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Mahasi Sayadaw (29 July 1904 – 14 August 1982) was a Burmese Theravada Buddhist monk.
Manual of Insight (1945)
- as translated by Vipassana Metta Foundation Translation Committee (2016)
- One should keep oneself occupied all the time with wholesome deeds such as: learning, teaching, memorizing, reading, scrutinizing, and chanting the Buddhist scriptures; discharging the daily duties of a monk; discussing the Dhamma, only speaking about the Dhamma; giving or listening to Dhamma talks, and practicing asceticism.
- p. 18
- When one cultivates strong concentration by means of tranquility or insight meditation, the mind is no longer distracted by thoughts and other hindrances. Such pure concentration, continuously focused on an object for either tranquility or insight, is considered mental purification. A mind associated with such concentration is also purified of hindrances due to the power of the concentration.
- p. 45
- The insight process flows smoothly if sensual desires do not arise. If they do arise, however, they obstruct the flow of insight. They appear as rivals to insight, as if saying, "It is our turn; stay away insight!"
- p. 60
- Momentary concentration that focuses on mental or physical objects from moment to moment is called nondistraction (avikkhepa), a mental state that is the opposite of restlessness. When momentary concentration becomes strong, the mind seems to penetrate its object every time an object is noted.
- p. 62
- A restless state of mind that wanders away from an object while observing it is a mental state called restlessness (uddhacca). It flies away from the object. Due to restlessness the mind cannot remain very long with an object but often wanders elsewhere.
- p. 62
- Sometimes the mind may wonder about practice itself. For example, the mind may wander off into analyzing whether an object was noted effectly, or sequentially, or vividly. The mind may wander off into thinking about how one is going to note an object. Under these circumstances, insight concentration cannot arise.
- pp. 62-63
- Uncertainty about what is wholesome and unwholesome is called skeptical doubt (vicikiccha). It is considered a hindrance to liberation as it hinders the arising of discriminating knowledge. A person who has doubts about the wholesomeness and unwholesomeness of phenomena is unable to abandon what is unwholesome, develop what is wholesome, and escape the cycle of suffering.
- p. 63
- Doubt about the fact that insight wholesomeness consists of simply observing the presently arising mental and physical phenomena is also skeptical doubt. This doubt is so subtle that it is rarely detected but is instead mistaken for investigation. This doubt masquerades as analytical knowledge. The commentary on Netti Yuttihāra explains as follows: "Doubt appears in the guise of investigation."
- p. 64
- The Vammika Sutta likens skeptical doubt to a fork in the road. Say a traveler who is carrying many valuables arrives at a fork in the road; if he lingers there unable to decide which way to take, robbers may catch and possibly kill him. In the same way, a doubtful meditator who falls prey to wavering and procrastination cannot continue on with practice. He or she will then become a victim of mental defilements and be unable to escape the cycle of suffering. Only when he or she abandons doubt by noting it and uninterruptedly continues the practice can he or she be liberated from the cycle of suffering.
- p. 64
- One who fails to observe mental and physical phenomena every time they arise cannot see them as merely mental and physical phenomena. Furthermore, one does not realize their causality, impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, notself, or their immediate disappearance upon arising and their continuous disappearance thereafter. Therefore, one mistakenly identifies these mental and physical phenomena with a personal entity, a person who is either born without any cause or created by a creator. One mistakes them for someone or something permanent and pleasant, everlasting, and unchanging.
- pp. 66-67
- Ignorance immediately knows things in an ordinary, conceptual way. Because ignorance and its accompanying mental states arise first, wrong beliefs ensue. Therefore the texts say, "Ignorance conceals the true nature of obejcts."
- p. 67
- Every time one notes an object well it gives rise to delight. As a result of this, practice becomes enjoyable.
- p. 68
- When intensively practicing insight, your first priority should be given to it, with the understanding that insight is the essential cause of liberation. ... You should not interrupt it for a minute or even a second.
- p. 70