Foundation Series on Buddhist
Tranquil Wisdom Insight Meditation (TWIM)
As taught by
Sister Khema and overseen by Most Venerable “Bhante” Vimalaramsi Maha
the Gift of Dhamma is Priceless!
June 24, 2010,
Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center, Annapolis, MO
Title: ‘2010- FS-07-Why practice meditation?’
When we stopped
last time on 2010-FS-06- the last section read like this.
“……Q: How does Mindfulness fit in here?
A: Mindfulness means REMEMBERING
to keep this observation practice going all the time to the extent that
mind routinely keeps it going. It becomes part of your life experience.
When the meditator keeps the 6R’s going, they are fulfilling Right
Effort which is an important part of the 8-Fold Path. They are beginning
to examine life through a more impersonal perspective in a very natural
way that can be kept going. Gradually they figure out how much
easier life can be if they let the suffering go. Difficult upsets begin
to pass away more quickly as you realize how they arise.
Responses to interactions in
life begin to happen in more wholesome ways.
This is truly how
this Buddhist practice works. It works today just like it did in the
Q: I have a
A: Go ahead “Q”.
Q: Am I correct
in assuming that Mindfulness really means to remember to keep the
practice of observation going?
A: You got it.
Q: Do you think
it means anything else beyond that?
A: This kind of Mindfulness leads to more peaceful co-existence.
Q: Did the
Buddha have something specific in mind describing these results?
A: Yes. It’s rather nice to keep a description of this around where
you can see it each morning as a reminder. The Buddha gave a discourse
to the monks describing HOW SHOULD WE TRAIN?
exemplifies the life outcome we are working for. Look at the MN-21
“Simile of the Saw” translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi
this is how we should train:
talk to us their speech may be Timely or untimely; True or false; Gentle
Connected with good or connected with harm; Filled with loving-kindness
or inner hatred.
We need to
train ourselves this way:
“My mind will remain unaffected and I will say no words that are evil or
I shall be compassionate for others welfare.
I shall keep my mind filled with loving-kindness without ever
entertaining thoughts of anger or hatred.
I shall radiate loving-kindness to everyone all of the time; to all
beings as to myself.
I shall radiate and pervade all beings with a mind that is abundant,
without anger or hostility.”
‘That is what we need to practice!’
--- End notation
from discourse ---
This is great
stuff. It’s like being thrown back in time and being told that ‘sticks
and stones will break my bones, but names can never hurt me!’
about turning the other cheek? No difference here. Maybe we never
knew someone who actually would turn the other cheek. But here it is
again held out to us as a challenge of something to really do. It is truly possible to do but it takes practice.
We have to
understand how this can be done.
Mindfulness is a key
component to be developed so that we can keep our practice going. As
mindfulness develops it begins to kick in on it’s own. We don’t stop
anymore to look over things and kick it in; rather it just begins to
This is how Choice
(Volition) works in Buddhism. There is a moment of choice where
we can let go and follow through or not. This is where the most
important choice is made in Buddhism:
to crave and cling OR not to
crave and cling; to suffer or not to suffer, that is the question!
If we are up the
challenge by following this practice, then we are learning to recognize
the arising tension and releasing it. We
are letting go, relinquishing old habitual tendencies of grabbing onto
what is arising and choosing not to identify with it personally (atta
in Pali). Instead, we are letting go of whatever arises, it and of
all residual tension, by doing the relax step of the practice. By doing
this, we are letting go of our opinions or ideas and just allowing an
impersonal process to happen. This is key. Without that Relax step
progress cannot happen.
Q: Can I ask a
Q: Can you tie
things together compactly for me that we have touched on so far.
A: Yes. I think I can.
In order to do the
practice and KNOW what is happening, the meditator has to first know
what the being, you or me are actually composed of in simple terms to
Q: That would be
the aggregates, right?
A: Right. Those five Aggregates are
Q: What’s next?
