A Taste for the Dhamma

In the basic principles of the doctrine, we are taught that, ‘A delight in the Dhamma surpasses all other delights. The flavor of the Dhamma surpasses all other flavors.’ This statement was made by a person who had felt delight in the true Dhamma, who had tasted the flavor of the true Dhamma: namely, our Lord Buddha. For this reason, those who take an interest in listening to his teachings find that no matter what the statement, each word, each sentence goes straight to the heart—except, of course, for people who are simply going through the motions of listening without focusing the mind, letting it drift engrossed in various things in line with its original inclinations without gaining anything of any worth.

The teachings of the religion have no meaning in a mind of this sort until it turns to the Dhamma, develops an interest of its own accord, and puts the Dhamma into practice. Only then will the flavor of the Dhamma seep deep into the heart, nurturing it and giving rise to conviction step by step. This is because the heart now has a continuing basis for the Dhamma that supports it in ascending stages.

In particular, when listening to Dhamma dealing with the practice, if our mind doesn’t have any experience with meditation, has never taken an interest in the Dhamma, has never taken an interest in practicing the Dhamma, then not even a single statement will arrest the attention. When listening to a talk on the practice dealing with the stages of the mind, the progress of the mind, setting the mind aright in relationship to the defilements or to the path—mindfulness and discernment, or persistent effort—we won’t understand. When we don’t understand, we become frustrated and turn our attention elsewhere. Perhaps we may become drowsy and want to go to sleep or something of the sort. The talk seems long because it acts as a drag on our defilements, preventing them from roaming around as they please. This is because we have to keep control over the mind while we listen to the talk; and the mind, when kept under control in this way, feels hemmed in, imprisoned within limits it finds oppressive. Annoyed and bored, it doesn’t want to listen, except for the purpose of creating useless issues for entangling itself.

But when we keep listening with interest, meditating even while we listen, the mind becomes focused and follows along with the stream of Dhamma being explained. The mind grows still because the awareness making contact with the Dhamma maintains that contact continuously, step by step, without break. The heart has no chance to slip away to any other preoccupations that are its enemies while listening, and so it’s able to settle down and be still.

To be able to settle down in this way is to begin building a base, or to scrub our vessel—the heart—making it clean and fit to receive the Dhamma. The heart will start growing more peaceful and calm, seeing the value of listening to the Dhamma as explained by the Buddha: ‘Listening to the Dhamma has five rewards.’ The fifth reward is the important one: ‘The mind of the listener becomes radiant and calm.’ This one is very important, but it must build on the earlier ones. ‘The listener hears things he or she has never heard’—this is the basis for the rest.

Suppose that we have never listened to anything in the way of the practice or whatever. When we come to listen, we gain an understanding of things we have never heard before. Things that we have heard before, but never understood clearly, we gradually come to understand more and more clearly. We can bring our views more correctly into line. And finally we reach the stage where ‘the mind of the listener becomes radiant and calm.’ When results of this sort appear, a delight in the Dhamma will develop of its own accord. The flavor of the Dhamma will begin to appear while we listen and while the mind is stilling itself to listen. Even though this flavor may not yet surpass all others, it is nevertheless absorbing and arresting, and will remain long in the memory, not easily erased.

This is why meditators place great importance on listening to the Dhamma. If you were to call it being attached to one’s teacher, I wouldn’t disagree. Meditating monks always like to listen to their teachers. If they have a teacher they venerate and revere in the area of meditation, in the area of the mind, then wherever he lives they will keep coming to be with him until there is hardly enough room for them to stay.

Venerable Ācariya Mun is an example. Wherever he stayed, students would come continually from near and far to search him out. Even though they couldn’t all stay in the same place with him, inasmuch as there wasn’t enough room, they would still be willing to stay in nearby areas, two, three, four, or seven to eight kilometers away, so that they might conveniently come to hear his teachings on the uposatha days and ‘Dhamma meeting’ days.

On the uposatha days, after listening to the Pāṭimokkha and to his instructions, anyone who had any doubts or questions about the Dhamma could ask him to resolve them. For this reason, the township where he stayed was filled with nothing but meditating monks and novices. When uposatha day came, they would begin gathering together after the morning meal. At 1:00 p.m. they would hear the Pāṭimokkha; and after the Pāṭimokkha, Venerable Ācariya Mun would give his talk—that’s when he’d usually give his talk, after the Pāṭimokkha. This would be an important part of the practice for those who lived with him. During the Rains Retreat (vassa) we would meet like this every seven days. Outside of the Rains Retreat, the schedule wasn’t too fixed, but this is how he would usually schedule things for those of us who stayed directly with him. Each time we would listen to his talks we would gain in insight and understanding—without fail. This is why meditation monks are attached to their teachers.

