8. Five Factors
Dated: Year 1994
Venerable Bhikkhus, brothers & sisters, today I will deal with the five factors which promote your attainment. The five factors are your devotion, your effort, your mindfulness, your samadhi and your development of wisdom. These are general factors which helps you ride along the effort you made to reach the goal. This must be promoted in your mind, not that purposefully done but with the correct approach made to develop yourself along the path. These are roughly the outcome of that effort you are making.
First thing is devotion, you must have faith in the Triple Gems. That faith does not arise merely because you have blind attachment to the Triple Gems. That should arise from within, when you realize the truth more and more. It is the truth that will create that devotion. The truth of the philosophy preached by Buddha. His philosophy is realistic, there’s nothing imaginary. His philosophy can be identified by you everywhere and every place in life. It is not something in the nature of a concealed thing. In fact, when you summarize his philosophy, one could say he has clearly shown us who we are. We have been living in a deception, and we have led life as worldlings up to this moment not caring to exactly find out, probe into our life, our behavior pattern and find out exactly who we are. We have blindly accepted what the world has told us, categorize us and that is the worldling. When you say worldling, it has 6 things to look forward to and enjoy the best, that is the six sense bases. The worldling is controlled by the 6 sense bases and the experience he gains through them. Therefore his one object in life is to promote more and more satisfaction through these bases. That’s the worldly life we lead, but you look differently at this worldly behavior. You find indepth there is nothing substantial in this happiness which the worldling search for. It is just a delusion he has created in his mind and that delusion had been created with the consciousness creating a being in you and around this being, his entire life is built up. So you can imagine, the worldling life is a life of complete ignorance, ignorance of what he is and who he is. Merely a slave to his habits which he has created around them. Slave to the six sense bases which controls him completely and he accepts everything on the face value, not making use of his mind to look into anything in depth and realize something more realistic below the surface which is deceptive. He lives such life like that. But Buddha’s philosophy has created a nature in us, where we’re now finding that more and more we probe into ourselves and our activities, we begin to realize the truth Buddha preached, and also how deceptive we have been in our conduct as a worldling. The more and more investigation you do into yourself in the course of your progress along the path, the devotion to the Buddha, the devotion to the doctrine he has preached, and the devotion to the Sangha rises higher and higher and higher. Because you are then along the path proceeding towards the goal where the followers of Buddha have finally reached. And you were in the dark as a worldling, now you are creating a light onto yourself, realizing the truth and with that light becoming more and more clear as you go up developing yourself along the path of wisdom. Of course, a lot of cults have gathered to this philosophy in the course of time, many nationality will believe in different different ways of showing their devotion to the Triple Gems, but Buddha emphasize the fact that such outside activity is not helpful to you. Then one would ask the question, what is this meritorious act that we are expected to commit? Meritorious act is an act which you commit having created a good volition in your mind. Volition free of attachment, free of aversion, free of doubt. That is a meritorious act. Meritorious act are confined to existence in the bhava, that’s in the 31 worlds which being can enter into. When you are in the stage of an anagami, such meritorious acts has no effect at all. Do you see that the meritorious acts up to anagami are effective on you because they helped you to create a comfortable birth and the births to come. Because such acts, they give you a return for the good you have done and the return you enjoy. At the same time if you have done any wrong, that too, you have to suffer from. But the real devotion to Buddha, you begin to feel after you have pursued the path to develop your insight knowledge, and that path is having built up your virtue, or developed your virtue within you, having developed the concentration within your based on virtue, developing it up to the levels of the first absorption, second absorption, third absorption and the fourth absorption, and then you divert your attention completely to the development of wisdom. And as you developed your wisdom, you begin to realize what a blind life we have led in the past that is being led by the nose through the experiences gain by the six sense bases which have misled us completely. And now you begin to see the impermanence of all these things little by little. The devotion is built up more the realization of the three truths of impermanence, unsatisfactory nature of things and the soullessness, because they are so realistic, that when you challenge every experience which you have nourished in you in the way of as something of value, and when that experience is confronted with the impermanence, unsatisfactory nature of thing, and the soullessness, you find that the value of that experience though it appear in the worldly way as something big, something great, something attractive, it vanishes. Therefore, the true state of your devotion reaches as you enter the Stream. And there onwards your true self appears, you dispel all that you have gathered in all your previous births, dispel all the defilements little by little, one after the other that has bound you to this cycle of births. And as you gain your freedom after every step you developed, the devotion becomes more and more, more and more and it is a convincing devotion which you enjoy very much because those defilements which you nourish in you in ignorance, they not only brought you misery, they brought you heaviness in every aspect of your life. When you say lightness in the body and mind means something which you enjoy when you’re free from defilements. And these defilements which you have nourished in your ignorance brings about an atmosphere of disturbance always in your mind, unsettled state, and as you go on getting rid of these things one by one with the development taking place in you, you find the devotion rises and it is just not the devotion that we display in following certain cults.
