Top Ideas in Buddhism – Translation 20 Languages (Full Book and Audio Versions)

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With my utmost humble respect to Lord Buddha. I’m hundred percent Thai Buddhist. I’ve taught Dhamma for 11 years. When my Vipassana meditation teaching has spread out to over hundred thousands of people who read the Thai Dhamma books that I wrote,
they’ve always asked, “Will you have a book in English?” They want their friends and family to read the way I explain Dhamma from my own experience which they
never read from anywhere before. I refused with the reason that I’m not ready and my English is not perfect. Somehow, I started to have foreign students come learn Vipassana meditation, making me have to ask help from my students to translate the Dhamma discourses to record for students to listen to during the course. Often times my foreign students have questions on some points after listening to the discourse. Some felt upset and some felt depressed. They said it’s as if Dhamma or Buddha will turn them into non-human with no love, no feelings, no excitement, no desire and have to let go of everything. “How can I live my life now? I don’t want to be a monk.” This is a sample of a complaint I received. After I explained to clear the doubt of each teaching directly from my own words, his doubt vanished away and he became more happy to continue practice. I came From the author to realize that there must be something missing in the delivery of the message, some missing translation or misuse of words that made the teaching unclear or give wrong meaning. Because I don’t have such problems with teaching in Thai. Later on I started to explain the core teachings of the Buddha from my words to a foreigner,he said “That’s it. I understand clearly, more clear than any explanation I’ve heard before. Please fix the translation of the Dhamma discourse because after listening I felt so sad.” He said, “What a relief! I thought Dhamma will take life away from me.”His relief has become my awakening over the lost in translation. Later, I brought this issue to discuss with my students who have the ability in English translation. I said, “We must improve or adjust the way we translate and the use of vocabulary, it’s clear that there is a lot of misconception of Buddha’s teaching happening from the translation. ”During the meeting I explained the most important teaching of Buddha “Detachment” to them in English. I spoke slowly with no worry about grammatical mistakes. I explained from my heart, direct from my wisdom. The meeting room of 14 people were in silence, letting the message float into their hearts. In summary, I said Dhamma doesn’t mean it would steal life away from you, you will still have feelings, you will still have joy, you will find meaning in life, and more importantly Dhamma will show you the way to end misery in life. After finishing, some students were almost in tears and one of the students said to me, “Master, I think you should write in English by yourself even though the grammar is not perfect. The reader should read your message directly, it’s more pure, more touching than trying to let the corrections of grammar come in between the message.” I took that comment to my consideration. I always feel that there is a thin line that blocks the true meaning of the Buddha’s teachings from foreigners, that thin line was separating a normal human being way too far from the Enlightened One. In the afternoon while I was contemplating about this matter, I received a holy stream of energy pouring into my mind and body with the message: “We were taught to be far away from the truth. English learning in the university level is to learn how to cook up english words to make them sound beautiful and to use complex sentence structures. It emphasizes the eloquence of the words rather than their true meaning.”I felt even more alert and decided to write in English rather than write in Thai and send to an English expert to translate my writing. Because if anyone does not practice Vipassana meditation seriously, it will be very
difficult to understand the true and in-depth meaning of the Buddha’s teachings. Buddha also taught that reaching the Ultimate Truth must come from the experience level, the same way one would know if a well-decorated dish of food is delicious or uneatable by eating it, and not by just admiring how it looks. My original plan is to write the book “Awaken from madness – A message from the Buddha”. It is a book about my meditation experience which leads to enlightenment. The technique to purify the mind is called Techo Vipassana, which is based on the Four Fundamentals of Mindfulness. Techo Vipassana is a specific technique in using the fire element in the body to purify the mind. The technique has helped me reach the Ultimate Truth at the energy level. I have received the holy stream in energy form from the Buddha to reveal my journey to others in order to awaken their mind from illusion. The book has required so much energy to write and is not yet complete. Since I have already explained the teaching’s of the Buddha in many occasions, so I have decided to publish this book first as an introduction. I have to thank my students to encourage me that day and also thanks for all the effort they put in to help make this book. The Top Idea’s part is direct writings from me which most of it I wrote in English. The part of Famous stories in the Buddha’s time I received help from my students, where the stories were gathered from Buddhist scriptures; Tripitaka (The Pali Canon). The Acharavadee Wongsakon stories come from many sources. I’d like to thank everyone who helped preserve, and deliver the teachings of the Buddha for us to have guidance to learn and practice.
Happiness or unhappiness is not limited for a certain religion. Buddha never chose to teach only those who vow to be Buddhist. He taught everyone who wished to
find true happiness and wish to end the cycle of misery. To truly understand the Buddha’s teaching, it cannot be reached at the intellectual level, only at the practicing level that can make you reach the Ultimate Truth, especially about oneself. Also I hope this book will help you find what you are looking for. I wish this book can be a candle to light up true wisdom that awaits to shine upon you and help you find true inner peace which is missing in humans’ life.

WHO IS BUDDHA?
Buddha is the Enlightened One and the father of Buddhism. His teachings liberate us human beings from a life in misery. His compassion has brought peace and harmony to the world. Buddha was born as a prince named Siddhartha. He grew up to excel in all the 18 fields of traditional arts and sciences ranging from politics to philosophy.
When he reached the age of 16, his father arranged his marriage to Princess Yasodhara. They had a son together. The Turning Point One day, the prince wondered what life was like outside the palace so he made a trip. There, he saw an old man with a gloomy face, a diseased man laying with a moan, and a dead person surrounded by his
tearful family. He then said, “How can I live a life of pleasure when there’s so much suffering in the world”? Later, when he saw an ascetic in peacefulness, the prince
thought this would be the path to end the cycle of the sufferings of birth, aging, sickness, and death. Realizing his beloved father and family too would face the same ending, the prince ran away from the palace to end the cycle of those sufferings. The Middle Path Siddhartha began his monastic life under the guidance of two famous masters, but they could not find the path to end the suffering either. He began searching for a way on his own and starved himself until he was left with only skin and bones. One evening the angels, disguised as musicians, played a lute in front of him while he was sitting in meditation. Hearing the music, he realized a loose string did not carry sound and a very tight string would break. The music was perfect only when the strings were neither too loose nor too tight. He then found the answer was to take the middle path: Siddhartha began eating normally again after six years. The Reach of Enlightenment On a full moon day in May, he sat under the Bodhi tree and vowed, “Even if my flesh and blood were to dry up, leaving only skin and bones, I will not leave this place until I find a way to end all sufferings.” Through a meditation technique now known as Vipassana, he discovered the Ultimate Truth about himself, life, and the universe. Siddhartha was finally enlightened and became Gautama Buddha at the age of 35. Buddha taught human to be free from misery and life cycle for 45 years. He reached Nirvana (died) at age 80. The enlightenment of Buddha is the state of mind that maintains the absolute equanimity or neutrality, not clinging to positive or negative energy, free from impurity. Buddha discovered the Ultimate Truth that everything is merely an assembly of energy. With this neutrality, he made his mind free from gravity, ending the cycle of rebirth.

The Fundamental Teachings of Buddha
1) Refrain from all kind of sins.
2) Do good deeds.
3) Purify your mind.
The 5 Major Sins in Buddhism are killing,
stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, taking alcohol or
drugs.


The Core Teaching of Buddha: Equanimity
(Neutrality)
It means the mind is not shaken by or attached to happiness, unhappiness, and illusion. Whatever comes to the mind, it knows without seasoning the feeling into craving and aversion.

THE IMPORTANT TEACHINGS
Cause of Misery
Craving and Aversion is the cause of misery because it will develop into Anger and Hatred, Greed, and Illusion which in Buddhism are called “Kilesa” or impurity. The impurity causes attachment to emotions such as obsession, depression, and anxiety. The attachment also causes misery and the cycle of rebirth. The ultimate goal of Buddhism is to end the cycle of rebirth, in another word, to reach enlightenment. The Middle Path  is a life in morality, not extremely addicted to happiness and unhappiness as the addiction eventually leads to depression. When we’re happy or sad, we know it without letting our mind sink into those feelings as we realize things are impermanent. We do not season our feelings into emotions since this will develop into addiction or obsession, leading to attachment.

The Four Noble Truths

  1. Suffering – To suffer from being born, being
    old, being sick and dying. These sufferings are
    common to us all.
  2. Cause of suffering – We are the cause of our
    own suffering.
  3. End of suffering
  4. Path to end suffering – The way to end it.
    The Truth of the Universe
  5. Nothing is lost in the universe – Matters turn
    into energy, energy turns into matter.
  6. Things are impermanent
  7. Law of Cause and Effect – This law is known as
    karma. Nothing ever happens to us unless we deserve it.

TOP IDEAS
IN BUDDHISM
“Dhamma has a meaning
associated to goodness,
righteousness, and
appropriateness.”

Dhamma is directly translated as nature or normality. All things have their own distinctive
characters or qualities. For example, water has a cooling quality while fire has a heating quality. Good deeds have the quality that brings happiness and brightness. Bad deeds have the quality that bring miseries and trouble. In Buddhism, Dhamma has a meaning associated to goodness, righteousness, and appropriateness. It is timeless. All three factors must be met. A person practicing Dhamma is said to practice on the path of
virtue.


“The original mind is called the Knowing Mind or the Soul. The human’s original mind has the characteristics of cleanliness and purity.”The soul is the most powerful energy. The mental energy is so refined that no scientific equipment is capable of detecting its energy. Human beings, live their lives under the mind’s command. Matters in the world consist of earth, water, wind and fire elements. The Buddha added the soul as another type of energy. All beings in the world comprise the four elements, with three-fourth of the world being water and one-fourth the land. Similarly, a human body is about 70% water and the rest of earth element. This means human is a part of nature. A body without a soul is a corpse. When a soul lives in a body, that lifeless body becomes a human. A human has thoughts that drive all life activities. The soul is therefore the most powerful energy. The Western world overlooks the importance of the soul and mostly focuses on studying the brain. The original mind is called the Knowing Mind or the Soul. The human’s original mind has the characteristics of cleanliness and purity. As a type of energy, it has a particular quality; fire being hot, earth being solid, for example. The original mind is free from contamination. The specific characteristics of the original mind are clean, pure,
peaceful, gentle yet strong and powerful. It is free from greed, aversion, and ignorance. It also contains the qualities of gratefulness and consciousness. When the original mind is infiltrated or contaminated by impurities (Greed, Anger, Hatred and Illusion), in Pali called Kilesa (impurities), its quality becomes the opposite. It gets dirty and is driven by the impurities to do bad things, resulting in problems and distress. As said earlier, the mind is a form of energy, therefore it falls under the same rule of physics. Negative emotions are negative energies and have an ability to weigh down the mind energy. When the weight of the mind becomes heavier, it is trapped in the gravity, unable to get out of the world’s magnetic field. In Buddhist term, we call it Samsara or the Cycle of Rebirth — endless cycle of birth, aging, sickness, and death. Death is just a transition of the energy. The mindcannot stay inside a dead body. It transforms into a new form where the mind’s past deeds (karma), good and bad, will determine the new form of life, carrying with them the responsibilities of its own past actions. The soul continues to wander in the cycle of rebirth indefinitely. Therefore, those who have not purified theirmind to the level of enlightenment are like two persons living in one body. In short, there are two minds, both good and evil in one person. When goodness takes over, the person will do good things. When the dark side is in control, he will do bad things, bringing grievances to himself and others.
“Those who attain enlightenment, their consciousness is always clear and stable”

CONSCIOUSNESS
Consciousness is clear awareness of something for what it is and of an action being done. It is wholesome. The ill-will actions lack consciousness on what is being done. As such, the defilements can take control of the action to commit a sin. Consciousness is an important
quality of the original mind. For those who still have impurities (Greed, Anger, Hatred and Illusion) in the mind, it means their Knowing Mind is dominated by impurities. Those who attain enlightenment, the mind is pure from impurities. Their consciousness is always
clear and stable. They can distinctively differentiate wholesome and unwholesome deeds. They will then choose to merely do decent deeds.Drunken people lose their mindfulness and consciousness. They behave inappropriately as well as act on impulses. They cannot control themselves. That is the state of lacking the Right Mindfulness and consciousness. Practicing consciousness is very important in Buddhism. It is an essential characteristic
leading to spiritual liberation.

“The karmic effect works immediately or subsequently. Sometimes we do not understand
why miseries in life happen.”