Each time we would listen to him, he himself would be like a magnet drawing the interest of the monks and novices. In all things related to the Dhamma, he would be the major attracting force, inspiring fascination and delight in the Dhamma. There was a delight in seeing him and meeting him each time, and even more so in hearing him speak—talking in general, giving instructions, conversing about ordinary things, joking—because he himself was entirely Dhamma. Everything he would do or say in any way would keep revealing Dhamma and reasonability that could be taken as a lesson, so that those who were interested could gain a lesson each time they heard him.

This is why meditating monks find a great deal of enjoyment in the area of the Dhamma by living with a meditation master. They go to be with him of their own accord. When they are far from him, and their minds aren’t yet to the stage where they can look after themselves, they are bound to feel lonesome. Or if they come across a problem they can’t solve, they are sure to miss him. If they can’t work out a solution, they have to run to him for advice so as to save a great deal of the time it would take to figure out a solution on their own—because he has been through everything of every sort. If we would take a problem to him, then as soon as we had finished the last sentence, he would immediately have the solution and we would understand right then and there.

This is why, when living with a master who has realized the truth, there’s no delay, no waste of time in dealing with each problem as it arises. This is a great benefit for those who come to study with him. They’re never disappointed. The fact that one who has seen the truth is giving the explanation makes all the difference.

A moment ago I began by mentioning a delight in the Dhamma. What I have just been talking about is the same sort of thing: finding pleasure in the Dhamma, continual pleasure, through listening to it constantly. In the same way, when we practice the Dhamma constantly, the results—the flavor and nourishment that come from the practice—increase continually, becoming more and more solid and substantial in the heart.

Especially in the practice of centering the mind: The mind is calm, tranquil, contented, and relaxed. Its thoughts don’t go meddling with anything outside. It’s as if the world didn’t exist, because our attention isn’t involved with it. There’s simply the Dhamma to be contemplated and practiced so as to give rise to more and more steadiness and strength.

And on the level of discernment, no matter how broad or narrow our investigation of the many phenomena in the world may be, it is exclusively for the sake of the Dhamma, for the sake of self-liberation. We thus become thoroughly engrossed, day and night. The more strongly our heart is set on the Dhamma, the greater its stamina and courage. It has no concern for life itself, no worries about its living conditions or anything external. Its only support is the guiding compass of the Dhamma. Whether we are sitting, lying down, or whatever, the heart is engrossed in its persistent efforts in practicing the Dhamma. On the level of concentration, it is engrossed in its stillness of mind. On the level of discernment, it is engrossed in its explorations of the Dhamma from various angles for the sake of removing defilement, step by step, as it investigates.

Peace of heart is thus possible in each stage of persisting with the practice. The more quiet and secluded the place, the more conspicuously this awareness stands out. Even knowledge in the area of concentration stands out in our inner awareness. It stands out for its stillness. In the area of discernment, our knowledge stands out for the shrewdness and ingenuity of the mind as it explores without ceasing—except when resting in the stillness of concentration—just as water from an artesian well flows without ceasing during both the wet season and the dry.

When phenomena make contact with the mind—or even when they don’t—a mind already inclined to discernment is bound to investigate, peering into every nook and cranny, gaining understanding step by step. For example, when we are first taught mindfulness immersed in the body (kāyagatā-sati), it seems superficial—because the mind is superficial. It has no footing, no mindfulness, no discernment. It hasn’t any principles—any Dhamma—to hold to. Whatever it hears doesn’t really go straight to the heart, because the mind is buried way down there, deep under the belly of defilement.

But once it develops principles and reasonability within itself, then—especially when we’re sitting in meditation in a quiet place, investigating the body—the whole body seems clear all the way through. That’s how it really feels to a person meditating on this level. It’s really enthralling. Whether we’re contemplating the skin or the body’s unattractiveness, it appears extremely clear, because that’s the way its nature already is—simply that our mind hasn’t fallen in step with the truth and so is constantly taking issue with it.

So. Now that the mind can develop stillness and investigate using its discernment, let’s take it on a meditation tour, exploring the body: our five khandhas. We can travel up to the head, down to the feet, out to the skin, into the muscles, tendons, and bones to see how all the parts are related and connected by their nature.