Take the place of, let’s say worshipping Buddha morning, noon and night, uttering all kinds of stanzas in praise of him. Offering all kinds of pujas which you can afford to offer, those are all cults that you have developed. They have got into your life so impressively that you find if you miss any practice you have carried on, you find that you have not respected the Buddha, Dhamma, and the Sangha. Therefore, you go on committing these things. But in truth you remember at the time Buddha was dying, there was a complaint made against a bhikkhu that he was not crying along with the other bhikkhus, feeling sorry for what is going to happen in a minute later, that is the passing away of Buddha. Buddha at that time was very weak, he couldn’t possibly have disturbed this mind with a trivial matter of this nature, looking into a complaint make by shallow minded bhikkhus. Anyway, in his insight, he found that this is a great lesson which he can teach to the world. At the time of his death, He summoned the bhikkhu that Dhammarama, and he asked this bhikkhu that there is a complaint lodged against you that you are not crying along with the others about my passing away, is it true? Dhammarama replied: “ Yes, Venerable Sir, it is true.”
“Why did you behave in that manner?”
And the answer he give was “I joined the order of monks with one motive in mind, and that is to attain my liberation before you pass away. There are only a few minutes more for that event to occur and I have no time to waste in crying. I thought I will make the best use of these two minutes or three minutes left, prior to your passing away, so that I would achieve my goal in your life time and accordingly I made an effort to concentrate, meditate and develop my mind to reach my salvation.” Buddha was very weak at that time he raised his hand and said “Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!” thrice. He said this is the bhikkhu that pays the best homage to me or respect to me.
And on many occasion, Buddha has emphasized the fact that what he requires or what he wishes out of us is not just blind faith. Intelligent outlook about the doctrine and also to practice it intelligently because he has emphasized that he is merely a person who can show the path but not a person who can get another to attain Nibbana. The effort you make to develop yourself to enter Nibbana is something which must come out of you. No other party can help you in this effort. Therefore the effort must be on your own, and this is just not a blind effort. It is just not following a pattern or following a way of life as dictated by somebody you follow this and you will see the result. No. Buddha in his preaching clearly indicated every aspects of the result you would achieve in pursuing the Dhamma. He said, be a light unto yourself or be an island unto yourself, don’t seek refuge from any other. There is none in this world who can help you. Seek refuge within you. What you are searching is within you, what you have to get rid of is also within you. Therefore that your effort should be to cleanse the stable within you and not to plead for outside help to lead you along the path to your liberation. Buddha has clearly emphasized this and in our effort in developing virtue, concentration and wisdom, that is what we are doing. We are depending on ourselves, our effort. Nobody can remove the defilement that you have developed within you. You have to realize that such development is an impediment to your liberation and knowing exactly the outcome of pursuing such defilements, you have to make an effort on your own to get rid of them.
