America Burma Buddhist Association







The Practice of Bhavana, the Mind Development,

as Peaceful Prevention of Terrorism


Distinguished Guests, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a privilege to speak at this auspicious meeting to commemorate the memories of those we lost.

The horrific bombing of September 11, 2001 brought me to contemplate ways of prevention. My discussion today will focus on two kinds of mind development, loving-kindness and mindfulness meditation, which find their roots in the practice of Bhavana, the Mind Development.




Today is the fifth anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center. Thousands of innocent people lost their lives in this attack. It is significant to hold this meeting today as a memorial to those who died in the twin towers. Whenever we think about it, we feel unhappy, disturbed and sad because of the terrifying disaster we experienced. It is also a misfortune for us to lose the gigantic buildings, famous landmarks of New York, which were tourist attractions. There is no question that those who lost their family members in this disaster have the most painful feelings. We share their grief.

As a matter of fact, this is an act of violence that caused people a lot of anguish. Here we should reason, “What brings this problem? What creates this unpleasant situation?” According to the Buddhist viewpoint, violent actions are motivated by the unhealthy emotions of greed, hatred and delusion. People under the influence of these unwholesome mental states have the potential to act violent.

 These roots 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.



First, I would like to discuss the practice of the loving-kindness meditation. We should practice it mentally, verbally and bodily. We have to develop mental love by living in good thoughts of the welfare and happiness of all beings. We have to cultivate verbal love by telling truthful words, speech of unity, sweet, pleasant talks, and meaningful conversations. We have to practice bodily love by giving help, big or small, to people with what they need. Through this practice, we dwell peacefully without anger, hatred, jealousy, envy and conceit.

I would like to share the practice of the loving-kindness meditation with you. Thinking of the welfare and happiness of all beings, we recite these sentences for a few minutes.

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 here.”

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 of Mindfulness:

“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




Copyright © 2008  - All Rights Reserved

 America Burma Buddhist Association, New York, U.S.A.