KARMA… CREATION OF ONE’S FATE
The Buddha said, “All beings are the owners of their karma, heirs of their karma, born of their karma, related to their karma and supported by their karma.” Karma means actions with intention that is also reflected through words and thoughts. It is the law of Cause and Effect and accords with the law of physics which states that energy with the same characteristics is grouped together by magnetic wave. So good karma brings good results and bad karma brings bad results. Bad deeds cause one’s rebirth in hell through 3 actions; killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct, 4 verbal acts; lying, malicious, harsh, and useless words, and 3 mental acts; greed, ill will, and wrong view. In Buddha’s time, there was a story about a woman being thrown into the sea by her own husband who was also the captain. Earlier, the ship they and other seamen boarded stopped without a reason so they believed someone brought bad luck with them and must be gone. Unfortunately, the wife picked the same lot from all three drawing lots. And so she had to be killed. Also on board was a group of monks. When they met with the Buddha, the monks asked the Buddha about the incident. His reply was that it was the karmic force. In a past life, the captain’s wife had a pet dog that loved her very much and followed her everywhere. The sight of them always together brought laughter and teasing from everyone. Feeling embarrassed, she tied the dog’s neck with sandbag and killed it by dumping the bag into a river. After her death, she was punished for a long time in hell, then reborn and died in the water the same way for another 100 births. The karmic effect works immediately or subsequently. Sometimes we do not understand why so many hardships happen to us. But through direct effect of karma it is the result of what we did in the past. The present is no doubt the offspring of your past and sets the direction of your future. Bad karma can diminish positive results from good karma.  Likewise, good karma can thwart the consequences of bad karma. Doing “right” can lessen the karmic effect. When we mindfully act, speak, and think, we can abstain from wrongdoing and understand a difficulty at hand as a lesson learned. Create good karma in the present moment, a blessed future will eventually blossom. “Buddha taught us not to be afraid of our own past since we cannot change it. But we can change the course of our current life”When misfortune happens, most Buddhists think it is because of their bad deeds in past lives. They struggle to overcome it it by seeking help through supernatural means. This is a total misconception of “Reciprocal Deeds” in Buddha’s teachings. We reap what we sow. The word “karma” means action or deed. It covers both good and bad actions. Different karmic actions result in different life conditions. For example, some people were born poor because they rarely gave. Buddha taught us not to be afraid of our own past since we cannot change it. But we can change the course of our current life by sorting out our mind, and start saying and doing the right things. Some may argue why swindlers continue to be rich and get away with it. They seem to have a perfect life but their minds are not at peace, full of worries not knowing when consequences will come. Moreover, we should not expect something in return when we do a good thing. That is greed. The joy of doing good is already a reward in itself. Do not let money run your

life. It is hard work, honesty, and living within your means that offer true happiness and inner peace.There are many times we do not understand why a certain incident happened to us. We never hurt anyone but why someone keeps attacking and trying to destroy us. Why were we robbed? Why did the burglar just rob us, not others? Why did this person who looked so good and so capable fail to succeed or did not receive an opportunity like another person who seemed inferior in all aspects? The principle of Cause and Effect is not limited to only the present time. It can be affected from the past because the mind is the energy current which has accumulated both good and bad karma. Sometimes, good karma takes effect while bad karma is waiting to yield. This is why we see some newborn babies born to a wealthy family and some abandoned by their parents at birth. They are pure and innocent babies. They have not done anything wrong at all. It is the result of their bad karma accumulated and coded as negative energy in the subconscious part of their mind which takes effect at an appropriate time. The principle of Cause and Effect can be explained through the nature of trees. If we plant a mango seed, it will take some time to grow and bear fruits. And since mango trees are long-lived, they give fruits for a long time. On the contrary, seasonal plants are short lived, yielding in a short period of time and dying soon after. As humans are part of nature, any incident happening to us is also caused by the seed that we sowed. Some seeds take effect for a long time, the others for a short time. Humans live their life in separation from nature, so they view the law of Cause and Effect wrongly. They tend to fix the blame on others, not looking at themselves. The same incident also happened to the Buddha. Before he reached enlightenment, he was mistaken in the practice. He spent six years in self-torture through extreme fasting. That was because of his bad karma in one of his past lives. In that lifetime, he was born as a man called Chotipatila. He insulted Kassapa Buddha by saying that, “Will you become enlightened by just sitting still under the Bodhi tree?”. His words were an insult at the Dhamma practice of the former Buddha. Most ordinary people would think that great enlightenment should be attained from exciting, supernatural techniques, chanting in mumbo jumbo, wielding a stick like in Hollywood movie scenes. In fact, enlightenment is attained at the mind level, not physical. Focusing on the mind according to the Four Foundations of Mindfulness taught by the Buddha is therefore the path to enlightenment. Without watching his thoughts, words and actions, Gautama Buddha paid back for one careless remark with self torture as he believed it was the right path. This is an example of Cause and Effect that was carried on from past lives. Although we cannot change our past or do not know what kind of karma we had done, we can do good in this present life. By living life in virtue, the good karma will finally bring good results to our life because Dhamma never betrays humans. Only humans betray nature.

“The attachment causes the
cycle of rebirth because the
mind energy becomes impure,
hindering its ability to be free”

CAUSE OF MISERY AND IMPURITY
Craving and aversion is what cause misery. It drives to Greed, Anger, Hatred, and Illusion which are considered as impurities in the mind. It is hard to let go those impurities as they sink into subconsciousness causing unhappiness, anxiety, and depression. The attachment in emotions and ego is also the cause of misery. Misery in life is sorrow, despair, lamentation and separation. To attach yourself or sink into these emotions is to make the mind energy stuck in the whirlpool of the energy current called the cycle of rebirth or

Samsara. The attachment then causes the cycle of rebirth because the mind energy becomes impure, hindering its ability to be free from gravity. This is what Buddha taught a 50-year-old ascetic named Upaka who was very sad because his 17-year old wife had been treating him badly for the past two years “Upaka, the root of all suffering comes from lust, attachment, insatiable desires and ambitions, and the feeling that this is me and that is mine. This includes an addiction to emotional pleasures. All the things you hold fast, thinking they are yours and will not harm or hurt you, never exist and cannot be found in this world.”

“There are two types of mindfulness:

right mindfulness and
wrong mindfulness.”

MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness is a mental quality of being aware of what you are doing. It is the practice to be in a present moment. Your mind is really focusing on the activity. in front of you, not wandering away. The firm mind has a willpower to perform any activities effectively
and efficiently. There are three ways to practice mindfulness.

  1. By focusing on the breathing to use the breath as a training tool to train the mind to be firm, no minwandering.
  2. By doing one thing at a time, always staying withevery single moment of the action.
  3. By walking meditation, learning how to focuswith the movement without thinking of anything else.The practice of mindfulness involves concentratinon one single activity at a time, not doing things concurrently. For instance, while you are walking, your mind has to concentrate only on the movement of the walk. Do not think while walking. You need to be mindful of how your soles are touching the ground. You look downward 45 degrees to clearly see the footpath in a short distance. Thinking while walking is considered a lack of mindfulness. Instead of focusing on walking, the mind becomes distracted, allowing mpurities to enter the mind. 
  4. There are two types of mindfulness: right mindfulness and wrong mindfulness. Right mindfulness is a wholesome mind, being aware of right actions, not causing trouble to others for
    one’s own livelihood. Wrong mindfulness is an unwholesome mind, being aware of bad actions, causing trouble to others such as a well-planned robbery.
    Therefore, practicing mindfulness alone does not
    ultimately lead us to inner peace and harmony. It
    requires consciousness and mind purification (also
    known as Vipassana Meditation or Insight Meditation).
    Mental impurities arising from wrong mindfulness
    lead our life to the cycle of illusion. They deceive us
    into thinking we live in happiness that we feel never
    get enough. This results in the neverending feeling of
    craving and aversion.
    Benefits of mindfulness practice
    Practicing mindfulness helps the mind gain
    concentration power. Your mind can be more focused
    Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time 4
    on every single thing you do or what is coming to your
    mind. It helps you think clearly and get out of brain
    fog easily. Mindfulness also helps boost your memory
    because while studying, your mind will not be distracted
    by other things easily and can have a complete focus.
    With the trained mind, you will also be safe from
    danger, for example, when you are behind the wheels,
    your mind can concentrate on the driving clearly.
    Mindfulness helps organize your life with more
    effectiveness and efficiency. Your mind will have more
    room for peace and harmony in life.
    Once the world has entered the Internet era via
    social media, the way people live is against mindfulness.
    It leads to lack of peaceful mind because they continuously
    receive data in the form of messages or news feed that
    keep pouring into their mind. It results in lack of
    concentration and patience, with little time for serious
    contemplation because the overwhelming digital data
    constantly pushes those people’s mind to move forward
    all the time, minute by minute. Humans are pushed away
    from nature when they live their lives in the opposite
    direction from peace. We live our life unnaturally, relying
    on the Internet which comes in a pack of heat and
    magnetic wave.
    Anything against the nature is considered unnatural.
    It brings damage of all levels to those with that kind of
    48 Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time
    lifestyle. People living in this unbalanced life will face
    so many problems. For example, they lose control of
    themselves; unable to stop themselves from doing
    wrong or hurt themselves. They feel gloomy, sad, or
    have mental disorder. They do not understand what
    they are fighting with, so they live their life without a
    purpose.
    You can train your mind with mindfulness practice
    by doing things at a slower pace, one thing at a time,
    not staying online for too long, and spending more
    time with nature. All these behaviors will bring the
    mind to a more peaceful state. These activities are the
    next step leading to the discovery of true happiness.

    “The conduct aims at harming no
    one including self. It is a universal
    rule, not limited to a particular
    culture or religion.”

    FIVE CODES OF CONDUCT
    The Five Codes of Conduct or The BuddhiFive Precepts is a moral guideline that Buddha has
    left behind for people who are not monks. It is the
    fundamental life principles which, when adhered
    to, bring about peace and harmony to the society.
    The conduct aims at harming no one including
    yourself. It is a universal rule, not limited to a
    particular culture or religion.
    Buddhism treated the precepts as the prerequisite to become a complete, truly happy person.
    The codes include:
  5. No killing – Those who often take lives will
    either be born unhealthy or die young.
  6. No stealing – It means not taking tangible and
    intangible assets such as intellectual property rights.
    Soon the violator or the stealer will lose not only
    newly-acquired possessions, but also existing ones.
  7. No adultery – True love is hard to find or does
    not even exist for unfaithful people because not
    8
    52 Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time
    only do they fail to cherish their partner’s love, but
    also ruin it.
  8. No lying – Constant liars find it hard to receive
    respect and trust from others. This is because they
    often broke their promises or betrayed other
    people’s trust.
  9. No consumption of intoxicating substances –
    Alcohols and drugs rob consciousness and numb
    the brain. Heavy drinkers’ brains fail prematurely
    and sometimes they do not even have to wait until
    the next life to be mentally retarded or suffer mental
    diseases.
    The precepts effectively create a line between
    right and wrong. Those violating the conduct are
    simply heading for trouble, in line with the law of
    Cause and Effect.

    “Those who want to be
    free from the cycle of
    rebirth will need to go
    through the process of
    mind purification taught
    by the Buddha.”

    MIND PURIFICATION
    The mind that is contaminated with impurities
    (Kilesa) is considered impure. The impurities are
    emotions of Greed, Anger, Hatred, and Illusion which
    are caused by craving and aversion.
    Those who want to be free from the cycle of rebirth
    will need to go through the process of mind purification
    taught by the Buddha in ‘The Threefold Training’,
    which is the way to the enlightenment and be free from
    the cycle of birth and death. The Threefold Training
    comprises the precepts, meditation, and wisdom. For
    laypeople, the precepts are five codes of conduct as
    explained in Chapter 8.
    Holding the precepts will keep the mind at peace
    to a certain extent and not discouraged by retributions
    from the past karma. To improve further, a person
    needs to be trained through focus meditation practice
    to sharpen the mind. Then with Vipassana meditation,
    the advanced meditation technique, the person will


    discover the Ultimate Truth about himself. It is the
    truth that cannot be perceived by thinking or seeing
    with an eye. At this point, the mind will be free from
    temptations and impurities (Kilesa). It will reach the
    neutral state, not bound by any positive or negative
    energy as it is free from magnetic induction in the
    universe. Reaching this stage, the person attains
    enlightenment.
    Apart from cleansing the mind from Kilesa, mind
    purification also makes amends of sin and impure
    thoughts, words, and actions which are imbedded in
    the sub-conscious memory. This belief in “expiation
    of sin” has been around for thousands of years, for
    example, there is a belief in India that bathing in the
    Ganges River three times a day can expiate their sins
    because they believe it is the holy river from Hindu
    God Shiva.
    Once, the Buddha went to the river to teach a
    Brahmin named Sangkawara who faithfully bathed
    in the river three times a day because he believed that
    bathing in the river would wash away his sins
    although he was very old and frail.
    “Brahmin, I say that malevolent acts, malevolent
    speech, and malevolent thoughts dirty our mind and they
    can be cleansed by Dhamma, which is benevolence,
    not from taking regular baths. The water drank by
    people with benevolent acts, benevolent words, and

    benevolent thoughts is sacred in itself. Brahmin, come
    and bathe in my teaching which is profound, clean, not
    turbid. It has the precepts as the dock that leads you
    into the river, and praised by wise men. Wise people
    should take these baths and afterwards they can cross
    the cycle of misery without even getting wet.”
    “The Buddha taught that
    knowing the truth comes in
    three levels; thought level,
    contemplation level, and
    the experience level.”

