Discourse 8 - A Happiness That Ever Grows

For an explanation of words in Pali - the language of the time of the Buddha - please see the Pali Glossary.

Ven. Webu Sayadaw: Be perfect in the practice of sīla. Only if your practice is perfect will all your aspirations of the present time and of the future be fulfilled without exception. Because this is true, the aspira­tions of the good people of the past who practised and strove were ful­filled completely. You too have to take up the practice of that sīla that brought about their happiness. Work hard and perfect yourselves in it.

Being perfect in sīla, keep your mind straight and practise gener­osity (dāna) as it pleases you, giving your possessions yourselves with sincerity to those who are worthy. Approach and give your dāna and your respect to the peerless Buddha and his Teachings, keeping in mind your aspiration for awakening, Nibbāna. This type of aspiration is called right aspiration. What you realize when you penetrate the Four Noble Truths is called bodhi.

There are different types of sammā-sam-bodhi (Buddhahood), pacceka-bodhi (Non-teaching Buddhahood), sāvaka-bodhi (Arahat­ship). There are different types of Arahatship: agga-sāvaka (chief discipleship), mahā-sāvaka (leading disciples), pakati-sāvaka (disciple and Arahat). You have always to keep in mind your aspirations for Nibbāna, the highest goal.

Aspirations thus taken are well taken. After having perfected your­self according to your aspiration, enter Nibbāna. The noble persons who have attained Nibbāna are innumerable. Why could they bring their various aspirations for bodhi to fruition? Because they had been born into the right form of existence at the right time and because they exerted proper effort.

When is the time that these aspirations can be brought to fruition?

From the moment the Buddha attained awakening, many human beings, Devas, and Brahmās came to the Buddha to pay respects and to show their devotion. But no human being, no Deva, and no Brahmā was satisfied by merely being in the presence of the Buddha and having the opportunity to pay respects. The Buddha observed them through his mind’s eye and taught them the truth that he had penetrated through his own super-knowledge, his omniscience. As soon as they received the instructions of the Buddha, they began to practise, to exert themselves with unwavering energy in all the four postures of the body. This effort, which is continuous without break or pause and full of joy, is called good effort. When their effort was perfect and equal to the effort of the wise men of old, they arrived at their goal in due time and all the aspirations of their hearts came to an fruition. Because they had achieved this state they were exceedingly happy and blissful.

What was the nature of their happiness, their bliss? It was not happiness or bliss that lasted for only a moment or a single lifetime; it was that happiness that is so great that it is able to last for the remainder of saṃsāra. Even if you are born in the human plane for only one life, you are able to to rise above the suffering of the cycle of birth and death.

In this way happiness and bliss come to you. When one has attained this happiness, when one has received the sign of bliss, when one has reached the goal, there is no jealously guarding of a secret. No, you will want all human beings, Devas, and Brahmās to attain this bliss and happiness. As you know for yourself how to attain this happiness, the actions of body, speech, and mind will always be in harmony with the cause of attaining Nibbāna. You will act with joy as your base.

How could so many human beings, Devas, and Brahmās attain such high states of bliss? Only because they knew that they were going to bring the aspirations of their heart to fruition.

What are the things that support the Buddha’s Teachings? They are the donation of shelter, robes, alms food, and medicine for the monks. Having understood this, they practised it. With these four requisites the wise supported the Teachings of the Buddha. While they supported the Teachings of the Buddha by donating the four requisites, many human beings Devas, and Brahmās received the instructions of the Buddha. They were endowed with the ability to understand and follow the instructions and they practised with a joyful mind without taking rest as the wise of old. When they thus practised they attained their goal with­out delay. In just one moment innumerable human beings, Devas, and Brahmās fulfilled the wish of their heart. The energetic people saw this and supported the Teachings of the Buddha and established them in a very short time. But they didn’t do only this; this didn’t satisfy them yet. In order to strengthen and make firm the Teachings they would also meditate. So they were full of good volition, and they were accordingly endowed with unwavering effort and faith. Since the time of the Buddha there have been such noble people who supported and carried out the Teachings of Buddha with supreme effort, and ever since the days of the Buddha human beings, Devas, and Brahmās have been attaining Nibbāna. The number of those who have reached the goal in just a short moment can’t be reckoned, let alone the number of all who have attained Nibbāna.

