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A Vague Wish

Vipassana Meditation Master Acharavadee Wongsakon

“If we want to be successful in either worldly or Dhamma life, we must possess the Four Qualities of Accomplishment (Iddhipāda), namely, will, effort, thoughtfulness, and examination.”

As New Year arrives, many people will make a New Year resolution – a promise you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something harmful.

Actually, all wishes for worldly success fall into Eight Worldly Conditions, namely, gain and loss, fame and disgrace, praise and blame, and pleasure and pain.

Having a wish is a motivation for life, not a craving. In fact, it helps us set goals so that we can live our lives in the right direction. However, we have to be prepared if our wish does not come true. That’s the way for us to understand the meaning of impermanence.

If we want to be successful in either worldly or Dhamma life, we must possess the Four Qualities of Accomplishment (Iddhipāda), namely, will, effort, thoughtfulness, and examination.

Will is the intention to do something. For worldly matters, we can also call it passion. In Dhamma, it means a flair for something. If we are interested in something, we will want to learn more about it and train ourselves for success. On the contrary, without such a feeling, we may not want to continue doing something, and give up easily when faced with obstacles. This feeling is actually deep-seated in people’s minds from their past lives. For example, if one was a cook in a past life, you will love cooking in this life and cook very well.

It’s the same for Dhamma. Those who were soldiers in their past lives are brave, straightforward and disciplined in this life. So, when they want to practice meditation, they prefer the Four Foundations of Mindfulness with the Techo Vipassana method. The principle of this practice is to focus the mind in order to ignite the fire element to destroy Kilesa until the mind is purified and gradually attains Dhamma wisdom. With perseverance, they will eventually attain enlightenment. This method of practice requires the strong and stable mind of a warrior. Therefore, those who were soldiers in their past lives and dislike continuously practicing and reciting words, will like Techo Vipassana practice. This is the importance of will. Having will leads to effort. When you know what you like, you will persist with your best effort until you become successful.

Another two qualities for success are thoughtfulness and examination. Both will enable you to continue learning and developing yourself until you finally achieve your goal.

However, success in the worldly life will decline and eventually end. But in Dhamma, the ultimate wish is to end suffering in life and reach Nirvana, which is the state of no more decline.

Those who live a happy life and never face any crisis will not understand why it’s so important to end suffering. But once they are in trouble, for example, under lockdown, or a 14-day quarantine, or lose their business due to the Covid crisis, they will become extremely depressed. So, we must understand that when we are happy, we have to be prepared for sadness that may come at any time. If we possess fortitude in the face of adversity and are prepared to restart, we will find happiness again.

There are two sides of worldly life – good and bad, and happiness and suffering; these are endless. Therefore, those who have Dhamma wisdom will only wish for Nirvana as they do not want to be reborn to struggle ever again in the cycle of birth, old age, sickness, and death.

Do not push forward for whatever you wish until you forget the true meaning of life. Always remember that no one can escape death. Although you must fulfill duties in your life, you have to spend time practicing meditation, otherwise, it means you are careless. Being born human is the great privilege for you to walk the path to end suffering. For this reason, do not indulge in worldly pleasures until you forget to cultivate your perfections to reach Nirvana. Those who never really wish this ultimate goal will feel their lives are imperfect. No matter how successful they are, they will not be truly happy.

If you do not know the final goal in your life, then wish for Nirvana. This is the way to completely end your suffering and bring infinite happiness. Nirvana is true happiness, absolutely free from impurities or Kilesa. This is the Buddha’s teaching.

It’s never too late to make this wish. The first step is to sit in front of a Buddha image and say a prayer with determination to perfectly observe the five precepts. In this way, you will close the door of sin in your life. Without new sin, you will only have to repay the old sins previously committed. At the same time, keep performing virtuous deeds and, ultimately, practice Vipassana meditation to purify your mind. Then, eventually, you will attain enlightenment.

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