    THE FOUR
    NOBLE TRUTHS
    Reaching the truth from practicing mind
    purification is to realize the Four Noble Truths,
    namely suffering, the cause of suffering, the end of
    suffering, and the path to end suffering (In Pali
    language, they are called Dukkha, Samudaya,
    Nirodha, Magga).
    Reading about the Four Noble Truths cannot
    make anyone reach the Ultimate Truth at the level
    of Knowing Mind because he has no direct spiritual
    experience. For example, we see the suffering in
    injuries, death, and loss of possessions from seeing
    or reading about people displaced by war. We also
    see the cause of suffering; the conflicts that lead to
    the war. The end of suffering is normalcy. The path
    to the end of suffering is the end of war. All of these
    are an intellectual comprehension, not a perception
    through direct experience of the incident. Unless the
    person is in the middle of the war, he will never

    realize how miserable it is and how the end of those
    grievances can bring happiness to the war victims.
    The Buddha taught that knowing the truth comes
    in three levels; thought level, contemplation level,
    and the experience level. Enlightenment is the state
    of reaching the truth in the experience level. It is to
    reach the Four Noble Truths in oneself not in others.
    When the truth in oneself is discovered, that person
    will also reach the truth in all things in the nature
    because Dhamma is nature.
    The Buddha clearly explained that sufferings are
    birth, old age, sickness, and death. When a person
    has experienced them by himself, he will truly
    understand this teaching. Those who never get sick
    do not realize how uncomfortable it is to be sick.
    Some patients even beg for death because they
    cannot bear the pain. The Buddha therefore called
    this cycle ‘the cycle of misery’.

    “The Noble Path is the way
    to the Middle Path, which
    is about a balanced life”

    THE NOBLE PATH,
    THE MIDDLE PATH
    To reach the Noble Truths, a person will have to
    follow the map that leads to the truth. The Buddha
    then taught about the Noble Eightfold Path, the
    path of the wise that will bring a noble man to be
    liberated from the cycle of misery. It consists of:
    The Morality:
    The Right Speech: to abstain from lying, inciting,
    talking nonsense, and speaking rude words.
    The Right Action: to abstain from killing, stealing
    and sexual misconduct
    The Right Livelihood: to have an occupation
    which does not exploit or bring harm to others or
    society, and is not illegal or immoral such as
    abstaining from selling weapons, drugs, and alcohol.
    The Concentration:
    The Right Effort: to make an effort not to commit
    any sinful or evil act, to do good deeds and purify
    the mind.

    The Right Mindfulness: to be mindful, to act with
    mindfulness, not let the mind wander
    The Right Concentration: to be concentrated, to
    adhere to good things
    The Wisdom:
    The Right View: to have correct view with belief
    in goodness and badness
    The Right Thought: to think and act with morality
    The Noble Path is the way to the Middle Path,
    which is about a balanced life; not being obsessed
    with one’s own happiness without contributing to
    the society or being too harsh with oneself. This can
    be clearly seen from a yogi’s self-torture such as lying
    on a bed of nails or walking like a dog in a belief that
    these practices could free them from suffering.
    However, vigorously practicing mindfulness and
    Vipassana meditation correctly is not self-torture but
    a session of mind training. It’s not different from
    athletes or soldiers constantly training themselves
    in order to acquire skills required for their duties.

    The thought that meditation practice is self torture comes from the Kilesa (impurities) which exist
    in out minds deceives those who have uncertain and
    weak minds. Therefore, be aware that self-torture is
    different from self-training.

    “The Buddha never taught us to
    have blind faith. We should not
    believe anyone or anything just
    because it has been said, heard,
    or done for a long time. ”

    THE SEVEN
    NOBLE TREASURES
    The Seven Noble Treasures are unlike any other
    treasures in this world that everyone has to leave
    behind when they die. The Treasures accompany the
    soul to the next life. They consist of Faith, Morality,
    Moral Shame, Fear of Karmic Retribution, Dhamma
    Study or Contemplation, Generosity, and Wisdom.
    Faith is the first noble treasure and very important.
    Without faith, it is impossible to conduct life on the
    Noble Path. However, the Buddha never taught us to
    have blind faith. We should not believe anyone or
    anything just because it has been said, heard, or done
    for a long time. We should develop faith after
    reaching a reasonable conclusion or learning from
    an experience.
    Wisdom as the Noble Treasure is the wisdom to
    reach the Ultimate Truth about oneself and the
    truth of existence. The truth that all beings are living
    in a world made up of illusion. It is not the intellectual

    wisdom. Without spiritual wisdom, a person cannot
    see the Ultimate Truth, resulting in his attachment
    to emotions. The Wisdom is the opposite to
    Ignorance which is the main cause of cycle of
    rebirth. That is why Buddhism is considered the
    religion of wisdom.
    In Buddha’s era, there was a leper named Suppabuddhakutthi. He was orphaned, lived as a miserable
    wretch, and was the poorest man in Rajagaha city. One
    day he saw a large gathering of people in Venuvan
    Temple and thought he might get some food if he went
    over to the crowd. After entering the temple, he saw
    the Buddha was giving a sermon and thought, “Great.
    I will listen to Dhamma.” There he was sitting among
    the others with the intention to hear the Buddha’s
    words.
    The Buddha was preaching about generosity,
    virtues, heaven, corruption of sensuality, sorrows
    from Kilesa (impurities), and the benefits of mind
    training. The Dhamma opened Suppabuddhakutthi’s
    eyes. He reached the first stage of enlightenment
    right there and bowed his head in front of the
    Enlightened One, vowing to take a lifelong refuge in
    the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha).
    An angel saw the incident and wanted to test him.
    The angel insulted Suppabuddhakutthi, calling him
    Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time 69
    a poor man. His reply was, “You said I’m a poor
    destitute but I’m not. I’m happy and I possess a large
    amount of treasures. They are faith, morality, moral
    shame, moral fear, learning, generosity, and wisdom.
    If men, women, or any wise ones possess these
    treasures, they are not poor. Their lives will not be
    without Buddha if they have the Noble Treasures.”
    “That is the concentration
    practice for spiritual liberation
    from all sufferings, not for
    seeking supernatural power”

    MEDITATION
    Concentration is when the mind focuses on one
    static emotion. In other words, we must pay full
    attention to a given thing in order for the mind to
    become sharp and still. Previously, the mind was
    filled with a lot of impurities with characteristics of
    a monkey; always jumping from one place to another.
    As a result, the mind loses the unity and became
    vulnerable and unstable. It is very hard to succeed in
    anything when we have a vulnerable and unstable
    mind. Such a state of mind makes us easily give up
    on any obstacles and lack inner peace.
    The Outcome of the Practice
    Therefore, the practice of concentration will help
    our mind to be stronger and more stable. Also, its
    result can also help us to be smarter and have a
    sharper memory. During the practice, we can feel
    the peace of mind because there is no distraction.
    More importantly, concentration also plays an
    important role in Vipassana meditation which leads
    to the freedom from the cycle of rebirth.

    Concentration practice exists not only in
    Buddhism, but also in other religions. Each religion
    has its own concentration technique, but the
    concentration technique of the Buddha is mindfulness
    on breathing called “Anapanasati Meditation”. In this
    technique, we focus our attention on our own
    breathing by fixing the mind to the nostrils without
    chanting any Mantras. The breath will become a tool
    for creating the peace of mind, not for analyzing and
    following any thoughts floating up during the
    meditation. We simply train our mind to remain on
    one static point like the breath. It seems difficult to
    practice at the beginning but in the end it gives a lot
    of benefits.
    However, if we want to have a good and right way
    of practice, we need to have a teacher who can guide
    us to the right direction. That is the concentration
    practice for spiritual liberation from all sufferings,
    not for seeking supernatural powers. Some people
    practice meditation to gain supernatural powers, to
    have celestial vision or to see other existence in
    different dimensions. But that kind of power has both
    advantages and disadvantages.
    In Buddhism, there is no commercial charge for
    students who want to learn about concentration
    practice as it will bring greed, anger and delusion to

    See the meditation technique taught by
    Vipassana Meditation Master Acharavadee
    Wongsakon at Youtube: Knowing Buddha,
    ‘Discover the Spiritual Life’
    To join a meditation retreat
    and learn the way of Buddha,
    visit www.techovipassana.org
    (free of charge)
    the teacher’s mind. Teachers are usually willing to
    teach because they consider the teaching as a form
    of giving and eventually, it will help their students
    find happiness and peace of mind.
    “It is about seeing things
    as they are, not the way
    we want them to be.”

    VIPASSANA MEDITATION
    (INSIGHT MEDITATION)
    Vipassana meditation is the supreme meditation
    technique for mind purification in Chapter 4
    “The Soul” or “The Knowing Mind”. However,
    before starting Vipassana, you must undergo
    focus meditation first in order to cultivate a strong
    foundation for mindfulness.
    There is this principle of meditation called
    Mahasatipatthana Sutta (the Four-point Foundation
    of Mindfulness). The principle is about being mindful
    of the body (movement, action), the feelings, the
    mind (thoughts, state of mind), and the Dhamma
    (the nature of things, beings). It is about seeing things
    as they are, not the way we want them to be, seeing
    them with intent and firmness without reacting to
    what arises in the mind.
    This is also the basis of equanimity practice; to
    be unwavering with emotions, pleasant or unpleasant,
    and keep the mind neutral. Equanimity is the core
    Dhamma the Buddha discovered. The aim of the

    practice is to purify the mind from Kilesa (impurities)
    which cause Craving and Aversion, leading to cycle
    of rebirth.
    Vipassana meditation trains the mind through
    continuously and persistently observing the mind
    and staying equanimous the whole time by not
    reacting to whatever comes to the mind. To practice
    equanimity is to not be swayed by emotions pleasure or pain. It helps free the mind from the cycle
    of becoming as the mind is in a neutral state, not
    attached to negative or positive energies.
    Vipassana meditation allows true purification of
    the mind, bringing wisdom, and revealing the truth
    within the practitioner’s mind depending on the
    person’s level of spiritual progress. The mind will
    be free from deceptions and temptations as the
    impurities are weakened and destroyed through
    different techniques. Each Vipassana technique yields
    the same outcome but is different in terms of speed of
    progress. However, all techniques can purify the mind.
    The difference of Vipassana meditation and normal
    meditation is that Vipassana meditation focuses on
    mindfulness, with clear consciousness of the surrounding
    environment and the reality within the mind and body
    without thoughts to it. But the normal meditation’s focus
    is on the calmness and stillness of the mind.

    The Result of the Practice
    The practice of Vipassana meditation results in
    mind purity, free from impurities; Craving and
    Aversion at the sub-consciousness (Sangkara in Pali
    language) level. They are the true causes of grievances
    in life. While other meditation techniques suppress
    those feelings, giving the meditator a sense of
    peacefulness that only lasts during the session, Vipassana
    calms the meditators’ mind even after the session ends
    because what they feel is the peace from within.
    Eventually, it liberates the soul from suffering
    as the soul attains enlightenment, ending rounds
    of rebirth in this world. And even if one is not
    enlightened, one will see clear changes with oneself
    in everyday life. A Vipassana practitioner will get
    less upset about things, let go of disappointments
    easier, feel at peace, become more mindful, and
    have clarity in life both spiritually and worldly. The
    mind develops a profound understanding of
    ‘Impermanence’. These are called ‘True Wisdom’ that
    shows through the person. One will also be inclined
    to live in goodness without feeling pressured or
    forced. That is the characteristic of spiritually refined
    mind; full of genuine compassion and gratitude.
    “Through Vipassana meditation,
    the practitioner will find that
    letting go becomes increasingly
    easier.”