Now the good time for all the various noble people has come. This is so because the time when a Buddha and his Teachings blossom is the good time. The existences of human beings, Devas, and all the happy abodes are good. Having been born into one of these, people accepted the Teachings as you are doing now. They practised with full effort and arrived at the goal.

After his awakening the Buddha honoured Rājagaha before any other country with his presence. The king of this great city, Bimbisāra, came to the Buddha and because he received the Teachings and fol­lowed them, he attained the goal. He was full of bliss. He wanted others to attain the same bliss, and understanding the reason, the cause for his happiness, he donated the four requisites. He did this so that his mother, father, grandmother and grandfather could fulfil their aspirations com­pletely. The Buddha, out of his great compassion, dwelled in the king’s delightful garden. Humans, Devas, and Brahmās came to revere him there and with great compassion he taught them what he had realized himself. In just one short moment innumerable humans, Devas, and Brahmās achieved their aspirations. And after this it went on and on. The good time for all the people with noble aspirations had come! The time at which there is a Buddha or his Teaching is the good time. Human life, life as a Deva or a Brahmā, is a good life. Good effort is called the effort that is established after one has received the Teachings. And what are the Buddha’s Teachings? They are what is contained in the Tipiṭaka and what is preached and explained by noble disciples out of loving kindness and compassion. They are very extensive, profound and difficult to understand. Though they are extensive, profound, and difficult to understand, they really are just one thing: the way of escape from suffering.

They are expounded by the wise in short and in full as time permits, and everyone has knowledge of them according to his capabil­ity. You all have some understanding of the Tipiṭaka in accordance with your capabilities. If you were to talk about what you know it would never end.

But you have to establish strong effort and focus your mind on one object according to the Teachings of the Buddha, as I said, and keep out all other objects. When you fix your mind on one object exclusively, with strong and stable effort, then you will be established in the Teach­ings. Isn’t that so?

U Ba Khin: Yes sir.

Sayadaw: To establish your attention thus is effort (viriya). When you fix your attention on one object and no other object enters your mind and your attention is stable, you reach viriya-iddhipāda. Because the Teach­ings are so extensive you may think it tiresome to practise them. That is why I instruct you in this way that you can reach the goal quickly.

What happens to the causes of suffering — lobha, dosa, and moha (greed, aversion, and delusion) — when you control your mind in this way?

U: They are cut out and become quiet.

S: People write and preach a lot about lobha, dosa, and moha. Don’t they? When they debate, they talk only to win the debate, who­ever they are talking to. But if they establish awareness of breathing and make their minds stable they acquire real merit. Why don’t we try to do this?

U: Yes sir.

S: Will there be worry, fear, and greed at that time?

U: There won’t be.

S: No, there won’t; there won’t be any worry, fear, or greed. If there is worry, fear, or greed, are you happy or unhappy?

U: Unhappy, sir.

S: And if there is no worry, fear, or greed?

U: Then one is happy.

S: If one establishes effort only for one split second the viriya-iddhipāda arises. It excludes worry, fear, and greed, and there is happi­ness. There are types of happiness which are not related to the hap­piness achieved through the Buddha’s Teachings, but people still call them happiness. What sort of happiness am I talking about? I am talk­ing about the happiness of becoming a human being or Deva, of becoming a king, a rich man, a Universal Monarch, a Deva king, a Sakka, or a Brahmā. Of course their enjoyment is also called happiness … But let me give an example. If you were asked to bear the golden royal insignia and live in the golden palace of a country that abounded with gold, silver, gems, rice, water, and paddy that was plentiful in everything, would you accept this offer or not?

U: Of course I would accept.

