Luang Pow Panyavaddho
Wat Pa Baan Taad
Questions & Answers With Western Monks
10 January 2544/2001
Luang Pow Panya : Any questions?
Question: When you came to visit us in Chonburi you spoke about the
attitude of wisdom and the importance of developing it. What exactly do you
mean by this?
Luang Pow Panya: What that really means, if it's true wisdom, is that you've
got to see:
Sutamaya-Panya: which is learning,
Cintamaya-Panya: thinking about it and working it out in
oneself, and then,
Bhaavanaa-maya-Panya: and that is wisdom: that is the real
wisdom: and that's the difficult one to
get, because although the mind flips over into a different state, you see
things exactly the same but you receive them in quite a different way. It's
as though you see them and you see their nature. You see what they are in
thruth. This is only something you can experience yourself. Each person
should try to get there.
Generally, if you practice using a lot of wisdom, thinking about
things, trying to work it out, you'll get that state occasionally. It's as
though you suddenly see something with insight, with realization. And when
you see it you know it totally well. It's absolutely clear. Then within five
minutes it's gone obscure again. Then you want to get back to it and can't.
That's usually what happens. But you know at that time [of the experience of
insight], it's absolutely obvious. It's an axiom. It wasn't something you
had to think about—it was obvious—that's that.
But that state is unusual and difficult to get to. The thing that
blocks it off, of course, is the kilesas. Kilesas are blocking it all the
time. They're giving the wrong story. And the more one can get rid of the
kilesas, the easier that [experience of insight} gets. But it's not easy to
do at all. Some people who just have the right kamma, they can do it with
reasonable ease. Those are the people who can do it fast and easily—they're
pretty rare birds—you don't find many of them about now. Mostly it's hard
and difficult, hard and slow.
But attaining the state of wisdom is very important, because that's
the thing which destroys the kilesas . It gets rid of the kilesas by
undercutting them, because the kilesas are based on certain understandings
which are false. And when that falseness is removed, one sees the truth and
the kilesas can no longer stand up. They just dissolve. But the kilesas don't
like you doing this, so they fight back…and they know how to.
Question: When you're fighting kilesas how do you give rise to the warrior
Luang Pow Panya: It depends on one's character very much. Some people have
got something of the warrior spirit, some people haven't. The warrior spirit
is more for the people who've got somewhat of a tendency to hate. They can
bring it up fairly easily. But they have to be careful, because if it's
turned inwards it's alright, but if you turn it outwards, that's bad—that
makes a lot of kamma. That type of person has to be careful. Some people
when they try to develop the warrior spirit, it's just a lot of
contentiousness which isn't really the warrior spirit at all. One has to be
a bit careful with it. If you can develop it, it's very powerful and very
Question: When you mentioned about fighting kilesas and the kilesas fight
back—can you describe how you approach that?
Luang Pow Panya: First thing is mindfulness, because if you've got
mindfulness, you'll see them. When you see them you'll know how to apply the
antidote. If they're of a nature of hate, you can get rid of that with
mettaa or by developing calm through aanaapaanasati. If they're of the
nature of greed, then you can get through them with asubha. The asubha
method is very effective. If it's delusion, then just go and sit at the feet
of your teacher. Just go to your teacher, that's all.
The citta in that state of emptiness can take on any characteristics.
It's unlimited, it's free. And in fact it does—it takes on the
characteristics of the kilesas, and the rest of it. And then it has an
apparent movement. But its reality isn't affected.
I don't know if you understand the... [Laughing] You have to have a
mind a bit like a corkscrew... [Laugh]
What was the other thing I was talking about? Oh yes, you can't say
we haven't got a self because we've made it. It's there. We refer to it.
That reference, in fact, creates it. The self is there. And, I think the
self is the kilesas and that's all.
I visualize the self like one of those whirlwinds you get in Texas.
They come buzzing across the plateau and plains there, damaging everything,
whirling around and being an absolute nuisance altogether. But when you come
to look at it, all it is is air, nothing else. And when everything stops
whirling, where is it? You can't find it. It's gone. In other words, there's
no substance there. There's no entity there. It's existence is that
whirling. Its existence is the dynamic movement all the time… and the self's
like that. It's just whirling about all over the place, driven by the
kilesas and the citta. The citta empowers the kilesas; it's the one that
gives the power to them. The kilesas are rooted in it, so it tends to go in
the direction of the kilesas all the time—and it's like a whirlwind then!
But one can't say there is no self. But certainly there is no entity
of self, no permanent self. Nothing you can cut out and find and say, "there
it is," like that.
Question: Luang Pow, how does the function of awareness, fit in with the
self and emptiness? One usually associates awareness and knowing with a
sense of self. But when you speak about the pure citta...
Luang Pow Panya: Ah, the pure citta's for the arahant…
Question: So is the quality of awareness still there? (in the fully
awakened, pure citta?)
Luang Pow Panya: It may be or it may not, because the arahant doesn't need
these things. The arahant doesn't need to be mindful. These are all
You can see in the suttas, the Buddha says, "I set up mindfulness (sati)
before myself." Now if he was always mindful, why would it have been
necessary to set it up? It means he wasn't always mindful, because there was
no need to be. The arahant has done the job and he can sit back and relax.
He can put his feet up and take it easy. [Laugh]
Question: When you say 'pure citta' is it the same as Nibbaana?
Luang Pow Panya: Yes. It's there all the time. But it's covered up, covered
up like a…
Question: Ajahn, Tan Ajahn Yai gives the example of steps of a sala, for
the ariya puggala. The first stages are the first steps, you can see the
sala but you're not in there yet. The arahant is when you have both feet up
on the landing. I interpret that as only an arahant can fully experience
Luang Pow Panya: Yes. The thing is the nature of Nibbaana is emptiness. Now
when one has consciousness in this world, we can't become aware of
emptiness. So we can't know what it is, because we're always aware of
things, feelings, sensations. And everything we know is apparently separate
In other words, there's a duality. There's the one that knows and
there's the thing that's known, or perceived in whatever way. We never
really get into contact with the things at all. Because of that, we're
always in a sort of half-state where we want things, but we can never really
For example, say somebody wants a motor car, so they buy it and then
they say, "I've got it now," but in what way has it changed? Nothing
changes. All that changes is the idea in that person. The car's just the
same. To say "its mine" is just a way of speaking, it's a social way of
thinking. That's all.
Question: A lot of people are interested in the Dhamma, and knowing what
Dhamma is, but you were saying to actually know what Dhamma is you need to
study the kilesas?
