Được dạy bởi Sư Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu
Dịch Việt: Việt Hùng
Lời người dịch: Trong các bài Hỏi & Đáp như vậy, tôi sẽ chủ yếu dịch thoát ý, chứ không chặt chữ. Một mặt đây là việc tôi làm để có thể nghiền ngẫm phần trả lời của Sư Yuttadhammo. Một mặt, tôi chia sẻ lại đây, và hy vọng nó hữu ích cho các thiền sinh Vipassana tham khảo.
Bài pháp ngắn này được đăng tải trên Youtube vào ngày 31/03/2012. Phần English transcript ở cuối bài. Link Youtube của bài nói ở đây: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WbVst7XdZs
Mặc dù đã cố gắng tốt nhất trong khả năng của mình, tôi chắc chắn không thể ghi xuống được một cách chính xác 100% tất cả các từ ngữ, đặc biệt là các từ Pali mà Sư đề cập trong bài pháp. Tôi sẽ tiếp tục cập nhật bản ghi, bất cứ khi nào tôi thấy được những điểm còn thiếu sót.
Con xin thành kính đảnh lễ tạ ơn Sư Yuttadhammo về bài pháp thoại ngắn quí báu này. Con nguyện cho Sư được mọi thuận lợi và sức khoẻ trong hành trình tâm linh của Sư.
Các bạn có thể tìm hiểu thêm thông tin của Sư Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu và các lời dạy của Sư tại trang web: https://www.sirimangalo.org/.
English Transcript (quickly jotting down)
Question: Is anatta something we can cultivate directly or does it come about indirectly. If directly, how does the self or ego not get involved?
Well, we don’t use words like directly or indirectly, I suppose. And I think what you mean by that do we actively work on an intellectual level, I would say to bring that about? Or do we do something else and the knowledge comes about?
I think it is indirectly. So I’m going to be able to avoid your whole if directly clause. Because I think it is indirectly. You don’t think about non-self. Let’s give it a whole overview of the practice that we do and then you’ll understand, I think. Hopefully it will help anyway. The practice that we follow is called Insight Meditation based on the four foundations of mindfulness. So there are two parts to the practice. We’re not practicing vipassana. You can’t practice vipassana, in an absolute sense or in a literal sense. You practice mindfulness. You practice looking at things as they are. And you practice seeing things as they are. You practice what is called [Pali], bare mindfulness of things specifically as they are. [Pali] means specifically. [Pali] means bear or just. [Sati] means mindfulness. So this one word that the Buddha uses to explain the meaning of the word sati, in this context, means to see things just as they are and have your full attention.
So this is what we tried to cultivate: the state of full awareness. Or this state of exact awareness or exact remembrance of things as they are. As a result of doing that, based on the body, the feelings, the mind and the dhamma, four foundations of mindfulness, there arises knowledge of impermanence, knowledge of suffering and knowledge of non self. Why? Because that’s the nature of these things. That’s how these things are. When we look at things and see things as they are, we can’t help but see their characteristics and their characteristics happen to be. So you could say it’s just by chance or it’s just how the world is formed or whatever happened to be: impermanent, unsatisfying, uncontrollable or they’re impermanent, suffering, and non self. And so that’s where non self comes in. It comes about as a realization of seeing things as they are. Like our teacher said, when you see a tiger, you see its stripes. You don’t have to look at the tiger and see where it’s stripes or how do I find its stripes or does this tiger have stripes? As soon as you see the tiger, you can’t help but in seeing the tiger to see it straight.
So the same goes by seeing the characteristics of reality. You could still argue that any practice of meditation is egotistical. The ego is getting in the way. Because there is the intention to do it. And this just goes back to the desire. It goes back to forcing. And there was even one monk who went so far, and he’s quite a famous monk in Thailand who said mindfulness is non self. So the idea of developing it is therefore fallacious. It’s not proper for a person to try to develop mindfulness because it’s non self. This is clear from the Abhidhamma, from the Buddhist teaching. So you have a big problem there. So his theory was just to have people sit near him and they’d become mindful by approximation or by association. And there’s kind of something to that in terms of things are rising by themselves. But it’s such a dangerous thing and I can’t help but think that it’s going to lead his students astray and caused them to be lazy and to waste a lot of time to get very little results. Because, well, they’re sitting there next to him waiting for the mindfulness to arise and waiting for wisdom to arise, they could be actively developing it. And as a result, getting very good results.
