Bhante Narada’s


Translated by Cori and Konstantin Bilyayev

This work is intended for free distribution. This work may be republished, reprinted and redistributed in any medium.

1. Metro and Mallika

Our planet is a transit stop for beings heading down. It is like a subway station platform, from which you can go only in one direction. Few are those who manage to go to the opposite platform to go the other way. Even less often, it is possible to leave the metro itself.

From our planet, almost all will go to the lower worlds. And in the Pali Canon2 it is written that way.

So that this does not happen to you - a radical transformation of consciousness is needed. At a minimum, meditative absorption - jhana. And it is even better to attain Nibbana3. That is what will give a guarantee. Neither offerings, nor even regular meditation (without significant results) give such a guarantee.

Well, maybe it will work.

On the other hand, maybe not.

How karma will work at the moment of death.

The parable of Mallika eloquently illustrates the unpredictability of the elements of reincarnation. Mallika made offerings to the Buddha and the community of monks. She listened to their teachings. And, most likely, practiced meditation.

And yet it did not keep her from falling into hell after death.

{Maybe you do not fully believe in rebirth. Then, even on the basis of elementary logic, the probability of the existence of the next life is 50 percent. Since the next life is either there or it is not. 50/50. And 50 percent is too high a probability to neglect. There are also other evidences for reincarnation.}

Of course, we do not know exactly how it was with Mallika in fact. But it is better not to count on luck. There’s nothing to hope for but your own serious meditation achievements.

Therefore, try. Practice tirelessly.

We don’t even know the near future. Perhaps some of us have too little time left.

And for some, perhaps, there is no more time at all.

2. The right approach to instruction

The Western mind and the Eastern mind are the minds of people from different planets.

The Eastern mind is prone to faith, the Western - to analysis.

When you give teachings to a Westerner, then, often, his or her first reaction is rejection of what has been said. He or she is critical. They doubt your words, put forward counter arguments, like to philosophize extensively and do not miss the slightest opportunity to demonstrate their horizons and intellect. Limited and narrow-minded people are no exception.

Eastern man, as a rule, prefers to blindly believe in everything that comes from the mouth of an authoritative spiritual person. Even if it is frank nonsense, the Eastern man will make an effort to believe in it.

I will take the liberty to explain how to relate to spiritual instructions.

You need to accept them.

Whether to apply them or not is up to you.

Of course, you should ask questions. But do not get into disputes over the slightest points. You have every right to remain in samsara and there is no need to constantly defend this right.

Of course, some advice and instructions may not be suitable for you personally. However, do not rush to conclusions; first try to apply it in your practice. If the result is achieved, then you will finally be convinced that the method was correct. If the result is not achieved, you will still gain some experience.

However, if you immediately begin to insist that all this is nonsense, that there is no time, that you have work and children, that everything is clear to you, that it will not work for you, that the other monk said something different, but in the Canon it is written the third, and you read the fourth on the Internet, etc. - then you risk missing the door with the sign “LIBERATION”.

I, for example, have no desire to convince you of something.

I have a desire to help you experience Nibbana.

3. Cheating on the topic of Nibbana

Nibbana - it is there.

It is here.

It is now.

It is looming in front of you.

But you do not notice it.

Because you have no necessary focus of consciousness.

How to get this focus?

Morality and meditation.

I have not said anything new.

The experience of Nibbana is quite real, if you aspire to this with all your heart. After all, the Buddha preached his teachings for ordinary people like you and me: hands, feet, head … In the days of Buddha, and for a long time after, Nibbana’s experience was common.

{Really, what’s wrong with that? If a person observes morality and meditates, then why not experience Nibbana? Otherwise, why then do we need these meditations?}

But nowadays, the experience of Nibbana is positioned as something very unlikely, almost unreal.

This is a big problem of our time, artificially created by Buddhist losers. For the most, part they are represented by monks who are tightly biased by ritualism and the scholastic approach to the Teaching of the Buddha. This also includes the large population of non-practicing or weakly practicing pseudo-monks. In addition, there are energetic laypeople who have snatched a few hastily superficial insights and are in a hurry to share their revelations with humanity. The fact that they all tend to distort the Teaching of the Buddha in sermons is half the trouble. The trouble is that from their stands they are loudly broadcasting something like: “to experience Nibbana - well, it is, as it were, whoo! This is very problematic! Because we live in a very unfortunate time for this! Yes, and people now do not live correctly, not like in the time of Buddha … then it was possible to enlighten, but now … well, the main thing is to be a Buddhist, make offerings, come to us more often, and Nibbana - well, that, as if, then … then, somewhere in time, sometime … in the next lives, maybe …”

Don’t be fooled by all this. You should not accept such a defeatist setup.

If someone cannot experience Nibbana, this does not mean that you cannot experience Nibbana personally.

4. How to experience Nibbana

First of all, discard all your thoughts about Nibbana - reality has little to do with ideas of reality.

Observe the basic moral precepts (there are only five of them: do not kill any living beings, do not steal, do not enter into sexual relationships with other people’s partners, do not deceive under any circumstances, and do not use alcohol / intoxicants).

And develop your concentration.

Truly mindful breathing provokes a certain phenomenon. It will seem to you that it has become as if lighter … As if the sun peeked into the room where you are sitting with closed eyes and meditating. Or it will seem to you that you are in a light enveloping cloud. Or you will notice some flashes, shining spots on the inner surface of the eyelids. Perhaps these phenomena will be accompanied by a feeling of joy, delight, lightness; perhaps you will feel the pulsation, the movement of energy flows through the body … This phenomenon manifests itself in different ways. Although there is a general approximate word: light. Radiance. Shine. This light is like an inner light, as we see it with the inner eye. Nonetheless, at the same time, we can fully observe it as a physical phenomenon at some distance from our face.

So, in your meditation something appeared that was not there before - something bright and incomprehensible.

Keep calm and keep watching the breath. Try to overcome excitement as a reaction to this light. Just watch: inhale-exhale-pause … inhale-exhale-pause … The light will become clearer, brighter. It’s all about training.

When this illumination becomes relatively stable and will appear in most of your meditation sessions, try to get away from the observation of breathing and turn your attention to the light. Now the light will be your object of meditation. Ideally, it is a spot of light in front of your face that you are trying to observe incessantly. Stick to it, merge your attention with it, merge with this light into one. The light itself invites you to do it.

This light is the light of a pure mind, freed from the need to process streams of billions of external and internal objects coming from the senses.

Stay in observation of the light as long as possible. Achieve as much as possible a solid union with it, so that the trinity “subject-object-process of perception” becomes one whole - just a bright light!

That’s all. This is absorption. Jhana.

Over time, casting aside the emotions of rapture and joy-happiness, bring your contemplation to a stable, impartial and serene observation of the light. In this case, your state will correspond to the fourth jhana. Improve jhana, improve its quality.

But jhana is not an end in itself of Buddhist practice.

You need Nibbana.

To experience Nibbana, you have to perform one trick. Feint. Mental somersault. And we will come back to this. But first I will give a little explanation.

The fact is that Nibbana never comes to anyone. It has nowhere to come. It is already there. Always is. Always in the present moment. It does not happen like this: the meditator was sitting, meditating, straining, and - oops! One great day Nibbana came to him … It finally materialized. This is far from the truth.

In fact, the consciousness of an unenlightened person has the property of spiritual blindness. And, after a certain meditation training, there comes a moment of insight. At that moment, it becomes obvious what was previously hidden by the veil of ignorance. It becomes obvious that Nibbana is an objective reality, always present in the current moment. That is, Nibbana is already there. It remains only to see it. Or rather, it’s not so much to see it, but to separate it from extraneous objects of reality. This is not an easy task, because every moment the mind processes a huge array of information - a continuous stream of signals from the senses. Among this array, a priori, there is Nibbana, but how to separate it, how to distinguish it, if it does not possess distinct qualities and characteristics?

