Universal Goodness is the basic guide for proper physical, verbal and mental conduct. Whoever practices it can expect to meet with happiness and prosperity regardless of his gender, age, race or creed. The reason is that the practice of Universal Goodness keeps the mind of its practitioner bright and clear: the state of mind which is conducive to happiness.
To realize its full benefit, Universal Goodness must be earnestly and regularly practiced until it becomes a habit, a virtue and a moral code to live by. Universal Goodness comprises five aspects as follows:
These five aspects of Universal Goodness or UG-5 should be conscientiously incorporated into one’s daily routine. Universal Goodness is easy enough to practice, but it yields a tremendous benefit for its practitioners and everyone concerned. Earnest practitioners of Universal Goodness can expect to meet with happiness, prosperity, wish fulfillment and ultimately, the attainment of the Path and Fruit of Nibbana. The reason is that the five aspects of Universal Goodness is the foundation of every type of creative work and every level of goodness.
The quotation cited above is part of the teaching givenregularly by the Most Venerable Phrarajbhavanacariya (Luang Por Dattajeevo) to the business people, the general public, the civil servants, soldiers, policemen and the politicians who understand the importance of merit accumulation and Perfections pursuit for the attainment of the Uttermost of Dhamma. He teaches practicing Buddhists to pay attention to Dhamma lectures at the temple, to put their home in good working order, to help out at the temple, and to practice Universal Goodness wherever they are.
The reader is hereby urged to practice Universal Goodness and witness its wondrous powers for himself.
Academic Department, Pandit Ashram
April 22, 2015
Part 1 Some Overlooked Facts
There are three facts in life which are generally overlooked as follows.
1. Human Beings Are Born With No Self-Knowledge
It is rare indeed to find a human being that possesses self-knowledge. The reason is that the human body is made in such a way as to force its owner to constantly look outward instead of inward. One sees other people’s faces but never one’s own. Therefore, one tends to criticize other people but never one’s self.
If one routinely observes the Precepts and practices meditation in order to keep one’s mind calm and quiet, one may not succeed in seeing one’s face, but one will certainly be able to observe more and more clearly what sort of a person one is. Regular observation of the Precepts, chanting and meditation practice help one to keep one’s mind expansive, light, relaxed, happy and calm. With such a favorable state of mind, one is more likely to be far removed from such causes of gloominess as greed, anger, ignorance, alcohol, cigarettes, and other causes of ruin. It can greatly improve one’s outlook in life. It enables one to forgive others more easily. It
helps one to become better at finding other people’s good points. Most importantly, it enables one to become better at knowing one’s self.
1.1 Where did one come from? Why is one here? Where does one go after one dies?
These three questions can stump even the most intelligent person on earth. On the day of one’s birth, one has no idea who one is and where one came from. When one goes to school, one learns that one lives on earth and that the earth is a planet which orbits the sun. The sun, in turn, is the center of our galaxy. But the answers to such important questions as why is one here, how will one die, when will one die, where will one go after one dies, will one be reborn on earth again, etc., still elude one.
In spite of the fact that human beings have no knowledge about the self, very little efforts have been made toward the search for self-knowledge. Ironically, considerable efforts have been made to finding answers about things that are outside of the self.
1.2 What Constitutes a Human Being?
Each human being consists of two main parts: Body and mind. The human body is made up of earth, water, wind and fire. These four primary elements come together to form the major and minor organs of the body. The human mind is made up of the cognitive element which is a refined element. Hence, it is invisible to the physical eyes. The human mind has a habit of thinking a myriad of things. It changes from one thought to another very quickly. It can think up to 100 thoughts in a short time. It has the tendency to dart from one thought to another without completing any. In other words, it has a habit of wandering and roaming all over the place. It darts here and there and everywhere in a haphazard manner. It is restless.
2. Birth Is Accompanied By Suffering
As soon as an infant leaves its mother’s womb, it lets out a loud cry. The cry signals the fact that it is suffering. And from that day onward, suffering becomes a part of its life. During the last moments on earth, a person may suffer so much physical discomfort that he rolls his eyes straight up and back into his head while he takes his last breaths. Birth is accompanied by suffering. Life on earth comes with suffering. Death comes with suffering. It was because the Lord Buddha realized these facts that He decided to take up the religious life in order to search for the way to put an end to suffering once and for all.
Some Overlooked Facts
1. Human beings are born with no self-knowledge
Where did one come from?
Why is one here?
Where will one go from here?
Ignorance of one’s life-goal causes one to live life incorrectly.
2. Life is marked by suffering
One suffers inside the womb; one suffers outside the womb.
Since one’s birth, suffering becomes a part of one’s life.
One does not know when one will die, where one will die, how one will die, how much one must suffer as one lays dying, what happens after one dies, etc. It is because one is completely ignorant of these things that one fears death.
3. Birth Is Accompanied By Dirtiness
As soon as a newborn emerges from the womb, it is bluish, covered with blood and cream-cheesy glop, and looks as though it has just been in a fist-fight. (Source: KidsHealth.org) The human body is naturally dirty because it is formed by the four primary elements which are themselves impure. The four primary elements, in turn, form the cells in our body. Since the four primary elements are impure, the cells in our body are also impure. Every minute, 300 – 400 million cells in our body die and have to be replaced by new cells. The process makes our body dirty. Anything that comes into contact with our body becomes dirty. The food we eat may look appetizing enough but after it enters our body, it turns into gaseous, liquid and solid wastes within 24 hours. These waste products are smelly, dirty and repulsive.
The cells in the body of an infant die at the rate of 300 – 400 million cells a minute, and they are replaced by 700 – 800 million new cells. By the time one reaches middle age, the rate of cell death and the rate of cell replacement are roughly equal. After that, the rate of cell death outweighs the rate of cell replacement. The aging process, however, starts as soon as one is born.
The Lord Buddha saw and knew these facts with His supernormal insight long before the invention of the microscope. He could see how each human being was like a walking corpse.
The human body discharges dirt in the forms of dandruff, ear wax, eye dirt, boogers, saliva, sweat, urine and feces. Everything about the human body is dirty. The only clean thing that can be said about the human body is the wholesomeness that one has endeavored to perform throughout one’s lifetime. Every one of us contributes to the overall dirtiness of our planet. Therefore, it behooves every human being to purify his body, word and mind so that he will have time for altruistic endeavors.
3. Dirtiness is a part of life
A newborn is completely covered with blood and cream-cheesy glop.
About 300 – 400 cells in our body die every minute. Therefore, everything that comes into
contact with our body becomes dirty.
Every form of body waste is dirty.
We must know this fact about our body so that we can hasten to purify our body, word and mind.
The Three Facts Which Are Generally Overlooked:
1. Human beings are born with no self-knowledge.
2. Life is marked by suffering.
3. Dirtiness is a part of life.
These were the three facts known to Prince Siddhattha just before he took up the religious life. These facts motivated him to practice meditation until he was able to attain Self-Enlightenment, and through the process, he was able to penetrate the truth about all things.
Part 2 Life’s Limitations
Besides the three facts generally overlooked by human beings, there are life’s limitations that bring about a person’s daily hardship.
1. The human life is sustained by the four necessities of life. These include:
It is because human survival depends on these four necessities of life that we must earn a living so that we can have the money to buy them.
Each of the four necessities of life is accompanied by many related factors as follows.
Clothing: Each article must be cut and sewed. After it is worn, it must be washed, dried, ironed, etc.
Food: It requires cooking, condiments, kitchen equipment, refrigeration, cabinets for storage, plates, bowls, silverware, table, chairs, dish washing liquid, kitchen sink, etc.
Shelter: It requires furniture and other household items.
Medicine: It includes all kinds of medications, first aid kit, a wheel chair, etc.
It is true that life is sustained by the four necessities, but these four necessities can also be the sources of desire. If one is not careful, one may end up wanting much more than what one needs. When that happens, one must do all one can to earn as much money as possible in order to afford all the things that one wants. The final results can be ill health, financial problems, bad habits, wasted time and energy, social problems and environmental problems.
One is no longer satisfied with the old car when a new model appears in the market. One ends up keeping the old car plus buying a new one. Some people buy very expensive sportscars in spite of the fact that the roads in Thailand are often jammed with heavy traffic. They are willing to pay the exorbitant price for the car and the very high cost of its maintenance.
New clothes are always being added to the wardrobe according to fashion trends. Some people have several wardrobes just to contain all of their clothes. Some even store them in vacuum bags to be worn for special occasions. And yet, most often than not, people wear but just a few favorite items.
Some women seem never to have enough handbags, shoes and jewelry.
Some men own jackets, blazers and many T-shirts. Some T-shirts are promotional gifts. Some are purchased.
Perhaps one should survey one’s bedroom to see if it has become crowded with excess items purchased at a sale or received as a promotional gift after a certain purchase. Perhaps one should think about giving some of these articles away so that they can be of use to someone less fortunate.
2. Human beings have a short lifespan.
Today, human beings have a very short lifespan when considering the fact that the human lifespan can go from as long as one Asankheyya Year (10140 years) all the way down to as short as ten years. Since the aging process begins at birth, it means that with each passing day, one is getting closer and closer to one’s death. Since this is a fact of life, would it not be better for all of us to earnestly accumulate wholesome deeds instead of material things?
