The Manual of the Four Noble Truths
by Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw | 1903 | 11,997 words
The Catusacca-Dipani The Manual of the Four Noble Truths By Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw, Aggamahapandita, D.Litt. Translated into English by Sayadaw U Nyana, Patamagyaw of Masoeyein Monastery Mandalay Edited by The English Editorial Board Note to the electronic version: This electronic version is reproduced directly from the printed version the te...
The five groups of existence corporeality group and mental groups of a cultivator burden him by sankhata, santapa and viparinama every month and every year.
1) Sankhata dukkha: In cultivating the lands and consuming the yearly crops, firstly the trouble of tilling the lands, sowing the seeds and looking after the plants burden the cultivator by way of sankhata.
2) Santapa dukkha: The trouble of looking after the standing crop, reaping the harvest, threshing corn, storing the corn in the granary, guarding the granary, disposing of the corn thus stored, living on the sale proceeds of the corn, sustaining such evil actions as lobha, dosa, mana, issa and macchariya--all these burden the cultivator by santapa.
3) Viparinama dukkha: Moreover, he is burdened by viparinama daily when he has to consume his wealth, thus reducing the amount. Here, one may argue: 'Only the destruction of property by fire or water should be termed "burden". The gradual decrease of wealth owing to expenditure should not be termed a "burden". This is an argument advanced by bitterly ignorant persons. If the crop thus acquired by the cultivator be permanent, i.e. it can never become less and exhausted, his one year's labour would be sufficient to maintain him peacefully for the rest of his life. Thus he would be free from the trouble of tilling the ground again, etc. He would even have an opportunity to live his whole life spending his time in practising the Buddha-Dhamma and thereby attaining a great deal of supramundane benefit. As it is, the crop is not permanent, but impermanent. As the crop becomes less and exhausted due to daily usages he is reduced to poverty and dire straits. For that reason, when the next rainy season starts, he has to take the trouble of tilling his land, cultivating it. In this manner he will have to continue from year to year till he becomes old and dies at last. Although he has obtained the opportunity of 'becoming a man', which is a rare opportunity, as he has no opportunity to hear the Buddha-Dhamma and practise it, he misses the chance of reaping supramundane benefits. There is no way out for those foolish people who are entangled is such worldly pleasures as these destructible and impermanent things which can never lead one to the state of permanent happiness.
Wise people regard all these as 'unsatisfactoriness of life', because one has no chance to escape from the sphere of suffering; has not found a way out, has to encounter such suffering in his future births, has no opportunity to practise the Buddha-Dhamma in this present birth and has to take the trouble of tilling the soil, etc. To these wise people all are the same, whether one loses his property by spending for himself or by its being destroyed by fire or water. Ultimately they regard the sensuous pleasures found in the world of men, the planes of devas and Brahmas--in the thirty-one planes of existence as unsatisfactoriness of life.
Those foolish people who have no such kind of understanding would feel sorry if their properties were destroyed by fire or water, because they could not use them for themselves, but they would not be sorry if their property lessened owing to their own expenditure according to their will and pleasure. They would feel quite satisfied with that. So long as one's heart does not burn at such wastage and deterioration, one will never have a chance of escaping such suffering. Only when one's mind is moved at that, will one have a chance to do so. Then only will one be able to realise the groups of existence found in the world of men, the deva plane and the Brahma plane as sufferinng, and not otherwise. Only if a person clearly discerns the various grades of advantages enumerated above, will he be able to realise as suffering all the days, months, years and world cycles he has wasted in many of his past existences without reaping any benefit, just like throwing water into the sand. This is the answer to the argument.
The above is the exposition how the crops which are produced and exhausted yearly burden a cultivator in three ways: sankhata, santapa and viparinama.
Relying on this principle, discriminate and understand how a being is burdened by various kinds of suffering for days and months continuously. Ponder over the matter and understand how in this cosmos, earning wealth for one's livelihood and spending money on food and clothing are burdening in three ways. Extend this to the cases of men, devas and Brahmas who have enjoyed sensuous pleasures in their respective planes, by virtue of their having done wholesome volitional actions in respect of gifts, morality and mental development in wandering in samsara.