And here concentration comes to the rescue. And here we return to the trick-feint-mental somersault.

Attention, please!

In the usual, everyday state, every moment we experience, say, thousands of objects + Nibbana (which is still invisible, but always inevitably present as the objective reality of the present moment).

And in a concentrated state, we are experiencing mostly one object (the object of our concentration) + Nibbana.

And the trick-feint-mental somersault is to see what other phenomenon is present in our experience of reality besides that single object on which we are concentrated … What will happen if we as if “remove” the object of contemplation from one-object contemplation?

What will remain?

You can say: nothing will remain.

The answer will be both true and wrong.

Again. You are sitting in jhana, you are observing one object - the light. What remains if this light is taken away from your experience of reality at this moment?

Try to see what happens if you remove an object from one-object perception - and you understand where this object hangs.

Your object hangs on the eternal, timeless, empty and unborn, unchanging and beginningless, objectless Background of Being. This is the fundamental principle of reality, giving rise to all things, it is the Alpha and Omega, the Eternal Absolute, the Basis, the Suchness.

And each of us carries this great truth, this answer to all questions, this door to absolute freedom …

By the way, this door is constantly open.

5. Urgency and evacuation plan

Imagine that you live in a war zone. The Military intelligence has informed you that your settlement will be fired upon today. With something heavy. Rockets, self-propelled guns, or maybe it will come something more destructive, like a nuclear bomb. But, in any case, you know that the chance of survival is zero. It is known that you are in the affected area today. What’s just not known is exactly when it will happen: morning, noon or evening. Theoretically, this can happen at any time, even in a second.

What will you do in this situation?

Maybe go to the kitchen to cook something delicious according to the recipe? Or go online for a few hours, or even longer - as usual? Or maybe you will engage with someone [or alone] in sexual activity? Or help make money for your employer? Or, finally, will you finish the repair in the bedroom because this household frustration has already become unbearable?

So how will you behave at the sight of the enemy?

Common sense and instincts often disagree, because they are permanently in a deep evolutionary conflict. But in this case they are in unison loudly chanting one word: “EVACUATION!!!! EVACUATION!!!!!!!!"

You know, we will die.

Anyway. One and all.

We will die, as the billions of people who lived on this planet before us died. We will die very soon. Even 80 years is not so long and not so much; if you don’t believe it - ask older people, and everyone will tell you that life has passed very quickly.

In addition, death’s door can close on you at any time.

Therefore, from the point of view of such a blatant transience of life and the unpredictability of death, most of our actions are meaningless. Do not waste precious time on different types of unproductive activities.

The only thing that is really worth doing is to radically transform the psyche in order to permanently leave the firing range.

This is the primary task of the human being.

This is exactly your evacuation plan. The plan developed and approved by the Buddha himself.

Think of it. And remember: if you do not practice diligently and regularly - time works against you.

6. Once again on how to experience Nibbana

I’ll start boring: we have only six senses: five external and one internal. External organs: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin. Internal organ - mind. Thanks to external senses, we see shapes and colors, hear sounds, smell odors, taste flavors, tactilely feel the properties of objects and phenomena. Thanks to the internal sense organ, the mind, we remember, plan, create concepts and ideas, etc.

All external and internal objects are processed by the stream of our consciousness. This stream is continuous and has the ability to process a huge number of objects in a short period of time.

Roughly speaking, every moment we are bombarded by an incredibly complex array of information. We are constantly under its hypnosis. Our stream of consciousness is continuously engaged in the chaotic experience of reality.

It is because of this enormous workload that we are unable to experience the Absolute Truth. Because too much trash falls on all sides, and we do not have time to rake it.

To see what needs to be seen, it is necessary to clear the stream of consciousness, to unload it from the need to process an endless avalanche of various objects.

How to do it?

One should reduce the experience of reality to a single neutral object. Then the stream of consciousness will acquire the level of purity and peace that is minimally necessary for comprehending Nibbana - since the concentrated mind is very close in its properties to the enlightened mind. With the only difference that in the enlightened mind defilements are eradicated, but in the concentrated mind they are temporarily suppressed, which is almost the same thing. The enlightened mind sees Nibbana, therefore the concentrated mind also has the potential to see Nibbana.

After all, it is much easier to deal with one object (on which the mind is concentrated) than with billions of objects that constantly stupefy us in the usual state.

In the state of one-object observation, it is easy to see what remains if we exclude this single object from our perception — the object on which we are concentrated.

What remains if we remove the light from the observation of the light?

What remains if we remove the kasina from meditation on kasina (see Chapter 8)?

What remains if we remove breath from mindfulness breathing meditation?

What remains if we remove the cognitive processing of internal and external objects from the ordinary experience of reality?

There will be a background on which the whole world takes place.

What remains is that which fills every moment of our experienced reality, but remains invisible to the unprepared mind.

It will remain - uncharacteristic, void and completely empty, but the only eternal and unchanging of all things.

And back again: how to behold Nibbana?

Learn to concentrate the mind. Learn to breathe mindfully.

Even 20-30 truly conscious inhalations and exhalations (here the key word - “truly”) will give a shine before your eyes. Once you see it, stabilize it by further training - and now you can transfer your attention to it and take it as an object of concentration. Stick to this light, try to keep attention on it as closely as possible (although thoughts will continue to appear - this is normal, at this stage your goal is to experience Nibbana, and not ideal concentration). Over time, you will get more or less high-quality absorption, jhana. Then gather courage, cross yourself, and metaphorically “move the jhana light to the side”. In other words, try to see what remains if this light is removed.

In fact, it will not work to remove it. But you can perform a mental experiment and realize it: what remains if you exclude the light from your jhana.

Concentration absorption techniques are aimed at driving reality into a blind corner. To a dead end. Jhana makes it possible to pin reality to the wall, to take it by the throat with a firm hand and ask in a threatening tone: “Come on, come on, where is Nibbana? Huh?! I’m asking you!!!”

There were a lot of things, there was the whole world in its monstrous diversity. And jhana extremely simplified it: only one object remained. Yet there is something else. Here is the object on which you are concentrated. And here is something else that this object is not. And nothing else. It is so simple.

Here is a fish in the water. We caught this fish and got it out of the water. Now there is no fish. And what is there?

My stock of metaphors is coming to an end. In general, develop concentration - and over time you will understand.

You will comprehend what the Buddha meant. You will have access to a full understanding of his Teaching. You will also be able to understand other devotees, yogis, hermits, ascetics, and other spiritual practitioners of the religious and non-religious traditions of the world, all those who have seen the same thing, but just called it differently…

There are many terms: Nibbana, Nirvana, Absolute, Basis, First Principles, Immortal Element, Suchness, Great Emptiness, Lord God, Supreme Brahman (not Brahma!), Primordial Tao - call it what you like.

My name is Narada. But many of my old acquaintances, as well as friends and relatives habitually call me Seryozha. Does this somehow change my core?

7. About the hard approach in some monasteries and meditation centers

Two words - don’t overstrain.

And do not even strain yourself at all if you are a beginning meditator.

You need to start slowly, smoothly, without sudden jerks. Start your practice with short sessions of 10-15 minutes. Then gradually increase the duration and daily number of meditation sessions.

But never go to the extreme, as many Buddhist institutions like to do.

I have seen people go mad because of the wrong approach to meditation practice. Do not risk your health. Madness is irreversible. This is then for life - relapses and remissions.

Our mind is like a wild elephant. To gain control of a wild elephant, it must not be forcefully submitted, but tamed. Because ravished wild elephant is a terrible, destructive element. I’ll tell you how to tame an elephant.

On the first day, just show yourself to the elephant from afar.

On the second day, wave your hand to him.

On the third day, leave food for him, and move yourself to a respectful distance.

On the fourth day, feed the elephant with your hands.