Therefore this Dhamma is Dhamma where light is thrown at you to show you exactly where you are, in regards to the cleansing aspect of your life from all the useless practices that you have developed. All the defilements that you have, unaware, cultivated in yourself by not knowing what you are doing and hence pursuing a worldly way. You’re made to realize that these are the defilements, these are the defects in you. The Dhamma clearly indicates that to you, that what is expected from you is your effort to cleanse them out, your effort to get rid of these defilements. I often emphasize that Buddhism helps you to get rid of what you have done to yourself. That is a brief summary of the philosophy taught by Buddha. What you have done to yourself in your foolishness, in being careless about yourself, in following a worldly way blindly and thereby leading a life of births and deaths forever and ever and ever. Not knowing that there is a path that will free you from all these misery and lead you to your final salvation. Therefore devotion that should be developed within you should be based on complete true understanding and realization of the doctrine, not just blind faith. What is the idea that you’re going before Buddha and appealing to Buddha, please help me, please help me, please help me, I like to enter Nibbana. Buddha would ask the question, in what way can I help you more than I have done to you? I have clearly shown you what your defects are. I have clearly shown you what your defilements are. I have clearly shown you a path how you should get rid of them. Instead of following that path with your own effort, what is the purpose in appealing to me to help you? My task is over, what is left before is your task and that task is to practice the philosophy preached by Buddha and then, clean your inside, all that you have gathered to make you lead this life as a worldling, all those defilements are in you, in yourself. Therefore a correct effort must be made knowing the Dhamma, having faith in the Dhamma, getting devoted to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, to follow the path shown by Buddha for your final liberation. That’s devotion that is expected. It is not blind devotion. Blind devotion would create a good kamma, because your mind is free from attachment, free from aversion. There may be doubt there, we may not have a doubt. But anyway these three things contribute to commit a good act. So, by worshipping and these and that, you can commit good acts which may result in a birth after life in a deity world. What are you expected to do there? Spend your good time in enjoyment for a period not forever and after that period is over, too you come back to the other lower births, you see according to the kamma you have committed and the effect of the kamma at the time of your passing away from that heavenly abode. Therefore that is a temporary stay there. It doesn’t in any way help you very much, therefore this life we lead now as human beings is the best life one could lead to develop ourselves, to make an effort on our own and realize the truth.
The next comes devotion, effort. There Buddha has clearly indicate the type of effort you have to make. He says, develop what is good in you. You may be a very kind hearted person, develop that further. You may be devoted to the religion, develop that further. You may have metta, develop that further. You are a person who doesn’t get angry, develop that more further and further. Those good things that you possess in keeping with the good things that the philosophy of Buddha expects you to develop within you. Suppose if they are all already in yourself. Develop them more and more and more.
Then develop also other essential needs which will lead you along the path for your liberation. Other good qualities such as mindfulness, samadhi, those are essential things one should develop. When you are proceeding along the path for your salvation, make an effort to develop them. That is the second effort you must make. The good that you possess, developed them further, and the good that you need to possess or developed within you, to go along the path for your liberation. Find out what they are, adopt them in yourself and develop them, you must make an effort to develop those.
Then the third, Buddha says, get rid of that which is bad. By now you have that amount of understanding about the religion, about the philosophy of Buddhism, and can make out what is bad in you. Certain feelings may be bad, certain defilements may be there, like attachment. Too much attached, or you get upset for the slightest thing that’s aversion, such things you must make out. These are bad qualities in me which does not help me to proceed along the path lead to my liberation. I must make out these defects in me and then try to get rid of them. But if you are a hot-tempered person, Buddha has stated that practicing loving-kindness enables you to get rid of that attitude in your mind. Therefore practice loving kindness more and more and more and as you go on doing that you will find you will getting less and less angry because loving kindness is a soother. So to say, it soothes your mind. It bears no malice against anybody, always wish something good to others, so that soothes your mind and that little by little overcome that anger that is present in you. Likewise, in other defilement too which you possess, you must be able to understand, realize what they are, my defects are these, I must make an effort to get rid of these defects.
In the fourth is, see that you would not develop anything adverse to the path you are pursuing. Maybe bad company, you may mixed up with the person who is not suitable for your association and you learn a bad habit from him, let us say smoking a cigarette or practicing something which is not in keeping with your way of behavior. Something adverse to your life, something which creates an ill effect in you. Therefore you must be careful when picking up associates one with whom you have to mix with. That you select the best, whose helpful to you and harmless to you, who would give you advice at the proper time and direct you along the right path good Kalyana-mitta. The absence of good Kalyana-mitta means be unto yourself and see that you are careful not to permit unnecessary so to say habits getting formed in yourself following somebody without forethought & planning, without proper understanding, without realization what you are coming in for by such company.