3. Human beings are often ignorant.
Human beings need money in order to afford the four necessities of life for themselves and their family. But they should not make the mistake of thinking that they must accumulate as much material wealth as possible, since they will end up leaving all that material wealth behind after they die. A well-off person should make sure that he takes care of his aging parents and their needs. He should support the Buddhist temples and the Buddhist monks. He should help support schools, hospitals, the poor, the disadvantaged. He should regularly release live animals about to be slaughtered. In other words, he should accumulate wholesome deeds as provisions for his hereafter.
A wealthy person must spend his material wealth for the good of himself, his family, his parents, his community, his country and Buddhism. Acts of generosity help him to be less possessive of his material wealth. Without them, he can very easily be plagued by “miserliness”, a mental disease, and a very bad habit that do follow one across many lifetimes.
4. Human Beings Are Dominated by Defilements
Since human beings are dominated by defilements, it is very easy for them to commit misdeeds. One must earnestly and continuously make every effort to guard one’s mind, speech and body so that one does not fall prey to one’s defilements which are more than ready to rear their ugly heads at any moment.
1. Life Is Made Possible Because of the Four Necessities.
To survive, human beings require the four necessities of life, namely, clothing, food, shelter and medicine. But these four necessities can also be the sources of desire. If one is not careful, one can end up wanting much more than what one needs. When that happens, one must struggle to work so hard to try to earn as much as money as possible in order to afford all the things that one wants. The final results may be ill health, financial problems, bad habits, wasted time and energy, social problems and environmental problems.
2. Human Beings Have a Short Lifespan.
If human beings desire the four necessities of life in excessive quantities, they will only encourage their defilements to grow. The results are bad habits and a waste of a lifetime.
3. Human Beings Are Often Ignorant.
Human beings think nothing of putting their lives on the line when it comes to committing unwholesome deeds for the sake of fun and entertainment. But when it comes to performing wholesome deeds, they tend to be tentative and slow.
4. Human Beings Are Dominated By Defilements.
Defilements give rise to bad habits. One’s bad habits can follow one across many lifetimes to wreak havoc in one’s future existences.
It is unfortunate that most human beings tend to overlook these facts about life’s limitations.
The Four Necessities of Life
As human beings, we suffer from hunger, thirst, the need to eliminate body waste since the time we are in our mother’s womb. A fetus struggles and kicks when it feels hungry. As it grows bigger, it sometimes struggles or kicks so hard that its mother can see the shape of its protruding elbow or foot against her womb. She is then forced to eat or drink something quickly. It is known that a male fetus can kick much harder than a female fetus.
It is interesting that a fetus will struggle and kick with precise timing because it gets hungry at pretty much the same time. Once the mother eats and the food she ate reaches the fetus through the umbilical cord, the fetus grows content and is then ready to fall asleep.
A pregnant woman tends to feel so sleepy after lunch that she must take a nap. It is often advised that a pregnant woman takes a 30-minute rest after lunch to allow her body time to recharge. When a fetus wakes up, it is ready to eliminate its waste into its mother’s body. As pregnancy advances, the mother’s womb expands in order to accommodate the growing fetus. She will begin to suffer from back pain as a result of her protruding stomach. She will also experience leg cramps because calcium has been removed from her body in order to form the baby’s developing bones.
This is just a brief preview of one’s life when one is in one’s mother’s womb.
As soon as an infant is born, it will experience so much pain that it cries out loudly. It is frightened by the bright lights, the sound of people talking in the delivery room, the sounds made by different kinds of medical equipment, the change in temperature, etc. After the birth process, the infant experiences hunger, thirst, the need to urinate and defecate. These are the reasons why it is said that suffering is a part of life from one’s birth to one’s death.
Suffering Is Built Into Our Body.
We feel cold because the fire element is lacking. Therefore, we need clothing and shelter.
We feel hot because the wind element is lacking. Therefore, we need to choose proper clothing, turn on the fan, turn on the air-conditioner, etc.
We feel hungry because the earth element is lacking. Therefore, we need to eat in order to assuage our hunger.
We feel thirsty because the water element is lacking. Therefore, we need to drink in order to quench our thirst.
When we feel very cold, very hot, very hungry or very thirsty, it means that there is an imbalance of the four primary elements that make up our body and we get sick. Therefore, we need medicine to alleviate our aches and pains. We need to realize that the heat and the cold, hunger and thirst cause us to require the four necessities of life.
The True Objectives of the Four Requisites
The heat-the cold
The need to eliminate body waste
Protection against biting insects, reptiles, the wind, the sun and nudity
Protection against biting insects, reptiles, the wind, the sun and nudity
Do not eat and drink for fun.
Do not eat and drink for strength.
Do not eat and drink for good looks.
Do not eat and drink for good complexion.
Eat and drink to sustain life.
Eat and drink to assuage hunger and thirst.
Eat and drink without feeling too full.
Eat and drink enough so that one can perform wholesome deeds.
To Protect Against and to Remove an Illness
“Do not live to eat and drink but eat and drink so that one can perform wholesome deeds.”
How to Utilize the Four Necessities of Life
Whenever one purchases an article of clothing, one should bear in mind the true purposes served by one’s clothing as follows.
It is to protect one’s body against strong winds and the sunrays.
It is to protect one’s body against biting insects.
It is to protect one’s body against biting reptiles.
It is to protect one’s body against the elements.
It is to provide adequate coverage for one’s body
Without bearing in mind the true purposes of one’s clothing, one tends to buy clothing articles on impulse and without thought. One tends to follow the latest fashion trends instead of whether or not the articles provide adequate coverage for the body. As a result, one tends to spend frivolously and unwisely.
Impulse and thoughtlessness turn one into a self-indulgent person. Worse, one is also surrounded by self-indulgent persons until most Thai people abide by the slogan that “to be self-indulgent is to be a true Thai”. As a result, Thai society is made up of:
Self-indulgent wives and
To resolve the situation, children must be taught from little on up to exercise care and consideration whenever they want to do something. Adults must first make an earnest effort to learn to exercise care and consideration before teaching it to their children.
Whenever one purchases a house, one must bear in mind the true objectives of one’s shelter as follows.
It is to protect one from the elements and inclement weather.
It is to protect one from thieves and criminals.
It is to protect one from pests and other animals.
It is to provide a place for chanting and practicing meditation.
It is to provide a place for work and rest.
It is to provide a place in which one and one’s family can live.
Without bearing in mind the true objectives of one’s house, one may, if one can afford it, tend to spend an exorbitant amount of money on a house or to have one built. Once the over-large house has been bought or built, one needs to spend an exorbitant amount of money to furnish it and equip it with the latest furnishings and technology, namely, expensive and luxurious living room set, grand dining table and chairs, the latest kitchen equipment, whirlpool tub, central air-conditioning, huge digital television sets with plasma screens on the wall of every room, French draperies, chandeliers, teakwood flooring, a grand staircase, a car port that can hold at least ten cars, etc. Once all has been said and done, one must hold a grand house-warming party inviting many guests. The event must also be professionally recorded as photographs and video clips.
A large house requires several maids to clean it. Extensive grounds need to be maintained by a gardener. Chauffeurs must be hired to drive the cars for the different members of the family. Most days, the owner of the house is out working, members of the family are either out working or going to school. It appears that only the household staff gets to enjoy the house and all of its magnificence because they are home all the time.
The expenses incurred by such a large house and its maintenance mean that the owner of the house and his wife must work very hard to make the car payments, pay for the mortgage, the utility bills, the food bills, the salaries of the household staff and all of the expenses of the household.
Food and drink nourish one’s body. One must bear in mind that one eats and drinks in order to keep one’s body functioning properly, to assuage hunger and thirst, to sustain life, to provide the body with the energy to work and perform wholesome deeds.
It means that one does not overindulge in one’s tastebuds.
It means that one does not eat and drink for fun. It means that one does not overeat.
It means that one does not meet with one’s friends in order to binge on food and drinks.
It means that one does not eat and drink in order to enhance one’s shapeliness, but one eats and drinks so that one can use one’s body to perform wholesomeness.
It means that one does not eat and drink in order to enhance one’s beauty, but one eats and drinks in order to assuage hunger and thirst.
The elements that make up our food and drinks are impure. Therefore, they cannot be completely digested and metabolized. As a result, the consumption of food and drinks is accompanied by waste elimination in the forms of perspiration, urine and feces. Therefore, one must be cognizant of the body’s waste elimination process whenever one chooses to eat or drink something.
Medicine is needed whenever one becomes ill. Minor ailments require over-the-counter medications. Major illnesses require the attention of professional healthcare at a hospital.
The true purposes of medicine and healthcare are as follows.
To cure an illness
To prevent one from getting sick
To alleviate existing symptoms and to prevent an illness from getting worse
To obtain a surgery in order to save one’s life
Today, many people save up money in order to pay for cosmetic surgery in an attempt to keep them looking youthful.
Some people undergo surgery in order to grow hair.
Some people undergo surgery in order to enlarge their eyes.
Some people undertake surgery in order to enhace the bridge of their nose.
