When us people are born into this world, we want to have completeness in all things and all aspects. We want to have a barn full of rice. We want plentiful water for drinking and use. We want nice clothing, so that after looking at it and wearing it, it will make our complexion look good. If we wear clothes that are worn out, then our complexion doesn’t look good. But if we have already got nice fabric and beautiful clothing, our complexion becomes radiant and splendid. So this fabric can help people to look better. Or if we don’t have a vehicle and have to walk, then it’s difficult and troublesome. The longer distances we have to walk, then we won’t be able to reach it. We probably wouldn’t be able to walk a distance of 50 or 100 kilometers. But if it’s 1000 kilometers, then it’s even more difficult to walk. We might even die midway. So having a vehicle brings ease and happiness. Or what about when we have light? We have a lamp, a lightbulb which gives off light. Then wherever we go, we can see in the dark. If we have a lamp and light then it shines, but if we don’t have this then everywhere we look is dark.

So we people need everything in all ways. We need a good place to live. We need a strong body. We need a beautiful complexion. We want happiness. We want eyes that are bright. But not everyone gets all this. Why is this? Because of kamma, the actions we have done in the past are different. But people don’t know or understand whether this matter is related to kamma or not. Isn’t it only our efforts that matter? It can be both. One, our old kamma that we have created. We might have used to give food, give water. We used to donate these things. These are material and physical things, but we have turned them into a form of energy that is in our heart. We have given clothes and garments to others, and this also makes goodness grow in our heart. It makes our complexion better in whatever life we are born in. Having seen people in difficulties and troubles, we have offered some small form of transportation for them just to reduce their hardships and troubles. They are miserable and troubled, with no money, no vehicle to travel, so we have helped them. And it’s as if we have given ourselves physical happiness and mental happiness. We will be a receiver as well. Or we have given light, which can be the light on the inside and outside. The light outside is a lamp or lightbulb. The inner light is wisdom. It gives us good eyes. We have eyes that are bright, and not gloomy. And how important are these eyes? If we are a person who is not jealous, not eyeing others with envy and jealousy, we will then have beautiful eyes.

And the Lord Buddha had very beautiful eyes. They were the most complete and perfect, because the Buddha had built his parami, spiritual qualities and accumulations, to the utmost perfection and completion. So may we do it, may we believe the Buddha, and follow him according to our strength, opportunity and chance. We give food and water. We make offerings or help others by giving clothes and vehicles. Sometimes when there are various disasters and troubles, “Alright, we will help out”, when people have no clothes to wear at all. Do we remember when the tsunami hit before? In some countries it was very difficult. There was no clothing. But people with kind and generous hearts helped each other. They brought clothing, brought water, and helped with vehicles to transport these goods. They did everything to free them from suffering, because no one wants to be like that, no one wants to suffer like that. But when we can see suffering, then we have metta, loving-kindness and compassion. This is called being Bodhisattvas. We have helped them, we have given them relief when they were really in suffering and trouble. We did that. This is how we follow what the Lord Buddha taught us to practise.

And more excellent than this, is the giving of Dhamma. We give each other Dhamma. Like the people who come to help in various Dhamma centers, we come to help each other. This is called giving Dhamma as dana, generosity. And the teachers at centers with a lot of students, they try to bring the students to know and receive Dhamma. This is given as dana. This is considered creating more merit and parami for us. It is beneficial for ourselves as well. It is beneficial to other people as well. This merit can be made and is not limited by time. And what about after we have built merit? How can one make merit and go to heaven? Everyone wants to make merit and go to heaven. If you die from the human world, where will you go? We just want to go to a place that has happiness. We don’t want to go to a place where there is suffering. We don’t want to meet with the wardens of suffering that will lead us to the hell realm. We don’t want this. But don’t forget that the wardens of hell are there to help. They try to make people remember their goodness, so that they will be able to use up their goodness and become a deva first. They are helping and we should rejoice with them. They have very hard work to save people from going to hell, but we want to go to heaven. So what do we do? Alright, we have to do good deeds. Have dana, have sila, morality, and have bhavana, mental development. Make them complete. Why?

