of violence are latent in our minds since we were conceived in the womb. Whenever
conditions are right, they will become active in us by causing unpleasant
things, problems, conflicts, fights and wars. As long as these mental states
are latent in us, we can become as violent as those terrorists at any time.
Therefore, the cause of any problem, any conflict, is not a person but his
states of mind.
If we are to stop violent actions, we have to control our emotions through
proper means. The Buddha said, “Hatred is never appeased by hatred, hatred
is appeased by love. This is the eternal law. The victor breeds hatred; the
defeated lives in pain; the peaceful lives happily giving up victory and defeat.”
This is the Buddhist solution to violence.
The Buddha taught many methods for training of the mind. He did so for forty-five
years. The Buddha said, “Mind is naturally luminous, but it is debased by
greed, hate and ignorance, which causes it to commit acts of violence. A mind
associated with greed, hatred and ignorance is called an evil mind. A wholesome
mind is, in contrast, associated with detachment, good-will, and understanding.
It is calm, serene, pure and blissful. It is called a well trained mind. In
order to associate the mind with good mental states, we have to develop the
mind by practicing loving-kindness meditation and Four Foundations of Mindfulness.
May all beings
be free from enmity.
May all beings be free from hatred and anger.
May all beings be free from pain and suffering.
May all beings be happy and peaceful.
At the moment when we are developing loving-kindness meditation, we are free
from the emotions of anger, frustration, agitation, and hatred. Our minds
are at peace and we experience happiness. Universal love is unconditional
love, which has no boundaries, no limits. Such pure love embraces and touches
all living beings. If we dwell in loving-kindness, we would not be inclined
to hurt others, instead we will live harmoniously with them.
Concerning universal love, the Buddha said, “All beings are interrelated as
family members, close friends, teachers and students. All beings were relatives
at their long, beginningless stay in Samsara. Thus we should treat each other
as global family members living in a spirit of social peace and harmony.
I would like to recite an excerpt from the loving-kindness discourse:
“ May all beings be happy and secure. May their hearts be wholesome. Whatever
beings there are, feeble or strong, skinny, fat, or medium, or short, small,
or large, seen or unseen, those dwelling far or near, those who are born,
or those who are yet to be."
“May all beings without exception be well and happy. Let none deceive another
or despise any person whatsoever in any place. Let him not wish any harm to
anyone in anger or in ill-will. Just as a mother would protect her only child,
at the risk of her own life, even so let him cultivate a heart of boundless
love towards all beings. Let his thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole
world, above, below, and across, without any obstruction, without any hatred,
without any ill-will. Whether he is standing, walking, sitting or lying down,
as long as he is aware, he should keep this in mind. This is the highest conduct
Through the practice of loving-kindness, we live as the supreme beings who
live peacefully in love, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity.”
As my last part of speech, I would like to discuss about practice of Mindfulness
Meditation, which is a very important practice in the Theravada tradition.
We develop this meditation to train our minds. Our minds needs spiritual training
because the untrained mind is easily overwhelmed by greed, ill will, ignorance,
conceit, jealousy, envy, worry, restlessness, and skeptical doubt. These are
the driving forces behind conflicts. Once the mind associated with them, it
becomes wild, violent and deluded. Then the untrained mind behaves as a monkey
who cannot stay quietly and still even for a moment. It is always wandering
and flickering and hard to control. On seeing desirable things, greedy mind
arises; when it grows stronger, we try to get attractive objects by legal
or illegal means. When encountering unpleasant objects such as enemies, anger
arises; when the emotion gets stronger, we act violently. All these problems
are the results of the untrained mind. We train our minds through the practice
of awareness. It is a sound method, which is applicable to all of us.
We have to be aware of mental and physical activities occurring at the present
moment. These activities include sitting, standing, walking and lying down.
While sitting, we have to sit mindfully noticing that we are, “Sitting, sitting”.
While standing, stand mindfully knowing that we are, “Standing, standing.”
While walking, we have to walk mindfully, sensing the process of walking.
While lying down, we have to note that we are lying down.
We have six faculties in our body namely, eyes, ear, nose, tongue, body and
heart, the seat of mind. The Buddha taught to guard them from the defilements
arising through the sense faculties. Therefore, on seeing through our eyes,
we have to be aware of seeing consciously noting, “Seeing, seeing.” While
hearing, we apply awareness to hearing saying mentally, “Hearing, hearing.”
While smelling, tasting, touching and thinking we also have to be aware of
these processes. This is the way of living in the present moment without thinking
of experiences of the past and expectations of the future. We are just living
at the present moment, right now. Through staying in mindfulness of the present
moment, we can dwell without worry, greed, hatred, delusion, conceit, jealousy,
envy and anguish.
I would like to end my talk by reciting the introduction of the Four Foundations
“This is only way, bhikkhus, (monks) for the purification of beings, for the
overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of suffering and
grief, for reaching the right path, for the attainment of Nibbana, namely
the Four Foundations (four forms of Presence) of Mindfulness. What are the
four? Here a monk, ardent, clearly comprehending things and mindful, lives
observing the activities of the body, having overcome covetousness and repugnance
towards the world of body; observing feeling, having overcome covetousness
and repugnance towards the world of feeling, observing the activities of the
mind, having overcome covetousness and repugnance towards the world of mind;
observing mental objects, having overcome covetousness and repugnance towards
the world of mental objects.”
May you all practice the loving-kindness meditation and Mindfulness meditation.
May you all be happy and well.
Bhante Ashin Indaka
09/ 11/ 06