Pure Dhamma – Reflections on 2017

January 1, 2018

1. Pure Dhamma discussion forum was launched on December 17. I had wanted to do that for a while, and I am glad to see that there are several good discussions started already. I hope more readers will take part, not only to ask questions but also to answer questions by others.

  • Over the past few years, I have learned a lot by trying to answer questions put forth by others. Such questions force me to look at a given issue from a different point-of-view.
  • Now more people can benefit in two ways: One can get answers from multiple people (different people look at the same issue from different angles), and everyone can benefit from the discussions.

2. I want to start working a new project that I have been wanting to do for a while. It is to illustrate the real connection between quantum mechanics and Buddha Dhamma. Some people have tried to do that highlighting “quantum weirdness”, but in fact there is no weirdness in quantum mechanics.

  • So, I hope the discussion forum will grow and I can only drop by once in a while.
  • Forum guidelines and how to register: “Pure Dhamma Discussion Forum Guidelines“.
  • One does not need to register to read questions and comments by others.

3. Puredhamma.net is now available in German language, thanks to Mr. Tobias Große in Heilbad Heiligenstadt, Germany. Here is the link:

https://puredhamma/de

4. I have personally made significant progress. Even though I am not certain that I have been released from the kāma lōka, it seems I am almost there.

  • However, I do not worry about specific attainments. I believe that if I pursue the Path, the fruits will appear naturally, just like a tree will grow and bear fruit if it is taken care of by providing water, sunlight, and nutrients.

5. I need to make a comment about the jhānas, since there are some misconceptions. If one cultivates jhāna, the fourth Ariya jhāna can be attained only by an Anāgāmi. It is fairly easy to verify if one has attained the Anāgāmi stage (no cravings left for any sensual pleasures including sex, food, music, etc).

  • When one attains the Anāgāmi stage, Sammā Samādhi is complete; hence if one has cultivated jhāna, one would attain the fourth Ariya jhāna.
  • One finally attains the Arahant stage by completing Sammā Ñāna and Sammā Vimutti: “atthāngēhi samannāgatō Sēkhā, dasāngēhi samannāgatō Arahant”, i.e., there are ten steps to the Arahant stage.
  • These are discussed in detail at: “Samādhi, Jhāna (Dhyāna), Magga Phala“.

6. A related issue is that one does not lose “kāma guna” associated with the human bhava (i.e., any sense pleasure like the ability to taste the sweetness of sugar) even when attaining the Arahant stage. One just loses any craving for them. One has seen the fruitlessness and dangers in craving for them.

  • Therefore, one with any type of magga phala will still taste delicious food as such, or good music as pleasant, or feel the comfort in an air-conditioned room. These are “kāma guna” associated with the human bhava, and are removed only when an Arahant attains Parinibbāna, i.e., at the physical death of the body.
  • This is explained in “Kāma Guna, Kāma, Kāma Rāga, Kāmaccanda”.

7. Buddha’s true message is contrary to the message embodied in all other religions and philosophies/world views. The goal is not to merely live a moral life, but also to see the dangers in “maintaining status quo” by just living a good, moral life: It is imperative to get out of the rebirth process in order to prevent unimaginable types of suffering in future lives.

  • It is true that a “normal human mind” sees this as a pessimistic message. Stopping the rebirth process seems very drastic and disconcerting.
  • Therefore, it is not even advisable to focus on that in the beginning. It is better to try to understand basic concepts first, as discussed in the first subsections in the “Living Dhamma” section (and the “Bhāvanā (Meditation)” section), and feel the increasing levels of nirāmisa sukha as one makes progress.
  • When one advances to higher subsections of the “Living Dhamma” section, one will be reading advanced concepts. In the end, one would realize that the key message of the Buddha is actually the best message that one could receive and is more valuable than anything in this world.
  • The unconventional message of the Buddha is “a world view that has never been known to the world” or “pubbē ananussutēsu dhammēsu“. That is what I try to explain at this website in a systematic way.

8. If even a single person can attain the Sōtapanna stage, that would be worthwhile my time writing for even ten years. That means stopping an uncountable number of births in the apayas for that person.

  • But I know that number is higher even for a given year, based on emails that I receive. That will keep me going for as long as I can write. And there is so much to write! Even if I write for ten more years, there will still be more to write.
  • Of course, I or anyone else cannot verify whether another has attained the Sōtapanna stage or any other magga phala. But even if one has become a Sōtapanna Anugāmi, he/she is an Ariya and is bound to attain the Sōtapanna stage in the immediate future. Sōtapanna Anugāmis are included in “Attha purisa puggalā” or the “Eight types of Noble Persons”.

9. I am appreciative of many kind comments on the usefulness of the site, and about  personal achievements; that gives me confidence that there are people who can see the value of pure Dhamma and can make genuine progress.

  • My thanks also to those who made comments/suggestions/questions that have led to improvements of many web pages. Special thanks to Mr. Seng Kiat Ng from Singapore for putting together all the posts in an eBook format and for updating it every weekend as I write new posts and update old posts.
  • Many others also pointed out many errors in posts which have led to improvements. My goal is to have 100% inter-consistency as well as consistency with the Tipitaka.
  • I also want to illustrate that there is no need to consult late commentaries like Visuddhimagga; that can only lead to confusion. I have shown many inconsistencies in them; see, “Historical Background“. There are three original commentaries included with the Tipitaka and those are sufficient.

9. Finally, I always highlight the fact that Buddha Dhamma is not about hiding in a remote place and shying away from the society or subjecting oneself to harsh living.

  • One with a purified mind can live in the most seductive place and yet not be perturbed. But of course to get to that point, one needs to gradually reduce attachment to excess sense pleasures , and to stay away from bad friends and bad environments (in order to see for oneself how much “peace of mind” can be realized).
  • It is not those enticing or seducing things that make us do immoral things and make our minds stressed in turn; rather it is our own defiled minds making us do immoral things (defilements can vary from hate and excess greed to just being ignorant of the true nature of the world).
  • All we need to do is to get rid of our bad gati (or gathi; I note that I have used both spellings over the years) and cultivate good gati. This is the key to Nibbana. During that process, one will start feeling the “cooling down”, and then start comprehending anicca, dukkha, anatta, which leads to the Sōtapanna stage. Therefore, it is a step-by-step process.

Happy New Year!

May the Blessings of the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha) be with you always!

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