15.It has to be proved by oneself

It has to be proved by oneself
During the course of our practice, if we gain a clear perspective of the Noble Path, we will have faith in the Buddha's teaching. He was enlightened in every aspect of the Dhamma. All that he said is true. Dana liberates us from suffering and poverty. Morality keeps body, speech and mind calm and tranquil, it ends suffering and leads the way to heaven and finally to Nibbana. Samadhi brings joy to our hearts and transforms us into happy and peaceful people.

All these meritorious practices and the teachings on their positive results are true. Hells really exist for people who have done evil and created bad kamma due to a lack of morality. Merit and demerit are the truth which the Buddha taught. We have no confidence in ourselves but have faith in him because he had already studied, understood, put it to the test and brought it to perfection. The main teachings which he gave us were Morality, Samadhi, and Pa--a.

The following topics: the Eightfold Noble Path, Ariyasacca (the Four Noble Truths), Paticcasamuppada (Dependent Origination) and Bodhipakkhiya Dhamma (the Thirty-seven qualities contributing to Enlightenment) were realised by the Buddha when he was Enlightened.

We cannot believe in merit and evil because we do not understand our minds. Once we do, and with experience, we will develop faith and doubt will be dispelled. It is like on your first visit to Wat Sanghathan. After finally seeing the temple, you exclaim, "Oh! This is what it looks like!"

To listen to the description of the temple is not the same as seeing it for oneself. We thought that there would be a beautiful Uposatha hall, but we can only see trees ... "Is this how they live? Is this the result of past good deeds - to sit on the bare earth? ... I see! This is what it really looks like." We had painted many different pictures, but they were not like the real thing at all. Imagination is one thing, but reality is another.

The Buddha knew reality and did not imagine things. He understood heaven and hell, Nibbana, merit and evil. This understanding can be realized within ones own mind.

We still paint pictures and keep thinking, "I wonder what a hell looks like? What is a heaven like? Do the celestial beings look like the ones which were painted on the Uposatha walls? What will Nibbana be like? Will there be a crystal castle?" We still have doubts about hell, heaven, Nibbana and our own minds. These doubts slow us down and prevent us from understanding and achieving clarification.

The Truth in which the Buddha was Enlightened left him with no scepticism at all, but his audience still have sceptical minds. We have to try to practise in order to dispel uncertainty and to realize the Truth. For example, we are not sure whether sitting in meditation will bring peace ... Okay, after sitting, peace really occurs. So we are convinced and begin to accept that it is true.

During our practice, we gain clear comprehension about our own minds and our doubt disappears. As our minds contain all emotions, craving, aversion, delusion, love, hate, heaven, hell, and Nibbana, when we are aware of all these states, we will have no more suspicion. We no longer paint the pictures.

The moment we enter the Noble Path and gain Ariyaphala (the 4 fruits of the holy life), we will see things as they are. We develop clear comprehension and have confidence in ourselves that we have really seen (or experienced) Nibbana, heaven, hells and so understand that these states really exist.

Ven. Ajahn Sanong Katapunyo