Wednesday, April 4, 2012



By Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Now we'll take a purely Dhammic view. Observe that when various problems arise - dukkha in particular - there also must be solutions for them. All solutions must be complete in certain necessary qualities. The same is true of what we call the Eightfold Path, the Eightfold Path that we've memorized so well. Generally we take only the quick, superficial view of recognizing "that's the Eightfold Path," just as when we see a car go past but don't see the various systems at work within it. The larger system of the Eightfold Path contains hidden subsystems within it. These are the morality subsystem of Right Speech, Right Action, and Right maintenance of Life; the concentration subsystem of Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration; and the wisdom Eightfold Path, in those eight factors, there are sila, samadhi, and panna operating as integrated components that make the whole system work. Having no sila is like lacking any ground to stand on; to have no samadhi is to lack energy and strength; and to have no panna is to lack the sharpness needed to cut through problems.
You would do well to remember that concentration and wisdom must join together and work together without any separation. So it seems that the Zen people are actually quite skillful in using the single term "Zen" to mean both concentration and wisdom working together. If we don't think carefully about this, we'll remain stupid. If we do think carefully about it, we'll admit that their improvement - just "Zen" to cover sila, samadhi, and panna - is true and correct. We don't need to be frogs sitting in frog - meditation and becoming "arahants" at the mounts of our holes. That's how things will end up if we make such separations. Here we practice morality, concentration, and wisdom together. We Buddhists have the Noble Eightfold Path as a fundamental tenet. In it, morality, concentration, and wisdom are fully present. We must realize the fact that these three components must be intertwined, just as a three-ply rope has three strands twisted into one usable rope.
Now if someone asks, "So what's this samatha-vipassana for the nuclear age?" we'll answer: "the system of practice that completely accords with natural principles, that yields the best, the fastest, and the most complete results in order to be abreast of any situation." Some people will then ask, "If that's true, then isn't the Buddha's teaching enough?" If they're blindly going to ask questions like this, it isn't necessary to answer. The Buddha's teachings are sufficient, more than enough. But his followers are stupid; they don't apply the teachings fully or quickly. They must be up to every situation, and in time, if they're going to catch the sparks before the nuclear fire erupts


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