03 Jan 11. Why did Buddha say that Nibbana can not be reached via Daana, Seela and Bhavana (Giving, Observing precepts and Meditation) – 4th Part
Buddha Dharshanaya 9.
In the last article I discussed why Nibbana can not be reached via Daana and Seela. I showed why the notion of “I” or ”Me” can not be relinquished by adhering to both the above activities. “I” or ”Me” is the main player in both instances. This obstructs seeing “Dhamma” where there is no notion of “self”. It should be noted that Seeing Dhamma precedes seeing Nibbana. Furthermore it was mentioned that Buddha reminded in his first sermon to the five hermits twelve times that it is impossible to attain Nibbana via Daana, Seela and Bhavana. Everyone knows both Daana and Seela are mind mediated and the mind acts as a forerunner (mano pubbangama) of such decisions and activity.
Mind’s alertness or waking state, what we generally call consciousness is maintained through “vinnana” in both circumstances. There is no escape from “vinnana” to achieve “gnana” in such a situation. To attain Nibbana one must relinquish “vinnana” as the base for alertness in order to allow “gnana” to arise. All above activities are done via “vinnana” as the base for alertness results in an illusion (manomaya). Buddha states in Nibbana there is no “vinnana” to be seen (vinnanam anidassanam).
In this article I will discuss whether Meditation helps or will it obstruct attaining Nibbana ?.
Just as in Daana (giving) and Seela (observing precepts),in Bhavana (meditation) the alertness or consciousness is maintained via “vinnana” in the mind. The definition of Meditation in the current era is either “controlling or developing the mind”. This control comes from with in the mind and not from outside. We know that the mind can maintain alertness only one way, that is via “vinnana”. Therefore there is absolutely no “gnana” (a prerequisite for awakening) during Meditation. As the meditation becomes established into states of absorption (dyanas) via “vinnana” the notion of “I” or “Me” also gets firmly entrenched enhancing the mind’s illusion thus obstructing the path to Nibbana.
This means however much the mind is trained, controlled, developed or purified the “mind is always the mind”. It only knows one thing , to create an illusion (manomaya). It can be awake only via “vinnana” and no other. Therefore in all forms of Meditation “mind the magician” is well into it’s one and only known activity of producing an illusion.
Currently all over the world there are two forms of so called Buddhist Meditation techniques. The first is called “Samatha” meaning “Calmness” , the other “Vipassana”.
Let me take Samatha Meditation for discussion first.
Samatha was the hallmark of Hindu Meditation which was practised even before Gauthama Buddha was born. The well known ascetics in Buddhist literature Asitha, Aalaara kalaama and Uddakaaraama puttha had trained to the highest level in this type of Meditation, but none of them could attain Nibbana. This was because however high they achieved, the mind was active and “vinnana” was the base for alertness. According to history Prince Siddhartha (who later attained Buddhahood) wasted six years of his life practising such Meditation. He noticed that as he moved into higher states of absorption, the mind and “vinnana” became more and more intricately interlinked.
It is no wonder therefore Buddha’s advice was “Ye suppa yuttha manasa dalhena, Nikkamino gothama sasanamhi” – Rathana Sutra – meaning “Gouthama message is to relinquish this tightly bound (to the physical body) mind”. He preached this after he found by experience that Meditation actually enhanced the illusive activity of the mind. As the mind is developed more and more the illusive activity also is enhanced. This becomes an obstacle to get rid of mind’s illusory activity to find the “truth” in the path to Nibbana.
Some uneducated people become misled by those who have trained in Samatha Meditation to higher states of absorption (dyanas), because they acquire the ability read other’s minds. Many people in Sri Lanka have been taken for a ride by these Meditation Experts and have created a way of earning money for their living via such deceitful inclinations which are seen by the uneducated as miracles.
The general public should realise that they have not even entered the path to Nibbana. The practises they have done are Hindu techniques and not what Buddha encouraged. Remember Buddha advised to relinquish or leave behind the mind along with its base for alertness, the “vinnana” at an early stage in the path Nibbana.
In Sallekha Sutra Buddha mentions that “Meditative states of absorptions (dyanas) like newasanna na sanna are mere states of temporary calmness in the mind, where vinnana is active and is not the way to Nibbana”.
In the next article I will discuss further why Samatha meditation does not and has not led anybody to Nibbana.