Saturday, 22 August 2020
Saturday, 15 February 2020
The Concert “When Oboe Meets Piano”
Entwining Wind and String Instruments
Once W.A Mozart said, “I pay no attention whatever to anybody's praise or blame, I simply follow my own feelings”. In this sense, music relied on feelings and evoked them. It was true with the concert “When Oboe Meets Piano” which was staged at Chartium Hotel on 31st, January of 2020 from 7 pm onward.
Many people were present at the marvelous musical concert of the two maestros. It was orchestrated by the cultural programme of the Embassy of Italy for 2020 which would be starting in full swing with the first concert of this year.
The embassy invited an exciting joint “travel” by oboist Arnaldo de Felice, who gave his first solo recital when he was 15 and performed in several prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York, and pianist Alberto Firrincieli, who is back again in Yangon to entertain Yangon’s audience. Both artists are also music composers; Maestro de Felice played his own “Medusa”.
When the event opened, the ambassador of Italian Embassy, Mrs. Alessandra Schiavo spoke of the event and upcoming event at Italian Embassy on Feb 23rd. She invited everyone to take part in that Italian gourmet event too.
After that, the two great maestros started to play their respective songs wonderfully. They played Concerto BWV 974 which was arranged for piano and oboe, Oblivium of A. Piazzolla (1921-1992), Medusa for Oboe solo, Sonata C 88 in C major of D.Cimarosa (1749-1801) for piano solo, Sonata in F minor of D. Scarlatti (1685-1732) for piano solo, “Capriccio” Op. 80 of A. Ponchielli (1834-1886) for oboe and piano and “Mission” of E.Morricone (1928) for oboe and piano.
The tunes and melodies produced by the two instruments were so pleasant, depicting the high and low notes and tunes so that the tunes were fluctuated with emotions and sensations. While listening to the music, one’s mind was drifted away with those charming tunes until the music reached its finale and clapping from the audience exuded wholeheartedly.
The pleasant tunes of oboe were very much tantalizing to the ears of the music lovers because of the skillful touches of Maestro de Felice. When he sustained the notes and slurred, they expressed very well in terms of musical sublimity. Maestros, pianist and oboist played the tunes so smoothly and precisely and with much dexterity and skills they needed for musical performers.
It was really much uplifting and satisfying to enjoy the whole evening with them at the venue. They showed their musical expertise so well that people were really much engrossed in their entertainment. The oboe, with its rich harmonics in the upper range, has a timbre which was well controlled by Maestro de Felice.
In fact, the oboe is chiefly a melody instrument, being pastoral by nature and it has full of tenderness. Sometimes, its notes can cause a certain degree of shrill and so one needs a proper manipulation not to compel it a passionate cry or a powerful outburst of pitch. Then, its small, bitter-sweet voice becomes tame and will exhibit something sublime.
Some people noted that both instruments brought relief to the heart and soul of them and the oboe is one of the oldest, and one of the most deeply sympathetic, perhaps because the lips of the player touch the reeds directly. It was true that the oboe's repertoire as a solo instrument was much to treasure, much to adore and much to console.
Classical music magically worked very quickly when things were right for them. Even if you align your breathing to the music's beat, your mind will be free to observe its flow and it was the best cure for serious stress and granted prolonged relaxation and rest.
The two Italian musicians entertained the audience with beautiful pieces ranging from Scarlatti and Cimarosa (XVII and XVIII centuries) to Piazzolla’s tango (with the great “hit” “Oblivium”) and the contemporary film scores by the most acclaimed composer Ennio Morricone, whose unforgettable music has been reused countless times for TV and in movies.
The entrance was free. On the 1st of February the two Italian musicians would also give a Masterclass to music students at Gitameit as part of the initiatives undertaken by the Italian Embassy to continue supporting the development of capacities of Myanmar youth also in the music field.●
San Lin Tun is a freelance writer of essays, poetry, short story and novel in Myanmar and English.
Thursday, 28 November 2019
Submitted by San Lin Tun
Sukha is essential in life because it can be said that without sukha life will be miserable, and not worth for living. To have an enjoyful life, there should be sukha or happiness.
In finding sukha or happiness some people are engaging in wrong practices like drinking, gambling, and other enjoyable things which are not proper for seeking. And they think it is legitimate in doing them.
