and Buddhist meditation here and
helping the temple committee to develop the Temple since its
present time.
In 2520 B.E./1977 C.E. I translated French story ‘La Fuite’
into Thai language from the French Book entitled ‘Pronons la
parole’, which has been published twice. In 2525 B.E./1982 C.E. I
compiled the chanting book entitled; Romanization of Pali chanting
book to mark on the Ratanakosindra Bicentennial celebration and
Consecration of Sima erected in the suburb of London by committee
of London Buddhist Temple Foundation chaired by Thai Prime
Minister, General Kriansakdi Chamanandana of Thailand and in
2538 B.E./1995 C.E., which was published by Wat Sanghathan
(presently Wat Santiwonsaram), Birmingham. Second book
‘Romanization of the Peak of Tipitaka and Gathachinabanchorn’
was published by The Buddhavihara Temple, Aston Birmingham
in 1995 for people who are interested in Buddhist chanting,
which help them chant easily by themselves
I have visited the following countries; In Asian countries:
Laos, Cambodia, Burma, India, Singapore, China thrice; In the
Scandinavia; Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway; in the Europe
countries: Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium,
Switzerland, Iceland, France, Italy, Spain, and United States of
America.

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ iii


‘Odds and Ends’ ~ iv
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ v
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ vi
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ vii
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ viii
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ ix
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ x
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xi
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xii
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xiii
PM Somboon and
His Missionary Work in the UK
By Venerable Dr Laow Panyasiri1

B uddhism has been part of the history of Great Britain for


some time now. Thai Buddhist Dhammaduta monks have
also been present for some time, letting British people see the
impact of Buddhism on their lives.
The Most Ven Prarasithimuniy from Wat Mahathat,
Bangkok was the first Thai Buddhist missionary approved and
sent in 1966 by the Sangha Authority and Thai Government
to the Buddhapadipa Temple, London, which at the time was
situated at 99 Christchurch Road, East Sheen. It was there for
a while before moving to its present location in Calonne Road,
Wimbledon. The temple had belonged to a retired army general.
It became, and remains to this day, a residence for monks and
a place for Thai people to celebrate the Thai festivals and enjoy
cultural performances.
In 1968 the Most Venerable Somboon came as a monk
from Wat Tapan (Tassanrunsuntarikaram). He had obtained his
BA from Mahamakut Buddhist University.

1 Also known as Phrakru Panyasudhammawithet , The Abbot of The Buddhavihara Temple


Kings Bromley Staffordshire
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xiv
Phramaha Somboon has told me that over many years
there have been many new teams who came for a while. Some
monks disrobed, some went back to Thailand for good and some
died as a monk or after disrobed. He notes that he alone has
stayed until now he is 84 years old.
Monks from many different countries who were friends
have gone now, monks like the Ven Dr. Saddatissa, Ven. Dr
Vajirayana, and Ven. Dr Revata dhamma. Meeting with each other
and learning from each other they did work of great significance
and importance for Buddhism in the UK.
The work of the Venerable Phramaha Somboon has also
been highly remarkable and important for the history of Buddhism
in Britain. I would like to say before all the Indian devotees who
are present at the ceremony at the temple that the Venerable
Phramaha Somboon has dedicated his whole life to Buddhism,
and Indian people in Wolverhampton and in the Punjab are those
who have benefited most from his service.
Let us look back briefly at the history of the Buddhapadipa
Temple in Wimbledon. The Venerable Sophon Dhammasudi had
been a very popular head monk when he was teaching the
Dhamma in East Sheen. When he left the temple Phramaha
Somboon took over as Acting Abbot for many years until the
Venerable Phra Medidhammacharaya was appointed Abbot. Phra
Medidhammacharaya came from Wat Mahathat, Bangkok and we
should note that it was Wat Mahathat which, along with the Thai
Massage from Ajahn Loaw ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xv
Government, had founded the Buddhapadipa Temple, so it seemed
that a tradition was emerging that the Abbot of Buddhapadipa
Temple should be sent from Wat Mahathat to continue their
missionary work. There seemed to be an understanding in the
Sangha in Thailand that this tradition should be respected when
it was being decided who should be appointed head monk.
At this time Phramaha Somboon applied to enroll on an
MA course at Lancaster University. He had already been there
for two terms when he learnt that he would not be getting
support from the authorities in Thailand to enable him to continue
his studies. A policy had been adopted that Dhammatuda monks
should not be allowed to take time off to study. If they wished to
study they had to stop being a Dhammatuda monk and become
a student monk instead. Phramaha Somboon understood only too
well that, without this financial support, he would not be able to
complete his MA course. He had to leave the University.
The number of Dhammaduta monks was very limited, and
the influence of the Education Section of of the Sangha Authority
in Thailand was very strong at that time. They felt the two roles
of missionary and student could not be combined. If we read
between the lines, I think we can see it was very hard for
Phramaha Somboon, but he agreed to accept this view and to
continue his work.
If we look at the work he has done since then, we will
understand him. In 1982, the member of Dr. Ambedkar Memorial
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xvi Massage from Ajahn Loaw
Buddhist Committee in GB approached to the Buddhapadipa
Temple for a Buddhist monk. Ven. Somboon was chosen as a
representative of the temple and accepted the invitation to stay
at Wolverhampton Buddha Vihara. At the time, the temple was
in a semi-detached house in Lea Road. He helped the Indian
community to put down Buddhist roots in English soil. There
were not many Indian Buddhists at that time and those who
really wanted to learn about Buddhism and to follow its teaching
were young and enthusiastic. Phramaha Somboon had to build
up Indian Buddhism from scratch.

When I ask him how he came to be conducting his


missionary work in the West Midlands, he replied that he had
been asked to come to Wolverhampton to serve Indian Buddhism
for one year. After that he returned to London, but after only one
week those he had been teaching came to fetch him back again,
and he has been here ever since from 1983, for over 30 years.
I understand his situation very well because my own
experience in Birmingham was very similar. I went to teach the
Indian Buddhists in Birmingham for only one year but finally
spent 11 years with them before moving to Staffordshire. The
link between Indian and Thai people is close. We have many
things in common in our way of life and culture in Buddhism. It is
perhaps harder, but we have to seek understanding of the British
way of life too, which can seem very different..
Massage from Ajahn Loaw ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xvii
Phramaha Somboon has great patience and there is no
doubt he has made many sacrifices for Buddhism and the Indian
community. I admire his ambition and his missionary work and
don’t think we will find anybody else who can put their strength
and energy so single-mindedly into working like him for the Indian
community. I say this because I know that Thai monks who live
and work in India often spend most of their time helping Thai
people visiting that country for a short time instead of helping
Indian people. I have not yet met anybody else like Phramaha
Somboon. It may be that there are some Thai monks equally
dedicated, and if there are, I shall of course admire them in
the same way as I do the Venerable Phramaha Somboon. His
ambition is an ambition to serve Buddhism, and it is something
to be greatly admired that he works for Buddhism rather than for
Thailand or India. It so happens that his work has been among
Indian people and it must be said that there are not many Thai
people who have as deep and good an understanding of Indian
culture as has Phramaha Somboon.

I enjoy the company of Indian people and have lived among


them for many years. Phramaha Somboon, with his calm and
kind nature towards all people, has had a strong influence on
the Indian community, and indeed on everyone who has come to
know him.
Phramaha Somboon is an example of a Thai monk who
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xviii Massage from Ajahn Loaw
has been very successful in teaching the Buddha’s Dhamma to
the Indian community. His work is a real example of a Buddhist
missionary reaching out and showing the practice of the Dhamma
through his patience and kindness to all.
Sometimes Phramaha Somboon seemed to have very little
time for himself. He was getting old and other Thai monks were
concerned about his health. We provided monks to come and
stay with him in Wolverhampton to look after him, but instead it
was the old monk who looked after the monks we had sent.
I once wrote a story about Phramaha Somboon and he was
quite happy for me to tell it without mentioning his name. I am
doing it now because I know he has an open heart and mind and
listens to what others have to say about him.

Many year ago when we first met in Wimbledon and before


I had yet got to know him, I found we both had very strong
opinions about working as a missionary monk in the UK. He
expressed his frustration at the way the Dhammaduta monks
worked and I knew from my own experience that when someone
has been away from their original Temple they might look back
and think that the monks at their old temple worked harder
than those around them. We can easily think we are working
harder than anybody else at the same task. Once we had a long
discussion, until one o’clock in the morning, and came very close
to arguing. I was sorry that I had caused him to show some of
Massage from Ajahn Loaw ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xix
his frustration over his work at the Wolverhampton Temple.

After that late-night debate I got to know him better and


gained the confidence to approach him. I realised he was kind
towards me and we have always been able to joke about life in
general and what had happened in the past. We could talk very
straightforwardly about serious matters by looking at the world
and recognising that some things are very bad and some are
very good.
That night we talked about monks who came from Thailand,
and he argued that they should go out and spend their time
among people wherever they were needed, and not just stay in
London all the time. London seemed just to be too comfortable.
At that time I disagreed with him because I was in Wimbledon
and working hard, but having been away from London for over
16 years I find that now I fully agree with him. It turns out that,
in spite of all the arguing, we were on the same side without
knowing it.

Despite our argument, when it seemed to me that what I


was doing was very much in demand and of value to the public,
we both agreed that the monks working abroad seemed to be
overlooked by the Sangha Authority back in Thailand. Monks
in the UK were working hard, but their work seemed to go
unrecognised.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xx Massage from Ajahn Loaw
We have come now to a point where everyone recognises that
Phramaha Somboon has a great fund of kindness for all Buddhists,
whether Thai, Indian or British.
There is no doubt that Phramaha Somboon’s work with the
Indian community has been made the temple in Wolverhampton a
remarkable site of Indian Buddhism in the UK. It is a place where
Buddhists can come to visit and where all Buddhist activities
can be practised. The Wolverhampton Buddhavihara Temple is
a centre for all Indian Buddhists, who also honour the work of
Dr Ambedkar who started the temple and centre. They believe in
Buddhism because Dr Ambedkar believed in Buddhism, and they
hold Dr Ambedkar in very high respect as a great man. They
cannot imagine how they would live their lives if Dr Ambedkar
had not become interested in Buddhism
If it had not been for Buddhism, Dr Ambedkar would not
have been able to free himself from the caste system, and now
they believe that whether you are good or bad is not because of
the caste you were born into but depends on your actions. Bad
actions will bring bad effects, and good actions will bring good
results and happiness in life.

Buddhism meant so much to Dr Ambedkar, and he greatly


benefited from its teaching. He is one of the most important
figures in the returning of Buddhism to India, the land where it
was born. It is no surprise that all Indian Buddhists have such
Massage from Ajahn Loaw ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xxi
respect for Dr Ambedkar and his work for the Indian nation as a
whole.
Thai Theravada Buddhism also has this way of appreciating
and admiring a Master or great teacher, and sometimes he
becomes so great a priority that the pupils ignore the Buddha
himself. But with time they come to combine respect for their
master and to recognise that the Buddha is much higher than
him in spite of all their Master’s goodness.

Dr Ambedkar is so popular and well known to all Indian


people because he converted to Buddhism, and only the Buddha
was accepting of those of all castes. Dr Ambedkar himself
came from the caste of the Untouchables.
In the end, Phramaha Somboon’s work among the Indian
Community in the UK came to be of great interest to the Thai
Sangha when they heard about it. Before he came to the
UK, and then when he was in Wimbledon, he had a very high
reputation and many people knew him. People knew he was
working as a Dhammaduta monk in the UK but they did not have
any contact with him. Eventually, when Thai monks came to
visit him in the UK they recognised that his mission had been a
wonderful success.

In 2005 he was promoted to a high rank by the King of


Thailand, and received the title of Phrakhru Siddhinayanavithet.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xxii Massage from Ajahn Loaw
When I talked to him about his work and his age we realised
that he was the most senior of all the Theravada monks in the
UK.
Something needs to be said about the sad fact that, despite
all he has achieved over the past 40 years for Buddhism in UK,
in London and Wolverhampton, not many people seem to know
and fully appreciate his work. It is only recently that it has
been found that to have been an example for monks working as
missionaries abroad.

I have been to India two times, and in particular to the


Punjab where Phramaha Somboon has strong links. India is a
huge country with a huge population. When I had the opportunity
to see the results of his work introduced into the local Indian
community over there I felt such admiration for all he had done
both in the UK and in India. When I saw the great temple the
Indian Buddhists have built there and Phramaha Somboon’s name
among the temple names, I could see how much the Indian
people respect and credit his work in India. He has not been
a major sponsor in financial terms, but his moral support has
made this temple possible and it is a blessing for all of them.
This is something that Thai and British people in the UK do not
know about, and it is not known even to Thai people in Thailand,
including the monks in the Thai Sangha Authority. It is time
now for us to tell them and alert them to the great work Most
Massage from Ajahn Loaw ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xxiii
Venerable Phramaha Somboon has done for the advancement of
Buddhism as a whole.

In conclusion I would like to make the important point that


in the life of each of us we have a chance to do something to
benefit the people. Phramaha Somboon has done such a good
job with his missionary work and I personally have the greatest
respect for him and for his work and dedication to Buddhism. I
have never met anyone else who has so sacrificed themselves
to work for Buddhism in a foreign land, and succeeded also in
helping to return Buddhism to its birthplace in India.

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xxiv Massage from Ajahn Loaw


Message from Raj Paul
General Secretary of
Dr. Ambedkar Memorial Committee GB

B hante Somboon is a unique Buddhist Monk and has a very


long relationship with the Wolverhampton Buddha Vihara.
He was born in 1925 in Thailand and ordained as a Buddhist
monk in 1945 soon after the Second World War ended at Wat
Phansee Temple.
He came to the United Kingdom in 1968 sent by the
Department of Religious affairs of Thailand to run the Wat
Buddhapadipa temple in London and was appointed deputy of
the Temple and 14 years later he came to Wolverhampton Buddha
vihara on the invitation of Dr. Ambedkar Memorial Committee of
Great which was founded a year in 1969.
The main aim of this organization was to propagate the
mission of Dr. Ambedkar by means of publishing the books written
by and on Dr. Ambedkar and distribute the same to the India
general public both in the UK and Punjab so that people would
come to know the great contribution Dr. Ambedkar had made to
liberate the downtrodden people from centuries of suppression
due to the caste system and untouchability that existed and still
is in India.
Before he died on 6th December 1959, he embraced
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xxv
Buddhism along with half million of his followers on 14th October
1956 and brought the Buddha to the place of his birth. As result
of this historical deed carryout by Dr. Ambedkar has brought
awareness and opened the hearts and mind of the downtrodden
people of India to unite under the banner of Buddhism.
The effect of distribution of large amount of literature
based on Dr. Ambedkar’s life members and supporters began to
learn great deal about Dr. Ambedkar’s ultimate dream. It urged it
followers to convert to Buddhism and establish Buddha vihara
to follow Buddhism, the path of liberation for the salvation of the
downtrodden people of India.
In reach of this direction Dr. Ambedkar Memorial committee
brought a house at 146 Lea Road, Wolverhampton and converted
to a Buddha vihara in 1976. This was the first India Buddha
vihara, where every Sunday Dhamma class was held and other
activities regarding the mission of Dr. Ambedkar.
Of course, in those days it was very difficult to got hold of
Buddhist monks who could teach Buddhism. The committee had
some Indian Buddhist monks invited from India for the period
of six months at a time. But the committee wanted permanent
Buddhist monks who would take care of religious duties in the
Buddha vihara.
However, in 1983, the wish of the committee was fulfilled,
when we were informed that we should approach Buddhapadipa
temple in London and request them to provide a Buddhist monk
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xxvi Message from Raj Paul
for our temple. Three members from our committee, including
myself went to the Buddhapadipa temple. We met the head of the
temple and bhante Somboon was introduced to us. We explained
our position and bhante Somboon agreed to our request and said
‘No Buddha Vihara should be left empty’. Ever since then from
1983 to the present time, bhante has served the Buddhavihara
Over the 26 years of Bhante Somboon staying at the
Wolverhampton Buddha vihara he has taught Buddhism to all who
attended the Buddha especially the followers of Dr. Ambedkar’s
mission. What is extraordinary about bhante Somboon is that
he never complained or discourages the committee in any ways?
But always tried his best to help the committee and continue to
do so undertaking all the religious duties to the present time.
Under his guidance and blessing the committee has
progressed so much which are worth mentioning. The committee
constructed opened the new Buddha vihara at Upper Zoar Steet,
Wolverhampton to mark the birth centenary of Dr. Ambedkar on
14th April 1991 and Bhante Somboon was given the honour of
laying the foundation stone and opening the Buddha vihara. This
Buddha has now become a world famous where monks from all
over the world visited stayed.
And again, bhante Somboon laid the foundation of the
Dr. Ambedkar Memorial Community Centre built adjacent to the
Buddha vihara and opened officially on 14th October 2000 by
Bhahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati and now the chief
Message from Raj Paul ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xxvii
Minister of UP.
The other outstanding achievement of the Dr. Ambedkar
Memorial committee of Great Britain in which bhante Somboon
has been involved from the start was the Punjab project. It was
the dream of the committee members to do something constructive
that would further the mission of Dr. Ambedkar in Punjab. The
state from where most the members of the committee have
roots.
In making this dream realized, it decided to build a multi
purpose centre named as ‘Dr. Ambedkar Buddhist Resource
Centre Punjab on a one acre of land donated by Mr. and Mrs.
Amar Chand Sandi a family of member of the committee based at
Mahalpur Road, Nawan Shahr. And again, bhante Somboon was
honoured to lay the foundation stone on the 14th October 2004.
After exactly two years, the phase one, the Buddha
Vihara, named after Bhante ‘Maha Somboon Buddha Vihara’ was
opened on 14th October 2006 by the All India Bhikkhu Sangha
ven. Anand Dev Mahathero to mark the Golden Jubilee of Dr.
Ambedkar’s conversion of Buddhism. The reason we honoured
bhante Somboon naming the Buddha vihara for all he has done
for the Dr. Ambedkar Memorial Committee of Great Britain.
Bhante Somboon was very happy and travelled to Punjab
with me for the official opening of the Dr. Ambedkar Buddhist
Resource Centre, including the second phase known as ‘D. R.
Jassal Community Centre’ which took place on the 19th October
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xxviii Message from Raj Paul
2008. The centre was opened by the grandson of Dr. Ambedkar
respected Mr. Prakash Ambedkar.
D.R. Jassal Community Centre was named of a member
of the committee who was the first President of the committee
and donated all his life saving the amount of one crocre rupees
(£125,000.00) towards the construction of the centre. I must
also mention here that his colleague Mr. Diwan Singha who
also donate £ 10,300.00 to the centre and he was honoured by
naming the ‘Diwan Singh Library’ at the centre. The last phase
a school will start within the complex in the near future.
On the same day of the opening, bhante Somboon was
further honoured. His portrait was installed in the Shrine Hall of
the Buddha Vihara. Bhante Somboon is a Thai Buddhist Monk
who ordained at the age of twenty. His stay in the Wolverhampton
Buddha Vihara for the past twenty-six years as Spiritual Head
has been praise worthy. Under his guidance and grace the Dr.
Ambedkar Memorial committee of Great Britain has flourished
both in spreading the mission of Dr. Ambedkar and Buddhism.
I do not believe we will find any other Buddhist monk with the
qualities and goodness and loving kindness he possesses. We
are greatly indebted to him. At the age of 84 years his devotion
to Buddhism Philosophy is unlimited
Thank you

Message from Raj Paul ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ xxix


Chapter 1

A short story of the Buddha

1. The lord Buddha was conceived in the womb of his


mother. This was calculated to be Thursday, on the full moon day
of Asalha Lunar month, in the year of cock.
2. The day of his birth was calculated to be Friday, on the
Full moon day of Visakha Lunar month, in the year of dog. The
time was late in the morning, eighty years before Buddhist Era
started.
3. The lord Buddha ascended to the throne [as crown
prince] in the year of cow.
4. He denounced the world [at the age of 29] in the year
of Rabbit.
5. His Enlightenment [at the age of 35] was calculated to
be Wednesday, on the full moon day of Visakha Lunar month, in
the year of Cock.
6. He passed away [at the age of 80] on Tuesday, in
Full moon day of Visakha Lunar month, in the year of a small
snake.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 1
What did the Buddha do after his enlightenment?
1. After his enlightenment [at the age of 35] the Buddha
seated himself in contemplative ecstasy for seven days under
the shade of Bodhi tree, the place where he was enlightened.
During the period he considered the Law of Dependent
Origination (paticcasamuppãda), which he had realized, in
both its normal and its reverse order.
2. After seven days he left the place and proceeded
to Banyan tree named Ajapãlanigrodha, the place of the
goat-shepherds, on the east of Bodhi tree. Here he once again
passed the next seven days in ecstatic contemplation of his
emancipation. At that time there was a Brahmin approaching
him. He was in a habit of bawling out other persons with the
interjection, ‘HU! HU’. Putting on the Buddha questions about
the dhamma that could make a brahmin of a person, he said,
‘what are the causes that transform a person into a Brahmin?
What dhamma can make a Brahmin of a person?
In reply the Buddha said, ‘whoever has all evils floated
away, having no defilements to bawl out other persons with
the rude words ‘HU!, HU!, without defilements to colour, mind
like a dye colouring a piece of cloth, being self-controlled,
having arrived at the end of Veda and perfected the chaste
life, that man, who has no other defilements to make his mind
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 2 A short story of the Buddha
rise and fall can be called a Brahmin by Dhammas.
3. After seven days the Buddha left the Banyan tree and
proceeded to another tree called Chik or Muccalinda, on the
southeast of Bodhi tree, and sat in ecstatic contemplation on his
emancipation for another seven days and he made the following
utterances:
‘Solitude is blissful for those who have realized the
dhamma, taking delight in such a place and knowing things as
they really are.
Blissful is non-violence, being self-restraint in dealing
with other being.
Blissful is dispassion, transcendence in all aspects
of sensual delight.
Blissful is abandonment of pride or egoism’.
During this period there was continuous drizzle accompanied
with a cold and spell. A serpent king by the name of Muccalinda
seeing this offered the Buddha his protection. He coiled himself,
making it something like a cone with seven tiers and spreading
his hood over the Buddha. This was to protect the Buddha from
both the wind and the rain. Thereafter he transformed himself into
a youth and stood paying homage to the Buddha and took leave
of him.
4. After seven days the Buddha went further to another tree
called Rãjãyatana, on the south of Bodhi tree. He spent seven
days here. At that time there were two merchants named ‘Tapussa
A short story of the Buddha ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 3
and Bhallika’ traveling from the town of Ukkala to that place
where the Buddha was residing. Having seen the Buddha they
approached him and sit there next to him. They were impressed
of having seen the Buddha. They offered him their Sattu rice,
both in the form of powder and in the form of balls, and stood at
a respectful distance on one side. The Buddha accepted it and
ate it. The two merchants after having enlightening discussion
with the Buddha then declared themselves as Upasaka –male
lay disciples and then departed on their ways. [They were the
first disciples who have taken two refuse (Dvevãcikupasaka); the
Buddha and the dhamma. There had not any sangha members at
that time.]
5. Furthermore, the another points were extracted from
vinaya pitaka [book of code of conducts], more accounts inserted
in the Commentary, describing the incidents while the Buddha
was staying at the Bodhi tree and Banyan tree as follows;
The Buddha went some distance northeast of the Bodhi
tree, then turned himself back and stood looking Bodhi Tree
without closing his eyes for seven days. This place was called
Animissacetiya. After that he walked back but stopped halfway
between Bodhi Tree and Banyan Tree and created out of his
psychic powers a pathway for Cankamana or walking meditation,
whereon he entered into Ratana Cankamacetiya. In the following
week, that is, the fourth week a crystal pavilion was created by
the celestial beings in the west or northwest of Bodhi tree. Here
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 4 A short story of the Buddha
the Buddha seated himself meditating upon Abhidhamma for seven
days. This place was called Ratanagharacetiya. It was after this
fourth week that he proceeded further to Ajapãlanigrodha Banyana
Tree. From this record, another three places connected with
Bodhi tree were inserted, being thereby called Bodhi mandala.
Thus three more weeks were added, increasing the time spent
to seven weeks for seven places, one week for each.

