“ DHANAÑJANI SUTTA ”
(BLACK & WHITE TUG-OF-WAR )
BY NAYAKA MYITTHA SAYADAW, VEN.U VASAVA
MAHASI MEDITATION CENTRE,
The title of my Dhamma talk today is “Black & White Tug-of-War.” Here, black and white is used as a simile for a defiled mind and virtuous mind, respectively. One’s mind is sometimes tainted with defilements and at other times is wholesome and clean. That is because one cannot give thorough attention and wise consideration when the mind is exposed to sense objects.
Incorrect observation of sense objects will create mental defilements, and correct observation of objects in their true nature will produce a wholesome and clean mind. A defiled mind is the basic cause of unwholesome deeds, and a wholesome mind is the motivating factor for all meritorious acts.
Another important influencing factor is the “Appamada Dhamma” or mindfulness. Now let us study the Lord Buddha’s admonishment of Dhanañjani Sutta so as to understand the different tendencies and attitudes of one who has properly developed mindfulness compared to another who has not.
Over 2500 years ago, during the time of our Lord Buddha, there lived in Rajagaha, the Capital of India, a Brahmin husband and wife named Dhanañjani and Bharadvaja. Though the husband was the close associate of the Micchaditthi Ascetics, the wife was the noble devotee of our Lord Buddha.
One day, the husband invited his Micchaditthi associates to his house for lunch. He forewarned his wife not to utter any word of reverence to the Lord Buddha as it was her custom to do whenever she met any trivial mishap, lest it might irritate his guests.
On the day of the feast, while they were serving the meal to the guests, the wife tripped and fell. She quickly got up, folded her hands towards the direction of Lord Buddha’s Jetavana Monastery and paid obeisance “Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhassa.” The moment they heard the obeisance of the host lady to Lord Buddha, all the Micchaditthi guests were greatly annoyed and left the house in a commotion.
Such form of uncivilized reaction was due to the unwise consideration of circumstances and unmindful nature of the Micchaditthi Ascetics, having no control over their emotions.
The husband, not having the heart to confront his wife, went to the Jetavana Monastery and projected his anger to the Lord Buddha, babbling all kinds of abusive language. Then he tried to trap the Lord Buddha with uncertain questions in the hope of insulting and defaming the Lord Buddha’s reply.
He queried thus: Oh! Lord Gotama Buddha!
- By cutting what can one live peacefully?
- By cutting what can one live without anxiety?
- Which one dhamma would you, Lord Gotama Buddha, like to annihilate?
He asked these questions with the expectation of accusing the Lord Buddha of being an unwholesome murderer, should the Lord Buddha’s answer be that one must kill the hateful person to live in peace. But the Enlightened, Omniscient Buddha answered with magnanimous compassion:
Oh! Bharadvaja Brahmin, if one is able to eradicate anger and hatred, mental defilements, by Vipassana meditation, one can live in peace and without anxiety. All the noble persons always strive to annihilate the lethal, obnoxious anger and hatred, poison-like mental defilements.
On hearing the Lord Buddha’s admonishment, he overcame the influence of anger and cooled down with a peaceful heart. He contemplated pleasantness and tranquility, and attained the insight wisdom thereby cleansing all mental defilements and he became an Arahat.
So I wish that you, all meditators, by making use of the Lord Buddha’s “Appamada Dhamma” (Satipatthana VipassanaNibbæna, deliverance from all suffering. meditation) may be able to cleanse your mind of all defilements and attain the Eternal Bliss of Nibbana, deliverance from all suffering.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!