Sadly most people practicing Buddha Dhamma today think attainments or Magga Phala are a myth of the distant past. Now unattainable because the Buddha is no longer around. Others think they are something that “just happens” at some point in their practice, almost by magic. Most people lack an understanding of the goal of Buddha Dhamma, what Nibbana actually means and what steps are required to progress towards it. Still others only use certain parts of the Dhamma, like taking apart a broken car and fitting them into their own car. They integrate it with contemporary disciplines like psychotherapy. These approaches are there to provide relief from mundane problems – and it works. But it is only treating symptoms (one could argue psychotherapie treats the root causes, but that depends on how far you trace the problem). Buddha Dhamma is there to solve the root problem and to solve it so that it will never arise again. This might sound like a big claim, but you’ll see what is meant by this statement as you learn more about the Dhamma. It’s not a hoax. It’s straightforward and makes sense. It is not readily apparent what Dhamma is so there is much confusion around. This is further aggravated by the fact that many people totally discard the ideas of kamma and rebirth which makes comprehending the Buddha’s message impossible. If you are interested in learning Buddha Dhamma for the sake of getting results from it and you have some hope that there might be truth to be found in it I suggest to be careful what voices about the Dhamma you take serious and which you don’t. Judge for yourself and don’t believe what people say, only because they might seem convinced of their perspectives.
I was not willing to accept that Magga Phala is a myth and I was not willing to accept the results I obtained from concentrative meditation (Goenka Vipassana) or Lovingkindness Meditation which I did afterwards. It did not get me what I was looking for. I practiced vigorously for many years. What I learned doing this is that it’s not about the volume of meditation. I can say that today, simply by partially comprehending some of the core messages of the Buddha’s Dhamma my mental peace and happiness far exceeds the mental calm I was able to “obtain” through these practices. I now practice the Dhamma by contemplation on the Dhamma (bearing the dhamma), applying it in my life when situations arise and by practicing with Kammaṭṭhānā. That’s reciting Pali (or Sinhala which is close to pali) phrases that carry a deeper meaning while reflecting on the meaning. I keep the precepts for lay people and I moderate sensory indulgence. I eat to sustain my body not to find happiness in the food that I eat. My objective is to attain Stream Entry and to progress further and later in life, when I’ve fulfilled my worldly responsibilities, ordain. I live a pretty normal life but I am aware that there is no time to waste, so I try to use my time wisely. My hope with this blog is to provide some resources and inspiration for others who are likewise taking this path seriously.
In the last few years there has been a renaissance of Dhamma in Sri Lanka. In my understanding this is due to the affinity of Pali and Sinhala (this allows for infering the meaning of words) and the utilization of old commentaries of the Tipitaka (there is a lot of material which has not been translated into english so far). I will not go into details but you can read about the historical background here.
What matters is that since I found this the Dhamma has started to make sense and the various parts of it are starting to fall into place. I invite you to peruse the resources I provide below and see for yourself. If you are dissatisfied with the Buddha’s Dhamma it might not be the Dhamma, it might just be the interpretation you have been exposed to. Here I share the resources that help and delight me. Practice whichever way you choose, following your own best discernment. May you find the way to Nibbana and know it for yourself.
1. Puredhamma which is written by Lal, a lay practicioner from Sri Lanka. This blog was my first exposure:
- Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta – Wrong Interpretations. Then here you can find an overview of posts on this topic. Also there is “English Discourses on the Three Marks of Existence” which is very good.
- Lal suggests beginning at the Living Dhamma Section, starting with this post.
- I mentioned kamma and rebirth are an integral part of Buddha Dhamma – which does not mean one has to believe such things blindly in order to learn Dhamma. See “Starting on the Path Even without Belief in Rebirth”.
2. Venerable Walassmulle Abhaya Thero
3. Dharmayai Obai.
Find a playlist of these english sermons here. This is a great resource because the venerable one’s english is very good and he explains things vividly. They are all good but it is smart to start with old ones as he builds on what has been covered before. I selected the sermon above because it is suitable to get into the matter and because it has good audio quality (some of the sermons have audio artifacts and it might be scare someone off initially, which would be a shame).
4. If you prefer reading you can check out: deeds-and-results-e-book-dharnayaiobai, written by the monk from Dharmayai Obai Monastery.
5. You can also join this private Discord group where Buddha Dhamma along the lines of the above resources is being discussed and questions answered. It is a good place.