The calculation of Buddhist Era (B.E.) was calculated by


India, Burma and Sri Lanka, in the same year of Buddha’s
passing away, whereas in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia calculate
Buddhist era in one year after the Buddha’s passing away. So,
Buddhist era for India, Burma and Sri Lanka at the moment is
2538 and for Thailand, Laos and Cambodia is 2537.
An extract from the Mahãparinibbana sutta concerning his
last year before enter Mahãparinibbana.
1. One day, lady Ambapali heard that the Buddha had come
to her mango grove, so she went to him and invited him and his
disciples for a meal on the following day.
It so happens that the Licchavi nobles had also invited him
for a meal, but the Buddha preferred to accept lady Ambapali’s
invitation first. So, the Licchavi nobles offered lady Ambapali a
large sum of money to make her give up her chance of giving the
Buddha a meal. She, however, politely refused.
So the Buddha came and had his meal at Lady Ambapali’s
A short story of the Buddha ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 5
house. After the meal, Lady Ambapali, who was on the way to
becoming an Arahant, very generously offered her large mongo
grove to the Buddha.
2. It was not the rainy season, so the Buddha advised
his disciples to spend the rains retreat in Vesali. He himself
decided to spend this retreat –which was to be his last one –
at a nearby village called Beluva. This was just three months
before his death. He was eighty years old and very seriously ill.
However, he thought it was not right to die without telling his
disciples about his illness. So, with great courage and strength
of mind, he managed to make himself slightly better. One day,
soon after this he was sitting in the shade outside his temple
when Ananda came up to him and said;
‘Lord, I looked after you in your illness and I became
worried, but I was held by one thought. I knew that you would
not die until you had given us instructions about the Sangha.’
3. Then the Buddha, full of loving-kindness, spoke gently to
Ananda:
‘Ananda, what does the Sangha expect from me? I have
taught the same dhamma to all people. if there is anyone who
thinks he should lead the Sangha, then he is the one who should
give the instructions. I have no such idea myself. Why, then,
should I leave instructions about the Sangha? I am an old now,
Ananda, eighty years old. Like a worn-out cart that has to be
kept going by repairs, my body also has to be kept going by
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 6 A short story of the Buddha
repairs. So, Ananda, be like an island, make yourself your own
refuge. Make the dhamma your island, make the dhamma your
refuge, and make nothing else your refuse.’
4. ‘Lord’, said Ananda, ‘in the past bhikkhus came from
many places to see you, and we could meet them, and pay
respect to them. But when you are gone we will not be able to
do so any more’.
5. ‘Ananda’, the Buddha replied, ‘there are four places where
a faithful followers can get help. One is where I was born; one
is where I was enlightenment; one is where I started the wheel
of the law turning; and one is where I finally reached Nibbana.
Faithful bhikkhus and bhikkhunis; and lay followers will come
and say ‘Here a perfect one was born; here a perfect one was
enlightened; here a perfect one started the wheel of the law
turning; and here a perfect one finally reached Nibbana.
p.s. Buddhist era is 543 years before Christian era

A short story of the Buddha ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 7


Chapter 2

Introduction of Buddhism

B uddhism is one of the oldest world religions which began


in 2,600 years ago in Indian continent. The Buddha -the
founder of Buddhism- was born in Lumbini present day Nepal in
the year 563 B.C. and lived most of his life in present day India.
His teachings spread all over the world after the King Ashoka
the great of India. The foundation of Buddhism depends on the
Buddhist scriptures, which are of three scriptures:
1.Vinaya Scripture –concerns disciplines and etiquette for
monks and laity.
2. Suttanta Scripture – the discourse, Buddhist cannon
dealing with time, space, persons, situations, doctrinal principles,
sometimes it is in the form of personification and sometimes in
the abstract one.
3. Abhidhamma scripture is composed of ‘the great dhamma’
or the pure dhamma or ‘the Buddhist metaphysics’, which is a
kind of abstract doctrine.
Yet there are four companies of Buddhists:
1. Buddhist monks or bhikkhus
2. Buddhist nuns or bhikkhunis
3. Buddhist male-lay disciples or upasakas
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 8
4. Buddhist female-lay disciples or upasikas
These people study and practice the teachings of the Lord
Buddha from the scriptures and then put them into practice and
able to resolve the difficult problems taking place by themselves
and show the means of their practicing the Buddhist way of
life. They do not like the conflict, incitement and antagonism.
Buddhists live very happily and safely; so as in this country
United Kingdom.
Again, we would like to suggest the twin Buddhist verses
for understanding the importance of the mind function.
Manopubbangamã dhammã manosetthã manomayã
Manasã ce padutthena bhãsati vã karoti vã
tato namฺ dukkhamanveti cakkamฺ va vahato padamฺ
All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is
founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts. If a man
speaks or acts with an evil thought, suffering follows him, as the
wheel follows the hoof of the beast that draws the wagon.
Manopubbangamã dhammã manosetthã manomayã
Manasã ce pasannena bhãsati vã karoti vã
tato namฺ sukkhamanveti, chãyãva anupãyini
All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is
founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts. If a man
speaks or acts with a good thoughts, happiness follows him like
a shadow that never leaves him.
* This article was prepared for one of the school presentations
Introduction of Buddhism ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 9
Chapter 3

Buddhism in Thailand; its present 1

A ccording to the census taken in 1960 the population of


Thailand numbers 25,519,965 out of this number 94 percents
are Buddhists (the rest are mostly Muslims and Christians). This
fact itself demonstrates more than anything else how influential
Buddhism is in Thailand. In their long history of existence the
Thais seem to have been predominantly Buddhists, at least ever
since they came into contact with the tenets of Buddhism. All
the Thai kings in the recorded history of present-day Thailand
have been adherents of Buddhism. The country’s constitution
specifies that the king of Thailand must be a Buddhist and the
upholder of Buddhism.
The term ‘The land of yellow Robes’ has not been
inappropriately applied to Thailand for two things strike most
foreigners as soon as they set foot in that country. Firstly,
the Buddhist temple with its characteristic architectures, and
the other one is the sight of yellow-clad Buddhist monks and
novices who are to be seen everywhere, especially in the early
hours of dawn when they go out in great numbers for alms.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 10
The two sights inevitably remind the foreigners that here is a
country where Buddhism is a dominant force in the people’s life.
Indeed, to the Thai nation as a whole, Buddhism has been the
main spring from which flow its culture and philosophy, its art
and literature, its ethics and morality and many of its folkways
and festivals.
For clarity and convenience we shall divide the study of
the present state of Buddhism in Thailand into two parts, namely
the Buddha sangha or the holy order, and the laity.
The bhikkhu sangha or the Holy Order of Buddhist monks
have been in existence in Thailand ever since Buddhism was
introduced there. According to 1958 census there are in the
whole kingdom of Thailand 159,648 monks, 73,311 novices and
20,944 monasteries or temples. These are scattered throughout
the country, particularly more numerous in the thickly populated
areas. The bhikkhu sangha of Thailand, is being of Theravada or
Southern School, observes the same set of discipline (vinaya)
as the bhikkhu Sangha in order Theravada Countries such as
Ceylon, Burma, Laos and Cambodia. In spite of the fact that the
government allots a yearly budget for the maintenance and repair
of important temples and as stipends for high ranking monks,
the almost entire burden for the support of the sangha and the
upkeep of the temples rests with the public.
In 1962, the administration of the bhikkhu sangha act of
1947 was abolished; a new one was enacted instead. By virtue
Buddhism in Thailand; its present ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 11
of the new act, the posts of Sangha Nayaka, sangha Mantris
and Sangha Sabha were abolished. In place of these there is
Mahathera Samagama (council of the Elders) headed by the
Sangharaja (supreme patriarch) himself and consisting of not less
than four and not more than eight senior monks (Mahatheras).
Mahatheras Samagama, in collaboration with the Department of
Religious Affairs, directly governs the entire Sangha.

Education of Monks

As is well-known, the original idea of men’s entering


monkhood during the Buddha’s time or shortly later, was to
attain liberation from worldly existence in accordance with the
teaching of the Master. Such idea, of course, springs from man’s
feeling of aversion to the mundane. In order words, in those far-
off days, men entered monkhood with the sole intention of riding
themselves of life’s miseries and of abstaining spiritual freedom
or Nirvana. Instances of such self-renunciation are found in the
holy books of the practices of the early followers of the Buddha
underwent modifications. Today, over 2527 years of the passing
away of the Buddha, though the ideal of becoming a bhikkhu still
remains very lofty among Buddhists of all lands, yet in practices
it must be admitted that there have been many deviations from
the Master’s original admonitions with regard to the whys and
wherefores of man’s entering monkhood. Generalization of any
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 12 Buddhism in Thailand; its present
subject matter is often dangerous but it will not be far from truth
to say that today, in Thailand as in other Buddhist countries, the
practice of Buddhist males entering monkhood is to a considerable
extent prompted rather by the dictation of custom, the wish for
education and other external considerations than by the desire
to attain emancipation. Yet there are also many who join the
Sangha through genuine love for a religious life and religious
studies, or out of the wish to be of service to Buddhism and
their country. Finally, in the Thai Sangha also those are not
entirely lacking whose life is vigorously devoted to the aim of
ultimate emancipation and to the guidance of others towards that
goal. There have been, and still are, saintly and able meditation
masters in Thailand, with a fair number of devoted disciples
in Sangha and laity. There are also still monks the so called
Thudong bhikkhus who follow the ancient way of austere living
embodied in the ‘strict observances’ or Dhutangs.

In view of the above facts, there are two categories of


Buddhist monks in Thailand. One comprises those who become
monks for long periods, sometimes for life, and the other those
who enter the order temporarily. To serve in the monkhood even
for a short period is considered a great merit-earning attainment
by the Thai Buddhists. Even royal follow this age-old custom. For
instance the present ruler, H.M. Kings Bhumibol Adulyadej, also
observed leave with full pay for a period of half a month some
Buddhism in Thailand; its present ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 13
time ago. Government officials are allowed to leave with full pay
for a period of four months in order to serve in monkhood. The
idea is to enable young men to gain knowledge of Buddhism and
thereby to become good citizens. Monk life gives them practical
experience of how an ideal Buddhist life should be. In rural
districts the general tendency is still to give more deference to
those who have already served in monkhood. Such people are
supposed to be more ‘mature’ than those who have not undergone
monk life. Moreover, in Thailand wats (monasteries and temples)
used to be and are still regarded as seats of learning where all
men, irrespective of life’s position, could go and avail themselves
of education benefits.
This is especially so in the case of economically
handicapped males of the country-side. Instances are not lacking
in which people have climbed high up on life’s status ladder after
obtaining education while in monkhood. There are neither religious
restrictions nor social disapproval against monks’ returning to lay
life if and when they find themselves unable to discharge their
duties as monks. Cases exist in which, for some reason or
the other, men have entered monkhood more than at from this
viewpoint, the institution of entering monkhood in Thailand, apart
from being a way of gaining moral and spiritual enlightenment, is
a social uplift method by which those not so fortunately placed
in life could benefit. Judged from the ideal of adopting a monk’s
life is enunciated by the Buddha, whether or not such practice
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 14 Buddhism in Thailand; its present
is commendable, is a different story. The fact is that even today
when modernism has penetrated deep into Thailand; about one
half of the primary schools of the country is still situated in
wats. With sex and crimes on the increase in the country, the
cry for living a better Buddhist life is being heard more and more
distinctly in Thailand today.
The traditional education of monks and novices in Thailand
centres mainly on the studies of the Buddhist doctrine (Dhamma)
and Pali, the language in which the Theravada scriptures are
written. Of the former, the study of the doctrine, there are three
grades with examinations open to both monks and laymen. Those
passing such examinations are termed ‘Nak dhamma’, literally
meaning one who knows the dhamma. The latter, i.e. the studies
of Pali, has nine grades, starting with third and ending with
the ninth grade. Students passing Pali examinations are called
‘Parian’ (Pali: Parinna-penetrative knowledge); in Thai language the
word ‘Parinna’ is used to mean academic degree. For example,
monks and novices passing the first Pali examination are entitled
to write ‘P.3’ after their names. Generally the dhamma and the
Pali studies go hand in hand and take at least seven years to
complete. The stiffness of the two courses, especially that of
the Pali language can be guessed from the fact that very few
students are able to pass the highest grade, the Parian 9 in
any annual examination. In the good old days when living was
less competitive than now, passing of even lower Dhamma and
Buddhism in Thailand; its present ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 15
Pali examinations used to be of much value in securing good
government posts. But now things are quite different; even those
successful in the highest Pali examination, the 9th Grade, find it
difficult to get suitable employment.

Of late there has developed a new outlook in the education


of monks in Thailand. With the rapid progress of science and with
the shrinking of the world, Buddhist leaders of Thailand, monks
as well as laymen, are awakened to the necessity of imparting
broader education to members of the Sangha, if the Sangha is
to serve the cause of Buddhism well, ‘for the gain of the many,
for the welfare of the many’. As a result of the new outlook
there now function in Bangkok two higher institutes of learning
exclusively for monks and novices. One is the Mahachulalongkorn
University, and the other is the Mahamakut University. Both are
organized on a modern university footing and both seem to be
making satisfactory progress towards that direction. Inclusion in
the curriculum of some secular subjects not incompatible with
monks’ discipline (vinaya) is among the notable features of these
two institutes; the aim is to give an all-round education to monks
in order to enable them to be of better service to the cause of
Buddhism amidst modern conditions.
So much for the education of ‘long-term’ monks, as for those
who enter the order temporarily, mostly for a period of three rainy
months during the vassa or Buddhist lent, the education is brief
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 16 Buddhism in Thailand; its present
and devoted to the main tenets and features of Buddhism only.
As pointed out above, such people enter monkhood either by their
own genuine desire for knowledge of the dhamma, by the dictum
of custom or, as generally is the case, by the two reasons
combined. Monks of this category return to lay life again as soon
as the lent is over. This is the reason why accommodations in
monasteries (wats) are usually full during the Lenten period.

Religious freedom

Buddhism, especially Theravada Buddhism, is the state


religion and the great majority of the Thai people are Buddhists.
However, the Thai Government of every period has bestowed
upon people freedom to profess any faith they like, and has been
pleased to welcome any missionary of any faith to preach its
tenets anywhere in Thailand.
Since the revolution of 1932 every constitution of Thailand
has recognized religious freedom. It has provided that a person
shall have complete freedom to profess any religion, denomination
or doctrine, and shall have freedom to practice any religious
rites in accordance with his belief except in so far as they are
inconsistent with his duties as a citizen or incompatible with
public order and good morals. Besides, the constitution affirms
that the state shall not deprive a person of any right or benefit
to which he is entitled by reason of the fact that he professes
Buddhism in Thailand; its present ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 17
or practices a religion different from that of others. In practice,
the Thai Government has accorded people not only religious
freedom but also full support to their faiths. The state deems
the patronage of religion one of its affairs. Moreover, under the
constitution the King is obliged to be a Buddhist and the upholder
of religion.

Religion in Thailand

As equal opportunities to practice or preach any faith


are open to people in Thailand, several religions and doctrines
have been introduced into the country. Their centres of worship
have been established throughout the Kingdom. These religions
and doctrines are: Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism
(Brahminism), Sikkhism; Doctrines: Confucianism, Taoism,
Shintoism, Animism and others.

Law and regulations relating to various religious communities

The laws and ministerial regulations have been enforced in order


to maintain order and to give promotion and support to religions.
They are:
a. For Buddhist communities:
a. The Sangha Act, 1962
b. The Ministerial regulations issued by the ministry of
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 18 Buddhism in Thailand; its present
Education relating to the construction of Buddhism Monasteries,
1964

b. For Muslim Communities:


a. The Royal Decree on religious Patronage of the religion
of Islam, 1945.
b. The Act relating to the application of Islamic Laws in the
Provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala and Satun, 1955.
c. The Act relating to Mosques, 1947.

c. For Christian communities:
a. The Legal status of the Roman Catholic Church in
Thailand Act, 1909.
b. The Legal Status of the Roman Catholic Church in
Thailand (Amendment) Act, 1913.
c. The Royal Grant of Land to the Roman Catholic Mission
in Thailand Act, 1914, 1914 and so on.

The Government’s Support



The Department of Religious Affairs offers support to all
religions in Thailand. Furthermore, it promotes all faiths and
extends its protection to all members of religious orders so
that they can equally perform their religious rites. In addition, it
renders assistance to every government department in the field
Buddhism in Thailand; its present ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 19
of religious affairs.

Further reading: Karuna Kusalasaya, Buddhism in Thailand;
its past and its present.(the Wheel Publication No 85/86)

1 It was prepared on 20-21/11/1984

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 20 Buddhism in Thailand; its present


Chapter 4

Manussa dhamma; Five precepts

N ow, we all have already been here and decided to celebrate


Dr.Ambedkar’s conversion day into Buddhism, which happened
at Nagpur, on 14th October 1956. Usually we used to celebrate
it on 14th October of every year, but this year we could not do it
because the Birmingham Ambedkar Buddhist Society celebrated it
on that day. If we were to celebrate it on the same day we could
not go to join them. We have to thank them to give us a chance
to attend Ambedkar Programme last week, in Birmingham. So
we have to postpone to today, the twenty-first of October. I think
in this time, it doesn’t matter because it is the same purpose,
the same celebration, cooperative hands. The important thing is
what should be talked about for honouring Dr. Ambedkar on this
occasion. Should be talk about Warsaw Pact, Nato-the North
Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Newclear Disarmament, Helsinki
Agreement, I.R.A. Irish Republican Army, SEATO- south East
Asia Treaty Organisation or about the Dhamma –the Buddha’s
teachings.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 21
For my idea it is a safe way to talk about the Dhamma
–the Buddha’s teachings. This is because the dhamma talk does
not produce suffering, enmity and on the contrary it causes to
harmonies among the people and also it is honourable way for
Dr. Ambedkar. So for honouring him I would like to talk about
Manussa-dhamma.

What does the word ‘Manussa dhamma’ mean?
It means the five precepts and the Five Ennobling virtues
which are shown in both their negative and positive aspects.
These are
a. Not to kill, but to practise loving-kindness and compassion
to all
b. Not to take which is not given, but to practise patience
in the right means of livelihood.
c. Not to misuse the senses, but to practise contentment
in marriage life.
d. Not to tell a lie, but to practise truthfulness
e. Not to take any intoxicating drinks, but to practise
watchfulness or mindfulness.
Of these, the first one, the one concerns with not to kill,
but to practice loving-kindness and compassion will be explained
in details.
To refrain from killing
The object of killing here includes animals as well as
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 22 Manussa dhamma; Not to kill or harm
human beings. Such living beings, irrespective of age sex and
size, from the time of their conception, are included under the
first precept.
The purpose of this precept is to extend the virtue of
compassion towards all kinds of beings. It is true that even
animals there can also be found this compassionate feeling. But
it is motivated merely by instinct and is limited to its own family
or group, as it necessary for its survival. It is only in human
beings that this feeling can be deliberately extended to other
person outside one’s own family or group, or even to animals.
This depends on the will of trained mind, which can scatter more
seeds of happiness as it grows in insight.
The act of killing, like all other actions, can have different
degree as its result. This is based on the three factors of
judgment applicable also to other acts, namely object, purpose
and efforts.
The first basis by which to judge an act of killing is its
object, which can be broadly divided into two categories, human
beings and animals. Killing human beings is generally thought
to be a capital crime from the points of view of the state and
the law of the country has to mate out a capital punishment or
mitigate this to life imprisonment.
The second element by which to determine the resultant
degree of killing is purpose or motive. It is of two kinds, the
intentional or premeditated one and the unintentional or one
Manussa dhamma; Not to kill or harm ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 23
committed through the impulse of the moment. The first one or
the former one implies a murder in cold blood, which, even with
the absence of anger or hatred in some cases, is still motivated
by a strong passion of greed. This may be seen in the case of a
gang of robbers that take to plundering and killing premeditative.
An instance of killing based on hatred without greed may be
seen when a person seeks to revenge himself on the death of
his enemy without any desire for the latter’s possessions.
The third factor for consideration is the efforts involved,
which are of two kinds, direct effort and indirect effort. Direct
effort signifies the killing done by the killer himself. Whereas
indirect effort to one done through ordering or hiring another
person to do so. This killing whether done by weapon or any
other kinds of trick or plan, is completed through the efforts of a
person or persons concerned. Both parties, therefore, are subject
to the various grades of punishment by the state and religious
laws.