    DETACHMENT
    Non-attachment is a core Dhamma that the
    Buddha taught. It is the abandonment of clinging to
    emotions including greed, hatred, and delusion. It also
    includes detachment from ego. The mind overcomes
    addiction to pleasures and suffering. It has no craving
    and aversion for worldly successes, lust, and obsessions.
    To truly reach the state of detachment is very
    difficult. Most people are successful at the intellectual
    level. Their minds get carried away with the flow of
    different emotions. Therefore, the mind must undergo
    purification process in order to be totally free.
    Impurities in the mind are the culprit for deep
    emotional attachment.
    Through Vipassana meditation, the practitioner
    will find that letting go becomes increasingly easier as
    they gain spiritual progress. Once he or she reaches the
    stage of enlightenment, the person will become an
    Arahant, or a liberated one.
    That being said, the ‘freedom’ from emotional
    attachment does not mean that person will turn into a
    cold, lifeless robot. A liberated person can still feel

    everything just like others. They can feel love,
    contentment, disappointment, excitement, delight, and
    regrets. But these feelings are not seasoned into
    emotions. Feelings define human beings. But a person
    with pure mind does not season his feelings into
    emotions. His level of emotional involvement does not
    go up to the degree of obsession or deep passion. He
    just accepts when feelings arise but does not mourn
    when the happiness is gone. For example, when he
    tastes delicious food, he enjoys it but is not compelled
    to have more. When he hears praises, he accepts it and
    feels proud but his ego does not get inflated. When
    faced with disappointment, he does not feel sad for
    long and quickly gets himself together.
    There was an ascetic named Upaka. His heart was
    badly broken by insulting words from his own wife
    Suchawadee, a 17-year-old girl who was forced by her
    father to marry the 50-year-old Upaka.
    Even though Upaka was determined to live a
    monastic life to cleanse his mind from impurities or
    Kilesa, he did not receive correct teaching nor had the
    right teacher. So when he saw the beautiful teenager,
    the lust that had been suppressed surged immediately,
    overwhelming him with crazy passion. He abandoned
    his ascetic life to marry her but the marriage was
    nothing but bitterness. Suchawadee felt only hatred

    towards him. She never appreciated whatever he had
    done to please and take care of her and constantly put
    him down with humiliating remarks about his poverty
    and old age. Unable to tolerate it, Upaka went to see
    the Buddha to ask for help out of his miserable life.
    Buddha taught Upaka to see the harm in Craving
    and Aversion. He said, “Behold, Upaka, you should see
    this world as emptiness. Keep mindfulness at all times.
    Remove your ego and detach from the self. You will
    feel light, less sad, less worried. There is no other
    happiness comparable to the ultimate happiness from
    letting go and establishing yourself in Dhamma.”
    Supreme Dhamma practice does not turn a person
    into a log but rather pulls him out of the emotional
    pitfall, transforming him from a victim of his own
    reactions to a reasonable and compassionate human
    being.
    Emotions are high-density energies with very
    strong pulling force. If your mind is deeply stuck in an
    emotion, you are strengthening your addiction to
    clinginess energy, imbedding your soul in the magnetic
    field and gravity current. But if you can let go of those
    emotions, they will be released before dissipating
    eventually, allowing equanimity to rise. That is the
    enlightened mind.
    “What one gains from
    enlightenment is a
    completely neutral
    mind and freedom from
    craving and aversion.
    No more falling victim
    to emotional pitfalls.”

    ENLIGHTENMENT
    Enlightenment is the state of mind that achieves
    ultimate spiritual insight, enlightened with the
    Ultimate Truth about oneself and about the illusion
    of this world. This is the state of liberation or the final
    stage of enlightenment. The enlightened mind
    destroys all the impurities that had hidden the truth
    about the mind.
    What one gains from enlightenment is a
    completely neutral mind and freedom from craving
    and aversion. No more falling victim to emotional
    pitfalls. The mind is no longer stirred by happiness
    and sadness, full of appreciation for all things the
    way an ordinary mind cannot understand. It is
    because an enlightened mind is the purest energy as
    it bears no harmful thoughts and only feels
    compassion for all beings. The compassion stems
    from a true understanding that all creatures are
    trapped in the cycle of rebirth and that they all face
    the same suffering namely separation, frustration,
    and agony for innumerable lifetimes.

    Buddha reached enlightenment after rigorous
    mind training through countless reincarnations to
    seek the liberation. His mind was full of loving
    kindness and compassion. That was what drove him
    to start his journey to teach the Dhamma he had
    discovered to as many people as possible until his
    final day.

    “Nirvana is the state of pure
    mind and pure energy, no
    impurities, no grievances,
    no more birth and death”

    NIRVANA
    Nirvana is the condition of death in an enlightened
    soul. When the Buddha or an enlightened soul
    passes away, their souls will not return to the cycle
    of rebirth anymore. We do not use Nirvana in the
    case of an ordinary person’s death.
    Another definition of Nirvana is the place of
    supreme happiness where enlightened souls reside.
    It is for those with an entirely pure mind and thus
    out of the cycle of rebirth and the gravitational force
    of the universe.
    Nowadays the definition of Nirvana has been
    distorted way beyond its original meaning. In
    Tipitaka (The Pali Canon), the word was only used
    when the Buddha passed away, signifying that the
    enlightened mind will go to the another dimentional
    realm where peace is longlasting. It is the land of
    pure mind and pure energy, no impurities, no
    grievances, and no more birth and death.
    The word Nirvana is now widely used with a
    reference to the state or the land of ultimate
    happiness. But in Buddhism, this word is regarded
    very highly. It can never be used without respect.

    “The soul is a form of energy
    and energy never disappears.
    It merely changes form.”

    CYCLE OF REBIRTH
    Death does not mean the end in Buddhism. It
    simply means the end of physical existence. However,
    the soul or spirit is still in the loop of the cycle of
    rebirth to face the cycle of suffering (birth, old age,
    sickness, death) because it is a form of energy and
    energy never disappears. It merely changes form.
    Therefore, how a human’s soul will change its form
    after death depends on the merit and bad karma
    (actions) each person has done over the past lives.
    The soul has accumulated with it several energy
    currents categorized by good and bad (loosely
    translated as positive and negative energy). If we do
    a good deed, it will be fine energy. If the deed was
    bad, the energy will be coarse. These energies classify
    themselves naturally, creating the cycle of rebirth
    because the soul energy cannot get away from the
    loop of gravity and the magnetic field. I have already
    explained the whole mechanism in scientific terms
    in the book, “Awaken from Madness”, including how
    heaven and hell are formed in the different
    dimension.

    When we die, the mind will go to different states
    of existence such as heaven, hell, human, or animal.
    The transition is part of the Three Characteristics of
    Existence stated by the Buddha. It includes
    Impermanence (Anicca), Suffering (Dukkha), and
    Non-self (Anatta). It means that all beings, with no
    exception, have a beginning and an end. Where they
    go next and which existence depend on the type and
    amount of merit, sin, or neutrality that they have
    accumulated.
    Before the Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha
    who strived through his practice until he reached
    enlightenment, he had been born in various states
    of existence for uncountable lifetimes. In some lives,
    he was born with high status as king. In some other
    lives, he was an ascetic or an animal. These were
    caused by karma he had done in former lives. It was
    the reason why he was born in different status,
    sometimes high and sometimes low. Eventually, he
    attained enlightenment by uprooting all karmic
    codes and letting go of attachment through Vipassana
    meditation.
    The karmic code is the energy current or wave
    which is formed as a result of our words, thoughts,
    and actions to ourselves, others, and to the world.
    The codes can be both positive (good) and negative
    (bad) depending on our intentions.

    As a Buddhist, I have a proof that reincarnation
    is real through rigorous Vipassana meditation
    practice. I have uprooted the major cause of my illtempered nature and finally have it eliminated from
    my mind. Before the practice, I was quick-tempered
    and got angry easily and violently. I even threw things
    to vent my anger. Each time after the anger was
    released, I felt sorry and wondered why I was this
    kind of person. Why did other people look so calm
    and I was always restless? Any treatment to help solve
    this problem did not work for me as it could not
    correct from the root cause in my mind. It was just
    like trimming a tree to make it beautiful for a short
    while without digging down to the roots of the
    problem. After practicing Vipassana meditation, I
    have found the truth that was hidden in my
    subconscious memory.
    In the previous life, I was born in the ancient
    Thonburi Kingdom and related to the king at that
    time. Under the transition to a new dynasty, those
    who were potential threats to the new monarchy must
    be terminated. I was one of them. Although I tried
    to escape, I was caught and brought to be executed.
    While waiting for death at the execution ground, my
    mind was full of anger and overwhelmed with fear.
    The two emotions kept alternating in my mind all
    the time. During that previous life recollection, my

    mind expressed the deep anguish by lamenting and
    crying for help. It had explained the cause of this
    personality, deep down to the subconscious level. As
    tears of desperation was streaming down my face
    during the meditation, the mental complex had been
    burned down into energy current, leaving my mind
    in peace and calmness just like the heaviest thing was
    removed from my chest.
    This is the sample of the countless rebirths that
    I have found out by myself. For each birth, I was
    inevitably stuck in the wheel of birth, old age,
    sickness, and death. Only after following the Buddha’s
    teaching and practice, I have finally found the way
    to end this suffering and be truly happy.

    “Equanimity is the highest
    achievement for practitioners
    of the Noble Path.”

    EQUANIMITY
    OF THE MIND
    Equanimity is the core teaching of Buddha.
    Lord Buddha discovered the way to end the cycle
    of rebirth. His ultimate discovery is equanimity or
    the attainment of the neutral state by the mind,
    making the soul free from positive and negative
    energy. His guidance to end the cycle of rebirth can
    be separated into 3 levels: initial, intermediate, and
    superlative. The initial stage is to omit bad deeds
    while the intermediate stage is to do good deeds.
    Finally, the superlative stage is about the mind
    purification until it can detach itself from craving
    and aversion which cause Greed, Anger, Hatred, and
    Illusion. The soul can maintain the perfect neutral
    state of mind (equanimity) not shaken or attached to
    happiness or unhappiness. This is the highest
    achievement for practitioners of the Noble Path.

    COMPASSION
    Compassion is the basic morality of human,
    the purer a person’s mind is (from Anger, Hatred,
    Greed, and Illusion), the more compassionate they
    will be. Regardless of their religious belief, people
    wish for generosity and patronage in general. In
    Buddhism, compassion is the wish to see others in
    happiness; one of the Four Sublime States of Mind
    stated in the Pali Canon. The word “others” is not
    subjective; it does not prefer any individual but all.
    This makes compassion greater than love. Love is
    still tainted with emotional bonds: favor and disfavor,
    pleased and displeased while true compassion can
    sacrifice and extend indiscriminately even to
    enemies.
    This world is an entity of problems. If we lack
    compassion, when catastrophes strike, who would
    offer a helping hand to the affected people? The

    earthquake in Haiti and even the 2004 Asia tsunami
    have brought people across the world to unite and
    help. Everyone worked together regardless of their
    nationalities, beliefs, and origins. Compassion
    became a vital trait in supporting the affected people
    to get back on their feet.
    One would reach true power of compassion
    only when he has trained and purified his mind to
    clear the hatred within. Buddha has the purest and
    the most divine mind. His kindness extends across
    all beings. He certainly is the ultimate model of
    compassion.
    Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time 99
    “In Buddhism, inner peace
    is the state of firm mind,
    which is free from craving
    and aversion of objects
    and people. This is not the
    kind of calmness commonly
    known.”

    INNER PEACE
    In Buddhism, inner peace is the state of firm
    mind, which is free from craving and aversion of
    objects and people. This is not the kind of calmness
    commonly known because a calm mind does not
    always mean serenity. When you have inner peace,
    you are contented and fulfilled without the need for
    external stimulation.
    Disappointments and uncertainties are neither
    good nor bad to you because they are part of the law
    of the universe on impermanence. This insight also
    leads to the cultivation of mercy in your heart. Those
    with inner peace do not blame others and the
    surroundings for unexpected circumstances and will
    understand the law of nature and law of Cause and
    Effect.

    “Experiencing changes in
    life is the blessing because
    it awakens us from being
    obsessed with only happiness.”

    IMPERMANENCE
    “Truly impermanent are all formations, by nature
    arising and passing away”— It is the truth of nature that
    things are made from a combination of other things.
    Likewise, human body is temporarily formed by
    elements of earth, water, fire, and air. Therefore it is
    instable, subject to change, and dissolves at last.
    The state of change is called “Impermanence” in
    Buddhism, the true nature of all things. Impermanence
    in life appears all around us through aging, illness, and
    death. However, the Ultimate Truth brings frustrations
    and is difficult to accept because of illusion that binds
    us with beloved ones and belongings.
    It is easiest to see the impermanence in the era of
    One World as we have seen the rise and fall of world
    leaders, such as the former U.S. president Barack
    Obama. There were times we often saw stories about
    him, looking very powerful. Now he no longer holds

    that power and has become a person in the past.
    Similarly, we often see news of celebrities and stars
    who were in the news everyday. Eventually, time
    revealed the truth. They have disappeared from the
    media. When we see them again, their young and
    beautiful looks have startlingly changed so much you
    just could not help wondering, “Why is time so cruel
    to our body?”
    What happened to other people, no matter how
    much it reflected the law of impermanence, still cannot
    awaken an individual to accept the truth. This is because
    the changes occurring to the individual is taking place
    gradually, making the person cling to his identity
    stubbornly. To realize the truth about impermanence
    to the point that spiritual wisdom takes place requires
    a firsthand experience. The person’s mind would then
    awaken to truly realize the meaning of impermanence.
    The Buddha teaches us at the Ultimate Truth level, that
    all beings in this world are truly formless. They are
    impermanent, miserable, and non-self.
    Any obsession or passion to things and people only
    brings about huge grievances as they will eventually
    wither, decay, and turn into ashes some day. But if that
    person understands the principle and braces for
    uncertainty and separation which inevitably happens,
    his mind will not sink into those negative emotions.
    This is the essence of impermanence.