A: We have to learn to take a look at things by using the 4 Noble
We went over the 4 noble
truths as being
1) there is
2) there is a cause of suffering;
3) there is a cessation of suffering; and
4) there is a path/way to this cessation of suffering.
Q: didn’t you
say we could use these in different ways too?
A: That’s right. We first have to recognize that suffering is caused
by dissatisfaction of how things are ; dissatisfaction with change.
That is what the
suffering actually is. Now, the meditator begins to examine what the
cause of that dissatisfaction is and how it begins when we personally
place an opinion onto any arising feeling.
Q: I remember
the three kinds of feeling too?
A: Yes. They are just as important to basically understand.
FEELING is simply FEELING. It is always 1) PAINFUL, 2) PLEASANT or 3)
Do you also remember the 5 Precepts and the 5 hindrances?
Q: Yes. The 5 Precepts are what helps me to have smooth meditation
and a smoother ride in life.
A: Yes. That’s right.
The precepts are made up from Universal Law. The Buddha gave us these as
simple advice to follow for a happier life. What are the 5 Precepts Q?
Q: The 5
1) Not to intentionally Kill;
2) Not to steal;
3) Not to Lie, speak gossip, or slander others;
4) Not to commit wrong sexual activity;
5) Not to take any recreational drugs or alcohol.
A: Good one!
Q: And then you
spoke about what happens if you broke these precepts.
A: That’s right.
If a person breaks
these precepts, then there are certain results which always occur. These
are 5 barriers or what they call “hindrances” that will come up to block
us from having tranquility and contentment in our life. These
hindrances can come up in life or in meditation if you break these
Those 5 Hindrances are:
Lust & Greed, the I want it mind leading towards Attachment;
2. Hatred & ill-will, the I
don’t want it mind leading towards Aversion;
3. Sloth and torpor;
4. Restlessness, guilt, remorse;
5. Doubt in the way the teacher is
teaching the practice or in the way you are doing the practice or it can
be just doubt about your life.
Q: So when people
are living life, everyone is living with this scale regardless of
whether we practice the meditation or not?
A: Yes. As I said, anyone can check the balance of this scale for
themselves to see whether it’s true or not. This isn’t just for
meditators to know about. But it’s tough to check on this if you
don’t know it exists, isn’t it?
Q: Sure. That
A: Remember, I also talked with you about how a being experiences
life in this existence.
Q: Right, that’s
called Cognition. The meditator experiences life through the 6 sense
doors with the external doors being the Eyes, Ears, Nose, Tongue, and
Body and the 6th sense door is the internal sense door of
A: Good “Q”. You
are beginning to remember.
Q: So this is the basic teaching?
A: Yes. Here is
a diagram to help you notice how the practice moves you in the direction
of the desired results.
There are 4 stages we pass through on this
spiritual journey. On the journey First, we have to meet each of
the sense doors and understand how contact happens through them.
Secondly, the meditator begins to notice how CRAVING arises and almost
immediately leaps into CLINGING.
we begin to notice
we begin to shift our perspective of how way we view the
When affected by
CRAVING & CLINGING , the
personal/selfish PERSPECTIVE is involved. And as things arise
and pass away we experience
the impermanent nature of each arising.
The practice leads
us to new Impersonal/selfless PERSPECTIVE without old opinions
blocking the way. Now we can experiment taking this perspective
directly into life while observing the difference it can make.
In this case, we try out the idea that
This Body is not
it is not mine,
it is not my self……
It is just what it
is, THE body
This is not me,
not mine, not my self. It is just feeling.
This is not me,
not mine, not my self. It is just perception
This is not me,
not mine, not my self. It is just perception.
This is not me,
not mind, not my self. This is just the process of arising
the impersonal perspective opens the space for us to offer a RESPONSE
instead of a RE-ACTION to situations in our life. We begin to realize a
Universal Law. .
“ NOTHING IS HAPPENING TO US !
EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING FROM US !”
When the meditator believes
that all parts of cognition are ME, is MINE, is MY SELF, this is the sum
total of the whole mass of suffering.