S: Of course you would accept. This country is so rich that there is absolutely nothing missing. So you would live wearing your crown in your golden palace smiling all the time. So I think, smiling like that all the time, you would enjoy yourself; you would be happy, wouldn’t you? Would this happiness keep worry, fear, and wanting away?

U: No, it wouldn’t.

S: Oh, really?

U: It wouldn’t, sir.

S: I mean at that moment, you see.

U: It wouldn’t.

S: Why are they all smiling and happy then?

U: Somebody could try to usurp the kingdom. If something hap­pens in his territory he would have duties to fulfil.

S: There is nothing like that. This country is so good that there is no danger or worry of that kind. It is a very peaceful country. There is no problem at all; everything is calm and quiet. It is that kind of country. No troubles at all; you just have to live in the golden palace wearing your crown. You simply live there with your ministers, troops, concubines, and wives. You live always with a smile on your face. Will worry, fear, greed, and anxiety be kept at bay in these circumstances? You are always smiling and happy. So, do you think there is any worry?

D: There will be, sir.

S: Why?

D: Because there is the fear of death.

S: Yes, there will still be the fear of death. But you are smiling still. What is this smiling? What are lobha, dosa, and moha?

U: They won’t be kept away.

S: Even smiles don’t keep them away?

U: No, sir.

S: What do smiles mean?

U: They indicate that the object of mind is lobha (greed).

S: Really? Is one happy if there is lobha?

U: No, sir.

S: Is lobha cool and pleasant?

U: No, it isn’t.

S: Is it kusala (skilful) or akusala (unskilful)?

U: It is akusala.

S: Are you happy when you are smiling as we just said?

U: No, sir.

S: But you are smiling great smiles, aren’t you? But you aren’t happy yet. You are king, aren’t you? Maybe you aren’t happy because you rule only one country? I’ll give you another one. So?

U: Even then I won’t be any happier .

S: Are you going to tell me that you don’t want another country?

U: No sir, I would take it.

S: You would take it, but still not be happy. Well, I won’t give you just another country; I’ll give you the whole continent. Will you tell me that you don’t want it?

U: No, sir.

S: So, will you be happier then?

U: I won’t be happier.

S: Really? All right, I won’t give you just another continent, but the whole planet and the Jewel of the Wheel of the Universal Monarch. Now, there won’t be any worry or fear. With the turning of the Jewel of the Wheel you will become a Universal Monarch. Will you be happy now?

U: I won’t, sir.

S: Will you feel calm and cool?

U: I won’t.

S: Why not, disciple?

U: There is still the burning of lobhadosa, and moha.

S: Oh, is it still there?

U: It’s still there.

S: So you aren’t happy yet. Well now, what about Sakka, the Brahmās, and the Deva kings?

U: The same applies to them also.

S: We said they were happy and now you tell me the contrary?

U: The objects of their minds are lobhadosa, and moha.

S: Oh really? Let it be. If one lives to a ripe old age always smil­ing and then dies smilingly, will he find peace in the cycle of births and deaths?

U: He won’t find peace.

S: Where will this smiling fellow go?

U: When the (good) kamma of this smiling person comes to an end, his fate will turn.

S: Yes, and where will this smiling fellow end up?

U: Because of his smiling, the mind will be controlled by lobha, and he is destined for the lower worlds.

S: Oh really … I thought that being happy was good, disciples. Is it not good? I have to ask you, “Is it good?”

U: (Laughing) No, it isn’t.

S: OK, we are not happy yet. But when I asked whether we would be happy later on, you said no. There was no peace, you said.

U: There is no peace.

S: So, now there is no peace; what about later? Will it become just a little bit better?

U: It won’t improve, sir.

S: What will happen, in the lower planes …

U: We will go to the lower planes.

S: Really? So, there is no peace now; there won’t be any after. Which is worse?

U: It will be worse later.

S: Oh … We all thought we were quite all right, but not so. But now we’ve got the Teachings of the Buddha and we can have as much of it as we want, can’t we?

U: We can.

