Saturday, 15 November 2014

An Attitude of Renunciation



When foreign meditators stay for extended periods to practice Dhamma at Burmese monasteries, their attitude of renunciation is very important. For this, one may keep in mind the Burmese proverb, pyaw yah ma, ma ne ya. Taw ya hma, ne ya. Translated literally, this means “Where one is happy, don’t stay; and where one is in seclusion, stay!” U Sarana renders this further as “one should stay at a place conducive to one’s spiritual development, regardless of the comfort to be found there.” He notes that this Burmese proverb can be traced to the Vanapattha Sutta, in which the Buddha advises monks to remain at any site where “unestablished mindfulness has become established.”

In this Sutta, the Buddha goes on to state: "Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu lives in some jungle thicket. While he is living there his unestablished mindfulness becomes established, his unconcentrated mind becomes concentrated, his undestroyed taints come to destruction, he attains the unattained supreme security from bondage; yet the requisites of life that should be obtained by one gone forth...are hard to come by. The bhikkhu should consider thus: 'I am living in this jungle thicket. While I am living here my unestablished mindfulness has become established...I have attained the unattained supreme security from bondage; yet the requisites of life...are hard to come by. However, I did not go forth from the home life into homelessness for the sake of robes, almsfood, resting place, and medicinal requisites. Moreover, while I am living here my unestablished mindfulness has become established...I have attained the unattained supreme security from bondage.' Having reflected thus, that bhikkhu should continue living in that jungle thicket; he should not depart.