Meditation for BeginnersThe Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering # 6The Lord Buddha taught that the cessation of suffering can be effected by extinguishing all cravingPathama Magga is the Trailhead to NirvanaPractising the Middle Way is thus practicing the Noble Eightfold Path. If practiced properly, all eight components of the path will come together as a pure translucent sphere, At the smallest it will appear to be the size of the full moon. At its largest it will appear to be the sixe of the sun. It appears at the seventh base of the mind and is referred to as the ‘Pathama Magga’ Sphere or ‘Sphere of the Initial Path ‘ or ‘Dhammanupassanasatipatthana Sphere’ which is a sign to the meditator that they have attained the trailhead of the path to ayatana nibbana.The ‘Pathama Magga’ sphere has the special characteristic of being exceptionally bright, situated at the seventh base of the mind, and will be visible continuously. When falling asleep, you will fall asleep joyfully, wake refreshed, at work you will find yourself able to work earnestly achieving all your goals without tiring yourself in the process. Without the temptation of looking fo rewards in corruption or power. Your memory and with will be sharpened and your thinking will be fluent and creative allowing you to find construc tive solutions to problems. However, the Pathama Magga Sphere doesn’t lead the meditatior to sit on his laurels it comes with the knowledge that it is only the trailhead to Nirvana and that there is still a long way further to go.Therefore, it is still necessary to cultivate the mind further towards yet higher levels of happiness and success. The meditator needs to ‘let go’ of the Pathama Magga Sphere and the way that is done is to bring the mind to a standstill at the centre of it. Once the mind is at a standstill, the Pathama Magga sphere will enlarge in size just like ripples on the water’s surface enlarge in size just like ripples on the water’s surface enlarge in size after a stone has been thrown in a pond. When the sphere is enlarged, the mind will be able to channel through the centre of the sphere (the “centre of the centre”) passing through various inner spheres and bodies as already described, until eventually the Dhammakaya Arahat Body is reached. Attaining the Dhamma Body is our first contact with sa-upadisesa Nirvana which will eventually lead us to enter upon ayatana nibbana.The ‘Pathama Magga’ sphere has the special characteristicof being exceptionally bright, situated at the seventh base of the mindSome Definitions of Vocabulary concerning NirvanaIn the above passages, you will have already have met several new items of vocabulary concerning Nirvana and at this point it is worth pausing in order to clarify their definitions:1. Nirvana with residual aggregates (Sa-upadisesa Niruana [Nibbana]) is our experience of Nirvana as a mental state that is our living experience of Nirvana – we don’t have to die first and be reborn to attain it. We touch upon Nirvana in our experience when we have purified our mind from all defilements but our five aggregates [khandha] have not y3et broken up. Dhammakaya will be manifest inside ourselves imparting the Same happiness to us as if we were really in ayatana nibbana-but we are still ‘alive’ in our human body.2. Nirvana without residual aggregates (Anupadisesa Nirvana [Nivvana]) is the Nirvana that is a realm of “existence” outside our body and mind. Sometimes it is called ‘posthumous’ Nirvana because you can only go there after the braking up of your five aggregates for the last time (one will not be reborn again). The dhammakaya which one has attained by touching upon sa-upadisesa nibbana will be drawn through the centre and enter upon anupadisesa nibbana/ This latter attainment is what we call ‘ayatana nibbana’ which is the quest of all Noble Ones. Thus ayatana nibbana is the location of Nirvana.3. The ‘sphere’ or ‘location’ of Nirvana (Ayatana Nirvana [Nibbana]) actually exists but it is not made up of mormal elements like earth, water, wind and fire in the same way as things we can see with the naked eye. It is neither in this world or another world. It is not the sun, the moon or the stars because all of those things are still within the Three Spheres [bhava] and are hence mundane [lokiya]. Nirvana is outsice the Three Spheres and is trancendental [lokuttara]. In Nirvana there is no movement, no coming or going. Those who have attained the path of Buddhist sainthood are able to see past Buddhas sitting deep in meditation [nirodha samapati] in ayatana nibbana, more numerous than all the grains of sand in the four oceans. All that remains of them are their Dhamma Bodies-but Dhamma Bodies more exquisite than any Dhamma Body you can perceive within yourself – Dhamma Bodies that are self-sufficient with boundless happiness independent of any outside influence –because the mind of those Buddhas has transcended all suffering entirely, having attained the true fulfillment of life.Therefore, it is still necessary to cultivate the mindfurther towards yet higher levels of happiness and success.The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering: A ConclusionThe Lord Buddha taught that the cessation of suffering can be effected by extinguishing all craving through the practice of the Noble Eightfold Path – uprooting it irreversibly from the mind [samucchedapahana]. Once craving has been extinguished, suffering cannot return-and this is why the Noble Truth of the Cessationof Suffering is sometimes known by the epithet ‘the extinguishing of suffering’. It is our nature for the mind to be the prome mover in all things in keeping with the Buddhist proverb:Manopubbangama dhamma…Phenomena are preceded by the mind, are led by the mind, succeed through the mindThus, whethere we feel happiness or suffering depends on our state of mind-whether we are subject to Right Vuew [samma dittthi] or fales View [miccha ditthi] depands on our mind –no other factor is so important –and this is why in Buddhism we put so much emphasis on the training of the mind. In connection with the training of the mind Phramonkothepmuni (Luang Phaw Wat Paknam) taught that ‘stopping is the secret of all success’. By ‘stopping’ he meant bringing the mind to a natural standstill at the seventh base of the mind. Our mind is composed of perception, filtering, processing and knowing (see diagram p.127) which each have the form of consecutively nested spheres in the mind. The outermost sphere is the sphere of perception and the innermost on is the sphere of knowing.suffering entirely, having attained the true fulfillment of life.For as long as all four spheres are nested together at the centre of the body, you will be able to perceive the trailhead to Nirvana (Pathama Magga sphere). However, for most people, for most of the time, the mind temds to be distracted away from the centre of the body and the four different functions of the mind are scattered in their separate directions like a group of people unable to work as a team – they cannot pool their abilities efficiently. By ‘all success’ Luang Phaw wat Paknam meant all the sorts of success you can think of, but he emphasized success at the level of transcendental [lokuttara] attainment. If one is able to bring the mind to a standstill to the point where one can attain the Pathama Magga sphere, one will overcome all reluctance further to cultivate the path towards Nirvana. Thus the real meaning of ‘ all success’ is the certainty of attaining Nirvana.It is for this reason that Luang Phaw Wat Paknam often explained the word ‘nirodha’ as ‘stopping’ when he gave sermons – bringing the mind to a standstill at the seventh base of the mind which will eventually lead to liberation. However, is some of his sermons. Luang Phaw Wat Paknam referred to ‘nirodha’ as ‘extinguishing’- and in such a case he taught that you can attain extinction by cultivating extinction. However, all of these things only become manifest if one can attain the eye of the Dhammakaya and use the wisdom of the Dhammakaya. Thus the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering means the extinguishing of craving or the bringing of the mind to a standstill because both these or the bringing of the mind to a standstill because both these things are the beacons which light the pathway to Nirvana.
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The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering # 6
Practising the Middle Way is thus practicing the Noble Eightfold Path. If practiced properly, all eight components of the path will come together as a pure translucent sphereDhamma Articles > Meditation Articles and Techniques > Meditation for Beginners
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