DHAMMA FIGHTING Fight greed, fight aversion, fight delusion.these are the enemy. In the pr
Fight greed, fight aversion, fight delusion...these are the enemy.
In the practice of Buddhism, the path of the Buddha, we fight with
Dhamma, using patient endurance. We fight by resisting our countless
Dhamma and the world are inter-related. Where there is Dhamma
there is the world, where there is the world there is Dhamma. Where
there are defilements there are those who conquer defilements, who
do battle with them. This is called fighting inwardly. To fight
outwardly people take hold of bombs and guns to throw and to shoot;
they conquer and are conquered. Conquering others is the way of the
world. In the practice of Dhamma we don't have to fight others, but
instead conquer our own minds, patiently enduring and resisting all
When it comes to Dhamma practice we don't harbor resentment and
enmity amongst ourselves, but instead let go of all forms of
ill-will in our own actions and thoughts, freeing ourselves from
jealousy, aversion and resentment. Hatred can only be overcome by
not harboring resentment and bearing grudges.
Hurtful actions and reprisals are different but closely related.
Actions once done are finished with, there's no need to answer with
revenge and hostility. This is called "action" (//kamma//).
"Reprisal" (//vera//) means to continue that action further with
thoughts of "you did it to me so I'm going to get you back". There's
no end to this. It brings about the continual seeking of revenge,
and so hatred is never abandoned. As long as we behave like this the
chain remains unbroken, there's no end to it. No matter where we go,
the feuding continues.
The Supreme Teacher [*] taught the world, he had compassion for
all worldly beings. But the world nevertheless goes on like this.
The wise should look into this and select those things which are of
true value. The Buddha had trained in the various arts of warfare as
a prince, but he saw that they weren't really useful, they are
limited to the world with its fighting and aggression.
* [That is, the Buddha]
Therefore, in training ourselves as those who have left the
world, we must learn to give up all forms of evil, giving up all
those things which are the cause for enmity. We conquer ourselves,
we don't try to conquer others. We fight, but we fight only the
defilements; if there is greed, we fight that; if there is aversion,
we fight that; if there is delusion, we strive to give it up.
This is called "Dhamma fighting". This warfare of the heart is
really difficult, in fact it's the most difficult thing of all. We
become monks in order to contemplate this, to learn the art of
fighting greed, aversion and delusion. This is our prime
This is the inner battle, fighting with defilements. But there
are very few people who fight like this. Most people fight with
other things, they rarely fight defilements. They rarely even see
The Buddha taught us to give up all forms of evil and cultivate
virtue. This is the right path. Teaching in this way is like the
Buddha picking us up and placing us at the beginning of the path.
Having reached the path, whether we walk along it or not is up to
us. The Buddha's job is finished right there. He shows the way, that
which is right and that which is not right. This much is enough, the
rest is up to us.
Now, having reached the path we still don't know anything, we
still haven't seen anything, so we must learn. To learn we must be
prepared to endure some hardship, just like students in the world.
It's difficult enough to obtain the knowledge and learning necessary
for them to pursue their careers. They have to endure. When they
think wrongly or feel averse or lazy they must force themselves
before they can graduate and get a job. The practice for a monk is
similar. If we determine to practice and contemplate, then we will
surely see the way.
//Ditthimana// is a harmful thing. //Ditthi// means "view" or
"opinion". All forms of view are called //ditthi//: seeing good as
evil, seeing evil as good...any way whatsoever that we see things.
This is not the problem. The problem lies with the clinging to those
views, called //mana//; holding on to those views as if they were
the truth. This leads us to spin around from birth to death, never
reaching completion, just because of that clinging. So the Buddha
urged us to let go of views.
If many people live together, as we do here, they can still
practice comfortably if their views are in harmony. But even two or
three monks would have difficulty if their views were not good or
harmonious. When we humble ourselves and let go of our views, even
if there are many of us, we come together at the Buddha, Dhamma and
* [The Triple Gem: The //Buddha//, the //Dhamma//, His teaching, and
the //Sangha//, the Monastic Order, or those who have realized the
It's not true to say that there will be disharmony just because
there are many of us. Just look at a millipede. A millipede has many
legs, doesn't it? Just looking at it you'd think it would have
difficulty walking, but actually it doesn't. It has its own order
and rhythm. In our practice it's the same. If we practice as the
Noble //Sangha// of the Buddha practiced, then it's easy. That is,
//supatipanno// -- those who practice well; //ujupatipanno// --
those who practice straightly; //nayapatipanno// -- those who
practice to transcend suffering, and //samicipatipanno// -- those
who practice properly. These four qualities, established within us,
will make us true members of //Sangha//. Even if we number in the
hundreds or thousands, no matter how many we are, we all travel the
same path. We come from different backgrounds, but we are the same.