As the mind contemplates in this way, step by step, as it gets engrossed in its investigation, the final result is that even though we’re investigating the body, the body doesn’t appear in our inner sense of feeling at all. The mind feels airy and light. The physical body disappears, despite the fact that we continue investigating the mental image of the body as before. Even though we’re using the mental image of the body as the focal point of our investigation, the physical aspect of the body no longer appears. It completely vanishes. We investigate until there’s a refinement in the mind’s sense of awareness to the point where we can make the body in the image die and disintegrate, step by step. Our awareness is confined solely to the mental image that we are investigating by means of discernment. We see it distinctly because nothing else is coming in to interfere.

The mind feels no hunger or desire to go skipping outside. It’s completely engrossed in its work of investigation. Its understanding grows clearer and clearer. The clearer its understanding, the greater its fascination. Ultimately there is simply the mental image, or the idea, and the mind, or discernment. As for the actual body, it disappears. You don’t know where it’s gone. There’s no sense of the body at that moment, even though you are investigating the body until you see its condition disintegrating clearly within the mind—disintegrating until it returns to its original condition as the elements of earth, water, wind, and fire. Once the body in the image returns to its original elements, the mind then withdraws inward, leaving nothing but simple awareness.

Feelings all disappear at this stage. Saññā, saṅkhāra, and viññāṇa aren’t involved. There’s simply awareness, sufficient for the mind’s state at that moment. It enters a really solid stillness, leaving only simple awareness. The body sitting here disappears entirely.

This is something that can occur in the course of investigating, but please don’t plan on it. Simply listen now for the sake of becoming absorbed and gladdened while listening. This will give rise to the benefits of listening that you will actually see for yourself.

What will happen when you investigate in line with your own personal traits is a completely individual matter that will appear in keeping with your temperament. As for what occurs with other people, you can’t make yourself experience what they do, know the way they know, or see the way they see. This is something that depends on each person’s individual traits. Let things follow your own inner nature in line with the way you are able to investigate and to know.

This is one point I want to explain.

A second point: When investigating the body in terms of inconstancy, stress, and not-self, then—whether or not you think, ‘inconstancy, stress, and not-self’—when discernment makes clear contact with the bodily khandha, it will be able to know these things on its own, because things that are inconstant, stressful, and not-self are things that deserve to be relinquished, that inspire dispassion and disenchantment, step by step, until you let go. When the mind has investigated so that it fully understands, it lets go of its own accord without being forced, because each part, each aspect of the body or of the khandha being investigated is simply an individual truth. When the mind investigates clearly in this way, it makes the break automatically, because a truth has encountered a truth: The mind is the mind, and each of these individual conditions is a separate condition that hasn’t come to involve itself with the mind at all. The mind will then turn around to see its own fault in being attached. ‘Here I’ve really been deluded. Actually things are like this and this.’ This is one stage: When the mind hasn’t yet made a complete break—when it doesn’t yet have adequate strength—it will start out by knowing at intervals in this way.

The next time you investigate, you know in this way again and it keeps seeping in, seeping in, until your knowledge on this level becomes adequate and lets go. Like duckweed that keeps moving in, moving in to cover the water: After you spread it apart, the duckweed comes moving in again, and you spread it apart again. This is how it is when discernment investigates these things, making forays into these things or unraveling them. As soon as discernment retreats, subtle defilements come moving in again, but after you have investigated many, many times, the duckweed—the various types of defilement—begins to thin out. Your investigation of these phenomena becomes more and more effortless, more and more proficient, more and more subtle, step by step, until it reaches a point of sufficiency and the mind extricates itself automatically, as I have already explained.

The mind—when its mindfulness and discernment are sufficiently strong—can extricate itself once and for all. This knowledge is clear to it, without any need to ask anyone else ever again. The heart is sufficient, in and of itself, and sees clearly as ‘sandiṭṭhiko’ in the full sense of the term, as proclaimed by the Dhamma, without any issues to invite contradiction.

A third point: Sometimes, when investigating the body, the mind makes contact with a feeling of pain, and so turns to investigate it. This all depends on the mind’s temperament. In the same way, when we turn to investigate the feeling, the mind sends us back to the body. This is because the body and the feeling are interrelated and so must be investigated together at the same time, depending on what comes naturally to us at that particular time, that particular feeling, and that particular part of the body.