Those are the four things that you must bear in mind to make an effort. If you actually keep to these four things, you become a good man. You will develop what is good in you, you will introduce what is good and then develop that further because that goodness is essential for the development along the path. You will realize what is fault in you, what is bad in you, understand them and make an effort to get rid of them. Also, you will see that you protect yourself from any harm from outside in the way of associating with those people whom you should not associate and thereby getting into practices, which are harmful to your pursing the path. That is the right approach you have to adopt. The best one could recommend in that way, is lead a life on to yourself. There are very few people in this world who are helpful to others. They are self-centered, they will make the best out of you if you keep company with people and leave you in the lurch. That’s the nature of this world, for the world is fast changing. In this changing world, you must be careful not to forget your aim in life. Your aim in life is to seek for liberation, and everything that you associated all, make it must be measured in the light of that aim in life. But if I mix with this person, how far will it affect my development along the path? If I of this mix which is right which is now getting used to, how far that will obstruct me from going along the path. These are the questions that you must always raise about your environment, your association, and your acquaintances when you build up such acquaintanceship. Therefore, leading a quiet peaceful life of your own without getting mixed up with unknown qualities, and then fall into trouble, that is the best one would recommend because this is not the day, this is not the time, this is not the period where you can find good people to help you to encourage you along the path. Almost every other person you come across, they are all out to make their personal gain, fulfill their aim to their advantage, sacrificing anyone just because he has become an obstruction to gaining what they wished it to be. Therefore what you should do is to lead a life of your own, and if you pick up an acquaintanceship with somebody, must be done with great care because you don’t know how he would react. And Buddha says, it is rather difficult for one to make out a person immediately. When associating with the person a week or two will not help you to find out who that person is. It takes a long time, a long period of association will only reveal the true nature of the person. Because that person would like to adapt himself to a situation and circumstances which appeals to you, concealing all that he has within him which are harmful to build up a good friendship between the two. Therefore you must be very careful and knowing that he is a good associate, he’s a Kalyana-mitta who will help me in my need, who will help me along the path, who is helpful to me in all the good I do. Such a person is so and so and I know him, I have tested him, I have found him to be true and then mixed up with the person. Kalyana-mitta, Buddha says is very essential item to proceed along the path. Without a Kalyana-mitta, it is rather difficult for you to pursue this philosophy. Who is a Kalyana-mitta? A Kalyana-mitta is a person who is always encouraging you to do the good thing, encouraging you to follow the path for your liberation, discouraging you at all occasions when you try to do something harmful to yourself or to another or which it will be harmful to the path you pursue for your liberation. That is a Kalyana-mitta.
One day, Venerable Ananda told Buddha, Venerable Sir, I feel that this religion, this Sasana, depends 50% on the association one has with another Kalyana-mitta. Buddha says, don’t say so, Ananda. The development of the person along the path to his liberation depends 100% on the association you make with a friend. If you mixed up with a good friend, if your association with good friend, he will be immensely helpful to you to gain your liberation. If on the other hand, if you mixed up with somebody, who is harmful to you, misleading you, he will be an obstruction to your path. Therefore you must be careful in choosing your friend and associate your acquaintanceship with anybody. To pick and choose the best person after much testing, not just be led away by a mere sight, just not be led away by a mere utterance by him, which indicate that he is trying to be helpful to you, just not be led away by shape and form of the person, it is the essential thing that you should look into his quality of the person, that is what is within not outside. If the quality is good, if he is a sincere friend, and his sincerity always for your good, not to lead you along the path to your destruction and such a friend, you get closer and closer and closer, he will be helpful in many ways to go along the path to your liberation when Buddha said so, we must have a Kalyana-mitta. The Kalyana-mittas, the lay people we have will be members of the Sangha, who are developing themselves along the path and such people will always guide you in the right on the side line, help you to develop yourself, advice you where necessary to be cautious about certain things, so both ways you are being well guided by the Kalyana-mitta, so good association with them is essential.