S: Endowed with the ability to accept the Teachings we can take up one technique with steadfastness. Will the happiness that derives from this practice become less the more we use it, the more we practise?

U: It won’t.

S: Will it ever be exhausted?

U: It won’t.

S: Oh, really? My word, this thing is good. Isn’t it, my dear disciples? And if we use it all the time, continuously, will it then get used up, will it come to an end?

U: It will neither diminish nor get used up.

S: Wait a minute. We shall keep our attention focused while we are sitting like this, but while we are standing, can we still practise this?

U: We can.

S: And when we are walking?

U: We can.

S: Yes, we have to carry the burden of our body. It is not the same as other worldly possessions. When you work hard to acquire various jewels and gold and are successful, you will store them away in a certain place, I think. But having acquired our body and mind, the five khandhas, is it possible to live with ease, happily and without making great efforts?

U: It isn’t possible.

S: We have to shoulder our burden. We can’t rest for a short moment even, can we? And for whom do we have to shoulder the burden of our bodies without ever taking rest?

U: For ourselves.

S: For the five aggregates.

U: For the five aggregates, sir.

S: Yes we have to work, disciples. If I practise this awareness a lot, then I don’t want to miss the happiness that derives from it. Isn’t it possible to practise this all the time?

U: It is possible, sir.

S: This is very good. Will it diminish?

U: No, sir, it won’t.

S: Is it tiresome to keep up this awareness?

U: It isn’t tiresome.

S: Will you use up material goods you have saved up?

U: No, sir.

S: You won’t. What about your work; will it be disturbed?

U: It won’t be disturbed.

S: Will others know about our practice?

U: They won’t notice.

S: Oh, the other people won’t notice? Yes, disciple, when we have the Teachings of the Buddha and practise them continuously, when we are able to focus our mind on the object, we won’t get tired, will we?

U: We won’t, sir.

S: We won’t spend anything; our work won’t be disrupted, and others won’t even notice. You receive the Teachings in no time and then you say to yourself, “Now I shall follow these Teachings.” When you have this volition and put forth effort then the viriya-iddhipāda factor will arise and you will arrive at the goal in no time. If you take up the practice now, will your progress be slow or fast, my disciples?

U: According to circumstances, sir, sometimes it will be slow, sometimes …

S: No! Wait, wait …

U: Yes, sir.

S: Never mind about this. If I focus my attention according to the Teachings and keep it with the awareness of respiration; isn’t this much possible?

U: It is possible.

S: Is this quick or slow?

U: It is quick, sir.

S: You see. If you establish effort, the viriya-iddhipāda factor arises. Can you say how quick this is?

U: Yes, sir.

S: Have you put your attention there and does it stay?

U: Yes, sir.

S: As I decide to put it there, it stays, doesn’t it?

U: It does.

S: So if it stays, you have reached happiness. Are you able to speak as quickly as this happiness is able to arise?

U: I am not, sir.

S: It is easy to achieve happiness if you want it.

U: Yes, sir.

S: This is the highest sort of kusala. Do you hear? This is the highest, the highest. Only if you have pāramī can you be born as a human and receive the Buddha-Dhamma. This type of kusala cannot be put in numbers. Do you understand? Then, the six qualities of the Dhamma are there; the qualities of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha. When the Buddha taught this, people understood. Among the six qualities of the Dhamma, akāliko is one, isn’t it? What does akāliko mean?

U: Immediateness.

S: Immediateness means that as soon as you fix your attention the results come. So, if you establish effort with intelligence the results come so quickly that you can’t say “there” quicker than they come. Or you can’t even think that fast. Is it so? If you establish awareness now, if you keep it here with your effort, happiness arises in the very same moment. This is immediate; who would have to question this any more?

U: Who would have to doubt his own experience?

S: Yes, when happiness has arisen there is no looking for it any more. The answer comes by itself, doesn’t it? It doesn’t take any time. All of you are bright people, and you have understood the Teachings of the wise and compassionate while still young, even before the words of instruction were complete. Though you understood, at times your mind will think as it pleases, but let us practise. What happens in the mind when we plan to practise to acquire kusala? “I’ll perform kusala later on; now I have to do this quickly.” Doesn’t this happen to you?

