Vammika Sutta - Mahasi Sayadaw
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Transcript of Vammika Sutta - Mahasi Sayadaw
Mahasi SayadawProduced by calibre 0.6.42
"Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samm Sambuddhasa"
Among many outstanding Suttas expounded by the Venerable Agga Mah Paita Mahs Saydawpaygy, Vammika Sutta is one of the most interesting discourses that reveals the Truth of Buddha's Dhamma in a simple, effective way and in unequivocal terms. The brilliant light of Mahs preachings has expelled the darkness or the dim ambiguities of certain highly philosophical dhamma which are not ordinarily and easily comprehensible to a man of average intelligence.
This lovely discourse originally preached by the Buddha has been elucidated by the Author, the Venerable Mahs Saydaw, to become a newly developed product idea of his own. It reveals in a very brief and striking way the genius of the Lord Buddha, the Omniscient. In it you will find the fundamental religious concepts ornamented with a wide variety of aphorisms and lively short vutthus or stories, which though concisely narrated leaving out what are irrelevant to the practical aspect of the dhamma, will be found really interesting and invaluable.
The exposition takes the trend of a new style of expression relating to the prime importance of the practice of Vipassan meditation which is essential for all mankind to escape from the fetters of human passions. The Venerable Mahs Saydawpaygy has precisely presented the practical method of Vipassan meditation exercise in this discourse, with brilliant touches which would surely bring an enthusiastic reader a step closer to Nibbna. This statement is not an exaggeration. Reading through this Sutta, one may perhaps be aroused with curiosity as to what are the fifteen riddling problems which were posed by Ashin Kumrakassapa on the advice given by a Brahm god and what are the answers as elucidated by the Blessed One.
Treatment of this Sutta with lucid explanation is beautifully blended with the genius of the Author. The translation truthfully rendered will, it is hoped, give a delightful reading particularly to those who understand English language and who have a bent in Buddhist philosophy. It may perhaps even
encourage them to take refuge in the Triple Gem of Buddhism and seek for real Peace and Happiness by experimenting Vipassan meditation.
The light of Buddha's dhamma is still shining. Reality is indescribable. Buddha, whose purpose of life was the attainment of Enlightenment, had preached us with all-embracing love and compassion to be always "mindful and self-possessed" refraining from mental and emotional attachment to all nature of things which are ephemeral, particularly, the material body, Rpa, which is prone to decay, suffering and death. The method of eliminating kiles-human passions has been candidly explained in this Sutta for you to follow in accordance with the well-known phrase quoted hereunder:
"Thus have I heard?" Even 'Buddhas do but point the way', and the individual must sooner or later work out his own salvation with diligence.'
May you all be able to follow the right Path, free from all hindrances and strive after Nibbna to bring all your passions to an end.
Min Swe (Min Kyaw Thu) SECRETARYBuddha Ssana Nuggaha
Chapter 1VAMMIKA SUTTA DHAMMA
Discourse on the ant hill - - The mound or the material body
PRELUDE TO THE DHAMMA
The Discourse to be delivered tonight is on "Vammika Sutta Dhamma". Vammika Sutta Dhamma means the dhamma that is preached illustrating the big mound or the Ant Hill as an example. This dhamma was rehearsed and recorded in 'Sagyan' as per Mlapasa Opammavagga Pi from among the three Pasa Texts of Majjhima Nikya which is one of the Five Divisions of Nikya. If this Sutta is to be delivered, its history will have to be recounted and preached commencing from the introduction.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SUTTA
On one night at the time while the Blessed One was residing at Jetavana monastery in Svatti, one Thera by the name of Ashin Kumra kassapa was staying at Andha forest situated in the north of the Jetavana monastery. During the life time of Lord Buddha, both Bhikkhus and Bhikkhun Thers who were desirous of living in solitude to find peace, used to retire to that Andha forest. In those days, this Andha forest was very seldom frequented by ordinary people, being a secluded place where peace and tranquility reigned. However, at the present time, this forested area has transformed into a cultivable land where crops are found standing.
When I went to India, I had visited the site of the Jetavana monastery where the Blessed One had resided for a period of nineteen Vassas (years) and had given my whole-hearted reverence to this highly respectable place.
There was no monastery at all but only a bare ground on which only remnants of the old Jetavana monastery with a few foundation bricks and old unused wells were found. The former Andha forest has now almost become barren with hardly any sign of trees or forest. Only patches of crops under cultivation were found. In any case during the time of Lord Buddha, this place was a remote forested area, calm and peaceful, where ordinary people would not dare visit.