In fact, those kinds of finding sukha or happiness cannot grant someone any happiness or sukha. Besides, he or she will find his or her life more miserable than before when he or she engages in those bad habits.
Some people do not realize how they should find proper sukha or happiness legitimately or according to the teachings of the Buddha. The teachings of the Buddha surely will bring about the happiness or sukha they would like to find.
At first, they need to know the teachings of the Buddha and how they can gain sukha or happiness according to the teachings or the exortations of the Buddha.
When they follow the teachings of the Buddha, they will surely witness the fruitful results for the present and future lives alike.
If they abide by and practice them, they will surely enjoy sukha or happiness in this very life or the life to come.
Meaning of Sukha
Several definitions of sukha are seen in "Definitions of Pāli words" written by Ashin Subuti Mahāthera. Among the definitions of sukha, one of the definitions gives the meaning of sukha as in "sutthu dukkaṁ khanatīti sukhaṁ"1 which means " the thing which can dig up dukkha or suffering well."
Another meaning gives as in " sukhayatīti vā sukhaṁ"2 which means " the thing which can cause happiness."
There are also synonymous terms of sukha as in pāmojjaṁ or joy, pamodo or happiness in many ways, sātaṁ or satisfactoriness, phāsu or satisfactoriness, baddaṁ or goodness, seyo or nobleness, subaṁ or pleasantness, khemaṁ or dangerlessness, kalyānaṁ or goodness, mingalaṁ or auspiciousness, sivaṁ or calmness.3
It can be seen that the meaning of sukha can be interpreted depending on its contexts. According to the PED, the term sukha means "agreeable", "pleasant", "happiness." 4
In the suttas, the term sukha is used in the sense of "happiness" or "pleasure" as opposed to "suffering" "pain". For example, sukha is associated with happy states of existence, i.e the heavenly world. Being a human being is associated with much sukhā vedanā and the heavenly world and Nibbāna are associated with extremely sukhā vedanā. Two kinds of sukha are described in the section on "Treatise on Breathing", in the Patisaṁbhidhāmagga, as Kāyika (bodily) and cetasika (mental), and are defined as follows:5
"Kāyikasukha: Any bodily well-being, bodily pleasure and pleasure felt as born of body contact, welcome, pleasant feeling born of body contact, is bodily pleasure.
Cetasikasukha: Any mental well-being, mental pleasure, well-being, and pleasure felt as born of mental contact, welcomes pleasant feelings as born of mental contact is mental pleasure."
(1.1). Sukha as a feeling or vedanā
Sukha is a feeling(vedanā). When sukha arises in one's mind, one will feel happy because of its vedanā.
The Pāli Text Society Dictionary gives the word vedanā as follows:
The word vedanā is derived from the root "ved" or the verb "vedeti", both meaning " to know", or" " to experience". If the word vedanā is indeed related to vedeti, the implication is that vedanā means either physical or mental experience. Thus the Pāli word vedanā has been commonly translated into English as "feeling" or "sensation".6
The meaning of the term vedanā is explained in the Majjhima Nikāya by "vedeti vedetīti āvuso, tasmā vedanā ti vuccati", "it feels, friend; that is why feeling or vedanā is said"7.
The sutta again elaborates: "What does it feel? It feels pleasure, it feel pains, and it feels neither-pain-nor-pleasure".
Accordingly, it is clearly seen that there are three kinds of vedanā__pleasant, unpleasant, and neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant.8
Another sutta also explains on vedanā as follows:
"Who feels? No being. Whose is the feeling or vedanā? Not of a being. Owing to what is there the feeling? Feeling can arise with (certain) things__forms, smells, and so forth__as objects. That bhikkhu knows, therefore, that there is a mere experiencing of feeling after the objectifying of a particular pleasure or painful physical basis or of one of indifference."9
In the Vedanā Saṁyutta of Saṁyutta Nikāya, vedanā denotes one of the five aggregates (vedanākkhanda) that makes up an individual. Vedanākkhandha is defined as:
"All three types of feelings or vedanā are included, painful, pleasant, neither-painful-nor-pleasant, experienced through contact of the six sense organs with external objects. All our mental and bodily feelings are included in this group. Whatever kind of feeling there is, whether past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: This is called the feeling aggregate or vedanākkhandā.10
In the suttas, vedanā is enumerated in different ways from two to one hundred and eight categories, as seen in the following passage:
"I have spoken of two kinds of feelings or vedanā by one method of expositi have spoken of five kinds of feelings…six kinds of feelings…eighteen kinds of feeling…thirty-six kinds of feelings by another method of exposition; and I have spoken of one hundred and eight kinds of feelings by still another method of exposition. Thus Anandā, the Dhamma has been taught by me through different methods of exposition.11
In Compendium of Abhidhammā, the treatise gives sukha feeling as somanassa vedana. This feeling is associated with unwholesome consciousness and wholesome consciousness.