Some people undertake surgery in order to change their gender.
Some people have their teeth straightened. Some people have a diamond implanted in their canine.
Some people undertake surgery in order to decrease the size of their stomach so that they can maintain a shapely figure.
Some people have their ears pierced. Some people obtain tattoos.
It appears that any part of the body that can be nipped or tucked has been nipped or tucked.
Many people take expensive food suppliments in an attempt to rejuvenate their bodies.
Some persons have had so many cosmetic surgeries done that they no longer look like their photograph shown in their passport. One can only imagine the difficult time they have at the airport customs.
Some interracial marriages end up with a lawsuit when the children do not look anything like their attractive mother but more like her original face before cosmetic surgeries.
These incidents are the examples of the misuse of medicine and its intended purposes.
Therefore, knowing the purpose or objective of something is important. In giving a subordinate an assignment, it is important that one bears in mind the objective of the assignment. Otherwise, one may not obtain the result that one wants. In any undertaking, it is important that one pays attention to the objective of that undertaking. This applies to everything concerning a community, a company, an organization, and a country.
In Thailand, a couple can obtain a marriage license only when both members are at least seventeen years old. The true objective of this law is to ensure that the couple is old enough to make such a major life decision because it is intended for the married couple to live together happily until old age. In this way, they can depend on each other, raise a family together, grow old together, etc.
Today, most couples get married without knowing the true objective of marriage. It is no wonder that so much havoc has been wrought in the name of love.
If one is to look at one’s self critically, chances are that one will see many flaws. One may lack discipline. One may be lazy. One may still be lacking in terms of cleanliness and orderliness. One may not like to make one’s bed or do one’s dishes. One may not be punctual. One may not help with the household chores. One may be easily irritated. One may have a tendency to find faults with others. One may like to smoke and drink. One may like to gossip behind other people’s back. One may practice offensive speech. One may not be sincere. One may not be thrifty. One may not be humble. Etc.
If one has many bad habits, it is understandable that the person one loves may decide not to return one’s love. If one chooses to commit suicide in retaliation of the rejection, it may not affect the person one loves in any way at all. If one chooses to kill the person’s new love, one will end up incurring terrible retribution which will follow one across many lifetimes. Would it not be better that one uses the crisis as an opportunity for making serious self-improvement? As one becomes a much better person, it is possible that one will attract a special someone into one’s life.
Part 3 Improving One’s Habits
The Lord Buddha teaches that when we learn to look inward, we will discover that all of us are plagued by four types of suffering as follows.
The Four Types of Suffering
1. Suffering Caused by the Body
The suffering caused by the body, e.g. feeling hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, having the need to eliminate body waste.
2. Suffering Caused by Being Part of a Social Group
The suffering caused by living together with one person or more.
3. Suffering Caused by the Economy
The suffering caused by the need to earn a living
4. Suffering Caused by Defilements
Defilements are the root causes of all four types of suffering.
Defilements cause one’s mind to be ignorant of what is wrong, what is right, what is good, what is bad.
Defilements cause the round of rebirth
The First Type of Suffering: It Is Caused by One’s Body.
The Lord Buddha says, “Beward of your body. It gets cold. It gets hot. It gets hungry. It gets thirsty. It needs to defecate. It needs to urinate. Such are the sufferings caused by our own body. No one can look after our body for us. We must be observant. We must be in charge of our body so that we can assuage our suffering.”
The human body is the source of much suffering. If one does not take good care of one’s body, one will experience unnecessary suffering as a result of ill health.
The Second Type of Suffering: It Is Caused by Being Part of a Social Group
The Lord Buddha says, “Restrain your body. Use it carefuly. Restrain your speech.”
Human beings are social animals and must depend on each other. If one does not restrain one’s body and speech, if one is selfish and inconsiderate, if one is not aware of the reason for doing something, conflicts can result. It is for this reason that our forefathers have the following to say.
“Beware of your thought when you are alone.
Beware of your speech when you are among friends.”
It is to remind us that if we are not careful, we will experience suffering as a result of being part of a social group.
The Third Form of Suffering: It Is Caused by the Need to Earn a Living.
The majority of human beings have to earn a living in order to provide themselves with the four necessities of life. Today, this problem is called an economic problem. If one earns a living by exploiting other people, by destroying our natural resources and the environment, one will cause suffering for one’s self and others.
The Fourth Form of Suffering: It Is Caused by Defilements.
The suffering caused by defilements has to do with the round of rebirth. Defilements prevent us from having right understanding about the reality and complexity of life and the world. Therefore, it behooves us to learn about the reality of life and the world.
First of all, we need to know the difference between a pen and a prison. A pen is used to confine animals whereas a prison is used to confine human beings. An animal knows that it is confined when it is inside a pen. But when it is allowed to roam in the yard, it has no idea that it is being confined.
A cockerel crows in the morning rejoicing in its freedom. It is not confined in a pen. It can run around with its hens and its chicks in the yard. A day before a festival, it crows in the morning only to end up in the pot in the afternoon.
A female pig runs around with its piglets in the yard. They are fed daily by the farmer. A day before the festival, all the piglets are gone. They end up as roasted piglets on a platter. These animals do not feel confined simply because they have the run of the yard.
A prison is used to confine human beings. In the old days, Thailand used to have two prisons without walls. One was in See Chung Island and the other was in Ta Ru Tao Island. The first one was for prisoners that had committed a serious offence. The other was for political prisoners. The seas around these islands were infested with sharks.
A prison may or may not contain walls. But for all human beings, the world we live in is actually a prison. The reason is that our world is part of the round of rebirth from which no one can escape. All of us are prisoners of the round of rebirth.
In the Khuddakanikaya Dhammapada, the Lord Buddha says:
“Come and take a look at this world which is as magnificent as a royal carriage that fools take delight in, but the wise persons do not.”
Who are we? What sort of prisoners are we? All of us are death row prisoners who are waiting for the day of our execution. But we have no idea when that day will come. It is a fact that we are prisoners, and the world we live in is our prison. Moreover, death does not mean the end. For as long as our mind is still steeped in defilements, the round of rebirth must continue. All of us have been reborn on earth countless times.
In the old days, our forefathers used to chant and practice meditation very earnestly. As a result, they were able to keep their mind quiet and still. When the mind became so quiet and still that it expanded beyond the house, the temple, the village, the country and the world, they realized how the world was a gargantuan prison and all of its inhabitants its prisoners. They realized that if one was still contaminated by defilements in the forms of greed, anger and ignorance, one would never be able to leave this prison. One would continue to experience the suffering of life inherent in the round of rebirth.
Since our survival depends on the four necessities of life, we need to learn how to exercise moderation regarding them.
It is also necessary that we learn to choose what to acquire, to take good care of our body, to pay close attention to personal hygiene and the overall cleanliness of our belongings and our environment. Otherwise, we will meet with many problems.
The Four Types of Suffering
1. Suffering Caused by the Body
Not restraining one’s body
Not taking care of one’s body
Not exercising moderation
Ill health, dirtiness Greed, exploitation
2. Suffering Caused by Being Part of a Social Group
Not restraining one’s speech
A penchant for backbiting and fault-finding
Not restraining one’s body
No respect for duty and rights
Not keeping one’s word
3. Suffering Caused by the Economy
Earning a dishonest living, Causes of Ruin
Abusing natural resources
Destroying the environment
Kissing up to the authority
4. Suffering Caused by Defilements
Partiality, lack of discipline
No meditation practice
Immoderation in selecting and acquiring the four necessities of life can cause ill health, financial problems, family problems, work problems and exploitation problems.
Cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking waste money and bring on health problems. Moreover, cigarette smoke has a negative effect on other people.
Cigarette smoke has a harmful effect on those around the smoker.
Alcohol drinking causes problems for everyone in the drinker’s family.
Alcohol drinking causes problems for everyone in the drinker’s family.
What follows is the lack of respect for other people’s rights.
Parents have no respect for their children’s rights.
Adult children have no respect for their parents’ rights.
Parents have no respect for their duty.
Adult children have no respect for their duty.
Spouses have no respect for each other’s rights and duty.
Dirt is accumulated in their bodies. Conflicts abound and divorce is the ensuing result.
Dirt, immoderation and greed destroy people and show up as:
Being a talker but not a doer
Lack of respect for other people’s rights and duty
What to do now?
A person must learn to look back at himself when something goes wrong in his life. A person who earns wrong livelihood or performs his duty poorly is cheating himself and other people. A boss who underpays his subordinates is cheating them.
One must not try to solve one’s problems by blaming other people. One must do it by looking back at one’s self and one’s body. As long as one is still drinking, smoking and saying things without thinking, no outside agent can resolve one’s problems.
The Lord Buddha says that the best way we can learn to look at our self is by earnestly practicing meditation. Earnest meditation practice increases our mindfulness in such a way as to keep our defilements at bay. It keeps parents from having favorites and bosses from being biased.
Partiality is caused by Wrong View. The lack of meditation practice causes the four types of suffering to wreak havoc in one’s life.
It is necessary to be aware of the fact that one’s person is the source of dirtiness, and all of one’s problems stem from one’s person. Therefore, one must cultivate good habits in order to lessen one’s problems. Good habits allow one to grow as a person.