    I have seen a woman whose son was a soldier and
    died prematurely. She could not accept the loss because
    she did not realize the nature’s law. She vowed to wear
    black for the rest of her life to tie her heart with her
    son. This is an extreme way of grieving and plunges
    her into the abyss of agony. She did not know how to
    let go. No one can escape death and separation. What
    we can do is remember their virtues. It is not clinginess
    but the character of the refined mind who always
    appreciates someone’s contributions and goodness.
    Likewise, Buddhists remember the Buddha by
    paying respect to him. The Chinese also have gratitude
    towards their ancestors. These actions are not attachment.
    An attachment is to tie oneself with emotional sufferings
    or indulgences so deeply one could not detach from
    those emotions. Part of the reasons is that people do not
    realize the law of nature in which the Buddha taught
    that, “Things arise naturally, things fall naturally.”
    When life is going up high and filled with happiness
    from gains, fame, or praise, we should be prepared for
    change any time. And when faced with hardships, we
    should be careful with our actions and lives. Happiness
    and unhappiness both fall under the law of
    impermanence, not everlasting. Experiencing changes
    is instead the blessing because it awakens us from being
    obsessed with only happiness and pleasures.
    106 Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time
    This essential fact can only be understood with
    Vipassana meditation practice, neither from reading
    nor imagination. We have to investigate the real nature
    of the everchanging state that occur within our body
    and mind to fully understand that everything is rising
    and falling. This way, we will be able to accept the truth
    and let go of things we attach to, grieve over, and keep
    training our mind until we are liberated.
    “Better it is to live one day, seeing the rise and fall
    of things, than to live a hundred years, without ever
    seeing the rise and fall of things,” said Buddha.

    “The right faith should
    consist of wisdom,
    otherwise it would be
    a blind faith leading to
    wrong view”

    FAITH
    “Faith” is a belief and the most important Dhamma
    that encourages our mind to stay focused, strongly
    determined and persevere in order to achieve a goal.
    This is what Buddha replied when asked what faith was.
    “The characteristics of one, a layperson or a monk
    with faith, strictly observes the precepts, is widely
    learned, has a good companion, is suave and patiently
    accepts advice, is deft and diligent in work that needs
    to be done by his fellow bhikkhus (monks), is fond of
    the teachings, dwells exerting effort in meritorious
    things, attains the four higher states of the mind at will,
    recollects the manifold previous births, is one with
    divine eyes seeing all beings passing away and rearising in accordance with their karma, and has
    destroyed the mental influxes through his great
    wisdom.” – Buddha
    Faith must consist of wisdom to take things into
    consideration which brings forth the right view
    according to the Noble Eightfold Path, leading to
    liberation from suffering. At first, one needs to have

    faith in the path or in a master. Then, the person will
    cultivate such teachings to his mind to consider and
    practice mind purification. This does not rely solely on
    faith as the Buddha taught us to think thoroughly
    before believing in something.
    At present, there are many beliefs that do not
    conform to Buddha’s teachings such as keeping lucky
    dolls and seeking lucky telephone numbers believed
    to give positive energy that brings wealth and success.
    While the Buddha taught us that it is our executed
    actions and our intention that lead to good or bad
    results in our life, such beliefs do not fix problems at
    the root cause.
    The right faith should consist of wisdom, otherwise
    it would be blind faith leading to the wrong view.
    Visakha was one of the important followers of
    Gautama Buddha. Her faith and practice in Buddha’s
    teaching was so strong she gained the first stage of
    enlightenment. However, she was married to a man
    whose family had no faith in Buddhism but in naked
    ascetics whom her father-in-law believed were
    Aranhants (a term referred to those already attained
    the final stage of enlightenment).
    One day, he invited 500 naked ascetics to eat at his
    place as he believed this would bring his family good luck.
    He also called Visakha to pay respect to “the Arahants”.
    Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time 111
    But the wise Visakha said, “These shameless people (not
    wearing clothes). How can they be Arahants?” and left.
    Her father-in-law and the ascetics became very angry
    at her comments.
    Later, a Buddhist monk stopped in front of her
    house on his alms round. Visakha was taking care
    of her father-in-law who pretended to not see the
    monk and continued having his meal. Seeing her
    father-in-law like that, she told the monk, “Please move
    ahead. My father-in-law is eating rotten food.”
    Hearing that, he was very angry and demanded
    her explanation. Visakha said what she meant was
    that he was born rich, living a wealthy life with
    sumptuous meals because he was now reaping the
    benefits of his old merit. Therefore, the food he was
    eating could be considered as rotten food because
    it was the result of his good karma from the past.
    When the man fully understood the Dhamma in her
    words, his faith in Buddhism grew. Eventually he
    converted to Buddhism.
    “Buddha once said that of all
    gifts, the gift of Dhamma is
    the highest as it can put an
    end to all sufferings in the
    cycle of rebirth.”
    Image: Suphakrit Pakdeepathapee

    “GIVING”
    IS THE BEST WAY TO LOSE
    “Alms” means giving. It is the first step to train
    your mind to reduce greed and attachment through
    generosity. Luangpu Mun Bhuridatta, one of
    Thailand’s most respected Buddhist monks and
    Vipassana masters, taught about the importance of
    almsgiving that it represents the kindness of human
    being and the compassion toward all beings. Alms
    are not limited to objects but also include the gift of
    the Dhamma and forgiveness. Buddha once said that
    of all gifts, the gift of Dhamma is the highest as it can
    put an end to all sufferings in the cycle of rebirth.
    Therefore, it is the greatest gift.
    There is a misunderstanding that poor people
    cannot afford to give. However, everyone can be a
    giver. Buddha described the Five Precepts as the great
    gifts because abandoning the taking of life is equal
    to giving life, abandoning the taking of what is not
    given is equal to giving protection to other people’s

    wealth, abandoning sexual misconduct is equal to
    helping others stay faithful, abandoning false speech
    is equal to giving truth, and abandoning intoxicating
    substances which causes recklessness is equal to
    preventing all of the above from happening through
    mindfulness.
    Therefore, the benefits of giving do not depend
    on the value of the thing but the intention to cast off
    an attachment. This will eventually strengthen the
    mind to be strong enough to lose ego or Self.

    “Nowadays many Buddhists
    misunderstand that merit
    making is all about almsgiving…
    Some even make merit by
    “buying merit” to ensure their
    wish is fulfilled, not for the
    sake of giving.”

    TEN
    MERITORIOUS ACTIONS
    Many Buddhists misunderstand that merit
    making is all about almsgiving and even expect
    results in return. Some make merit by “buying merit”
    to ensure their wish is fulfilled, not for the sake of
    giving.
    The Buddha taught ten meritorious deeds for us
    to perform in order to gain a happy and peaceful life.
    The deeds include almsgiving, observing the
    precepts, practicing meditation, paying reverence to
    elders, helping others, devoting merits to others,
    rejoicing in other’s merits, listening to Dhamma
    discourses, teaching Dhamma, and correcting one’s
    wrong view.
    Among those actions, paying respect to elders or
    benefactors is very important, especially paying
    respect toward parents, relatives, venerable teachers,
    and those deserving it.

    The Buddha shared the story of a bird, a monkey,
    and an elephant which lived by a large tree. They
    decided to give a priority to the elder ones, by
    measuring their age with the tree. The elephant
    remembered it to be as big as a bush when he was a
    baby. The monkey remembered that he ate its leaves
    on the top when he was little. The bird said there was
    a great tree nearby, whose seeds he ate and pooped
    where the tree now was. They decided that he was
    the eldest, followed by the monkey and the elephant.
    Apart from almsgiving, nine out of the 10
    meritorious actions do not require money to see
    great benefits. Therefore, Buddhists should follow
    all of the deeds, instead of focusing on almsgiving
    only, to cultivate merits that lead to the freedom
    from selfishness and ego.
    “Those, who have wisdom in Dhamma, will
    respect their seniors. Such people will be respected
    in this life, and be happy in the next life”, said the
    Enlightened One.



“He was asked how one should go
through insults from a worse
person since there was nothing
special about enduring putdowns
from those with superior or equal
status.”

TOLERENCE
In the age of multitasking, we suddenly find
ourselves unable to focus on something long enough
to even complete a simple work. We are less patient,
get angry easier, and more ready to pick a fight.
And what can incite hurt and anger more than
harsh words? It cuts like a knife because it hits directly
at ourselves or our ego.
In one of Buddha’s lifetimes, he was a hermit
named Soraphaka, renowned for his exemplary
tolerance. Once he was asked how one should go
through insults from a worse person since there was
nothing special about enduring putdowns from those
with superior or equal status.
His answer was that anyone who could endure a
worse person has the highest tolerance of all. That
was because the patience in the other two could be
from fear and a wish to avoid an unnecessary
competition.

Buddha is the best example of this virtue. When
He went for almsgiving in Sāvatthī city, he was called
a bad and vile man by a Brahmin. Instead of being
upset, Buddha asked the ascetic what was qualified
as vile. Seeing him without an answer, Buddha
explained the true meaning of the word bad and vile
person in summary is a person who does not live in
virtue, speaks rudely, talks bad or harms other
people.
Buddha said, “ A person will not be judged to be
bad and vile because of the caste, not being brahmin
(or noble) by caste but because he does bad things. A
person is a noble one because he does good things.”
The Brahmin, astonished at the Enlightened
One’s wisdom, converted to Buddhism and vowed
to follow the Five Precepts for the rest of his life.
The outcome of this encounter would have been
different had it been someone else. It would have
gone disastrous as our patience is so low these days.
But when you look at the incident objectively, there
is no reason to be mad or violent at all because the
accusation was untrue.
We get mad because we fail to look past the
Brahmin’s words. Our reactions were based on the
holier-than-thou attitude and so the other person
had no right to criticize us.

The Buddha, on the other hand, managed it
beautifully because he used compassion as a moral
compass. The compassion granted him endless
tolerance for he understood different backgrounds,
upbringings, and experiences result in different
viewpoints and beliefs.
For this reason, a tolerance for a worse person is
the highest tolerance of all because It takes a great
mind with genuine compassion.
“Gratitude is a true indicator of
goodness, the great virtue as
well as the most important step
to Nirvana. A grateful mind will
always find a way to return
favors whenever possible.”
Image: Ponkrid Boonsnong

THE MAGIC ONLY
THE GRATEFUL DESERVES
The Buddha said there are two rare types of
people. First is a giver, who does favors for others,
such as parents and teachers. Second is the one with
gratitude.
Among the disciples the Buddha ordained was
Devadatta, who was Buddha’s foe from several
lifetimes. Yet he lied that Buddha was not his
master.
Devadatta also used to lie in the previous life
about the same thing. When he was a Brahmin, he
learnt a magic spell to create mangoes in an instant
from an outcaste master, on the condition that the
spell would only work if the student spoke the truth.
Because of this magic, the Brahmin accumulated
a lot of wealth. One day the King of Varanasi had tried
the mango and was very pleased with its taste, so he

asked the Brahmin who his teacher was. Feeling
ashamed, he replied that he studied it from a highcasted master in Taxila. The magic immediately
disappeared.
When the king asked him to cast the spell again
and in front of the crowd this time, nothing happened
because of his lie and ungratefulness to his teacher.
Confused, the king asked, “Why isn’t there any mango
like before?” The man then made a confession about
the lie.
The king was very upset and took away the rewards
and everything he had given to the man earlier. “You’re
ungrateful. Whatever caste your teacher is, your teacher
is still your teacher. You must go apologize to him and
ask to study the magic. Otherwise, don’t show your face
to me ever again.”
His master was very angry when he learned about
it. “I taught you the magic with mercy but you look
down on your own teacher. I don’t want to see your
face anymore,” said the master.
Hearing his master’s rejection, the man
disappointedly walked away into the forest and never
came back.
Gratitude can provide enormous merits, but
those who are ungrateful will receive an opposite

outcome. Gratitude is a true indicator of goodness,
the great virtue as well as the most important step to
Nirvana. A grateful mind will always find a way to
return favors whenever possible.
“The Buddha, however,
remained peaceful and happy,
unruffled by his insults.”