Then we come to the third one, that is sati, mindfulness. I have addressed you in a fairly lengthy discourse about mindfulness, I always think and this idea comes to my mind very often when I am peaceful and settled and thinking of Dhamma, without mindfulness you will not progress anywhere along the path for our liberation. Why? Because we have become slaves to our habits, we have now come to a stage where without any thinking, following the promptings of the mind, but prompting, prompting that had been created in the mind as a result of habit and those habits, we know now are not habits helping you to get along to liberate yourself but habits which promotes the extension of this worldly life from birth to birth. That is the sort of habits which one has to be careful about, and which can, what can help you? We say, we have been in this span of life, you see you have led so many births, experience so many births in the past and we are living now in this birth many more to those who do not pursue the path, there will be in the future many more births, And now, we are developing little by little the worldly pattern of existence and our behavior pattern is in keeping with the worldly way, that behavior pattern which you have followed in the past and the present and in the future too, is a pattern that is not conducive to your liberation, is for continuity. So, when you are thoroughly soaked, thoroughly imbedded in that way of existence, how could one on his own without properguidance, without some serious prompting from within check your ways, check your behavior, check your conduct, so that you will be always put on the right track, reminding you always what you are pursuing is wrong. Who does that for you, can anyone do it? No, it is difficult. He could do it on occasion like this when he is delivering a sermon or discourse, apart from that there is no one to help you to give you that prompting to you at any moment you need that prompting and that prompting is given within you that is why I say emphasize, practice as much as possible mindfulness, brothers & sisters, because that is the key to your salvation, nothing else. Every thought that arises, there is mindfulness there directing you, don’t think in that manner, that is not helpful to you, and the mindfulness tells you this is the way you should think, and you must adopt that way immediately. Likewise in all your activities outside too, mindfulness will check you and say don’t commit this act in this manner, this is not in keeping with your development. This is not a thought that you should harbor in your mind because it is harmful to you; like that, regularly there will be prompting from inside as a result of the mindfulness. Therefore mindfulness must be cherished, mindfulness must be developed 100% and Buddha has rightly introduced mindfulness in the first instance in pursuing your four postures as it is mindfulness is practiced in a physical way. That is the four postures are physical acts, that mean you are being mindful of the four postures, mindfulness is not a thing that a worldling ever practice. His way of behavior is completely prompting from the heart. But here, mindfulness is prompting him everything so that he will be well guided by the mindfulness. And the only way to introduce mindfulness by a worldling into himself is through physical activities and Buddha rightly has done that and that is a very very methodical move to pursue the four postures you will very often commit mindfully. You do those things then you become used to mindfulness. The physical approach is the first and then it penetrates into the mental. And when it penetrates into the mental, you be careful even with your thinking to be mindful. That is the essential guide for your development, brothers & sisters, even in your behavioral pattern here, be unto yourself, always watchful of what you are thinking. Fixing your mind to your inside, not the outside, because if you fix your mind to outside things, you will be completely misled because what you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you taste, what you contact, and what you think are all deceptive, misleading. Therefore if you follow those things, you will be misled more and more. But if you follow the promptings of the heart, now that you have trained this heart to look in the right direction, the heart within you will tell you don’t think like that, don’t see in that manner, always the promptings are to guide you in the right way. Therefore mindfulness must be built up. I won’t cast a remark at anyone of you but I think if you become a little more quiet and peaceful, mindful of what you are doing, only the word comes out of your mouth because it is essential and no two words are exchanged with another where it is not essential, then you will be developing faster than you are developing now.
Brothers & Sisters, even in the practice of your samadhi, what is essentially needed, mindfulness, because samadhi is you are trying to fix your mind at one point. When there is a constant attach to that activity of yours, from either attachment or aversion, these are two extremes. And not permitting any looseness in that mindfulness so that any other outside thought can creep in to that and disturb your mindfulness. You fix your mindfulness in such a way there is no gap in that mindfulness, you are fixing it firmly. What can a thought of attachment to aversion do to it? They can’t disturb you because they can’t enter in your thinking stream because you have kept the mindfulness in such a way so firmly, giving no chance for any other thoughts to creep in and disturb your mindfulness, that is the essential thing. Mindfulness is fixed in you clearly and in that fixing permit no other disturbance from outside to harm your continuity of mindfulness. That is what you should bear in mind, brothers & sisters, if you pursue that, your attainment is fast, your attainment is quick, your attainment is your achievement in your samadhi and in the realization is very much faster. Why? When you are not mindful, you are living in the world. What is the world? World of false fabrications, delusions. If you live in the world, and then again get back to reality, and short stay in the realistic aspect of life, again fall back to the delusion, and this sort of change over from one condition to another, it is the time to fix yourself mindfully in the right way to follow