Part 4 Universal Goodness
The five parts of Universal Goodness (or UG-5) are the practices aimed at reducing or removing one’s suffering. Universal Goodness is applicable to every human being regardless of his gender, age, race or creed. Practicing Universal Goodness makes the mind bright and clear such that one can see how it can truly benefit one’s self and others. The five parts of Universal Goodness (or UG-5) are as follows.
Characteristics of Universal Goodness
Universal Goodness is basic goodness which can be cultivated by anyone. Its practice helps one to develop physically and mentally.
Universal Goodness has the following five characteristics.
1. It is not in conflict with any religious and moral values.
2. It is not in conflict with any country’s rule of law.
3. It is not in conflict with any country’s government policies.
4. It is not in conflict with a person’s rights and liberties.
5. It does not undermine a person’s health.
The True Objectives of the Four Requisites
Problems controlling the four postures
Lack of politeness
Lack of punctuality
Lack of concentration
The body utilizes a great deal of energy.
Feeling hot or cold
Hunger and thirst
The need to urinate and defecate
Suffering caused by the body
Cell death occurs at the rate of 300 million/minute.
The body is plagued by dirtiness
Clothing and shelter
Medicine and food
Lack of creativity
Lack of orderliness
Universal Goodness can be cultivated by anyone and it consists of cleanliness, orderliness, politeness, punctuality, and concentration.
Human beings are the sources of dirtiness on earth. Each one of us is like a walking garbage can, a walking corpse, a prisoner. The root cause of atrocities is dirtiness. When a person is dirty, his house will also be dirty.
There are piles of dirty clothes on the floor.
There are dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. The dining table and chairs are dirty. The kitchen floor is dirty. The room is in disarray.
There are dirty shoes in front of the door. They are not properly cleaned and organized.
The bedroom is in disarray.
When things are not put in their proper places, the thought process goes awry.
When the office is dirty or not clean enough, it is impossible to expect the office workers to work efficiently and effectively.
Everything needs to be put in its proper place and order from large to small or small to large. In some cases, the “first in, first out” principle needs to be applied. It means doing everything necessary to keep each place whether it is a room, an office, etc., tidy and neat.
Politeness is shown in the way one sits, lies down, stands and walks. One cannot sit, lie down, stand or walk properly because:
One’s things are not organized in an orderly fashion
Without orderliness, one’s thought process goes awry.
The thought process goes awry because one’s body is dirty from one’s head to one’s toes.
Speech is derived from one’s thought process. Speech is used as a means of communication. It allows others to understand what one is thinking. Polite speech begins with the ability to organize one’s words. For example,
Words that are used to communicate with one’s children cannot be used to communicate with one’s father.
Words that are used to communicate with one’s friends cannot be used to communicate with one’s boss.
Words that are used to communicate with one’s friends cannot be used to communicate with the Buddhist monks.
The tender way spouses talk to each other cannot be used with other people.
If one wants one’s children to be smart, one must begin by cleaning one’s body properly from one’s head to one’s toes, organizing one’s things properly, cleaning every room in the house properly. The more attention one pays to cleanliness, the better one’s thought process becomes. As one teaches one’s children to pay attention to cleanliness, one is also helping them to develop their thought process which is crucially important.
“The thought process is like a weapon
hidden deep inside its shield.
Its sharpness is reserved
for whoever comes to challenge one”.
Prasoontornvoharn (Pu) “Pleng Yao Ta Wai Ovart”
Never underestimate the importance of cleanliness. Never underestimate the harm of dirtiness because dirtiness leads to disorganization of things, thought, speech, and writing.
Language assumes three different forms, namely, language of the heart or feeling, speech and writing.
(1) Language of the Heart or Feeling
It is the language of emotions. Emotions, in turn, arise as a result of coming into contact with things. The emotions of a clean person are different from those of a dirty person.
A person went on a trip and saw some beautiful sights. The images stay with him for days. A person went somewhere and saw something terrible. The image stays with him for days.
A person went out to eat and the food was delicious. He looks pleased each time he recalls the experience. A person went out to eat but the food was foul-tasting. He looks as if he is about to throw up each time he recalls the experience.
A person feels joyful when he hears lovely music. A person feels terrible when he hears someone using profanity.
Language of the heart is derived from hearing, seeing, smelling, drinking, eating and touching something. It differs with different persons depending on how clean or how dirty a person is.
Vocabulary is required in speech. A clear-minded person has the ability to employ just the right words for the right occasion. Words cannot fully represent feeling. Speech is a diminutive representation of feeling. A very clean person’s speech can much better represent his feeling than that of a very dirty person.
The poet Prasoontornvoharn (Pu) had the following to teach young ladies.
“When speaking to someone,
Do not shout.
Do not use foul language.
People will be offended.
Speech can earn a person admiration.
But the tongue can also cause hardship.
Good speech earns love and kindness.
Therefore, beware of the way you speak.”
Writing requires the use of grammar. Something written in a grammartically incorrect manner can cause confusion as to when the event took place, is taking place or will take place. The dirtier a person is, the more mistakes he will make with his grammar. The cleaner a person is, the better he will be at writing in a grammatically correct manner.
When cleanliness and orderliness are absent at home and at the office, it will be impossible to prevent conflicts from occurring among family members and colleagues. Disorderliness creates confusion in speech and in writing. Disorderliness in speech and in writing leads to impoliteness. Therefore, impoliteness can be corrected by orderliness and cleanliness.
Listen carefully to what is being said.
Contemplate what one has heard.
Ask if there is any question.
Write it down.
Make it a habit to listen carefully.
Find the cause and effect of what is being said.
This is the way to cultivate wisdom
And remove stupidity.
The root cause of conflicts in the office and at home, divorce, broken home is self-indulgence. A self-indulgent person does not care about other people; he cares only about what he wants. He cares only about his own ease and comfort. He lacks motivation and commitment. Self-indulgent husband and wife lack motivation and commitment. Their children lack motivation and commitment. Everyone is into self-indulgence. One dresses any way one likes.
One behaves any way one likes. Is it any wonder then that teen pregnancy in Thailand should rank number one in Asia and number two in the world?
Moreover, a large number of Thai women are being held in prison for.
(1) Drug-related crimes
Self-indulgence makes one wants to get rich the easy way. One does not care to think about what ill consequences it may bring. One can be easily misled.
The lack of orderliness leads to unpunctuality. One feels nothing about keeping other people waiting. Sometimes, a VIP guest is hours late at a grand opening. The children that were scheduled to give a special performance at the grand opening arrived at the venue early foregoing their meal and other personal needs in order to keep their makeup and costume in place only to wait for hours to put on the performance just because the VIP guest could not be bothered to show up on time.
As a child, one is woken up to get ready for school by one’s parents or older siblings. As a grown-up, one uses an alarm clock.
But sometimes, even an alarm clock fails to wake one up in time for work or an important appointment.
Westerners are serious about punctuality.
5. Concentration (Meditation)
Unpuctuality is caused by the lack of concentration which in turn is caused by the lack of cleanliness. Self-indulgence makes one feel that one can do anything one wants and one could not care less about other people. Self-indulgence causes personal damage, social damage, and national damage. Every problem cited here must be solved by cleanliness. Our body is the source of dirtiness. All of our bodies together make our earth dirty. Feeling hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, having the need to urinate and defecate are the forms of suffering experienced by everyone. They are caused by the fact that the four primary elements which make up our cells are dirty. Therefore, they die at the rate of around 300 – 400 million per minute. The food we eat helps our body to generate new cells to replace the old ones.
The Need for Universal Goodness
Feeling hot – cold
Hunger and thirst
The need to urinate and defecate
Suffering caused by the body
Decreased rate of cell death
Decreased physical dirtiness
1. Regularly keeping clean one’s body, clothes, house, food and medicine
2. Things and thoughts are orderly
A good mood calms the body
5. Meditation practice
Decreased energy usage
Feeling hot – cold
Hunger and thirst
The need to urinate and defecate
Suffering caused by the body
Our home, our clothes, our food, our medicine and everything else that we come into contact with become dirty because our body is dirty. Dirtiness leads to the lack of orderliness. The lack of orderliness leads to absent-mindedness which causes impoliteness. Impoliteness is caused by self-indulgence, laziness, the lack of consideration for others. Impoliteness leads to unpunctuality, and unpunctuality leads to the lack of concentration.
Part 5 Universal Goodness and the Five Precepts
In the Patisambhidamagga text, Venerable Sariputra says:
“Sila is the intention to abstain from three forms of physical dishonesty, namely, killing, stealing and sexual misconduct and four forms of verbal dishonesty, namely, false speech, the use
of offensive speech, the use of divisive speech and the use of nonsensical speech.”
A Life of Safety
A life of safety means a life which is lived without transgressing the Law of Kamma. If everyone on earth observes the Five Precepts, every family, every community, every country and the entire world will meet with peace and happiness.
The Objectives of Precepts Observation
There are altogether five main objectives as follows.
1. To protect one’s life in the current existence and to prevent it from meeting with the suffering, trouble and damage brought about by causing harm to one’s self and others.
