According to the translation of 227 precepts, I read, as appeared in Vinaya-pitaka (Norm-Discipline), they are to facilitate virtuous behavior in order to get parted from the mundane world, to be mindful and composed, as well as to abandon usual habits. Based on severity of offense, three levels of violations of discipline are categorized into different divisions. For Major Offense (Parajika), a serious offence involving expulsion from monkhood, there are 4 articles as follows,
1. Sexual misconduct 2. Stealing 3. Killing 4. Show-off of extraordinary attainment (that have not)
As you can see, article 1 in the Parajika – sexual misconduct is opposed to abstain from sexual misconduct where this discipline is meant to keep the monks directly away from the mundane world. Craving is the cause of suffering. It drives an action. Sexual intercourse and lust have caused addiction. Struggle and agony are an effect when not getting what is desired.
I spoke with a monk that, in observing chastity, which article is the most difficult to maintain virtue. The answer is sexual misconduct. Because when the mood arises, it is a feeling of desire, struggling and difficult to restrain. But for those who practice Techo vipassana or other powerful advance vipassana meditation will immediately be conscious to control the mind.
In an Ecclesiastical Offense division (Sanghadisesa) entailing initial and subsequent meeting of the Sangha which is less severe. It is still under the regulation on entangled in women and fall under the other divisions of sexual misconduct regarding the non-renunciation to prevent the mind from taking possession and greed.
Minor Offenses category (Pacittiya) is an offense entailing expiation to compose oneself, such as prohibiting from casual swimming, putting oneself far away from women such as do not preach privately to women. Moreover, there is also a discipline for self-composed in sitting, eating, such as not laughing loudly in the house, having line of sight down when sitting in the house. In the Meal Connected Discourses recommended to receive alms with respect by looking at the alms-bowl while receiving alms, not making the rice bundle too big, not putting the whole hand in the mouth while eating, not making noise out of the mouth while eating.
In the Dhamma Preaching division, do not preach to those who are sitting and not sick while standing. While walking behind, do not preach to those who are not sick and being in front, etc.
All 227 precepts are for the training to be conscious in order to get rid of familiarity and to be away from mundane habit that tight the mind in samsara. Those who can practice this must be 20 years of age and must be male… Being awaken householder is a fact, not an advantage.
But in terms of the progress in Dhamma, it is a disadvantage which leads to damage because life will expose to wordly behaviors; sit and sleep in soft bed, laugh loudly, do whatever you want, live without consciousness, and don’t realize your status. All of these can lead to spiritual downward. The mind will be lifted up only when rigorously training in meditation retreat. But when going out to normal life, it is often that your mind will be declined if you do not keep the precepts and do not keep on practicing. The only advantage of being seculars is that laypeople can make living to support their families and to do public activities with agility. If you carry such tasks while being in monkhood, you will be criticized. The so-called “male senior student”, a layman who can have lower worlds’ doors closed, shall not hold on to secular life without even thinking to get ordained at least once. Covering yourself with yellow robe will make you become genuine monk both physically and mentally. For those who have not reached the first stage of enlightenment – Sotapanna – you are called conventional Sangha, meaning you are assumed to be monk under the practice of 227 precepts. It is an opportunity to practice strict morality which enables you to become closer to noble monk and reach nirvana path… Seculars who wish for Nirvana should not be men who have never possessed the yellow robe. To possess the robe means that the mind is ready to completely give up worldly life for a period of time to be a child of Buddha. A person who has been chased by karma but still has a chance, when he is ordained as Buddhist monk, he will find a way to survive and continue to live. It is because being in monkhood is to block oneself from mundane life completely. We are born by the power of worldly current. So when the mind are out of mundane path by relying on Lord Buddha, the ultimate head of Dhamma world, the current of heavy karma of dead is out of reach. So the karmic current stops temporarily and cannot get across due to Buddha’s perfections. And when you seriously practice under strict Dhamma-Vinaya, new bad karma will not