On the fifth - caress his trunk.

On the sixth, try caressing his ears and head.

On the seventh - gently hug the elephant.

And only on the eighth day you can try to ride on the elephant’s back. And whisper in his ear: "Let’s go to Nibbana, friend!"

But if you climb onto the elephant on the first day, then he can take you not to Nibbana, but to the nearest mental hospital.

The goal of Buddhist practice is to bring the highest good, and not to launch you over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

8. If you can’t experience Nibbana for a long time

You get to experience the absorption of light from the observation of the breath (i.e., there is a more or less stable one-pointedness - jhana), but you cannot see Nibbana.

You should continue to improve the skill of concentration. You can complicate the exercise and go to the practice of the white kasina4.

In the light you observe, isolate the white aspect. And fix your attention not only on the elemental light of absorption, but on the white color of this light. That is, behold the white light. Concentrate on the white color. White, white … Your object is white. The light spot of white color is called white kasina. Practice diligently in order to be able to focus you mind on the white one-object observation with equanimity. This state of your mind will correspond to the fourth jhana on the white kasina.

{There are a few more ways to practice the white kasina, but here we will limit ourselves to the above.}

Hold on to the white kasina.

Where does this white light hang?

What background is it on?

What remains if we exclude this light from your perception?

 The light is constantly changing, it is lively, mobile.

And what remains the same?

It is clear that in order to reach the jhana on the white kasina, you will need additional instructions. Perhaps these will even be required to reach the jhana on the observation of breathing (see chapters 4 and 6).

Believe me, in fact, all this is very simple. But I know for myself: in order to understand simple things, you need to ask a lot of “smart” questions.

Once upon a time I pestered all the teachers of the monastery.

9. After Experiencing Nibbana and Becoming a Stream-Enterer

It remains to finish off the internal battle finally. Go on. Continue to eradicate the defilements of the mind.

Having entered the Stream, you become Ariyan, Noble. A member of the most elite club on our planet. But, in many ways you continue to be an ordinary person. For you, little will change. Simply, you catch on - you will see Nibbana, although it is very vague, but nevertheless the essence of what is happening will become clear to you.

Maybe you will experience some confusion or even disappointment that everything turned out to be so simple …

Three more truths that are inherent in the Stream will come to you. You will be very clear that:

  1.   The Buddha’s Teaching is the truth, it is a truly effective method of clearing the mind of defilements and is a clear comprehension of the nature of reality, the principles of being.
  2.   Neither rites nor rituals clear the mind of defilements or bring you closer to comprehending the nature of reality.  
  3.   There exists no unchanging self that can be called a personality, neither in the mind nor in the body, since the body and the mind are just a set of psycho-physiological processes occurring in time and space.

If concentration meditations can be quite enough for the attainment of the Entry into the Stream, then to reach the next level - the level of the Once Returning - it is worth working with objects from the Mahasatipatthana Sutta (see Chapter 11). Meditation on the objects of the Mahasatipatthana Sutta can be called vipassana, as you wish.

After the attainment of the Entry into the Stream, the truly serious work will go on. You will see how much more needs to be done and how little time there is for that. Improve concentration, improve jhana. Go through all the kasinas, realize the non-material jhanas6. Practice objects from the Mahasatipatthana Sutta. Meditate on impermanence, dissatisfaction, and impersonality of mind and body (see Chapter 19). Continue in this way to weaken and eradicate the basic defilements of the mind: ignorance, craving and aversion. Maintain a continuity of practice up to the complete eradication of the defilements - until the achievement of Perfect Enlightenment (Arahantship) with following the final departure to the well-being of Nibbana.

This is your way of getting rid of samsaric masochism.

10. What keeps us in samsara

In samsara we are held by passion for experiencing the objects of reality, for their cognitive processing. This passion is based on ignorance about the nature of reality and its objects. This is a summary of the Principle of Dependent Origination (the basal principle of the Buddha’s Teaching) in two sentences, without breaking it up into 12 links.

How can we leave samsara?

By sustained loss of interest in experiencing the objects of reality, in cognitive processing. This loss of interest is based on the comprehension of the nature of reality and its objects.

The body and mind are just complex sets of impersonal phenomena, proceeding in a certain rhythm and experiencing permanent discomfort. It is an eternally suffering metamorphosis.

The body and mind are impermanent, dissatisfied and impersonal. All objects and phenomena of the physical Universe are impermanent, uncomfortable and impersonal.

Here is what should be clearly seen. One needs to see clearly and forever lose the interest in objects of the material and mental world, as an older child loses interest in toys. One should lose interest in being in the form of a sentient living being, because the life of all beings without exception is filled with pain.

But how to lose interest in the very “dearest” things that we have - to life and to the world in which we live?

The Noble Eightfold Path will liberate you from the drug of samsaric hardships. The Noble Eightfold Path will destroy the most terrible parasite in the Universe - your stream of consciousness, which, creeping from life to life, from body to body, continuously torments itself for an infinitely long period of time.

Comprehend the Four Noble Truths7 and accept them as the basis of your world view. Develop a desire for renunciation, non-violent thinking, loving kindness. Do not lie, do not be rude, do not insult, do not use harsh words, do not gossip. Do not kill, do not steal, do not enter into love affairs with other people’s partners. Earn a livelihood in a wholesome way that does not harm other living creatures. Be an ardent, energetic practitioner who cultivates the wholesome qualities of the mind and eradicates the unwholesome. Be vigilant, attentive, aware, alert in everyday life, practice objects from the Mahasatipatthana Sutta. Develop concentration of attention, practice meditative absorption.

All you need to find/see is within the experience of the reality of the present moment.

11. What is the meaning of objects from the Mahasatipatthana Sutta and how to practice them

The main meditation instruction of the Pali Canon was and is the Mahasatipatthana Sutta - the Great Teaching on the Foundations of Mindfulness. Observing the objects contained in the Mahasatipatthana Sutta (hereinafter referred to as the objects of Satipatthanas), you simultaneously receive a number of powerful spiritual developments that will inevitably lead to a deep cleansing of the mind of defilements.

I will try to explain here what the practice of the objects of Satipatthana gives. All the points below somehow correlate with each other. Nevertheless, there can be no other way, because in the Buddha’s Teaching everything is organically interconnected and there are no elements isolated from each other.

  1.  Watching  the objects of Satipatthanas, you try to keep your mind in a conscious, wholesome state, devoid of the usual negative patterns of thinking. A wholesome mind creates wholesome karma, which in the future will give a wholesome result. In addition, each object of Satipatthanas has a specific purpose. Thus, the mindfulness of breathing meditation helps to accumulate concentration.  Contemplation of body positions and everyday activities allows you to maintain the continuity of practice outside of sitting meditation sessions. Contemplation of the thirty-two parts of the body breaks the conceptual perception of the integrity of the body and weakens  sexual attraction. Contemplation of the four elements reveals the absolute nature of the body and of material objects in general. Nine contemplations at the cemetery indicate the abominable impermanence  of the body, as well as the inevitability of death, which adds zeal in practice. Contemplation of feelings allows you to clearly see the suffering of the mind and body, and also contributes to the loss of affection for experiencing sensual pleasures. Contemplation of the mind reveals the absolute nature of the mind. Contemplation of the  objects of the mind allows a deeper understanding of the qualities of the mind and the basic principles of the Buddha’s Teaching.