2. To provide one with happiness and wholesomeness.
3. To provide the family and society with peace and wholesomeness.
4. To protect one’s life in the next existence and to prevent it from meeting with the suffering, trouble and damage brought about by causing harm to one’s self and others.
5. To provide the foundation for one’s spiritual development such as concentration (Samadhi) and wisdom (Panna), the two higher virtues which enable one to attain the Fruit and Path of Nibbana.
The Five Precepts and One’s Future Life
Observation of the Five Precepts allows one to design one’s physical attributes in one’s future existences as follows.
If one wishes for longevity, great physical strength, good health, no illnesses and no physical handicap, one must observe the First Precept.
If one wishes one’s material wealth as well as one’s rightful inheritance which came from right livelihood to be safe from such dangers as fire, floods, theft, etc., one must observe the Second Precept.
If one wishes for a faithful and loving spouse who is good-looking; if one wishes not to meet with spousal problems, be separated from the person or the thing that one loves, be deceived by members of the opposite sex, one must observe the Third Precept.
If one wishes for words that are credible, teeth that are lovely, white and neatly arranged, fresh breath, sincerity and the absence of defamation, one must observe the Fourth Precept.
If one wishes for mindfulness, a good memory, the absence of forgetfulness, stupidity and insanity, one must observe the Five Precept.
Universal Goodness helps everyone to observe the Five Precepts regularly.
1. No killing
2. No stealing
3. No sexual misconduct
4. No false speech
5. No alcohol and other addictive substances
Components of Each Precept
These are used to decide if a Precept has been transgressed partially or completely.
1.The Relationship between Cleanliness and the First Precept
The First Precept: No killing (Panatipata veramani)
The five components of the First Precept are as follows.
1. The animal is alive.
2. One knows that the animal is alive.
3. One has the intention to kill the animal.
4. One tries to kill the animal.
5. One succeeds in killing the animal.
Human beings are dirty from their head to their toes. Everything that comes out of the human body serves as feed for the pests: dandruff, ear wax, eye discharge, nose discharge, dead skin cells, dirt in the nails, phlegm, urine and feces. These pests include ants, fruit flies, flies, cockroaches, rats, mice, bed bugs, mosquitoes, etc.
These pests are generally dealt with by the use of pesticides, traps and other gadgets. Such dealings cause one to transgress the First Precept without any doubt.
These animals disturb us because we have what they want which is food. They are also attracted by our trash.
Pest problems must be dealt with at its root cause by keeping everything about us and our immediate environment as clean as possible.
It is important that one learns to look at every problem by finding its root cause so that one will not develop the bad habit of putting the blame on someone else.
It is necessary that one always looks inward to see how one can improve one’s self rather than placing the blame on someone else.
Otherwise, one will become the worst person on earth, the worst person of the family, and the worst person of the monastic community if one happens to be a Buddhist monk.
• Dirtiness inside every room of the house attracts pests.
• One deals with the pest problem by killing them.
• Frequent pest killing causes one to be aggressive.
• One becomes irrational and is in the habit of putting the blame on someone else without realizing that the root cause of the problems is one’s dirtiness and self-indulgence.
• When everyone in the family is used to dirtiness and killing, bad habits are perpetuated.
2. The Relationship between Orderliness and the Second Precept
The Second Precept:
No stealing (Adinnadana veramani)
The five components of the Second Precept are as follows.
1. The money or object belongs to a possessive owner.
2. One knows that the money or object belongs to a possessive owner.
3. One thinks about stealing it.
4. One tries to steal it.
5. One succeeds in stealing it.
Dirtiness of the body and the environment leads to disorderliness. One’s belongings are strewn all over the place. Some are left outside exposed to the sun, the rain, etc. When something cannot be found, someone else is blamed for stealing it. And it is almost too late for an apology when the misplaced item is finally found.
Neglecting one’s belongings is akin to stealing from oneself. When clothes are left outside to the ravage of the hot sun, wind and rain, their shelf-life is necessarily shortened and new clothes have to be bought. It is a waste of one’s money.
When children are not taught to put away their toys, put things back where they belong or help out with the household chores, they are being taught to waste their resources.
Negligence makes it easier for one to transgress the Second Precept. For example, one may mistake something belonging to someone else as one’s own because they look similar. One may borrow something from someone and forget to return it.
• Disorderliness in the home causes items to be misplaced. Certain food is not consumed before its expiration date. Important documents cannot be found. Items must be re-purchased because the existing ones cannot be found. Such disorderliness is a waste of money.
• Disorderliness makes it easier for someone to steal one’s belongings. It also causes one to suspect others of stealing one’s belongings when in fact they did not. The items were simply misplaced.
• One may make the mistake of taking something belonging to someone else as one’s own because they look similar.
• Misplaced items make one angry, confused, ready to blame someone else, etc. One may inadvertently steal an item thinking it is one’s own or makes it easier for others to steal from one.
• When everyone in the family is used to disorderliness inside and around the house, it is difficult for them to organize their thought. And everyone ends up with bad habits.
3. The Relationship between Politeness and the Third
The Third Precept:
No Sexual Misconduct (Kamesu micchacara veramani)
The four components of the Third Precept are as follows.
1. A forbidden male or a forbidden female
2. Thinking about having sexual intercourse
3. Being engaged in sexual activity
4. Having sexual intercourse
There are three categories of forbidden females as follows.
1. A married female
2. A female under the care of her parents or a relative
3. A female ascetic
There are two categories of forbidden males as follows.
1. A male who is not one’s husband
2. A male ascetic
Dirtiness leads to untidiness. Untidiness leads to impoliteness. Impoliteness is expressed in the way one dresses, in one’s speech and one’s mannerism. In other words, an impolite person is unkempt.
Teen pregnancy among Thai females ranks first in Asia and second in the world. Thai prostitutes are sought after domestically and abroad.
Untidiness can lead one to transgress the Third Precept. The end results are teen pregnancy and adultery.
Many Thai people subscribe to superstitious beliefs and spend money on items believed to dispel misfortune in their lives. They would do well to look back at themselves and try to find the root cause of their problems so that they can solve them correctly.
People attending a temple-fair end up leaving the temple littered with garbage. The more fairs a temple organizes, the dirtier the temple becomes. Resident monks and novices cannot possibly keep up with the task of keeping the temple clean. Unfortunately, each time a person litters the temple, he is earning demerit and will have to reap its ill consequences.
Politeness and humility are attractive attributes, and everyone should cultivate them. These attributes make one endearing. People are more inclined to give one a hand should one ever need it. One’s boss is more inclined to look upon one favorably. These attributes in a Buddhist monk inspires faith, admiration, and respect in the laity.
• Impoliteness is expressed in the way one dresses, speaks and conducts oneself. One’s personal appearance is unkempt. Impoliteness leads to fights among males and sexual harassment for females.
• Fights and sexual harassment lead to many social problems. Impoliteness breeds aggressiveness, criminal tendency and sexual misconduct.
4. The Relationship between Punctuality and the Fourth Precept
The Fourth Precept:
No False Speech (Musavada veramani)
The four components of the Fourth Precept are as follows.
1. The story is not true.
2. One thinks about saying things in order to distort the truth.
3. One attempts to say things in order to distort the truth.
4. Others believe what one says to be true.
A person who knows how to manage his time has the ability to divide his time into four parts as follows.
1. The time to eliminate body waste
2. The time to socialize
3. The time to earn a living
4. The time to quell defilements or improve one’s instrinsic nature
(1) The Time to Eliminate Body Waste
When one eats, sleeps, wakes up, eliminates body waste and bathes at a regular time every day, one is likely to be healthy. Irregularity damages one’s health and causes one to be self-indulgent. If children are allowed to spend whatever time they like on the smart phone or the computer, they are getting a very bad start in life. The result can be headaches for all concerned later on.
(2) The Time to Socialize
Time spent with one’s parents, siblings, spouse, children and colleagues must be made accordingly. Family members need to share at least one meal a day together. It should be quality time where they can share with each other events in their lives or any problem they may be having. Regular quality time keeps the family together.
Time must also be allotted to attend such social functions as a wedding, an ordination ceremony, visiting someone in the hospital, attending someone’s funeral, etc. One must make the time to share the good times and bad times with the people in one’s life.
(3) The Time to Earn a Living
As an employee of a corporation, an organization or the government, one has a set time where one must show up at work and when one can leave. One works in order to earn a salary.
If one works for oneself, one must work hard to plan one’s work in terms of investment, buying and selling, marketing, etc. As a business owner, one is responsible not only for oneself but also for one’s employees.
(4) The Time to Quell One’s Defilements
No one is 100% good 100% of the time. As human beings, each one of us possesses both good and bad habits. If the good habits outweigh the bad ones, one can be called a good and decent person. But if the bad habits outweigh the good ones, then one is called a bad and indecent person.
Therefore, one must make the time to quell one’s defilements and keep one’s badness under control. If one can spend hours upon hours watching movies and sports on TV and on social media, one can certainly make the time to quell one’s defilements at least ten to fifteen minutes a day.
How to Quell Defilements?