U: It does.

S: Is it good to think and speak like this?

U: No sir.

S: And then you make efforts and the viriya-iddhipāda factor has arisen. What is the right thing to do?

U: The right thing to do is to practise.

S: Yes. If you want to become happier and happier, you have to put forth effort as soon as you have received the instructions of the Buddha and have accepted them. Then the viriya-iddhipāda factor will arise. When you make use of this factor that arises in a split second, does it get consumed?

U: It doesn’t.

S: Does it diminish?

U: It doesn’t.

S: If you decide that the happiness you have is quite sufficient for now and the future and say, “I don’t want to progress,” can you practise and not progress?

U: One will progress.

S: If you practise not just for a short time, but longer, will you achieve only as much as you get out of a short period of practice?

U: One will get more.

S: This is good, disciple. This is possible because we are now in an auspicious era, because we are born into the right form of existence and because you make right efforts. The energetic get the true answer even without asking others. Very good. Do you hear? Isn’t this so?

U: It is so.

S: So, even if we live with this happiness all the time, it won’t diminish; it won’t be used up. And what happens if one doesn’t want to progress?

U: It isn’t possible not to progress, sir.

S: Yes. If you aspire to this there must be many different troubles. Is it possible to attain bodhi or not?

U: It is possible.

S: It is possible now and in the future. So let us say, “I don’t want to progress,” and then focus our minds. Is this possible?

U: It isn’t possible not to progress if we work.

S: Do we achieve greater happiness the more we work?

U: We do, sir.

S: We can attain bodhi and we can also choose the time and the place of birth. We can then choose a good existence as we wish. When you attain the happiness you desire, what else do you need.

U: Nothing else, sir.

S: You don’t need anything; you just have to choose. Is choosing tiresome?

U: It isn’t, sir.

S: You can attain it at any time. There are four stages to Nibbāna. Is it possible only for certain types of Ariyas (individuals who have attained one of the four stages)? Do we have to choose the state of Nibbāna?

U: No, sir.

S: What about the place?

U: It isn’t necessary.

S: Yes. All by yourself, without any help?

U: It’s possible.

S: And in a crowd? If you go outside the pagoda it won’t be possible, I think. It is easy, isn’t it? The Buddha, the all-compassionate and omniscient, taught many humans, Devas, and Brahmās the knowledge that he had attained through penetrating the truth himself. These beings, full of confidence after receiving the Teachings, were able to fulfil their aspirations.

As you establish awareness you should establish continuous effort. There are many different types of people. Some are good at reciting or reading or preaching or explaining. I have no doubt about you, disciples; whomever you compete with, you will win.

U: Yes, sir.

S: Yes, though others are victorious in their talk, will they achieve anything if they don’t practise?

U: No.

S: So, what’s the difficulty? Talking is tiresome, isn’t it? All we have to do is to make efforts to bring to fruition the aspirations we have made and work as the wise ones of old did. Understanding that we have to take up this work, our minds will be focused. You are very busy. You may say, “We will practise later when we are free.” Does this thought come up still?

U: It does.

S: Sometimes the mind is like that. But I think you don’t actually say so?

U: We might, sir.

S: You even speak your mind?

U: We do.

S: Well, if you want to say this, never mind. But for the future can’t you burn these impurities out? You have the Teachings of the Buddha. When this happens to you, [when you want to procrastinate,] get rid of your doubts. Strive to find the answers without asking others. If you focus right now, won’t you get the answers immediately? Isn’t this possible?

U: Yes, it is possible, sir.

S: It is possible to focus as you sit here.

U: Yes sir, it is.

S: Is it also possible to maintain the happiness you achieve in this way when you are standing up?

U: It is, sir.

S: Yes. And when you walk?

U: It’s possible then, too.

S: Yes, see, it is always possible.

U: If a person is able to maintain awareness, it’s possible.

