Thursday, May 9, 2024

Request donation for dining hall and solar electrcity installation

 Due to the political and economic situation in Myanmar, the cost for building material for the dining hall has increased a lot. We need support to finish the current construction project. 

The electrcity blackout is very frequent. Sometimes, we have 12 hours without any electrcity, or worst 2 days without electrcity. Solar panel +battery + inverter is necessary to provide electrcity and wifi for our education purpose, and for the Dhamma talks.


Please donate to

Bank name : KBZ bank

Account Name: Agga Vati

Account number:07030107000698701


Kpay: +959421088185

Thank you.







Friday, April 12, 2024

12 April 2024 Back to very basic nature of life

Back to very basic nature of life in the hot summer:

Today, I shared with my Abhidhamma students about the difficulty of maintain the life in Myanmar, and this material body called rūpa in Abhidhamma.
There was total electricity blackout for 2 days, so I was busy trying to make sure all everyone (7 persons, more if the neighbour children come here) here have enough water. Because our water pumps need electricity to pump the water from the underground.

Without electricity, life is difficult. In addition, it is now summer, hot as 38 to 41 degree from 12 to 4pm.

Night time was about 31 degree. so everyone needed to take showers few times a day. This is contemplation of difficulty of maintaining the rūpa. Rūpa (material, body) was the previous topic in my Abhidhamma lesson.

We need to give food to the body (rūpa), make sure it has enough nutriment and stay with sufficient water. Need to give it coolness to maintain the body, by drinking water and taking shower, and also staying in shady place, if not the body will be overheated in this summer time. Few people in Yangon had died due to overheat and own medical condition.

If Malaysians are complaining the weather is hot in Malaysia, imagine my life here. - no electricity, lack of water, no aircon, not even aircooler when there was electricity failure - for the previous two days. And also internet/wifi is on and off depending on the state of battery.

I am fulfilling my khantiparami while studying in my university and doing good deeds in Aggācāra centre.
Thanks goodness the electricity was restored to quite normal condition today.

We have solar panel + battery + inverter for one fan + few light + wifi + refrigerator But because the usage was too much, so the battery was always low power, and the inverter connected to the battery was giving warning sign for previous two days.
Two days ago, I had to turn off all electrical equipment, only left the refrigerator turned on. This is also a good contemplation of nutriment. We need to preserve the food at the most optimum condition so that we can use food ingredient for the next day. We can live without light, wifi, internet, aircon/aircooler. But we cannot survive without any food or water.

Finally, at night, where no more electricity coming from solar panel, the inverter made a loud noise, informing of low battery. So, I had to switch it off. So we left without electricity from government already, and at that time also without electricity from the solar. There was no source of electricity at all. Even the refrigerator cannot run anyway.
Thanks goodness there were sufficient drinking purified water for everyone. This is really back to very basic life, living with very minimal needs.

This reminded me of the life of Aggācāra at the very starting time about 10 years ago. There was no electricity and only water coming from manual water pump pumping out water from underground. It was a very basic life condition at that time.

Now, the electricity came back. but there is always 5 or 6 hours blackout.
While teaching and sharing on the rūpa in the Abhidhamma class, I had an actual experience about maintaining rūpa (material/body) in these two days on how to survive in very hot weather in summer, without electricity.

As the Buddha said, let the body (Rūpa) suffer, not the mind (nāma) suffer. That means even though there is dukkha in the body, we have to accept it, not let the mind be affected by the dukkha. This is maintaining equanimity in the mind.

This also implies the suffering in the rūpa is unavoidable, the suffering in the mind is optional. By accepting the suffering of the body due to the extreme hot weather, then there is less disturbance in the mind.


Now summer -life is difficult for everyone. last from Mac, April, May. In June, it is raining season, so the weather will turn up to be nicer.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Education Trend Nowadays

 We are happy to share my computer knowledge with the youths. Many old computers become unusable due to the hardware failure. Still, some are in good working condition.

Now, we are no longer doing the copy+paste format -that is the study method existed 200 years ago until now. That means, the students read the books, memorize all, and write exactly in the exam.
The trend of education is
1. Thinking and analytical skill
2. Team work
3. Leadership quality
4. Spiritual level like kindness, patience, etc.
We give them a project to work on, and let the youths discuss among themselves. They can use own thinking, creativity, etc. to complete this task. They have been doing document, voice editing, powerpoint, and they will do movie-editing.