At bedtime, one should do some chanting for a while to calm one’s mind before practicing meditation for ten to fifteen minutes. One can begin by keeping one’s mind still for ten minutes initially. Once one is used to the routine, more time can be added.
What good is the still mind?
During the course of a day’s work, it is natural that mistakes may be made. If one is aware as soon as the mistake is made, one can correct it right away. One’s awareness can be increased as a result of the still mind.
How to know right from wrong?
“When the water is cloudy, it is difficult to see fish and other aquatic animals. Likewise, when the mind is cloudy, one cannot see what is good for one’s self and others.”
The mind of a person who chants regularly differs from that of a person who does not chant regularly. The difference has to do with its clarity. One person drinks until he falls asleep. Another person chants until he falls asleep. The result will for certain be completely different. A person who chants and practices meditation regularly can be aware of the mistakes he has made during the day in the same way that clear water allows one to see fish and other aquatic animals.
What is to be done?
Should one happen to trespass against someone, may be a boss, a colleague, a subordinate, a customer, one’s spouse or one’s child, one should immediately make an apology. One should not wait, for the longer one waits, the deeper the damage will be. An apology expressed in a sincere manner goes a long way to undo whatever damage might have caused by one’s offence.
Should one have a particular good and successful day, one should take the time to chant so that one can bear in mind that one’s success has been gained with the help of perhaps one’s
boss, one’s colleague, one’s subordinate, one’s customer, one’s spouse, one’s relative or one’s friend. One should take the time to thank whoever has helped one to succeed. One can thank the person or persons by phone, by posting a message on social media and even a photo of the successful event. By apologizing to someone for one’s offence or thanking someone for his help, it ensures that.
1) One does not become an ingrate.
2) One is able to share one’s success with others.
3) One will receive whatever help one needs in future endeavors.
4) One will be able to continue accumulating more and more merit.
If one is too busily congratulating oneself for one’s success without acknowledging the contribution of others, one will be hard pressed to receive help in future endeavors. If one makes it a habit to rectify one’s offence by making an immediate apology, one can sleep well at night.
Work should not be the only thing that one makes time for, since one’s time needs to be made for four important activities in one’s daily life as described earlier. An unpunctual person lacks time management skills. He is late in delivering his finished work. He is afraid to face his boss. He is reluctant to admit that he is wrong. He has ready excuses for his tardiness.
What are these excuses?
Excuses are usually in the forms of lies or seven parts truth and three parts falsehood. The more excuses one makes, the more lies one tells. Each time one lies to someone, one must lie to one’s self three times because.
1) One must first plan about what falsehood to tell;
2) One tells someone the lie that one has planned to tell;
3) One must memorize what one lies about so that one will not get caught lying, in some cases for as long as a year and in other cases for the rest of one’s life.
When one makes it a habit to lie, one must also try to memorize all of the falsehood that one has told. According to the Law of Kamma, one of the consequences of habitual lying is Alzheimer’s disease.
It would behoove all of us to learn how to manage our time so that our life can run smoothly and effectively. We will have no need to make up excuses. We will have no need to tell lies. When we sit down to practice meditation, our mind will not be scattered or distracted by the chaos in our life. We will be able to meet with success. And we will be able to live the life that we are meant to live.
A chaotic household breeds problems for everyone in the family. The husband comes home whenever he pleases. The wife has friends over to play cards, gossip, eat and drink or goes out with friends to department stores, beauty shops. Children are allowed to do whatever they want inside and outside the house.
To solve these problems, one can begin by cleaning one’s house, putting everything in its place, etc.
The Harm Caused by Unpunctuality
Unpunctuality leads to failure in one’s time management.
1. Failure in removing suffering caused by the body
2. Failure in removing suffering caused by being part of a social group
3. Failure in removing suffering caused by the economy
4. Failure in removing suffering caused by defilements
Four Forms of Suffering in Life
1. Suffering Caused by the Body
2. Suffering Caused by Being Part of a Social Group
3. Suffering Caused by the Economy
4. Suffering Caused by Defilements
Failure in time management is caused by.
1. The inability to truly appreciate the four forms of suffering
2. The inability to prioritize activities
3. The lack of awareness and self-composure while conducting the four activities which are meant to remove the four forms of suffering as shown in.
• Unpunctuality in regards to when to eat, sleep, wake up, eliminate body waste, bathe, brush one’s teeth, etc. This form of unpunctuality adds suffering to the body.
• Unpunctuality in regards to meeting with a family member or a neighbor, not sending one’s child to school when he comes of age, not taking care of one’s aging parents, etc. This form of unpunctuality adds suffering to the social group.
• Unpunctuality in terms of work shows up as late delivery of merchandise, late payment, late for work, leaving work early, etc. This form of unpunctuality adds suffering to one’s economic situation.
• Having superstitious beliefs, not chanting, not practicing meditation, not attending the temple, not observing the Eight Precepts during the Buddhist Holy Day, etc., cause suffering to increase as a result of defilements.
Not making the time to remove the four forms of suffering in life in a proper manner is considered to be basic unwholesomeness. The reason is that it shows the lack of responsibility toward one’s self and the community. Worst of all, it causes one to lie and develop other bad habits.
Cannot decide what is good, what is evil
Incapable of being selfless
Having superstitious beliefs
Predisposed to speaking falsehood
The tendency to procrastinate
The tendency to be boastful and pretentious
Brain function is easily lost
The tendency to be stressed out, unwillingness to face problems
A punctual person not only has the ability to observe the Fourth Precept but also has the ability to be truful.
When one does not know how to begin solving problems at work, one should start by cleaning the office and putting things in their proper places. One will begin to see one’s lax way and learn to solve problems step by step until every problem can be solved.
Five Forms of Truthfulness
1. Being committed to one’s responsibility
– Fulfilling all of one’s responsibility
– Doing a good job
2. Being truthful to one’s work
– Performing the work well
– And in a timely manner
3. Being truthful to one’s word
– Not fickle
– Not deceptive
– Not opportunistic
4. Being truthful to people
– Not scheming against others
– Not envious of anyone
5. Being truthful to goodness
– Would rather die than commit a misdeed
– Being willing to give up one’s life to achieve one’s lofty goal
In building Wat Phra Dhammakaya, all of the founding members had had to work very hard day after day for years. To build a business, one must also work very hard day after day for years. One cannot meet with success waiting on luck alone.
• When a person is habitually unpunctual, he will lose self-confidence; he will not be able to face anyone; he is incapable of admitting his mistake, he is incapable of committing himself, and he will run away from problems.
• Such a person is predisposed to saying things he does not mean, things that are false, things that are offensive. He is predisposed to transgressing the Fourth Precept.
• When a person habitually lies or uses offensive words, he will become quick to anger, selfish, rude and hard-hearted.
• An angry and selfish person lacks reason, finds faults with others, and has family problems, school problems, work problems, and life problems.
• He can easily pass on his bad habits to everyone around him including his family, his friends, his subordinates, etc.
5. Concentration (Meditation) and Observing the Fifth Precept
The Fifth Precept:
No alcohol and other addictive substances (Suramerayamajjapamadatthana veramani)
The four components of the Fifth Precept are as follows.
1. One knows that the drink contains alcohol.
2. One has the intention to drink it.
3. One has made the effort to drink it.
4. The drink has gone down one’s throat.
All addictive substances that cause their consumers to lose self-control are included in this Precept.
Dirtiness, untidiness, heedlessness, habitual lying, lack of self-confidence and lack of concentration lead one to keep the company of like-minded persons. As a group, they go out carousing, eating, drinking, taking drugs, gambling and getting into all kinds of trouble. Meanwhile, they are doing damage to their body and brain cells.
A person whose body and mind have been ravaged by alcohol and drugs can hardly be normal.
As a school kid, he is apt to play hooky often and go out carousing with like-minded pals. As a result, his grades suffer and his future is uncertain.
As an adult, he is apt to work less effectively, quarrel with his spouse, have money problems, get into accidents, make wrong decisions, etc.
As one spends more and more time away from good and decent people, one is apt to transgress all of the five precepts. One’s life can only spiral downward.
The harm caused by the consumption of alcohol and other addictive substances are as follows.
1. The habit wastes money.
2. The habit causes one to get into fights.
3. The habit destroys one’s health.
4. The habit causes one to lose one’s reputation.
5. The habit causes one to be shameless.
6. The habit reduces one’s mental power.
“Irresponsibility at work causes one to lose one’s job.”
A person who observes the Five Precepts regularly will not be victimized by the causes of ruin. His body and mind will function properly, and he will be able to practice meditation regularly, thereby, increasing his mental power.
• The lack of concentration or attention deficiency is caused by a mind which is scattered, stressed and bored.
• When one’s mind is scattered, stressed and bored, one tends to want to run away from one’s problems.
• One runs away from one’s problems by going out carousing at night, consuming alcohol and taking drugs, indulging in the causes of ruin and keeping bad company.
• Going out carousing at night, consuming alcohol and taking drugs, indulging in the causes of ruin and keeping bad company cause the mind to become debased and one becomes dirty, untidy, impolite, and unpunctual. One is apt to transgress against the first four Precepts as well.
• One’s corrupt conduct creates all kinds of problems for one’s the family and in one’s workplace not to mention one’s body and mind.
