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 22/11/2011. Phần English transcript ở cuối bài. Link Youtube của bài nói ở đây: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtqfLZz3sHM
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: I’m currently going through some emotional hard time, sometimes I feel hopelessness or being upset for my situation throughout the day. So should I note it and put my whole thought into that experience until it goes away? Or should I just shift my mind onto the rising and falling of my stomach? I feel that I still haven’t let go of my loss, even though I’m using the meditation as a replacement.
Where did I hear this recently? Someone said a very similar thing, that on the chart here they were, they asked me a question. That meditation was kind of a means for them to escape the problem. So I was trying to explain, you know, they’re practicing and they keep thinking about these these thoughts keep coming back, right, and like the meditation is bringing them up or on. I was saying, well, isn’t it great that the meditation allows you to see these things? And he said, well, no meditation I guess it gives me some kind of relief sometimes. And kind of as you say, it’s like a replacement or a means of shifting the attention away from the experience or a means of finding peace in hard times. But I said right away, directly in response, that that’s not what meditation is for. Meditation is for you to learn about your problems and to learn about what it is that you’re experiencing.
So it’s not quite an answer to your question, but something that I would question in your mind and be sure of yourself that that you’re not doing this, that you’re not expecting something of meditation. And in general, that’s really one of the big, key points that we have to understand in terms of meditation is that we really shouldn’t expect to get anything out of meditation. That we shouldn’t expect to create anything out of meditation. We’re trying to take what is already there and understand it and straighten the mind. The Buddha said straighten the mind. Well, that means straighten out our habits and our reactions and our ways of responding and reacting to things, as opposed to interacting, as opposed to being with. That isn’t an answer to your question. But it is something that I would talk about, I would try to stress based on the fact that you you’re saying you’re using meditation as a replacement. Meditation is for the purpose of coming to terms with your emotional, hard time, the emotional stress and difficulty. Maybe I’ll address the question and then turn it over to the panel. There are other panelists.
Let me just briefly give some pointers here. Because the question is quite direct. You know, should you know that all the time or should you put it aside and go back to the stomach? You can really do either.
There are no hard and fast rules, but you have to assess what is the result of doing one or the other. If you’re able to be mindful of it and actually if you’re able to be mindful of it, it should dissolve quite quickly. It may be that you’re not able to be mindful of it. And then after a while, it makes you so stressed out that it actually brings on more stress in your mind and and gets you to a point where you feel like you’re going crazy. If at that point you decide, you’ve been acknowledging it for some time, it’s not going away. It’s overwhelming and so on. You can come back to the stomach, start with the stomach again. And something like starting over. What you don’t want to do is avoid it. You don’t want to, you know ,I’m not going to touch that. I’m not going to be mindful of it. It’s just too difficult. It’s like getting a running start. You’ll start back way back, back up and start here rising, falling. And then when it comes up again, slowly, slowly, catch it piece by piece, until you’re able to face it head on. And there are other techniques as well. It doesn’t mean you have to come back to the stomach.
One of the greatest techniques when a person is overwhelmed by something is to do lying meditation. Because, as I said, that’s where you’re the most relaxed. When you’re stressed, when you’re overstressed, you can try doing lying meditation. It’s a way of retreating from the stress, finding something that’s easier for you to deal with. OK, this is easier. Still maybe you have some of the emotions, but you’ll find that there is easier to deal with. They’re not as intense. Because you feel more peaceful, you feel better lying down, more relaxed, as an example. You can stop meditating, take a break, come back and try again and so on. But there are no hard and fast rules in that sense. But I would like to have answers from other people, so. Maybe you have some thoughts on this.
[Bhikkhuni] Yes, I do. I think you should be very open with the moment to see what is necessary … sometimes when you note upset and hopelessness for a long time and it doesn’t go away, it is not good to stay there, because you eventually start to indulge it without knowing it. And you think you’re just noting it, but you’re kind of feeding it with it and you feel good in it. And you have not noticed that yet. So in such a case, when it does not go away, it might be good to focus on something else. Because there is always something that can be prominent as well. And when you go back to the rising and falling, for example, in my experience, it brings you a good stability. When I’m, for example, lost in emotions, of course it happens, and it’s kind of whirling around and I can’t really catch it or it’s too much. Then going back to the rising and falling of the stomach brings me I called it the other day, kind of in the eye of the hurricane, there, it’s peaceful and you are alert and you can, from that position, observe what is going on around without getting hurt by it or without getting carried away by it. So, yeah, I think it’s good from time to time to go back to the rising and falling then.
[Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu] Sure. I think there’s really no hard and fast rule. And you roll with the punches. You consider you’re in a boxing match. There’s no answer whether should I punch or should I dodge. Sometimes you have to dodge. Sometimes you have to punch. Sometimes you have to even take a punch. And sometimes you get knocked down and you get back up again. So that’s the song goes. But I think you shouldn’t have a hard and fast rule, and that’s what I would caution against. Because suppose someone takes the hard and fast rule that when these things come up, I’m going to go back to the stomach. If you take that as a rule. Then it’s easy to see how it might lead to developing aversion towards it or a habit of avoiding the experience. If you force yourself or you take it as a rule that you have to stay with it, then it can drive you crazy. And it can lead you to not want to meditate. It can lead you to feel incapable of finding any benefit in the meditation. Even entering into the jhana in that sense is good. Mahasi Sayadaw said if you practiced jhana before, then it’s great because you can go back and feel peaceful again and get your confidence back up and go out and fight. But the other thing I would say is that actually staying with it and suppose it makes you really angry and upset. Because this is often what happens, we give the meditator an entire day to themselves and we’re not there sitting with them, telling them what to do. So they do everything wrong. They’ll go way to this extreme, way to that extreme. And it’s actually not that big of a deal as long as you have a teacher to pull you back on track. Because it teaches you something.