When the mind investigates a feeling of pain, the pain is nothing more than ‘a pain.’ The mind looks at it, fixes its attention on it, examines it, and then lets it go right there, turning to look at the body. The body is the body. The feeling is a feeling. Then we turn to look at the mind: The mind is the mind. We investigate and experiment to find the truth of the body, the feeling, and the mind—all three of which are the troublemakers—until we have a solid understanding of how each has its own separate reality.

When the mind pulls back from the body and the feeling, neither the body nor the feeling appears. All that appears is simple awareness. When a mental current flashes out to know, the feeling then appears as a feeling. These currents are the means by which we know what phenomenon has appeared, because this knowledge gives a meaning or a label to the phenomenon as being like this or like that.

If we’re going to think in a way that binds us to ‘ourself’—in other words, in the way of the origin of stress—we have to make use of this act of labeling as what leads us to grasp, to become attached, to make various assumptions and interpretations. If we’re going to think in the way of discernment, we have to make use of the discernment that is this very same current of the mind to investigate, contemplate, until we see clearly by means of discernment and can withdraw inwardly in a way that is full of reason—not in a way that is lazy or weak, or that is groveling in abject surrender with no gumption left to fight.

In investigating feeling, when a saññā flashes out, mindfulness is alert to it. If our investigation of feeling has become refined and precise, then when a saññā simply flashes out, we know. When saṅkhāras form, they are just like fireflies: blip! If no saññā labels them or picks up where they leave off, they simply form—blip! blip!—and then vanish, vanish. No matter what they form—good thoughts, bad thoughts, crude thoughts, subtle thoughts, neutral thoughts, whatever—they are simply a rippling of the mind. If they occur on their own, when nothing is making contact with the mind, they’re called saṅkhāra. If they occur when something is making contact, they’re called viññāṇa.

Here we’re talking about the saṅkhāras that form on their own, without anything else being involved. They form—blip—and then vanish immediately. Blip—and then vanish immediately. We can see this clearly when the mind converges snugly in the subtle levels of concentration and discernment.

The snugness of the mind’s convergence won’t have anything else involved with it at all. All that remains is simple awareness. When this simple awareness remains stable this way, we will see clearly that it isn’t paired with anything else. When the mind begins to withdraw from this state to return to its awareness of phenomena—returning to its ordinary state of mind that can think and form thoughts—there will be a rippling—blip—that vanishes immediately. It will then be empty as before. In a moment it will ‘blip’ again. The mind will form just a flash of a thought that doesn’t yet amount to anything, just a rippling that vanishes immediately the instant it’s known. As soon as there’s a rippling, we are alert to it because of the power of mindfulness keeping watch at the moment—or because of the strength of concentration that hasn’t yet dissipated. But after these ripples have formed two or three times, they come more and more frequently, and soon we return to ordinary consciousness, just as when a baby awakens from sleep: At first it fidgets a bit, and then after this happens a number of times, it finally opens its eyes.

The same is true of the mind. It has calm… Here I’m talking about concentration when discernment is there with it. The various ways of investigating I have mentioned are all classed as discernment. When we have investigated enough, the mind enters stillness, free from mental formations and fashionings and from any sort of disturbance. All that appears is awareness. Even just this has the full flavor of a centered mind, which should already be enough to surpass all other flavors. We never tire of delighting in this stillness. We feel a constant attraction to this stillness and calm in the heart. Wherever we go, wherever we stay, the mind has its own foundation. The heart is at ease, quiet and calm, so that now we must use discernment to investigate the elements and khandhas.

The important point to notice is the act of formation in the mind. Once something is formed, saññā immediately labels it—as if saṅkhāra were forming things to hand on to saññā, which takes up where the saṅkhāra leaves off. It then interprets these things from various angles—and this is where we get deluded. We fall for our own assumptions and interpretations, for our own shadows, which paint picture stories that have us engrossed or upset both day and night. Why are we engrossed? Why are we upset?

Engrossed or upset, it’s because of the mind’s shadows acting out stories and issues. This story. That story. Future issues. Things yet to come. Things yet to exist—nothing but the mind painting pictures to delude itself. We live in our thought-formations, our picture-painting—engrossed and upset by nothing but our own thought-formations, our own picture-painting. In a single day there’s not a moment when we’re free from painting imaginary pictures to agitate and fool ourselves. Wise people, though, can keep up with the tricks and deceits of the khandhas, which is why they aren’t deluded.