Accordingly, sukha feeling which is associated with wholesome consciousness is perferrable than the one which is associated with unwholesome consciousness.
This feeling will appear when one performs meritorious deeds such as giving charity, and dissiminating loving-kindness.
(1.2). Sukha as an associate mental factor
Sukha is also an associate mental factor according to Compedium of Abhidhammā. One will find sukha as mental factor in Jhāna factors which are composed of five factors. 12
The Jhānas do not arise out of a void but in dependence on the right condition. They come to growth only when provided with the nutriments conducive to their development.
The word "jhāna" is closely connected with another word, " samādhi" generally rendered by "concentration.". samādhi derives from the prefixed verbal root, sam-ā-dhā, meaning to collect or to bring together, thus suggesting the concentration or unification of the mind. 13
The word "samādhi" is almost interchangeable with the word "samatha", serenity, though the latter comes from a different root, sam. meaning to become calm.
In the suttas samādhi is defined as mental one-pointedness, (cittassekaggatā) and this definition is followed through rigorously in the Abhidhammā. The Abhidhammā treats one-pointedness as a distinct mental factor present in every state of consciousness, exercising the function of unifying the mind on its object. From this strict psychological standpoint samādhi can be present in unwholesome states of consciousness as well as in wholesome and neutral states. In its unwholesome forms it is called "wrong concentration" or micchāsamādhi., in its wholesome forms "right concentration" or sammāsamādhi. 14
The attainment of any jhāna comes about through a twofold process of development. On one side the states obstructive to it, called its factors of abandonment, have to be eliminated, on the other the states composing it, called its factors of possession, have to be acquired.
In the case of the first jhāna the factors of abandonment are the five hindrances and the factors of possession are the five basic jhāna factors. In Majjhima Nikāya and Vibhangha, it is described as follows:
"Quite secluded from sense pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states of mind, he enters and dwells in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied thought and sustained thought with rapture and happiness born of seclusion." 15
The five hindrances (pancanīvaranā) are sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and doubt. The principal classification the Buddha uses for the obstacles to meditation, receives its name because its five members hinder and envelop the mind, preventing meditative development in the two spheres of serenity and insight. Hence, the Buddha calls them "obstructions, hindrances, corruptions of the mind which weaken wisdom." which is described in Saṁyutta Nikāya.
The first jhāna possesses five component factors: applied thought, sustained thought, rapture, happiness and one-pointedness of mind. Four of these are explicitly mentioned in the formula for the jhāna; the fifth, one-pointedness, is mentioned elsewhere in the suttas but is already suggested by the notion of jhāna itself. 16
These five states receive their name, first because they lead the mind from the level of ordinary consciousness to the jhānic level and second because they cconstitute the first jhāna and give it its distinct definition.
As a factor of the first jhāna, sukha signifies pleasant feeling. The word is explicitly defined in this sense by the Vibanag in its analysis of the first jhāna: "Therein, what is happiness? Mental pleasure, mental happiness, the felt pleasure and happiness born of mind-contact, pleasurable and happy feeling born of mind-contact__ this is called "happiness". 17
The Visuddhimagga explains that happiness in the first jhāna has the characteristic of gratifying, the function of intensifying associated states, and as manifestation, the rendering of aid to its associated states.
Here, a distinction between rapture and happiness should be made. Rapture and happiness link together in a very close relationship, but though the two are difficult to distinguish, they are not indentical.