Sunday, March 24, 2024

Part-time Māra Youth to Full-time Deva Youth

24 March 2024

Now in this March, in the summer time, we have one month children and youth education. I teach the youth computer and English. And my senior Sayagyi Aggavati takes care of young ones and teaches Buddhist culture  and English. This is our paññādāna, offering of knowledge to the needy children and youths. It is good to share our knowledge, good to cultivate bodhi seeds in their young minds. We have few young ones staying here, from age 7 to 14.

It is a headache dealing with some youths or teenagers here! At one moment, they look like angel or deva/devi, having nice manner and cute like children, with the innocence and eagerness to learn. The next moment, they are like Māra: disobedient, do whatever they want to do, hide their bad characteristic and pretend to be a good one! One teenager came with her grandmother  and stayed here. Her Grandmother said, before as a child, she was very obedient. After moving on to teenagerhood, she became naughty and disobedient.

At one moment, when I talked to them, they seemed to be an adult, understand things and be able to help tasks like sweeping and taking care of small kids. The next moment, they forget everything, just talking endlessly, forget their duties, and even get into arguments with the small kids! They become lazy, stubborn and difficult to talk to. This is because they are emotionally not stable yet, not wise in nature!

But yet, some teenager are born mature wise. This is called born with three roots which are non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion in Abhidhamma. From young, they like to contemplate the meaning of life, seek to do good, wanting to help others, willing to practise meditation and like chanting. When they see their relatives past away, they understand the impermanence in life and the important of spirituality.  

I think, some of youths sent to our Buddhist centre are lacking of wisdom, that is why their parents are willing to send to them  here. This is for them to acquire more discipline and morality, to learn Dhamma and learn to chant and do meditation.

That is why, in the Buddhist culture course, the children and youths chant every day and do sitting meditation. Sayagyi Aggavati also teaches them some Dhamma like Maṅgala sutta, 10 wholesome deeds and 10 unwholesome deeds. Today is a public holiday -Full moon of Tabaung, one of the important full moon day. She brought the young ones for pilgrimage, sight-seeing so that their minds are happy with religious event.

At first, it was very difficult to tame the monkey mind of those youths, which are jumping here and there, doing whatever they like. I have to give Sayagyi Aggavati credit-she spent many hours talking to them nicely, imparting knowledge, making friends to them, made them understand the importance of discipline, obedience, hardworking, education, and also believing in the Triple Gem and the working of kamma.

I think, not all parents have this teenage rebellion problem. Some are so lucky as their children are so good and sweet. In my home town, there was a devotee with 5 children. She gave birth to them without much problem. Her husband had passed away when her children was quite young. When she was tired, the children also kept quiet and not disturbing her. They did not give her any problems at all. After she suffered from a disease, they took turn to take care of her in their house. And she passed away surrounded by children.

Her life was very smooth and less obstacle. Her demeanor was always calm and quiet. Her children’s manners are like her too. She was a serious Vipassanā practitioner and she practised till her last moment. This kind of people like her have good wholesome vipāka (result), so she enjoyed good human rebirth, had good companion, good family and good Dhamma teacher and friends.

In conclusion, if a child is born to parents who are wise like her, then the child will grow up to be wise. Being born in a good family is the result of past kamma. Even if no such good kamma, if they have the opportunity to learn Dhamma in a Buddhist center, they can learn the ways to be wise, to avoid problems, to cultivate more good minds. This is acquiring wholesome kamma in this life, thus creating good kammic result in this life and future lives.

What is our future destination? It is past results + present result. Our destiny is still within our control, we can change it for it be a better result. That is why Buddhism is a practical religion. It is not just a depressing religion talking about suffering in life and impermanence of good things.

Now in our centre, we are transforming those part-time māra youth into full time deva youth. The process is still going on with four Brahmavihāra (mettā, karuṇā, muditā, upekkhā) and require lots of equanimity in mind.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Dhamma article: The Sudden Coldness and Sudden Realization in the Sudden Rain

 

20 March 2024



The Sudden Coldness and Sudden Realization in the Sudden Rain

In the summer time, when the hot weather of about 36 degrees and very dry weather for one week, suddenly the rain came this evening. I thought it never came, as the broadcast said it would rain in other places.