LP.P : Yes, really speaking you do. Dhamma is very difficult. Dhamma, I
believe, comes from the Vedic root, 'dharati', which means the upholder. And
it's the upholder of everything. Dhamma is the supporter. It's the truth. It's
the way things work. If you actually do it right, you go in the right
direction. If you get to it truly, you go in the right direction. If you go
against it, you just get trouble within yourself, that's all. But to say
what it is, I don't think you can really. The very idea of what it is also
comes from dhamma—cutting itself—so you can't get to it that way.
But there are various ways in which the word Dhamma is used. That's
not the true dhamma, but there's the relative dhamma, and we talk about the
Buddha Dhamma. The Buddha Dhamma is really the teaching leading to Dhamma.
The teachings of the Buddha which lead one to get to Dhamma.
Most people tend to think of the Buddha's teaching as being either a
philosophy or a religion, or something of that sort. But it's not, it's just
a method. Because it's a method, you mustn't look for the absolute truth in
it. It's not there. Absolute truth is something you can't talk about. You
can't use words for it. The Buddha-Dhamma has been made up as a skillful
method for most human beings to enable them to change themselves and develop
themselves until they get to the point where they can, let's say, get to
Nibbaana, see the Truth, get to the Dhamma.
This is the way of it. One's just got to train oneself and then one
comes to see for oneself. If one tries to know what Dhamma is and what
Nibbaana is without getting there, you'll get some concepts and ideas, but
it won't be the real thing at all. It will just be ideas and symbols in your
own mind. T actually know for yourself, you have to get there, at least
once, more if you can do it. It seems that the stages of sotapaanna and the
rest are stages where Nibbaana has been, let's say, seen. It's not really
seen; but it's been experienced, let's say. Coming away from that, I'd say,
you can't remember anything of it, because there's nothing there to
remember. You can only remember things which are relative, and it isn't. So
coming away from that you don't actually know what happened. All you know is
there's been a change. This is the way of it when Nibbaana is seen, because
Nibbaana is seen though, the truth is known, and the aftertaste of that is
there. The aftertaste means that you have complete faith in it. With
complete faith, you don't doubt the Dhamma at all. Because you've seen it.
You know that's the way. So doubt just can't arise.
You also know that this body, this mind and so on—this is not
oneself. Because you've seen it, you've seen what it is. And one knows that
other methods—and the way they have of trying to get to the ultimate—if they're
the sort things like going to church or all that—you know perfectly well:
all that's useless. It's not the way at all. At most they can be like mild
aides, like a band-aide. This is the thing of it. This is the way it works.
Once you've seen these things, it's known to you. It's known deeply,
not known on the surface. Not known about something you can go and think
about. You can't think about it because everything you think about is
relative. It's always dual :me thinking about that. You get something that's
not dual, and what can you say? There's nothing you can pin it down with.
Question: Is that what Luang Dtaa Maha Boowa means by dhamma-that?
Luang Pow Panya: 'Tamada' in Thai means normal. It is, the ordinary way of,
dhamma. The Buddha said that his teaching wasn't exciting. It wasn't
something that exploded. It was something that led one to a normality. The
thing to remember is that Nibbaana, whatever it is, must be there all the
time. It isn't something that can arise and die away. Because of that, if
one can attain Nibbaana—and the Buddha says we can—it must be in one all the
time. That must be there. It isn't something which can arise in you, because
anything that arises in you must cease. All things that arise cease. So it's
obvious from that that Nibbaana is there all the time. The only thing is
that it's covered up. Covered up by a lot of shit actually. And that's the
kilesas. Our job is to peel off that stuff, scrub it off. If we do that,
that's all one needs to do. It's not easy—there's not a little bit to do,
quite a lot.
Question: You said that when one experiences Nibbaana, one doesn't actually
know that they've really been there because you said it's all relative. But
there's also the state of bhavanga where you can go into this dead space as
well. When you come out of bhavanga, it seems the experience is relative and
can be mistaken for Nibbaana. How do you know the difference between the
Luang Pow Panya: The difference between the two is quite clear by the
results, what it does. The person who goes through any of the path moments
must know a big change has taken place. And the big change doesn't die away.
It remains. Bhavanga is just the burbling of the mind underneath. And that's
exactly where vicaara is. Vicaara is located there. That's it's home. And
that's where you've got to do the work, when the final time comes, when it
comes to getting free. So you get the continuity of self, or the apparent
continuity of self.
Now it seems that when the person becomes Arahant, that's broken up.
The continuity is broken up. Because the continuity is broken up, that
person is in the present all the time. The citta is in the present, it's not
really the person, because the person involves the body and mind and those
are just relative things. But it's the citta which has gone completely
quiescent and still. You can say it's like absorbed into Nibbaana. The
distinction between that and Nibbaana you can't make. There's no
Question: Is knowing still present?
LP.P : Knowing is the characteristic of the citta, yes. There is knowing.
There is always knowing. But the knowing is not yet necessarily reflective
or conscious. But it's always there. The person with Alzheimer's disease,
for example, where the brain goes like porridge, and the memory all goes,
the person with that has got no idea what to do, where he is, what his
situation is—it all goes, because memory is gone. But there's knowing there.
Knowing is always there. But knowing is bare knowing—that's all, you can't
That's why the body and mind are necessary. The body and mind are
like a computer, there's the hardware and the software, the body and the
mind. The person using that computer can only use it when the computer is
there. A person using it is like the citta. The citta of that person will
use the computer in whatever way they want to, for good or for bad of
whatever it is. And the computer just follows. It's the same way with the
citta within us. When the citta under the influence of the kilesas wants to
go this way or wants to go that way, it makes the body go like that. Body
and mind. And the body and mind then just follow. They do the bidding of the
citta. Because of that the body and mind are not really essential. The
essential thing is the citta . But in order to get free, we have to have the
body and mind as the mechanism necessary to break the kilesas, because the
kilesas are not in the body and the mind, they're in the citta.
This is the difficulty. Because the kilesas are in the citta there,
when the body and mind die, the kilesas are still there. They haven't
gone—or the results of the kilesas and tendency for them to arise. And they
do arise. They arise as the sankhaaras in the paticca-samuppaada. Because
they're there, there's the next birth ;and you bring them back again.
Question: When there's no longer a body and mind being picked up by the
citta, does the knowing continue?
Luang Pow Panya: Knowing continues, yes.
Question: …a minute ago you said though it might be unconsciousness?
Luang Pow Panya: It's not so much unconscious as unaware. You see
consciousness can be there, in the sense of the citta being conscious. But
you can't refer to anything, you've got no reference at all. When you've got
no reference you can't do anything. Just stuck.
You can make the distinction, if that citta grasps at the body of a
dog: So it's got a body, it's got a mind and it has the citta as well, the
same way as we have. But it's only got the faculties of a dog, because it's
body and mind are different. So the body and mind are like a computer—it
depends how good the computer is. If the computer is good and the software
is good, then you can do a lot with it. But if they're poor you can't do
And the thing that enables you to have better software and better
hardware is, of course, sãla-dhamma and the training, the mind, training
oneself. To do things which are kusala—that all the time tends to promote
it, making it better and more powerful.