Happiness is a feeling or vedanā, rapture is a mental formation or sakhāra. Happiness always accompanies rapture, so that when rapture is present happiness must always be presen; but rapture does not always accompany happiness, for in the third jhāna, where there is happiness but no rapture.
The Atthasālini, which explains rapture as "delight in the attaining of the desired object" and happiness as "the enjoyment of the taste of what is acquired".
(1.3) Sukha as the resultant of Kusala Kamma
Sukha or somanassa vedanā is accompanied when Kusala kamma one has performed previously shows its result. It is seen in Ahetuka Vipāka Cittas which is associated with somanassa vedanā in Abhdhammatthasangaha.
Because of meritorious deeds the result will accompanied with somanassa vedanā or sukha vedanā because it is said that as follows:
Kusalāanavajjā sukhavipākā lakkhanā. 18
It means that Kusala or a meritorirous deed is free from blame or blemishes and it will give good result.
In also Patthāna Pāli, it is said that as follows:
Kusalo dhammo kusalassadhammassa adhipati paccayena paccayo.
It means that Kusala Dhamma supports kusala dhamma by means of adhipati paccaya.
As also in Anguttara Nīkāya, the Buddha said as follows:
Mātumhe bhikkhave punnanaṁ bhāyittha. Sukkussetaṁ adhivacanaṁ yadhidaṁ punnāni.
It means that there should not be fearful to do meritorious deeds. There surely exist meritorious deeds. The name of these is itself sukha or happiness.
And also the Buddha expounded to do meritorious deeds in Aputtaka Sutta as follows:
"But when a person of integrity acquires lavish wealth, he provides for his own pleasure and satisfaction, for the pleasure and satisfaction of his parents, the pleasue and satisfaction of his wife and children; the pleasure and satisfaction of his slaves, servants and assistants; and the pleasure and satisfaction of his friends. He institutes for priests and contemplatives offerings of supreme aim, heavenly, resulting in happiness, leading to heaven. When his wealth is properly put to use, kings don't make off with it, thieves don't make off with it, fire doesn't burn it, water doesn't sweep it away, and hateful heirs don't make off with it. Thus his wealth, properly put to use, goes to a good use and not to waste." 19
In this way, the Buddha expounded King Pasenadi Kosala relating on how to do meritorious deeds and how to spend one's wealth wisely to bring about good results later.
Kinds of Sukha
Sukha can be classified by individuality. There are two kinds of sukha which is gīhi sukha and nikkhama sukha, based on this individuality. 1 One is concerned with lay persons or householders or the latter is more related to bhikkhus or monks or those who try to avoid sensual pleasures.
Gīhi sukha is a sukha which results from enjoying sensual pleasures. This sukha relates to householders who seek for five sensual pleasures. 2 It appears in one's mind when one see beautiful visible objects or when one hears sweet audible objects or when one tastes good foods or when one smells nice smell or when one touches tender tangible objects. At this time their mind is filled with pleasant feelings called sukha.
They tend to try to enjoy this feeling again and again. There does not seem to end of this feeling in one's mind. They are insatiable in this feeling. They try to enjoy these feeling again and again. This is the nature of householders and their tendency to enjoy sensual pleasures.
Nikkhama sukha is more concerned with ones who has gone from home to homelessness lives. 3 It results from avoiding five sensual pleasures which are enjoyed by householders. Those who enjoy nikkhama sukha understand the disadvantage of enjoying sensual pleasures and the danger of them.
Accordingly, they strive to avoid those sensual pleasures and grasp the true happiness. So, nikkhama sukha can be experienced by monks or those who try to avoid sensual pleasures.
The Buddha also expounds the classifications of sukha to the bhikkhu in the Sukha Vagga Sutta of Anguttara Nikaya. There the Buddha said that among these two sukhas, nikkhama sukha is nobler than gīhi sukha. 4
In Hatthaka Sutta 5, when Hatthaka of Alavī met the Buddha beside Cowpath in Sinsapa Grove, the former asked the latter that the Buddha lives happily or not amid the cold weather and without proper shelter. Then, the Buddha told that he lives happily amid these circumstances.
Again, the Buddha asked Hatthaka that a certain person is provided with necessary properties such as to protect cold weather and to be endowed with proper shelter and to accommodate proper attention by wives; such kind of person can feel happiness or not. Hatthaka replied the Buddha that such kind of a person can feel happiness.