During the practice, you don’t want to be pushing it. You don’t want to be actively, you know, forcing the mindfulness to arise or so on. But there is a inclination of mind that has to come about an investigation. The mind has to make the choice that instead of following concepts and ideas and judgments and so on, instead it’s going to follow the reality and focus on the reality. To say that there is no self and there is no soul, as I said, is just to denounce those things that have no bearing on reality. Experience is not automatic. It’s not to say that there is not a choice made. There is, in fact, choice made at every moment. We make a choice between many different things at every moment, with the we, with the I is irrelevant. The idea, whether it be a soul, self or this or that, these are all I have no basis. It is what it is. There is the experience and the experience is made up of choices. If we make a choice to judge something, then there is the choice of judgment arises. If there is the choice of of seeing things as they are, then there is that choice. If you don’t take that choice, then the habits in the mind are going to lead you or you’re making a choice anyway and you make a choice when you choose to do nothing.
And so, if you were to make the argument that the ego gets in the way every time you meditate, then it’s a misunderstanding of what we mean by by non existent of ego. We don’t mean that there is no choice and no effort to be made in the present moment of any kind. What we mean is that things like ego and self and me and mine don’t have any place in reality. Because there are no entities. There is only experience. But that experience is very personal and is very individual. So, there are moment to moment choice. At any moment, you can verify this by saying, now, I’m going to make a choice and choosing something at any moment. Especially when you practice meditation, you can see that in fact, we are quite empowered. That at every moment we can make a choice to be mindful or to to cling.
[Bhikkhuni] I would like to point out something about how your question is put, is anatta something we can cultivate? That in itself is not. Cannot be said directly or indirectly. Because it’s neither nor. Anatta is not something that we can cultivate. Anatta is a state of mind or is an insight that arises in your mind that you can understand, you can see through you. You can understand that something is out of control, without being possible to be controlled. That there is no such thing within yourself or outside yourself that could be controlling anything. So, the way you write your question is already, I don’t want to say wrong, but kind of wrong. Because it’s misleading. It’s coming from the point that anatta is something, the opposite of atta. And it is not that. Anatta is that there is nothing.
[Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu] Giving up the idea of anatta. Just like impermanence is not a thing that exists. It’s giving up the idea that there is permanent things that exist. You see that there is no permanent things that exist. And suffering is giving up the idea of finding satisfaction.
[Bhikkhuni] So you can’t really cultivate it. What you can do is you can cultivate your mind. You can practice mindfulness and you can do vipassana meditation and understand anatta.
[Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu] Let go of atta. I mean in the end, if you want to understand Buddhism, simply it’s as the Buddha said, it’s quite simple, giving up clinging. What are these things people always wonder? What are these things, impermanent suffering and non self? When am I going to see them? They’re letting go, when you see this stuff is garbage, it’s useless, it’s meaningless, it has no benefit to me. There’s nothing in the world that when I cling to it is going to bring me happiness.
It’s so simple that we miss it and we want to read more and we want to where’s the real stuff? And start reading the Buddhist books and these huge books and all of the Buddhist teaching that is gathered together trying to find the essence. The Buddha said on the first page: four noble truths. What is suffering is to be understood, the causes of suffering is to be abandoned. So all you have to do is look at things and see that they’re suffering. Once you see that they’re suffering, you let go of them. That letting go is the realization of impermanence, suffering, and non-self. It’s a realization of a lot of things. And the Buddha just gave the salient points, these impermanence, suffering and non self. It’s realizing that things are not beautiful. It’s realizing that things are not stable, that things are not controllable, that they’re not maintainable. They’re not reliable. They’re not meaningful in so many different things. It’s a realization they’re useless, basically. [Pali] This is the first thing all you need to know to start practicing the Buddhist teaching, to start practicing mindfulness is that no Dharma’s are worth clinging to. That’s enough, that’s enough theory to get you started on the practice.