And akusala is just going back into the mud again.
Question: I have a question about my meditation practice. The last couple
of nights I have a problem where something a force comes and puts pressure
on my body. I cannot move—I'm paralyzed. Also there are some voices…should I
stop my meditation practice?
LP.P : The most likely cause of this is yourself, your own kilesas and your
own kamma. This is the most likely cause. I won't say that there aren't
other causes. There are other possible causes but, in ninety percent [of the
cases, the cause] it comes from oneself. And it's one's kamma, that's the
The thing that has the most influence over one is one's own kamma
from the past. This can come up in all sorts of ways and it's quite
extraordinary what it can produce. I don't know if you've read any of the
accounts from psychologists about people who get mental trouble—what they
see sometimes and what happens. The things that are happening are ninety
percent from oneself. There are cases where other entities can come and
influence one, but they're rare. Most of them are not very powerful.
Generally, it's pretty safe to assume when anything of that sort
happens, this is part of oneself, one's own kamma. The thing is you have to
counter it somehow, live with it and deal with it. When this sort of
pressure comes on you, is this when you're asleep or during your meditation?
Question: When I sleep.
Luang Pow Panya: That can happen then. This is quite often the case. The
thing is to find out how to deal with that. One possible suggestion to deal
with this is to not go to sleep until you feel your mind is cleared through
meditation practice, and to watch your thoughts very carefully before ]going
to sleep] because if they go bad, that can very easily influence you.
Also, generally be very careful around morality. Morality in Buddhism
only concerns speech and action. In other words, it's our relationship with
the world. It doesn't concern thought, although thought is very important.
Thought technically comes under the category of samaadhi, not sãla. Learn
how to get oneself under control, if one can.
Another thing you might try doing is to do some chanting before going
to sleep. Learn some of the chants and go through them. These can help
because they set the mind right.
Unless you have very good evidence, it's best not to assume [these
things] come from outside. There are endless people in this world who think
that somebody else is doing something to them, and that turns into paranoia
quite easily. It's usually quite false.
The other thing one can do is to remind oneself that when you get
trouble like that, it must be something I've done in the past. Even if the
trouble comes from outside, one must be open to that—it's because of what
one's done in the past. S to avoid thinking, one must at all costs avoid
blaming people. This is important. Some people do get a lot of trouble. The
way they have to go is hard, unpleasant, and sometimes slow. But It can be
fast sometimes, too. If that's one's way then one has to go that way. There's
no other way forward for one. There's no other way for one, because that is
one's kamma and one's built it up oneself in the past. Because of that, that
determines the way you have to go now to get free.
I knew a doctor once and he was a good man, but he was very dull. He
told me that when he was a medical student he wasn't dull like that, but
that he'd been quite bright. He said he did a lot of medical training going
through the medical courses and one day it just changed and he became dull.
Now the way I read this is that his primary characteristic was dosa
[aversion], a 'hate' character. That hate is unpleasant and these studies to
become a doctor has set his mind quite sharp. Now when the mind was sharp
like that, combined with the dukkha, the dosa and the kilesas would come up
and clamp down. This can happen with some people, and then they go dull.
They don't have the same dukkha, they don't have the sharpness of mind, and
they want to get free, they want to get out of it. It's as though they're in
a fog and they can't. A lot of people get like that.
If a person like that pushes it and tries to get out, what will
happen is that they come back to the dosa again. When they do get out, if
they do, they'll find a lot of dosa comes up. A lot of hate comes up in
them, just automatically. And they've then got to go through that and deal
with the hate. This is hard work. This is a hard way. But for that sort of
person it's the only way for them.
Getting into a state of delusion is not good, it's very difficult.
Question: We were just at a monastery with a wide variety of styles and
standards of practice—some inspiring, some less inspiring. These days it
seems the Forest Tradition has changed since the old days. If it continues
on in this direction, what do you foresee in the future?
LP.P : The trouble is the Forest Tradition has become popular. A lot of
people who come to it are not very well suited to it. In the old days it
used to be mainly the villagers. The people who came from the villages had a
lot of faith; they were not always terribly clever, but they were quite hard
working and could put up with difficulties. And then they went off to the
forest, and if they had a good teacher, he probably gave them hell, but they
developed. They developed well.
Because of that you got people like the many followers of Tahn Ajahn
Mun. But nowadays people come mostly from the cities and they've been to
universities, and this, if anything, is a big disadvantage I'd say. It has
some advantages, but for the way of dhamma, it isn't awfully helpful. This
is mainly because when one has an education like that, one gets the
impression one knows, and really one doesn't. One's learnt things; one's
thought about them, but one doesn't have the experience to know properly.
Because of this the standard of meditation and the standard of practice
mostly nowadays is not very high.
I'd say there are some people who are very good at it, but not many.
And even the ones who seem to have an ability at samaadhi, for instance,
from what I've seen, most of them go wrong. They get a wat, and then they go
out searching for money, and they're caught. They get plenty of donors and
their whole interest is in developing the wat. Instead of doing the
practice, like they should, they make a name for themselves. And that's
finished them. One should remember the parable of the log. The Buddha saw a
log floating down the Ganges, and he said, "If that log doesn't get stuck on
the sandbank, if it doesn't go rotten and sink, if its not taken by people,
or the devas or somebody like that for use, etc.; if it can get through all
that it will go to the ocean." [Loud sound in the background…] They're
spraying water—I hope they don't spray us.
Question: Ajahn, we've recently had a couple of senior monks disrobe and I
guess it's been an ongoing problem. I'm wondering, you've been a monk for
many years, and stayed a monk. [Luang Pow Panya: Yeah.] I'm just starting
out and I have that initial enthusiasm, [Luang Pow Panya: Yes.] what would
you recommend to persevere and remain a monk without disrobing?
LP.P : The only thing to do is practice and more practice. Meditation and
mindfulness. Those two, the two go together of course. But the mindfulness
is very, very important. This is the key, key to the whole thing, because
when you are mindful, your mind is where you are and its on the things that
are there. It sees them. One sees them. And because ones mindful, one takes
note. And when you take note, you've then got the data for wisdom to work
Without the mindfulness, wisdom hasn't got much hope. The mindfulness
is absolutely essential. I would say, try to be mindful in everything. You'll
find that is the way to do it.