  1.  Also, by observing the objects of Satipatthanas, you observe:
    1.    impermanence  (when you turn your attention to the appearance, disappearance, and also the appearance and disappearance of objects)
    2.    dissatisfaction  (when meditating on: the stages of decomposition of a corpse in the 1st Satipatthana; unpleasant, painful feelings in the 2nd  Satipatthana; unwholesome and uncomfortable consciousness in the  3rd Satipaththana; Noble Truths about suffering in the 4th Satipatthana)
    3.    impersonality  (when you consider the objects of Satipatthana as impersonal  phenomena of nature: the body as a simple body, feelings as feelings, mind as mind, and objects of mind as just objects of the mind; when you observe non-stable, non-permanent, continuously transforming phenomena associated with body, feelings, mind and mind objects).
      Watching the impermanence, dissatisfaction and impersonality of the objects of Satipatthanas as objects of reality, you will lose interest in objects of reality. Inevitably, the attraction and attachment to them will begin to weaken - and this will take you gradually out of a meaningless samsaric whirlwind.

  1.      Our  mind cannot stop processing objects. It is like an eternally hungry cow that constantly needs to chew on something. In any case, the  mind will process something. Then it would be better if it processes  uninteresting objects from the Philistine point of view that do not anchor the stream of consciousness in the turns of samsara. Moreover, these objects have the opposite property - they gradually remove samsaric anchoring.

  1.     Тhe     objects of Satipatthanas - this is the reality occurring in the present moment, in the current "now".     Being in the present moment, you significantly increase the     likelihood of meeting with Nibbana, since Nibbana is also in the     present moment. Because besides the present moment it has nowhere     else to be.

  1.      And,     finally, carefully observing the impermanency of the objects of     Satipatthanas, you will get a chance to see that background on which     the objects of Satipatthanas metamorphose, their appearance and     disappearance occur. The body is impermanent, the feelings are     impermanent, the mind is impermanent, the objects of the mind are     impermanent. And what remains always the same? Where is this movie     playing and on which screen? What is there in your experience of     reality that never changes?     

   The eternal “is” of the present moment, the objectless presence. That’s what never changes. Because it is always.

As you can see, the Mahasatipatthana Sutta is very deep, multifaceted and multifunctional.

How to practice the objects of Satipatthanas?

It is very simple. The Mahasatipatthana Sutta is just about how to practice these objects. As it says - so practice. At first, something will not be clear, something will initially fail - this is normal, this is the Path. Just keep practicing as you can, by virtue of your understanding. Develop an individual practice method. Analyze the results, change the approaches to the objects. In general, try to derive the most effective way of meditation for you. Over time, personal experience together with a concentrated mind will put everything in its place.

Of course, if you have not yet realized Nibbana, and even more so have you not yet developed your concentration, then you can (and, sometimes, you should) ask for advice from someone who is more advanced in the practice of Buddhist meditation. However, if you are practicing jhana or even entered into the Stream, then why do you need extra mediators between the Buddha and you? Develop a researcher in yourself, striving for more and more independent and solitary practice. To practice without guides, which are so necessary at the beginning of the Path, but as you progress, they already begin to interfere and get under your feet. In this case, with words of gratitude resolutely push away their helping hand and move forward on your own, alone, like a rhinoceros.

12. Why bother with Buddhism

To free yourself from all suffering.

Many people think that they live well and even happily.

This is due to the fact that they have low sensitivity to what is happening in their minds and bodies. Properly practiced meditation sharpens perception and shows what feelings the body and mind actually experience. Then our true position becomes clear. Then it becomes clear that our true position is deplorable.

If you carefully observe your body, you will see that there is always some discomfort in it anyway. In any position. In any condition. Not to mention the torment in which we were born, how much bodily pain and illness we have experienced and how much remains to be experienced … And then - the final incarnation, for someone it will be long, for someone for a short time, but in both there are few pleasant cases.

If you carefully observe your mind, you will see that the work of the mind is a constant dissatisfaction. Processing objects of reality is uncomfortable by itself. In fact, the mind does not want to process anything, non-stop cognition is a burden to it. It wants complete peace, but it cannot get it at all, because it is burning with the flame of passionate attraction.

Being in comfortable meditative absorption, the concentrated mind processes mostly one object. This is a spiritual bliss - to observe just one object. But, over time, it becomes clear that observing-processing even a single neutral object is suffering. What then can be said about the painful mental frustrations that we experience in our life from time to time (and more often than we would like)?

Therefore, the highest happiness is when there is no processing of objects of reality. When there is no stream of consciousness.

When there is no object, there is no subject; there is no process of perception.

This is true liberation.

Nibbana. Final and irreversible extinction of the stream of consciousness. This is the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice.


Okay. Once again, I will try to describe the whole layout in simple language.

So. A human being consists of body, mind and the Immortal Element (or Nibbana). People perceive the mind and body, and, although they carry it within themselves, they do not see Nibbana.

The body is a changeable material structure to which the mind is tied.

The mind is a continuous chain of operations for the processing of objects of reality.

The Immortal Element is might call a specific medium without qualities and characteristics and is difficult to describe. It has no color, shape, taste, smell; its location cannot be designated, since it is outside the physical world. There is little that can be said about it. Nevertheless, it is in this medium that the activity of the mind occurs.

I will give an example. Imagine the sky, the endless eternal sky. And in the sky - chaos. There is a war, an air battle: airplanes, roars, explosions, loud swearing; bombs, the wreckage of airplanes and the bodies of dead pilots continuously fall down. The sky meekly coexists with all the madness that happens in it, but remains neutral and indifferent. The sky just is. So, the Immortal Element is the sky, and the mind is the nightmare that happens in the sky. The nightmare lasts from beginningless times, and even the Buddha could not see when and where that disaster started.

When a body dies, the mind goes to another plane of being or stays on the same - it all depends on karma. In any case, the mind will continue in one of the worlds. Because the mind has an overwhelming passion for processing objects of reality, it does not intend to stop this fascinating business, and even death cannot stop it. This passion is based on ignorance, because the mind of an unenlightened being does not understand, does not see the true nature of reality, but wants to live in it in one form or another. It seems to the mind that it is an immutable person, that there is a great sense in its activities, that many objects and phenomena have value and that one must necessarily participate in all this.

And if that was all there was to it, then let the mind participate.

However, the problem is that this life is filled (and sometimes it happens that it is over-filled) with pain. Different pain, very, very diverse. Sometimes just monstrous. Sometimes hellish. Sometimes, however, it becomes easier. Although it always hurts. The truth is that all these objects of reality, to which the mind is so persistently attracted, are tinsel, which are not worth a red penny. And the body with the mind is also tinsel, since they are only impermanent and impersonal phenomena of nature, which are endowed with the ability to continuously suffer.

{Here a question may arise,  “what about those who hate life and even leave it voluntarily?" Do they leave samsara after death? In this case, there is a strong aversion, which is also a form of passion with the opposite sign. Such creatures are not released from samsara, rather, on the contrary: the negative mind at the time of death is likely to be thrown into one of the lower realms. The general principle is this: if at the moment of death there are impurities in the mind, then rebirth is ensured.}

And the Buddha preached his teaching, setting two goals for himself:

1) To clarify the understanding of the nature of being, namely: there is nothing good in samsara. Nothing important, necessary and interesting, but there is a lot of suffering in one form or another. That is, there is no sense in reincarnation. Samsara - this is a trap for fools, this is a long-lasting bad trip, from which you need to go urgently.

2) To give a step-by-step method, how to get out of the samsaric bad trip, how to get rid of the eternal pain of endless rebirths.

When a being follows the advice given by the Buddha, it begins to see clearly the true nature of life, and, as a result, lose affection for it. That is, the mind, seeing all the ugliness, banality and meaninglessness of being in the form of an incarnated being, cools down to being as such and no longer gravitate to incarnation in any world. In the end, due to the Buddhist practice, the mind is purified so that after death it does not go anywhere else, in one of the worlds of samsara - rebirth no longer occurs. In terms of Buddhism, this is called going to Nibbana. The body is dead, the mind has stopped, what remains?

The Immortal Element remains - a clear sky, forever freed from the horrors of an infinitely long war.

13. What is good and what is curse

Many believe that eternal reincarnation is good, that this is good luck! We will always be reborn! What happiness!

But is it?