Buddhist Practice leads us to see HOW a being comes to believe all of
experience is me, is mine, is my self. As we uncover how craving and
clinging actually arise, we discover this is not so.
The meditator begins to see for themselves that there really is such
a state without suffering that is attainable which the Buddha called
“cessation of suffering”.
This practice leads us to test out the instructions on HOW to let go of
any unwholesome suffering which is rooted in this wrong idea of
personalizing the whole experience and to replace this with something
wholesome that relieves suffering and brings happiness into life.
That something would be the impersonal perspective.
Q: And that would
be practicing Right Effort through keeping the 6Rs going, right?
A: You got it.
meditator, practitioner must simply and clearly define suffering, cause,
cessation and path to cessation.
Then they must
remember to practice this path systematically letting go of the
suffering and replacing it. Lightly they say to themselves, “whenever it
gets tough, ‘nevermind’ it”. “ This is not me. This is not mine. This is
not my self.”
Then they replace any unwholesome thought in mind with a good and
wholesome thought starting with a SMILE. And you can add ‘a giggle’ to
the mix, each time you catch yourself thinking something was YOU when it
was not you at all! Haha.
Once we catch this,
let it go, and come up with something to replace it, then we proceed
with a wholesome helping thought,
and keep that going in life to re-train mind!
Q: That is
A: That is Buddhism.
This is a nutshell
version of what is happening in this shift of perspective leading to a
shift of actions.
Q: And it sure
makes life easier.
A: I know . It’s true. It turns life into a game and is
really refreshing. You can actually smile again. <grin>
As we practice the
6Rs we unfold the 37 Requisites of Enlightenment. We will define them
and then weave them together until they make a perfect Dhamma Cloth once
If we commit to
keeping this practice going, this cloth will begin to automatically
reweave itself repeatedly for the practitioner. It will become a new
wholesome habit which will relieve a great deal of lamentation, pain,
grief and despair which is the dissatisfaction, the suffering in their
Such things as
suffering, cause, cessation, and path; meditation and mindfulness;
feeling, craving, clinging, habitual tendencies and action will become
crystal clear through Knowledge, practice, and arising Vision.
Q: I heard about knowledge and wisdom in
some books. But what is knowledge and vision?
A: On the way to knowledge and wisdom, we attain knowledge and vision
first which actually means knowing by seeing.
This is the method
the Buddha presented which allows us not to accept anything blindly.
Only as we see things happening does Knowledge and Wisdom evolve. The
meditator MUST personally experience it for themselves.
Wisdom means we can
see clearly how the impersonal process of Dependent Origination works
and the Four Noble Truths. The Buddha left us the precise
instructions ‘how he saw clearly’. It doesn’t work unless you give up
all other ideas and just do it as he advised. The other ascetics found
this out when they tried on their own to make it happen.
This is the way to
Peace and the way to freedom from suffering through clear understanding
and the application of this into daily life. This practice leads the
meditator to proper and fruitful actions. This is why you will hear us
Life is Meditation; Meditation is life!
Next installment we
will begin examining the 37 Requisites of Enlightenment. Please keep
your practice going and ask us questions if you have any.
- Please go to
and listen to the Instructions for the METTA meditation if you have
not begun this practice. It helps us if everyone does the same
meditation during training. The instructions for practicing
METTA and WALKING meditations are found at
- When you are
practicing, please sit a minimum ½ hour each time. No less.
Read over the training information at the website and try to follow
the instructions exactly.
- During walking
meditation walk a minimum of 15 min and max of 45.
Let us know
how this smiling is going. Have fun with this and keep things
Much metta and
smiles to you all.
Rev. Sister Khema
2010- FS-08: More in depth:
“What is a Human Being composed of that makes this journey?”
[covering 5 Aggregates (khandas) more in depth and introducing
the 6 Sense doors (salyatana)
The Gift of
Dhamma is Priceless !
brought to you by
United International Buddha Dhamma Society (UIBDS)
Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center (DSMC), 8218 County Road 204, Annapolis,