S: What ability do you need? There is nothing difficult in it. Or is it difficult after all?

U: Once a person has acquired proficiency in this, it isn’t difficult anymore.

S: He says that it is not possible to simply focus here. Just put your attention here. That’s all. Well, isn’t that easy?

U: It is easy, sir.

S: It is ever so easy … The Buddha is incomparable. He accumu­lated virtues without ever resting. He completed his pāramīs on his own, working for the welfare of all, didn’t he?

U: Yes, he did.

S: And because he could fulfil the pāramīs it is easy for us now, isn’t it? It is easy. How is it today? You have to raise yourself up happi­ly and complete your work. Then, depending on what your aspirations are, you simply take the bliss you desire. It is very easy. Don’t be modest. Don’t allow yourselves to think, “This is not possible for me”, “This is not suitable for us”, “This is not proper for us”, “This is not for me.” Aim at what you desire. You will get it. Isn’t this so?

U: Yes, it is, sir.

S: In the days of the Buddha, too, Devas and Brahmās came to the Buddha, worshipped him, and after they received his Teachings, they achieved everything; they completed all their various aspirations, didn’t they?

U: They did.

S: Isn’t it possible to fulfil your aspiration by establishing unwavering effort while you are a king? Can we count the names of kings who attained complete understanding of the Dhamma?

U: They are without number, sir.

S: Many wealthy people made efforts and attained understanding while continuing their work in business, didn’t they?

U: They did.

S: Isn’t this possible?

U: It is, sir.

S: Can you count how many wealthy people have done this?

U: No, sir.

S: What about the people who were neither kings nor rich people.

U: They are innumerable.

S: All those who received the Teachings and who followed them assiduously fulfilled their wishes, didn’t they?

U: They did.

S: Humans and Devas alike, all of them, lay disciple! What about today, lay disciple? The period is the same, the occasion is the same, the plane of existence is the same. If we simply establish our effort and accept the Teachings, do we still have to choose certain times to practise?

U: There is no need for that.

S: Really?

U: That is correct, sir.

S: Yes! The time and the form of existence is right. You can achieve your aspirations when you wish, can’t you?

U: That is correct sir.

S: Yes! Do you understand? Before, they didn’t practise because they were busy. How is it with this “I’ll practise when I’m free”? Do we still have to set times like this?

U: It is not necessary to set aside certain times.

S: What happens if we practise only when we are free? If we stop the practice, then we won’t attain what we ought to attain. But now, we do our work and something else as well: we also fulfil our aspirations. We get two things done at the same time, don’t we, lay disciples? What is better: to get one thing done or to get two things done at the same time?

U: It is better to get two things done at the same time, sir.

S: You see? It’s worth keeping yourself busy. But, even though I say it’s worth keeping yourself busy, don’t start enjoying being busy just for the sake of being busy — if you want to realize the Teachings, I mean. Don’t just keep running around all the time. If you establish viriya at the same time, the viriya-iddhipāda factor will arise. Make yourselves firm in this. If you say that you want to do this work but go on distracting yourselves here and there, your progress will be slow. On the other hand, if you establish this awareness and keep it up, working happily, then you will make progress. what about this work that you can’t avoid having to do?

U: We will also make progress with that.

S: Yes, lay disciples. Not only do you get results in this noble work, you get much more besides. What I say is what the Buddha taught. I’m not adding anything.

Now, you are all people making great effort, aren’t you? I just wanted to warn you. What I just mentioned [about being too busy] can happen at times.

When you have holidays, you decide to come here and meditate for a few days. Then you have to go back to work and don’t get time off anymore. You don’t come back. Does this happen sometimes?

U: Yes, it does.

S: Then you abandon the meditation, I think, don’t you? Don’t abandon it. Carry on with this awareness and at the same time do your work. Then you get two things in one go. You get two. If you postpone the work until your hours of leisure, you only get one benefit. The aspirations you are fulfilling are not ordinary ones, are they? You can attain to the highest, noblest bliss.

