Extract 7 - Words of Wisdom - Always Enunciated by Ven. Webu Sayadaw

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

After you have taken the vow of sīla (morality), fulfil it. Once you have fulfilled it, all your wishes will be fulfilled. It will bring happiness to you now and also in the future.

There is nothing besides the words of the Buddha that will bring peace and happiness to one in the present existence as well as in future lives in saṃsāra. The words of the Buddha are embodied in the Tipiṭaka, the three baskets of knowledge. The Tipiṭaka is voluminous, so we must take the essence of it. The essence of the Tipiṭaka is the Thirty-Seven Factors of the Bodhi-pakkhiya-dhammā (the Requisites of Awakening). The essence of the Bodhi-pakkhiya-dhammā is the Noble Eightfold Path. The essence of the Noble Eightfold Path is the three sikkhas (trainings), and the essence of the three sikkhas is Eko Dhammo or the One and Only Dhamma.

The three sikkhas are adhisīla (higher morality), adhicitta (higher mentality), and adhipaññā (higher wisdom).

When one is mindful of rūpa and nāma (mind and matter), there will be no physical and mental violence. This is called adhisīla (higher morality).

When adhisīla develops, the mind becomes concentrated and tranquil. This is called adhicitta (higher mentality, higher concentra­tion)

When adhicitta (concentration [samādhi]) develops, one gains insight into the real nature of rūpa and nāṃa. In a flash of lightning, nāma-rūpaundergoes incessant change billions of times. This ever-changing process is beyond the control of any Deva or Brahmā. One who knows by insight the process of becoming and cessation achieves adhipaññā (higher wisdom).

The most obvious thing to one and all is the breathing process. The nose is a prominent part of the body. The out-breath and the in-breath are always touching the nostrils.

The nostrils are the sensitive part of the nose which the out-breaths and the in-breaths touch as they come out or go in. In other words, the wind element or element of motion comes into contact with the nostrils, producing a sensation. Both the wind element and the nostrils are rūpa, and it is nāma that knows the contact or sensation. Ask no one what rūpa and nāma are. Be mindful of the nostrils. One knows the sensation of breathing in. One knows the sensation of breathing out. Keep on knowing the in-breath and the out-breath and there will be no chance for lobhadosa, and moha (greed, hatred, and ignorance) to arise. The fires of lobhadosa, and moha remain extinguished and the result is calm and peace of mind.

One cannot know the sensation before contact is made. One can no longer know the sensation when the contact has disappeared. One must take notice of the actual contact. This is called the immediate present.

Be mindful of the present continuously. If you can keep on know­ing the present for twenty-four hours at a stretch, the good results will be evident. If you cannot be mindful of what is taking place at every moment continuously, you will fail to notice what happens in a flash of lightning and find yourself on the debit side.

If you are mindful of the contact of the breath on the nostrils, you will realize that there is only rūpa and nāṃa. Besides rūpa and nāma, there is no such thing as I, he, or you; there is no self, no man, no woman. You will know for yourself that the Buddha’s Teaching is the truth, only the truth, nothing but the truth. You will not need to ask anyone about it. Awareness of the contact between the wind element and the tip of the nose produces there and then the knowledge that there is no such thing as attā, ego or soul.

At these moments of awareness, one’s ñāṇa (comprehension or insight) is clear. That is called sammā-diṭṭhi, Right Understanding or Right View. There is nothing else besides nāma and rūpa. This is called nāma-rūpa-pariccheda-ñāṇa, Analytical Knowledge of Mind and Body.

The continuous practise of this contemplation eliminates the notion of attā or self, and produces a clear vision or knowledge. This benefit is the result of momentary contemplation. Do not think it is not much. Do not think that nothing is known, that no benefit accrues during medita­tion. Such benefits can be gained only during the Buddha Sāsana. While meditating, forget about food and other necessities. Strive with diligence for progress in gaining the insight that will end in the realiza­tion of Magga-ñāṇa (Knowledge of the Path), Phala-ñāṇa (Knowledge of the Fruition State), and Nibbāna.

Published in Ven. Webu Sayadaw, The Essence of Buddha Dhamma, Yangon: Sāsana Council Press, 1978.