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 02/10/2011. Phần English transcript ở cuối bài. Link Youtube của bài nói ở đây: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdM8n3x9vi0
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: Ok, is mindfulness on the breath, a beginners practice? Isn’t the goal to be mindful of everything, not just the breath?
Well, it depends what you mean by mindfulness on the breath, mindfulness of the breath, I guess. I don’t… I’m not sure if I said it. I did another answer, another question. I think last week on, I think something of the sort why we focus on the abdomen. That’s what it was, right? So I did talk about it that the breath is a concept. So it’s not a matter of being a beginner’s practice. It’s a matter of being a conceptual practice, a practice that only has the potential ability to calm the mind. And it doesn’t by itself have the ability to clear the mind, to allow one to see clearly. Because it’s not focused on namarupa, which is related to the question I just answered. If you’re not focusing on namarupa, you’ll never get rid of this idea of self, the ego. You know, there are many meditative contemplatives out there who believe in yourself, who believe in God, who believe in the soul and so on, and have this this view. Because they haven’t seen namarupa. And they haven’t come to have this profound realization that it doesn’t matter what you talk about, if you talk about God or a soul or a self, what you’re really talking about is seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling and thinking which are all nothing more than namarupa. Mindfulness specifically or strictly about the breath is a samatha practice, a practice which only has the potential to calm the mind.
And now that doesn’t mean that what we generally call mindfulness of the breath can’t be used to see clearly. But if it’s the breath, specifically the breath that you’re focusing on, then it is. And for many people, this is the case. They focus on it and their mind becomes calm. That calm can be useful. It can be used to develop insight, but it doesn’t have to be. And many people don’t develop subsequently insight. And there’s content with the calm and they think they’re enlightened or so on and so on. But if you focus on the physical experience of the breath, and this is why we focus on the stomach rising, falling. Because that’s the breath. Anyone who says that’s not mindfulness in the breath is really being dogmatic. And this is what I was saying about the nose, right, last week. The stomach is equally mindfulness of breathing it. You know, if the texts say focus on the nose or focus on the stomach, it’s not really clear. But what’s clear in the text and what I didn’t mention I said it promised I was going to say last week was where the in the texts, they talk about mindfulness of the rising and falling in the abdomen. And it’s in one Sutta at least. But I have to look it up where else it is. It’s in the Sammaditthi Sutta, I believe if I’m not wrong, where story, Buddha talks about the winds in the body and it’s something that the Buddha has talked about. The wind in the body, the wind element. And it’s the rising and falling or sorry, the winds in the stomach. This is the part of the wind element. And so it’s a part of our physical experience and by wind means the pressure, so the pressure that comes in the stomach. And specifically mentioned in the Sammaditthi Sutta… I’m not a scholar by any means.
So if you’re focusing on that aspect of the breadth, the physical experience that relates to the breath, then it certainly is Vipassana, it’s insight meditation. And it’s not a beginners practice. Because one thing we have to realize in meditation is that we’re really not going anywhere. We’re not trying to get somewhere. The path is like this imploding path. The eightfold noble path doesn’t doesn’t take you somewhere. You’re not going out there. You’re coming back inside until the mind doesn’t go anywhere. Some people call it the inward path. And there’s the Buddhist publishing group in Malaysia called the Inward Path, which is a really good name. Because that’s where this path is leading. So there’s really no such thing as a beginners practice, anything that is useful in the beginning, if it’s really, truly useful, it’s going to lead you all the way.
And from the very beginning, the practice that you start with has the potential to take you all the way to the end. Because as long as it’s focusing on nama and rupa, it’s going to take you or it has the potential to take you all the way to the end. That’s one way of answering.
But, in practical terms, the problem with focusing on the stomach is not that that it’s not going to bring about insight and realization of the truth. The problem is that it’s not enough. And well, the idea of avoiding other things is a good point. But it’s not really the most important point. The most important point is that the mind is more active than that. And the mind will fail to, at least in the beginning, will fail to fully grasp the reality of what it’s experiencing. And because the mind is distracted and because the mind is running all over the place, especially in the beginning, that you have to give it some other objects to pay attention to. So I mean, in that sense, really, it’s true. And we never recommend for anyone to focus simply on the the abdomen. If you’re talking about someone, if you’re questioning about someone who practices anapanasati, then generally they’re practicing anapanasati for the purpose of gaining calm. And they have different theories on this as well. But mostly the ideas that they’re going to gain calm first. And if you’re going to gain calm, then, yeah, you do lose the rest. You’re trying to avoid them and you’re trying to ignore them. Because you’re trying to enter into a trance state or a state. Maybe not exact, maybe trance is pejorative word. But it’s sort of a trance. I mean, you’re trying to get your mind into a new level of experience, a conditioned level of experience. And that blocks out quite a bit. It cuts off quite a bit of our spectrum of experience.
On the other hand, if you read the Satipatthana Sutta, the discourse on the four foundations of mindfulness, it seems like the idea is to do the opposite. That if you feel angry or upset, then you know that you’re angry or upset. And therefore you do incorporate everything into your practice. That’s the practice that I teach. I would never, as I said, we don’t tell people to focus simply on the stomach. We use that as well. Yeah, as you said, the beginners practice. But what I was saying it’s not a beginners practice is that it has the potential to take you all the way. But maybe better than a beginners practice… it’s an example practice. It’s just one of an infinite number of practices that you could undertake.
Once you learn how to do that, then we start telling you, well, actually, in the beginning, we’ll tell you about the feelings, about the mind, about the dhamma. There are four satipatthana: kaya, vedana, citta,dhamma. If you’ve read my booklet on how to meditate, you will see that. I think I explained that quite clearly, that actually the abdomen is just an example. But why I stress in the beginning? Because what was on my mind was the the power of this, the rising and the falling. And I think a lot of people missed that. How incredible it can be to simply say to yourself, rising and falling and the profound insight that can come from it. Why I deny that it’s a beginner’s practice is because I don’t want you to think that just because, you know, it’s the first thing that we give you and then later we give you other practices that it was only the first thing or it was only the first step.
Simply watching the rising and the following can can lead you to enlightenment. And it certainly leads everyone who practices it to change the way they look at reality. And that’s often the problem. There’s one there’s one video I did that I was really happy about. Because it’s one that really needs to be done and needs to be said. It’s in regards to this. What was it called? Experience of reality or something. I titled it some silly name. But it was basically what is the meditation and all of those bad experiences that we have that are actually right practice. And basically, I hope in that video or I think in that video I talked about, how the rising and falling is a good example. Because it becomes stressful and it becomes unpleasant and we can’t control it and we try to control it. And therefore, we think this meditation is bad and terrible and wrong for us. And maybe we’re just not good at it. I love how my students from Thailand would always tell me, I’m just not suited to the rising and falling or I just don’t find it suitable. [Thai]. The word [Thai], which means I’m just not into it, basically, which is always funny. Because it means that they’re not having fun with it. It’s much more fun to count in one, out one, in two, … It’s much more peaceful, much more dependable. Because you know, that after one comes two and then three and then four. It’s quite reassuring, actually. But when you are rising, falling, you don’t know what’s going to come next. And so it forces you to let go.
That’s all I wanted to say. But it is the first thing we give and there’s a lot more that you can focus on. And in the end, you should really be focusing on everything. But don’t discard the rising and falling. Always come back to it. It’s a wonderful, fairly unique object. I suppose. It’s always there and it’s always there to teach you something, you know, and the layers of things that it can teach you is quite incredible.