Also, don't worry to much if other people say you're doing too much
practice, or you should be doing this or you should be doing that when you're
doing the practice. To some extent when you're in a wat you have to conform
to the wat and what the wat's doing. But at other times I would say try to
keep the meditation going, as much as you can. Otherwise what happens is,
you tend to get diverted into other things… building, repairing, writing,
translating, all sorts of tings. While all these things are good things to
do, they're not directly the way. I would say it isn't very much use trying
to do the practice when you are doing these things, until you've got
mindfulness. If your mindfulness is strong enough—you can do it, ok. But not
many people can. Not many people have enough mindfulness. The mindfulness is
the thing that's necessary there. Because if you can do your building or
repairing and really truly be mindful, it's allright, you can use that as
your meditation. But if you do it in the ordinary way, it's just ordinary
work, and that's all.
Question: Does the actual type of meditation make a difference in how long
one stays in the robes?
Luang Pow Panya: Within the limits of what meditations there are, I would
say no. Can be, of course, that one has a load of bad kamma there and that's
a limit to what can be done. That's possible.
One's also got to get an idea of the contrast between 'the world' and
Dhamma, 'the world' and Nibbaana, if you can think about that. [Laugh] I
mean you can only do it as a concept. And if [blank space of tape… ] you'll
see the world. And if [blank… ] try and see what the world's really like.
You think of what's happening in the world, and you think you might be
reborn in Rwanda or Yugoslavia, or I don't know where there are trouble
spots now—probably Israel (looking and speaking to Tahn Ferrung) is one of
them at the moment. But there are plenty of places where you can be reborn.
China as well. You haven't got much hope there.
If you think like that, you'll think : "Well, I'd better work hard
now. I better make sure that what I'm doing now is going to put me in a good
state so if I can't get there this time, at least I'll be in a good state
the next time." If you think like this and think about the world and what
it is, what it's nature is, you'll see that it's a pretty messy place. There's
plenty of dukkha there. We here, we're pretty fortunate. If you want to see
people who are not fortunate, go to India, or China. You'll see plenty there
who are in a really bad state.
We don't know what our own kamma is. So the thing is, we've got to
see how necessary it is to do the work. This can spur one on to some extent.
It won't happen if you do it once, but if you think about this quite often,
it will have an effect. You'll think you've got to get on.
Question: Is this the main cause for the arising of right effort?
Luang Pow Panya: Yes, that can be a cause. Seeing what the future may be,
and to realize how bad it can get. There was a book brought out about the
Thirty Years War in Europe. And that shows how bad it can get…what it was
like in Germany at that time. There wasn't any Germany then, it was little
states, but we call it Germany now. This book was written by one of the
Huxley's and it's quite an eye opener. I didn't know about it before until I'd
read it. It sums up the Thirty Years War in Europe.
But you've got comparable things happening in Africa now, in the
Congo, and places like that where you've got armies just going back and
forward, living off the land and living off the people -- just chaos.
Question: Back to the subject of the Forest Tradition for educated people.
I think all of us received a modern education. What would you say is the way
we should practice that is perhaps different from the previous generation?
Luang Pow Panya: One of the important things, following on from the last
question, is we know the world. We know what it's like. We can see it,
because we've learned about the world and we've all been in touch with the
media of communication. We ourselves have probably lived in it. We've seen
it. We know what the world is like. Many villagers, and so on, they don't
know. All they know is their local environment. That's OK. It's very good if
the environment is reasonable for them, but we know the world and w e know
what it can be like.
This can help us to spur us on to have right effort. This is quite a
good thing that we can do. The other thing we must do is use wisdom to
understand the teaching. If you've got wisdom, you must use it. You use it
by thinking, analyzing, looking, searching—this is the way.
The practice of calm is to put the mind into the right state for deep
wisdom. For example, if you can get to a deep samaadhi, then you've got a
very firm and good basis for wisdom… the real wisdom, bhaavanaa-maya-panyaa,
But also if you have the wisdom to develop [blank… ] just in the ways
of ordinary thinking, you can learn about the Dhamma, and think about it.
When you learn about the Dhamma, it's no good just taking what the books
say, you've got to turn that into personal experience. In other words, if
you see something in the books that says something, whatever it is, then you've
got to think, "How does this apply to me?", "Where have I seen this in my
life?", and one has got to try and find out the real meaning by doing that.
The books of the Tripitaka are in many ways rather obscure. They're
written in a type of theological style. Because of that, unless you know
Paali, it's difficult to make them really personal. One's got to see through
a lot of what's in there. There are also things in there which, until one
has developed an understanding of Dhamma, one can't see. One can only see
them and understand, realize some of the subtleties that are there once one
has developed Dhamma.
This comes from ones changing view, because as one develops, thinks,
investigates, looks into things, tries to find out how the world works and
how we work as well—when one does that a lot, then one's view changes.. it
changes because, when we started off our minds were ninety percent out in
the world. We have a very god knowledge of the world. In the West they know
all sorts of things. They know all about the world, but they don't know
anything about themselves. What we've got to do is to learn how to look at
oneself and get to know oneself. If one can do that and one gets to know
oneself, then one will see where ones view of the world is all wrong.
Because with most people, their view is all wrong. It's all wrong because
they have kamma and they have a load of stuff which they picked up when they
were very small.
When one is a young child, one learns things all the time. And a
child picks up whatever it can. It's in no position to criticize or to
analyze and think, "Is this right, or is this just wrong?" so it just
accepts. It accepts what everyone says. Because it accepts what everyone
says and it's absolutely open territory inside the young child, the whole
lot sticks very deep. And we've still got most of that there. How old he's
got to, I don't know, but he's there in most of us.
We've got to look at that. Look at those views and see—are they true?
We can only do it gradually as we develop. But one must look and one must be
very careful about hidden assumptions in our views.
There's nothing wrong in having views, but the problem is we hold
onto them tightly. If you have a view of how things work, of anything—it
doesn't matter what it is, that's OK but one must be ready to check it out
if you find the evidence shows it to be wrong. If you do that, you can
The one thing that's almost more of a blockage to development than
anything else is a rigid view. Rigid views, rigid ideas, inability to
change—these prevent development entirely.
You can see what the belief in God that some people have and what the
effect it has on them. I'm not saying a belief in God can't be useful,; it
might be. But for some people, the concept they have of God, and what they
take it to mean, it's very peculiar. But they hold onto it really tight.
Wrong views are a very bad thing, when they're held onto tightly,
anyway. If you hold loosely to views it doesn't matter. They can change,
they can go.
Question: Ajahn, when I was here last time you mentioned the story about
Luang Pu Bua (another senior disciple of Luang Pu Mun) and how he fasted to
death because he was disappointed with his disciples.
Luang Pow Panya: Yes. Yes. [with a chuckle.]
Question: Could you expand on that because none of us had heard that
LP.P : Yes, he did. He fasted at first—oh, he went on for a long time—and
he said this isn't doing enough so he stopped taking water, as well.