take place while old karma is cleansed quickly. The karma that shortens lifespan will be eliminated respectively. The merit from ordination will increase. Hence, ordination is to break the karmic cycle and to obtain additional merit…Over eight years of my Vipassana teaching with the reaffirmation that laypersons can attain enlightenment, I come to realize that fact that the way the laypersons practice don’t deserve to attain Dhamma or to achieve their wish for liberation. Some take advantages from Buddhism, spending the life pleasing themselves so much in mundane path without realizing negative impact to their minds and to their status as child of Buddha. Although it is difficult that conventional surroundings make us to be additive and forget our status, how many mistakes in life we can make? If we are determined and honest to our wish to Nirvana, we should know that we have to change habit. We must keep absolutely practicing mindfulness and consciousness, being composed, seriously training yourself, and perfectly observing five precepts. If sometimes we have to get involved in mundane world, we must act as if we are a lotus that is not getting dirty by mud. We must walk on the middle path and not cause frustration to others. Do not go over the boundary of precept and remain composed…I couldn’t mention that the mistakes this time would be the last one. I believe that as long as the laypersons with ultimate wish do not seriously practice still, there will be mistakes again. However, the one who have no time left for recurring mistakes is myself.
I try my best in every way to maintain my physical body as long and normal as possible. I even got vitamins injected in my blood vessel to boost body strength prior to teaching Vipassana meditation twice. But I think this is not the right ways to resolve the problem because after teaching the course for two days, my energy got depleted to original level. Once the object getting repaired, it would not have similar energy level to original one. According to my medical report after I went for thorough blood check as my body got exhausted, it shows the red blood cell is lower than a normal range and the iron level is deficient. I did not tell a doctor the reason that the thinness of red blood cell is due to I burned my body (Sankhara) to teach dhamma. As there is no impurities in my mind, what I burn is actually my own energy to support student’s minds…I would like to ask all senior male students who still have faith in the path to set your mind firmly to be ordained as monk once any time soon in order to obtain monastic behavior from preceptor to seriously practice, to realize the path of Buddhist monk, and to be the truly child of Buddha once in a life time. You don’t have to get ordained for the extension of my lifespan but do get it for the sake of yourself. Do it so that your minds appreciate dhamma, be conscious in status of mind, and be conscious strongly in gratitude toward Lord Buddha. Since being born as a man, what are you waiting for? …Thank you to all the female students who are committedly to get ordained as renunciants (nekkhamma) in order to extend my lifespan. It is as worthy of being born in the maternal gender who can give up happiness when the time comes. Mothers, when they are giving birth is the time of life and death event.
Thank you to all the male students, both Anapanasati and Techovipassana who are concerned about my physical formation, are willing to get ordained as monks or nekkhamma, and are meditating for me. For those who are voluntarily ordained to extend my lifespan, whether it be as monks, when you verbally ask permission to get ordained from your parents; do ask for your parents to be part of the merit from this ordination which helps to prolong Buddhism. Just by someone seeing you donned in the saffron robe, that is how you help to keep the wheel of Dhamma in motion so that Sangha (monastic community), one of the Triple Gems of Buddhism, can still exist. Dedicate the merit from this ordination which helps to sustain Buddhism to your parents. While the merit from the practice of observing the precepts and meditation is for the Master’s life extension. The same goes with those who will be ordained as nekkhamma. As the practice of observing the eight precepts of nekkhamma is also considered to be the prolongation of the Buddha’s teachings.
Thank you for your concerns and I’d like to express my appreciation for what you’ve done. May you advance in Dhamma until reaching Nirvana.
Master25 September 2019**Within tonight or at least tomorrow morning, the number of candidates who are willing to be ordained as monks will be announced. The Master allows to reduce the period of monastic ordination to 20 days, in case of difficulty in taking long work-leave.
Translator: Samroeng Thongrong, Tarinsiri Deemongkol, Wisuwat Sutthakorn, Suda Kanthagowit