Because the Lord Buddha had said this to the devas, that for whom sets up a delightful park or a grove for people to have shade to rest from travelling in the heat, and for the people who had difficulty in travelling and journeying over water, they construct a bridge. Where there are no ponds, they dig ponds and wells, they build shelters and residences, giving places to drink and eat. Then those people will receive merit. They will be prosperous, they will have merit and parami increasing both by day and by night. Those who have been established well in Dhamma, established with sila, morality, they are ones who will definitely go to heaven.

So there is a story with regards to the question on how keeping sila, the precepts, makes one go to heaven. We can’t see anything that sila does right? So this story is about a group of merchants on a sailboat, travelling the ocean to trade in different cities. Back then, they wouldn’t know if the ocean would be stable at that time. Today, it is possible to observe when a storm will occur, when it will come, when it will calm down, or if it will be serious. So we can know of it, and avoid it. But in the old days, there was none of this. They had no idea, no knowledge of this. So they were traveling across the ocean and that time they met the results of their kamma, and encountered a violent storm. The sail boat was in trouble and they had no wisdom of how to fix it, so they had to let it go according to their merit and kamma. But here the captain of the boat was a good, virtuous man. He summoned the 500 subordinates. So it wasn’t a normal sail boat, but a really big boat as there was a crew of 500. The captain said for everyone to take up the 5 moral precepts. This is the only way we can survive. We take up the precepts as a tool to hold our goodness and give our minds an anchor to be born in the next life. There is no way to save this life, as the boat was about to break apart. Let’s take up the 5 precepts, and when everyone finished taking the precepts, the boat immediately broke up and sank down into the ocean. Would the merchants be okay? These 500 merchants couldn’t swim against the violent waves and winds, so they all died together. But by the power of keeping the precepts, having that intention for only a moment in time, they could be born in the heavens, with a golden mansion where all 500 of them lived.

Why was this? It is because of sila parami. So what about the wisdom parami? Did they have it? Which could lead to going to heaven? This wisdom parami is knowledge. The captain of the boat had the wisdom to tell his subordinates to observe the 5 precepts, and it meant that he had been keeping these precepts and goodness for a long time. He had practised it a lot, and he had confidence in sila. So he could lead all the 500 subordinates to heaven, which wasn’t easy either. It meant that all 500 subordinates had the merit and parami to have a good captain of their boat.

There is another story that at one time, the Lord Buddha came and sat on the seat known as the Paṇḍukambalasilāsana. This is the seat of Indra, King of the Devas. Here when the Lord Buddha had arrived in Tavatimsa Heaven, Indra offered his Paṇḍukambalasilāsana seat to the Lord Buddha. At this time, Indra asked, what is the excellent Dhamma that will be able to support the paths and fruits of Nibbana for the practitioner? Is there anything that can be practised, recalled and recited through which the power of it can eliminate and overcome all the dangers that will arise for human beings and animals? Is there any Dhamma aspect that can have this effect? The Buddha said, “King of Devas, there is a Dhamma that when practised gives one such happiness”, and Indra was delighted. Here, he asked the Lord Buddha, what is the name of this Dhamma? The Lord Buddha answered that this Dhamma is called the parami of wisdom. Indra asked further, “may the Buddha explain this wisdom parami.” The Lord Buddha told that in incalculable past lives, wisdom parami is the pinnacle of Dhamma that every Buddha has fully practised and perfected, and in so doing were able to attain to becoming a supremely enlightened Buddha. So whoever writes it for their puja, recites and chants it, or listens to it every day, then they will be a person who has wealth and possessions. They will succeed in their aspirations, and what is important is that they will be loved by all devas and humans. The devas will bless and look after that person. One who has practised developing the 30 paramis will obtain three treasures: the first treasure is human treasure, the second treasure is heavenly treasure, and the third treasure is the treasure of Nibbana. Whatever our aspiration, from the highest attainment of Buddhahood, Paccekabuddha, or a Savaka, a disciple of a Buddha, we will succeed.