Of course the thing is one must see what's behind this. There he
was—he wasn't able to teach in the way that some people are—he just didn't
have the faculty. One must remember that the person who becomes arahant—the
arahant is pure citta. The body and mind that's left behind there, that just
has the characteristics it had before. The only thing is that the kilesas
can't push it about anymore because they've gone.
If the body and mind has been developed into a state through kamma
that they could teach well or help people well then the arahant would do
that. But Luang Pu Bua couldn't do anything. He just didn't have the
capacity to teach the pupils who were with him. I can imagine he just felt,
"Well, what's the point in staying on here?" When you get to the state of
arahant, you must see the dukkha very clearly, and one realizes the dukkha
in life, because the dukkha is anything that will disturb the citta. Any
disturbance coming up is dukkha there. Most of us don't see it very clearly
because we're sort of immune to it to some extent. Because our dukkha is
much coarser, much more gross than that.
But the arahant has cleared away all the rubbish. The dukkha he sees
must be quite important: that is the dukkha in the body and mind. But there's
no dukkha in the citta, none at all.
So one can understand Luang Pu Bua thinking, "Why keep on with this?
What's the point of it?" There's no point—the body and mind to the
arahant…they don't mean anything. It's rather like you have an old car and
you say, "Cost of repairs are becoming too much—chuck it away." It's rather
Question: At that stage is even receiving sense contact dukkha?
Luang Pow Panya: yes, it's dukha in the five khandhas. But it's not dukkha
that's felt in the citta. There's quite a distinction, really, because the
dukkha… there is the dukkha of feeling, mainly feeling. But the dukkha of
feeling there is not like we get it. The dukkha there would be feeling
mainly, but feeling which is not grasped at, just bare feeling. But it must
obviously still be unpleasant. Even if you don't grasp at it, it's still
Question: In the Forest Tradition, we often use the word 'citta' in a way
that sometimes other Buddhists might not find in consonance with the suttas.
Could you explain when you use the word 'citta', how you are using it?
Luang Pow Panya: The word 'citta' is a difficult word here because it's not
a material thing. From the viewpoint of the world it doesn't exist, because
it's not something you could define in anyway. The citta is, in its final
form, it's emptiness. But one has to realize that emptiness there means
emptiness of the world. In other words, it isn't this world. It isn't like
this world. There's nothing in the world you can compare it to.
One has to put it like this: in this world everything is impermanent,
it's aniccaa, it's dukkha, and it's anattaa, [impermanent, unsatisfactory,
and non-self] In other words, there is no permanent self. There is a self,
but it's not permanent. More about that later. [Laugh]
Everything here is impermanent, it's changing. In fact, change is the
essence of existence. Without change, no existence.
Now, the state of the pure citta is one where… [change from tape 1 to
tape 2] Everything that is impermanent is unreal. It never has any time to
be real; it's changing all the time. If you say it's a thing, then the
'thing' is gone, immediately. So there's a lack of reality here. But
everything is moving, and because of that, we can experience it. We can
experience movement and see things and so on – although we never actually
get at things. They're always separate from us.
Now if you come to the point of Nibbaana, the pure citta, this is
real. Because it's real it is permanent. There's no change in it. Now
because of that one has the saying, "That which is impermanent is unreal,
and what is permanent doesn't exist; what is real doesn't exist." But that
'real', although it is not existence because existence means sensation
(experience like that), it is the reality.
Now that's a difficult one to understand. Afraid we're going to have
to get into metaphysics here. [Laugh]
Because of that one really has no possessions. It's only that one
thinks one has them.
One really hasn't got a body either. The body doesn't belong to one;
it belongs to the world. It comes from the world and goes back to the world.
It's supported by the world. This thing belongs to the world really.
[Referring to the dog who came to sit at his feet:] He doesn't feel
very happy now. All his hair's been taken off and he doesn't like it,
because he no longer feels like he is big and powerful. [chuckles as he
affectionately pats the dog]
Question: Is he related to the lion we saw when we first came in?
Luang Pow Panya: Now, that's a chow. (sp?) This I, I don't know what this
is, not quite sure of the make.
Question: These reflections on non-self, can they turn unskillful? If so,
Luang Pow Panya: To reflect unskillfully on self and not-self… some people
who like to say, "I haven't got a self." What hasn't got a self? They're
saying "I" and then saying they haven't got a "self." What is the "I" that
hasn't got a "self"? In conversation, these people try to avoid saying "I"
and so on, as if that's going to make any difference. This is the way of
Some people have a belief in non-self, but belief is just a view. It
doesn't go inward deeply at all. There's no depth to it; it's just a surface
view. The depth is that they firmly believe they have a self and that the
self is something real.
If you look in Buddhist publications and books, they say 'no-self'.
All the time you read, 'anattaa means there's no-self.' This means they
haven't understood it properly.
The thing is that there's no permanent self, no fixed entity that you
can call self. But that doesn't mean that there isn't changing phenomena,
which you could call a 'self.'
Question: When you say the nature of Nibbaana is emptiness—empty of what?
Luang Pow Panya: Empty of this world. And empty of saµsaara. What we think
of as being full or being something is always saµsaara. Always dualistic.
Relative. Because of that, where those things are lacking, the world says it's
But that emptiness is not a nothingness. It's a reality. And it's
quite incomprehensible to us, because we have to think in relative terms,
and what we are is all built up around that. And then we try to comprehend
emptiness in relative terms and we can't. And because we can't, we suppose
there's nothing there.
But what we call a 'thing' is itself empty. We don't realize it.
To put it a different way around, consider if you view the way the
senses work, in the way seeing works, the object seen affects the eye and it
goes inward to one. From that one gets an image, internally. And that
internal image is what we see. Now that's quite simple to work out.
Because of that, if this true of one thing, it's true of all our
seeing. We're tied up with internal images. Even what gets in the eye is
very small, and it's upside down on the retina. And yet when we see that we
see huge mountains and trees and things like that and we don't realize it's
just because of a very little bit on the retina. The actual image we get
inside has been processed, by the brain. It's because of this processing
that we can see it. Exactly how it works, I don't know, but there's some
processing going on there and then we see. But we see it internally, not
externally. Because of that the whole world of seeing is within us. It's not
outside. We don't know what's outside.
The same is true of hearing. Out there there's just vibration. That
gets into the ear and then it gets into the [cultaire (?)] and those little
hairs inside excite the auditory nerves. That goes to the brain and in some
mysterious way it processes it and we get those strange sounds that we hear.
Really speaking, all sound is within us, it's not outside at all.
It's the same with the other senses. Smelling and tasting are just
chemicals, but they become smell and taste when they get into us.
Feeling is the same. It's just contact, or variations of temperature,
or things like that. But when it gets into us it turns into feeling.