Then, the Buddha asked him that if lust arises in him, such a person can enjoy happiness or not. At this point, Hatthaka said such kind of person cannot enjoy happiness because of lust. And, the Buddha explained him that He destroyed the root of lust, so he lives happily because of the total eradication of lust. 6
Comparing these two examples, one can see clearly that nikkhama sukha is superior than gīhi sukha which is related with lust, aversion and delusion. Nikkhama sukha is free from these unwholesome dhammas such as lust, aversion and delusion.
(2.1) Worldly Pleasure
Worldly pleasure is the pleasure experienced by ordinary persons or householders. Worldly pleasures are five sensual pleasures which are termed as loka.7The Buddha expounded that eye consciousness, ear consciousness, nose consciousness, tongue consciousness, and body consciousness are the five sensual pleasures. 8 When these consciousness encounter with pleasant respective objects, happiness will appear in ones' minds.
People feel happy when they possess these five sensual pleasures. It is stated in Khuddaka Nikāya, Mahāniddesa Pali, Kāma Sutta Niddesa. It shows that lay persons or householders are really attracted to these pleasures. Without these, they will feel miserable in lay person terms. For them, encounter with pleasant things will bring about happiness. 9
There are also two types of Kama, one is vutthu kāma and the other is kilesā kāma. 10 Apart from this type of worldly pleasure, the Buddha expounded Anathapindika in one of the sutta. In it, the Buddha explained that there are four kinds of pleasure or bliss to be won from time to time by a layman who enjoys the pleasures of the senses.
They are (1) the bliss of ownership, (2) the bliss of enjoyment (3) the bliss of debtlessness, and (4) the bliss of blamelessness. For the bliss of ownership, a clansman reflected on his wealth gained through lawful way, and satisfaction will appear to him. 11
For the bliss of enjoyment, a clansman enjoy satisfaction by doing meritorious deeds by means of wealth he gained. For the bliss of debtlessness, a clansman has no debt, much or less, to anyone, then satisfaction will appear to him. For the bliss of blamelessness, a clansman has no blameless action of body, speech and mind. Anāthapindika the way to seeking happiness for lay persons or householders.
(2.2) Celestial Pleasure
Celestial pleasure is the pleasure experienced by celestial beings or devas in celestial abodes or realms. According to Buddhist cosmology, celestial realms consist of six heavens of the realm of desire.12
They are (1) Heaven of the Four Great Kings and their subordinates (2) Heaven of the thirty-three gods (3) Yama heaven (4) Tusita heaven (5) Nirmana-rati heaven (6) Paranirmitavasavartin heaven.13
Those beings or devas enjoy sensual pleasures as the way human beings do. Their sensual pleasure and human sensual pleasure are termed as paccuppatitta kama. 14It means that human beings, four kinds of devas from Catumahārājika, Yama, Tusitā, and except hellborn beings enjoy sensual pleasures and they have existing objects of sensual pleasures all the time.
They can enjoy pleasure because of sensual objects and they tend to enjoy it again and again. But, celestial pleasures are more enjoyable than that of worldly beings. In Magantiaya Sutta, the celestial pleasure is described as follows:
In Nandavan Garden a certain deva is happy with five celestial pleasures surrounding by female celestial beings. 15 That time, that householder or the son of the householder may not expect five sensual pleasures than five celestial pleasures, because the latter pleasures are greater than worldly pleasures.
Celestial beings possess more pleasant things than human beings. They have more pleasant personality, properties, longetivity. Even the pleasure of King Sakka is greater than that of King of human abodes.
It can clearly see that the personality of devas or celestial beings is finer than that of human beings in the following descritption. When Ven. Mahā Moggallāna saw the devatā and asked as follows:
"Your divan, made of gold, lofty, goes at will with the speed of thought; O, adorned one, wearing garlands and beautifully clothed, you shine like lightning on the crest of a thunder-cloud. Due to what is such complexion yours? 16
When looking at the possession and wealth of King Sakka, it can see clearly that he has wealthier than that of King of worldly abodes. Those possessions are unthinkable to King of human abodes.
