It is time for discussion.
There was a gentleman that that approached the Buddha during the Buddha’s life. His name was Mahanama. The meaning of this name is “great-minded man” “The man who has a great mind.” Mahanama is a smart person, a great man. Once he asked a question of the Buddha. It is a very practical question. Because I like to say that it is a practical question. Many people came to the Buddha and they asked questions that were logical and theoretical. Sometime the Buddha has said something and the people asked questions of him. Then Buddha said, “No, your question is wrong. That is not the way to ask that question.”
But, I like this man, Mahanama, because he always asked very practical and rarely simple questions. What was his question? He asked some questions before. He explained something to Buddha.
He said, “When I have free time or when I make free time then I come to the monastery. Then I discuss with you. And, if you are not at the monastery, then I discuss with any other monks, which I like. Then, I can get good opinions and ideas and advice about the Practice. When I listen to them and when I discuss and practice at the monastery, my mind goes to calm and peace and quiet and happy then it is a very good mind. But, after that I have to go to the city. It is very crowded. Sometimes I make up run-away horses, runaway elephants, chariot carts, run-away people. The cities are sometimes in the violence. Probably people, highwaymen. This is not a peaceful and comfortable place. Then, my mind changes. It is not with mindfulness. It is not with calm and peace. [laughing] Then I have a question.”
Here is his explanation. This is what Mahanama said. “If I die like that time in the city, then, I think my next life my debt will be so bad.”
What is the meaning of this word, “Bad Debt”? That it is always bad? That is the way he said it, “The Life is not as complicated, not complicated. Not successful. Why? Before I attend to the peaceful and calm mind. Before I attain enlightenment. It happens my destiny.” That is why he called it “Bad Debt”
Then Mahanama asked, “I worry about this. I’m sad about this. Because I have a good chance, but I can be successful in this situation. This is an explanation, not a question. I’m worried, I’m sad about it.”
Then the Buddha said, “No, don’t worry. Don’t be sad. Your debt is not bad. Because you are a good practitioner. And, you know this situation. What is the situation? Not the situation of the society. Not the situation of the city.”
What does he know? We know everybody in the city. We know the situation of the city. We know the situation of the town, and we know but, Mahanama, he’s different than other people. He knows something else that others. What is that? He knows what is the situation of his own mind. Not only the situation of the city. Hmmm, he knows the situation of his own mind. What happens to the mind at this state?
What happens to the mind, out of the monastery? Out of the church? We all know what happens in the city. [laughing] When we come here and be calm and quiet with a peaceful mind, again we go to the city and we know what happens in the city. But, we are not concerned, or we do not analyze. We understand what is happening in the mind within this situation outside the city.
Once Buddha explained “Mind also, ” ahh, how do I translate this…. Buddha said, “The city is a good example for the mind.”
The mind is also like a city. First of all we have to thank the Mahanama. because he has asked a practical question. And maybe, if we also met Buddha, that would be a good question to ask. It is a good question to ask of the Buddha. A very practical question.
What is happening in our city? Why did Buddha give this answer? Because, the Buddha said “Don’t worry. Don’t be sad. Your debt is not bad. Why? Because you know this situation in your mind. What is happening in your mind. That is a very important thing.” I like to say that we must have this understanding. What is happening in our mind? Within this practical life, and practical situation, day-to-day life. If the mind is good, or calm and peaceful with all of these situations, then it is okay. [laughing] We don’t want to worry about the mind and the successful mind. But, if the mind is not peaceful and calm. If the mind is not within good understanding or knowledge about the emotions, if the mind is not intelligent about the emotions, then we have to think about again and again, this situation.
Mahanama, he clearly explained it. Once the Buddha said, “If any person understands his own madness, he is a wise person.” That is an important thing!
Mahanama already understood his own crazy mind. An untrained mind is like an untrained horse. But, the untrained elephant. Sometimes, you want to change the situation. You want to train a horse? Sometimes The trained mind also, is willing to be trained if our manners are good, our behaviors are good. We try to practice our mind. We try to train our mind. We practice meditation. We practice loving kindness. We practice mindfulness. Yes, then we are good. But, how can we trust it? How can we trust it? Within our previous experience, within our previous experience. Therefore we must understand, what happens with the mind in the city, the office, the workplace, with family. With a nice day, we are good at doing this until trouble comes to us. [laughing] until Life, until Death But, winter will come to our life and the advice not working.