• Many people wonder if a person can enjoy his drinks if his drinking does not cause him to bother anyone or commit an offence. The answer is that alcohol consumption in the forms of wine, beer, etc., transgresses the Fifth Precept directly. Transgression of any of the Five Precepts incurs terrible retribution. Alcohol consumption is a misdeed because it causes one to lose awareness and self-composure; it damages one’s body; it harms one’s family indirectly because it is a waste of money.
Universal Evil: Transgression of the Precepts
Transgression of the Precepts
Quick to anger self-indulgence
Belongings easily damaged, cannot locate things, do not know when something is lost
Conflicts, sexually permissive
Lack of confidence, unable to face others, unable to admit one’s mistake
5. Attention deficiency
Stressed out, confused, bored with homelife, work, spouse, school
Running away from problems self-indulgence
Transgression of the Five Precepts
Engaged in the Causes of Ruin
The Relationship between Universal Goodness and the Five Precepts
The Five Aspects of Universal Goodness (UG-5) Form the Foundations of the Five Precepts
Slow to anger
Non-exploitative, no nudity no indecent exposure,
No unfare competition
Sympathetic – Understanding
No sexual misconduct
Knowing one’s self
Listening to other people’s advice
Sympathetic – Understanding
No false speech
Abstaining from the Causes of Ruin
Enjoying peace and quiet
Happy performing good deeds
No alcohol consumption
The Five Aspects of Universal Goodness (UG-5) form the Foundations of the Five Precepts
Cleanliness: One is not self-indulgent, not quick to anger but is always in a good mood. Cleanliness prevents the presence of pests. There is no need for pesticides. There is no need for killing. One’s mind is gentle and one does not kill.
Orderliness: One is not confused because everything is in its proper place. One exercises moderation in one’s consumption. One is thrifty. One does not steal.
Politeness: One is not exploitative. One is not trying to outdo others. One is sympathetic and empathic. One is considerate. One does not dress in an inappropriate manner. One practices honest and gentle speech. One is not sexually permissive. One does not commit sexual misconduct.
Punctuality: One is constantly analyzing one’s self. One has good self-knowledge. One has the ability to warn oneself. One undertakes self-improvement. One does not tell lies.
Concentration: One abstains from every cause of ruin. One’s mind is calm, happy and expansive. One earnestly accumulates good deeds. One does not consume alcohol.
Part 6 Universal Goodness and the End of Suffering
Universal Goodness, the Means to End Suffering Once and For All
The five aspects of Universal Goodness (UG-5) give us the means to end suffering once and for all. When a person is unhappy, he tries to assuage his pain by such peculiar means as drinking alcohol. He ends up getting drunk, having a fight with his wife, losing things and wasting money. But worst of all, unhappiness will return in no time. A person may go out carousing with his friends, dining, wining, watching a movie, going to a show, etc., in order to forget about his unhappiness for a while. But it always returns.
The Five Aspects of Universal Goodness (UG-5)Cleanliness
The Practice of Universal Goodness prevents the mind from becoming gloomy.
One can end suffering once and for all by keeping one’s mind as clear as possible. A clear and bright mind has the ability not only to see suffering clearly, but also to see how to remove it at its root cause. A clear and bright mind has untold power. One is to frequently remind oneself that all the problems in life can be summarized into just four categories as follows.
(1) The Problems Caused by Our Body: From birth until death, our body suffers over and over again from hunger, thirst, the heat, the cold, the need to defecate, the need to urinate, and all kinds of illnesses. These are the problems that everyone encounters regardless of his economic status, position, social class, race or creed. The problems caused by our body is called Sariradukkha.
(2) The Problems Caused by Being Part of a Social Group: Communal living situations may include a family, a group, an organization, etc. When a person does not attend to the problems caused by his body, he is inadvertently forming bad habits. Such bad habits can cause conflicts in the community. A young couple in love may appear well suited to each other. But if one person or both are dirty, unorderly, unpunctual, impolite and muddled, it does not forbode well for their married life.
(3) The Problems Caused by the Economy: Human beings differ in terms of habits, the level of diligence, the level of intelligence and intellect, etc. What everyone has in common, however, is the need for the four requisites, hence the need to earn a living. There are two main categories of livelihood, namely, right livelihood and wrong livelihood. Right livelihood means earning an honest living, whereas wrong livelihood means earning a dishonest living. Right livelihood must not involve anything that is immoral or unethical. Wrong livelihood includes theft, robbery, deception, trading humans, trading drugs, trading illegal goods, destroying the forest, working as a hired assassin, etc. Wrong livelihood incurs terrible retribution which must be paid for in this and future lifetimes.
(4) The Problems Caused by One’s Defilements: First of all, it is important to know that the human body comprises mainly of body and mind.
The body is made up of the four primary elements which include earth, water, wind and fire. We cannot see these elements but we can touch and feel them. As soon as we are born, our body carries within it all kinds of germs. These internal germs simply wait for the time when the body is weak to work with external germs to destroy our body by making it sick, age and eventually die.
The mind is made up of the knowing element which is invisible. It is also tainted with filthy but refined elements called “defilements”. Defilements cause our mind to be gloomy. They are also invisible. We know that they are present because they cause us to be greedy, angry, stupid and ignorant.
In its initial and original state, our mind is as clear as a diamond or a well-polished lens. The presence of defilements clouds up our mind, making it gloomy, dirty, moody, gullible, etc. It is like a dirty lens or a colored lens that makes it impossible for us to see things clearly or correctly.
A gloomy mind makes it impossible for one to see and hear things for what they are. One may see something as being more beautiful or uglier than it really is or may hear something incorrectly.
Defilements cause one to make wrong decisions and to ignore good advice. They cause one to have illusions and delusions because they make it impossible for one to see things for what they really are. Defilements cause one to lose sight of reality.
The Power of a Clear and Clean Mind
The Evil of Dirtiness
When the water is cloudy, it is not possible for one to see the fish, the snails, the pebbles and the sand. Likewise, a cloudy mind makes it impossible for one to see what is good and beneficial for one and other people.
The Power of Cleanliness
When the water is clear and pure, one can easily see all there is to see in the water. Likewise, a clear mind makes it possible for one to see what is good and beneficial for one and other people.
Defilements can be compared to sediment-laden water. They can be compared to powerful microchips implanted in the mind. Microchips implanted in wild animals such as tigers, lions, giant snakes, whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, eagles, etc., allow the biologists to view their movements and actions, but they cannot control their behavior.
However, defilements as mental microchips have the power to make one greedy, angry and ignorant. Defilements can be compared to the germs that exist in one’s mind.
The solution is to keep one’s mind clear. When one can cause one’s mind to become as bright as the midday sun, one will then be able to see with one’s mind what defilements look like. Defilements cause one’s mind to lose its effectiveness, to perceive things differently from what they are in reality, to be greedy, angry and ignorant. Defilements cause one to misuse the four necessities of life. They make one wasteful and unhealthy. Therefore, it is necessary that one learns first of all to solve all of the problems caused by one’s body before they proliferate by doing the following.
1. Managing the Four Necessities of Life: One pays attention to the food one eats, the clothes one wears, the house in which one lives, and the prevention of illnesses or the healing of one’s illness so that one’s body can be healthy and strong.
2. Practice the Universal Goodness: One practices all five aspects of the Universal Goodness simultaneously. These are the mechanisms that can bring about prosperity and include cleanliness, orderliness, politeness, punctuality and concentration.
The five aspects of Universal Goodness can be readily practiced by anyone. They are good for individuals as well as the community as a whole. They foster physical and spiritual development. They do not violate any religious beliefs, doctrines or moral codes. They do not violate the rule of law, government policies, and human rights. Universal Goodness must be practiced regularly and continuously for it to give innumerable and lasting benefits.
It is the same way that we must bathe everyday. We do it even when we do not feel like it. As long as one is part of a social group, one must be orderly, polite, punctual and focused. When one can practice UG-5 until it becomes a habit, one is on the road to cultivate higher virtues.
Where Does One Practice UG-5?
One practices UG-5 in the five rooms of one’s life where the five main daily activities are performed.
Every day a person wakes up, gets out of bed and heads straight for the bathroom. And then he goes to the kitchen to have breakfast. Afterward, he gets dressed and goes to work. After work, he returns home, undresses and gets ready for dinner. After dinner, he goes to the bathroom and spends the rest of the evening reading, watching television, etc., until it is time to go to bed.
A person spends time in these five rooms performing different activities. These are the rooms where he practices UG-5, namely, cleanliness, orderliness, politeness, punctuality and concentration. If he can cultivate these virtues well, he is on his way to ending suffering and all kinds of problems in his life.
Why should one practice UG-5?
Believe it or not, a person’s habits play a crucial role in his life. However well educated a person may be, however wealthy he may be, if he has bad habits, he is a curse to himself and others. But if a person has good habits, he is a blessing to himself and others. Good habits are formed by practicing UG-5.
