Notes to Messages of Truth from Suan Mokkh

(All notes are added by the translator.)

Notes for A Single Bowl of Sauce

Sauce 1. Although the so-called Cold War ended a couple years after this message was dictated, nuclear proliferation is in many ways more grave a danger than it was then. The reader may also apply the Dhamma perspectives that follow to the other hot issues of today, such as global warming. (The editor has added a few parenthetical updates for this purpose.) back

Sauce 2. Kilesa are the defilements of mind (or "afflictive emotions"), such as greed, hatred, fear, and delusion, which darken, pollute, and torment the mind. back

Sauce 3. In discussing current affairs, Ajarn Buddhadāsa’s comments apply most directly to Thailand and its limited experience with democracy based on the British model. Nevertheless, he felt they also applied pretty well to the world at large. Despite his criticisms of the way democracy has played out here and aboard, he favored an unselfish, decentralized democracy as the ideal system, although he doubted our ability to actually put it into practice. back

Sauce 4. A selfish democracy seduces everyone into its corrupt value system; a selfish dictatorship cannot do so using its clumsy means of coercion. With Dhamma, he felt, an authoritarian system could encourage its people in unselfishness. (The translator, humbly, does not fully share this last view.) back

Sauce 5. This Thai idiom means to try in vain to keep the member countries in line. The dilemma is amply illustrated by the consistently selfish behavior of the permanent members of the Security Council, especially its dominant member. back

Sauce 6. Ajarn Buddhadāsa frequently spoke of the instincts and considered the instinctive sense of self to be the most basic of all. Because there is an instinctual feeling of "somebody" being or possessing or controlling this mind and body, all the other instincts have a field in which to operate. back

Sauce 7. One can only wonder what he would say to the modern temples to consumerism found in the rich countries of the world today! back

Sauce 8. Based on the more squat stupas of India and similar to the pagodas of Burma, cetiyas are the tall, round, and graceful representations of Buddhist cosmology, with Nibbāna at the peak, that Thais use as memorials. back

Sauce 9. Both terms refer to things that are obviously incomplete when missing an important part of their make up, so incomplete that they can’t perform their proper functions. back

Sauce 10. The custom of young men ordaining in order to receive a basic education and religious training has deteriorated into a ritual in most cases, and a money-spinner in some. back

Sauce 11. This should not be taken to mean that men should always be the front legs (leader), for wives made the key decisions in many families and were often stronger than their men. back

Sauce 12. This passage has struck some Western readers as sexist and offensive, and they encouraged me to cut it out. Ajarn Buddhadāsa wouldn't object if the father stayed home and the mother took on the burden of earning the family's bread. His point is that somebody must stay home and raise the kids properly, and he is honest enough to admit that women are usually the ones who do it. back

Sauce 13. The next Buddha, Sri Ariya Metteya, will usher in a world of universal loving kindness, peace, and well being. Traditionally, she is believed to be due 5000 years after the passing of the Gotama Buddha . Ajarn Buddhadāsa taught that her coming depends more on humanity creating the right conditions than on a predetermined period of time. back

Help, Kalama Sutta, Help Us!

Kalama 1. Up until the mid 1990s, this issue was a dangerous point of contention between democracy activists on one hand and the military and conservatives on the other. back

Kalama 2. Different editions of the Tipitaka name this Sutta differently. back

Kalama 3. By the Venerable Phra Mahasamanachao Kromphraya Vachiraya Nyanarorot, the Supreme Patriarch at the time who modernized Buddhist texts and education in Thailand. back

Kamma in Buddhism

No footnotes.

Nibbana for Everyone

Nibbana 1. "Dyeing cats for sale" is a Thai expression similar to "window dressing," to dress up something shabby and inferior in order to trick the customer into buying it. back

Nibbana 2. Mahaparinibbana Sutta, D.ii.106. back

Nibbana 3. The Solasapanha make up the final chapter, Parayana-vagga, of the Sutta-nipata, Khuddaka-nikaya. In many of the verses, the Buddha emphasizes conquering and going beyond death. He never speaks of seeking it out as some kind of salvation or end of suffering.  back

Nibbana 4. Thais, Burmans, and Khmers all claim this name as their ancient heritage. Ajarn Buddhadasa’s point can apply to all three. back

Nibbana 5. Digha-nikaya (Long Discourses), Sutta #1. back

Nibbana 6. In this and the other articles of this book, Ajarn Buddhadasa is not saying that these refined meditative states need to be experienced. Rather, he is using the traditional terminology to illustrate how the flavor of coolness pervades all the Dhamma teachings and is therefore immediately available to us all. back

Please, Let's All Be Buddhadasas

Dasa 1: Paticca-samuppada (dependent co-origination) is the law of inter-dependent, mutual causality that shows how everything depends on other things as causes and conditions, especially suffering and the way out of suffering. back

Dasa 2: He later spoke of these insights as "the nine eyes." They are explained in more detail in Mindfulness with Breathing: Unveiling the Secrets of Life (Wisdom, Boston, 1998) and elsewhere. back

Dasa 3: Ajarn Buddhadasa liked to refer to this popular belief, emphasizing that this Buddha would appear when we practiced appropriately and not merely after a certain number of years (popularly believed to be 5000 since the passing of Gotama, the Buddha of this era). back

Dasa 4: These various worlds and kinds of beings are mentioned throughout the Suttas, and are chanted every morning in Thai temples:

Yo imam lokam sadevakam samarakam sabrahmakam
Sassamanabrahmanam pajam sadevamanussam
Sayam abhinya sacchikatva pavedesi

Who for this world, including the worlds of benevolent, tempting, and godly beings,
For the benefit of all beings, seekers and sages, celestials and humans,
Has through supreme insight realized and revealed the final quenching of dukkha. back

Education Critique

In progress ...