So, the meditator says, oh, I was sitting with it and so it just made me more and more angry. And then you can say, well, what’s it like to be angry. Now you know what it’s like to be angry for a whole day. So what we’re trying to do is learn. And the best thing you can learn is from your mistakes. It takes a long time. But you learn from your defilements really.
[Bhikkhuni] Sometimes you have to go through these things to really get over them, to be so fed up with them, just to know them again and again. And then you thought, oh, I got over it and then you it comes up again and you know that again. Then, at one time, at one point, there comes the moment when you really get fed up with it, when you let go of it. Because you just saw it enough.
[Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu] But I think the key to all of these answers is that you have to be dynamic. You should never have a hard and fast rule. I mean, how long is the path? And you’ve got to know every trick in the book to get through it.
[Bhikkhuni] But can we say that [Pali] right effort is a good measurement for that.
[Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu] [Pali]? I believe the word they use is [Pali]. You know this one? [Pali] is knowing the right thing to do at the right time is having all these tricks, you know.[Pali] it’s the word that they used in the Mahayana to explain or in some Buddhist’s were used to explain the doing of evil deeds for a good purpose. I’ve heard this argument that this is that argument about lying to save someone’s life, for example. This is considered skillful, means doing an evil deed for the purpose of goodness. But that’s not how it’s understood in the early text. [Pali] Kusala means wholesome or skillful. [Pali] means a device or a means I guess is a strategem you could say. And it’s this kind of thing where what do you do when you’re really stressed out. If you know the [Pali], it’s to lie down. Because lying down is actually something we tell meditators not to do it. It’s not a good thing, but in certain instances, it’s the right thing to do. When you’re really stressed out, do lying meditation. There was one monk, this crazy monk that I always refer back to who slit his wrists, lit himself on fire. At one point he came to our teacher and you got to hand it to Ajhan Tong. Nothing can face this. This monk came up to him and Ajahn Tong says ‘how’s walking, how’s sitting’. He says, I can’t walk. I can’t do walking. Well, fine then just sitting. And he says, and I can’t sit. Just do lying meditation. I can’t lie down and he was explaining why he can’t walk, why he can’t see, why he can’t lie down. And the rest of us are like, what’s he going to do that? And he says, then do standing meditation. And he goes, yeah, I can do standing, and he ended up doing standing meditation. He couldn’t lie down because he was going crazy, really, he was contorting himself into all these shapes. The things I had to deal with this guy. This was an interesting, experiencing psychology.
[Bhikkhuni] May I come back to the [Pali]. Because it is when I remember correctly, it to raise the wholesome states that are there and the wholesome states that haven’t arisen, yeah, [Pali] develop them, the ones that are already there and [Pali] protect them. The evil states that are already there [Pali] abandon. The evil states that are not yet there. Maybe that’s unlucky. I can’t remember a guard against the.
So I’m clear what you’re saying, that from so from time to time, you do one or the other is the idea?
[Bhikkhuni] Yeah, I thought having that in mind as a measurement for the meditation in general.
But there is a better teaching that is more from time to time is because [Pali], it’s difficult. Because it actually is supposed to all come together at the same time. It’s all being mindful, really does all of that at once. It can be seen in that way. But there’s there’s one really good teaching that I think is given in several places. Probably it’s in the [Pali] that I’d like to find it again. The Buddha says a skillful meditator or a skillful monk knows when it’s appropriate to encourage the mind, when it’s appropriate to discourage the mind, when it’s appropriate to keep the mind in a state of mind, stop it. And when it’s appropriate, there are these four different times. You really feel this as a teacher. When you’re teaching people meditation, you have to be exact. So sometimes the meditators will come to you and you have to say, yes, good, keep going. Encourage them or more like, no, no, you’re doing fine. That’s really not a problem. You’re learning more. See, you learn more about yourself, encouraging them. Sometimes you have to discourage them that come to you and say, wow, I had a great meditation and say, oh, yeah, you like it. Oh, I like it. I really like I loved it. Do you know what liking is? Liking well, that’s… that’s greed. Is greed a good thing? What is greed lead to? It leads to addiction. Don’t like. No need to like things and so on. Pull them back. Sometimes you have to be, you know, keep them on course. It’s kind of it’s playing this game. But this is how the Buddha taught us to teach us to train ourselves. When the mind wants to leap out to something, you have to be able to pull it back. When the mind is lazy or so, and you have to have ways of encouraging it. For example, contemplation of death, reminding yourself we’ve only got a short time to live and so. That’s a really good teaching. I’m not sure about [Pali]. Obviously it can be interpreted in that way, as from time to time doing one or the other. But most important to [Pali] is to see the our effort is comprehensive and also to see effort is not being just push, push, push. Right? You have to be able to… It’s about balancing and it’s really all about developing mindfulness to overcome the defilements. Do you have a wholesome state of mind?