The moment when mindfulness and discernment really penetrate down is when we can know that this is actually the way the mind usually is. Like people who have never meditated: When they start meditating, they send their minds astray, without anything to hold on to. For example, they may have a meditation word, like ‘buddho,’ and there they sit—their eyes vacant, looking at who-knows-what. But their minds are thinking and painting 108 pictures with endless captions. They then become engrossed with them or wander aimlessly in line with the preoccupations they invent for themselves, falling for their preoccupations more than actually focusing on their meditation. They thus find it hard to settle their minds down because they don’t have enough mindfulness supervising the work of meditation to make them settle down.

Once we have used our alertness and ingenuity in the areas of concentration and discernment, we will come to know clearly that these conditions come from the mind and then delude the mind whose mindfulness and discernment aren’t quick enough to keep up with them. The heart causes us to follow after them deludedly, so that we can’t find any peace of mind at all, even though our original aim was to meditate to find peace of mind. These deceptive thoughts engender love, hate, anger, irritation, without letup, no matter whether we are meditators or not—because as meditators we haven’t set up mindfulness to supervise our hearts, and the result is that we’re just as insane with our thoughts as anyone else. Old Grandfather Boowa has been insane this way himself, and that’s no joke!

Sometimes, no matter how many years in the past a certain issue may lie, this aimless, drifting heart wanders until it meets up with it and revives it. If it was something that made us sad, we become sad about it again, all on our own. We keep it smoldering and think it back to life, even though we don’t know where the issue lay hidden in the meantime. These are simply the mind’s own shadows deceiving it until they seem to take on substance and shape. As what? As anger, greed, anxiety, pain, insanity, all coming from these shadows. What sort of ‘path’ or ‘fruition’ is this? Paths and fruitions like this are so heaped all over the world that we can’t find any way out.

So in investigating the acts of the mind, the important point is that discernment be quick to keep up with their vagrant ways. When mindfulness and discernment are quick enough, then whatever forms in the mind, we will see that it comes from the mind itself, which is about to paint pictures to deceive itself, about to label and interpret sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of various kinds. The heart is then up on these preoccupations; and when it is up on them, they vanish immediately, with no chance of taking on substance or shape, of becoming issues or affairs. This is because mindfulness and discernment are wise to them, and so the issues are resolved.

Ultimately, we come to see the harm of which the mind is the sole cause. We don’t praise or blame sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or tactile sensations at all. The heart turns and sees the harm that arises in the mind that deceives itself, saying, ‘That’s worth praising… worth criticizing… worth getting glad about… worth getting sad about.’ It sees that the blame lies entirely with the mind. This mind is a cheat, a fraud, a deceiver. If we study it and keep watch of its ways through meditation, we will gain a thorough knowledge of its good and evil doings, until it lies within our grasp and can’t escape us at all.

This is how we investigate when we investigate the mind.

Ultimately, other things will come to have no meaning or importance for us. The only important thing is this deceiving mind, so we must investigate this deceiver with mindfulness and discernment so that we can be wise to its tricks and deceits.

In fixing our attention on the mind, we have to act as if it were a culprit. Wherever it goes, we have to keep watch on it with mindfulness and discernment. Whatever thoughts it forms, mindfulness and discernment have to keep watch so as to be up on events. Each event—serious or not—keeps vanishing, vanishing. The heart knows clearly, ‘This mind, and nothing else, is the real culprit.’

Visual objects aren’t at fault. They don’t give benefits or harm. Sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations don’t give benefits or harm, because they themselves aren’t benefits or harm. Only the mind is what fashions them and dresses them up so as to deceive itself into being gladdened or saddened, pleased or pained through the power of the preoccupations that arise only from the heart. Mindfulness and discernment see more and more clearly into these things, step by step, and then turn to see that all the fault lies with the mind. They no longer praise or blame other things as they used to. Once they have focused solely on the mind, which at the moment is the culprit, the time won’t be long before they can catch the culprit and put an end to all our concerns.

So then. Whatever thoughts that may be formed are all an affair of the mind. The ‘tigers and elephants’ it forms are simply saṅkhāras it produces to deceive itself. Mindfulness and discernment are up on events every time. Now the current of the cycle (vaṭṭa) keeps spiraling in, day by day, until we can catch the culprit—but we can’t yet sentence him. We are now in the stage of deliberation to determine his guilt. Only when we can establish the evidence and the motive can we execute him in accordance with the procedures of ‘Dhamma Penetration.’ This is where we reach the crucial stage in mindfulness and discernment.

