Teaching of ThaBarWa Sayadaw U Ottamasara
Question and Answer and Dhamma Discussion
with Korean Yogi
at ThaBarWa Centre (Thanlyin)
18th October 2012
Korean Yogi : The next question is that I saw (I have witnessed that) there is no strict rules and no strict regulations in this Centre, mostly about practice and about living in the centre. When I experience in other meditation centres or sangha, they put much importance on rules or sila. So how will you say about this?
Sayadaw : It is much more important for you to do good deeds than the methods which you use. Again it is more important for you to do good deeds than all the rules and regulations. This is the reason why I give high priority and put emphasis on the most important aspects such as doing limitless good deeds continuously, practicing insight meditation in a right way, doing good deeds with the aid of abandoning power and observing sila in a right way than implementing rules and regulations in ThaBarWa Centre.
What I want to say is that I had ever encountered circumstances where they place central emphasis on rules and regulations and where the sets of rules and regulations were well implemented but people just simply ignore or do not abide by them at all.
On top of this, I had also experienced the scenario where people simply centre their best effort on abiding by the rules and regulations but weak in doing good deeds ... people merely do obligatory and limited good deeds as per the guidelines and requirements.
This is the reason why, at ThaBarWa Centre, we place central emphasis solely on doing limitless good deeds, regardless of who, what and why, be it volunteers who donate their labour for a worthy cause (labour dana), those who do and utter nothing but the best and the most beneficial things (observe sila), listening to dhamma teachings and practicing insight meditation (practice bhavana).
We centre our emphasis solely on doing good deeds only. Should we place central emphasis on rules and regulations, yes, people might become more disciplined but might put less effort on doing good deeds. They might have huge grasping on rules and regulations. Likewise, if you place central emphasis on sila or samadhi, they might have grasping on sila or samadhi.
Another scenario is that people might even think twice to join meditation retreats and thus don't even have chance to do good deeds just because of those strict rules and regulations. Since I had discovered those weaknesses as well as the immeasurable benefit accrued from good deeds, even if they have chance to do only tiny bit, as long as they do good deeds, they will be rewarded with huge benefits. I always encourage them to do good deeds freely and willingly without restraint, with full setana. It should not be the case where they do good deeds just because they are told to do so. These are the reasons why I do not implement any strict rules and regulations at ThaBarWa Centre.
Korean Yogi : Today I witnessed the passing of one yogi. Would you give short teaching about death because we are all bound to be death.
Sayadaw : I teach my yogis, disciples and those who come to ThaBarWa to practice insight meditation on how to use life in a more practical and useful way. On the contrary, I also teach them how to best make use of death ... to experience it without loba (greed), dosa (anger) and moha (delusion).
My teachings do not centre around life and death but the possible options to best make use of the situation if they are being confronted with. In general, people tend to have perception that they still have life to handle and take care of before death, they are still alive, need to take good care of life and protect it well while they are still alive, etc and thus spend so much time on these actions.
This is not the best way to make use of life. In contrast, here in ThaBarWa, all the yogis are encouraged and trained to enhance the power for performing limitless good deeds while they still have chance to do so. My teachings mainly centre around doing limitless good deeds and enhancing the power for true understanding in order to achieve maximum benefits without even taking life and death into consideration.
In this way, ThaBarWa yogis will not be confronting with the situation where they need to centre their mind on life and death. My main intention is to equip yogis with the right understanding so that they neither need to ask this kind of questions to others nor ask themselves.
Korean Yogi : The next question is why did you establish this centre? Do you have any plan for the future?
Sayadaw : The background reasons for establishing this ThaBarWa Centre is since I was one of the practicing yogi in the past, I am well aware of the requirements and difficulties which the fellow practicing yogis are facing on top of their struggles and great effort which they put in to understand dhamma teachings.
Since I was in their shoes before, their problems and requirements become mine. Since these problems and requirements are difficult to handle, I did countless of limitless good deeds, abandoned until there is nothing left for me to abandon, did all kinds of sacrifices in order for me to solve for the problems of fellow yogis.
By doing so, my difficulties and problems were solved accordingly. Due to my strong will and determination (setana) in solving others problems and difficulties as well as to establish meditation centre one day in future, I put in more time and effort in teaching dhamma and insight meditation to fellow yogis. Finally, out of sheer necessity and requirements, ThaBarWa Centre was established.
Since its establishment, without limiting the number of residents, ThaBarWa takes on everyone who seek refuge for care and attention, including those who genuinely have desire to practice insight meditation as well as those who are not at all interested in dhamma but facing health, social and financial problems.
This is the reason why ThaBarWa takes on everyone, regardless of whether they are practicing yogis or not, as long as they come here to seek for refuge, regardless of age, race, social status and health condition, we teach them the best ways to solve their problems, by doing limitless good deeds regularly and continuously. These are the background reasons behind the establishment of ThaBarWa Centre.
To be continued .....