Sakka, the celestial king resides in Vejayanta Palace which has 700 yojana and it is decorated with seven types of gems and gilded with gold. He has also 1600 wives and millions of attendents. He rules Tavatiṁsa realm. 17
As for longetivity or age of devas, theirs are longer than that of human beings. It is believed that a day of celestial abodes is equivalent to 100 years of human abodes. It is seen that the higher the realm of devas world, the longer age they possess.
For the beauty of devas, theirs are finer and more pleasant than those of human beings. It is stated that the age of female deva is at the age of sixteen and the age for male deva is not older than eighteen. 18
(2.3) Jhāna Pleasure
Jhāna sukha is the sukha which is devoid of nīvarana or hindrances. By removing nīvarana the resulting happiness or sukha is the concentration which comprises of vītakka(initial thought), vīcāra(discursive thought), pīti(joy), sukha(happiness) and ekaggatā(one-pointedness) which are the five factors of Jhāna. This concentration causes sukha or happiness at the present moment.
In terms of Jhāna sukha, there are first jhāna sukha, second jhāna sukha, third jhāna sukha, and fourth jhāna sukha. In the first jhāna sukha, there are five factors called vitakka, vicāra, pīti, sukha and ekaggatā. In the second jhāna sukha, there are four factors except vitakka such as vicāra, pīti, sukha and ekaggatā. In the third jhāna, there are three factors except vitakka and vicāra such as pīti, sukha, and ekaggatā. In the fourth jhāna, there are only two factors left which are sukha and ekaggatā.
This jhāna sukha is unlike sensual pleasures and it has greater sensation. The following facts show that the magnitude of the happiness of the first jhāna.
"By getting rid of these five hindrances which are defilements of the mind and weakening to intuitive wisdom then, aloof from pleasures of the senses, aloof from unskilled states of mind, he enters on and abides in the first meditation which is accompanied by initial thought and discursive thought, is born of aloofness, and is rapturous and joyful. He drenches, saturates, permeates, suffuses this very body with the rapture and joy that are born of aloofness; there is no part of his whole body that is not suffused with the rapture and joy that are born of aloofness." 19
And also the example of the happiness of this sukha is described as the following way:
Monks, as a skilled bath-attendant or his apprentice, having sprinkled bath-powder into a bronze vessel, might knead it together with drops of water until the ball of lather has taken up moisture, is drenched with moister, suffused with moister inside and out, but there is no oozing. 20
For the happiness of the second jhāna, the following example can be extracted from the pāli texts.
"Monks, as a pool of water with water welling up within it, but which has no inlet for water from the eastern side, no inlet for water from the western side, no inlet for water from the northern side, no inlet for water from the southern side, and even if the god did not send down showers upon it from time to time, yet a current of cool water having welled up from that pool would drench, saturate, permeate, suffuse that pool with cool water; there would be no part of that pool that was not suffused with cool water." 21
For the happiness of the third jhāna, the following account clearly states as follows:
"As in a pond of white lotuses or a pond of red lotuses or a pond of blue lotuses, some white lotuses or red lotuses or blue lotuses are born in the water, grow up in the water, never rising above the surface but flourishing beneath it__these from their roots to their tips are drenched, saturated, permeated, suffused by cool water." 22
For the happiness of the fourth jhāna, the following extract can show clearly.
"Monks, as a monk might be sitting down who has clothed himself including his head with a white cloth, no part of his whole body would not be suffused with the white cloth." 23
Ways to Sukha
There are several ways to find sukha. And there are also other causes to find sukha. But, the ways or methods or practices to find it vary in person to person.
Some will find sukha or happiness by performing dāna (giving). Some will seek sukha by means of observing sīla(morality). Some will look for sukha by undergoing bhāvanā(meditation).
The Buddha also taught that several ways to find sukha in his teachings. One of the ways concerning finding sukha is mentioned in Metta Sutta in Itivuttaka pāli. 1
In Metta sutta, the Buddha taught as follows:
"Be not afraid of good things, monks. This is a name for happiness, monks, for what is pleasant, charming, dear and delightful, __this word "good things." I myself, monks am conscious of personally enjoying the fruit of good things done for many a long day, a fruit that is pleasant, charming, dear and delightful." 2
Accordingly, if one practices such practices such as giving, having righteous mind, and cultivating loving-kindness towards others, one will have sukha or happiness.