Now, what are these aspirations you are going to fulfil? There are the different forms of bodhiBodhi means the penetrative under­standing of the Four Noble Truths. If you establish effort, saying that you want to get it, you can fulfil all your various aspirations for bodhi right now. This is not ordinary.

How are you going to fulfil your aspirations? Each type of bodhi has to be fulfilled in its own way: sammā-sambodhi as sammā-sam­bodhipacceka-bodhi as pacceka-bodhi. We must understand it in this way if we are to understand it correctly. It is like planting a mature seed. When it rains, a plant springs up. Here, the plant is nursed well, when you go back home, it has deep roots and is strong.

Is it possible to describe how good this period, this time, is? It is so easy now, lay disciples! Tell me, is this a period when one is oppressed by worries and has to groan and moan?

U: No, sir.

S: Is it a period when we can only stare resignedly?

U: No, sir.

S: It is a period when we can be happy and blissful immediately, when we can never get enough of this joy. You get even more than you wanted. You get even more than you aspired to, don’t you, disciple?

U: Yes, sir.

S: Oh yes. You never get tired, not in the present and not in the remainder of saṃsāra. What are the Teachings of the Buddha? There is nothing in the Teachings that causes stress and misery, is there? There isn’t! It is pure happiness!

There is one thing, however: the mind may get confused with many thoughts, and I don’t think that these thoughts are very pertinent. Now, if you determine to establish this practice, then I don’t think that thoughts of doubt will remain at the back of your mind. Can you not be successful in this way? The mind will think what it wills. Let it! Follow the Teachings. Do you understand? When you arrive at the goal, you will probably find that it isn’t what you expected it to be. Doesn’t this happen to people?

U: It has happened many times, sir.

S: Yes, it happens. Dear lay disciples, I am telling you only a little. Those among you who work hard will think, “This monk is reluctant to tell us everything. He is probably very unwilling to part with his knowledge.” [Everybody laughs.] You will think, “This is much greater than he said.” When you strive for real happiness and in this way arrive at the goal, then you experience something that you can­not describe with all the words there are. Once you’ve decided, “I’ll strive so that I will know for myself,” then don’t procrastinate. Don’t delay. Do you hear? This is so elevated. It is so good, lay disciples. Work hard. Do you understand? You are all people of great effort, aren’t you?

U: Almost all of us, sir.

S: Yes. Good, good. Work hard, won’t you? You see, when you yourselves arrive at the goal — and for many of you even before that time — you can give this happiness to others. You will never feel reluctant to give.You will want to give a great deal of it, a great deal.

U: This is true, sir. In the course we are conducting now there are three or four students who, after about three days, cry with great sobs because they regret not having come here earlier.

S: Yes, it is like that.

U: They think, “I should have come earlier!”

S: Yes, this happens! Work hard in order to attain the highest. This place is very good.

U: It is a place to which you gave your blessings, venerable Sayadaw!

S: This is a nucleus. It is the first of many centres. Do you hear me? May this happiness spread slowly out from this place. Yes, yes, you must work hard, strive diligently. Working means that you must meditate at times, and then, at times, you will want to take rest. Does this also happen here?

U: It doesn’t, sir.

S: It doesn’t?

U: If the students start to meditate at 12.30, they come out of their meditation cells only at 5.00 p.m. At the beginning, they do take breaks, but after two or three days, they don’t come out for breaks anymore.

S: Yes, you see! It’s like that! The highest bliss cannot be described in words. But the mind is like a magician. Even though you may be meditating here like this, even though you may be meditating calmly, negative thoughts may arise: “Oh, meditation is so tiring! How can I achieve anything? I can’t.” Isn’t it like that?

U: It is just as you say, sir. They do think that way.

S: Yes. Your mind may be cheating you, but after having established right effort, there is no cheating yourself — or is that still possible?

U: No, sir, it isn’t.

S: It is only during the period before you really know that you can cheat yourself.

U: Yes, sir.

S: Even so, you may be saying to yourself that you meditate too long — so take rest now.