Because of this, our view of the world is a very special view. It's a
personal view; we can only view the world from ourselves. We can't view it
from anywhere else. Even if we try to put ourselves in the position of
someone else, all that happens is that becomes our view at that time.
So we see the world entirely from our own view and we see everything
internally as well. If you look at that, that lot's pretty empty. There's
not much substance in it. There's a [tape inaudible]…
There was a person and he was looking at a room where there was a
dividing wall and two doors. The doors were open, you see, and the wall was
there. Now he sees a ghost going from this room, through the wall, into that
Now you have to ask yourself, was the ghost real? Or was the wall a
'ghost,' and the person looking at it—and the ghost was real? It just
depends on how you look at it really. If you saw the ghost going through the
wall into the next room. Now either the ghost is real and the wall is not,
or the wall is real and the ghost is not. If you look at this you see how
relative our situation is. It's like that.
If you go out into town and you look at a lot of people walking along
the street, how do you know that they're all real people? Some of them might
be 'ghosts' for all you know.
The trouble is, we've got a fixed idea of our own reality.
When we've got this fixed idea of our own reality, we can't see the
relativity of the world.
We can't see how relative we are, and how changeable. The kilesas don't like
that, so what they do is bring up the 'self.' And they make it very
important and real. Then there's a clinging to this, just in case there's
nothing left there. And there's the dislike of letting go.
[After a long pause…] Any more?
Question: Do you have any more reflections on how to bring up right effort?
Luang Pow Panya: Hmm. I would say that the thing you've to get is some
experience, even a little. Then you can recollect that and think that you
must work to get at least that in the future. This can help to bring up
The trouble is, it's difficult until you have had some good
experience in practice. Until then, it's a hard slog, it's hard work. The
developing of determination is something which is not easy to do, not when
your trying to do it on a meditation practice. On other things, yes, you can
become determined. If you play football, you can be absolutely determined to
win and to get the ball in the goal. But there are kilesas behind that.
If it's anything bad, it's very easy to be determined, but for good
things it's not. Consider, a cat looking at a mouse is almost in samaadhi.
But it's not right samaadhi, it's wrong samaadhi. It's easy to think about
unwholesome things. It's the good things that are difficult, because the
kilesas don't like them. it shows you that once the kilesas get out of the
way, it's easy.
The fact is, when you think about bad things, the kilesas will help
you. They won't interfere; they let you do it because it's going their way.
But when you come to do difficult things, something that is right and the
way of dhamma, then the kilesas don't like that at all. They kick up and
It's worth reflecting on that—how one's get to have the effort to
overcome those kilesas. And one mustn't think the kilesas are small, or don't
matter. They do. All the human trouble in the world comes from kilesas. Guns
don't shoot themselves; people don't torture themselves (not mostly
anyway)—all these things happen when people have kilesas. You get all these
troubles coming up. This is the way of kilesas. They're not small.
The most important of the kilesas is, of course, ragaa-tanhaa,
sex-craving. It's very important, and it comes up in all sorts of ways. In
the male it comes up as aggression. In the female it comes up as enticement.
You get this push and pull, as it is, and they spread out into other
activities. You get aggression coming up in business, in war, in sport – all
over the place you get these things coming up.
These factors which come from ragaa-tanhaa are very important in
human beings. I'd say ragaa-tanhaa is probably the most important group of
kilesas in the human being. If one can overcome that ragaa-tanhaa, then you're
OK, needn't worry, because that's an anaagaami.
Question: Ajahn, does ragaa-tanhaa include all the sense-desires, or just
Luang Pow Panya: You can't fix any real boundary, because when you come to
investigate this and look at this, you'll find all sorts of things you never
realized before were ragaa-tanhaa.
The way the human mind thinks is symbolic; it's using symbols all the
time. The sexual symbols are—oooh!—they're all over the place. People use
them and they don't even realize it. Somebody who has learned to see, they
can see things that people do, the symbols they have, the way they talk,
images they have, and so on. And you see them, they are sex symbols¬—half of
them, anyway, or more. But people don't see it or realize it. They don't
realize the way they work, that's why.
Question: These days in advertisement nearly everything is internally made
to be subliminally sexual.
LP.P : Yes, yes, you can see it all over the place in adverts. Quite true.
Question: Is that body investigation is so heavily emphasized in the Forest
Luang Pow Panya: Yes. The body contemplation and the asubha. The asubha
contemplations are the ones to deal with sex craving. If it comes up, the
asubha contemplations are the antidote. They're very effective.
Question: I've asked this question to many people before. Arahants,
seemingly from a western sangha, still have addictions, whether it be betel
nut or cigarettes. I'm sure you've been asked this very many times, but can
you explain this? It would seem that these addictions come from desire, yet
an arahant is free from desire.
Luang Pow Panya: The first thing one has to realize is, what is the
arahant? The arahant is the pure citta. It's not the body; it's not the
mind. It's the pure citta, and for the person who has attained that ,
kilesas have gone.
Because of that, if an arahant happens to find that, say, chewing
betel nut happens to sharpen the mind a bit if one wants to give a talk. (I
don't take the stuff: it just knocks the hell out of my mouth, if I do.) I
know Tahn Ajahn (Maha Boowa) often takes it. It is a stimulant, and it's
quite useful as that.
As to tanhaa, no, it's not tanhaa. But there's nothing to stop an
arahant from getting pleasure out of something. Some things give pleasure
and some don't. and if it brings some pleasure, well why not? He's done his
work. He's got through. It doesn't have any effect on the citta , only on
the body and mind, that's all. And the citta is pure.
In other words, when the arahant has become an arahant, he doesn't
need to do any more training. He doesn't need to cut out [inaudible?] these
things that a lot of people think are bad. When it comes to things that are
immoral, simply he knows that that way doesn't help, it's no good. It doesn't
bring any more contentment to him.
The arahant has the brahma vihaaras present as well. Because of that,
he sees that something immoral is the wrong way for other people, and would
be wrong, and he knows it.
With most of the arahants, even after having attained arahantship ,
they still keep up all the rules , the paÊimokkha, the pindabhat, and all
those things-they keep it up. It's not for themselves. They keep it up for
other people. Whether they go pindabhat or not, or to the paÊimokkha or not
doesn't matter. But it does matter for other people, because they have to
set an example. And if they don't do these things right, who else will?
So arahants have to be careful in setting an example as teachers, but
there is no need for them to.
There's the case of one arahant who didn't go to the paÊimokkha, and
the Buddha asked hi, "Why don't you go?"
The arahant said, "Well, I've got no need to."
The Buddha then said, "If you don't go, who will? You're known to be
an arahant, and then you don't go, so everybody else says, 'Well, if he
doesn't go then I don't need to.'"
So the Buddha said, "You must go."