THE GIFT OF ANGER
There was a Brahmin who dismissed the
Buddha’s teachings as he had faith in different
practice. When his seven sons and daughters- in-law
converted to Buddhism and practiced meditation,
he became very mad and believed the Buddha was
the reason why they changed from the old belief.
The Brahim then stormed into the temple where
the Buddha was staying at that time and lashed out
at him, calling him with offensive names. The
Buddha, however, remained peaceful and happy,
unruffled by his insults. When he saw the Brahmin
began to get tired, the Buddha asked him a question.
“Brahmin, what’s your purpose of the visit?”
The Brahmin repeated his cursing at the Buddha
until he was tired again.
“Well, Brahmin, let me ask you a question. Have
you ever had a visitor at your house?” the Buddha
asked.

“Yes, but what’s your business?” was his reply.
The Buddha continued, “Have your guests
brought you snacks, foods, or gifts?”
“Yes, certainly.”
“But if you don’t want those gifts, who will have
them?”
“Obviously, the person who brought them.”
The Venerable One said, “Now then, you’re my
guest and you’re bringing me the gift of anger. I won’t
take it. Therefore those rude words now belong to
you.”
The Brahmin was intrigued at the Buddha’s
words and wisdom. “Buddha, where have you learn
to not accept the gift of anger?”
With compassion, the Perfected One began
teaching him about Dhamma. The Brahmin then
accepted the Buddha as his teacher and eventually
became a Buddhist.

“The ultimate benevolence
consists of wisdom without
prejudice. The Buddha’s
kindness for his own son
Rahula, and for his enemy
Devadatta, was all the same.”

WHERE DOES
BENEVOLENCE BEGIN?
“Generosity during life is a very different thing
from generosity in the hour of death; one proceeds
from genuine liberality and benevolence, the other
from pride or fear.”
The statement above was made by 18th century
American educational reformer Horace Mann, who
promoted education to be universal, free, and nonsectarian. While he believed that education was the
best solution to tame unruly American kids, he
strongly advocated the cultivation of morality as the
true sign of human growth.
In Buddhism, benevolence is the ninth of Ten
Perfections and one of the four Sublime States of
Mind (Brahmaviharas) necessary for every Buddhist
practitioner in order to attain enlightenment. Unlike
compassion, the second virtue in the Brahmavihara,
benevolence is the act and thought of kindness
towards all others without discrimination.

It is loving kindness without expecting anything in
return. It aims at supporting and not harming others
on the belief that others have feelings like us. Therefore,
we should love others the same way we love ourselves.
We should cultivate the seed of benevolence in our
mind before sharing it to the world.
Parents are the first example of benevolence for
everything they do for their child is motivated by pure
love. No matter how bad their child is, the love remains.
A good, dedicated teacher is also another good model.
Nothing makes a teacher happier than seeing their
student go on to have a happy, fulfilling life.
The ultimate benevolence consists of wisdom
without prejudice. The one who has possessed all the
perfections is Buddha. His kindness for his own son
Rahula, and for his self-proclaimed enemy Devadatta,
was all the same. Though we are nowhere near him,
we still should cultivate benevolence. When the
society is full of benevolent people, the world will
become a Utopia we human have strived for centuries.

“Nowadays the number of
people born in the darkness
and leaving in the darkness
is much larger and the most
common type.”

WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
Being born as a human counts as a great fortune.
The Buddha made it clear that a soul needs to
possess good characteristics enough to have a human
existence. By following the five moral precepts or
practicing good virtue, the soul can progress in its
spiritual development and maintain enough virtues to
be born as human.
According to the Buddha, humans have to confront
the endless cycle of rebirth to redeem themselves from
mistakes before reaching enlightenment. There are
four types of humans that Buddha has categorized by
birth and death;

  1. Those coming from darkness and going to
    darkness
  2. Those coming from darkness and going to
    brightness
  3. Those coming from brightness and going to
    brightness
  4. Those coming from brightness and going to
    darkness
    30
    140 Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time
    The categorization covers both material and
    spiritual wealth. Where we come from is not as
    important as where we are going. A human existence
    or otherwise is the result of our deeds in previous lives;
    we cannot go back to change them. What matters is
    now. The obvious difference of characteristic between
    human and other creatures is that humans have virtues
    and live their lives based on morality while animals
    rely on their instincts to survive. When humans
    ignore the basic morality within themselves, their
    humanness then decreases.
    In Buddha’s time before he reached enlightenment,
    there were various creeds in India. Each creed fervently
    seek believers and followers. Once the Buddha attained
    enlightenment and started to teach people, many
    scholars had faith in his teaching. They recognized
    Buddhism as a religion of wisdom by not teaching
    people to blindly believe in things such as killing
    another person’s life as a sacrifice to save one’s own life.
    When the leaders of those creeds began to lose their
    followers, they tried to discredit the Buddha. Thus, he
    faced strong resistance from those people.
    There was this cult called Paripachok which believed
    in debate. Whoever lost his argument must join the cult.
    Seeing the Buddha gained more and more followers,
    with jealousy, they hired a heretical priestess named

    Jinjamalavika who has a seductive appearance to act as
    if she went to listen to the teaching of Buddha at
    Jettavana Temple in the evening. When people came to
    offer foods to the Buddha in the early morning, she
    pretended to drowsily walk out from the temple. She
    had continued to do so for two months before spreading
    the rumor that she was the Buddha’s concubine.
    In the temple, the situation was normal yet the
    monks were very worried that the Buddha was slandered.
    Later, Jinjamalavika hit herself to make her body swell
    as if she was pregnant and concealed clothes and
    bamboo weaving piece around her belly. One day she
    walked with her fake pregnant belly into the temple.
    While the Buddha was preaching, she pointed a finger
    at him scolding that he was a father of her baby. The
    Buddha calmly replied, “Only two of us know whether
    it is true or not.”
    With the power of Buddha’s virtue in uttering the
    truth, she trembled in fear yet trying to continue
    accusing him. Suddenly, a rope that was tied to her
    clothes to fake the pregnancy loosened. The truth
    revealed itself. People were stunned and started
    condemning her. With such a grave sin, the earth split
    apart and swallowed her up immediately the moment
    she was outside the temple.
    People with intelligence and good appearances are

    born with a good starting point. But if they spend their
    lives exploiting and hurting others, they are people that
    come from brightness and goes to darkness.
    What type of human do you want to be? Ask
    yourself honestly where you are going because the
    ending is completely different.

    “Young man, you know
    so much about the law
    of nature. Why don’t you
    understand that the
    nature of all beings are
    the same?”
    Image: Suphakrit Pakdeepathapee

    TWO EARTHEN POTS
    AND THE KEY TO HEAVEN
    Beliefs and faiths in the vast and ancient kingdom
    of India at that time was diverse and full of
    extremities, many being blind faith and ignorance.
    One of them was this belief that after a parent
    died, the eldest son must crack open the deceased’s
    skull when the cremation was half way in order to
    open the gateway of heaven for the dead.
    One day a young man came to the Buddha crying
    for help. With grievances, he asked the Blessed One
    to perform a ritual to bring his dead father to heaven
    because he could not make it as the funeral was
    finished the day before.
    Knowing he was too grief-stricken and emotional
    to listen, the Buddha told the man to find two earthen
    pots, then asked him to fill one pot with ghee, the
    other with pebbles; and told him to place the pots in
    a nearby pond. The man obliged with delight,
    thinking he could finally save his father’s soul.

    When everything was ready, the Buddha asked
    him to strike the pots. At once the butter in the
    cracked pot came up and started floating on the
    surface of water. The pebbles in the other pot spilled
    out and settled at the bottom.
    The Buddha then asked the man to find any sage
    to perform the ritual so that the pebbles would float,
    and the butter would sink into the water. Astonished,
    the man replied.
    “Is that a joke, Your Holiness? How can that be
    possible? It’s against the law of nature. The pebbles
    are heavier than water; they will sink to the bottom.
    The butter is lighter than water; it is bound to remain
    on the surface.”
    “Young man, you know so much about the law
    of nature. Why don’t you understand that the nature
    of all beings are the same? If all his life your father
    did bad deeds which were heavy like pebbles, he is
    bound to go down; who can pull him up? And if his
    actions were good, he is bound to go up; just like the
    butter, who can push him down?”
    We often expect an invisible power will always
    help us without ever trying to change our own
    behavior and actions. Only when we understand the
    Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time 147
    law of nature that we reap what we sow, we will be
    more careful in creating our future.
    The Enlightened One turned and
    replied calmly, “I have stopped.
    It is you who has not stopped.”
    Image: Pisit Yanen

    I HAVE STOPPED…
    One of the most famous stories in BuddhistScriptures was the story of Angulimala, an ex-murderer who later became one of Buddha’s most
    important disciples. This was the man whose goal was
    to kill 1,000 people and collect their fingers in order
    to complete his studies at Taxila, the ancient and most
    prestigious university of India in the ancient time.
    Born as Ahimsaka to a Grand Chaplain in the court
    of King Pasenadi of Kosala. the boy’s astrological
    readings showed his great tendency to become a big
    criminal. Hence, the name Ahimsaka which means
    ‘harmless’. At school he was his teacher’s favorite
    because of his intelligence and humbleness. This
    made other students very jealous of him and
    accused Ahimsaka of plotting against his teacher.
    After several attempts, they succeeded.
    The teacher’s suspicion grew to the point he
    wanted to get rid of Ahimsaka. So he made up a story
    that Ahimsaka must find 1,000 human fingers for his
    exit lesson and as an homage to his teacher. Although

    Ahimsaka refused at first, he finally gave in as he was
    very obedient by nature.
    As his reputation spread, people started calling
    him Angulimala or ‘finger necklace/garland’ as he
    would thread each victim’s finger and made a garland
    out of them to keep track of the number.
    On the day he was trying to find any last person
    to kill, his mother was also looking for him. The
    Buddha, knowing that he would have killed his own
    mother had he not intervene, appeared before him.
    Angulimala immediately set out after the Blessed
    One. But he could not overtake him although he ran
    with all the strength and speed he had and the
    Buddha was only walking leisurely. The Buddha was
    performing a miracle to teach him.
    Eventually he yelled at the Buddha to stop.
    The Enlightened One turned and replied calmly,
    “I have stopped. It is you who has not stopped”, and
    further said, “Angulimala, I have stopped forever. I have
    given up killing all living beings, for I am merciful to
    all living beings as I abstain from causing harm to them.
    But you have not given up killing or ill-treating others,
    and therefore, have not stopped.”
    Angulimala was struck by those words he stopped
    there and then, repented, and followed the Buddha
    back to the monastery where he was ordained.
    However, the holy saffron robes failed to quell people’s

    fears from his criminal past. Wherever he set foot on,
    people would run away and lock themselves in their
    homes.
    Concerned about Angulimala’s health, the Buddha
    instructed him to make an “asseveration of truth” to a
    woman who was having a difficult childbirth. And so
    he did, uttering the following words with compassion,
    “Sister, since I was born (as an ascetic), I do not recall
    that I have ever intentionally deprived a living being.
    By this truth may you be well and may your infant be
    safe.”
    The baby came out immediately. Both the
    mother and the baby were safe. Since then the monk
    was always welcome when he was on alms round.
    Still, the consequence of his karma haunted him
    through frequent accidents whenever he was outside
    and his inability to focus his mind as pictures of the
    slain victims kept appearing before him while in
    meditation.
    But The Great Master knew the solution. He
    guided his disciple by reminding him about his
    monkhood and told him to abandon his past as it
    was no use clinging to it. Angulimala’s changed view
    finally renewed his resoluteness and later brought
    him success in attainment of Arahanthood, the fourth
    and final stage of spiritual liberation.
    “It was this realization that
    nothing is permanent and
    therefore not worth holding
    onto that freed his mind
    enough to gain the first
    stage of enlightenment.”
    Image: Apanee Wongsakon (photograph of painting in V&A museum)
    T
    ANNA KONDANNA,
    HE WHO KNOWS
    Anna Kondanna, the first Buddhist monk, was
    the first one of the five ascetics who reached the first
    stage (Sotapanna) of insight toward absolute wisdom
    (Arahanthood) upon hearing Buddha’s first teaching
    called the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.
    Kondanna was a young Brahmin who mastered
    the three Vedas and excelled in the science of
    physiognomy. He was among eight scholars invited
    to predict the destiny of Prince Siddhartha and the
    only one who predicted that the prince would
    become a Buddha while the other scholars offered a
    twofold prediction that Siddhartha would either
    become a great king or a supreme religious leader.
    After Prince Siddhartha had begun his ascetic
    life, Kondanna along with Bhaddiya, Vappa,
    Mahanama and Assaji, who were sons of those
    scholars followed him. “The Group of Five” had
    attended to the prince throughout his six years of

    self-mortification. But when the prince realized it
    was not the path, he immediately stopped. This upset
    Kondanna and his peers and they left him to reside
    in Deer Park.
    After the prince had become enlightened, he
    sought to find his former teachers. Realizing that they
    had died, the Buddha decided to find Kondanna and
    the others and gave them the first sermon.
    It was at the end of the sermon that Kondanna
    reached the insight… “All that is subject to arising is
    subject to ceasing… Don’t look for your refuges, in
    which you want to abide and trust, in anything that
    arises – because those things will cease.”
    The Buddha acknowledged this by uttering
    “annasivatabho Kondanno”, meaning “you have
    realized, Kondanna”. Due to this, “Anna Kondanna”
    (Kondanna-who-knows) has become his name since.
    At that time, Anna Kondanna was the only one
    with perfect understanding of what the Buddha was
    saying. Through this insight, he immediately grasped
    what the whole world is all about. It was this
    realization that nothing is permanent and therefore
    not worth holding onto that freed his mind enough
    to gain the first stage of enlightenment.

