THE DHAMMA OF THE BLESSED ONE
IS PERFECTLY EXPOUNDED
"The Dhamma of the Blessed One
is perfectly expounded,
to be seen here and now,
not a matter of time."
The first line of this chant proclaims real faith in the Dhamma. Not
believing everything without inquiring, but an inner relationship of
trust. When one is faithful to someone, then one also trusts that
person, one gives oneself into his or her hands, has a deep connection
and an inner opening. How much more is this true of the faith in the
teaching of the Buddha. Those aspects of the Dhamma which we don't
understand yet can be left in abeyance. Yet that doesn't shake our faith
If we feel that it is "perfectly expounded," then we are very
fortunate, for we know one thing in this universe which is perfect.
There's nothing else to be found that's without blemish, nor is there
anything that is becoming perfect. If we have that trust, faithfulness
and love towards the Dhamma and believe it to be perfectly expounded,
then we have found something beyond compare. We are blessed with an
"To be seen here and now," is up to each of us. the Dhamma has been
made clear by the Enlightened One who taught it out of compassion, but
we have to see it ourselves with an inner vision.
"Here and now," needs to be stressed, because it means not forgetting
but being aware of the Dhamma in each moment. This awareness helps us to
watch our reactions before they result in unskilful words or actions.
Seeing the positive within us and cultivating it, seeing the negative
and substituting it. When we believe all our thoughts and claim
justification for them, we're not seeing the Dhamma. There are no
justifications, there are only arising phenomena which cease again.
"Not a matter of time," means that we are not dependent upon a Buddha
being alive in order to practice the Dhamma; though this is a
wide-spread belief, it is quite possible to practice now. Some people
think there has to be a perfect situation or a perfect teacher or
perfect meditation. None of that is true. Mental and physical phenomena
(//dhammas//) are constantly coming and going, changing without pause.
When we hang onto them and consider them ours, then we will believe any
story our mind will tell us, without discrimination. We consist of body,
feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness, which we
grip tightly and believe them to be "me" and "mine." We need to take a
step back and be a neutral observer of the whole process.
"Inviting one to come and see,
The understanding of the Dhamma leads us into our inner depth. We are
not invited to come and see a meditation hall or a Buddha statue, a
dagoba or a shrine. We are invited to come and see the phenomena
(//dhammas//) arising within us. The defilements as well as the
purifications are to be found inside one's own heart and mind.
Our minds are very busy, always remembering, planning, hoping or
judging. This body could also be very busy picking up little stones and
throwing them into the water all day long. But we would consider that a
foolish expenditure of energy, and we direct the body towards something
useful. We need to do the same with the mind. Instead of thinking about
this and that, allowing the defilements to arise, we could also direct
the mind towards something beneficial such as investigating our likes
and dislikes, our desires and rejections, our ideas and views.
When the mind inquires, it doesn't get involved in its own creations.
It can't do both at the same time. As it becomes more and more
observant, it remains objective for longer periods of time. That's why
the Buddha taught that mindfulness is the one way for the purification
of beings. The clear and lucid observation of all arising phenomena
eventually shows that there are only phenomena manifesting as mind and
body, which are constantly expanding and contracting in the same way as
the universe does. Unless we become very diligent observers, we will not
see that aspect of mind and body and will not know the Dhamma "here and
now," even though we have been "invited to come and see."
"To be known by the wise,
each for themselves."
No one can know the Dhamma for another. We can chant, read, discuss
and listen, but unless we watch all that arises, we will not know the
Dhamma by ourselves. There's only one place where Dhamma can be known,
in one's own heart and mind. It has to be a personal experience which
comes about through constant observation of oneself. Meditation helps.
Unless one inquires into one's own reactions and knows why one wants one
thing and rejects another, one hasn't seen Dhamma. Then the mind will
also get a clear perception of impermanence (//anicca//) because our
desires and dislikes are constantly changing. We'll see that the mind
which is thinking and the body which is breathing are both painful
When the mind doesn't operate with an uplifted, transcending
awareness, it creates suffering (//dukkha//). Only a measureless,
illumined mind is free from that. The body certainly produces //dukkha//
in many ways through its inability to remain steady. Seeing this clearly
will give us a strong determination to know Dhamma by ourselves.