How much did you have to suffer in this life? And how much more will you have to suffer? What events meanly wait for us behind the turns of fate? What death awaits us? Death definitely waits for us, but what kind of death?  

Most of the representatives of humanity are waiting for a terrible end.

The leading causes of death according to statistics are cardiovascular diseases. Here we have incredible pain in the sternum of the infarction with an accompanying myocardial rupture, that is leading you to the next incarnation … Next, we have the frail stroke victim with a paralyzed body, loss of memory and speech, who leading months and years of life as a vegetable, with a bed pan, bedsores, hatred from his or her relatives, forced to care for this long-suffering bunch of flesh and bones …

The second place in causes of mortality is painful cancer. For an ordinary person to even think about cancer is scary. Not to mention being sick. Nevertheless, cancer sends many, very many, into the next life. Each of us knows of more than one or two cases of cancer among relatives and acquaintances …

The third place - diabetes. Gangrene, multiple amputations, blindness, kidney failure and other “joys” of    diabetes …

There are still many, many different deadly diseases.

In addition,  there is violent death, there is death from an accident …

{Yesterday you didn’t suspect anything, you were going to live, love, work … And then - he comes crawling out of the woodwork. He says: “Hello! I am your death. This is it, let’s go.” There is nowhere to hide, you must go, he does not listen to any objections. Of course, you always knew that this could happen at any time. However, admitting the possibility of death is one thing, but seeing the inevitable shutdown at arm’s length is another. Murder, war, terrorist attacks … man-made accidents, traffic accidents, fires, natural disasters … The daily deaths of thousands of victims around the world. Even though you have always had an inner conviction that all this can happen only with other people, but not with you. That all this is somewhere far away, on the other side of the TV screen or monitor. That you are safe. This is why it becomes so scary when one day you hear a soft, insinuating voice: “Hello! I am your death. This is it, let’s go.” It’s so wrong, so sad, it makes you nauseous … Indeed, in the very depths of your mind you intended to live forever. On a conscious level, you were counting on some kind of easy death very, very far into the future… But here - a heart-rending bummer. And now he is already here, next to you, with a cold palm holding your hand … Chaos and panic in your head … You want to live so much, but it is no longer possible - death came ……..}

Let alone death! In life, so adored by us, worse things happen than death. Because situations are possible, in which, death seems to be a blessing.

Someone will bury their only child and go mad with grief …

Do you still want to be reborn?

Do you still want to experience all this from life to life, from incarnation to incarnation?

14. How lay people who have not yet experienced Nibbana should practice

I would practice three types of meditation:

1) walking meditation

2) loving-kindness meditation  

3) mindfulness of breathing meditation or meditative absorption - jhanas (if you have reached this level of concentration).

I will give a brief explanation of each of these types of meditations.

Let’s say you have a free hour and a half. Practice walking meditation for the first 30 minutes. To do this, select a level track of 15-25 steps or more.

{Walking meditation can be practiced in an apartment - find the longest straight stretch that you can walk freely; walk along the corridor or from room to room - it is important that the trajectory is straight.}

So start walking. From one end to the other. Break your meditation into three equal parts. Use the timer. If you have 30 minutes for conscious walking, it will be three parts of 10 minutes.

The first 10 minutes walk, paying attention to what foot is in motion. If the left steps, then you must clearly realize that the left leg is in motion now. If the right steps - you should note that the right moves. Left - right, left -      right …

The second 10 minutes practice a more difficult task. Mark the movement of the foot - its lifting and lowering. When you start a step, and the foot goes up - know that it goes up. As soon as the movement of the foot goes down - note that the foot goes down. Up - down, up - down …

The third 10 minutes further complicate your observation. Here you should note all stages of the step: separation of the foot from the ground, transferring the foot (continuously observe the entire trajectory of the foot in space), contact with the ground, transferring the center of gravity of the body to this foot, then switch attention to the second leg and watch separation from the ground … Thus, consciously watch the movement of your feet.

You should neither slow down nor accelerate. Walk your usual step. Do not look at your feet. Look at the ground a few steps in front of you. From the side, you must give the impression of a person who is walking back and forth in a relaxed way and at the same time thinking of something with concentration.

Then sit down. Sit comfortably. If you can, sit with your legs crossed and your back straight but not strained. Close your eyes. Start practicing loving-kindness meditation.

Wish everyone happiness. To everyone who lives in your house, on your street, in your city, in the country. To all the people on the planet. To all sentient beings in the Universe. May they be happy! Embrace them with the warmth of your loving heart.

Here, by and large, it is not so important who is the object of your meditation - all residents of Cherkassy province or all non-humanoids from a neighboring galaxy. The quality of the loving kindness you radiate is important.

May everyone be happy. Let your wish be as sincere as possible, as if you wish happiness to the dearest, closest person. Open your heart wide open! Practice the meditation of loving kindness for 5-10 minutes.

After - start watching the breath. No meditation is easier than this. Just be mindful how you breathe. Watch as you inhale. Watch as you exhale. Observe a pause between exhalation and subsequent inhalation. Watch your breath somewhere in the nasopharynx. Don’t watch any sensations on your lips and nostrils - all these are additional and useless objects. Just track your breath as a process. Be like a little child who just knows when he breathes in and when he breathes out. You do not need anything else - just close attention to the breath, only vigilant observation of the breath as a process.

If you breathe consciously enough - you will see with your inner eye something like shine, light. Some kind of flickering, twinkling before your eyes, some kind of play of light and shadow. It may seem as though it has become brighter in the room where you are meditating with your eyes closed. Like a cloud has gone and the sun has looked out. It is not the sun, but the light of pure consciousness. Keep watching the breath. The light over time will become more stable, more clear. And here you will no longer have any doubts about its nature (see chapters 4 and 6).

When the light becomes a regular occurrence in your meditation, try to switch your attention from breathing to light. Take the light as an object of observation. Look at it. Diligently keep your attention on the light. In the end - merge with this light, become one with it. Reach the state of impartial observation of the light. Stay in this state as long as possible.

Initially, unity with the light will not last long. Maybe a minute. As you practice, you will learn how to prolong this time. Everything rests on your persistent training.

In the state of unity with the light, your perception of reality has the property of a single-object orientation, as you perceiving-experiencing-processing just one object - the light. When you achieve a more or less stable and more or less prolonged absorption with the light - try to see what is “behind this one-objectness”. What is the environment in which the light is - the only object remaining in your perception? Where is this object at all, and who is looking at it? Where has your precious personality gone? What’s left?

If insight does not come - everything is OK, just continue training.

Over time, the concentration object can be complicated by switching to white kasina (see Chapter 8). You can learn a few kasinas, or even all eight. You can go further to the non-material jhanas. In any case - continue to practice tirelessly. It’s nice to have at least two hour and a half meditation sessions daily. Use every opportunity to increase the number and duration of daily meditations. If you have a vacation - arrange yourself a secluded retreat.

Meditation practice is the only thing that is really worth spending your time on and your strength, your life.

There is no goal higher than the realization of Nibbana. So said the Buddha, so said the generations of the enlightened. So say people who practice a lot and know a lot about it.

Don’t you believe them all?

15. Responsibility

I often hear something like: “we cannot practice so much and so deeply - we have a family, children, work, old mother, young wife, no time, no money; and moreover - we need to make repairs in the bedroom, and then in the    kitchen … we are responsible! We really can’t just forget about it!!!”

Probably, as a Buddhist monk, hearing these words, I should roll my eyes and speak with a voice tired of the vicissitudes of samsara: “We had families, children, parents and many different activities in countless samsaric turns. If we do not practice diligently, countless lives (and deaths, respectively) await us ahead. And there we will also get wives, husbands, children, and everything else. And ourselves, perhaps, too, in order to justify our laziness, will begin to talk about responsibility. And when the time comes, in agony we will go to meet the next rebirth, where responsibility for a new family, new children, and a new job will wait for us again …”

In fact, the biggest responsibility that lies with us is the responsibility for our individual release.