    “Astonished and impressed with
    the rich man’s unwavering faith
    and determination, Prince Jeta
    decided to join him and donated
    the remaining patch.”

    THE GREAT BENEFACTOR
    ANATHAPINDIKA
    Anathapindika, whose real name was known as
    Sudatta, was a very wealthy merchant from Savatthi
    city, known for his generosity toward poor people.
    Therefore he was called Anathapindika (one who
    gives alms to the poor). By today’s definition, he
    would be called a billionaire.
    One day he was on a business trip to Rajagaha
    and saw his brother-in-law busy preparing a meal for
    the Buddha and his disciples. Hearing that, he was
    so eager to visit the Buddha. On the next morning,
    he went out before dawn to the monastery where the
    Buddha resided.
    The Buddha called out to him, “Come forth
    Sudatta” and talked to him on various aspects of his
    teachings. There, he immediately gained the insight,
    thereby attaining the first stage of enlightenment. So
    he invited the Buddha to spend the rainy retreat in
    Savatthi.

    Once he returned, he searched for a suitable
    place for the retreat and found an ideal park which
    was owned by Prince Jeta. However, Prince Jeta did
    not want to sell his property so he told Anathapindika
    to completely cover the grounds of the park with
    gold coins. Anathapindika agreed, ordered his
    servants to bring the money, and started to spread
    them out with no intention to stop.
    Astonished and impressed with the rich man’s
    unwavering faith and determination, Prince Jeta
    decided to join him and donated the remaining
    patch. The construction of monastery then began
    and was completed beautifully in time. It was named
    Jetavana in honor of the prince.
    In recognition of the services he rendered to
    Buddhism, and the construction of Jetavana, the
    Buddha later said that Anathapindika was a great
    benefactor, one whose generosity was notable and
    worth the high praise.

    “The desperate woman ran
    from house to house, but
    there was not a single
    household where death
    had not happened.”

    A HOUSE
    THAT ESCAPES DEATH
    Here’s the story about a woman whose grief had
    awakened her soul. It was one of the most touching
    stories in Buddha’s time.
    There was a young woman who was so lean that
    people called her Gotami the Lean (Kisa). Kisa
    Gotami married a rich man and they had a son
    together. But he died when he was a toddler. His
    death was too much for Kisa Gotami to accept.
    Carrying his dead body, she went everywhere asking
    for medicine to bring him back to life. People thought
    she lost her mind. But a wise man, seeing her pathetic
    condition, advised her to see the Buddha.
    After hearing her story, the Buddha told Kisa
    Gotami to get some mustard seeds from a home
    where there had been no death. The desperate
    woman ran from house to house, begging for
    mustard seeds. Everyone was willing to help but there
    was not a single household where death had not
    happened.

    As the day dragged on, she realized she was not
    the only one. Her attitude changed; she was no longer
    attached to her son. Kisa Gotami finally buried him
    and came back to Buddha.
    With mercy, he told her the following words,
    “Care-stricken, with his thoughts of sons and herds,
    attached to life, death comes and seizes that man –
    just like the torrent that sweeps away a slumbering
    village.” When the verse ended, Gotami attained the
    first stage of enlightenment and asked to be ordained
    as a Buddhist nun.
    One night, she lighted some oil lamps and
    noticed that while some flames flared up, others
    flickered out. With her mind concentrating on the
    flames, she meditated and pondered the wisdom. “All
    living beings are like the flame; flaring up and
    flickering out again and again to no end. Until a
    Nirvana is attained can the cycle of birth and death
    be stopped.”
    This insight later led to her abandonment of all
    attachments and reached the state of Nirvana or the
    fourth stage of enlightenment.
    Kita Gotami was one of the more famous disciples
    whose life reflected humbleness and simplicity. She
    also played a crucial role in the growth of Buddhism
    at that time.

    Some people wonder why people in several tales
    attained the first stage of enlightenment immediately
    after they listened to the Buddha’s sermon. That was
    because of two factors; the power of the preacher
    and the readiness of the listeners’ mind.
    Many people used to cultivate the Noble
    Treasures and perfections in their past lives but they
    did not have a teacher to guide them toward the path
    to spiritual liberation. Most of them only practiced
    focus meditation, not insight or Vipassana meditation
    which could lead them to the truth about themselves
    at the Ultimate Truth level. It was not the level that
    seemed real or could be visualized.
    When people with perfections listened to Dhamma
    teaching from the Buddha whose power has a
    characteristic of highest purity, the pure vibration
    was transferred through his speech and struck the
    darkness in their mind, lighting it up. As a result, those
    people gained the wisdom and were freed from
    ignorance with their mind elevated to the first stage of
    enlightenment. The Buddha categorized the teaching
    of this powerful level as the miracle of Dhamma
    teaching.

    “Why would he be attracted to
    Magandiya’s body that was filled
    with impurities — urine and filth?
    In fact, he would not touch her
    even with his foot.”

    THE WOMAN
    WHO SPAT INTO THE SKY
    Once the Buddha entered Punjab city, he was
    reviled and abused by people hired by Magandiya, a
    woman who had a feud with the Buddha as he refused
    the marriage with her. The venerable Ananda, a
    Buddha’s disciple, asked him to go elsewhere but
    Buddha denied and said the problem should be
    ended where it began, not left unsolved.
    Magandiya was a daughter of Brahmin parents.
    Her father offered to give her in marriage to the
    Buddha because of his beauty and noble demeanor
    despite seeing signs that he was no longer under the
    influence of worldly pleasures.
    Unsurprisingly, the Buddha turned down the
    offer, telling him, his wife, and their daughter that
    even three Daughters of Mara (Demon); Tanha
    (Craving), Raga (Lust/Passion) and Arati (Aversion/
    Discontent) had failed to thwart him despite their
    beautiful astral bodies because he no longer had

    craving for sensual pleasures. Why would he be
    attracted to Magandiya’s body that was filled with
    impurities — urine and filth? In fact, he would not
    touch her, even with his foot.
    The husband and wife immediately understood
    its underlying meaning. Unfortunately, proud
    Magandiya was not spiritually developed enough.
    She became angry and vowed to take revenge when
    she had an opportunity.
    Her beauty later led her to become one of King
    Udene’s queens. Maganiya still tried to take revenge
    on the Buddha but failed. So she redirected her
    hatred to King Udena’s first queen Samawati, who
    had been a follower of Buddha and ardent devotee
    to Buddhism.
    Magandiya continued trying to incite the king
    with her made-up story that Queen Samawati was
    not faithful to him and tried to kill him. The king
    believed and ordered an execution to Queen
    Samawati. Fortunately, he realized that Samawati was
    innocent and punished Magandiya to agonizing
    death instead.
    Her ill fate proved Buddha’s words about the
    consequences of destroying innocent people out of
    hatred. Sooner or later that person will be destroyed
    Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time 167
    instead. What Magandiya did was no difference from
    spitting into the sky or throwing dust into the coming
    wind.
    “Although he held a highe status than all other monks,
    he always remembered the
    person who changed his life.”
    Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time 169
    THE GRATITUDE
    OF SARIPUTTA
    Gratitude is one of the virtues highly revered by
    the world over, regardless of culture, race, and
    religion. In Buddha’s era, there was one man whose
    gratitude was so extraordinary that the Buddha gave
    him high praise for it.
    Assaji was a son of Brahmin in Kapilavastu city.
    His father was one of eight Brahmins invited to give
    an astrological reading for Prince Siddhartha, who
    later became Buddha.
    After Prince Siddhartha ordained, only the
    Brahmin named Kondanna was alive. Therefore,
    Kondanna went to meet the sons of other Brahmins
    and invited them to follow Prince Siddhartha’s
    footsteps. Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama, and Assaji
    agreed. After the ordination, they were called The
    Five Ascetics.

    The Five Ascetics were the first disciples of the
    Buddha, and took care of the Bodhisattva (Buddha)
    for six years during which he starved himself in
    mortification. When Buddha reached enlightenment,
    he searched for his Five Disciples and gave them
    the first sermon, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.
    Kondanna was the first who reached enlightenment.
    Assaji was among 60 Arahant Buddhist monks
    sent to spread Buddhism. His polite and calm
    demeanor while on an almsgiving walk caught the
    attention of Sariputta who followed him and asked
    him questions about Buddhism.
    After listening to Assaji’s short sermon about the
    law of Impermanence, Sariputta went to share his
    encounter to Moggallāna, his best friend. Both men
    later entered monk hood and became Buddha’s
    principle disciples.
    As Assaji was Sariputta’s first master, he would
    take great care of him when they stayed in the
    same temple. Even when he was staying elsewhere,
    Sariputta always paid respect to him before going to
    sleep. He also slept with his head to the direction
    where Assaji was.
    Such was among the acts of gratitude he did for
    his teacher whenever possible. Although he held a

    higher status than all other monks, he always
    remembered the person who changed his life and
    saved his soul. The Buddha later said that Sariputta
    was the role model of perfect gratitude.
    “Even if you give him
    the whole kingdom, an
    ungrateful person will
    never be satisfied as he
    is an opportunist.”

    THE UNGRATEFUL HUNTER
    In one of the Buddha’s numerous incarnations,
    he was born as a white elephant named Srilavanakara,
    dwelling in the Himalayas with 80,000-member
    herd. But when he became aware of conflicts in the
    herd, he decided to leave and lived alone in the forest.
    While foraging, the elephant heard a man crying.
    It was from a hunter who was lost in the forest so
    Srilavanakara brought him home and told him to
    keep the encounter a secret.
    But the hunter, overwhelmed with greed, had no
    intention to keep his word. He aimed to come back
    for the animal’s beautiful, majestic tusks so he noted
    the route on the way out as he was on the Srilavanakara’s
    back.
    The hunter went to the bazaar and learned that
    a living elephant’s tusk was more valued than that of
    a dead elephant. The following day, he went to the
    Srilavanakara’s dwelling with a saw.

    The man said he was so poor and asked for the
    tusks to trade for money. The elephant knelt down
    to let him cut one-third of the tusks with no regret.
    The hunter sold the tusks. When he spent all the
    money, he returned to the elephant and asked for
    half of the tusks. Then he came back for the third
    time for the remaining tusks. This time he stepped
    on the tusks before tearing the flesh up and cut them.
    The wounds were so severe Srilavanakara almost
    died.
    The man’s karma was so heavy the moment he
    was out of sight from the elephant, he was sucked
    immediately into the abyss and sent straight to hell.
    Unbeknown to them, an angel dwelling nearby
    saw everything from the beginning. After seeing the
    tragic end, he exclaimed, “Even if you give him the
    whole kingdom, an ungrateful person will never be
    satisfied as he is an opportunist.”
    And those words are still true today.

    “Sirima rushed to the kitchen,
    scooped boiling water and
    splashed it onto Uttra’s head.”

    THE POWER OF MERCY
    In Rajagahar city, there was a beautiful courtesan
    named Sirima. Her beauty made her very famous
    and the object of desires by all men.
    There was Uttra, a wife of rich merchant and
    devout Buddhist, unlike her husband and his
    father. Unfortunately, the marriage and family
    responsibilities left little time for her other activities
    including charitable activities.
    After learning about his daughter’s problem,
    Uttra’s father gave her some money. In order to
    ensure her duties were fulfilled, she hired Sirima, a
    high-class courtesan to take her place to which her
    husband agreed. So Uttra invited Buddha and his
    disciples to take food offerings from her at their
    house for 15 days.
    Seeing her exhausting face after 14 days, Uttra’s
    husband asked her why she burdened herself with
    this. Uttra just laughed as she knew her husband did
    not understand the virtue of giving. But Sirima

    mistakenly thought that Uttra laughed at her and
    became angry and jealous.
    Sirima rushed to the kitchen, scooped boiling
    water and splashed it onto Uttra’s head. Uttra realized
    Sirima’s intention immediately the moment Sirima
    was charging at her. But the joy from the past two
    weeks was so overwhelming she felt nothing but
    compassion to Sirima. She then said loudly how
    thankful she was to Sirima for helping her fulfill her
    wish to make merit and listen to Buddha’s sermon.
    Miraculously the water turned into cool, soothing
    liquid. Sirima knew right away she had just insulted
    a highly virtuous person and asked for forgiveness.
    Uttra agreed to forgive her only after Sirima went to
    see the Buddha and confessed her wrongdoing. They
    went to see him and told the story. The Buddha then
    taught them about forgiveness and mercy.
    His teachings on ending hatred and anger with
    compassion touched Sirima’s heart so much she
    converted to Buddhism and vowed to observe the
    Five Precepts for the rest of her life. Sirima also left
    prostitution for good and completely changed her
    life after that.