Animal-killing
Animals are generally regarded as objects of a less serious
crime when they are intentionally killed. With regard to the law
of country it is wrong only when the animal killed does not
belong to the killer or when it is some species protected by the
Government. From the moral or karmic point of view, however,
the inner results affecting a person’s character cannot be offset
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 24 Manussa dhamma; Not to kill or harm
by such formalities or the standards of law. All the animals,
those that have owners as mentioned earlier, are the objects of a
more serious crime than the ownerless ones. In the former case
it is obvious that the killer has committed a double crime; the
actual killing, which is naturally against the first precept, and a
offense against a person’s property, which is correlated with an
act of stealing – an offense against the second precept.

Bodily harm
The term ‘bodily harm’ is limited to an offense against
another human being. The same act done against an animal
will be discussed under the heading ‘Torturing’. This follows the
general feeling of most people.
This act, although not depriving a person of his life, inflicts
painful suffering on the victim and is subject to punishment by
both the law of the country and the monastic code. With regard
to the former, punishment is meted out in accordance with the
weapon used and the degree of suffering inflicted upon the victim,
which may be classified as injury, disfiguration and crippling. The
first is the trouble that temporarily affects a person’s pursuit of
work or enjoyment; the second implies permanent spoiling of
the shape or appearance of any part of the body or organ which
causes shame for the victim; and the third means deprivation of
the senses or loss of any organ.

Manussa dhamma; Not to kill or harm ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 25


Torturing
This implies the act of harming done against animals, since,
according to the general feeling; a human being is not object
of torturing (although in some places and on some occasion,
especially in the past, there was really the practice of putting a
human being to torture). As before, this connotes and underlying
evil i.e. a sadistic intention, for this reason, to keep a bird in a
cage as a pet or to put an animal to work within decent limits
is not included herein. In all cases it is to be known by the
expression of cruelty or lack of mercy.
From this stand-point an act which is usually not one of
torturing may in some cases have to be so called. The following
examples will clarify this fact. To put an ox or a buffalo to the
plough is normally not an act of cruelty or torturing. These are
working animals and beasts of burden and are the living property
of man. This is recognized both legally and morally. But at the
same time the owner has a moral duty to look after their health
and treat them with mercy. This means giving them enough
food and rest, allowing time for their pleasure and relaxation,
preventing them from contracting diseases and providing them
with proper medical care. He was has done so fulfilled his moral
duty towards them and is praiseworthy on all occasions. On
the other hand, the owner who disregards his moral obligations
is guilty of the act of cruelty. This includes starving them or
overloading them with work, neglecting to give them enough rest
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 26 Manussa dhamma; Not to kill or harm
or medical care and treating them brutally, such as by beating or
lashing them. These are examples of cruelty in work.

Confinement
It is in fact morally permissible to keep a bird in a cage
or to tether an animal when it is necessary to do so, but the
animal needs food and rest and, what is more important here,
enough room to move about freely. The owner who fails to
provide a confined animal with enough comfort must be said to
have performed an act of cruelty in this aspect.

Crocodile-trap
There are several other expressions of cruelty to animal,
each of which is wrong against the spirit of the First Precept.
The one chosen as an illustration here is the crocodile trap,
for this involves a double offense, -killing two animals for one
purpose. A person who wishes to lay a trap for a crocodile has
to fasten a live living monkey in a snare which is close to the
water. Then he cuts off some of the monkey’s fingers, causing
it to bleed freely. Now the monkey, frightened of its own blood,
instinctively dips its hand into the water, thereby unknowingly
spreading the blood-smell throughout the area. Tracing the smell,
the crocodile soon dashes to the decoy monkey and makes a
meal of it without more ado. The spring of the trap then locks in
the crocodile’s throat, killing both animals at the same time. This
Manussa dhamma; Not to kill or harm ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 27
is an outstanding example of the brutal killing of animals.

To practice loving-kindness and compassion


This practice is also extended to animals. A person with
a compassionate nature often buys off the animals that are
going to be killed. This method of life-saving is usually followed
in addition to charity and many people prefer to release those
bought-off victims such as fish, pigs, ducks or hens in the
compound of monasteries so that they can enjoy security had
happiness for the rest of their lives. In ancient times there was
sometimes a tradition that the king declared a certain place to
be a sanctuary for a certain kind of animal. A parallel of this
may be seen today in the law prohibiting the killing of elephants
or fishing during a certain period of the year. This practice of
giving is protection to animals. It has been recognized that to
minister to the wants of the needy, especially a deserving case,
is the mark of greatness of character. Stories were often told as
illustrations of such a practice of chivalrous compassion. A king
named Abhayarajakumara, for instance, was said to have one
day come across a new-born baby abandoned by the wayside.
He took pity of it, brought it to the palace and took care of it
himself. At school-age the child was sent to study medicine
under the great teacher of Takkasila, the highest educational
institute of that time. This child later became the famous doctor
in the royal court and was known as Jivaka Komarabhacca,
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 28 Manussa dhamma; Not to kill or harm
who was also the bhikkhus’ as well as the Buddha’s personal
physician and who has been regarded to this day as father of
the science of medicine. Another story was told of a king who
often travelled in cognition in his kingdom to see for himself how
his people lived and worked. He was one day stopped by a child-
beggar who asked him for money to pay to the doctor with the
money and went to see the boy’s mother himself. Having stayed
with the patient for a time, he left a message together with more
money in the house and departed. It was when the doctor and
the boy came to the house later that the man who was kind to
them was revealed to be none other than their own king. These
are illustrations of how real greatness cannot be divorced from
kindness.

Manussa dhamma; Not to kill or harm ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 29


Chapter 5

The Buddhist celebrations:


Vesakha Celebration

T here are four important Buddhist celebrations in the Buddhist


tradition: Vesakha Cerebration, Atthami celebration, Magha
celebration and Asalha celebration
The Buddhist people all over the world have to celebrate
these four kinds of celebration once a year in every year when
these celebrations come to them. Today I am speaking of the
vesakha celebration and I shall leave out of the three kinds of
celebration mentioned earlier. The vesakha is a name of the
month, vesakhamasa. The vesakhapuja celebration takes place
during the full moon day of vesakhamasa. This is usually the
sixth month, but occasionally the seventh month and falls in
April or May, but usually in May. Why do the Buddhist people
have to celebrate the Vesakhamasa? Because the lord Buddha
was born, attained Enlightenment, and passed away on the full
moon day of Vesakhamasa. These events take place on the
same day that is on the full moon day of Vesakhamasa. So these
are very marvelous and wonderful indeed in the Buddhist circle.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 30
There have never been such events in other religions.
We, Buddhists are here in this place and celebrate Vesakha
puja and after that – after you have been converted into Buddhism.
You should listen to the talk on the dhamma. There will be a
different dhamma talk, different speakers. I myself will give you
a talk on the two kinds of dhamma- dhamma concerning with
worshipping. There are two kinds of worshipping: Amissa puja –
Material worshipping, Patipatta puja—Practical worshipping.
Material worshipping means to worship the triple Gem, the
Buddha, the dhamma and the sangha with the flowers, incense
sticks or other offerings …whereas the practical worshipping
means to follow the Buddha’s teachings sincerely and earnestly.
Of two kinds of worshipping, the practical worshipping is
recommended as the best, highest and the indispensable. But,
of cause, the Material worshipping mentioned earlier is not
discouraged or prohibited, but it must always be remembered
that Buddhists should not rest satisfied merely with the outward
forms, for without a sincere and earnest practice of the Buddha’s
teaching, there cannot be any real development or progress for
Buddhism or Buddhists themselves in the real sense of the
term.
Therefore, the Lord Buddha addressed the venerable Ananda
and other bhikkhus just before he passed away as follows:
‘The twin sala trees are all one mass of flowers out of
season and these drop and sprinkle on the body of the Tathagata.
The Buddhist celebrations: Vesakha Celebration ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 31
But, Ananda it is not thus that the Tathagate is rightly honoured
and revered. Any bhikkhu or bhikkhuni or any lay disciple, man or
woman, who perform his or her duties properly, conscientiously
and wisely is said to have rightly honored, venerated, worshipped,
and respected the Tathagata with the highest kind of worship.’

‘there are four places where a faithful followers ...


will come and say
‘Here a perfect one was born (Lumbini);
here a perfect one was enlightened (Buddhagaya);
here a perfect one started the wheel of the law turning
(Saranath); and
here a perfect one finally reached Nibbana (Kusinagara).’
- Mahaparinibbana Sutta

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 32 The Buddhist celebrations: Vesakha Celebration


Chapter 6

Introduction to Kathina

T he word Kathina literally means ‘difficult’ but in its extended


sense it signifies a wooden frame, the frame on which a
civara (robe) is spread and cut or sewed along its line. When
the season for making yellow robes is over the component parts
of the frame will be taken apart and kept for next year’s use. In
ancient days bhikkhus used the wooden frame on which to sew
and cut their robes and also their Kathina-robe-making was to
have been finished in one day. But nowadays there is no need
to use it because there are people who are skillful in making
the robes for the monks without using the wooden frame as
mentioned above.
The origin of Kathina : at the time of the awakened
one, the Lord was staying at Savatthi City, in Jeta’s Grove in
Anathapindika’s monastery. Now, at that time there were thirty
monks2 of Patheyya province, all forest-dwellers, all almsmen,
all wearers of rag-robes, all wearers of the three robes, going to
Savatthi so as to see the Lord. when the beginning of the rains-
residence (vassupanayika) was approaching, they were unable
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 33
to reach Savatthi for the beginning of the rains-residence. They
entered upon the rains on the way, at Saketa City. They spent
the rains in a state of longing, thinking the lord is staying close
to us, six yojanas3 from here, but we are not getting a chance
to see the lord’.
Then these monks, after the lapse of three months of the
rainy season, kept the rains, after the admonition had been carried
out, while it was still raining, while waters were gathering, while
swamps were still forming, with drenched robes and in a state of
weariness approached Savatthi, the Jeta Grove, Anathapindika’s
monastery. Having approached and greeted the lord they sat
down at a respectful distance.
Then the lord exchanged friendly greetings with the in-
coming monks and spoke thus to these monks; ‘I hope, monks,
that things went well with you, I hope you had enough to support
life, I hope that, in unity, being on friendly terms and harmonious,
you spent a complete rainy season and did not go short of alms-
food?
‘Things went well with us, lord, we had enough to support
life, and unity we, lord, being on friendly terms and harmonious,
spent the rainy season did not go short of alms-food. Here are
we, lord, as many as thirty monks of Patheyya Province, coming
to savatthi so as to see the lord, but when the beginning of
the rains-residence was approaching, we were unable to reach
savatthi for the beginning of the reins-residence; we entered on
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 34 Introduction to Kathina
the rains on the way at Saketa city. We spent the rains, lord, in
a state of longing for you, thinking: ‘the Lord is staying close to
us, six yojonas from here, but we are not getting a chance to see
the lord. Then we lord, having after the lapse of three months
of the rainy season, kept the rains, and after the admonition had
been carried out, while it was still raining, while waters were
gathering, while swamps were forming, with drenched robes and
in a state of weariness came along on journey.
Then the lord, on this occasion, having given the dhamma-
talk, addressed the monks, saying: ‘I allow you, monks, to make up
Kathina-cloth. Therefore, the Kathina-festival has been performed
since then.
A bhikkhu who lives throughout the rains-residence until
he makes pavarana-admonition can obtain the benefits of the
rains-residence from the patipada day (the first day of the waning
moon of the eleventh month) onwards for one month:
1. If he wishes to go wandering or travelling, there is no
need to take leave as laid down in the sixth training-rule in the
Accelaka-vagga of the pacittiya chapter.
2. When he goes wandering or travelling, he need not take
the complete set of robes.
3. He may eat in the way of Ganabhojana and
Paramparabhojana4
4. He may keep as many Atireka-civara as he pleases.
5. The civaras5 which occur to him at that place (where
Introduction to Kathina ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 35
he has spent the rains) and possessions which can be taken
away.
If he has the chance to accept the Kathina offering the five
benefits are extended for a further four months throughout the
cold season.
The rains-residence starts from the first day of the waning
moon of Asalha month (June-July) up to the full moon day
of Patthapada month (September-October) and Kathina season
commences from the first day of the waning moon of Patthapada
month up to the full moon day of Kattika month (October-
November), the period there of is one month altogether. From the
first day of the waning moon of Asalha month to the full day of
Kattika month it is reckoned as the rainy season and also the
period of Kathina offering. The lord Buddha allowed the monks to
accept the Kathina offering, an annual robe after they had stayed
for three full months of the rainy season as mentioned before,
without any interruption, in one particular monastery.
The Kathina offering is considered the sangha dana, that is,
it is an offering to the community of the monks and not to any
particular monk; it is called Kala dana timely donation because
it can be made only within the month after the rains-residence
and it also known as vinaya dana because its offering concerns
with the disciplinary rules. It grants merit to the donors and the
recipient monks are freed from observing certain rules which
have been imposed during the first three months of the rainy
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 36 Introduction to Kathina
season. That is why the Kathina Offering is held to be a special
dana, as it has to be performed within a particular background
and framework.

Code of practices for the Sangha on the Kathina day

1. Preliminary consultation of Sangha


Kathina offering this year is in the form of Kathinasamaggi –
jointly offering headed and offered by Mr. Tarsem Kaul & Mrs
Gurdev Kaur family and his relatives along side with Buddhist
people and devotes of the temple.
This Kathina is a pure material and pure cloth. It likes
floating into the sky and dropping down among the Sangha, the
community of the monks. It does not belong to any particular
monks. It belongs to the Sangha and group of venerable monks.
The Sangha only can consider and scrutinize “Who is qualified
to wear it?

2. Consideration and scrutiny of the Sangha


May the Sangha listen to me: by means of this offering Kathina-
Robe, it should be understood that Kathina-robe does not belong
to any particular monk, it belongs to the Sangha. The Sangha
must consider “who should receive this Kathina-robe and wear
it?” With regards to the discipline of Buddhism, the Lord Buddha
has allowed the Sangha to offer Kathina –robe to the monk who
Introduction to Kathina ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 37
is well-versed in the doctrine and discipline, who is able to
perform Kathina ceremony properly.
I have considered as seeing that the Venerable Phramaha
Somboon Siddhinano has qualifications as mentioned earlier. So,
the Sangha should offer this Kathina-robe to him for spreading
Kathina according to the basic discipline of Buddhism. If any
monk among the Sangha who has not agreed with my words can
say “No”, … If that has agreed with you all, May the Sangha
now make this resolution, we now offer this Kathina-robe to the
Venerable Phramaha Somboon Siddhinano by unshakeable and
well-founded motion and two announcements. And then may the
Sangha utter the word Sadhu together… Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu

3. Changing new robe
a. Paccudhãrana –relinquishing from use the corresponding
old robe and then determines the new one for use:
Imamฺ sanghãtimฺ paccuddhãrãmi (3 times)
Imamฺ uttarãsanghamฺ paccudhãrãmi (3 times)
Imamฺ antaravãsakamฺ paccudhãrãmi (3 times)

b. Bindukappa – Marking all the robes


Imamฺ bindukappamฺ karomi (3 times)

c. Adhitthãna – determining for use


Imam sanghãtim adhitthãmi (3 times)
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 38 Introduction to Kathina
Imamฺ uttarãsangham adhitthãmi (3 times)
Imam antaravasakam adhitthãmi (3 times)

d. Determination for Kathina Robes:


Imãya sanghãtiya kathinamฺ attharãmi (3 times)
Imãya uttarasanghena kathinamฺ attharãmi (3 times)
Imaya antaravasakena kathinamฺ attharãmi (3 times)

e. The appointed bhikkhu follows Pali passage for


acknowledgement on the part of the assembled bhikkhu
Atthatamฺ bhante sanghassa kathinamฺ dhammiko
kathinatthãro anumodatha (3 times)

A short meaning of Pha-pa


The term ‘pha-pa’ is called by Thai people, which is a
Buddhist tradition that must be offered after Kathina offering has
been already finished.
Pha-pa is a combination of two words (Pha + Pa). Pha
means material such as cloth to make clothes, making robes for
the monks, a set of robes for Buddhist ritual like a set of robes
for ordination, a set of robes for Kathina ceremony and so on,
this is a short meaning of ‘Pha’.
The word ‘Pa’ generally mean forest but here it refers
to dense forest, in particularly a large forest, where there live
different animals such as gibbons, monkeys, birds, lions, elephants,
Introduction to Kathina ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 39
snakes, and deer and so on.
A person who wants to offers Pha-pa to the monks or to
the Temple. They have to set up the Pha-pa or money tree and
makes up of gibbon with the towels or handkerchief, and pictures
the gibbon’s eyes with the black colour and hangs gibbon to the
branches of the tree and takes to the temple and offers it. The
gibbon is a symbol of the forest.
Pha-pa is timeless to offer. Anybody anyone is able to
offer as they wish without limitation of period. Whereas Kathina
offering can be offer one times a year after rains-residence not
before or after this period. And the temple can receive Kathina
offering from the donors only once a year. This is a short
explanation of Pha-pa.

2 Meaning 30 bhaddavaggi bhikkhus given ordination by the Lord


Buddha in the cotton plantation
3 Yojana=15 Kilometers (see vinayamukha Vol. 1. Pp. 235)
4 See vinayamukkha vol. 1.pp. 148-151
5 See vinayamukkha vol.1, p. 83.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 40 Introduction to Kathina
Chapter 7

The Consecration of Sima6


(Boundary)

C onsecration of Sima is one of the important subjects that


have to be understood properly. Therefore, these two
questions are ought to be considered and understood before
enter the subject. What is the Sanghakamma? What does the
term ‘Sima’ mean and how many?
A group of minimum of four monks is called the Sangha
and all official acts which require a group of monks called
the sanghakamma. The monks of all the monasteries with their
abilities, intelligence and knowledge must perform the duties; all
purely monastic rites and official acts. The monks’ duties in brief
are of two kinds –to people and to the monks themselves. The
part dealing with people is the instruction and dissemination of
Dhamma, or the doctrine; whereas the part related to the monks
themselves is the Sanghakamma. Sanghakamma literally means
the monastic rituals, which the Sangha (at least four monks)
must assemble, consider and perform, and which most people
recognize well and are familiar with particularly the Ordination of
people, recitation of Patimokkha, Kathina celebration and so on.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 41
All the Sanghakamma are based on the harmony and
unification of the Sangha and each of them must be performed
by the prescribed number of monks, for example, the performance
of Upasampada, or Ordination, in remote places where monks
are difficult to find. Only five monks are required to accomplish
Upasampada, Ordination. If, in the same Sima (Abaddhasima),
there are more than the prescribed number of monks, and the
other do not go and participate in the meeting and have no
intention to give their consent to the Sangha and they disapprove
of the meeting, the assembly, though complete, cannot perform
the ordination because of the lack of harmony and unification of
the Sangha. If the upasampada or Ordination is granted to a man,
he is not regarded as a monk because Sima becomes ‘Vipatti’,
-defect of precinct. So, the Sima is said to be very important in
relation to the diverse sanghakamma which is a background to
perpetuate the Buddhasasana.