Wisdom arises within and comes from an understood experience. Neither
knowledge nor listening can bring it about. Wisdom also means maturity,
which has nothing to do with age. Sometimes ageing may help, but it
doesn't always do that either. Wisdom is an inner knowing which creates
self-confidence. We need not look for somebody else's confirmation and
good-will, we know with certainty.
When we chant anything at all, it is vital that we know the meaning of
the words and inquire whether they have any connection to ourselves.
PAMADAMULAKO LOBHO, LOBHO VIVADAMULAKO,
DASABYAKARAKO LOBHO, LOBHO PARAMHI PETIKO,
TAM LOBHAM PARIJANANTAM VANDE'HAM VITALOBHAKAM
Greed's the root of negligence, greed's the root of strife,
Greed enslavement brings about, and in the future ghostly birth;
That One who's known greed to the end, I honour Him who's free
VIHANNAMULAKO DOSO, DOSO VIRUPAKARAKO.
VINASAKARAKO DOSO, DOSO PARAMHI NERAYO,
TAM DOSAM PARIJANANTAM VANDE'HAM VITADOSAKAM
Hate's the root of turbulence, of ugliness the cause,
Hate causes much destruction and in the future hellish birth;
That One who's known hate to the end, I honour Him who's free
SABBAGHAMULAKO MOHO, MOHO SABBITIKARAKO,
SABBANDHAKARAKO MOHO, MOHO PARAMHI
SVADIKO TAM MOHAM PARIJANANTAM VANDE'HAM VITAMOHAKAM
Delusion's root of every ill, delusion's a troublemaker,
All blinding from delusion comes and in the future birth as beast;
That One who's known delusion's end, I honour Him, delusion-free.
The Buddha said:
"Though a thousand speeches
are made of meaningless lines,
better the single meaningful line
by hearing which one is at peace."
(Trans by: Ven. Khantipalo)
If we can practice one line of Dhamma, it's so much more valuable than
knowing the whole chanting book by heart.
The arising and ceasing phenomena, which are our teachers, never take
a rest. Dhamma is being taught to us constantly. All our waking moments
are Dhamma teachers, if we make them so. The Dhamma is the truth
expounded by the Enlightened One, which is the law of nature surrounding
us and imbedded within us.
Once the Buddha said: "Ananda, it is owing to my being a good friend
to them that living beings subject to birth are freed from birth." (S.
III, 18, XLV, 2).
Everyone needs a good friend, who has enough selflessness, not only to
be helpful, but also to point out when one is slipping. Treading the
Dhamma path is like walking a tightrope. It leads along one straight
line and every time one slips, one hurts. If we have a painful feeling
inside, we're no longer on the tightrope of the Dhamma. Our good friend
(//kalyana mitta//) might say to us then: "You stepped too far to the
right, or to the left, (whatever the case may be). You weren't careful,
that's why you fell into depression and pain. I'll point out to you when
you're slipping next time." We can only accept this from someone whom we
trust and have confidence in.
One can be fooled by a person's beautiful words or splendid
appearance. The character of a person is shown not only in words, but in
the small day-to-day activities. One of the very important guidelines to
a person's character is how they react when things go wrong. It's easy
to be loving, helpful and friendly when everything goes well, but when
difficulties arise our endurance and patience are being tested as well
as our equanimity and determination. The less ego-consciousness one has,
the easier one can handle all situations.
At first, when one starts to walk on the tightrope of the Dhamma path,
it may feel uncomfortable. One isn't used to balancing oneself, but
rather to swaying all over the place, going in all directions, wherever
it's most comfortable. One may feel restricted and coerced, not being
allowed to live according to one's natural instincts. Yet in order to
walk on a tightrope, one has to restrict oneself in many ways with
mindfulness. These restrictions may at first feel irksome, like fetters
or bonds, later they turn out to be the liberating factors.
To have this perfect jewel of the Dhamma in our hearts, we need to be
awake and aware. Then we can prove by our own watchfulness that "the
Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded." There is no worldly
jewel that can match the value of the Dhamma. Each one of us can become
the owner of this priceless gem. We can call ourselves most fortunate to
have such an opportunity. When we wake up in the morning, let that be
our first thought: "What good fortune it is for me to practice the
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