First, the wind blew, then a thunderstorm and the heavy rain came. Before the rain came, one worker came to cover a few machines. But still, there are many tools that are not covered yet.

We two sayagyis here are the management here, so we are worried that equipment and tools will be spoiled with water, and the cement bag will be wet too.  These things are vital for the construction of the dining hall. The workers have returned to their dwelling place. So, we rushed to cover things. So, since I was the active one and knew the things and places, I was wet with the rain while looking for cover, wood, and other stuff to cover things.

While I was busy with this duty, the four children who were staying here opened the side door of the Dhamma hall. When they saw me drenched by rain, dripping with water, they laughed and cheered at the sight of rain. “We do not need to water the plants! So nice; we want to take a shower under the rain.” They chitchatted, laughed, and said this and that.

Oh! I was quite cold with the rain. Seeing them, I realized they are so lucky because they are still young. They do not need to worry about the accommodations, food, etc. They got their parents to protect them from harm, and they got us sayagyis to protect them from difficulties while staying here in our Buddhist centre. While we, as the CEO/CFO and chief nuns of this place, have to worry about this and that.

In the Buddha's teaching, children are said to be young, ignorant, or foolish. Their knowledge is not well developed yet; they are covered in ignorance and delusion. Because they are young, they cannot see the problems caused by rain. They enjoy the happiness and coolness caused by rain.

The commentary said: When one reaches the age of 40 to 50, this is said to be the age of strength. The body is strong, and the mind is strong too. 51 to 60 is the age of wisdom. I am between the age of strength and going to the age of wisdom! I see the problems caused by rain, and I understand their ignorance of these children. I also have the foresight that it might rain; this knowledge came because I read the weather forecast in advance.

Nowadays, it is even easy to teach the local kids English and Computer. Because I have acquired proficiency in Burmese, so I can explain in English and Burmese to them. And also, the youths being younger and eager to learn, it is a joy to teach them. And I am more proficiency in teaching skills. This is also growth of knowledge in me.

Finally, the rain has stopped. The heat has reduced. Now that the roof still has dripping rainwater, it is quiet. Even the dogs have hidden themselves, trying to find a comfortable place to stay. And the children are chanting now!

From the heat to the cold, from a busy day today to quiet time now, from one day to another. From the young me as young as the children  - they are about 10 to 14 year old - to the old me at this age of 50, the impermanence is very obvious now in me! The signs of aging can be seen in the body skin, in the backpain, and the shift of teeth due to the eruption of wisdom teeth, and of course in the aging sign shown in the face! The children and youth have bright eyes, young faces and tender skins. So they look cute and adorable.

Impermanence, suffering, and non-self are the three characteristics of all phenomena (samaññalakkhana). We all cannot escape from these, so the best way is practising non-self. There is no I, no mine.

Hopefully, it is the matter (body) getting old but the mind (nāma) getting wise with time. Happy golden anniversary to this unity of mind and body. Hope I can live another 50 years doing good, performing Dhamma missionary work, contemplating the five aggregates, and writing more Dhamma book and Dhamma articles like this!





 

Monday, March 18, 2024

Contemplation of Mind- Removing Angry Mind

A Case Study of Removing the Cause of Anger

When there is no anger, how can we know? We may contrast that with the moment of rage. When someone is furious, their voice is harsh, their expression is sad, and their movements are jerky. Like the elderly auntie described before.
According to Abhidhamma, the mind causes both physical intimation (kayaviññātti) and verbal intimation (vaciviññatti). The term Viññatti refers to the process of expressing one's thoughts. When the mind is pleased, the body and verbal action are also pleasant. When the mind is dissatisfied, the body and speech will be unpleasant. Of course, occasionally because of greedy thoughts, the face will be joyful and happy.

The Buddha is said as the physician and Dhamma is the medicine to cure disease. Now, we are applying Dhamma therapy to her. After administering the remedy to her, she is happier, her voice is softer, her face is more relaxed, and her movements are gentler. What is the best remedy to calm her furious mind? As previously stated, she had a few issues. 1. Tired and sleep deprived due to volunteer fatigue.

2. Unhappy when her beloved teenage niece was admonished by us. 3. Was unwilling to accept aid from others.

My senior nun and the chief nun of Aggācāra, Sayagyi Aggavati is good at counseling and problem-solving. I can assist her in some way only as it is to do with Burmese people, Burmese life style and culture.