FIFTEEN PROBLEMS WERE PROPOUNDED
While Ashin Kumrakassapa was residing at this Andha forest, a Brahm god with all his radiance appeared before him at night time on one day and gave him profoundly riddling problems, fifteen in number. The manner in which these fifteen problems were proposed will be described by me by reciting the original in Pi to enable you to listen to it attentively and to revere. However, it would take much time if the whole of Pi passage were recited as spoken by that Brahm. Hence, I will do the recitation of only part of it merely in the form of an example or illustration. Now, please listen to it carefully.
Bhikkhu Bhikkhu aya vammiko ratta dhm y ti, div pajjalabhi, brahmao evamha "abhikkhani sumeda satta dya" ti. Abhikkhananto sumedo satta dya addasa langhim, langi bhaddhanteti. Brahmao evamha -- "okkhipa langhim, abhikkhana sumeda satta dy" ti. Abhikhanamto sumedo satta dya addasa uddhu myikam. Uddhumyik bhadanetti, etc.
As stated above, the Brahm god spoke to Ashin Kumra kassapa in Pi language. During the life time of Buddha, in India, called Majjhima desa, the people used to speak among themselves in Pi language, the same dialect that was found in the present Pika Scriptures. In those days, Pi was the common language used by all people, both male and female, young or old. That was the reason why the Brahm god had spoken to Ashin Kumrakassapa in Pi language.
The Pi scholars who have high regards for Mgadha language as being sacred, have decided that Pi language known as Mgadha is the dialect always in use by the Brahms. In the world of human beings, people sometimes speak in Pi and at times they speak in other languages. However, during Lord Buddha's time, Pi language was the common language among people. For this reason, the language used in this Sutta was in Pi as was also found in other Buddha's preachings. In order, therefore, to be able to understand and appreciate the Pi language with its meanings, I
will first give the meaning of Pi on common Myanmar and let you recite the mottos and then explain to you the meanings phrase by phrase.
"Bhikkhu, Bhikkhu-i.e. O, Monk! Monk!. This was the manner in which Ashin Kumra kassapa was first addressed. The twice repeated expression of the word, "Bhikkhu, Bhikkhu" was used as an interjection, (metik) in Pi. It means an exclamation of surprise. It is something like a cry of sudden surprise and fear as "Snake! Snake! or, Fire! Fire!" when one is alarmed at the sight of a snake or a fire.
"Bhikkhu, Bhikkhu, O, Monk! Monk! ava vammiko, this big mound or ant-hill, rattam, at night time, dhumavati, is emitting smouldering smoke. Div; during the day, pajjlabh; it is spurting out bright flames of burning fire." Let's think of the way the Brahm spoke. Without saying anything that was relevant, he had uttered in surprise "Monk! Monk! this big mound is bursting out smoke at night and burning flames at day time," as if the big mound or the hill is just nearby. I will explain about this mound only later.
"Bhikkhu, Bhikkhu, Monk! Monk! Ava vammiko-this ant-hill, rattam-at night time, dhumayati-is emitting smoke incessantly. Div-at day time, pajjlati-it is ejecting fiery flames." Brahmao-the Brahmaa teacher, sumeda evamha, gives orders to his young and fully educated pupil in this manner. Sumed-O, my good young pupil of outstanding wisdom! satta dya, take hold of the spade, and ema vammika abhikkhanapersistently dig up this mound (hill). Eti-orders are given in this way. Sumedo-this good and young intelligent and brilliant pupil, satta dyaafter holding the spade, abhikhanamto when digging the mound without a stop as ordered by his teacher, langhim adattha, found a bolt (a bar or a rod for fastening a door). Bhadante-"O, great teacher, langi-here is a bolt, Sir", etc-said the pupil. Brahmao-the Brahmaa teacher, eva ha-again ordered thus: Langhim ukkhupa-"Remove or take out the bolt". and sumed-"my good, wise and very intelligent pupil, satta dya-get hold of the spade", and abhikkhana-"carry on digging repeatedly." Eti-order is given as such: Sumeda-"the good, intelligent and wise pupil, satta dyagetting hold of the spade, and abhikkhanamto-when continued to dig up, uddhumyika dattha-saw or found a kind of frog-like toad which when touched grows bigger in size and swells up. Bhadante-"O, great teacher, uddhumyika-here is a toad which becomes bigger in size and swollen every time it is touched." Eti-So said the pupil. The Brahm had given the problem in the manner stated above. The words spoken by the Brahm were in Pi.
The gist of the meaning is that there was a Brahm