Purport and type of Sima


The Sima purports boundary, precinct or a limited area with
an established boundary in which the meeting of Sanghakamma
takes place. This limited area is a limitation of the harmony and
unification of the Sangha. The vinaya or discipline has laid down
two regular forms of the limited area, thus;
1. Sima limited by villagers, citizens and Government
It means that Sima follows the example of a limitation of a village,
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 42 The Consecration of Sima6
sub-district, district and province, in other words, a boundary of
town and city. These are called ‘Abaddhasima’ because they are
not limited by the Sangha. The Sangha only points out to the
monks the limitation of sima and considers which are convenient
for performing the sanghakamma limitation of a village, sub-
district, or district. Then they are decided.
Furthermore, the area that can be marked as Sima covers
forest, rivers, sea and Lakeland. The Sima which is bounded
by these natural areas has been much mentioned in the Vinaya
Pitaka – the Basket of Discipline. There is no need to use these
things as Sima at the moment and no need to explain about them
here.
All the sanghakamma such as ordination of people,
Recitation of Patimokkha and so on can be performed in this
type of sima, ‘Abaddhasima’ and also in the Sima limited by
the Sangha, ‘Baddhasima’. One inconvience of performing the
Sanghakamma in an ‘Abaddhasima’, is very difficult to control
the assembly because the area designed as a Sima is very
wide and vast. Monks, who live in the same Sima-abaddhasima,
must all attend the assembly. If they have a reason such as an
ailment, for not being able to go and attend the meeting, they
have to give the Sangha their consent. Should any monk not go
and attend the meeting and yet pass within the limits of the Sima
during the performance of the Sagnhakamma, the Sanghakamma
would be invalid. On the other hand a ‘Baddhasima’, which has
The Consecration of Sima6 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 43
been consecrated by the Sangha in the proper area such as
around the Uposatha is convenient for the Sanghakamma. So, the
Baddhasima has more recently flourished.
2. Sima limited by the Sangha – Baddhasima
When there are many monks and monasteries the regulation
of establishment of the Sima must be encouraged. It is very
difficult to summon monks from all over the District and twon
to come and attend the Sanghakamma such as uposathakamma
–Patimokkha recitation, which must be recited on the fourteenth
and fifteenth day twice a lunar month. The monks, even though
in the same Sub-district, are not easily brought together. So, in
order to resolve the problem of the Sanghakamma, the Sangha
should consecrate the Sima according to proper standards both
in breadth and length as laid down in the vinaya pitaka; the Sima
area must not be so small that it cannot hold at least twenty one
monks, because at least twenty monks are necessary to handle
certain judicial cases as Abbhanakamma –the reinstatement of
a monk who has undergone penance for a expiable offence) and
it must not be bigger than 3 yojana which is too large to look
after properly.
a. Sima and Uposatha
It has been stated that the Sima area is designed for
the Sanghakamma, or monks’ activities. If the Sima is not
waterproof, nor rainproof, the Sangha cannot hold the meeting
and perform the Sanghakamma. Therefore, the words ‘Assembly
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 44 The Consecration of Sima6
hall’ are introduced and following the Lord Buddha’s advice,
in one monastery or assembly hall is allowed to be erected
for meetings and performance of the Sanghakamma such as
recitation of Patimokkha, which is believed to be the foundation
of monasticism. The ‘uposatha’ is a designation of the Buddhist
Holy Day- Uposatha Day. The Pali term for the Assembly Hall
is ‘Uposathagara’ but the Thai pronounce it in a very short way
‘Bosth’ or ‘Bot’. In the Discipline it is stated that the Sangha is
not allowed to have more than one Bosth in the same monastery.
If the Sangha wants to build a new one, the old one must be
demolished.
To establish the Bosth, it must be built inside the Sima and
must not be bigger than the Sima area which has been officially
granted. This is because there could be a misunderstanding
in the course of the performance of the Sanghakamma, and at
present there are no problems about the construction of the Bosth
because it had already been erected before the Visungamasima
was granted.
The Double-floor-Bosth – with basement, The establishment
of ‘Resolution of the council of Elders in accordance with the
double floor bosth with basement is very useful because the
basement can be used for many purpose such as a library,
a lecture hall and so on. But there is a problem about the
consecration of the Sima. The Sangha does not understand how
the Sima can be consecrated on it. The consecration has been
The Consecration of Sima6 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 45
put forward; the council of Elders has discussed it and passed
a resolution, thus Dak Nimitta, -ask about the symbol downstairs
first and then chant Sammatisamanasamvasa upstairs afterwards.
The Department of Religious Affairs has already informed and
handed this resolution to the Town Ecclesiastical Governors
throughout the country.
The establishment of the Bosth with a basement is gradually
flourishing in foreign countries, particularly in Europe and the
United States because it is in line with the physical features,
topography and finances.

b. Token for Sima


The Pali term for the word token is Nimitta. In the vinaya pitaka
there are eight: mountain, stone, forest, tree, anthill, road, river
and water. The commentator has explained clearly about the 8
tokens of which some are obsolete at the present moment. So,
there is no need to mention them here.
Nowadays, the stone is more popular than other materials.
The size of the stone is about the size of the head of a cow or
water buffalo, not bigger than the size of an elephant because
the size of an elephant is said to be equal to that of a mountain.
A single stone is said to be one Nimitta stone. Three Nimitta
stones or more than three can be used, never two. Stones are
believed to be solid. When they have been planted or buried in
the ground it is difficult to move them away. In former times the
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 46 The Consecration of Sima6
way to plant nimitta stones was to place them uncovered, to
mark the sites, but nowadays nobody can see the Nimitta stones
which have been planted or buried in the ground because they
are covered by slabs of stone, concrete or pillars of brick to mark
the sites: “Herein is Nimitta”.

c. Cancellation of Old Sima


In former ages that particular spot of ground might have
been consecrated before and must therefore be rendered neutral
before it can be consecrated again. If this is not done, the one
which has been previously consecrated will be mixed up with
the former on (‘Simasankra’, to suad thon Ticivaravippavasa, or
chant to render invalid the place, not without the Three Robes.’
And Samanasamavasa, or ‘chant to invalidate the boundary of the
association-of-equals.’) this can be done in advance or during the
consecration of the Sima.

d. Visungamasima
A place set apart from house Visunghama Sima
(visunghama+sima). It means apart from houses, Sima means
boundary, precinct, a limited area as mentioned earlier). It is in fact
an area of the Sangha conferred by the King. The commentator
has given an example, “in the same area the King declared,
may this area be apart from houses.” Then he bestows it to
someone. Such an area which has been conferred is termed
The Consecration of Sima6 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 47
‘Visunghamasima’ area, -being a special place devoted to the
Sangha, wherein the Bosth is erected for the Sanghakamma.
In former times it was free of tax. A person who was granted
a Visunghamasima area had various prerogative. Henceforth the
sage has regarded it as a mine or forest which has been
conceded.
In Thailand the abbot of the monastery or the head of
the Sangha has to submit a letter to the King and ask him to
grant a small area of land within the monastery precinct to be
especially consecrated and marked out with boundary stones
called Sima. When that area has been officially granted, the
officials concerned take the documents to the monastery and
hand it to the Abbot, at the same time they have to mark the
area which has been officially granted. Thereafter that area will
bnecaome visunghamasima at once, and it in its monks can be
ordained an all the Sanghakamma or purely monastic rites and
official acts can take place. When the area mentioned earlier
has been ruined, is empty or deserted, nobody can hold on to
it or occupy it at all, unless the Government issues an act of
legislation and take it back. Such an area should be consecrated
by the Sangha. Visungamasima is similar to Abaddhasima and
its importance in relation to the Law and Discipline is:
a. To make Ecclesiastical Abodes a monastery with
Visungamasima, awaiting further consecration of Sima.
b. When Visungamasima has been officially granted all the
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 48 The Consecration of Sima6
Sanghakamma can be performed.
The resolution of the Council of Elders does not allow
the monasteries to plant or bury Nimitta stones, to consecrate
Sima nor to ask the King to come and cut Nimitta before
visungamasima is officially granted. The Department of Religious
Affairs has circulated a letter dated 22/02/16/73 to the division
ecclesiastical Governors saying, ‘Resolutions of the Council of
Elders prohibits Abbots all over the country to perform or prepare
a celebration of consecration of Sima before Visungamasima is
officially granted or recognized.’
A monastery which is in a foreign country and which is in
a piece of land controlled by the Thai Government must conform
to this regulation as well.

e. Nimitta plantation ceremony and consecration of Sima


These are said to be inseparable, interrelated. But if we
use materials, mountains or trees as a Nimitta, there is no
difficult problem about Nimitta plantation and consecration of
Sima because these things are natural in themselves, immovable,
and can easily be used as a token or symbol of Sima. But for
Baddhasima, Nimitta tend to be planted or buried within the
Uposatha or Bosth precinct. Therefore, we have to go and seek
for the 8 rocks, bringing them and making them a Nimitta. These
rocks must be properly decorated and then planted or buried in the
ground at the four cardinal points and four intermediate points of
The Consecration of Sima6 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 49
the compass. A ninth one, the most important one is embedded in
the centre of the consecrated soil under the floor of the Uposath
or Bosth. There are prescribed numbers of the Sangha who must
assemble and suad thon Ticivaravippavasa, Samanasamvasa,
Suad dak Nimitta and suad Sammaticivaravippavasa and
Sammatisamanasamvasa which means respectively, -‘chant to
render invalidate the boundaries of association-of-equals, ask
about the symbol and chant to consecrate the place where there
is association-of-equals, and to consecrate the place, not without
the Three Robes.’
This is to proclaim, ‘Rocks planted or buried in here are a
token or symbolism of Sima’.
The greatest ceremony is said to be a Nimitta plantation,
Consecration of Sima. This is because it can take place only
after the erection of Uposath or Bosth has been completed. The
establishment of Uposath must take time because it depends on
financial standing, people’s confidence and abilities, sometimes
Yokchawpha (the elevation of the elongated and elaborately carved
apex of the gable of a Buddhist church) tends to be done while
consecration the sima. This is a celebration of success in the
construction of a Uposatha or Bosth. Many people and monks
attend the ceremony as they bear in their minds that when
the Uposatha has been erected and completed, that they must
converge and plant Nimitta and consecrate the Sima, which is said
to be a background of Buddhism the monastery and consecration
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 50 The Consecration of Sima6
of Sima produce great benefit, and in these the Sangha can
perform all the Sanghakamma and live for the dissemination of
Dhamma, the doctrine, which will perpetuate Phra Buddhasana,
Buddhism

6 The Friendly way, a Journal of the Buddhapadipa Temple, Special Edition


in commemoration of Inaguration of the Uposatha Hall 29-31 October 1982. The
Buddhapadipa Temple, London, pp. 20-22

The Consecration of Sima6 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 51


Chapter 8

Dhammacakka Mudra
OR
Dhammacakka posture

S itting in the cross-legged, elevated the right hand near the


heart in the form of the segment of the fingers and then
put the left hand on the lap. This is the attitude of proclaiming
the First Sermon at Saranath.
After Prince Siddhattha left his palace in search of En-
lightenment, he approached the Hermits Alarakalama and Uddaka
Ramaputta respectively, both of whom were supposed to have
attained the highest knowledge of reality. They welcomed him
and taught him whatever they knew. Later, they praised him as
their equal and invited him to stay helping teaching at the centre.
Having realizing that they were not able to lead him to Enlighten-
ment he had been seeking after, he left both teachers and went
forth into the state of Magadha until he reached the district of
Uruvela Senanigama. The place was a delightful verdant forest
with its smooth land and Crystal River flowing past by. The land-
ing places were also peaceful and the villages for alms begging
were around close by. Seeing this he concluded that the sylvan
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 52
serenity of Uruvela was really suitable for making efforts towards
enlightenment.
The Prince Siddhattha stopped there and started the
severe practices of Self-Mortification. Meanwhile, the five
ascetics by name of Kondanna, Vappa, Bhaddiya, Mahanama and
Assaji assisted him. Those were Brahmins who having seen
or heard that the Prince-monk was endowed with the thirty-
two characteristics of the great man followed him in adopting
homeless life. Concluding that his renunciation was sure to
benefit others they regularly attended upon him in the hope that
he would also lead them to the same destination. After long
practice of self mortification prince monk found that it was not
way leading to end of samsara but may put him into death. Now,
the prince-monk had given up Self-mortification and resorted to
partaking of food once again. They all arrived at a conclusion
that he had been defeated and h ad reverted to delight in sensual
pleasures. Disgusted, they departed, going to the deer park of
Isipatana in the town of Benares with the thought that there
would no longer be any hope towards Enlightenment by prince-
monk.
With some solid food, prince-monk was refreshed and
strengthened and put forth his efforts for spiritual exertion. It was
not until six years after his renunciation that he was enlightened,
equipped with the insight that carried him to the point of finality,
enabling him to say to himself ‘I have known’. That was in the
Chapter 8 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 53
night of the Full moon day of Visakha lunar month, under the
shade of a Bodhi Tree, forty five years before the Buddhist Era
started.
After his Enlightenment he is known as the ‘Buddha’
and thought of the persons to whom he would first make
known his discovery. The two former teachers Alarakama and
Uddakaramaputta came into his clairvoyant view. He knew that
they both were highly developed and would realize immediately
what he had achieved. But sadly, he came to know that they had
both passed away. Then the next he thought of the five ascetics
who attended upon him during his Self-mortification practices
and decided to preach his doctrine to them first. So, he set
out to Benares, the capital of the state of Kasi where the five
ascetics were residing. On the fourteenth day of waxing moon of
Asalha lunar month he reached the deer park of Isipatana, in the
town of Benares, late in the afternoon of that day. After having
friendly conversation the Buddha delivered the First Sermon
called ‘Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta’ to the five ascetics on the
full moon day of Asalha lunar month. Later, in Sri Lanka called
this day ‘Dhammacakka Day’
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta means the discourse on the
turning the wheel of the dhamma. This discourse is the foundation
of the Buddhist teachings. Later, this is the cause of making up the
Buddha image in the form of Dhammacakka Mudra or Dhammacakra
Posture.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 54 Chapter 8
Chapter 9

Introduction to meditation7

T oday I would like to speak about Insight meditation and


the three signs of being and later I show you how insight
meditation is so closely connected with the Three Signs of
being.
First of all, I would like to speak of insight meditation
because it is an excellent way to realization of the truth. What
does insight meditation mean? It means wisely seeing the three
signs of being very clearly. What are the three signs of being?
They are impermanence, suffering, and Non-self. If one gain
insight knowledge by means of meditation practice one can see
the three signs of being as they really are.
Now we are going to speak of the three signs of being.
But before going into details let me speak of the five aggregates
because they are subject to the three signs of being. What are
the five aggregates? They are Name and Rupa. Rupa means
from, the material substance which consist of the Four Primary
Elements, namely, the element of softness and hardness, the
element of cohesion, the elements, namely, the element of
softness and hardness, the element of cohesion, the element
of heat or kinetic energy and the material qualities derived from
Chapter 9 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 55
them and the element of motion. These are elements of which
the body consists. This is meaning of the word Rupa, the form,
whereas the meaning of the word Nama refers to the mental
phenomena which are sensation, perception, volitional activity,
and consciousness.
The five aggregates are subject to the three signs of
being. That is: they are impermanence, suffering and NO-self.
What is it that is impermanent? The five aggregates themselves
are impermanent. Why are they impermanent? In answering this
question let me resort to the answer given in the visuddhimagga,
the path of purity that they are impermanent because of the
following factors;
1. Impermanent because of these four conditions: arising and
disappearing, changing, being a temporary thing like something
which is lent and in opposition to permanence.
2. Suffering because of these four conditions: frequently
making one suffer, difficult to maintain, the source of which
suffering is born and in opposition to happiness.
3. No-self because of these four conditions: absence of
self, cannot be conquered, cannot be forced to be this or that, in
opposition to self.
Out of the three signs of being, these one, the one
concerning no-self is very difficult to understand. So, let me
repeat it and make it clear, where as the first and the second
one will be left out because they are very easy to understand.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 56 Chapter 9
Of one concerned with no-self, it can be said that no-self is
derived from the Pali term from Anatta. This may be very difficult
to discuss and in fact this idea of Anatta tends very often to
frighten people because normally they have a strong feeling of
self, but the doctrine of Anatta refuses the self. This is why
people are afraid of the teaching of Anatta. Usually people have
to feel they are somebody and they have been familiar with the
idea of self throughout their lives. So it is very hard to teach
people the Anatta-doctrine by means of theory. But, however, one
ought to know about it. When one has understood it one will not
heap sufferings upon himself.
In order to make have clear understand the teachings of
Anatta. We must refer back to the Five Aggregates and show
you how the five aggregates functions. The five aggregates are:
form, sensation, perception, volitional activity and consciousness.
Do you see which of them is self? Form? Sensation? Perception?
Volitional activities? Or consciousness? You may say ‘Form’
because you see it but you do not see sensation, perception,
volitional activities and consciousness and then you say ‘No-
self’. Even the word ‘Form’ that have mentioned before is not
self itself. All of the five aggregates are not self. They are NO-
self. Why these are no-self? Because if they are self they can
be taught and forced to be this or to be that and cannot prevent
them from experiencing old age, decay and death. You may ask
who can ? Answer would be nobody can. The unity of all these
Chapter 9 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 57
five factors is called the human beings. There is not a single
entity which we can say as self. Every factor is changing all
the time and fall in a three characteristic called impermanence,
unsatisfactoriness and non-self.
Here in this article, it will explain how the three signs of
beings are related. Meditators have to learn that the three signs
of beings, that is to say Impermanence, Suffering and No-self,
are the ‘point’ which is considered very important for insight
meditation or Vipassanana practice. So, they should continue to
practise if they desire to take advantage of their practice.
In reference of the three signs of being, is it easy for the
meditators to see them? It is not easy, nor difficult to see them,
because it depends on many factors such as understanding,
tendencies accumulated in a previous life, effort and practice of
meditatiors themselves.
What prevents the meditators from seeing Impermanence,
suffering and no-self?
The answer from the Visuddhimagga, the path of purity is
‘Continuity=santati, Postures and Density or Ghana’.
Impermanence is hidden by continuity and through its
continuation it makes one see the impermanent as the permanent.
Take for an example one experiences oneself from baby to youth,
from youth to teenager, from teenager to adult, from adult to old
age, decay, all of which rise and fall and which are impermanence.
Because of continuity, even in this case one cannot see a sign
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 58 Chapter 9
of impermanence. But when the rising and falling are grasped
and continuity is broken impermanence appears at once in the
form of properties peculiar to it.
Suffering is hidden by the postures, namely, postures in
standing, walking sitting, falling asleep, eating, drinking, working,
speaking, thinking, and so forth. These postures prevent one
from seeing a sign of suffering. But when one attends to repeats
oppression and removes the postures the characteristic of
suffering appears as it is.
NO-self is hidden by density. The word density here means
the Five Aggregates which comprise the elements and form,
sensation, perception, volitional activity and consciousness as
mentioned earlier. One is attached to the five aggregates and
tends to hold on to them as self. Therefore, as long as the
five aggregates cannot be yet grasped by means of vipassana
practice, the characteristic of NO-self will not appear. But when
they are realized the characteristic of non-self will appear as it
really is.
With regard to realization of the three signs of being it
should be noticed that the sight of Impermanence, suffering and
NO-self may not arise at the same time. Sometimes, impermanence
appears in the meditators and then they see it very clearly.
In this case they are said to gain Nibbana which is called
‘Sunnatavimokkha’. Nibbana is characterized by the condition of
Emptiness. Sometimes suffering appears and arises very clearly
Chapter 9 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 59
to the meditators. They see it in meditation and by this way they
achieve Nibbana which is called “Animittavimokkha’. This refers
to Nibbana which is characterized by the condition of having no
sign. And sometimes during practice NO-self appears very quickly
and clearly to the meditators and through their seeing it they are
said to realize nibbana which is called ‘Appanihitavimokkha’ that
means Nibbana which is characterized by the condition of having
no foundation.
In the course of meditation practice, again, if the three
signs of being, that is to say, Impermanence, Suffering and NO-
self, appear together at the same time in this case the meditators
are said to realize the three Nibbans, namely, ‘Sunnatavimokkha’,
‘Animittavimokkha’ and ‘ Appanihitavimokkha’. The term vimokkha,
like vimutta, refers to the condition of Emancipation or Deliverance
or Nibbana and this word is used in a limited sense, implying
only the highest stage of emancipation or deliverance, and not
the lower ones.
According to the commentary, it is explained that deliverance
is endowed with the condition of emptiness because it is empty
of greed, hatred and delusion. It is said to have no sign whatever
in that there is in it no trace of those three passions. It is again
said to have no foundation because it likewise contains no
foundation or support for these three to exist.

7 This talk was given at the Buddhavihara Temple, October 1974


‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 60 Chapter 9
Chapter 10

Introduction to Insight meditation8

T his is based on the Pancakkhandas and the method of


meditation practice. Pancakkhanddha is concerned direct with
insight meditation practice. The meditators should understand it
in both classification and separation, what they are and how
they function, this is very important for the progress in meditation
practice. The word ‘Pancakkhandhas’ is a Pali word means the
‘Five Aggregates’. They can be divided into two groups; Rupa –
material phenomena and Nama – mental phenomena.
The Rupa literally mean matter, form, the material substance
which is endowed with the four primary Elements, that is to say,
the element of softness and hardness, the element of Cohesion,
the Element of heat or Kinetic energy and material qualities derived
from them, and the Element of Motion. These are the elements
of which the body consists. The Nama literally mean the mental
phenomenon, which can be sub-divided into four factors and
that is feeling, perception, volitional activity and consciousness.
However, in general, we tend to speak of the Five Aggregates
in the sense of form, feeling, perception, volitional activity and
consciousness.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 61
In the Anattalakkhana sutta, the Lord Buddha said thus: the
five Aggregates are impermanent, Suffering and Non-self. They
change all the time; they do not depend on ourselves; they are
not conducive to what we desire to what we desire and want;
they are unable to prevent us from experiencing Old age, Decay
and Death!
In order to understand the five Aggregates clearly, I would
like to give you and a simple example. Suppose, we shall speak
of Mr. A, we tend to mean the whole of his body. We do not
speak of one part of his body like his eyes, ears, nose, and
tongue as Mr. A. The eyes, ears, nose, tongue is not called Mr.
A, but Mr. A refers to the whole of his body, not only one thing,
eyes, ears and so forth. So, the combination of all different part of
the body called a Mr. A. The word which is called ‘Mr. A’ is only
conventional truth. It is not absolute Truth; there is no real self
existing in him. He is so-called for the sake of remembering him
as Mr. A. The other persons are referred to in the same way in
different names. In consequence of the conventional truth, we can
understand the names of everything in the world correctly, such
as ‘this is a giraffe, this is a cat, this is Mr. and Mrs. Robinson,
and this is a pen and a pencil’ and so on. Nevertheless, without
conventional truth we cannot recognize the names of anything
that is present yet these things mentioned are impermanent,
suffering and non-self in the Absolute Truth. They are endlessly
changing substance.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 62 Chapter 10
Having learnt and understood the five aggregates as
the substance of change, one does not cling to them and is
able to relinquish wrong understanding like Eternity Belief and
Annihilation View. Thus, during meditation time we are taught
not to think about and brood over the past and future. This is to
direct our minds to what we desire and that is the breathing in
and the breathing out via the nostrils and then our minds will go
deeper and deeper until the Three Signs of Being, that is to say,
Impermanence, Suffering and Soullessness, are clarified.
With reference to the Three Signs of Being, there is
nothing either divine or human, either animate or inanimate, either
organic or inorganic, which is permanent or stable, unchanging or
everlasting. So the meditators should scrutinize all compounded
things, both animate and inanimate, as impermanent, suffering
and non-self, as they really are. If they do not yet see the Three
Signs of Being as they truly are they still see themselves as
selves, they see the Five Aggregates which are impermanent,
suffering and non-self as permanent, satisfactory and self, and so
they will be unable to progress in Insight meditation. Vipassana
or Insight meditation gets rid of the concept of self and leads the
meditators to the Absolute Truth which is beyond the mundane
level. When the meditators practice step by step, the level of
their minds will become higher and higher and in the end they
can see for themselves that everything, including themselves, is
impermanent, suffering and non-self. So, all compounded things,
Chapter 10 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 63
both animate and inanimate change all the time and should not
be clung to. While practicing meditation, if we see something
in front of us, we say mentally ‘seeing, seeing, seeing’ until it
vanishes or while practicing meditation and hearing sounds, we
say mentally ‘hearing, hearing, hearing’ until it ceases and then
our minds will return to the main object which is the breathing
in and the breathing out as already mentioned.
As already expounded, the Five Aggregates are impermanent,
suffering and soulless. In them there is also consciousness
which is considered as impermanent, suffering and soulless. The
meditators may have doubts about it. If consciousness is non-
self, who will receive the result of the actions, who will receive
the fruition of practice, who will enter Nibbana or Summum-
bonum and after their death who will go to Hell and Heaven. In
reference to the questions, we must learn very carefully otherwise
we are going to misunderstand the meaning of consciousness
in the sense of Self. In the Buddhist scriptures, especially in
Abhidhammic Scripture, it will be seen that Buddhism does
not accept the permanence of consciousness but accepts the
continuity of consciousness in the belief that one’s mind or
consciousness in manifested in the form of continuity and is
not perpetuated in a permanent form. It has a current which is
called ‘mind-current’. It is similar to that of electric light. The
frequency of mind-current cannot be seen but exists in itself. This
point of view is different from other religions. The Lord Buddha
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 64 Chapter 10
emphasized this point saying thus: “Faring far, wandering alone,
bodiless, living in a cave, is the mind. Those who subdue it are
freed from the bonds of Mara.”
This mind is the forerunner of all conditions, it is a chief
in itself; it does not function only when one lives in the present,
but also keeps on endlessly after one’s death. No beginning
or ending can be discovered. It cannot be proved by means
of scientific method and logic. When the meditators practice
meditation more and more, their minds become higher and higher
until they go beyond the conventional truth and afterwards they
see for themselves the truth and by themselves they are able to
answer the questions: who will receive the result of the actions,
who will receive the fruition of practice, who will enter Nibbana,
and after their death who will go to Hell or Heaven.
In order to simplify meditation practice we take into
consideration the three following practical methods of meditation:
1. Sitting Meditation
2. Walking Meditation
3. Lying down Meditation

1. Sitting Meditation:
Those who desire to practice sitting meditation should find
a suitable place and then sit on the chair, on the cushion, on
the bed or on the floor as they like. Their hands can be placed
in the lap. The eyes should be closed. Their bodies must be
Chapter 10 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 65
in a balanced upright position so as to remain steady but not
tense or stiff and then the breathing in and the breathing out
through the nostrils has to be observed very carefully, as already
explained.

