Essentials of Dhamma Practice

Report by Stephanie Chua.

Bro. Tan leading Nalandians on an investigation of the essentials of Dhamma practice.

“What is all this practice for?  What are we trying to achieve in our Dhamma practice?”  On Sunday 11 June, Bro. Tan led Nalandians on an investigation of the essentials of Dhamma practice – to maintain purity, simplicity, and seclusion.

Bro. Tan quoted “Simile of the Cloth” (from Vatthupama Sutta, MN 7) to describe the need to free the mind from impurities.  Suppose a clean piece of cloth was dipped in coloured dye, it would look well-dyed and pure in colour.  Similarly, when the mind is undefiled by impurities such as covetousness, ill-will, and conceit, wholesome purity may be expected.

When we speak of purity, we refer to purification of bodily, verbal and mental conducts.  This purity extends to our subtlest intentions.  Our conducts are gradually purified through practising precepts, maintaining sense restraint, observing Right Livelihood, and proper using requisites in life.

Purity is achieved when defilements are destroyed with wise attention.  When one attends wisely, unarisen defilements do not arise, and arisen defilements are abandoned.  For example, an individual who have just taken his meal, upon encountering his favourite food, may be filled with craving.  But by applying wise attention, he abandons the craving by contemplating the true nature of impermanence in the food, taste, and sensual pleasures. Without this wise attention, defilements will take control of him.

Bro. Tan urged Nalandians to live by the Four Principles of Living in order to maintain purity in our Dhamma practice.  We are grateful to him for sharing with us the essentials of Dhamma practice. May we strive on heedfully and purposefully.  Sadhu anumodana!