Question: So, I'm just trying to figure this out. Suppose I wanted to start
chewing betel nut thinking it might help my meditation and suppose I had so
many pansas and was becoming a dhamma teacher, would that be recommended, or
not, regardless of me being an arahant?
Luang Pow Panya: From my experience of betel nut, I wouldn't recommend it.
Question: OK, or smoking let's say…
Luang Pow Panya: Well I used to smoke. That's also something I wouldn't
recommend. [Laugh] Medically it's known to have disastrous effects on the
body, and one might need this body a bit longer to try and get free.
With smoking, Tan Ajahn (Mahaa Bowa) says that if you smoke, you may
smoke, but if you give it up, you mustn't start again.
Question: What is it that's addictive to the smoker?
Luang Pow Panya: For [(inaudible) the person who isn't an arahant who still
has] kilesas, there probably is tanhaa there.
About thirty-three, thirty-five years ago I was in Lopburi, in a wat
there, and I was smoking at the time. There was a hut up on a hill there,
and I went up there one night and thought, "Now why do I smoke? Well, it's
probable because of tanhaa. The Buddha said that tanhaa brings dukkha… I'm
going to stop." So I did. And I haven't smoked since.
I'm not saying it's logically as easy to give up smoking as that. Of
course I had thought many times before that I should give up smoking, like
many people have who smoke, but this time I stopped.
The thing is, if you give up smoking, it's not so much that you stop
the smoking. That's not enough. You've got to give up the idea of smoking.
Because of that, anyone who gives up smoking, should then not even think
about smoking. If the thought comes up in the mind, turn away from it
quickly. By that you quit smoking both externally and internally. And that
is the way to do it.
Question: But in the case of the arahant who continues smoking-he's a
smoker and reaches arahantship, the arahant could theoretically say, "Now I
should quit smoking because for unenlightened people smoking is an example
of more craving."
Luang Pow Panya: Yes, he might. But the thing is in the Forest Tradition
and in the Northeast of Thailand generally, that idea has never been very
strong. The cigarettes they smoke here are usually the ones from local
tobacco, where you just roll them right up and smoke them like that. They're
not stuck together or bought. That's what it's been like; nowadays I don't
know, but in the old days that was how it was done.
Now this was normal; people smoked. there wasn't any thought of why
one shouldn't. also, they never had the attitude, which is very prevalent in
the West, of anything thing that is pleasant being bad for you, or evil.
This is very prevalent in the West: "all pleasures are in some way evil, and
you mustn't have pleasure." It's that Calvinist attitude.
These things like smoking, it's not particularly evil; there's
nothing evil in it. It doesn't have a very damaging effect on the mind, even
if it does on the body.
There are various questions like that that come up big in the West:
"why do you eat meat?" Of course the obvious answer is because one is
hungry. But the thing is they think there is something fundamentally wrong
in eating meat, but the [monks'] precepts never say you mustn't eat meat.
They say you mustn't kill. And killing and eating meat are two very
different things. The killing of an animal requires a very definite type of
volition and a type of volition you've got to bring up to do it. Now when
you eat meat, that's completely absent. The meat is not an animal. People
always say, "Oh, but then the animal was killed for you." Of course then if
the bhikkhu knows that it was deliberately killed for them, then they
mustn't take it. That's in the rules. If it's just bought in the market…the
point is, uhh -you can't work back from cause and effect in that way. It's
not kamma [for an alms-mendicant bhikkhu to receive an offering of meat
obtained in the market.] There may be cause and effect in it, but there's
not kamma. The whole thing is that things like eating meat don't prevent one
from becoming an arahant, and that's our purpose.
Question: As a young monk, and as being part of a western sangha, we have
exposure to religious and spiritual teachings from a variety of sources,
including Buddhist teachings from traditions other than the Forest
Tradition. Often times one can find these teachings to be very much in
harmony with the teachings of Luang Pow Chah, Luang Dtaa Maha Boowa, and
other Forest Krooba Ajahns. How do you suggest a young monk approach this
variety of teachings out there - much of it quite inspiring. Also, would
you comment on the use by monks of some of the more extraneous teachings
Luang Pow Panya: Therapy is not very helpful in the way of developing
dhamma. These kinds of things don't help much. There are people who go in
for it. Quite a few bhikkhus develop some skill at massage, for example. But
these sorts of things can be picked up without too much difficulty. Not much
learning is required. But to go very far into therapy is going to cut into
ones meditation, and it won't be helpful at all.
As to the teachings of other religions, well, the thing is to look
and see whether it's right or not. Where it's right, it's right, and where
it's wrong, it's wrong. That's what it comes to.
You can find some wonderful accounts of the old teachers in
Christianity in books like in Philapeans (sp?), which is the Russian
Orthodox Church. They went off to the forest and they practiced in the
forest, and they were real good people. What they actually gained, I don't
know, but there's nothing wrong in what they were doing. It was very fine
what they did.
When they went off to the forest, they probably started off
(inaudible) living in nature, alone, very simply nothing else. Then one or
two people found out and they would come to them. Word got around and it got
bigger and bigger, and they started building a monastery around them. In the
end the teacher had to go off somewhere else to get away from it. They had
to escape. This is the way it was then.
There are some very good accounts and good teachings in Christianity
and some of the churches. One doesn't say it's all correct, but it's good,
and a lot of it's correct.
There's nothing wrong in having a look at that and learning from it,
as well. You could find some of these old Christian fellows are so full of
zeal and energy, oooh, I don't know how they did it. But really they were
full of energy in their practice.
Assuza (sp?) went lying on beds of nails and did things of that sort!
Question: Again, as a young monk, one is impressed upon with the importance
of sammaa-ditthi as the leader of the Noble Eightfold Path. In this context,
how do you view Mahaayaana Buddhist teachings?
Luang Pow Panya: The teaching as in the Madhyamika school or the
Vinyaanavaada School-those two anyway-I would say there isn't much wrong in
it. The fundamentals of those two are in Theravaada as well, although it's
teachings are not emphasized in quite the same way. There are a few things I
keep a pretty open mind on there-I'm not sure whether they were doing so
good or not-but on the whole those teachings are not too bad.
When you come to the bodhisatta ideal, I don't see it. That's all I
can say. I mean, is it right to restrict yourself, and stop attaining
Nibbaana, so that you can come back and teach people? What brings you back
after all?-It's kilesas. Are you going to promote kilesas so that you can
come back again? It seems to me all wrong. That is what I can say.
Question: Are there fully attained monks in other Buddhist traditions, in
Luang Pow Panya: Oh, yes. There's no doubt that many of the good Zen masters
were fully attained. Little doubt.
Question: Any contemporary teachers?
Luang Pow Panya: Ooh, I don't know now. There was Xu Yun when he was alive,
but I think he died some while back now. There's a good monk in Korea as
well. In Japan there are some very strict Zen monasteries, but not many.