After the supremely enlightened Buddha had finished explaining the parami of wisdom, Indra proclaimed himself as a lay devotee. He took the Triple Gem as his lifelong refuge, and in the group of devas there were great numbers who attained to the paths and fruits of Nibbana. Therefore, this aspect of wisdom is very important. So what’s in the 10 paramis? We’ve probably heard of the ten perfections before. They are: generosity, morality, renunciation, wisdom, effort, patience, truthfulness, determination, loving kindness, equanimity (dana, sila, nekkhamma, panya, viriya, khanti, sacca, addithana, metta, upekkha). If we recite it in brief, it is Te-cha-su-ne-ma—Phu-ja-na-viwe. But the Lord Buddha had developed all these 30 paramis, including the level of ordinary parami, then to sacrificing his limbs and sacrificing his life, which we call upa-parami, higher perfection, and paramatha-parami, supreme perfection. While we are not to that level of parami, if we practise in this way, we praise and recollect this, we listen to it, we recite and chant it, then this is a matter of merit, which is able to suppress the bad and the unbeautiful. We can overcome dangers, and after death, we will go to heaven. After the completion of the Buddha’s teaching, Indra was firmly established in the Buddha-sasana with faith and confidence.

So may we be determined and set our minds in building goodness. Whether we are coming from darkness or from brightness, in this life may we build our parami and go to brightness. If we have come from brightness already, then we build more parami here, and we go back to our abode with more brightness. We may have the layers of lotus that support us to grow even bigger and higher. If living in heaven, then there is something more good and beautiful. But let us look at our minds in this present life. If our hearts are more beautiful and good, it has more metta, more compassion. We used to be angry, but now have less anger. We used to have greed, but now we have less greed. We used to have delusion, but now we are less deluded. Then that means that we have built our parami. We have a mind that has joy and has happiness. So may you set your hearts on this. May everyone practise developing and growing their minds to have brightness and radiance in this life before going on to the next life. May you be at ease. May you grow in blessings.

We should contemplate that having been born, what is the cause that makes us have suffering, difficulties and troubles? We can see that people differ, having a lot or a little, having a lot of wisdom or little wisdom. We are born and have differences according to our merit, vassana, parami, and spiritual development and accumulations. There are differences in leading one’s life, in learning, in the opportunity to learn, and the opportunity to get good work. Some people study in schools or universities that are renowned, and have a chance to get a better job. Whereas the ones who lack mindfulness and wisdom, they may have less access to education, but can still complete their education and gain enough money to support their life.

But the thing that makes us suffer is wanting, desire. This makes us struggle and make an effort. And it makes us compare ourselves to others constantly, which brings us suffering. But it’s not that we don’t make an effort at all. We do exert effort, persevere, and are determined. We have inner-confidence, firm intention, self-respect, and self-belief that we will be successful. We challenge and not get discouraged in the face of obstacles. We need to have this. This is called having a high level of effort and determination, then we will be able to make all things succeed. We can succeed in our studies, and our work will get better. And this is even more likely to happen if there is someone who will impart knowledge to us, reproach us, rouse us, and then we can change and remedy what is needed. Then our work will get better.

So if we are a child, a student, and there is a teacher who imparts knowledge to us and advises us, then our studies will improve. But if others aren’t interested in us and they just leave us alone, they are not concerned with our studies, and there is no-one to oversee us, then it will be difficult for our studies. And this applies to all levels of education, and also to learning in various arts. These days the world is more open-minded and so one is better able to learn various arts and humanities. And if we have a mentor who teaches and advises us and we have built up inner skill, then we may be able to work and gain knowledge in that art well. But if we are lazy, idle and not determined, then even if there is a mentor who advises us and people who want to help us, we don’t want it. And then our studies will definitely not meet with success. And our work won’t be able to become prosperous according to our dreams. It is just being lost in dreams then. Why is this? Because of taṇhā, desire.