2. Walking Meditation:
This can be sub-divided into six exercises:
1. Right goes thus, left goes thus
2. Lifting and treading
3. Lifting, moving and treading
4. Heel up, lifting, moving and treading.
5. Heel up, lifting, moving, dropping and treading.
6. Heel up, lifting, moving, dropping, touching and pressing.
Exercise 1 consists of three phases – i.e. ‘Right or Left’
that is the lifting or the corresponding foot; secondly, ‘goes’
which is the moving forward of it and thirdly ‘thus’, the dropping
and replacing of the foot on the ground. The distance for each
step should be one foot in length. The acknowledgement should
be done mentally throughout the exercises, this one and the
following ones, and it should be made simultaneously with the
corresponding movement. In this manner we walk, mentally
concentrating upon the movements of the walking process and
the phases of each step until we reach the end of our allotted
walking space. We halt then, having brought both our feet
together in the standing posture. We acknowledge again this
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 66 Chapter 10
posture, say in the mind, ‘standing, standing, standing,’ three
times. Now we return. We may return to the left or to the right.
The turning movement consists of gyrating the right foot on its
heel if we turn towards the right; gyrating the heel means we
turn the foot, leaving the heel on the spot. After each turning
of one foot on its heel we draw the other foot parallel to it by
lifting it and replaying it down again beside the foot we turned
round. Each movement, i.e. the turning on the heel of the one
foot and the lifting and replacing on the ground of the other foot,
we acknowledge by saying mentally, ‘turning.’ When we have
completely turned we halt again and acknowledge the standing
posture with ‘Standing, standing, standing.’ Subsequently, we
begin to walk again, ‘right goes thus, left goes thus,’ until we
reach the end of our walking distance where we stand, turn,
stand and walk again. We should keep in mind that the exercise
should be done as slowly and as mindfully as possible so that
the whole process of standing, walking, standing and turning,
standing, walking and so on comes gradually to be more and
more conscious. The time for exercise 1 should be about 10
minutes or more.
For exercise 2 the walking consists of two phases, lifting
and treading’. When we lift the foot until it reaches its highest
point, we acknowledge mentally ‘lifting’ and when we lower the
foot until we tread on the ground; we acknowledge mentally
‘treading.’ The distance between each step should now be three
Chapter 10 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 67
quarters of a foot. Otherwise, the instructions and the practice
of acknowledging the intention as given in exercise 1. The time
for exercise 2 should be about 20 minutes.
For exercise 3 the walking consists of three phases –
‘lifting, moving and treading’. These three words are used for the
same phases as outlined in exercise 1. When we lift the foot
we acknowledge ‘treading.’ The only difference to exercise 1 is
that a different wording is used for the acknowledgement of the
movements and that the length of the step is now reduced to
half a foot. The same instructions as given in exercise 1 and 2
apply here too. The time for exercise 3 should be extended to 30
minutes.
For exercise 4 the walking comprises of four successive
phases –‘heel up, lifting, moving and treading’. The walking begins
with the lifting up of the heel, the ball of the foot with the toes
still remaining on the floor. This movement we acknowledge
mentally saying ‘heel up’ then we lift the entire foot; this we
acknowledge in the mind as ‘lifting.’ After having lifted the foot
we push it forward and acknowledge ‘moving’, then we lower the
foot and replace it on the ground, acknowledging ‘treading’. The
length of the step is half a foot. Otherwise, we should practice
as already stated. The time for exercise 4 should be about 40
minutes.
For exercise 5 the walking comprises of five phases –
‘heel up, lifting, moving, dropping, and treading.’ At first we lift the
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 68 Chapter 10
help up as in the foregoing exercise and acknowledge mentally
‘heel up,’ then we lift the whole foot and acknowledge ‘lifting’,
we push it forward and acknowledge ‘dropping.’ When we tread
on the ground we acknowledge ‘treading’. The length of the step
remains the same as in the preceding exercises. The duration for
the walking exercise 5 should be extended to 50 minutes.
For exercise 6 the walking comprises of six phase –‘heel
up, lifting, moving, dropping, touching and pressing’. The new
movements introduced are two, namely ‘touching and pressing.’
The other movements and the length of the steps remain the
same as in the foregoing exercise. In the forgoing exercise we
see that we lift the heel up acknowledging ‘heel up.’ Lift the
whole foot acknowledging ‘lifting,’ move it forward acknowledging
‘moving’ then we lower it and acknowledge ‘dropping’. The next
new movement is the touching of the foot on the ground with
the toes and ball of the foot. This we acknowledge mentally
saying ‘touching’. The last movement is pressing the whole foot
on the ground and acknowledging this with the word ‘pressing.’
The exercise should be practiced as for the former ones with
intention. The time for this exercise is an hour altogether.

3. Lying Down Meditation


It is mostly for a sick person, particularly for the person
who is mentally sick or for the person who goes to bed and
Chapter 10 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 69
then must practice the lying down meditation before going to
sleep. The practical method is to observe the breathing in and
out through the nostrils as given in the sitting meditation.

8 This article originally published ‘The Friendly way, Vol. 6/ No. 1, the
Buddhapadipa Temple Journal, May 2514/1971

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 70


Chapter 11

Conventional truth and Ultimate truth

M eeting with you this time, I have got a feeling that there
is a bar between us, preventing us from getting to one
another; that is, I, the speaker, trying to convey to you my
thought and understanding through a foreign tongue. You on the
other hand, listeners are paying an admirable attention to catch
what I am going to say. This is the problem of language itself.
If, however, we talk about conventional things in general, we
understand without difficulty. But there is another kind of language
which is spoken by people who know reality, quite opposite to
that of ordinary people. You may call it ‘Dharma language’ the
Inner language. So when the dharma is taught only the dharma
language is used; and you should put aside the conventional
meaning of the words and try to understand it in the ultimate
sense. Those who have realized the ultimate truth speak only
the Inner language. Sometimes of finger is pointed and an eye-
brow raised and the ultimate meaning of reality is understood. No
sound at all is made. One can talk in silence. One can conveys
Chapter 11 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 71
to one another the truth through reminding silence.
It is said that once the Buddha was sitting among a great
number of monks, He picked up a lotus flower and held it a while
above this head without saying a word. All the monks, except
Maha Kassapa, became astonished and did not know what was
meant by the Master. Maha Kassapa then smiled as if saying;
‘It has been well understood, Lord’. This is the inner language
through which the nature of the ultimate reality is discussed and
understood. But that is too much for worldly people like us and
seems incredibly impossible. If however, we sincerely want to
understand the dharma, we should study and examine it in the
ultimate sense, forgetting its conventional usage and meaning.
Now I should like to give a short talk on the doctrine of Sunnata
which is considered the whole embracing spirit of Buddhism.
The word is a Pali term. It is generally rendered as emptiness,
voidness. According to Buddhism, everything is in a constant
flux, ever changing, having no permanent entity. What we call
‘individual’ or ‘man’ is nothing but a false idea arising on account
of mind and body made up of the six elements (Dhatuvibhanga
sutta). If we dissect it through our penetrative wisdom, we find
nothing but emptiness, voidness. It is only because we do not
know things as they truly are that we differentiate one thing from
another.
Take water for example, one may think that there are many
kinds of water. He will view these various kinds of water as if
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 72 Chapter 11
they have nothing in common. He sees rain water, well water,
underground water, water in canals, water in rivers etc. this
average common man will insist that these waters are completely
different. No a person with some degree of knowledge however
knows that no matter what kind of water it is, in it pure water
can be found or be distilled. A person who thinks in this way
knows that all those different kinds of water are the same as far
as water is concerned. For these elements which make it impure
and look different is not water. If you look through the polluting
elements you can see water in its essential nature, which is in
every case the same. To sum up, however many kinds of water
they may be all in the same as far as the essential nature of
water is concerned. If you take that pure water and examine it
further, you will come to conclusion that there is, in reality, no
water at all –only hydrogen and oxygen. The substance which
we call water has now disappeared – only voidness remains.
If you look at things from this point of view, you can see even
that all religions are the same. They appear different because
we are making judgments on the basis of external forms. There
is only a kind of nature you can call whatever you like; you can
call it ‘Truth’, ‘Dhamma’ or ‘Nirvana’ [or God] anything at all. But
that kind of things should not be particularized as belonging
to any religions. For whatever it is, it is. You cannot confine
it by labeling or naming. It is that and there. ‘THAT’ does not
necessarily mean ‘a thing’, and ‘there’ is not necessarily a ‘Place’
Chapter 11 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 73
or a ‘State’. The Buddha taught us to understand and to be able
to see that there is no person, no individual, in ultimate reality.
There are only natural phenomena. Therefore, we should not hold
the belief that there is this and that religion.
The label ‘Buddhism’ was attached only afterwards, and it
is the same with Christianity and any other as world religion.
None of the great religious teachers ever gave a name to their
teachings; they just went on teachings throughout their lives
about how we should live in peace and mutual understanding.
Although we claim ourselves as Buddhists, we mostly have not
yet attained the truth. We are attached too much to the word
‘Buddhism’ and are aware of only tidy aspect of Buddhism, its
outer covering which makes us think it is different from this or
that other religions. Outsiders are not part of our fellowship; they
are wrong, only we are right, and so on and so forth. This kind
of view is not only with Buddhists but with all followers of major
religion in the world. This shows how stupid and foolish we are!
We are just like little babies who know only their own belief.
When you tell a small child to go and take a bath and to wash
with soap to get all the dirt off, he will scrub only his belly;
he does not know how to wash all over. He will never think of
washing behind his ears or between his toes or anywhere like
that. He only scrubs and polishes his stomach vigorously. In just
the same way, most of the so-called religious person knows
only a few things such as intending to get and intending to take.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 74 Chapter 11
In this case it will be more accurate to say that those people
know nothing at all, for they are acquainted only with how to
get and how to take. That is not religion. If anything at all, it is
the religion of getting, the religion of taking. If they cannot get
or cannot take something, they are frustrated and suffer. Real
religion is to know how to get without getting, and take without
taking so that there is no frustration and no suffering at all.
This must be spoken about very often to acquaint you with
the heart of religion. In Buddhism it calls non-attachment –not to
try to grasp or cling to anything, not even to the teaching itself,
until finally it is seen that there is no Buddhism. That means, if
we speak straight, that there is no Buddha, no dharma, no Sangha!
However, it is expressed in this way, nobody will understand it.
They will be shocked and frightened instead. If people understood
in ultimate sense, they would see that the Buddha, the dharma
and the Sangha are the same. They would see them as being
real nature or something like that. They would not grasp or hang
on to it as that particular thing or this particular idea; it is, but
is not individualized. As a matter of fact, most people think that
there is happiness and suffering. However, if it is expressed in
the ultimate sense, there is nothing, nothing to get, nothing to
have, nothing to be –no happiness, no suffering, nothing at all,
and this is called ‘being void’. Everything still exists, but all
awareness of them in terms of ‘I’ or ‘Mine’ is voided. For this
reason we say ‘void’.
Chapter 11 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 75
To see everything as void is to see it as not being an
aspect of oneself, or in any way possessed by one self. The
word ‘void’ in the common language of people means nothing
exists, but in the language of the Buddha, the Enlightened One,
means everything exists, but there nothing to be thought of as ‘I’
and nothing to fell attached to as ‘Mine’, where can suffering take
place? Suffering must happen to an ‘I’ –so you see, possessing
‘I and ‘mine’ is the real cause of suffering. Pull out the root; that
is the real cure; do not just be engaged in a futile search for bits
and pieces of happiness to smooth it over and cover it. As for
happiness, as soon as you cling to it and have attachment for
it, it becomes unhappiness, one more way to suffer. Most people
always have attachment in one form or another to everything
that is or is not. As a result, desirable things are all converted
into causes of suffering. Good is also transformed into suffering.
Praise, fame, honour and the like are all turned into forms of
suffering as soon as you try to seize and hang on to them. All
becomes unsatisfactory because of grasping and clinging. When
you are wise enough to be detached from any forms of dualism,
then you will no longer have to suffer because of those things.
To many people detachment appears to be a negative state, but
in fact it is attachment that is negative. Why? Because when
you are attached to something, the mind is really in a negative
state of not wanting to understand reality. It wishes to hold on
to possessions or qualities. This is not creative, but when you
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 76 Chapter 11
are detached, especially from pleasant or unpleasant feelings and
from all active states of mind, you are truly creative because
you understand what to do and how to do it. This is clarity of
understanding. A detached mind, born of understanding reality
in which there is full capacity to do, is a creative mind. It is
free and can work correctly. The attached mind brings trouble to
yourself as well as to others, and is a harmful thing, whereas
detachment can harm on one –the mind is liberated and free
from all conditions. The Buddha said; ‘of all conditioned a
non-conditioned things ‘DETACHMENT’ is the best. Try to do
things with a detached, free mind and you will see whether you
are creative or not. To work with the acquisitive mind is very
different from working with the detached mind. If you do not
get what you want you need not lose your mental balance. You
need not become a victim of what you want to get. You can
remain calm, peaceful and steady. This inner equilibrium is the
most positive state and through it we can live happily. Do not
worry about achieving things. If you have detachment – liberation
within – everything can be achieved. It is not a state of laziness,
in which nothing can be done, but a profoundly creative state in
which everything can be done.
So try to be detached, and work with a detached mind, you
will finally come to the real state of awakening.

Chapter 11 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 77


chapter 12

Insight meditation and


three signs of being

I n meditation practice it can be seen that insight meditation is


so closely connected with the three signs being, Impermanence,
suffering and non-self. Meditator who wants to practice insight
has to learn Form, Feeling, Perception, Volitional Activity and
Consciousness which are collectively called ‘Five Aggregates
(Pancakkhandha)’ and Nama-Rupa which are derived from five
aggregates (Five aggregates are divided into Nama-Rupa). Nama
means Feeling, Perception, Volitional Activity and consciousness
which know things as they really are whereas Rupa refers
to Form, the material substance which is not ability to know
anything at all and it comprises the Four Primary Elements,
namely, the element of earth, element of water, of air and fire.
These are elements of which the body (form) is formed.
Nama-Rupa is impermanence, suffering and non-self because
it arises, stabilizes and passes away without ceasing – (Udaya,
Thiti, Bhanga). So this is very important for meditators who
practice insight meditation. They must understand the arising,
stabilizing and passing away of Nama-rupa as they are for the
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 78
sake of their practice. In the Visuddhimagga, the Path of Purity, it
has been stated that Nama rupa is in the form of Impermanence,
suffering and non-self because of the following conditions:

1. Impermanence because of four conditions:


i. Udayavayanto – arising and disappearing.
ii. Viparinamato – changing
iii. Tavakalikato – being temporary things like something which
is lent.
iv. Niccapatipakkhato – in opposition to permanence.

2. Suffering because of four conditions:


i. Abhinhasanpilato – frequently making one suffer.
ii. Dukkhakhamato –difficult to maintain.
iii. Dukkhavatthuto – the source of which suffering is born.
iv. Sukhapatipakkhato –in opposition to happiness.

3. Non-self because of four conditions:


i. Sunnato – absence of self.
ii. Asamikato – cannot be conquered.
iii. Akamakariyato –cannot be forced to be this or that.
iv. Attapatipakkhato – in opposition to self.
As I have said before, insight meditation is so closely
connected with the three signs of being. The meditators who
practice meditation have to practise it regularly until they can
chapter 12 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 79
see Impermanence, suffering and Non-self of Nama-rupa with
wisdom. But to see Impermanence of Nama-Rupa is very difficult
because it is hidden by Santati, the continuity of life. For example
one experiences the growth of physical body from bodyhood
to childhood, from childhood to adolescence, from adolescence
to adult, from adult to old age and decay. Such a process
is manifested in the form of continuation and changing. But
nevertheless when the arising, stabilizing and passing away
of Nama-Rupa are grasped and realized by vipassana panna,
wisdom. The Impermanence will spontaneously appear to be
seen at once.
Suffering is hidden by Iriyapatha –the posture, namely,
posture of standing, walking, sitting, sleeping, eating, drinking,
walking, speaking, thinking and so on. These postures prevent
one from seeing the sign of suffering. But when one attends
to the repeated oppression and removes the postures and then
suffering appears as it is.
Non-self is hidden by Ghana. The word Ghana means
massiveness, Ghanasanna, the idea of massiveness of the five
aggregates which consist of the form, sensation, perception,
volitional activity and consciousness as mentioned before. One is
attached to the five aggregates and tends to hold on to them as
self. Therefore as long as the five aggregates cannot be grasped
and broken by means of Vipassana practice. The characteristic
of non-self will not appear, but when the five aggregates are
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 80 chapter 12
grasped and realized by Vipassana panna, wisdom being born of
Vipassana practice, then the characteristic of Non-self appears
as it really is.
During the course of meditation practice, if the three signs
of being, Impermanence, Suffering and Non-self appear to the
meditators simultaneously, they are said to realize the three
Nibbanas, namely Sunnatavimokkha, ‘Animittavimokkha’ and
‘Appanihitavimokkha’ respectively. The term vimokkha, like Vimutti,
refers to the condition of imptiness, deliverance or Nibbana. So,
sunnatavimokkha signifies Nibbana which is characterized by
the condition of Emptiness, Animittavimokkha by the condition or
having no sign and appanihitavimokkha by the condition of having
no sign and appanihitavimokkha by having no foundation.
According to the commentary it is explained that Deliverance
is endowed with the condition of Emptiness because it is empty
of Greed, Hatred and Delusion, it has no sign because there is
no trace of those three passions and no foundation because it
does not contain the foundation or support for such those three
passion to exist.