Then, Buddha gave some advice to Mahanama. He explained, “Why do I tell you not to worry or be sad about this situation? Because, for a long time you have practiced your mind. Your concentration with your mind to the quality of enlightened beings. And you are being friendly to enlightened beings. And you have analyzed the qualities of enlightened beings. For a long time you have done this. And you have listened to teachings and you have been friendly and helpful with the monks. And you have enjoyed them. This is important. Be happy with the monks. These people know the teachings. But, they are not happy with him, They are not angry with him. So many questions! Logic, argument. They do not practice, they do not practice it in life, but they are annoyed with the questions and their own answers. Their own questions and answers. They are not happy with Mahanama. It is different.
But he was asking. Fortunately he has been happy with the monks; happy with the teaching, and he has been friendly with them. A person is happy with Dharma and friendly with Dharma (the Teachings) they definitely practice it.
But if we are not happy, if you are not friendly, they don’t understand it. They do not practice it. The Buddha said, “You have been for a long time, friendly with the teachings.”
Happy with teachings? That is why you come and listen to the discussion. You cannot get it yourself. That is why you come here to listen and discuss. Yeah? You have been friendly with all of us. You have been happy with them. You have enjoyed the gatherings. The meetings. This is very important. The meetings, the gathering. joining with the community. Those are very important things.
Then, if you have done this for a long time and he [The Buddha] asks from Mahanama, “What do you have to concern of anything today?” That is the new teaching from the Buddha to Mahanama. You have to practice or train your mind to analyze and understand the nature of the physical body. Why? This correction also is in the situation in the city.
But Buddha said to him to practice and train the mind to analyze and understand the nature of the physical body. Why? Think about that. Why? Because Mahanama also had the same question. Which we have and do not like to discuss.
Our death. It is always black [here in western culture]. I know, I have seen it here in this country. It is black. That is the color of Death. Do you know about that? In Buddhist culture it is not black. Funeral color is white. They decorate the body with the white color, the bright colors People come with the white color. Not black. Weddings are very colorful here. Everyone has colorful weddings everywhere. Death is the party’s colorful, compared to the parties where Death is black.
But here, there is a third answer. Colorless. It is a good message. Why? There is nothing to anything. The body is not sad about Death. You don’t want to be worried or sad about Death. Why? It is the nature of the body. When we take birth definitely Death is also the nature of Life.
If we are happy with Life, all of the situations, if you are happy with the Birth, the same way you have to at least we keep our mind without sad or worry about Death. We don’t want to enjoy it. We don’t want to celebrate it. But, there should be a comment in the mind about that.
Then the Buddha said to Mahanama, “This is the body’s natural process.” It came from the parents. The body is [inaudible] It is Life. Same with Death. There is not anything to worry about Death. No need to be scared about Death.
There are so many things that could be happening. Natural disasters. War, because the human society. There are so many weapons. Humans are very smart… highly technology for the war. That must happen some day. If not happen except naturally, then we are ready for that. Death with a peaceful mind. Happy and peaceful mind.
That was the advice for Mahanama about this question. The Buddha said again, “I consider that for you. Try to highly establish your tranquility” The Pali word is “samadhi”, tranquility, peaceful mind, pure mind. Without negative emotions. Without negative feelings. Without anger and fear. Without worry and fear. Without desires. The peaceful mind. The calm mind. Here he used the word “established” He didn’t use the word “practice”. That is an important thing.
You don’t want to worry about anything. You don’t want to worry about the cities, citizens, the situation in the city. There you are smart. Do you think the Mahanama asked a practical question? Yes, it was a practical question.
Maybe there are some ideas that are very difficult to convey into language. But, that is how obligation. We never say it in language but, the same question in our Life, in our mind. We think we try to care for always but what will happen next? What is the nature of Life? This person, this gentleman. Maybe Mahanama means “gentleman”… That is the meaning of that word. He has converted his idea into language. And he has asked that question, clearly perfectly. That is the important thing.
If any person has a clear understanding about the situation of oneself, then they can analyze it clearly and convert it into language and they can ask clearly, a very organized question. Then it is easy to give an answer. Because of the organized, clear question, the answer is clear.
Therefore, as a practitioner, you also have to understand that. You have to learn from these people. To convert into language, the question. To ask well organized questions. Then, we can get clear answers. That is the important thing. That is a very important thing in practice. Because we learn this by the language. Without language it is very difficult to understand. But, we can do it.
I think that is enough for the day. But, I didn’t save any time for you to ask any questions. I hope there is not any other question today. Do you have any questions? No… then, we should be concerned about time. Therefore I can stop and can be silent.