the philosophy as closely as possible, not permitting the delusion to enter into that stream of thinking of yours will help you to develop faster, because it is natural you know, it’s quite natural you know. Your difficulty in trying to develop something within you, is you are giving in to the worldly way of life still. How? By not being mindful. You still see something attract you outside, your mind catches that, a certain amount of appreciation goes on in your heart, in your mind. About what? About something impermanent, considering that as something permanent, you begin to enjoy it and that you don’t know is harmful to your development. You must always be guarded, not permitting the worldly way to enter into your life now that you are making a mighty effort to get out of this worldly way. That is the essential thing. So you make an effort and see how successful you will be. How many things you are developing in your entire let’s say outlook will be different. You will be very sober, very peaceful but you are very attentive, you are not giving any chance for the worldly pattern of existence to interfere with your developing mind and disturb the mind from further attaining heights of realization. That’s the essential thing, therefore mindfulness is very very important. I like to emphasize more and more and talk about this matter if I could possibly for hours even, because mindfulness is the keynote to this philosophy. That is why Buddha preached the doctrine promising you that you will attain if you practice in the way he has directed to you, within seven days and gain your liberation. That text he has given you an assurance, why? Because he has termed that discourse which he has given for your liberation as the four foundations of mindfulness. You see, he did not say the four foundations of one–pointedness or samadhi, he just said that four foundations of mindfulness. In four ways, he had to practice mindfulness in such a way that you will keep away from the worldly way of life and your mindfulness will be such, clear mindfulness, not permitting the worldly atmosphere, worldly behavior, worldly conduct, worldly thoughts to ever come and interfere with your developing mind in the right way and that attitude can only be brought about by mindfulness, brothers & sisters, therefore be mindful, talk less. Always looking to the inside, don’t allow the eye to control you, don’t allow the ears to control you, don’t allow the six sense bases to control you. Objects may strike there, probably you may note but your mindfulness is so strong you know that if you accept anything in that manner, through a sense base you are getting misdirected. Therefore, you hear that’s all you just drop it. You see you don’t care to follow that, your mindfulness is be careful; be careful, be careful. Careful about what? Of being misled. By what? By the six sense bases. I have emphasized very much in my discourses to you about the harm done to you by the six sense bases. If I make a very categorical statement, you are tied to this worldly way of life by these six sense bases and your struggle, your fight, your battle is with these six sense bases and nothing else. These six sense bases produce sankharas and they have created a world right around you, a fictitious world and you still believe in that world and try to live in that world and at the same time try to gain your liberation from these trappings of that world. Therefore, brothers & sisters, turn you mind inwardly then you will be keeping away from all these unnecessary interferences from the six sense bases. And you don’t, when you get used to looking inside and living that life, then what happens is their approach to you, their attack to you will be less and less forceful and there comes a day when they will not be able to disturb your inner peace which you have created, after the practice of looking into yourself and not outside. Therefore that is the best advice I can give you.
Venerable Moggallana was asked to deliver a discourse in the presence of Buddha at a place where there was a house warming ceremony, a hall was built on behalf of Buddha and Buddha was invited by the Sakyans, the palace householders to come and opened it. Buddha went there, had his meal but he was feeling weak as a result of a pain he was suffering from his back. He summoned Venerable Moggallana and told him, you give a discourse on this subject. I shall rest here for sometime, and he folded the robe at the place where he was seated having his meals, he stretched himself where he was resting when Venerable Moggallana delivered this sermon. He said, you are like a hut, if your hut which you have built is made up of dried bamboo leaves, the walls are made up of dried bamboo leaves, the roof of the hut is also made up of dried bamboo leaves, there is always the possibility of a disaster occurring to you because there are six persons around you always bearing torches and approaching your hut. At any time your hut may catch fire because your hut is make up of bamboo leaves. On the other hand, there is another person who has built his hut. He has built his hut with mud, also he has taken precaution to see that he has covered the roof also with the similar inflammable substance and these six torch bearers, they come to his hut, even if they rubbed their torches on the wall, no harm can be done to you because you are equipped well and you have built a hut of mud which is not subjected to attack from outside. So, what you are now trying to do is, you have been living in a world where your hut has been made up of bamboo leaves dried bamboo leaves, you are deserting that hut now being aware that it is subjected to an attack anytime from six sides. What is this attack? Attack through your ear, through your nose, through your eye, through your tongue, through your body and through your mind. These are the enemies that are attacking you anytime they will set fire to your hut. On the other hand, if you have built a hut made up of mud, they can attack you but you will never be overcome by those enemies, because you have safe-guarded yourself very well from outside attack and that substance that has helped you to build this inflammable you see, I should say hut that is secured from any attack from outside is mindfulness. Therefore built your hut with mindfulness, live in a mindful hut then you will be perfectly safe and the development you expect