MISCONCEPTION
IN BUDDHISM


Did the Buddha Really
Abandon his Family?
Many foreigners are interested in the Buddha’s
teaching: what he had taught and why his symbols
can give them peacefulness. However, there is this
unresolved question left on their minds. It is the
disappointment from learning that he left his wife
and his newborn son in search of the way out of
suffering. It makes them doubt his teaching and can’t
help thinking that Buddhism teaches people to
abandon their family and loved ones with the word
‘detachment’.
Did Buddha really abandon his family?
Before he reached enlightenment, the Buddha
was born as a prince named Siddhartha. His father,
King Suddhodana, expected him to be a great king
in the future. During the celebration of his birth,
many Brahmin scholars predicted that the child
would either become a great king or a supreme
religious leader. But there was one Brahmin,
40
184 Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time
Kondanna, who decisively predicted that Siddhartha
would become a Buddha. This prophecy worried the
king so much that he tried to do everything to
surround the prince with only young, beautiful
people in the pleasant environment. As the young
prince grew up, he completely mastered all the 18
fields of traditional arts and sciences including
military, politics, and religious study. When he
reached the age of 16, his father arranged his
marriage to Princess Yasodhara.
The prince requested the king for a permission
to travel outside the palace, but the king was afraid
that his son would witness the truth of life and human
hardship. He tried to prevent the young prince from
seeing the real world but to no avail. Once outside,
the prince saw an old man with gloomy face, a
diseased man laying with moan, and a dead person
surrounded by his family in grief.
Feeling depressed and deep sympathy for them,
Prince Siddhartha asked his charioteer, Channa,
whether his father would also have to experience
these states. Later, when he saw an ascetic looking
peaceful, the prince therefore determined that this
would be the path to end the cycle of sufferings of
birth, aging, sickness, and death. He made a decision
to search for the path to end them forever. This

decision was not only for his own sake, but also for
his beloved ones and all beings.
Prince Siddhartha was only 29 when he was
determined to leave the palace and to lead an ascetic
life. As the prince entered the chamber to bid farewell
to his wife and newborn son, Rahula, he saw that they
were sleeping. He looked at them with love and
longing but did not wake them up, knowing that she
would ask him to stay. The prince then left the palace
with Channa that night.
Siddhartha spent six years in rigorous practices.
Before becoming enlightened, he had practiced
severe asceticism in the form of fasting until his body
was extremely skinny. After realizing that this
approach did not work, he took a Middle Path; no
more self-mortification and self-harm nor to let
himself in sensual indulgences and addicted to them.
He started to eat and practiced the four foundations
of mindfulness (Satipatthana): observing the body,
feelings or sensations (Vedana), mind (Citta), and
Dhamma (wisdom). He observed mindfulness
without seasoning his feelings, expecting, or
analyzing. At the state of equanimous mind, he
eventually attained enlightenment and became
Buddha at the age of 35.

After his awakening, the Buddha visited his father
and gave him a sermon until he attained the final
stage of enlightenment. As for his wife Princess
Yasodhara, when she first saw the Buddha, she tearfully
collapsed right in front of him and held his ankles,
lamenting over his departure. His disciples were trying
to stop her as monks were prohibited from having
physical contact with women, but he told them to not
interrupt her as doing that would throw her into a
deadly grief right there. The Buddha let Princess
Yasodhara bemoan until she calmed down, and gave
her a sermon about the sorrow of losing loved ones.
Seeing his point with her own experiences, she was
spiritually awakened and reached the first stage of
enlightenment.
After Princess Yasodhara had lived in palace for
three years, King Suddhodana passed away. The
princess, together with 1,100 women, ordained as a
Buddhist nun at the fifth Buddhist Lent. She followed
the eight chief rules to be observed by the Buddhist
nuns throughout her life when she was 40 years old.
She had practiced Vipassana meditation with the
Buddha for 15 days and reached enlightenment.
Before she died, she asked for forgiveness from the
Buddha if she had done anything offensive to him
when they were together as a couple and then entered
Nirvana at the age of 78.

Their son, Rahula, also became a monk and
attained spiritual liberation.
Those who were the closest family members also
attained enlightenment. All of these was because of
the Buddha’s compassion. His love for his wife, son,
and father had never ceased. The day he left, he only
left physically to find the way to escape the pathetic
cycle of birth and death. He perfectly closed the door
of separation forever. When he found it, he returned
to show the way to everyone he loved to walk on this
path.
Those who don’t thoroughly understand about
his escape from the palace that night cannot judge
that the Buddha had no heart and no love. His love
is beyond an ordinary person’s love which is defined
by being together forever then leaving the world
when the time comes. What remains is deep pain
and a scar from the loss of loved ones. Some people
even pray that they die before their spouse because
they cannot even bear the thought of living without
their significant other.
Love that is full of emotions, no matter how
much happiness it brings, always ends with pain
again and again. It never becomes otherwise. The
love of the Wise One, the world’s Great Prophet, is
however full of sacrifices he had made so that
188 Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time
nobody would experience the pain again. And he
finally made it.
So you see now that Buddha’s love and sacrifice
are enormous and boundless. He had never destroyed
or hurt anyone’s heart. What he had destroyed was
the darkness inside the minds of his beloved ones
and all beings so that they would find the greatest
happiness; an escape from the cycle of birth and
death, and from making mistakes which bring pain,
anguish, and grievances again and again. They were
what everyone experience no matter who you are
and where you come from.
True love should come with compassion; a wish
for the happiness of our beloved ones to be happy.
The compassion and the benevolence will lead to
proper action and decision. It does not stop at
passionate love. The Buddha’s love thus cannot be
judged the same way as romantic love. A romantic
love does not bring a sacrifice while his love is all
about endless sacrifices for others.
Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time 189
If you’d like to know what his love is like, parental
love is the closest example. However, not every
parent is ready to sacrifice everything for a child. For
the Buddha, if it means an end to sufferings for good,
he is ready and willing to sacrifice everything for his
beloved ones and all beings.
“An untrained mind is
not adequate in terms
of effectiveness…
Meditation calms and
empowers our mind
to live wisely. ”

IS MEDITATION
A WASTE OF TIME?
Meditation is training of the mind in order to
make it stable, peaceful and able to overcome a
distraction. One can practice meditation in any
movement: walking, standing, and sitting. One aspect
of meditation is your mind must be still otherwise the
meditative state will not happen while also being fully
aware of any emotions that occur within. A powerful
mind increases performance in everyday activities
including work, study, and all others. So meditation
is beneficial to everyone not only to Buddhist monks
and novices.
An untrained mind is not adequate in terms of
effectiveness. We encounter different things, pleasant
and unpleasant, all the time and take them all in
through our senses. Meditation calms and empowers
our mind to live wisely. These days, humans spend
so much time and effort to learn and comprehend
everything except their own mind.

“Buddhism is the
religion of wisdom”

DOS
Once you enter the land of Buddhism, you will
see many temples and Buddha statues both inside
and outside the temples or even in residences.
Buddhists have the images of Buddha to pay respect
to and remind themselves of his teachings. To know
what is appropriate and to whom one should pay
respect is a common sense and basic morality.
The world has gone too far in using Buddha
images wrongly, without consideration. Please let us
provide this summary to help explain how to treat
the Buddha image appropriately. Simple respect will
bring good vibration and harmony for us all.

  1. Respect
    To pay respect to Buddha doesn’t mean you must
    be a Buddhist. If you act with respect to a prophet of
    other religions, you should treat the Buddha the same
    way because he is worshipped as the spiritual Father
    of Buddhism.
    Respect can be shown through humbleness and
    respectful body language. If you don’t want to pay
    respect at all at least do not look down on the Buddha.
    194 Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time
  2. Correctness
    If you see a picture, an amulet, or a statue of
    Buddha in inappropriate places such as on the floor,
    in a toilet, or on a chair, please help to place it
    somewhere up high.
  3. Knowledge
    If you are a Buddhist, inform those who have the
    wish to know about the Buddha. If you are not a
    Buddhist, and someone asks, “Who is Buddha?”, the
    simple answer can be that Buddha is the enlightened
    one who taught Buddhists to do good deeds the same
    way other prophets do.
    Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time 195
    DON’TS
  4. Please do not treat Buddha’s symbols, statues or
    images badly.
    If you cannot pay respect to Buddha at least do
    not treat the image of Buddha badly. Buddhists
    respect Buddha as the spiritual father. All leaders of
    religions are regarded with respect. This should also
    be applied to Buddha.
  5. Please do not use Buddha
    images as objects or place them
    at inappropriate spots.
    True Buddhists who see a
    Buddha image placed as objects
    in inappropriate places will feel
    very unhappy. This could lead to
    an anger and conflict.
    196 Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time
  6. Please do not use the name “Buddha” for
    commercialization or without respect.
    Naming your pet dog “Buddha” or a bar “Buddha
    Bar” is wrong.
    Top ideas in Buddhism & Famous Stories in Buddha’s time 197
  7. Please do not place images or statues of
    Buddha as furniture or decorative items.
    Buddha symbols and images are not furniture
    nor decoration. They are to be revered. But many
    people aware of their own disrespectful acts. We must
    improve awareness of what is right and wrong.
    You might wonder why there are merchants even
    in some Buddhist countries who treat Buddha statues
    or images without respect and sell them as decorative
    items. That is the reflection of human nature. In
    every society there are good and bad people. Bad
    people don’t care about anything except their own
    benefits but true Buddhists will feel ashamed of that;
    seeing an amulet, a statue of Buddha on the floor, in
    the toilet, or on a chair. When you see it, please help
    place it in a proper place up high such as on a shelf
    or higher.


WHY IS BUDDHA
NOT FOR TATTOO ?
Our body is considered dirty
Buddha was a person who was clean from the
inside out. His mind was free from illusion and
impurities. He is respected by all Buddhists around
the world. Our body and mind still need to be
cleaned. If we don’t wash our body even for a day, it
stinks badly. Some people have said that they had
the Buddha tattoos on their bodies out of love and
respect and that they wanted to stay close to him.
This idea is not correct and a misunderstanding. The
best way to stay close to him is to follow his teaching.
These are the appropriate ways to show your love
and respect to Buddha.
We don’t practice sexual abstinence.

Acharavadee Wongsakon,
Vipassana Meditation Master
Master Acharavadee has taught Techo Vipassana meditation
since 2011. Unlike other Vipassana techniques, the technique uses
the fire element within the body to cleanse impurities in the
mind. For the past seven years, around 7,000 people have
participated in Techo Vipassana and Anapanasati courses, all of
them being free of charge.
Through this new technique, which she had learned from
a highly revered Buddhist monk, and rigorous practice for
more than 20,000 hours, Master Acharavadee has gained a
spiritual insight of all things and beings at the Ultimate Truth
level or at the energy level in terms of science. The wisdom
allows her to explain in detail how the universe works and the
truth behind the relationship between the world, the magnetic
field, and the gravity force with the souls in the way that
nobody has ever done this clearly before. Most importantly,
her discovery also reveals the true purpose of life.
Her students come from all walks of life ranging from
scientists, medical doctors, nurses, and high-ranking military
officers to actors, architects, and artists. Master Acharavadee has
also written several books on Buddhism based on experiences
of her Vipassana practice and those subjects in relation to
Buddhism in plain language. “Top Ideas and Famous Stories in
Buddha’s Time” is her first book in English language, with the
second book “Awaken from Madness” scheduled to be released
soon.
Earlier, Master Acharavadee was a hugely successful designer
and owner of jewelry firm with several awards, and had been
a serious meditator who devoted much of her life to Buddhism
before turning to Buddhism fulltime. She started “The School of
Life Foundation” in 2004, with an aim to strengthen morality in
children and young adults through Dhamma principles laid out
by the Buddha. The school is still running alongside her other
work as Vipassana teacher and president of Knowing Buddha
Organization, a nonprofit working on ending commercialization
of Buddhist artifacts and images around the world.
Through her works, Master Acharavadee is determined
to bring back the core of Buddha’s teachings with the
intention of reviving the religion’s status as the “Religion of
Awakening” as the name “Buddhism” suggests.
If you are interested in Vipassana meditation, please Techo Vipassana.