chapter 12 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 81


chapter 13

Hindrances and Absolute Freedom9

T o understand hindrances and absolute freedom is very


important because both are dhammas which should be
clarified. We can reach absolute freedom through getting rid
of hindrances, as these are considered to be the obstacles to
any progress, especially spiritual progress, which is the path
to absolute freedom. What are the main obstacles to absolute
freedom?
This is a problem to be spoken of further. By reading
mindfully and very carefully one particular section of the
Satipatthana Sutta, the section on mental objects, you can find in
that section what the Buddha mentioned. The Buddha pointed out
the five hindrances, the five aggregates10 , the six sense-bases11
, the seven factors of Enlightenment12 , and the Four Noble
Truths13 . As for the five aggregates, the six Sense-bases, and
so on, I shall not explain in detail what these are because they
have been described in several places: if one desires to read
about them in detail, one can find out about them in pamphlets or
other books on Buddhist meditations. But here I would like only
to give you detail about five hindrances.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 82
Now let us return to the question given earlier, and that is:
What are the main obstacles to absolute Freedom’?
It is very important for us to know about this. In the
Satipatthana Sutta the section on Mental Objects stated that the
obstacles to absolute freedom are the five hindrences, or the five
nivaranas.
What are the five hindrances? Five hindrances are:
1. Lustful desire
2. Ill-will, hatred or anger
3. orpor and languor
4. Restlessness, worry or scruples
5. Skeptical doubts
In fact, there are many defilement that are obstacle to
absolute freedom, but these are mostly included in the term ‘Five
Hindrances’. The first hindrance to absolute freedom is lustful
desire. This means the searching for gratification, happiness or
enjoyment through imagination, thinking, or by being concerned
with. Any state of satisfaction or pleasure received from lustful
desires or cravings plays a very active role in life. You can see
this when you start to meditate. The mind seeks for satisfaction,
happiness, pleasure, peace, loving, affection, enjoyment, and so
on. The nature of mind ruled by the first hindrance (lustful
desires) is never satisfied with anything. It wants to be this or
that; when it has had this then it desires to have that, and when
it has got the first things then it desires to have new one. There
chapter 13 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 83
is no stopping need unless you can remove the craving for it.
The way to remove craving is to look at it and to observe it very
carefully. The very moment you do so it will stop and disappear;
you can see ‘nothing’. The mind arises and deceives you. So,
you must look very closely at the arising and disappearing of
the mind and then dullness vanishes; clarity or illumination will
replace it.
The second hindrance to absolute freedom is ill-will, hatred
or anger. It is in the form of harmful and violent consciousness.
Sometimes we do something stupidly and violently, and sometimes
we have memories of people doing something unpleasant to
us. We cannot forgive these persons. We want revenge. This
is because there is hatred or violence within us. This violent
state within arises and forces us all the time until we become
the slave of hatred, violence and anger, and in the end our
mind becomes confused. These states are obstacles to spiritual
progress, the path to absolute freedom, and we should find the
way to get rid of or to remove them. The best way to remove
them is to increase or to cultivate mindfulness and through
mindfulness, maintained from meditation practice. We can avoid
the arising of hatred, anger and violence. The violent state within
will not appear if we have constant mindfulness, but when we
lack mindfulness or awareness then the state of violence, anger
or hatred will arise at once. So, ill-will, hatred or anger arises in
the form of harmful and violent consciousness, and is the second
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 84 chapter 13
hindrance to absolute freedom.
The third hindrance is torpor and languor. Both are
manifested in the forms of sleepiness and tiredness; they also
are barriers to absolute freedom. As usual, they tend to arise in
us when we want to start to meditate or when we are taking
meditation, particularly intensive meditation, for spiritual progress
or when we have to do something for our progress in life. Sloth,
sleepiness and tiredness will arise and intervene, preventing us
from making any progress, especially from spiritual progress, the
way to absolute freedom. When I was at the Buddhist Temple in
Cannes in the south of France last year [in 1973], one lady, after
my talk about Buddhist meditation, came to me; she told me that
she felt very tired and slothful when she practiced meditation.
She could not solve the problems about it. That meant that she
had been overwhelmed by torpor and languor, the third hindrance
of the five hindrances to absolute freedom.
At the time of the Buddha, Ven. Moggallana, the famous
disciple of the Buddha, seven days after his ordination, went to
a village known as Kallavalamutta in Magadha City to practice
meditation. He was overwhelmed by torpor and langur, the third
stage of the five hindrances. So, he found that he could hardly
concentrate and could not practice meditation in that village. The
Buddha heard of him and went to the village with instructions on
the way to get rid of hindrances by saying:
‘Moggallana, when you are in a state of laziness and
chapter 13 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 85
sleepiness you should ponder the teachings that you have
learned; if you do so and sloth and tiredness still exist, you
should take walking meditation or walking exercise, and then
they will disappear.’
When venerable Moggallana followed what the Buddha
advised him, he could finally destroy his laziness, tiredness and
sleepiness. After that he could continue to practice meditation
and enter Arahantship in the end.
The restlessness and worry is forth stage of the five
hindrances. Why do you worry and why are you restless? And
what is it that forces you to be worried and to be restless? It
is necessary for us to find the answers otherwise we cannot
understand what their causes are. In order to make it clear I am
going back to the questions asked earlier [in this article];

‘why do you worry and are restless?’


The answer is you worry because of your fears; fear of
loosing, fading; fear of sons and daughters being debauched into
depraved habits, fear of losing your position in society, and so
on. You are restless because of attachment that you are attached
to some things and accumulate them in your mind. Within the
mind is an absence of peace and it becomes contaminated
by impurities, becomes disturbed, restless. In fact, the intrinsic
nature of mind is glorious, radiant, and luminous: as the Buddha
said in the dhammapada that; ‘Pabhassaramidam bhikkhave cittam’
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 86 chapter 13
which means Oh! Bhikkhus, this mind is radiant, luminous. But
it becomes dirty because of defilements, namely: hatred and
delusion. These unwholesome states of mind are included in the
five hindrances and they are obstacles to absolute freedom, and
disturbances within meditation. Many things which have been
accumulated in life rise up but we do not like to observe and
notice them: we try to escape from them. That is not good, nor is
it the right way to remove the barriers and disturbances within.
The best way is to observe and to look at them very closely,
and then all the barriers and disturbances will disappear: the
mind will be in a state of peace, and afterwards we shall have
a feeling of happiness, serenity and calmness.
The last hindrance to absolute freedom is skeptical doubt.
Doubt may arise because of two reasons; the first one arises
because of not seeing things as they really are. Second doubt
arises because of a confused mind. For example, if your friend
tells you he has a gem hidden in the folded palm of his hand, the
question of doubt arises because you do not see it for yourself;
but if he unclenches his fist and shows you the gem then you
see it for yourself and the question of doubts does not arise.
Sometimes we cannot remember what we have done because
the mind is confused; we are in a state of perplexity and doubt.
It is an undeniable is possible. It is also equally undeniable that
there must be doubt so long as one does not understand and see
clearly. In order to progress further it is absolutely necessary to
chapter 13 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 87
get rid of doubts. To get rid of doubts one must understand and
see creation, doubt, attachment and the confused mind, and then
doubt will disappear.
The five hindrances that mentioned are:
- lustful desires,
- Ill-will , hatred or anger
- Torpor and languor
- Restlessness and worry or scruple
- Skeptical doubt
These are the main obstacles to achieve absolute freedom.
The term ‘absolute freedom’ here means absolute truth, ultimate
reality, summum bonum, or Nibbana (extinction of suffering
–rebirth).

9 This article was prepared for regular talk in January 1974 and later Published in
Journal of the Buddhapadipa Temple, The Friendly way, Vol. 9, No. 1, May 2517/1974.
Pp. 7-9
10 Five Aggregates: Rupa=Matter, Vedana=Feeling, Sanna= Perception, Sankhara=
Volitional actions or Karma formation and Vinnana = consciousness.
11 Six Senses: Eye, Ear, Nose, Tongue, Body and Mind
12 Sever factors of Enlightenment: Sati=Mindfulness, Dhammavicaya=truth-
investigation, Viriya=effort, Piti=zest, joyfulness, Passaddhi= tranquility, Calmness,
Samadhi=concentration and Upekkha =equanimity
13 Four Noble Truth: Dukkha=un-satisfactoriness, Samudaya= Cause, Nirodha=cessation
and Magga= middle path

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 88 chapter 13


chapter 14

Ego and Vipassana Meditation14

I would like to speak about the subject on ‘Ego and Vipassana


Meditation’, because it is very important. When you have
understood it, you wrong ideas concerning the self will be reduced
and gradually disappear. The intrinsic nature of your life will be
revealed as it really is and then you feel more able to practice
meditation without believing in yourself as a self.
The search for the source of the self is very important.
Having discovered and tested it very carefully, we will find out
that what we believe to be self is really compounded things
which are separated into two parts, namely Nama-Rupa. In the
Abhidhamma sense, there are three such compounds : form,
consciousness, and mental formation; but in the sutta sense
there are five, that is , the aggregate of form, of feeling, of
perception, of mental formation and consciousness, all of which
disappear without ceasing. The aggregate of form is form. The
aggregate of feeling, perception, and mental formation, are mental
states whereas the aggregate of consciousness is mind. Form is
visible objects whereas feeling, perception, mental formation and
consciousness are invisible objects. The mental states are fifty-
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 89
two; one of them is feeling another is perception. The remaining
fifty are collectively called mental formations. Mental states
mean the functions of the mind and they arise together with the
mind.
In the five aggregates there are different characters as
follows; form is ‘objective consciousness’ whereas the mind
or consciousness is called ‘subjective consciousness’. Feeling
determines whether the objects are pleasant, unpleasant or
indifferent, which are impressed on the mind or consciousness.
The duty of mind is to accumulate the objects. The mental
formation constitutes the mind to be this or that. Mental formations
are classified into many kinds, which I cannot explain in a short
time but I can give some examples. Sati (mindfulness) and
Metta (loving kindness) are said to be the wholesome mental
formations because they constitute the mind to be good. Ahira
(shamelessness of sin) and Anottapa (fearlessness of sin) are
the unwholesome mental formations because they constitute the
mind to be bad. Viriya (effort), however, is both a wholesome
and unwholesome mental formation because it can be associated
with both.
In order to make the five aggregates clear, let me give
an example of them arising through the door of the ears: the
sound coming into contact with the ears is regarded as the form.
The experience in the sound, pleasant, unpleasant or neutral,
is considered feeling, recognizing the sound is perception.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 90 chapter 14
What constitutes the thoughts in the sound is regarded as
the ear-consciousness, and the acknowledgement of the sound
is considered mind-consciousness. The five aggregates, form,
feeling, perception, mental formation and consciousness arise
together at the rise of the sound and disappear together at the
absence of the sound and then new ones arise again. They arise
and disappear ceaselessly. There is nothing to be called a self
or ego, living entity or person. These five aggregates, if they
are attributed to the noble ones, are ordinarily called Khanda;
but if they belong to a common man they are considered to be
upadanakhanda, which comprise impurity, attachment and idea of
self and which are the cause of selfishness.
Whatever a common man does belongs to the idea of
self in his subconscious mind and is selfishness. The action,
whether it is good or bad, is considered kamma. If it is good, it
is called a wholesome action; but if it is bad, it is regarded as an
unwholesome action. It is so called because he firmly believes,
‘it is I who eats, I work, I act, I sit, I sleep, I do good, I do bad, I
am rich, I am poor,’ and so on. But what should not be forgotten
is that the actions of the Noble ones is not called Kamma since
it does not comprise the idea of self in their subconscious mind
and there is not the slightest trace of egotism or selfishness.
Therefore the good actions the Noble Ones do are only Kiriya. It
is not like the good and bad actions the common man does. So
the Noble Ones’ Khanda is absolutely pure. The action is whether
chapter 14 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 91
good or bad brings about its result. The result of action is called
Vipaka. To every action there must always be a consequence;
all the consequences are results of past actions, as Assaji the
disciple of the Buddha explained to Saripautta; ‘Whatever is of
the nature of arising is of the nature of cessation.’ This is the
most fundamental teaching of Buddhism, which is the law of
Causality.
Action arises because of defilements, ignorance, craving,
and attachment. Tanha, craving, is of three kinds, Kamatanha,
bhavatanha, and Vibhavatanha. Kamatanha means craving for
the satisfaction of the senses, such as a desire to see a
beautiful things, to hear a melodious sound, to smell a fragrance,
to taste delicious food, and to touch a good thing in order
to cause pleasant feeling. Bhavatanha applies to craving for
living, for survival and for existence as Professor Darwin called
‘Struggle for living’ and Wallace called ‘Struggle for existence’.
Vibhavatanha can be related to Ucchedaditthi. Nihilism,” that the
physical life of man and animal exists only once, and is therefore
final after death. Such an idea causes selfishness and is very
dangerous because one believes that when one dies one is
absolutely annihilated, that there is nothing to be reborn. Such
a person, unafraid of hell and bad action, does not believe in
actions and their results; he thinks he can do whatever he likes.
The three cravings mentioned above are conducive to ignorance,
that is to say, ignorance of the intrinsic take the wrong path and
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 92 chapter 14
prevents them from realizing the four Noble Truths, the Law of
Dependent Origination and the continuous rotary process of the
working of the Machinery of the illusion of self, which the Noble
Ones know.
Kamma or action is of three kinds: Kayakamma (bodily action),
Vacikamma (Verbal action) and Manokamma (mental action). This
mental action is grouped in the aggregate of the mental formations
because it is the constitution of the mind and it is divided into three
aspects. They are Punnabhisankhara, Apunnabhisankhara and
Anenjabhisankhara. Punnabhisankhara means the constitution of
wholesome states; Apunnabhisankhara means the constitution of
unwholesome states and Anenjabhisankhara means constitution
of the formless absorption. The three actions or constitutions
bring about the results; the old nama-rupa disappears, the new
one arises. This new nama-rupa is the aggregate of Vipaka-
result of the action.
Where does the Kamma come from?
It comes from craving and attachment because if there is no
craving and attachment, all the action is Kiriya. It is not regarded
as Kamma. This kiriya is not a constitution of the kamma.
Where does craving and attachment come from? It comes
from ignorance because ignorance is the root of all defilements.
What is ignorance?
Ignorance is unconsciousness and the ignorance of the process
of the working of the machinery of the illusion of self. When the
chapter 14 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 93
action works with nama-rupa, the process of changing arises. So
the action bears another nama, sankhara –the state of constitutor.
But here it does not mean the constitution of one’s face. It is
absolute constitution, that is, it annihilates the former nama-rupa
and reconstitutes the new one immediately. When the new action
is born, the old one disappears. In it there is still ignorance,
craving, attachment, which constitutes again. Thus the former
replaces the latter and the latter replaces the former. It is a
ceaseless interaction.
Vipassana meditation aims at letting the meditators know
the self clearly as it truly is because people who are without
training and knowledge of vipassana meditation tend to believe
that in the case of seeing, it is the eye which actually sees:
they think that seeing and the eye are one and the same things.
They also think, ‘seeing is I: I see things; eye, seeing, and I are
one and the same person.’ In actual fact, that is not so. Eye is
one thing, seeing is another, and there is no separate entity such
as ‘I’ or ego. There is only the fact of seeing coming into being
depending on eye. To quote and example, it is like case of a
person who sits in a house. House and person nor is person the
house. Similarly, it is so at the time of seeing. Eye and seeing
are two separate things: eye is not seeing nor is seeing the
eye.
To quote another example, it is just like the case of a
person in a room who sees many things when he opens the
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 94 chapter 14
window and looks through it. If it be asked: what is it that sees?
Is it window or a person that actually sees? The answer to
this question is: the window has no ability to see. It is only the
person who sees. If it be asked again, ‘will the person be able
to see things on the outside without the window?’
Then the answer will be: it will not be possible to see
things through the wall without a window. One can only see
things through the window. Similarly in the case of seeing, there
are separate things of eye and seeing: eye is not seeing, nor is
seeing the eye. It is now evident that in the body there are only
two distinctive elements of matter and mind. Eye is rupa and
seeing is nama. As long as one is not free from the attachment
to the idea of self, one cannot expect to escape from the risk of
falling into miserable existences, animal or peta. Though he may
be leading a happy life in the human or deva world by virtue of
his merits, yet he is liable to fall back into the state of miserable
life at any time when his demerits operate. For this reason the
Lord Buddha pointed out that it was essential to work for the
total removal of self.

14 From a talk given at Kosmos, Prins Hendrikkade 142, Amsterdam,


the Netherlands on 26 Feb 1979

chapter 14 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 95


chapter 15

Where is real happiness15

A human being is composed of two essential elements; thy are


physical body and mind. He does not want suffering. He and
all men pursue happiness, the supreme goal. Man is like a bird
caught in a snare. He has to be freed; he cannot free himself.
There are two kinds of happiness –physical and mental –
and there are two causes of happiness. Samisa sukha, material
happiness, comes from having good fortune or rank an authority.
Material happiness can also result from form, sound, smell, taste
or tangible objects which are known as the Pancakammagunas.
However, happiness gained through these factors is false; it is not
real. Niramissukha, non-material happiness, stems not from material
sources but from the practice of the dhamma, which is based on the
cultivation of the mind. This type of happiness is mental happiness.
It is real, not false.
The search for the four requisites – food, shelter, clothing
and medicine, is necessary for human beings who are born in the
present. These are necessary to their survival, to the decrease of
physical suffering, and to the increase of physical happiness. They
are not
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 96
the cause of real happiness. Human beings attempt to seek
happiness by looking at beautiful things, listening to melodious
sounds, smelling fragrant scents, tasting delicious flavour and
touching shapely forms. All of these are desirable, lovable and
conducive to a temporary pleasure, but they produce suffering
and dis-satisfaction because they are not intrinsic happiness.
They are said to produce a false happiness, which one desires
evermore.
In the life of a human being there is one essential element;
that is mind. People tend to overlook it. They are not interested
in this essence. The mind is Namadhamma but with memory and
thought. The mind perceives objects –Arammana and experiences
objects, both pleasant and unpleasant. The sage says, ‘The mind
is master; the body is its servant’.
People seek material happiness through adornment, food and
an attractive and comfortable dwelling, thereby hoping to serve and
support the body. They are not interested in the quest for moral
principles, which are food, ornament, foundation and medicine for
the mind.
The wise man perceives the essential element of mind. He
searches for moral principles to strengthen, refresh, purify and
calm the mind. He tries to fill it will rapture. He lives with love,
loving-kindness, benevolence, compassion and with freedom from
jealousies and hostilities. He is generous to his fellow man and
gives him the necessities of life. This generosity is called Dana.
chapter 15 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 97
He has the desire to refrain from bad actions (physical and verbal).
This is called Sila –morality. He cultivates his mind by freeing it
from defilements and purifies it with wisdom. This is bhavana, mind
development.
Intrinsic happiness is not dependant on the physical body
but on a pure mind, tranquil, glorious luminous with mindfulness,
concentration and wisdom. This real happiness does not occur of
itself, nor is it engendered by an external element. Man must work
for it and develop it in himself. It is like food. When we eat, each
of us knows for ourselves when we are satisfied.
No one can take responsibility for our actions. Good action
yields good results both in the present and in the future. Bad
actions yield bad results, bringing suffering in the present and in
the future. The Buddha, ‘As you now, so you reap. Those who do
good receive good result; those who do bad receive bad result’.
If you want authentic happiness and not a false one which immerses
you in the aggregation of suffering, namely birth, old age, decay,
grief and lamentation, you should learn and practice the dhamma.
The dhamma is the Buddha’s teaching, which he discovered six
years after his renunciation. He realized the Noble Truth, the true
nature of life. His mind had transcended dualism, suffering and
happiness. He realized the purest happiness, which is real. He did
not return to the world after his passing away.
The Buddha’s teaching exceeds eighty thousand units or
Dhammakhanda, which can be divided into two aspects –suffering
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 98 chapter 15
and the extinction of suffering. Lord Buddha taught the Noble Truth
of suffering and the extinction of suffering. Those who absolutely
realize suffering, can extinguish it. But if they do not possess a
true understanding of it, they will be unable to find the way to
put an end to it. Such persons will not touch intrinsic happiness
because such happiness arises only through the extinction of
suffering. When heat is reduced, coolness replaces it at once.
To permeate the mind with morality, concentration and wisdom, to
calm the mind and to purify it from defilements is not very easy.
Over a long period of time man has accumulated defilements and
actions, so man must be patient and make an effort to put and end
to suffering. Thus according to his practice, he will gain happiness.
He may acquire temporary happiness, if he extinguishes suffering
temporarily. But if eliminates suffering for a long time he can attain
a longer lasting happiness. If he absolutely extinguishes suffering,
he can attain eternal happiness.
The Buddha said, ‘Natthi Santi Param Sukkham’ which means
there is no other happiness than peace’.
The study and practice of Buddhadhamma is based on four
moral principles.
1.Association with Buddhist teachers
2.Attention to their instruction
3.Examination of their teachings
4.Practice of their teaching
If you have the tendency towards the good accumulated in a
chapter 15 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 99
previous life and you practice the moral principles mentioned earlier,
you can gain the result of your practice. Real happiness will be
yours in the end. ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’. One can
go beyond suffering through perseverance. Suffering or happiness
is born of the mind. If one is attached to the mind, suffering arises,
but if one is detached from the mind, happiness arises. So, one
should travel on the road to the empty mind.

15 Originally written in Thai by Phra Maha Boonrod Pannavaro, The abbot of Wat
Kiriwong, Pakhnampo, Nakhorn Sawan, Thailand and Luang Por translated later into
English.

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 100 chapter 15


chapter 16

Merit Making : Gratitude16

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato Samasambuddhassa


Rupam jirati maccanam namagottam na jirati
The body dies, but not honour and fame.