This does not mean that you need to stop caring for your family (unless you decide to become a monk or a nun). This means that you need to properly prioritize.

Since nothing is more important than personal liberation from samsara, there cannot be any higher priority.

If you want to argue with that, then you will have to argue with the Buddha himself.

Do you know what he would say to you?

He would say: “From the absolute, true point of view, there is no family, no children, no work, not even you. There are just impersonal fluctuations of the mental-material world, which your conditioned ignorant consciousness mistakenly takes for family, children, work and yourselves.”

16. What is Buddhism

Once again going through the basic principle of being.

Buddhism in its original form is an accurate and precise instruction for the final release from the discomfort of existence. Due to the fact that every living being on any of the planes of being is doomed to experience constant pain in one form or another, only the nature and intensity of this pain changes. Often, suffering is invisible to the subject of perception, but it exists. In the happy moments of great worldly achievements and in the states of deep relaxation, and in meditative absorption, and even in deep sleep - everywhere there is a share of suffering, dissatisfaction, discomfort. Not-how-you-like-it-ness. Because there is always something wrong.

You take a breath. Why? Because being without air - bad.

You breathe out. Why? Because having this exhaust air in the lungs - bad.

Every breath is a struggle with the discomfort of oxygen starvation. Each exhalation is a struggle with carbon dioxide discomfort. Bodily life is a constantly transforming pain. The work of the mind is a continuous dissatisfaction. Being in the form of a sentient being is nothing more than the experience of torment in a wide range: from mild discomfort to such most severe conditions that cannot be imagined, but it is possible to experience it yourself. Where to go from this situation?

There is only one way out - stop processing objects of reality.

How to stop processing objects of reality?

By stopping the stream of consciousness.

How to stop the stream of consciousness?

By getting rid of the passion for experiencing the objects of reality.

How to get rid of the passion for experiencing the objects of reality?

Through deep insight into the nature of reality, which is the result of the application of the Buddha’s Teaching in practice. By gaining a clear, penetrating knowledge of the following aspects:

  •  On  the true, absolute nature of reality. Here it is necessary to  clearly see that the experienced world that comes to us through   external sensory organs in the form of a set of the simplest, elementary objects. Such as: color-shape, sound, smell, taste; plus     tactile     sensations: hardness-softness, heaviness-lightness,     smoothness-roughness, heat-cold, movement-stability. And only then, the conditioned ignorant mind in its own way processes these     elementary objects, putting them into complex images, to which it     tests for craving, or aversion, or indifference. So, for example, in the absolute sense there is no such thing as a “house”, but     there is a set of elementary objects that arise when the sensory     organs contact with the structural elements of the building. We     perceive the shape, color and hardness of the walls, the sound of     the opening door, the smell of plaster, etc. But the mind puts all     this set of elementary objects into some kind of mental phantom -   “house” that we may like, may not like, or be indifferent to. In     other words, most often we have feelings in relation to our own     concepts, and not to objective reality. The task of the practice is     to learn to see the true, absolute reality without any additional     imposed interpretations (or, as it is now fashionable to say, to go     beyond the limits of the narrative)

  • On     the Principle of Dependent Origination. This is a clear     comprehension of the fact that in the cycle of rebirths we are kept     in our passion for experiencing the objects of reality, which are  based on a false, erroneous understanding of the nature of reality.     This is a simplified, but easy-to-read interpretation. In the Pali     Canon, the Principle of Dependent Origination has 12 elements     (links), which somewhat complicates its understanding by modern minds.

  • On  the three basic characteristics     of all material and mental objects: impermanence, dissatisfaction and impersonality.

  • On  the instantaneous appearance and disappearance of the experienced   reality; and, subsequently, the constant  disappearance-dissolution-degeneration of experienced reality becomes apparent.

  • About the danger, unacceptability and disgusting samsaric being.

  • On the urgent need to forever go beyond the samsaric experiences (go to Nibbana).

  • About  the only correct view of all the phenomena of samsara, namely: an     impartial and equal attitude to the fact of their existence.
  • You  should also see that in addition to the material and mental spheres,  there is another dimension of being that is outside the physical  Universe and all thoughts about it. In that dimension, there are no objects of perception, no work of consciousness. In that dimension, there is complete peace due to the absence of processing objects with a stream of consciousness - Nibbana.

You should not practice anything special to realize all these basic milestones of Buddhist knowledge. It will be enough to practice meditation within the framework of the Noble Eightfold Path: concentration techniques, the objects of Satipatthanas and meditations on impermanence, dissatisfaction, impersonality. And everything will come by itself.

If you finally saw through the phenomenon of Nibbana - my congratulations to you! You have received the first stage of Enlightenment, you have entered the Stream. Now you will understand where you are going and where absolutely enlightened beings have gone - Buddhas and Arahants.

The departure to Nibbana is not total annihilation (as many mistakenly believe). Only the stream of consciousness lost in samsara, which has hurt itself for eternity, is annihilated. Also, going to Nibbana cannot be called a transition to some kind of eternal life (and this is also a very common misconception among Buddhists). After all, life in any of its manifestations is inextricably linked with the movement of the stream of consciousness. However, beyond the threshold of Nibbana there is no movement. There - a state of complete stasis. There - merging with the Absolute - the Purest Primary Element of reality, there is a return to the original, timeless nature of everything.

17. Is it possible to experience Nibbana without developing concentration

Theoretically possible.

To do this, you need to return to the present moment, to return to your body, to feel the body from the inside. Try to stop the internal dialogue. Take it easy. Be here and now, do not think about anything, but watch out for every moment of the present. You can close your eyes. You can insert earplugs. You can lie in the sensory deprivation chamber. That is, try to minimize the flow of incoming signals through the senses, relieve cognition. Of course, all the same, something will remain, but this will not be so much in comparison with the information flows that you process during the day at work and at home. And now, try to take away from the experience of reality in the present moment all the objects that enter through the senses. Subtract from the current experience of reality everything you see, hear, smell, taste, feel, and everything you think. Slow down the mind. Enter the silence. Feel the total peace of the termination of all formations.

If not, try again. Once again …

There is another way. Practice the objects of Satipatthanas, with an emphasis on observing the impermanence of these objects.

They appear and disappear.

And what remains always?

They are constantly transforming.

And what remains the same?

One can work with any and all objects with which our consciousness deals. See. The eyes see the one, the other, the third. Constantly a different picture. Ears constantly hear different sounds. Smells and tastes, too, always change. Tactile sensations continuously replace each other. Moreover, different thoughts come to mind, come and go.

All this is a continuous flow that we experience throughout our lives, and which, in fact, is our life. Every moment we experience carries a unique cast of reality, but we do not have time to fix it, as it immediately irrevocably    goes … Life is a continuous disappearance, permanent death of current reality, an eternal dissolution … There is nothing permanent in our perception, besides …

Besides what?

It is very important for you to answer this question.

And one more way of experiencing Nibbana dry (that is, without a developed concentration of attention). Observe impermanence, dissatisfaction, and impersonality of body and mind (see Chapter 19). And one day you will get a chance to realize: the body and the mind are impermanent, dissatisfied and impersonal. And what is always constant? In what is there no dissatisfaction? And what is impersonal, but a phenomenon common to all beings?

This question is also for you.

If you could not experience Nibbana, following the above methods (which is most likely), then you should think about the preliminary development of concentration. Concentration is the way to calm the mental storm that rages in our minds. In order to see the nature of reality complete with Nibbana, you must first restrain this destructive element; go on a clean surface under a clear sky. Then it becomes clear: where is the sea, where is the sky, and where is the sun.