What the teachers are like there now, I don't know. But the thing is, they
don't welcome foreigners, at all. I know that.
These places are about, but for instance, I think it's useless
looking in China now. The only place you might find one or two good people,
anyway, is in Hong Kong. We had a monk here from Hong Kong, not so long ago.
It was last year. He was a very nice person, very ready to listen and talk
and discuss things. We got on very well. He was Mahaayaana, but it didn't
make much difference.
Question: The arahant realizes Nibbaana so that he can teach others, is
that not the same as the Boddhisatta?
LP.P : No, because the boddhisatta makes the vow that he will keep coming
back in rebirth till all sentient beings are enlightened. Now, there's a
get-out in this, because when you've attained enlightenment, the only
'all-beings' one can know are in ones own mind. And if you're enlightened,
then you've enlightened all beings. [Laugh] So, I don't know.
To me it seems to be a teaching that arose because Mahaayaana went
toward lay people much more than Sangha. This is a kind of lay teaching.
The obvious thing to do is to say, "Well I've got kilesas. These
kilesas are the trouble, and I've got to get rid of them." What's the use of
bothering about making resolves to come back again, and all the rest, until
you have got rid of the kilesas. When you've got rid of the kilesas, you're
in an excellent position to know what to do. You're free then you know. You
know what you should be doing. If there's any coming back to do, you'll know
about it. You'll arrange it, as you will then.
But the thing to keep in mind is that the one thing we must do is to
try to get rid of the kilesas. That's what the whole thing's about.
Question: I've had some experience practicing in the Mahaayaana Tradition,
and I've heard the Boddhisattva vow also expressed as a vow to realize
Nibbaana in the most direct way in this life-and that this is the way to
most help liberate all sentient beings. This doesn't mean that one
determines to have ones "self" reborn countless times.
LP.P : Well that's reasonable. But the general way they put it in Mahaayaana
is not like that.
Question: Yes, it does seem much more cryptic.
Luang Pow Panya: Yes. (inaudible) But to try to get as high] as one can and
to teach people on the way as far as one can, that's right. That's OK. But
one has to realize that not everyone an teach. Some people just can't do it.
Question: When the kilesas come up, Tan Ajahn, perhaps conditioned by
something years ago, what should we do with these kilesasa? Let go?
Luang Pow Panya: It depends on the nature of the kilesas that come up.
There are all types, and they come up in subtle ways-catch you when you're
off-guard. But the most important thing to overcome the kilesas is
mindfulness. I don't think there is much doubt about that.
Mindfulness is the best tool you've got. If you develop mindfulness,
that will automatically tend to show up the kilesas all the time. When it
shows them up, you know where they are; you're watchful. They can't easily
get a grip on you then.
One thing to realize there is that to overcome the kilesas one has to
directly go at tanhaa, craving. It's the craving that is the trouble.
Craving and longing. Same thing really. Both are much the same.
If you overcome craving, you'll overcome the attachments. But you
can't deal with the attachments directly. To try to overcome attachments by
power of will or power of determination or something of that sort doesn't
work. The way you get rid of attachments is by getting rid of the cause of
them. And the cause of them is tanhaa, craving. You can see it, it's in the
paticca-samuppaada,. If you get rid of the tanhaa, tanhaa is the condition
for the arising of attachment. If you get rid of the tanhaa, the attachment
can't arise. If you want to get rid of the tanhaa, you have to watch the
feeling. Because feeling is the condition for tanhaa. Now that is a very
important point, because exactly at that point you can put a barrier between
the feeling and tanhaa.
Feeling is just feeling. It's a result of the past, a result of
kamma. Whereas the tanhaa is new kamma, so you're creating kamma. If one can
turn away and stop that new kamma coming up, the situation gradually gets
better. But it doesn't show the way to do it in paticca-samupada. It tells
you what happens, but it doesn't show you the way to deal with it. The way
to deal with it is you've got to learn to find that feeling. Look at it. And
see how that feeling gives rise to the tanhaa.
To give an example. If first of all you see or hear something. Then
based on that an unpleasant feeling arises. We call that unpleasant feeling
the feeling of hate. But the feeling of hate isn't the hate. There's no hate
in it. It becomes hate when we start thinking, criticizing, blaming, or
whatever it is that we do. That's when the trouble comes, in the thinking.
The feeling of hate is an unpleasant feeling. It usually occurs down
near the solar plexus somewhere. You've got to learn to turn inwards and
look at that. That's very important. If you can turn inwards and look at it,
you don't let it get out. You don't let it escape and turn into bad
thoughts, then you defeat the kilesas there, because no more kilesas are
created by kamma. You defeat it. Mind you, you only defeat it a little bit,
in that situation. To get rid of that particular hatred completely, you'll
probably have to do it many times, and it gradually, gradually, gradually
But this is the way to look carefully. You've got to learn tom look
inside. Learn where those feelings are, and what type of feelings arise. You
can reflect, 'When was the last time you had hatred?' And to think back,
'What happened? What did I feel.' You will [inaudible] and that feeling,
you'll know, 'I mustn't let that feeling turn into thought. Because of that
I must think about the feeling, not the other person.' In other words, if
you keep it internally, no harm is done. You let it escape out into thought,
speech, action, that's where the trouble comes. And that's where the kamma
One musty see how the human being is divided into the emotions and
the intellect. . the emotional side is very important. In the West the
intellect has been pushed as being very important-well, the intellect is
important-but it's a menace if it gets out of balance with the emotions. It
must be in balance. If the balance is on the side of the emotions, if they
are strong, and the intellect is not strong, it's not actually dangerous.
But it can lead to some pretty bizarre actions. If the intellect is
excessive, and the emotions are not developed enough, that's dangerous. It's
this sort of thing that leads people into suicide, to go mad, to get into
all sorts of trouble.
One must get to know ones emotions. The way to develop the emotions
in the right way , of course, is the way of samaadhi. Samaadhi is the way to
do it, samaadhi practice. The intellect is the way of wisdom, panya. but
samaadhi first, intellect second.
Question: Ajahn, by samaadhi practice do you mean sitting and walking
Luang Pow Panya: Yes, yes. It's all training the mind, restraining the
mind, preventing wild thoughts, wayward thoughts, developing mindfulness,
all those sorts of things.
Question: So with the balance between samatha and vipassanaa meditation,
would you recommend striving for deep samaadhi-upacaara and apanna-before
putting much work into vipassanaa?
Luang Pow Panya: Yes. I would say yes. It's best to develop samaadhi for
quite some time, until one has at least some experience in it. Then you can
sometimes gently turn your practice a bit. But it's best to keep your
practice on more of the samaadhi side of it and at other times you can turn
to investigate. Investigate the body. Look at it if you can.