In the beginning, we used the elements and khandhas as our objects of investigation, cleansing the mind with elements, using them as a whetstone to sharpen mindfulness and discernment. We cleansed the mind with sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations, using them as a whetstone to sharpen mindfulness and discernment; and we cleansed the mind itself with automatic mindfulness and discernment. Now at this stage we circle exclusively in on the mind. We don’t pay attention to matters of sights, sounds, smells, or tastes, because we have already understood and let go of them, knowing that they aren’t the causal factors. They aren’t as important as this mind, which is the primary instigator—the culprit renowned throughout the circles of the cycle, the agitator, the disturber of the peace, creating havoc for itself only right here inside.

Mindfulness and discernment probe inward and focus right here. Wherever this mind goes, it’s the only thing causing harm. So we watch patiently over this culprit to see what he will do next—and aside from being alert to what he will do, we also have to use discernment to penetrate in and see who is inciting him. Who stands behind him, so that he must be constantly committing crimes? He keeps creating deceptive issues without pause—why?

Mindfulness and discernment dig in there, not simply to pounce on or lay siege to his behavior, but also to go right into his lair to see what motivating force lies within it. What is the real instigator? There has to be a cause. If there’s no cause, no supporting condition to spin the mind into action, the mind can’t simply act on its own.

If it simply acts on its own, then it has to be a matter of khandhas pure and simple—but here it’s not pure and simple. Whatever behavior the mind displays, whatever issues it forms, all give rise to gladness or sadness. This shows that these conditions aren’t ‘simply’ coming out. There’s a cause. There’s an underlying condition that sends them out, making them give rise to real pleasure and pain when we fall for them.

While we are exploring inward at this point, we have already seen that the mind is the culprit, so we must consider letting go of all external things. Our burdens grow less and less. There remain only the issues of the mind and the issues of formation and interpretation that arise solely from the mind. Mindfulness and discernment spin whizzing around in there and ultimately come to know what it is that causes the mind to form so many thoughts giving rise to love, anger, and hate. As soon as it appears, the heart knows it; and when the heart knows it, the ‘Lord of Conventional Reality,’ which is blended with the mind, dissolves away.

At this point the cycle has been destroyed through mindfulness and discernment. The mind is no longer guilty, and turns into a mind absolutely pure. Once the problem of the cycle is ended, there is no way that we can find fault with the mind. When we could find fault, that was because the fault was still in the mind. It was hiding in the mind. Just as when criminals or enemies have taken up hiding in a cave: We have to destroy the cave as well, and can’t conserve it out of affection for it.

Avijjā—unawareness—is the lord of the three levels of existence that has infiltrated the mind, and thus we have to consider destroying the entire thing. If the mind isn’t genuine, it will dissolve together with unawareness. If it’s genuine in line with its nature, it will become a pure mind—something peerless—because all things counterfeit have fallen away from it through the use of mindfulness and discernment.

When the counterfeit things that are like rust latching firmly onto the mind finally dissolve away through the power of mindfulness and discernment, the mind becomes genuine Dhamma. You can call it ‘the genuine mind’ or ‘the genuine Dhamma’: There’s no contradiction, because there is no more reason for contradiction, which is an affair of defilement. You can say 100% that the flavor of the Dhamma has surpassed all other flavors. When the mind is pure Dhamma, it has had enough of all other things. It is absolutely no longer involved with anything else at all. It’s one mind, one Dhamma. There is only one. There is only one genuine Dhamma. The mind is Dhamma, the Dhamma is the mind. That’s all that can be said.

I ask each of you to take this and contemplate it. This is the basis for the truth of the teachings that the Lord Buddha taught from the beginning until the moment of his total nibbāna. The purity of his mind was a deeply felt Dhamma that he experienced with his full heart. He then proclaimed that Dhamma, with the benevolence of his full heart, teaching the world up to the present.

To call his teachings, ‘the benevolence of the Lord Buddha’ shouldn’t be wrong, because he taught the world with true benevolence. When we take those teachings and put them into practice in a way that goes straight to the heart, we will come to see things we have never seen before, never known before, within this heart, step by step, until we reach the full level of practice, know the full level of knowledge, and gain release from suffering and stress with our full hearts, with nothing left latching on. This is called wiping out the cemeteries—the birth and death of the body and mind—for good. What a relief!

And now that we’ve reached this point, I don’t know what more to say, because I’m at a loss for words. I ask that you as meditators practice, train yourselves and explore all Dhammas until you too are at a loss of words like this speaker at his wits’ end. Even though we may be stupid, infinitely stupid, I’ll ask to express my admiration straight from the heart.