Of course, to develop concentration is not easy. Nevertheless, the need to develop concentration is one of the fundamental tenets of the Buddha’s Teaching. Therefore, the reality is that the path to the highest achievement is difficult.

That’s what makes it the highest achievement.

18. Real Matrix

The real Matrix looks like this: tired Neo, Morpheus and Trinity wander under huge garlands of cocoons with thousands of human bodies. In hoarse voices, they shout into megaphones: “People! People! Urgently leave the cocoons! In cocoons - an illusion! In cocoons - the matrix! People! People! Urgently …”

People hear this call. Although they do not hurry to get out of the cocoons. They, in fact, are not going to do it.

They say: “We cannot yet. We have a family here. We have a job here. We cannot just leave it all and quit! We have a responsibility here.”

Sometimes their words drown out laughter with metallic notes. This laugh belongs to Agent Smith.


The world we are experiencing is really very simple. It is a constantly changing set of elementary objects that come through the senses: color, sound, smell, taste, hardness, softness, warmth, cold, etc. All the rest completes the conditioned ignorance. It builds up so that now it’s impossible to figure out who we are, where we live and why we need all this … Even the Matrix doesn’t compare.

The mind, based on a stream of primitive objects, is capable of creating an unimaginable number of conceptual phantoms, to which, it then either experiences attraction, or from which it tries to escape.

Absurd self-deception, is not it?

But the ignorant mind does not understand and does not want to understand this. It is attracted to the processing of fictitious and imposed reality, it clings to it - and welcome to the samsaric trap, the endless labyrinth of rebirths, where the selective horrors of life await: the pain of birth, the pain of disease, the pain of the loss of family and friends, the pain of all kinds of biographical deprivation, the pain of deaths - various deaths: light and terrible, instant and very slow, and all this is pain, pain, pain …

Tell us, why do we need all this?

In the name of what are we eternally so tormented?

Because we, the samsaric oligophrenics, like soap bubbles of common obsession? In order to be fascinated to play in a puppet show with a fatal outcome? Why not finally see this as total fraud? After all, impermanence, dissatisfaction and impersonality of mind and body are absolutely obvious truths for any mentally developed person.

Similarly, it is obvious that there is a constant updating of the picture. Each experienced moment is the emergence of a new reality with its subsequent immediate annihilation. There is a continuous frame change, an insane slideshow, incessant degeneration … This total impermanence permanently gives off physical and mental pain, but we are so used to it that sometimes we even declare some kind of happiness and well-being. The hectares of cemeteries are multiplying in a geometrical progression, and so many among us are already gone, and soon many more will go, but we persist in thinking that everything is fine. That life is beautiful.

Don’t you think that something is wrong here, that there is something to think about? Well, what happiness and well-being can a Schrödinger cat have?

There’s nowhere to hide, nothing to catch, nothing to hold … and the breath of death on the back of your neck. Samsara is suffering.

But here it is, salvation! Here it is, Nibbana! Eternal peace. No pain, no tears.

How do we get there?

Just as before. A firm treads on the Path proclaimed by the Buddha.

19. Impermanence, dissatisfaction, impersonality and how to practice these objects

Our mind and body are a complex set of interconnected processes, which are impermanent, self-suffering and impersonal.

Consider everything separately. Let’s start with the mind.

The mind is impermanent. The mind, by and large, is an indissoluble chain of moments of the mind. The moment of the mind is consciousness experiencing an object, it is a single operation to process an object of reality. That is, the mind can process only one object at a time, coming from one of the six senses. But, since the mind works incredibly fast, it seems to us that we perceive many objects at the same time (at the same time we see objects, we hear sounds, we smell smells, etc. - and all this adds up to a picture of experienced reality). In other words, our mind has a very powerful, but single-core (as in older computers) processor, in which all operations are performed sequentially, one after another. Every moment the mind processes a huge number of objects. Every moment we experience a unique state and a unique configuration of incoming data. Every moment we experience is unique; it will never be reproduced in our lives. Truly said - you cannot enter the same river twice.

So, every moment carries the original imprint of reality. At the same time, objects experienced by the mind have a transforming effect on the qualities of the mind itself. However, there are also constant changes in terms of perception and evaluation of objects. For example, parental conflicts had a negative effect on the mind quality of a small child, making it restless and irritable (there is an influence of objects on the mind). But the mind of the same person at a mature age already perceives parental quarrels differently - that over which he or she cried in early childhood, later for him or her may become the subject of ironic jokes (here the mind affects objects). Thus, we see that objects affect the mind and the mind, over time, also changes the subjective perception and evaluation of objects. At the same time, the mind is constantly experiencing an original and unique slice of reality. You can also rephrase as follows: objects constantly transform the mind, the mind constantly transforms objects, and the mind constantly processes various combinations of objects. There is a complex and continuous transformation. The mind is impermanent.

The mind is dissatisfied. The process of cognition of reality is uncomfortable in itself. This discomfort is not noticeable if the mind does not have a certain meditative preparation. Although, if you successfully practice concentration techniques, it is easy to see that even in the states of higher worldly happiness there is a certain amount of suffering. Not to mention the reactions of the mind to the vicissitudes of each and every fate, when you have to endure so many kinds of troubles for such a short life … Constant mental pain associated with aversion of the unwanted and attraction to the desired, accompanies us from birth to death. The mind is dissatisfied.

The mind is impersonal. The impersonality of the mind comes directly from its impermanence. The mind is a continuously changing mental structure where there is no room for something that can be called a permanent individuality or a constant personality. The objects of the mind change endlessly and the qualities of the mind itself change. Nothing remains exactly the same as it was before. Remember yourself as you were in your early childhood? And as a teenager? And what now? Different people. More than that, we change from moment to moment. A second, a millisecond ago, we were different. The mind is impersonal.

With the body everything is easier and more obvious.

The body is impermanent. The body is a biological wax that melts under the influence of time according to the program laid down in it. Throughout life, the body changes its shape constantly: starting with two parental cells, and after going through periods of development and decay, turns into ashes. The body is impermanent.

The body is dissatisfied. You can observe it very well when you get sick or get hurt. However, if you carefully observe the body, you can see that even in a state of pleasant bodily comfort there is always a place that is experiencing a not entirely pleasant feeling. It seems to be good everywhere, but it hurts a little here, it crushes and itches there … The body always experiences unpleasant feelings. Having a body means experiencing permanent physical discomfort. The body is dissatisfied.

The body is impersonal. Because it is constantly changing and being updated. There is a continuous exchange of substances with the environment. We temporarily build our bodies from the same chemical elements that are contained in the soil under our feet. But in our body they are just differently structured due to the converted solar energy, which allows the exchange and synthesis of substances. And then, in the final incarnation, we return all the chemical elements back to the environment. Strictly speaking, there is nothing ours in our body. All that is in our body, any part of it, any organ or tissue - all this is temporarily borrowed from the environment. Starting growth from a microscopic embryo, and having made a multiple exchange of atoms with the planet, the body eventually ceases to be a body, and becomes what it was originally - a dead mass of chemical compounds. The body is impersonal.

So, our bodies and minds are just complicated intertwining streams of suffering, they are impermanent, dissatisfied and impersonal. Why then, one wonders, are they so dear to us?

Because the ignorant mind tends to see the value where there is none.

But there is another thing - the Absolute, the Immortal Element! It is eternal and unchangeable, it is deprived of the opportunity to suffer, it is the one and indivisible Basis of all being, through which all living beings are united into one whole. And the final merger with it due to the extinction of the stream of consciousness is our only refuge and salvation!!!

{Hmmm … When it comes to the Super-Purpose of Existence, I can’t help myself from pathos … and I can’t do anything about it …}

Let us now consider how to practice impermanence, dissatisfaction and impersonality of mind and body.