I would like to tell you about some aspects of Buddhism, especially


the aspects of the Buddhist teachings concerning the memorial
service for the dead. But before going into details, I would like to tell
you something about the life of Princess Elisabeth Chakrabongse.
The Prince died recently at her home near Bodmin. She earned
a unique place in the affections of the people of Cornwall where
she had lived for over 30 years. Princess Elisabeth Chakrabongse
was a daughter of Edward Hunter, the Founder and Chaiman of
the Sun Engraving Company, born on the 29th of November 1915,
educated at Prior’s School, Godalming, Surrey; Florence in Italy,
and Byan Shaw school of art in London. She married Prince Chula
Chakrabongse of Thailand on the 30th of September 1938, had
one daughter, Mom Rajawongse narisa Chakrabongse, born on the
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 101
2nd of August 1938, had one daughter, Mom Rajawongse Naria
Chakrabongse, born on the 2nd of August 1956. Prince Elisabeth
Chakrabongse was an accomplished Artist mainly in water-colours
and a lover of music. The Princess’s maind interest in Cornwall
was the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, of which she had been a
member for thirty years, and country superintendent for the past
seventeen years. She was made a Dame Commander of the
Order of St. John in 1964. She also had an immense interest
and took an active part in every aspect of nursing, social welfare,
care of children, hospitals, education and all local organizations-
particularly those connected with the arts. She had a great love of
the countryside, and was actively concerned with its preservation.
She also practiced these same interests in Thailand, co-operated
with, and helped the Red Cross there, gave English lessons at the
Rajinee School and, through the Chula Chakrabongse Foundation,
donated large sums of money to deserving causes. Her delightful
personality, nature dignity, genuine, and sincere concern for others,
earned her the love of everyone contact with her.
Let us return to talk about Buddhism, concerning the memorial
service for the departed. What does Buddhism teach about the
death and where they go after death?
It teaches that birth and death are natural and common to
all beings. In the Dhatuvibhanga Sutta, it has been stated that
man is composed of six elements, namely the elements of earth,
water, fire, wind, space and consciousness. The first five are non-
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 102 chapter 16
conscious elements, while the last one is a conscious element.
Both non-conscious and conscious element, are formed into man.
From this sutta, it will be seen that our body is made up of these
six elements, and in the Dhammacakkappavattana sutta, which
means the Four Noble Truths, our body is called ‘Pancakkhandas’
or the Five Aggregates which are form, feeling, perception,
volitional activity and consciousness and in the Anattalakkhana
Sutta or Anatta doctrine it was further expounded that form, feeling,
perception, volitional activity and consciousness are impermanent,
suffering and soulless. They change all the time; they are not
conducive to what we desire or want; they are unable to prevent
us from experiencing old age, decay and death. Absolutely speaking
there is nothing permanent in our body except good deeds and
bad deeds. Good deeds and bad deeds or wholesome states and
unwholesome states are not changeable themselves. They are in
a absolute reality, everlasting, permanent, immortal. So, wisemen,
abserving, scrutinizing the five aggregates of our bodies deeply,
understand them as they really are. They do not cling to them.
They are not grievous, and they do not lament when their parents,
children, relatives and friends die. They try to do good actions and
to cultivate virtues in themselves.
Princess Elisabeth Chakrabongse was a good person,
respectable and honourable. She had done a great many good
actions as mentioned before. Goodness, honour and fame never die.
The Buddha said:
chapter 16 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 103
Rupan jirat maccanam namagottam na jirati
The body dies but not honour and fame.
A further point I would like to talk to you about is the path
along which the dead go when they die. Where do they go? In
Buddhism it is believed that there are five paths for the dead to go
to the Hereafter:
1.The path to be born in the Hell
2.The path to be born in the Human form
3.The path to be born in the Heaven
4.The path to be born in the Brahmaloka
5.The path to Nibbana
Those who have wrong understanding do bad actions such
as killing their own fathers and mothers. They are against or break
down the moral code and after death they must be born in the
Hell. On the other hand, those who have right understanding, and
practise the five precepts and the Ten kinds of meritorious actions,
will be born in the Human Form. Those who practice the eight
precepts, fear of the results of sin, giving donations, listening to
sermon, erecting chapels, churches, temples, monasteries, hospitals
and schools, will be born in the Heaven after death. Those who
put into practice the four divine states of mind composed of
Loving-Kindness, compassion, Sympathy and Equanimity and then
Samadhas- calming down Meditation, that is to say, meditation
on the Ten kinds of Impurity of the body, on the four elements,
on the Loathsomness of Nutriment, and on the four formless
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 104 chapter 16
attainments, will be born in the Brahmaloka after death and those
who practice Vipassana or Insight meditation will reach Nibbana
at the dissolution of the Body. These are some aspects of the
Buddhist teachings concerning the memorial service for the dead
and in which the majority of Thai people believe. Calming down
meditation and Insight meditation are very important and time should
be found to learn these because they can bring about peace of
mind. The merit-making and memorial service dedicated to the dead
are considered very important. This is because it is believed that
the dead person who has gone to Paraloka –the Hereafter, has no
food to eat, no cloths to put on, because in the Hereafter there is
no farming, no trading. The dead people receive part of the merit
from what they have done in the present life and from what their
parents, children, relatives and friends dedicated or devote to them.
In the sigalovada Sutta, Lord Buddha said ‘there are duties between
parents and children; children and parents; teachers and pupils;
pupils and teachings;
Husbands and wives; wives and husbands; persons and
friends; friends and persons; masters and servents; servants and
masters; laymen and monks; monks and laymen. Of these duties
only duties between parents and children; children and parents will
be explained in detail.
Parents minister to their children, bring them up, show their
love for them in these five ways:
They prevent them from evil; Directing them towards good
chapter 16 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 105
Train them to a profession, Arrange suitable marriages for
them and
In due time, hand over the inheritance to them.
Children should help their parents in these five ways; once
they were supported by the parents, now they will be their support;
perform duties they have to perform; maintain the lineage and
tradition of their families; look after their inheritance and give alms
on behalf of their parents when they are dead.
Today his Exellency, prof. Konthi Subhamongkhon, the Thai
Ambassador, and Mom Rajawongse Narisa Chakrabongse, Princess
Elisabeth’s daughter, have invited you all to come to attend the
memorial service for her who has gone to paraloka the hereafter.
This is a good example of the Buddhists and there is a Buddhist
proverb that has been said;
Nimittam sadhurupanam katannukatavedita
Gratitude or mindfulness of the benefit done is a character of the
virtuous

16 Sermon by the Ven. Phra Maha Somboon Siddhinano, Assist. To chief of


Dhammaduta bhikkhus and senior Incumbent, on the occasion of the memorial service
for the late Princess Elisabeth Chakrabongse, on

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 106 chapter 16


chapter 17

Looking into the true nature of life17

T oday I would like to talk about the true nature of life. It is a


matter that should be understood and this matter is concerned
with meditation practice. One mostly tends to overlook the true
nature of life or look at it superficially, not looking into it deeply
and attentively. So, one cannot see the true nature of life which
is an alternate endless process of change and because of its
changing we sometimes have feelings of happiness and feelings of
suffering. Happiness arises in us and then changes into suffering.
In our life we can notice that sometimes we enjoy happiness,
sometimes suffering or sometimes we experience more suffering
than happiness: we have a temporary happiness and then it is
changed into a state of suffering. We shall never know eternal
happiness in our lives. This is because we cannot go beyond it.
We are enclosed in and trapped by dualism.
Dualism is inherent in every religion. It manifests as whole
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 107
as wholesome states, unwholesome states, suffering, happiness,
it include the theory of heaven and hell. Heaven promises a good
existence for human beings and hell threatens a bad existence
to human beings. It is believed that heaven is in the sky and hell
below. So, the theory of heaven and hell together contribute to the
dualistic element because when one is spoken of the other must
also be mentioned but both of them cannot be seen in the physical
world.
In Buddhism the Buddha said in the Lokadhamma Sutta
that the dhammas can overwhelm beings who live under their
influence and those who are liable to be swayed by them are
called Lokadhamma –worldly dhamma. There are eight Worldly
Dhamms:
1. Labha – to have good fortune
2. Alabha – not to have good fortune
3. Yasa – to have rank and authority
4. Ayasa – not to have rank and authority
5. Ninda – blame
6. Pasamsa – praise
7. Dukkha – Suffering
8. Sukha - happiness
From the Buddhist point of view it can be said that the
Lokadhammas- the Worldly Dhammas mentioned above, by their
very nature are dualistic and impermanent. They arise and then
disappear. So, when any of these eight Lokadhammas arises one
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 108 chapter 17
should scrutinize them thus:
‘This condition has arisen in me, but it is unstable and it is
dukha –suffering, its nature is changeable and impermanent, and
it should be looked at as it truly is and not allowed to overwhelm
the mind.’ In other words one should neither react positively nor
negatively to those states which are desirable or undesirable.
To make this clear let me go back over them once more and
explain some of them. One knows good fortune and then loses it.
One has had rank and authority and then it is taken away. One
is blamed. One is praised. One has feeling of happiness and one
knows suffering. There is nothing permanent in itself. And then
again, some people have got a great deal of property and many
possessions, or they have been appointed to high position in
society. They are praised and very happy in their property, rank and
happiness. They are blamed and face chaos in their lives. This is
due to the fact that they are overwhelmed with the Lokadhammas
and live under their influence. Lokadhammas are dualistic as I have
said earlier but nevertheless they are the true nature of life which
nobody can escape from, with the exception of those who can go
beyond them.

How can one go beyond the lokadhamma?


One could go beyond them if one were not attached to
Sammutisacca or conventional truth. But most people tend to be
attached to conventional truth or relative reality: they are attached
chapter 17 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 109
to everything whether they are animate or inanimate. They are
attached to society, names and forms, persons, fame, honour,
tradition, religions, ceremonies and so forth and because of their
attachment they are unable to go beyond the Lokadhammas as
mentioned before and cannot see things as they are. They become
slaves of the conditioned things and are immersed in the samsara,
the cycle of rebirth. But no the people who try to root out ignorance:
who try to be detached from conditioned things and relative reality.
These people attain full concentration gained by meditation practice.
They have full wisdom and see Paramatthasacca or absolute truth
as it is. They cannot be swayed by the Lokadhammas –the worldly
dhammas. They are not reborn after death. They go into a state of
peace.
Before the end of my short talk about looking into the true
nature of life, let me reiterate the two pali words: Sammautisacca’
and Paramatthasacca’. Both of them are very important for the
study of Philosophy and religion. You, the meditation students
should understand them otherwise you will doubt them and then
you will become confused when you listen to someone talking
about the truths in a religious and philosophical field.
Sammutisacca is the conventional truth or relative reality. It
includes conditioned things such as people, tables, places, animals
and so on, all of which are assumed and conditioned by anything
or anyone and through assuming them you cannot refuse accepting
them. You must accept them as conventional truth. That is a glass:
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 110 chapter 17
this is a person; this is a cat and so forth. But if you see that
this is not a glass, not people, not a cat and so on, it means that
you speak in absolute truth instead of conventional truth but in the
sense of Paramatthasacca or absolute truth there is nothing to be
assumed.
Paramatthasacca refers to absolute truth; it means the truth
in itself and it is very easy to say that Paramatthasacca or absolute
truth does not depend on conditioned things but on itself.

17 This article published in ‘the friendly way’ the Journal of the Buddhapadipa temple.
November 2517/1974, Vol. 9/No. 3; pp.45-46

chapter 17 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 111


chapter 18

18
Eyes on world

N ow the world is on the brink of destruction because it is


overcome by the fire of lust, the fire of hate and fire of
delusion-ragaggi, dosaggi and mohaggi. These fires are established
in the hearts of people. People who are a slave of these fires
became narrow-minded, hard-hearted and a hard-liner. They do not
need to follow the human rights and build up dignity, equality and
fraternity among their friends. This matter happened recently in the
Indian sub-continent: the V.P. Singh Government wanted to uphold
Indian society and offer the fellow countrymen a social level which
is only way to be united and superpower like the united states
and Chine because India is the biggest country, the second to
china. But this objective cannot be achieved because people who
are dominated by the fire of lust, the fire of hate and the fire of
delusion demonstrated, interrupted against the government and of
cause some of them burned themselves alive for their own sake,
but not for the sake of the dignity, equality and fraternity of the
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 112
nation as a whole.
So, the voice of Asian Community, No. 56, Wednesday,
November 21 1990, published in London, put forward, ‘Momentous
changes sweeping Europe are having their ripple effect on the
Indian sub-continent. The ending of the cold war, the crashing
down of Iron Curtain and the unification of two Germanies--- Blocs
and barriers, fences and differences, divisions and dissensions
are being blown away by the hurricane of change --- while the
politicians in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh play petty games of
power, a feeling is gathering steam among the intelligentsia of the
three nations that should be one again. These nations have a rich
common heritage. The languages their people speak, their customs
and manners and similar. India has more Muslims than Pakistan
and if its 100 million Muslims can live under a secular umbrella,
why not reunited and become a single power! It can possibly be
right if the people are devoid of greed, hatred and delusion.
The fire of lust, the fire of hate and the fire of delusion as
mentioned before cannot be extinguished by the extinguisher but
can be done only by the means of the religious practice, that is,
people have to practice morality, concentration, wisdom and follow
Majjhima Patipada –the middle path of practice which comprises
the right understanding, right motive, right speech, right action,
right means of livelihood, right afford, right mindfulness and right
concentration and then apply this means to solve the problems.
The problems are solved by this means will bring about success,
chapter 18 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 113
friendship, dignity, equality, fraternity and peace.
The doctrine of some religion is not based on the Middle
way of practice, but based on the extremity. It is intolerant, does
not like any kind of Faith to propagate or participate in their fields.
David Sharrock in Jeddah wrote the article on the band playing
on for foreign workers and printed in the Guardian, on Monday
November 19, 1990, ‘Somewhere off the Medina Road, down two
dark alleyways and past a tough little lookout man who warily eyes
the blackness as he allows you entrance, 200 of Saudi Arabia’s
foreign workers and doing something illegal --- praying to Jesus.
This clandestine evangelist church --- three rooms unkindly lit by
fluorescent tubes, the walls clad in the egg boxes to muffle the
congregation’s joyful singing --- is taking a big risk. Mecca is only
45 miles away, the heart of an Islamic Kingdom which forbids all
other religious practices’.
Jack Pizzey interviewed the Thai Diplomat, Mr Romyanond at
Tamnakthai Restaurant in Bangkok, under the headline, ‘Slow Boat
from Surabaya’, televised on B.B.C., August 7, 1990, ‘How did the
Thai people manage to preserve the independence? Mr Romyanond
replied, ‘Buddhism teaches the Middle path and people follow it. It
is a very short answer but covers the overall questions.
The changes of the Eastern Europe as mentioned in the second
paragraph, we do not forget to honour the President Gorbachev
of Russia and Mr. Leck Walesa of Poland who are behind the
changes. Now the relationship between the East and the West is
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 114 chapter 18
a very high degree and rich. The Eastern and Western people live
under the same umbrella, the umbrella of the Human Rights.
Dr. Ambedkar studied and practiced Buddhism and then he
certainly realized that in the past Buddhism was legacy of Indian
nation. The Indian people adopted Buddhism and worshiped it.
There was no caste system for them. They preserved their own
traditions, customs and cultures. They lived happily and richly
under a single umbrella, the umbrella of Buddhism. Buddhism was
a good way for people to practice and then it could be able to bring
out happiness. Benefit, dignity, equality and fraternity to the Indian
nation. Dr. Ambedkar gave a lecture tour and persuaded people to
follow and joined him. People who listened to his talks and wanted
to be free from the downtrodden respected him and joined him.
Buddha Vihara as in presence of your own eyes marks the
Birth Centenary of Dr Ambedkar and it can eternally remind us of
him, ‘Here a Temple he was dedicated to; Here a Shrine room people
can come and see, worship and chant, meditate and talk, make
merit and perform service; here a peacefulness and enlightenment
can be attained; here a holy place monks can come and stay for
the benefit and happiness of people; here a good relationship and
friendship between man and man, society and society, country and
country can be met; here Ambedkar library can be found.’
May all beings be happy

18 1st published in 1991, Souvenir, the opening of the New Buddha Vihara and Ambedkar’s
Birth Centenary Celebration. P. 19
chapter 18 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 115
chapter 19

The Significance of giving Dana19

Venerable sirs, and friends in the dhamma,

T oday is a seminar day (4th Seminar on Buddhist meditation), a


seminar on Buddhist meditation. All of us have been following
the programme up to now and now we must go on until the end
of time mentioned in our programme and in this is included my talk
on the significance of giving Dana or Charity. Now in order not to
waste time I would like to go into Dana and its significance. But
before going into details we should understand what should be
offered. In the Mangala sutta (the discourse on highest blessings)
it has been stated that what should be offered is often. What are
the ten?
They are: 1. Rice, 2. Water, 3. Cloth, 4.transport, 5.flowers, 6.
Perfumes, 7. Ointments, 8. Sleeping place, 9. Shelter and 10. Light
such as lamps and candles.
When we offer or donate something to someone we are said to be
‘offerers’ or ‘Donors’. To whom should we offer? And who should
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 116
be the receivers? According to the Buddhist teachings, it have
been explained that persons who should be offered are bhikkhus,
novices, nuns, blind persons, deaf persons and so on. We should
offer or support these people who are said to be ‘receivers’ and
who should be offered and respect.
In is unsuitable for us to offer and support lazy people
because when we offer and support them they will forget to look
after themselves. They will be parasites of society and then they
themselves and society will deteriorate because of their laziness.
And beside these, one should dedicate properties and possessions
to churches, hospitals, schools and so forth for promoting them as
they can.
So far we have understood the things to be offered and
persons who should be offered. Now we should learn the factors
of offering. How are we offering when deciding to offer? In the
Patimokkha, bhojanavagga, the section on food, has been said:
‘Yo pana bhikkhu adinnam mukhadvaram aharam ahareyya annattra
udakadantapona pacittiyam’
‘If a bhikkhu puts food into his mouth which has been not
formally offered to him (or to any other bhikkhu) by a lay person,
and he swallows it, it is a pacitti. An exception is made in the
case of pure water and toothsticks.’
Ahara in other place means yavakalika but here since there
is the exception of pure water and tooth-sticks, it refers to general
eatable things. Water should be understood as ordinary water and
chapter 19 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 117
does not refer to soups, sugarcane-juice and so on. Tooth-sticks
should be understood as non-edible. The term ‘adinnam’ means, it
was not offered into a bhikkhu’s hands.
From bhojanavagga, the section on food mentioned, the five
factors of offering have been formulated. What are the five?
They are:
1. The things to be offered are not so big and heavy that a
man of middling stature cannot lift them/
2. the offerer comes within a forearm’s length;
3. He has a humble manner when offering;
4. the manner of offering can be done through direct bodily
contact, through objects in contact with the body, or giving by
throwing;
5. a bhikkhu receives it through direct bodily contact or
through objects in contact with his body.
Giving and receiving mentioned above, except by throwing, are done
through mutual respect and polite behavior. But as regards giving
by throwing, I do not know the ‘vibhanga’s meaning. Perhaps I may
have been the manner of giving many small things to a crowd and
may be it was not regarded as impolite.
With reference to the significance of giving Dana let me
speak of the previous life of Prince Siddhattha and then we can
see how very important dana is! The Prince siddhattha before being
the Buddha, cultivated the ten spiritual perfections:
1. Dana - Charity
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 118 chapter 19
2. Sila - Morality
3. Nekkhamma - renunciation
4. Panna - wisdom
5. Viriya - effort
6. Khanti - patience
7. Sacca - truthfulness
8. Adhitthana - decisiveness
9. Metta - loving –kindness
10. Upekkha - equanimity
From the ten spiritual perfections, it will be seen that dana
is one thing that the Buddha cultivated in the former life. When the
Buddha was born vessantara, one life before being the Buddha, he
offered a white elephant, the holy elephant of the country to King
Kalingarath. The citizens were very upset and then they went to
meet his father to request him to expel his son because he offered
the holy elephant to another country. So, vessantara was exiled
from his country to the jungle and with his wife, one son and one
daughter, lived in it.
Vessantara, even when living in such a jungle, continued
to give dana. This was because he needed perfecting of dana
towards his being a future Buddha.
Once there was a beggar who heard that vessantara was
exiled from his country to the jungle and was staying there with
his wife and children. He went into the jungle to meet him and
begged of him the two children. Vessantara gave him them at
chapter 19 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 119
once. And then sakka, the king of Devas from their Heaven, decided
to test once more Vessantara’s charity. He disguised himself as
an old man and then went to vessantara to beg of him his wife.
Vessantara was very excited because he wanted to offer his wife to
the old man but he gave her back to him and then disappeared.
The dana, vessantara had done is called ‘great dana-mahadana
–dana becoming of the Buddha. This is not very easy for the
ordinary person to do.
What is the purpose of giving dana?
•It is to help other people
•To promote societies
•To get rid of unwholesomeness
•To cultivate wholesomeness
•To purify the mind
Dana will be great benefit depending on three compositions:
1. Donors, before offering, have a pure mind;
2. Donors, during offering, have a pure mind and
3. Donors, after offering, have a pure mind.

19 This article first prepared for a regular talk at buddhapadipa temple, 30th September
1973 and later published in ‘the friendly way’ the Journal of the buddhapadipa temple.
November 2517/1974, Vol. 9/No. 3; pp. 13-15

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 120 chapter 19


chapter 20

Who ate goat’s dung ?

O ne upon a time in India there was a dwarf, very short man


indeed. He was very clean at arts in flicking grit into different
things as he liked. He went to a paddy field. In the paddy field,
there was a big banyan tree and under the banyan tree he sat
flicking a grit to pierce the banyan tree into animals such as bird,
rabbit, dog, cat squirrel, and elephant and so on. When, sun
shone through the leaves of tree to the ground. The shadow of the
animals appeared at once.
At the same time, the king of Baranasi had a religious
adviser. When he talked he talked too much. The king talked one
word. He talked five words. The king was very upset and disturbed
very much because he could not follow him.
One day, the king and his colleagues went to survey and
arrived at one the paddy field. The king saw from a far the big
banyan tree, very big tree. They approached it and went inside and
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 121
sat under the banyan tree for their rest and suddenly they saw
bird, dog, rabbit, cat, squirrel and elephant on the ground and on
their own body. They were very surprised. The king himself saw
the same and he looked round on the right and on the left. He
saw a dwarf man, very short man, who sat flicking a grit to pierce
the leaves of banyan trees into animals and suddenly he told his
colleagues to go and fetch him to him immediately. And then the
king put him question,
‘Did you make the leaves of banyan tree become animals?
‘Yes sir, My Majesty’, the dwarf answered respectfully.
I have one adviser, when he talked, talked too much. I talked
one word, he talked five words. I was very upset, annoyed and
disturbed very much. Could you stop his talking by your way?
Yes, Majesty, I could but you have to tell your colleagues to set up
the tent and made the hole on the canvas of the tent and then bring
the goat’s dung to me. When you talked to him and he talked back
to you I would flick the goat’s dung through hole of the canvas into
his mouth while he was opening his mouth to talk to you.
The King agreed and prepared all requirements as the dwarf
requested. Having completed preparation the king and his adviser
got in and sat inside the tent whereas the dwarf sat opposite near
the hole, being able to see the mouth of the king’s adviser very
clearly. At the moment, the king’s adviser began to open the mouth
to talk to the king. The dwarf very quickly flicked the goat’s dung
through the hole into his mouth until his mouth was full of the
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 122 chapter 20
goat’s dung and, above all, he was no longer to speak to the king
at all. The king understood very well and asked his colleagues
to take the tent out. They did accordingly. When, people saw the
mouth of the king’s adviser full of the goat’s dung. They applauded
a long time and hailed ‘bravo, bravo, bravo’. Some of them laughed
too much to stop their tears.
This story concludes with a verse that;

Sãdhu kho sippakamฺ nãmã api yadisikidisamฺ


Passa ajapฺpaharena ladฺdhã gãme catudฺdisã

Any kinds of whether be dancer, be singer, be sculpture, be


carver and so on can bring about a complete success to skilled
like the King Baranasi granted the four villages to the Dwarf in the
four directions.