And venerable Ajahn Chah said in an extreme way about what taṇhā, desire, craving is like. He said it’s like we have a container or a house that is all open. It’s left open, and whatever comes in, it will welcome it all. There is just pleasure in receiving everything that comes in. This is called taṇhā. It is open. The doors are open. The doors in the big house are open. It is like this in our heart. We want everything. We are lost in dreams of everything. This can then lead to failure, and it is the cause for suffering and inner torment. We continue to admire other peoples’ wealth. So instead, when other people receive success, we should think, “alright, that is something good.” We have mudita, sympathetic joy. We are happy that they have received it, that they got something good. They have knowledge, good education, or skill at the level of the locality, province, region, country, continent or even the world. So this is according to their skill, which is composed and made up from our efforts.

So we have to make an effort, exert and be diligent to train and practice, so that we must be able to make it good. This is inner progress. But this tanha is a significant factor. It is always making comparisons. Like if we have a low position, we are a person who is poor and underprivileged, then it’s normal and natural that all of us want to be rich. We want to have money, gold, and want to spend money like others. Being a child, you want to have a bicycle like everyone else. You want nice adornments, nice clothing, have a good house, have good food, just like everyone else. Why is this? It’s because of the feeling that if we don’t have it, we feel bad and inferior, that we don’t have it like our friends.

So this is the first noble truth of suffering as well. But if a person sees that not having these things is a big deal for them and that they need to acquire it by any means possible, then they must put forth effort to get it. They must be able to discipline and direct themselves to be able to achieve it. So with this feeling, they put in a lot of effort and persevere. Their determination is high. And then even though they have been born in a poor family with few opportunities, and it is hard and difficult for them, they are able to succeed.

Is this called taṇhā, desire? We have to understand that taṇhā is the cause for suffering to arise. So if we don’t do anything and we have only desire, we have no effort and application, then suffering keeps coming up. But when we have effort, application and are determined, then this lies within sila-dhamma, morality and goodness. It is not that we just say that everything is desire, and whatever we do is all desire, so then we don’t need to do anything at all. Then we just stay someone who is poor and underprivileged as always. We have no expertise, we have no knowledge. We don’t have a good reputation in society, not being someone who is recognized. So it is not like this. We put in effort and perseverance, and this is correct in terms of sila-dhamma. We are determined to learn well. We are determined to gain skill and knowledge. If we don’t know, then we stay close to those who do know. And these days there are many who are interested in teaching and advising us. That is, if we do have the determination and have sufficient skill, then we will be able to do it.

And so if whatever we do, we aren’t interested in it and we don’t improve ourselves, then there is only desire coming up. It’s like we want someone to cast a spell on us, from someone who doesn’t have and is poor and underprivileged, to being rich. So if we are then rich like this, would we be satisfied? Would we have wisdom? We wouldn’t have the wisdom to maintain that richness. Maybe people cheat you, maybe friends cheat you. These days there are many people who cheat others in the online world that we use regularly.

So if we have no wisdom, then our wealth will quickly disappear. So the important wealth is wisdom, which can look after our mind, and look after our wealth. If we were able to come from being poor to being super rich, then we need to have the wisdom to get that. But if someone came and lifted us up to being super rich, and we didn’t have wisdom, then would we be able to maintain that wealth? We wouldn’t be able to. It would just get wasted away.

So wisdom is the quality that will maintain our minds and to maintain our wealth as well. So we need to search for wisdom. So how does wisdom arise? Only by building and creating parami, spiritual goodness, can it arise. Then we will know the word ‘enough’. We will know already that, “alright, I am content with what I have now.” It’s not that we just keep struggling to get more, more and more, and in the end going bankrupt.

Some people have 100 million, and they want to have a billion. They have a billion and then they want even more than that. They keep wanting to have more and more. Ultimately they look for a way to get more wealth, which does not have sila-dhamma, morality and goodness. In the end they need to go to jail, go to court, because of killing others, harming others, and cheating others. This is not right. The Buddha taught about giving up evil, cultivating merit, and purifying the mind, before it can be made right.