Everything is simple here. Take your mind as an object and observe its impermanence. See how it changes. Observe what states it is going through. Notice how the objects of the mind change. View your mind from the perspective of the present moment and from the perspective of your life experience. Use the arguments in this chapter for impermanence of the mind. Practice as best you can. Over time, you will develop your individual approach to these objects, you will get better and better, and you will see the impermanence of the mind more and more clearly.

Similarly, observe dissatisfaction and impersonality of the mind. Practice daily and repeatedly. More is better, but avoid overstraining.

By the same principle, practice impermanence, dissatisfaction and impersonality of the body.

The meaning of the method is as follows. An ignorant mind has an erroneous basic setup. It is prone to illusory perception of itself and the body (to which it is connected) from the standpoint of constancy, satisfaction, and the presence of a self-existent unchanging personality. This erroneous setup creates all sorts of suffering and throws in more and more new rebirths. A meditator, by long and repeated contemplation of impermanence, dissatisfaction and impersonality, changes the erroneous basic setup to the true one. He changes a little at a time, but day after day he deeper and deeper rebuilds/persuades the ignorant mind, teaches it to see the reality as it really is.

This type of meditation is a great addition to the practice of the objects of Satipatthanas. Persistent attempts at insight into impermanence, dissatisfaction and impersonality of mind and body is a very important practice, eradicating the defilements of the mind, revealing the true essence of the nature of reality, as well as releasing from the burden of self-identification with ego and directly leading to Nibbana.

20. Rural cemetery

I often go to the cemetery, almost every day. We can say that these walks are part of my practice. At the cemetery, two cornerstones of samsaric life are clearly visible: the unreliability of life and the inevitability of death.

I knew many of those who left their bodies here. And some were still children. I remember them well, we studied in the same school. They were real living children of flesh and blood. The same as we all used to be. The same as our children. It’s just they did not manage to grow up …

But, if you look from the point of view of the absolute nature of reality, then they didn’t really exist, as such, in fact never … There were complex sets of natural phenomena. There were kaleidoscopes of streams of consciousness tied to constantly changing material structures - bodies. And these sets of phenomena had the names: Olya, Sasha, Alyona  …

No, they didn’t really exist.

But there was pain. There was their suffering before death. There was the grief of their parents. And this pain really existed.

A being, as a personality - never existed and doesn’t exist. But the pain, physical and mental - exists. Suffering exists. An absurd existential paradox …

And not far from the cemetery gates, before the tombstones of the Reprintsev family (father, mother and daughter), lies a large stone with an imbedded steel plate. The lines are engraved on it:

  • Passerby, you stand proudly above me,
  • On my last earthly threshold
  • But do not forget that you are earthly
  • And you are already on the road
21. What I understand and what I don’t

I understand that in criticizing the lifestyle of some people, I risk becoming the object of their resentment and even outrage. On the other hand, the purpose of the Buddha’s Teaching is not to always caress the ear for everyone. The purpose of the Buddha’s teachings is to open the eyes to the true state of things. Here I stated that I understand. I now turn to the presentation of what I do not understand.

I do not understand why many of those who call themselves Buddhists are so careless. Overwhelmingly, they are prone to self-deception, such as: “we are Buddhists, we are all-knowing, we practice something very important, which means we are already doing well”.

They have different worldly hobbies, they spend a lot of time in entertainments, they love comfort and tasty food, tend to physiological proximity, travel, and like to possess various expensive material objects.

However, at the same time, they think that they go to Nibbana.

In fact, Nibbana is on the opposite side. Nibbana is next to the fear of samsara. And in the neighborhood with aversion to being in the form of a living being. Meditating a lot and then entering into a sexual relationship with a partner is not a practice, but Sisyphean work. Attempts to get rid of attachments through meditation are incompatible with the everyday well-being of the middle class. Nibbana cannot be experienced if the path to it is not your most important life priority. Nibbana cannot be experienced if you do not live by it, do not aspire to it with your whole being. Nibbana cannot be experienced if Buddhism for you is something like a hobby.

Sometimes I hear objections, like these: “Anathapindika8 was a layman, a family man and a rich man, but he was able to experience Nibbana”.

There are three points. First: we do not know what kind of life Anathapindika led. It is possible that in everyday life he was very modest. The second point: Anathapindika was originally a spiritually mature being. Because only a pure mind with a deep understanding of the nature of the reality is capable of such generosity. Anathapindika scarified much to the community of monks; he was ready to give everything he had. Few are able to make such offerings. And the third point: the Buddha himself was the teacher of Anathapindika.  

In our case, all that we can count on is a diligent individual practice. Do not deviate from the Path. It is the truth. It is valid. Buddha’s Message is accessible and understandable. It all depends on the seriousness of your aspirations.

Do not relax. Do not think that you are fine.

Just the opposite. If you haven’t experienced Nibbana, then everything is bad, very bad. And if you do not practice diligently, it will inevitably become even worse.

After all, the thing is that the entropy of our Universe is steadily tending to infinity.


Kochubeyevka, 2019


1 Mallika is an ancient Indian queen and a worldly follower of the Buddha, who had deep faith in his Teaching. There is evidence that after her death she went to hell for seven days because she had deceived her husband.

2 The Pali Canon is a complete collection of Buddha’s teachings, written in the ancient Pali language.

3 Nibbana in Pali = Nirvana in Sanskrit.

4 Kasinas are meditative objects of the material jhanas. In the Pali Canon, eight kasinas are mentioned (and two in the Commentaries to the Canon. In addition to white kasina, there are also blue, yellow and red kasina, and also kasinas of earth, water, fire, and air. The Commentaries describe the kasinas of light and space.

5 Stream-Enterer (Sotapana) is one who realized the first stage of Enlightenment. It is followed by three more: Once Returner (Sakadagami), Non-Returner (Anagami) and Completely Enlightened (Arahant). Sotapana, Sakadagami and Anagami are intermediate stages of Enlightenment, differing in the degree to which the mind is free from defilements (there are three main types of defilements: ignorance, craving and aversion). Therefore, Sotapana first sees the phenomenon of Nibbana and acquires three specific pieces of knowledge (see Chapter 9). Sakadagami significantly weakens craving and aversion. Anagami completely eradicates craving and aversion (weakening and eradicating craving and aversion is accomplished by weakening and eradicating ignorance, since it is ignorance that underlies craving and aversion). Arahant has an absolutely clean mind, completely liberated from impurities. At the moment of his physical death, the chain of rebirths breaks and the final departure to Nibbana takes place. In other words, at the time of an Arahant’s death, his stream of consciousness disappears, since it is no longer fed by the passion for experiencing objects of samsara. After the self-annihilation of the Arahant’s consciousness stream, there remains what has always been - the Basis of Being in its pure form, without impermanent, suffering and impersonal superstructures in the form of mind and body.

6 Non-material jhanas are the four stages of higher meditative absorption, the objects of which are: the Sphere of Boundless Space, the Sphere of Boundless Consciousness, the Sphere of Nothingness and the Sphere of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception. The practice of non-material jhanas is implemented after the realization of the four material jhanas on mindful breathing and kasinas.

7 The Four Noble Truths (NT) are the fundamental positions of the Buddha’s Teaching. The First NT: suffering exists (that is, in other words: being in the form of a living sentient being is suffering). The Second NT: suffering has a beginning (by the beginning of suffering it is meant the passion for experiencing objects of reality, due to which every living being is forced to be reborn again and again). The Third NT: suffering has an end (by the end of suffering it is meant deliverance from the passion for experiencing objects of reality, which removes the being from the chain of rebirths). The Fourth NT: there is a path leading to liberation from suffering (here the path is the Noble Eightfold Path, proclaimed by the Buddha and summarized in the penultimate paragraph of Chapter 10).

8 Anathapindika - a worldly follower of the Buddha, a wealthy businessperson. In the Pali Canon, he is mentioned as the general sponsor of the Buddha and the monastic community. In life, he realized the first stage of Enlightenment - Entry into the Stream.