In this Metta sutta, the Buddha also expressed the benefits He received by practicing these as follows:
"After developing for seven years, monks, a heart of goodwill, for seven eons of rolling up and rolling out again I came not back to this world. When the eon rolled up, monks, I was one of the company of Radiant Devas. When the eon rolled out again, monks, I rose up again in the empty palace of a Brahmā. There, indeed, monks, I was a Brahmā, a Great Brahmā, Conqueror, Unconquered One. All-Seeing, All-Controller was I. Thirty-six times, monks, I was Sakka, Lord of the Devas. Countless hundreds of times, monks, I was a rājah, a wheel-rolling righteous dhamma-rājah, victorious over the four quarters, one who wins security in his kingdom, with the seven treasures endowed. Such was I, not to speak of the times when I was ruler over a district only. Then it was to me, monks, that this thought occurred: Of what deed, I wonder, is this the fruit, of what deed is it the ripening, that I am now of such mighty power and majesty?" 3
It is totally clear that practicing of these practices will give countless results for one who practices these.
These causes result improvement in sukha, bring the effect of happiness, and devoid of suffering resulting from ill-will.
For the bhikkhu, the Buddha taught six causes to gain sukha or happiness. The following are extracted from Sukha Somanassa Sutta.
They are (1) Dhammarāmo,
and (6)Nippapajjārāmo. 4
(3.1) Sukha through dāna or performing donation
Dāna will bring good results to one who practices this act. Dāna means giving or charity. It is also a noble act.
Even the Buddha showed this act in Dāna Sutta in Itivuttaka Pali as follows:
"Monks, if beings knew, as I know, the ripening of sharing gifts, they would not enjoy their use without sharing them, nor would the taint of stinginess obsess the heart and stay there. Even if it were their last bit, their last morsel of food, they would not enjoy its use without sharing it, if there were anyone to receive it. But inasmuch, monks, as beings do not know, as I know, the ripening of sharing gifts, therefore they enjoy their use without sharing them, and the taint of stinginess obsesses their heart and stays there." 5
In this way, the Buddha expounded the discourse in this sutta. He also elaborated that one should perform meritorious deeds such as giving or charity. Because of stinginess, one is restraint in giving dāna.
Accordingly, they will not result the good results of giving or dāna. The results of dāna are sevenfold according to Majjhimanikāya.
It will give (1) the status of Sakka (2) the status of Māra (3) the status of Brāhma (4) the status of Saccā King (5) the knowledge of disciples' perfection (6) the knowledge of Silent Buddha and (7) the wisdom of Abhisambodhināna. 6
It is clearly seen that the results of dāna are numerous. It is also to note the important facts doing dāna. It concerns the doner and the receptor alike.
The doner has to be endowed with three factors, and the receptor has to fulfilled with three factors. Only then, such kind of dāna will bring about a perfect dāna act. 7
The three factors to be endowed with for the doner are (1) one has to be happy before charity, (2) one has to be happy while in charity, and (3) one has to be happy after having done charity. 8
The three factors to be fulfilled with for the receptor are (1) devoid of rāga or desire or in practice of devoid of rāga, (2) devoid of dosa or hatred or in practice of devoid of dosa and (3) devoid of moha or delusion or in practice of devoid of moha. 9
It is also stated in Sathingadāna Sutta that dāna will bring about great results in next existence. When one gives dāna one's own hands cleansing oneself, the result is tremendous.
The wise man with swift wisdom, and full of confidence, without stinginess but with free mind engages in this act will result being born again in Deva world. It is stated in this same sutta. 10
Dāna includes in three grounds for good works. It is stated in Punnakariyāvatthu Sutta 11 as follows:
"Monks, there are these three grounds for good works. What three?
The ground for good works consisting of charity, that consisting of virtue and the ground for good works consisting of making-to-grow. These are the three." 12
It is clearly seen that dāna is one of the causes or ways to obtain sukha or happiness or merit.
(3.2) Sukha through observing sīla or morality
Sukha can be obtained through sīla because sīla is one of the causes to get merit or happiness.
Sīla is the cornerstone upon which the Noble Eightfold Path is built. In other words, sīla may differ in individuality.