So we need to build the knowing of enoughness. We cultivate our mind to have knowledge and the skill to know enough. This is to be satisfied and content. Being satisfied means that we are satisfied with whatever we can get, and being content means that we are content with whatever we have. But it’s not that we don’t strive. If we can do it and can strive for it, then we do it. And one part of what we get, we make merit. One part is given as charity, to be stored, consumed, to look after one’s family, and to assist relatives, friends, and society. And this is applicable in the present situation.

So this is a person with wisdom who is able to build wealth and can learn various knowledges. The Buddha, in some of his past lives, was able to use the wisdom he had to to look after his mind, to look after his household, and to look after the city. There were people who could have argued and killed each other, but didn’t. Why? Because the Buddha could make them have unity and harmony. So can we see that they didn’t have to use weapons, because wisdom is a weapon. Wisdom is one of the noble truths, right? There is sila, samadhi and panya, morality, concentration and wisdom, which is the excellent path for us to get rid of the mental defilements; that is, we can get rid of tanha, the desire to have. Then suffering won’t arise within us.

But if we don’t develop, train, put forth effort and apply ourselves, then it won’t be possible that we can be free from suffering. And even in our education, we won’t succeed. In doing our work, we won’t be able to be recognized like others at all. This is because we don’t have wisdom. So we do need to try to strive for this.

But don’t forget that we need to have wisdom that is imbued with sila-dhamma. There are some people who don’t have this type of wisdom, but they are good people. They don’t harm the lives of others. They don’t harm the minds of others. They don’t take others’ love to be their own love. They are someone who is honest, with a good mind, and they speak directly. They have little intoxication with alcohol, and then can quit it. So this is having wisdom. So don’t just look at wisdom in the ways of the world that makes one rich. We must look at wisdom in the way of Dhamma, which arises in the mind. These 2 aspects are important. To find wealth, not just on the outside, but to find inner wealth as well. These are done in parallel.

So here we can compare, that before we weren’t well off and we didn’t have mindfulness and wisdom, but we know that now we are better off than others, better off than before. So then we will assist others who don’t have. Because we can see the suffering and its drawbacks, so we assist those who aren’t well off. And we can also contemplate that the cause that makes our minds to suffer and be distressed is because of constantly comparing in this world. I am better than them, I am equal to them, I am lower than them. Then there are lots of distress and troubles arising. This is because of clinging, or mana, conceit and pride, which is in the hearts of every person. Then we will for sure cling to ourselves being important of one sort. The importance that we are better than them, we are equal to or we are lower than them. And it may be that we are actually lower than them, but we cling to that we are higher. But some are higher and have everything complete, but feel that they are lacking in some things and aspects in themselves and they think that they are lower than others. So this is not right. But it is natural for thoughts and views to be like this.

We can look carefully and see what is it that every person that is born has equally? We have this breath that nature has given us equally. Whether we are sleeping on the side of the road, sleeping in a small house, sleeping in a big house or a mansion, every person needs to breathe. They need oxygen, right? And wherever they lack oxygen, they will die right? We can see in this present pandemic, if one lacks oxygen, their lungs have problems, or they don’t have the ventilator producing oxygen, then every life cannot survive. So when we are born, we have what nature has given us by being born as human, which is oxygen. Water we can find easily, right? Then it’s just food, just housing, and clothing left. This you need to be diligent, put effort in, be determined to find it, and determined to learn. This is for the purpose of 1. To not be a burden on society, 2. To be able to help ourselves, and 3. We are able to help others. How good then is this?

So be diligent in our studies. We will be able to overcome the suffering in our hearts, and we can see that these days what makes us suffer is making comparisons. So we make our mind be at ease and relaxed. If that person has a bicycle and we have to walk, then we can think about it in a good way. We are able to exercise and it can make our body strong. If we see others working hard and we are also working hard, then this can also be exercise. And if we are doing it with mindfulness, then we will gain a lot value in doing it. Maybe our work does not require us to use our brain, but we use our physical labour, then we have mindfulness in doing our work. If we are sweeping and cleaning the house, mopping the floor, or we are a housewife, then we have mindfulness with it. We don’t need to use much thinking, so it’s equal to us doing bhavana, meditation. That is, if we have wisdom. But those who have wisdom, and need to use their mental capacity at work, they may get very exhausted, and aren’t able to do meditate like that.