along the path shown by Buddha will be easier, quicker and without much obstruction on the way. On the other hand, obstruction that you are confronted with when you go along this path for your liberation are not obstructions created by anybody. These are obstructions created by yourself as a result of your carelessness because you are leading a dual life in your effort to liberate yourself, with one leg in the worldly way and the other leg along the path that leads to your liberation. You can’t paddle a canoe with one leg in one canoe, and the other leg in another canoe, you are nowhere. So what you should do is, decide for yourself. I am going to lead my life so that I will gain my liberation as early as possible. To lead that life, I must be careful about myself, not permitting my mind to wander about and accept any more objects through the six sense bases and misdirect me. Not that you’re not going to think, not that you’re not going to see, see for yourself it doesn’t matter seeing an object, but see that object in mindfulness. How? Being aware that it is impermanent. Hear anything, doesn’t matter, there is no harm done to your hearing, but when you hear don’t take that into your heart and accept it, but be fully aware that that is also impermanent. So if impermanence will be the protecting factor, the guard that will protect you and that guard can only act so long as you make the necessary, create the necessary atmosphere for such activity. What is the way you should create that atmosphere? Mindfulness. Therefore you can open all these doors so long as inwardly, you are mindful. Let anything attack your ear, your nose, your tongue, your body, your mind or thinking because you will never go beyond the limit. Which limit? It is the limit that you must be careful about, that is the limit that if you go beyond that, you’re going to create a thought in conformity with the object that you have received from outside, through that sense base and you go with that. You surrender yourself to that object in the way of creating an aversion or attachment. But on the other hand if you are careful, you are not permitting such objects to creep into your mind, you see maybe that you may hear, you may see, that’s creeping into the mind in one way, but there is always the mindfulness. That they are all impermanent, unsatisfactory and soulless. That is something which you must bear in mind, then we have mindfulness, then we have wisdom.
This wisdom which you are searching to develop or make an effort to develop, develops at four stages, brothers and sisters. The first stage of development of wisdom of the truth of impermanence, unsatisfactory nature of things and soullessness, these are the 3 truths. Realization of that is Sammasambuddha. Realization of that by anyone of us is Buddha, attaining a Buddha stage, that Bodhi, that wisdom can be developed by four stages.
First is Stream Entry. You get an idea, the awareness is there of what this wisdom means. The second stage is when you have removed half the fetters of attachment and aversion from you, 50% of those fetter when destroyed by you and your mind is a little free now. At that stage, you again realize impermanence, unsatisfactory nature of things and soullessness. At the 3rd stage, you were to develop this to a more impressive state, is at the stage of Non-Returner stage. There, you cut off all your bindings, all your relationship with the worldly way and then you drift to a state when you automatically gain your liberation and that is in one of the pure abodes. And the 4th stage is the final stage by gaining your liberation as becoming an Arahat. There you finally realize the true nature of impermanence fully 100%, unsatisfactory nature of things and soullessness and that realization is the wisdom that you have been searching for. That you have been making an effort to develop within you fully and the realization of these 3 realities of life, to the fullest, to the maximum is reached when you attained the stage of the Arahathood, that is becoming an Arahat and that is the 4th stage.
Therefore, brothers & sisters, bear this in mind. Buddha has clearly shown us a path if we understand and follow, there is development in you. Every minute you practice the path, therefore what is required is just not to appear as if you are practicing but whole heartedly, devoting your full attention to the practice and then developing yourself. The earlier you developed yourself, the better and once you have developed yourself and reached the highest point, then your next stage is to be of service to others, and all of you can be of service to all the devotees in Singapore and be a light unto them, guide them, and protect them and that is the way of service you can do to humanity, to your kind.
Well, I have described to you very generally the five factors which you have to maintain and develop within you for your attainment. I have emphasized very much on this mindfulness because that is one important factor which is promoting your development very closely, therefore from now onwards, be mindful. Turn your mind inwards, any thought that arises about anything, matters connected to the outside world too, your awareness is always there, because your mind is turned inwards and that awareness will tell you whether you are going to associate with that object or expelled it by realizing the true nature of that object as impermanent, unsatisfactory and soulless. By that way, you guide yourself very well so that only that which is important and helpful to proceed along the path will be entertained by you. All the other unnecessary thing that will normally attract in human being you are now careful to see that you select them and then throw them out. In what way do you throw them out? By realistically understanding their true nature as impermanent, unsatisfactory and soulless. When you apply that to any object, maybe the most attractive thing once upon a time to you but this stage you apply this true knowledge to that object that object will vanish from your vision Therefore, brothers & sisters, make the best effort, few more days to go, you have all the circumstances here, the atmosphere necessary for your development, and also we are here to help you and guide you. Therefore, I only wish that you will make use of this opportunity and then go back to Singapore not as layman but as liberated souls.
Thank you very much.