Pali-English translation
Pithasappi – dwarf Sakkhara – grits
Khipitva – flick Purohito – kings advisor
Ajalankikam – goat’s dung Saniya – curtain
17/08/01

chapter 20 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 123


chapter 21
Welcoming Speech:
Honorable Kumari Mayawati MP

W e have a great pleasure to welcome Chief Guest honorable


Kumari Mayawati Ji M.P. Vice-president of Bahajan Party
and the former chief Minister of U.P. India.
We are all concerned with Dr. Ambedkar Memorial Community
Centre and we do hope that when you have officially inaugurated
Dr. Ambedkar Memorial Community Centre, this Centre will be
consecrated, holy, go right and bring about benefit, happiness,
satisfaction, prosperity, and wealth to users afterwards.
On behalf of the temple, I wish you well by the lord Buddha’s holy
words:
Hotu sabฺbamฺ sumangalamฺ
Rakkhanฺtu sabฺbadevatã
Sabbabuddhãnubhãvena,
Sabbadhammãnubhãvena
Sabbasanghãnubhãvena sothi hontu nirantaramฺ
May all good blessings be may all the devas guard you well,
by the power of all the buddhas, by the power of all the dhammas,
by the power of all the Sanghas may you be safe forever and
ever.
Thanks you
13/10/00
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 124
chapter 22

Luang Por’s 77th birthday Celebration

Siddhinanamahatherassa Sakkaro

“ Ratanatฺtayatejena amฺhamฺ kalyãna cetasã


Siddhinฺãno mahãthero Buddhaviharassa nãyako
Dighãyu sukhito hotu anigho nirupaddhavo
Buddhasasãnacakkamhi dhajo hotu divakaro ”

May the power of triple Gem and with our good wishes,
May most venerable Siddhinano the abbot of Buddhavihara be
blessed with longevity, happiness and be saved from all enimity
and misfortunes. May you carry the flag of Buddhism and illuminate
the way for many more years to come.
by Dr. Anilman Dhammasakiyo
(Secretary of H.H. Sangharaja of Thailand)

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 125


Venerable monks
The president of Dr Ambedkar Memorial Committee of
Great Britain, Ven. Phramaha Laow Pannasiri, the Abbot of the
Buddhavihara Temple Aston, Birmingham, and all devotees, Indians
and Thais communities, who organize my 77th birthday today.
First of all, I would like to say ‘thank you to all of you to organize
to celebration of my birthday. It is quite difficult and hard work for
your preparation.
I told committees that I didn’t really want them to spend much
for this purpose but they have decided to do so. I am appreciated
what they are doing for me today and impressed by seeing many
people joining this ceremony.
I have been England for 33 years. I came to Wimbledon
in London first, and worked with a group of Dhammaduta monks
for 15 years until 1982. I was invited to teach Buddhism among
Indian Community, here in Wolverhampton. When I first came to
Wolverhampton the member of Temple was very small group until
in 1991 the community put the stone foundation into this place and
mad proper temple.
Community also put up the Dr Ambedkar project and completed
the building this year. Wolverhampton Indian Community has been
working hard and today is result of harmony among the member of
community.
Buddhism is from India; Buddha was born in Indian region
and his teaching spreads all over the world.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 126 chapter 22
As a good Buddhist we should work hard and harder to support
people who practice Buddhism and to bring peace to the world.
What the Indian Community here has done is one of the
best quality works for Buddhism as a whole. It benefits Indian
community directly and for the name of Buddhism indirectly.
Since I came here I have seen the progress of community here
and members have more knowledge about being Buddhists years
by years. We should spread the Buddha’s teachings everywhere
for the sake of real happiness to people in any regions.
You are holding my birthday for me today I would like to thank
all of you again for arrange this day. I am pleased to see many monks
and members of the community.
At the end of my Sombothaniyakatha, my friendly talks I would
like to bless all of you by the holy words of the lord Buddha.

Hotu sabbam sumam galam rakkhantu sabbadevata


Sabbabuddhanubhavena sabbadhammanubhavena
Sabbasanghanubhavena sothi hontu nirantaram

May all good blessing be, may all the deva guard you well
By the power of the buddhas, by the power of the dhammas
By the power of the sanghas, may you be happy and safe
forever and ever.
Thank you

chapter 22 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 127
chapter 23

New Year message to all

I t is very essential at this time to remember all that we have done


during 1990. Now it has ended and New Year, the year of 1991
has already come. That is, the former one ended and the latter one
has come to replace the former. This is accord with the cosmic
law, lunar and solar calendar system.
The days, the weeks, the months and the years pass by
and in that time many things arise and pass away everything
including human beings who are constantly being born and dying
in the Manussaloka –the world of human beings. There is no
gap for them between birth and death. It is a process which,
according to the Buddhist philosophy is called ‘Tivatta’ the three
cycles, Kilesavatta-the cycle of passion, Kammavatta –the cycle
of action and Vipakavatta –the cycle of effect. These three cycles
are interrelated and intertwined, each being both the cause and the
effect of each other, the rising of passion constitutes a person to
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 128
perform action, the effect of action causes once again the arising
of passion of one kind or another. This process goes on endlessly
unless and until it is cut off by following the path of the enlightened
one.
The celebration of the passing year and welcoming the New
Year is very important because it is a good opportunity for us to
examine what we have done in the past year and what we will do
in the New Year. In the passing year all things we have done ought
to be considered. That we have done in the past year is bad we
have to put it aside. That is, we will not carry on the actions of
the past year, but we will continue to ‘store’ only good actions that
we have done in the past year and add them to the activities which
will be done in the New Year. In this way we are said to decrease
a bad thing and increase a good thing for the benefits, happiness
and well-being of society. That is a very good opportunity for all of
us, isn’t it?
But, must people ware careless and unaware of what they
do. They think simply that the good and the bad they do will
not affect them. But in fact it does. Let us take into account the
dhammapada –the way of the dhamma which has been said:
‘mavamannetha papassa na mattam agamissati
Udabindunipatena udakumbhopi purati
Purati balo papassa thokem Thokampi acinam [121]
Do not think lightly of evil, by saying that it will not come
to touch me. Even a water-pot is filled by the drips of water;
chapter 23 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 129
likewise the fool becomes full of evil even if he gathers it little by
little.
And then,
‘mãvamannetha punñãssa na mattamฺ ãgamissati
Udabindunipãtena udakumฺbhopi purati
Purati dhiro puñnãssa thokamฺ Thokamฺpi acinamฺ [122]

Do not think lightly of good, by saying that it will not come to


touch me. Even a water-pot is filled by the drips of water; likewise
the wise man becomes full of goodness even if he gathers it little
by little.
In reference to the dhammapada mentioned above it is firmly
asserted that that meritorious and demeritorious deed which has
been done does not disappear from the world. It impresses itself
on the good-doers and the evil-doers’ mind. It cannot be rubbed out
or removed out from the mind. It is really indelible.
People all over the world whether they are reared in the
Communist Bloc or in the Free States celebrate their new year
for the sake of happiness and prosperity as mentioned before, but
their ceremonies are a manifestation of their particular society,
religion, culture, tradition and faith. Now in Thailand, particularly in
the nation’s capital, Bangkok, the outstanding feature of the national
holiday marks on the New Year; the time is from about 45 minutes
to midnight of December 31 until 10 minutes past one on January
1 monks have to chant and broadcast their chanting through the
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 130 chapter 23
national television stations. The Supreme Patriarch gives a sermon
to the Sangha and people all over the country and so also do
Prime Minister. The monks in monasteries throughout the country
chant simultaneously Jayaparitta – the victory protection and ring
the bells when the long hand of the clock moves from midnight of
December 31 to January 1 and then monks are fed on New Year’s
morning. At dawn hundreds of monks with their iron bowls proceed
to certain large parks and there receive food offered by thousands
of householders intent on starting the new year by making merit.
On the preceding day the King and Queen including members of
Royal Family and senior officials present food to the monks at the
Grand Palace. Later there is New Year ceremonies in the Royal
Chapel which include reverence paid to the deceased members of
the Chakri Dynasty. In the evening the King gives a New Year’s
messages to the nation.
Furthermore, for the sake of world peace, let us consider the
following Pali passages:
‘nãññatarã bojjhangha tapasã
‘nãññatara indriyasamฺvara
‘nãññatara sabbanissagga
Sotthimฺ passami pãninamฺ
I [the Tathagata] cannot see welfare of human beings except
through wisdom, perseverance, restraints and altruism.

chapter 23 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 131


chapter 24
The Foundation Stone of Buddha Vihara
laid at Wolverhampton
th
India Weekly, 11 May 1990

T he foundation stone of the new Buddha vihara and the


Ambedkar Community Centre was laid at a special ceremony
at Upper Zoar Street, Wolverhampton, by the Venerable Phramaha
Somboon Siddhinyano under the auspices of the Dr. Ambedkar
Memorial Committee of Great Britain.
The foundation stone was carried to the site in a procession
led by a group of Buddhist monks from the Buddha Vihara, Lea
Road.
After the ceremony the birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
was celebrated at Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton.
The president of the committee, Mr. Sant Ram, Mr Chanan
Chahal, Chairman of the Ambedkar Centenary celebration committee,
UK Mr. Gautam Chakraborty, Secretary, Ambedkar Centenary
Celebration Committee, UK, welcomed the guests. These included
Ven. Somboon Siddhinyano, Ven. Nagasena, Ven. Piyatissa, Mr.
Bhagwan Das, Mr. Dennis Turner MP, Mr. Norman Davies Chairman
Wolverhampton Labour Pary, and Mr. Harblas Birdee, President
Ambedkarite & Buddhist Organizations, UK.

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 132
chapter 25

The foundation stone at Punjab, India

1. I have been invited to come here for laying down the


Foundation stone for the construction of Dr. Ambedkar Buddhist
Centre in the Buddha-land the land of the Lord Buddha who passed
away some 2547 years ago.
2. In India after prince Siddhattha left his family to seek
for Enlightenment and with his effort he entered Enlightenment at
the end and after that he went from places to places to proclaim
his doctrine. People enjoyed listening, following, understanding,
practiced and gained consequences of their practice and someone
like Anathapindika and Visakha Upasika lady, both of them were
very sincere Buddhists and accordingly Visakha lady erected the
Bubbaram Temple and endowed it to the Lord Buddha and his
disciples whereas Anathapindika constructed the Jetavana Temple
and donated to the Lord Buddha and his disciples for their residence
as well.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 133
3. In Europe and the United States of America many Buddhist
temples have been built for the world peace and recently Thai
Sangha and Thai people laid down the Foundation stone for the
construction of Uposatha in the precinct of Wat Mongolratanaram
at Temple, Florida State in USA.
4. So, Dr Ambedkar Memorial Committee of Great Britain
and their people have decided to construct or build Dr. Ambedkar
Buddhist Centre for all the people, are said to be the most highest
objective and the great-merit making and for being remark of Dr
Ambedkar Diksha Divas – Conversion Day to Buddhism which
took place on 14 October 1956 at Nagpur, India.
5. Today, I am very happy to come to this site to lay the
Foundation stone for the construction of Dr. Ambedkar Buddhist
Centre. Now, it is an auspicious occasion and reasonable time. Let
all of us draw attention to it and I will lay it down.
May sangha chant Jayaparitta the Victory protection
Please Venerable sirs.

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 134 chapter 25


chapter 26

Opening speech on Dr. Ambedkar


Buddhist Resource Centre

At Mahalpur Road, Village Katarian


Nawan Shar, Punjab, India

N amo Buddhaya, Sawasdee, Namastee



Dear Venerable Sangha, president, secretary general,
distinguished guests and friends in the dhamma
It affords me the greatest pleasure to be here today to
inaugurate the Buddha Vihara which is one department of the three
major facilities as mentions in ‘Appeal document for construction
of Dr. Ambedkar Buddhist Resource Centre’ the two remaining of
major facilities, that is, Ambedkar community centre and school for
children will be continued to complete afterwards.
When the construction of Buddha vihara, Dr. Ambedkar
Community Centre and School for children have been completed,
it would be constructive, useful and helpful for the people who
are interested in Buddhism, who desire to study the life of Dr.
Ambedkar, his works and also who want to join being a member
of community and who need to learn and improve quality of their
life can come to this centre and take advantage of this centre to
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 135
fulfill their multi purposes.
Again, this Dr. Ambedkar Buddhist Resource Centre has
been constructed in your mother land – the land is not far from
JALANDHAR District on the North of Indian country. It is bahut
bahut abundant district and name of its capital is Chandigarh. In the
past Jalandhar used to be the place where the fourth Sabbatthika
Sanghayana –Sanghayana was held together with the two group
of the Sangha –Theravada and Mahayana under the sponsorship of
the King Kanishaka as recorded in the Buddhist history.20
All of you, Punjabi people who were born in Punjab state or
Punjabi –overseas having been seen, told and understood, you must
be pride and proud of this centre. Beside this yet you are said to
be gratitude to the Lord Buddha, his disciple such as Venerable
Sariputta and Moggallana and his lay disciple like Anathapindika
Upasaka who built the Jetavana Temple and Visakha Mahaupasika
who erected the Pubbarama temple for residence of the Lord
Buddha and his disciples.
This year 2550 Buddhist year and Jubilee year of Baba
Saheb Dr. Ambedkar who fought for the freedom and upliftment of
Dalits of India embraced Buddhism in 14th October 1956. To remark
this Jubilee year of conversion you all are gathering here today, the
day of 14th October to celebrate by inaugurating Buddha vihara in
this site. You are also said to be gratitude to your beloved leader
Baba Sahab Dr. Ambedkar and your ancestors, posterities and
at the end to your generation. With regard to your determination
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 136 chapter 26
you are all said to respect and reciprocate your pubbakari –your
benefactors.
On this special occasion of inauguration may I think Dr.
Ambedkar memorial committee of Great Britain and its members
for their generosity and contribution to return –back Buddhism to
its country of origin. Further, Mr. Darshan Ram Jassal who bought
a car and gave away to the temple and bahut bahut monies to
support, Mr. Gurdial Chand who offered the land to erect this
Dr. Ambedkar Buddhist Resource Centre. Further, all engineers,
workers and people concern, who strongly strived this noble project
to take place and to be successful in this part of India and able to
open on the day of 14th October, May the protective power of the
Triple Gem: the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha bless you
all have successful life and attain highest blessings of Nibbana in
very near.
It is now time, I would like to invite you all too officially
inaugurate this noble project for the benefit of many. May I invite
venerable Bhikkhu Sangha to chant parittas for the successful,
happiness and benefit of many.
Thank you
Bhavatu Sabba Mangalam
With metta and blessing
14th October 2006

20 Sujiv Punnanuphab, ‘Pratraipidok for people (tran: Tipitaka for general people)’, Bangkok:
Mahamakut Buddhist University, Thailand, 2526 B.E. / 1983 C.E.
chapter 26 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 137
chapter 27

He donated his life’s saving

The times of India, New Delhi Chandigarh,


Wednesday, October 18,2006
By I P Singh (TNN)

J alandhar: brought up in a poor dalit family of abdpura locality in


Jalandhar, he is an ordinary factory worker in England who at
the age of 64, Works for 12 hours a day. But his philanthropy has
become extraordinary. Darshan Raj Jassal, who worked in a forging
unit in England for four decades, donated the hard earned saving
of his entire life, to the tune of Rs 1 crore, for raising Dr Ambedkar
Buddhist Resource Centre near village Soondh, Nawanshahr.
Jassal told TOI that while he was living in Jalandhar, he was
impressed by the ideology of Dr Ambedkar. He went to England
in 1961, but the zeal for the accomplishment of the ‘mission’ kept
simmering inside him. This finally took shape in the form of Dr
Ambedkar Memorial committee Great Britain in year 1970, of which
he was the founder-president.
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 138
A few years back, the idea of establishing Dr Ambedkar
Buddhist Resource Centre started taking shape and its foundation
stone was laid on October 14, 2004, for which an NRI and an
Ambedkar follower Gurdial Chand Soondh donated one acre land.
On April 17, 2005 while celebrating the 114th birth anniversary of
Dr Ambedkar, he announced to donate Rs 1 crore for the centre.
Major chunk of this money was paid to him as redundancy fund by
the company in which he was working. The committee purchased
3.5 acres extra land for the centre, and the community centre in it
would be named after him.
Jassal informed that he still works for 12 hours a day in
another company, and would donate his house in England to the
Committee. Raj Kumar Paul, president of the Committee said such
a huge donation by a single person to the mission of Dr Ambedkar
had never been made.

chapter 27 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 139


chapter 28

Good to Know

T he story of Pagodas
The following terms: Pagoda, Thupa, Prang, and Cetiya are
symbols of Buddhism and they are the same meanings. They have
been built up for commemoration of Buddhism and recollection of
the Buddha
Categorization of Cetiya is of four types;
1. Uddesika cetiya – referring to the Buddha image
2. Dhatu cetiya –for enshrining the Buddha’s relics
3. Dhamma cetiya – for containing the scrolls or sheets of
metal on which were recorded the Buddha’s teachings
4. Paribhoga cetiya – for housing other things such as
the robes, the bowl, the umbrella and so on connected with the
Buddha.

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 140


Dhammaduta to be trained
They should train themselves to be endowed with the
qualities of a dhamma messengers such as possessed by the
venerable Sariputta who was thus praised by the Lord Buddha.
It is reported in the Atthanipata of the Anguttaranikaya that the
venerable Sariputta was worthy go to as a dhamma messenger
since he was endowed with eight qualities, namely;
1. Sota: he was listener, i.e. he was quick grasp the essential
paints
2. Saveta : he was a speaker, i.e. he was capable of
expression himself.
3. Uggaketa: he was a learner, i.e. studious
4. Dhareta: he had a good memory
5. Vinnata: he was a knower i.e. he capable of knowing
quickly, clearly and exactly
6. Vinnapeta : he was an expounder, i.e. he was capable to
make others know quickly, clearly and exactly
7. Kusalo sahitasahitassa : he knew what was profitable and
what was unprofitable
8. No Kalahakarako : he was not given to quarrelling, bhikkhu
who are entrusted as dhammaduta should also be endowed with
these eight qualities.

chapter 28 ‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 141


Venerable Phramaha Somboon Siddhiyano:
The Spiritual Head Adviser of Ambedkar Buddhist Centre
Wolverhampton

B orn in Thailand venerable Phramaha Somboon Siddhiyano


Mahathera ordained as a monk in 1945, holding a certificate
in Pali studies, B.A. in Philosophy from Mahamakut Buddhist
University and a special certificate from the Training Institute for
Dhammaduta Bhikkhus going abroad. In 1946 he was sent to the
west by the department of religious affairs to run the Buddhapadipa
Temple in London and then later he was appointed Deputy Abbot of
the temple. In the same year, he was appointed as spiritual advisor
for the Buddhist union of Europe.
In 1983, Ven Somboon came to Wolverhampton Buddha Vihara
to a position of Spiritual leader of Dr. Ambedkar Memorial Committee
of Great Braitain. Ven. Somboon came to Wolverhampton when
the vihara was in a small converted house, not far from the present
location. Ven. Somboon was an inspiration from the first moment
and can be said to have been the fundamental reason for the life
and success of Dr. Ambedkar Memorial Committee and the Indian
Buddhist devotees and the community in increasing the Buddhist
faith and practice.
With his untiring efforts and hard work in spreading the
‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 142
Dhamma among the Indian community, he has helped them to
establish one the largest Buddhist centre in the UK and helped the
committee to its present status.
It is with his blessing that all this has been achieved. He
has been a teacher not only by preaching the Dhamma but also by
his living practice of the Buddhist way. To his example we owe
the excellent spirit of love, Karuna, Metta, Loving-kindness and co-
operation in daily work with the lay devotes.
May we all approach Buddhahood through his example.
By Mrs. Kamla Chumber
Gen. Sec 2006

�����

(Souvenir: A memorial to the greatest Peaceful revolutionary of modern


times Dr. B.R. Ambedkar p.35)

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 143


SPONSORSHIP FOR PUBLISHING BOOK

1. Phrakru Panyasudhamwithet £ 200


2. Phramaha Boonchauy Pannawajiro £ 20
3. Phramaha Pranom Dhammaviriyo £ 100
4. Phra Sujan Maharajan £ 100
5. Phramaha Bhasakorn Piyobhaso £ 50
6. Phra Varaphong Dhammavomso £ 20
7. Phramaha Udon Uttamawangso £ 50
8. Phramaha Wattana Yashwatthano £ 50
9. Phramaha A. Yanasiri £ 30
10. Huddersfields Thai Group £ 190
11. Mrs.ratanaporn Eaton & Family £ 100
12. Mrs.Jansiri Muangmani £ 100
13. Miss Panisara Pavapanyakul £100
14.Wolverhampton Thai Group £ 55
15.Miss Vanida Ratanakevin £ 50
16.Mrs.Siriporn Crichton £ 50
17.Mrs.Pratuang Sinduphan £ 50
18.Mr.&Mrs. Jaga R. Chumber £ 50
19.Mrs.Pajaree Newlove £ 50
20.Mrs.O. Sylvester (Nid) £ 30
21.Mr.Kamal Sheel & Namta Kaul £ 25
22.Mr.Tarsem Kaul & Gurdev Kaur £ 25
23.Mr. & Mrs. Hans Raj Bains & Family £ 25
24.Mr. & Mrs. R. P. Jakhu £ 25
25.Mrs.Wongchan Techo £ 20
26.Mrs.Chayanan Lijka £ 20
27.Ms.Sombatt Keawvilai £ 20
28.Mr. & Mrs.Satya & Gyan Chand Rattu £ 10
29.Unreleased name £ 10
30. Dr Ambedkar Memorial Committe GB £100
31. Wolverhampton Buddhavihara Ladies Group £ 200
32. Mrs.Areerut Hollis £ 20

‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 144


‘Odds and Ends’ ~ 145