But whatever our situation and circumstance, don’t compare yourself with others. But if you do compare, then you can compare in order to develop oneself to be higher and better. But don’t compare in a way that makes you feel bad, low, suffering, depressed, and miserable. Then this is not right. So may you exert effort and persevere. Be determined not to make comparisons. Be content with what you have. Develop yourself to have effort and competitiveness. Have determination in what you are doing, in your learning, and in your work. Then we will gain success in our life. We can be rich or super rich. So try to find your strong points. Find the skills inside yourself. What aspects are we strong in, what aspects are we skilled at? Then we are dedicated to learning in that field, working in that field, and we develop ourselves in that aspect, and then we will succeed easily. May you all set your hearts on this.

Q and A with Lay Disciples 2021

Answers by Ajahn Anan Akincano

Q: Can you please explain about letting go and using intention?

Yes, when anger arises one must use intention to cut it off and let it go. One also tries to avoid anger arising in the first place, another of the four right efforts. When it does arise, then one makes an effort to let it go.

The mind with sufficient strength and energy can know anger and other arammanas (objects of mind) as they arise. When the mind knows arammanas in time then the mind simply lets them pass away without clinging. A mind with stable and good samadhi, mindfulness, and wisdom, can know emotions and other mind objects as they arise and let them go.

Usually, in a given day our samadhi is only a little bit. Therefore, when aramannas arise the mind clings to them, and one subsequently must make an effort in order to let them go. Whether the mind is liking or disliking, one tries to cut liking and disliking off and let them go. One tries to develop one’s strength and energy of mind more and more. One tries to build one’s samadhi more and more. Then, when anger arises, one has the wisdom to know that one should let go and shouldn’t cling. Whether liking or disliking, the mind knows one shouldn’t cling and lets go right away.

But, in the beginning, one cannot do this. One can do lovingkindness practice, metta bhavana. In addition, one teaches one’s mind not to cling to moods, pleasures or pains. One reflects that all beings must die, so what is the point of getting angry or clinging to moods? This is walking the path of Dhamma. This is teaching our minds and hearts. Thereby one can increase in samadhi, and one can learn to let go a little bit, which takes time.

Luang Pu Chah’s teaching to let go right away is like a knife cutting through water, one just lets go immediately. But one’s strength of mind is not to that level yet. Therefore one uses contemplation. One contemplates to be able to let go and feel at ease.

In a given day, one should contemplate a lot in order to not cling to anger and aversion.

Letting go of happiness and sorrow immediately as you describe is correct – this is for a mind with quick wisdom. One knows mind objects in time and can have enough mindfulness and wisdom not to cling. This is a mind that is free and has right view. Letting go slowly means that one’s mindfulness, samadhi, and wisdom are too weak to let go right away. The knowing is not in time. Then the mind clings and dukkha, suffering, arises.

Given this, we build right view with mindfulness and samadhi to fight with the aramannas that enter the mind in order to let go quickly. Without samadhi, the aramannas enter the mind and one can’t let go; the mind clings right away. With samadhi and energy of mind, the mind can be separate from mind objects.

Inspired teachings:

A: Those who travel to Nibbana must travel far. To go a long distance, one needs supplies. This generosity, goodness, and merit are important supplies for the journey. For if one runs out of supplies, such as food, then one will not have the strength to keep traveling on. This goodness and giving that you have done, from every previous time until this recent time, are supplies for the journey.

For you have faith, belief, and practice mental cultivation as well. Like Lady Visakha and Anathapindika, who also had faith in the Buddhasasana, a faith that is full in their hearts and minds. This merit and goodness is something that they had done previously in many lifetimes, which brought their minds into the current of goodness, where they reside all the time. Reaching this point, one feels full in one’s heart with the building of goodness.

