The book here translated—as it stands, it was perhaps composed more than two thousand years ago—sets forth a method intended for the guidance of those who already know intellectually the Buddha’s teaching and want to explain his utterances. It is not a commentary but a guide for commentators: it deals with scaffolding, not with architecture. Its name, Nettippakarana, means ‘guide-treatise’, but the translation has been called, more simply, the Guide.
The original inspiration for this book goes back to early 1991, when Charles Hallisey invited me while staying in Chicago to write a long chapter on Pali literature for his planned “Handbook of Theraviida Literature”. When that plan did not materialize, I decided to publish the section on Pali literature separately.
This book was written ten years ago. It was originally intended for the beginners and meant to be a general survey of the Buddhist situation, not a scholarly treatment in depth of the matter. Only parts of it have been published by Mahachula Buddhist Sunday School for classes in “English Lessons on Buddhism.” The rest, remaining for years in manuscript, have tended to creep out of the author’s mind as he has for long been preoccupied with other writings.
In this book, the Venerable Author, formerly an Assistant Lecturer in Pali at the University of Sri Lanka,
Peradeniya, drawing from his broad knowledge of the Buddha’s teachings, sheds new light on a perennial problem of philosophy, indicated in the title, Concept and Reality.
The testimonies and recollections we have managed to gather here come from many sources, including fellow senior monks, who go back to his early years, attendant monks who knew him towards the end and lay disciples whose lives were changed by their encounters with him.
The decision to write a book came about a year and a half after my first meeting with the Sri Lankan teacher Pemasiri Thera. He is the abbot of ”Kanduboda Sumathipala Na Himi Senasun Arana”, a meditation centre near the city of Colombo. Bhante Pemasiri has trained thousands of yogis from all over the world and is a legend in his own country, where he is held to be a successor of the renowned Burmese meditation master Mahasi Sayadaw.
The work is compiled in accordance with classical Buddhist division of the path into the three stages of virtue, concentration, and wisdom, culminating in the goal of liberation. It is widely believed that the Vimuttimagga may have been the model used by Buddhaghosha to compose his magnum opus, the Visuddhimagga (Path of Purification), several centuries later. The older work is marked by a leaner style and a more lively sense of urgency stemming from its primarily practical orientation.
Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa composed the Visuddhimagga in the early part of the fifth century. Bhikkhu Ñanamoli was ordained as a monk in Sri Lanka, where he spent 11 years living in a monastery and translating the texts of the Theravada Buddhism into English. He was the author of The Discourse on Right View, Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, and The Life of the Buddha.
This is a beginners’ handbook for awareness development according to the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. I have compiled here a set of instructions from my own personal experience that I have heard, read, written and taken into memory from the Tipitika and other Buddhist texts. I have received instructions from Meditation Masters of the Vipassana Lineage that I have directly and intensively put into practice. Vipassana Meditation Grandmaster Dr. Bhaddanta Asabha Mahathera was my kalyanamittata who gave instructions and interviews with good results.
Pemasiri Thera gave these talks in August, 2010 at Sumathipala Na Himi Senasun Arana in Sri Lanka. Pemasiri Thera speaks only Sinhala, and I speak only English. I thank the translators for exerting great effort in rendering Pemasiri Thera’s Sinhala into lucid English—a difficult task.
While most yogcivacara material studied to date is fiom Cambodia, evidence of the tradition is widely dispersed, in Laos and northern Thailand, as well as central Thailand and Burma. It is even found in Sri Lanka to a limited extent. However, it is difficult to ascertain the true historical extent of the tradition, since its history has been obscured by the vagaries of the past few centuries.
First published in 1888.
Registered as a Newspaper in Sri Lanka.
Published by the Colombo Young Men’s Buddhist Association.
That ability was possessed by many, even before Lord Buddha came into being. That has nothing to do with Buddhism. That is an ability that some people get from their births. Even some animals have such abilities. Many deformed men have such abilities. Only thing, when they speak of such things, nobody believes them. Buddhists who look at this with Dhamma in mind these abilities ~ see that they are of no value whatsoever. Those who haven’t studied Dhamma consider these abilities as great. When someone writes about supernormal abilities, these abilities become a big story. But looking at these abilities from a Dhamma point of view, they have no value at all.
Talks of Venerable Pemasiri Thera, a Buddhist monk, with his Canadian student David Young about practical aspects of Buddha Dhamma at the Sumathipàla Na Himi Dhama Center in Kanduboda (Sri Lanka).