There are five precepts for lay men and women for daily practices. For Uposatha days, eight precepts are meant for them.
For the novices (sāmaneras), and nuns (sāmaneris), there are ten precepts, while for bhikkhus follow the 227 rules and for bhikkhunis follow 311 rules.
The rewards of virtue are seen in Anguttara Nikāya.
Ven.Anandā asked the Buddha as follows:
"What, O Venerable One, is the reward and blessing of wholesome morality?"
"Freedom from remorse, Ananda."
"And of freedom from remorse?"
Again, Anandā asked. "Joy, Ananda". " And of joy?". "Rapture, Ananda"." " And of rapture?" " Tranquility, Ananda". " And of tranquility?" "Happiness, Ananda" 13
The Buddha explained in this way. Not only that, but also there are five faultless gifts receiving observing sīla.
When one abandons the taking life, one will get results in being free from danger, animosity, and oppression to limitless numbers of beings. This is the first gift. 14
When one abandons taking what is not given, one will get results in being free from danger, animosity, and oppression to limitless numbers of beings. This is the second gift.15
When one abandons illicit sex, one will get results in being free from danger, animosity, and oppression to limitless numbers of beings. This is the third gift.16
When one abandons lying, one will get results in being free from danger, animosity, and oppression to limitless numbers of beings. This is the fourth gift.17
When one abandons the use of intoxicants, one will get results in being free from danger, animosity, and oppression to limitless numbers of beings. This is the fifth gift.18
There are also five blessings for observing morality.
"Five blessings, householders, accrue to the righteous person through his practice of virtue; great increase of wealth through his diligence; a favorable reputation; a confident deportment, without timidity, in every society, be it that of nobles, Brahmans, householders, or ascetics; a serene death; and at the breaking up of the body after death, rebirth in a happy state, in a heavenly world." 19
(3.3) Sukha through bhāvanā or meditation
Sukha can be gained through practicing meditation or developing bhāvanā, There are forty kammatthāna or subjects of concentration. They are ten kasinas, ten recollections (anussati), four divine states, etc.
For recollection of the qualities of the Buddha, the Buddha expounded Mahanama in Mahanama Sutta as follows:
" Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge and conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine and human beings, awakened, blessed".21
When one recollects the qualities of the Buddha in this way will experience joy and rapture arises. One's body will become calm and one will feel ease. Because of that the mind will be concentrated.
Concerning the recollection of the qualities of the Dhamma, the Buddha expounded Mahanama in the same sutta as follows:
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here and now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves."22
When one recollects the qualities of the Dhamma in this way will experience joy and rapture arises. One's body will become calm and one will feel ease. Because of that the mind will be concentrated.
Concerning the recollection of the qualities of the Saṁga, the Buddha expounded Mahanama in the same sutta as follows:
"The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced well…who have practiced straight-forwardly…who have practiced methodically…who have practiced masterfully__in other words, the four types of noble disciples when taken as pairs, the eight when taken as individual types__ they are the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples: worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the incomparable field of merit for the world."23
When one recollects the qualities of the Saṁgha in this way will experience joy and rapture arises. One's body will become calm and one will feel ease. Because of that the mind will be concentrated.
Sukha or happiness is valued by everyone. He or she wants to find it. But, sometimes, some find it against the teachings of the Buddha. They will engage in gambling, drinking, or other bad ways. They do not know how to find it according to the teachings of the Buddha.
Because of wrongful ways of finding it, they will obtain more miseries problems they cannot bear. Then, they will blame their own lives and try to commit more evil actions.
For a good Buddhist, he should know how to find sukha in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha. Then, he can enjoy his precious life. He will how to understand how to live properly as a layperson of Buddhism.
This kind of person will value his own life as well as the teachings of the Buddha. He will understand the purpose of life, and he will become a valuable person.
Such kind of person will not feel depressed or down-hearted because of bad kamma or miseries or whatever his life brings to him. He can withstand it no matter whatever comes to him.
He will live this present life well and prosperously, as well as in future lives to come.
It is my second collection of English poems and the publication is very soon!!!
It is my second collection of English poems and the publication is very soon!!!
Sukha (Happiness) Submitted by San Lin Tun Introduction Sukha is essential in life because it can be said...