Sila, virtue, is an important foundation in one’s practice. Practice sila with commitment and make it a foundation of your practice. This sila protects one and guards one against falling into the lower realms of hell, hungry ghosts, animals, or asuras. Sila as a stable foundation is a great and beautiful goodness in the heart.

To go far in the journey to Nibbana one needs supplies, as well as a vehicle and fuel. This sila is the vehicle. The benefit of sila is happiness and brings one to meet with noble wealth and the insight of wisdom. With this vehicle and with fuel then you can travel far and not meet with the difficulties of travel by foot. And with this vehicle complete and balanced and with supplies, you can be firm to reach your goal. This firmness is samadhi, which makes the vehicle balanced and strong.

May you have samadhi and panya, and with this samadhi firm to whatever level, then you can contemplate the Dhamma. See that everything arises and passes away, is not self, is vimutti, liberated, and free. See this at all times. See all sounds, smells, tastes, touches, sights, and mental objects as empty. See that all the proliferation around the 6 sense objects is on the outer level—the true mind on the inside stays complete and faultless while the outer 6 sense objects arise and pass away. So you just have to care for the mind with mindfulness and protect the mind from getting lost in proliferation. May you understand emptiness, understand that all arises and ceases, and, in this way, mindfulness, samadhi, and wisdom can bring your mind to purity bit by bit. Sila, samadhi, and panya purify the mind and bring the mind to brightness and joy. Then this brings the mind to purity to see the Dhamma.

So may you practice this kammathana of upasamanusati, the recollection of stillness/nibbana. This is the mind not involved with anything, which is Nibbana.

In order to get to Nibbana, one needs a foundation, which is this dana, giving, which you do regularly. I give a great anumodana with your recent offering of the four requisites to the Sangha and other generous acts, all of which has supreme benefits, and this is something you have done many times in the past up until the present.

These causes bring you to have firm faith in the Buddhasasana and to have dana, sila, and bhavana. These causes bring samadhi, as well, which leads to emptiness, to freedom, to seeing the Dhamma, and to destroying the fetters which bind the mind to suffering. These causes bring the mind to destroy the fetter of sakayaditthi, identity view, which takes things as ‘me’ and ‘mine’, ‘you’ and ‘yours’. With clear seeing, one sees there is really no self there. Dana, sila, and bhavana will all enter into your heart.

This reminds me of when I was a layperson, I had a mind that thought to make merit and goodness. Even if I had a little or a lot of money, I wanted to make merit with it. I reflected that there is nothing sure in life, so it is better to do merit. Before I ordained, I felt this way. You have not ordained as a monastic, but you have ordained in your heart already.

May the benefit of all this goodness be a cause for your mind to be firm and stable to see and know the Dhamma in this very life.

May you be strong, balanced, and have a fully healthy body. May you have the strength to practice the Dhamma. May you develop and cultivate your mind.

I feel rapture and happiness and am happy to help and teach the Dhamma to you, because my wish for you is that you may realize true purity in your heart in this life. May you be well.

A: This golden sky is very beautiful and lovely with an uplifting golden light.

We have the good fortune to be born as humans and to have the opportunity to build goodness and develop our minds to higher levels.

As we bring our attention to the sun, we then bring our attention, incline and pay homage to the boundless virtues of the Buddha, the boundless virtues of the Dhamma, and the boundless virtues of the Sangha.

When we incline and pay homage to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha in this way, we bring our minds to the Dhamma, which means we contemplate and see arising and passing away. We see the sun rise then gradually cross the sky and set. The days come and go, they are ever passing by—there is only arising, staying for a short time, then passing away.

So may you have effort to develop your minds, to reach the true Dhamma and be able to see the Dhamma.

A: These two trees can represent sati and sampajanya, mindfulness and clear comprehension. With sati and sampajanya one then recollects the body and sees all phenomena as empty.