1. Wake up in the morning
2. Bathe one’s face, brush one’s teeth, urinate, defecate, take a shower
3. Have breakfast
4. Get dressed
5. Go to work
Earning a Living
6. Get off work
7. Get undressed
8. Have dinner
9. Take a shower, brush one’s teeth
10. Go to bed at night
Part 7 The Fruits of Universal Goodness
The Benefits of Doing all the Cleaning Oneself
One knows how to clean.
One learns to be creative.
One knows how to put things in their proper places (orderliness).
One knows to sit, stand, lie down and walk properly.
One knows to dress appropriately
One has good manners (one is polite).
One is articulate.
One knows to choose one’s word and one’s tone.
One knows to manage one’s time.
One’s concentration is improved.
The Benefits of Cleanliness
Cleanliness has to do with keeping one’s body and everything one owns clean.
If one is clean and everything around one is clean, what follows is creativity. One knows to put everything in its proper place so that it is easy to locate. When one knows to put everything one owns in order, one will be able to put one’s thought in order. When one knows to put one’s thought in order, one will be able to put one’s word in order. When one knows to put one’s word in order, one will be able to control the way one sits, stands, lies down and walks. One has good manners and one knows to dress appropriately. One knows to exercise self-restraint at all times. One knows exactly how to choose the right word and the right tone so that one can communicate one’s thought effectively and politely. One knows to manage one’s time; therefore, one is punctual. With punctuality comes concentration. The more one practices meditation, the clearer and the more effective one’s mind will be.
The Harm of Dirtiness
When one neglects to practice cleanliness
Creativity will be absent.
When one cannot put everything one owns in its proper place
One cannot control how one sits, stands, lies down and walks. One does not dress appropriately.
The results are impoliteness and self-indulgence.
One becomes self-indulgent in everything including sex.
One cannot express oneself properly. One cannot choose the right word and the right tone.
One cannot manage one’s time. One is unpunctual.
One’s concentration is missing. And one’s mind is scattered.
The Harm of Dirtiness
Dirtiness leads to unorderliness. When things are not put in their proper places, creativity cannot occur. When one cannot organize one’s things, one will not be able to organize one’s thought and word. One cannot choose the proper word and the proper tone in order to express oneself effectively. One’s speech and writing suffer. One cannot control how one sits, stands, lies down and walks. One lacks good manners. One is impolite. One is self-indulgent in everything including sexual matters. One thinks nothing of committing adultery. One goes home late or not at all. One thinks nothing of lying. Eventually, one becomes attention deficient. These are the ill consequences of dirtiness.
The Effects of Universal Goodness on One’s Mind
The body is orderly
Objects are orderly
The thought is orderly
The mind is relaxed
Body: Sitting, standing, lying down, walking
Objects: Clothes, face, hair, utensils
Speech: Tone, timing
The mind is relaxed
Being responsible to the people in one’s personal life
Being responsible in one’s work life
Being responsible in removing one’s defilements
A worry-free mind
The search for internal and external peace
Practicing meditation earnestly
The mind is bright and clear
The Effects of Universal Goodness on One’s Mind
Cleanliness of the body and the objects around one’s person keeps one’s mind clean. Cleanliness leads automatically to orderliness in one’s thought, word and deed. It can be compared to organizing one’s data in the computer such that plenty of space is still left for additional data as well as keeping the computer working at high speed. When the mind is orderly, it will be clean, clear, expansive and light. What follows is politeness. Politeness in the body is shown in the way one sits, stands, walks, lies down and in the way one conducts oneself, expresses oneself, dresses oneself, etc.
Cleanliness leads to orderliness. Orderliness leads to politeness. Politeness leads to punctuality. And punctuality leads to improved concentration. A person who has cultivated Universal Goodness is on his way to meet with success and prosperity.
There are four aspects of punctuality as follows.
1. Punctuality in regards to the body: It means eating, sleeping, waking up, eliminating body waste and bathing at a regular time daily. When one is punctual in regards to the body, one’s mind will be calm and relaxed. One will be healthy in both body and mind.
2. Punctuality in regards to one’s Six Directions: It means the people around each person in the six directions as follows.
1. Puratthimadisa: At the front: One’s parents
2. Dakkhinadisa: At the right: One’s teachers
3. Pacchimadisa: At the rear: One’s spouse and children
4. Uttaradisa: At the left: One’s friends
5. Uparimadisa: Above: The Buddhist monks
6. Hetathimadisa: Below: One’s subordinates, one’s boss
3. Punctuality in regards to one’s work: It means getting to work on time, not leaving work early, attending a meeting on time, submitting a report on time, attending a function on time, being on time for an appointment, returning the money on time, etc.
4. Punctuality in regards to removing one’s defilements: It means making time to attend the temple and listen to Dhamma lectures regularly as well as on special occasions. It means practicing meditation daily and attending a meditation retreat whenever possible.
The Effects of Universal Goodness on Society
Practicing Universal Goodness
Economic and spiritual security
Fulfilling one’s obligations to the people in the Six Directions
Protecting one’s rights
Succeeding as a team leader
Making right decisions
Knowing when to let things be Harmony
. Making policy
. Adhering to policy
Effects on Society
1. When UG-5 is practiced until it becomes a habit, one can readily exercise self-control.
2. When matters of economy go hand-in-hand with spirituality, security is the ensuing result.
With economic and spiritual security, one can satisfactorily perform one’s work and fulfill one’s obligations to the people in the Six Directions. One is not given to partiality because one has been well trained enough to be an effective team leader. One has the ability to make right decisions. One knows when to let things be. And one knows how to keep harmony in the team. One will attract good and moral people into one’s life.
The following questionnaire can be used to evaluate one’s shortcomings where one’s family and one’s work are concerned. This questionnaire has been used with the men and women of different careers and professions who came together to observe the Eight Precepts and practice meditation.
One’s Personal Shortcomings:
(1) One is a spendthrift. One buys more than what is necessary. One’s house is in disarray.
(2) One does not chant or practice meditation. One’s concentration is easily lost.
(3) One sees other people’s faults more readily than one’s own and one is predisposed to finding faults with others.
(4) One does not practice endearing speech. One is rude. One is quick to anger. One does not forget a wrong done to one.
(5) One is disorganized. One is unpunctual.
(6) One smokes and drinks liquor/beer/wine. One watches pornorgraphy.
One’s Shortcomings in Regards to One’s Family
(1) Things in the house are not well-organized.
(2) One does not listen to the opinions of other family members. One bosses others around. One believes one’s opinion to be right all the time. One has arguments with other family members.
(3) One is irritable. One is impolite to one’s parents and other family members.
(4) One has no time for family. One mismanages one’s time. One wastes one’s time.
(5) One is a hoarder.
(6) One does not communicate enough with other family members and runs away from problems rather than dealing with them.
One’s Shortcomings at Work
(1) One does not follow up on an assignment. One is irresponsible. One is unpunctual.
(2) One is a procrastinator. One does the least amount of work that one can get away with.
(3) One is irritable and one often has words with one’s colleagues.
(4) One’s work space is dirty and disorganized.
(5) One does not express oneself well during a meeting because one does not have the ability to see the overall scope of one’s work.
(6) One lacks the enthusiasm for learning what is useful but would rather spend time on Facebook, Instagram, Line, etc.
To address one’s shortcomings, one must first practice meditation in order to scrub one’s mind clean enough to really see them. One must also make sure that one keeps one’s body and possessions clean.
Hands which are not washed properly can carry germs from one person to another. If one’s body cannot be properly cleaned, how can one hope to keep everything else around one’s person clean?
The Relationship between Universal Goodness and the Observtion of the Five Precepts
A trained mind is a clean mind. A person with a clean mind is not self-indulgent or easily angered. He feels relaxed and calm. He has no need to kill anything. He has no need for the use of pesticides.
Therefore, he does not transgress the First Precept: No killing.
When one’s thought is not chaotic and one’s belongings are well-organized, one feels happy. One takes good care of one’s possessions. One does not steal.
Therefore, one does not transgress the Second Precept: No stealing.
A polite person does not take advantage of other people. He is content, considerate, thoughtful and gentle. He does not commit sexual misconduct because he knows to exercise self-control.
Therefore, one does not transgress the Third Precept: No sexual misconduct.
A punctual person understands the four forms of suffering and knows to admonish himself. He listens to other people’s advice. He is not stubborn. He is constantly making self-improvement. He is a person of his word.
Therefore, he does not transgress the Fourth Precept: No false speech.
When a person has good concentration, he does not become involved with the Six Causes of Ruin but earnestly pursues inner peace and happiness.
Therefore, he does not transgress the Fifth Precept: No alcohol.
Such a person is a good family member, a good friend, a good citizen of the country and the world, a good employee of any organization. When more and more people routinely practice Universal Goodness, our family, our community, our country and our world can only prosper.
The absolute ceiling of cleanliness forms the absolute ceiling of orderliness.
The absolute ceiling of orderliness forms the absolute ceiling of politeness.
The absolute ceiling of politeness forms the absolute ceiling of punctuality.
The absolute ceiling of punctuality forms the absolute ceiling of concentration or a focused mind.
Therefore, the absolute ceiling of life’s success depends on cleanliness, orderliness, politeness, punctuality and concentration. These five aspects of Universal Goodness are within a person’s power to consider and practice. And they are truly the factors which lead the practitioner to meet with success.