To solve the first problem, we let the old aunty sleep as long as she wanted.  In this way, she can recover from her tired body and mind.

Then, she contacted her neighbor and spoke with her for two hours, informing her the problem and asked her to come and aid the old auntie.

When the neighbor arrived, she came to help the aunti. She used  sweet and polite voice and helped her to cook the food. So this aunty’s mind is getting softer as she had enough rest, now with assistance from a kind neighbor, her face was happy. The neighbor then sat with her during her leisure time and spoke. The aunty had the opportunity to talk to other persons, besides the children here and us sayagyis. She now thrived in loving-kindness from the neighbor, and not feeling tired as tired as before.

Actually, it is a task to prepare breakfast for 8 people, lunch for 15 people lonely. Now, with the neighbour’s help, the task is easier. The Burmese people need to eat rice, there minimally must be a soup, a fish/meat, and some vegetables, and also some fruits if we have. So, thanks to this old aunty and the kind neighbor, we can provide the meals to the children here!

In short, when there are causes for anger, once we know it, we can try to remove it with our best ability.

Dosa (anger, hate) is one of the evil roots in Buddhism. Others include greed (lobha) and delusion (moha). So it is important to be conscious of it because when it becomes uncontrollable, individuals may engage in actions such as scolding, striking, or even killing beings.

Mettā is called adosa. The negative prefix 'a' implies both 'no' and 'free from'. So adosa means "freed of anger/hatred," adosa is mettā (loving-kindness). We use loving-kindness to reduce hatred and anger.
In her position, the greatest method to deal with her dosa (anger) is to employ metta, which is a universal practice that we may perform at any moment.

So, do contemplate your mind at any time. Try to make good minds like generosity, loving-kindness arise more, and reduce greed, hatred and delusion.

 

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Contemplation of mind - Angry Mind

 Sharing on the Contemplation of Mind 

Dosa mind
Why does dosa (anger or hate) occur? Is it produced by oneself or others? It can occur when someone is exhausted, depressed, in a foul mood, or unhappy!

Recently, we held a 10-day education workshop for young Sayalays and neighborhood children. Sayagyi Aggavati's auntie came to stay and prepare meals for us. She is 75 years old, and she has asked her 14-year-old niece and another young person to help her. Because they are young, they can only help just cleaning and cutting the vegetables.
So recently, she grumbled and was dissatisfied. When we told her niece not to be lazy, she was not pleased. She complains about numerous things.
Finally, I diagnose her with 'volunteering fatigue'. When she needs to prepare meals at 5 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. it was long working hours for her. So, today, we offer her a day off for her to recover her exhausted body and mind.

Dosa (anger) occurs when a person is unhappy owing to both external and internal situations. The best approach is to identify the primary reason. She is eager to assist, but her old body is unable to cope; her eyes are unable to see and locate items in the refrigerator. She needs someone to assist her.


The best way to cure this problem, is let her rest for a few days, and assign more capable people to help her.

Second, she is not pleased that we are advising her niece. However, because the niece is young, this niece must follow the guidelines when staying in a Buddhist center such as ours: wake up for chanting and meditation, study, and no phone use. We need to help her understand this.

When we ask our neighbor to aid in cooking , this auntie is equally unhappy. It is true that everyone cooks differently. They might have different opinion. She just has to realize she can't accomplish everything by herself. People also can to help due to their own good intention.

It is not easy to control the mind. The most important is to learn how to cultivate good mind. We cannot control the bad mind by just requesting it to disappear. The only way to make it disappear is by the appearance of good mind. Good and peaceful mind is just like water, anger mind is just like fire; water and fire cannot coexist with each other.


The way to reduce the dosa mind is to find out the cause of dosa and remove it. Or she can change it to more positive one by thinking about her good deeds in helping, her chanting etc, and thus arise more good minds.

How to make more good and wholesome minds appear?

One should get rid of any unwarranted expectations. One should learn to let go of cravings and hatred.

Learn to smile more!
Learn to exercise more, and talk less!

 Talking leads to more wandering mind.  One can practise more mindfulness by reducing inner chat in the mind, and chatting with others. By reducing talk, this will reduce vitakka (thought) in us, and thus leads to peaceful mind.

Request donation for dining hall and solar electrcity installation

 Due to the political and economic situation in Myanmar, the cost for building material for the dining hall has increased a lot. We need sup...