Even though our views may differ, if we practice correctly there
will be no friction. Just like all the rivers and streams which flow
to the sea...once they enter the sea they all have the same taste
and color. It's the same with people. When they enter the stream of
Dhamma, it's the one Dhamma. Even though they come from different
places, they harmonize, they merge.
But the thinking which causes all the disputes and conflict is
//ditthi-mana//. Therefore the Buddha taught us to let go of views.
Don't allow //mana// to cling to those views beyond their relevance.
The Buddha taught the value of constant //sati//, [*]
recollection. Whether we are standing, walking, sitting or
reclining, wherever we are, we should have this power of
recollection. When we have //sati// we see ourselves, we see our own
minds. We see the "body within the body", "the mind within the
mind". If we don't have //sati// we don't know anything, we aren't
aware of what is happening.
* [Sati: Usually translated into English as mindfulness,
recollection is the more accurate translation of the Thai words,
So //sati// is very important. With constant //sati// we will
listen to the Dhamma of the Buddha at all times. This is because
"eye seeing forms" is Dhamma; "ear hearing sounds" is Dhamma; "nose
smelling odors" is Dhamma; "tongue tasting flavors" is Dhamma; "body
feeling sensations" is Dhamma; when impressions arise in the mind,
that is Dhamma also. Therefore one who has constant //sati// always
hears the Buddha's teaching. The Dhamma is always there. Why?
Because of //sati//, because we are aware.
//Sati// is recollection, //sampajanna// is self-awareness. This
awareness is the actual //Buddho//, the Buddha. When there is
//sati-sampajanna//, understanding will follow. We know what is
going on. When the eye sees forms: is this proper or improper? When
the ear hears sound: is this the appropriate or inappropriate? Is it
harmful? Is it wrong, is it right? And so on like this with
everything. If we understand we hear the Dhamma all the time.
So let us all understand that right now we are learning in the
midst of Dhamma. Whether we go forward or step back, we meet the
Dhamma -- it's all Dhamma if we have //sati//? Even seeing the
animals running around in the forest we can reflect, seeing that all
animals are the same as us. They run away from suffering and chase
after happiness, just as people do. Whatever they don't like they
avoid; they are afraid of dying, just like people. If we reflect on
this, we see that all beings in the world, people as well, are the
same in their various instincts. Thinking like this is called
"//bhavana//", [*] seeing according to the truth, that all beings
are companions in birth, old age, sickness and death. Animals are
the same as human beings and human beings are the same as animals.
If we really see things the way they are our mind will give up
attachment to them.
* [//Bhavana// -- means "development" or "cultivation"; but is
usually used to refer to //cittabhavana//, mind-development, or
//panna-bhavana//, wisdom-development, or contemplation.]
Therefore it is said we must have //sati//. If we have //sati//
we will see the state of our own mind. Whatever we are thinking or
feeling we must know it. This knowing is called //Buddho//, the
Buddha, the one who knows...who knows thoroughly, who knows clearly
and completely. When the mind knows completely we find the right
So the straight way to practice is to have mindfulness, //sati//.
If you are without //sati// for five minutes you are crazy for five
minutes, heedless for five minutes. whenever you are lacking in
//sati// you are crazy. //Sati// is essential. To have //sati// is
to know yourself, to know the condition of your mind and your life.
This is to have understanding and discernment, to listen to the
Dhamma at all times. After leaving the teacher's discourse, you
still hear the Dhamma, because the Dhamma is everywhere.
So therefore, all of you, be sure to practice every day. Whether
lazy or diligent, practice just the same. Practice of the Dhamma is
not done by following your moods. If you practice following your
moods then it's not Dhamma. Don't discriminate between day and
night, whether the mind is peaceful or not...just practice.
It's like a child who is learning to write. At first he doesn't
write nicely -- big, long loops and squiggles -- he writes like a
child. After a while the writing improves through practice.
Practicing the Dhamma is like this. At first you are
awkward...sometimes calm, sometimes not, you don't really know
what's what. Some people get discouraged. Don't slacken off! You
must persevere with the practice. Live with effort, just like the
schoolboy: as he gets older he writes better and better. From
writing badly he grows to write beautifully, all because of the
practice from childhood.
Our practice is like this. Try to have recollection at all times:
standing, walking, sitting or reclining. When we perform our various
duties smoothly and well, we feel peace of mind. When there is peace
of mind in our work it's easy to have peaceful meditation, they go
hand in hand. So make an effort. You should all make an effort to
follow the practice. This is training.
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E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank