“What is it that is so fearful about a tiger? When speaking of the tiger's teeth – I also have teeth; the tigers claws – I also have nails; the tiger's hair – I also have hair; the tiger's head – I also have a head; the tiger's body – I also have a body; the tiger's eyes – I also have eyes; the tiger's stripes – I have tattoos and birth-marks; but in speaking of the tiger's tail, even the tiger itself is not afraid of that, so why should I be?
“speaking of the tiger's Heart and my own Heart- both are alike yet my Heart is specially that of a man, a Bhikkhu, which is so much higher. Even the various organs and bodily parts of both the tiger and myself are constituted out of the same kinds of elements. there is not enough difference to cause each to be fearful of the other.
“The Heart of the tiger is that of an animal while my Heart is that of a Bhikkhu and possessed with Dhamma which is higher and more powerful beyond comparison to that of the tiger. So why should I lower my status and position as a Bhikkhu by becoming afraid of a tiger, which is merely a four-legged animal? Isn't this degrading to my status of being a Bhikkhu?
“ In addition, the Sasana, with its powers and marvels over the Three Worlds, will become tarnished and dulled, and will deteriorate due to the stain of a cowardly and fearful Bhikkhu. The deterioration and damaged caused to the Sasana, the priceless treasure of the Three worlds, by the valuing of life more than Dhamma, is not at all proper. If one dies, one does so by way of ignorance, deficient in Panna without the slightest distinction and honour within oneself or the Sasana. The Kammatthana Bhikkhu who dies in this way, dies like one who sells himself and the Sasana, along with the rest of those who practice everywhere. This is not dying like warrior who believes in Kamma and is fearless in facing up to the then occurring circumstances.
“I am a Kammatthana Bhikkhu I will not die in this manner; but I will die as a warrior, ending my life in the battle with fearlessness and boldness. This will maintain my honour and the Sasana to remain with the world for a long time to come. I must investigate to see clearly, both the nature of myself and that of the tiger, the various organs and parts of both the tiger's body and my own, and the nature of that fear that is permeating throughout. I must see it clearly with Panna, not allowing the fear to step over my head, for this is dishonour to myself having been born as a man with the status of Kammatthana Bhikkhu Regardless, I shall fight to the end, until seeing victory or defeat, dead or alive, right at this moment! Which side will be the stronger and more powerful? Which side is more capable of maintaining one's honour and Sasana? Which side will destroy oneself and the Sasana due to fear? This should be known tonight, right at this time. This must be investigated right to the end, and right now!”
while the investigation and analysis are going on, both in the differentiation and comparison of the Dhatu, the Khandha, the nature of fear and of boldness, to earnestly and thoroughly find out the truth about them all, the Heart begins to see and understand following the instruction of Panna. For Panna constantly teaches it without allowing any gaps or lapses, until calmness and peacefulness arise, without any anxieties remaining at that time. The result is that of peacefulness and happiness. All of the Sanna-Arammana, conjectures and assumptions that one previously purported completely disappear. All that remains is a very distinctive calmness and happiness of the Citta.
The Citta then gains confidence in the cause, the means of investigation, to be truly the way of overcoming the state of confusion, anxiety and fear, and a belief in the result that appears at that time, as a very mysterious kind of peace and happiness that one had never experienced before, by the means of investigation with fear as the instigator.
This is one of the methods used to overcome fear which has a definite result. But in the beginning stages of training in the way of Kammatthana, the practitioner usually uses the method of Parikamma Bhavana with a Dhamma object such as Buddho, for example, rather than the method of investigation, during that time when fear arises. The same result of calm and disappearance of fear is obtained, the difference being in the gain of various skilful means, which can only come from the method of investigation.
Some of those who practice, if fear arises when witting in the mosquito net, will lift up the net and sit in the open, exposing themselves to insects and mosquitoes. One then tries to endure and concentrate only on the work of Bhavana using the various methods which can be used to overcome fear during that time, until truly having overcome it before retiring.
The Citta that is calmed by the training method of having fear as the cause, is much more subtle and lasts much longer than the ordinary method of Bhavana. While the Citta is in the dullest and most subtle state of calm, the body disappears totally from the awareness. The contact between the internal and external Ayatana ceases until the Citta withdraws from this state, when they continue to function.
The state of the Citta that ceases using the Ayatana may be likened to, but is not,the state of sleep. During sleep there is nothing strange or profound, but when the Citta is perfectly calm, there appears a very strange and profound experience, with only the quality of “knowingness” within that state of calm. The generally acknowledged result from sleep differs from the result of the Citta's subtle state of calm that arises from practising Samadhi Bhavana. This result causes one to constantly yearn for it, without ever fading away. It will cause one who has experienced it to be bold and resolute in the future training of oneself with that particular method.
One who has experienced this result will never be liable to wavering, regardless of how much fear might appear. One will then also take fear as the device for reminding oneself to exert and overcome that fear as previously experienced. The is what causes the practitioner to seek for fearful surroundings as the cultivating ground. The more fearful the environment the more is there interest in seeking for that sort of place for the work of cultivation and development. This is because the training of the Heart afflicted with fear, be means of Sati-Panna that can catch up with the tricks of the Heart until it is transformed to become bold and fearless, is precisely the thing that has always been desired.
Speaking of fearful surroundings, they are really fearful when they are the constant haunt of tigers, which like to regularly wander around searching for their food. In some places even during the middle of the day the tigers will still be roaming about. But especially at night these surroundings are their natural hunting ground and in contrast to the daytime they are not afraid of people then. Apparently they are not more concerned with people than with those animals which thy consume. Even when they run around one's dwelling area, if they don't cry out one wouldn't know they were there. But it is the natural instinct of man to consider tigers as dangerous and fierce and one cannot really avoid thinking about being afraid of them. When one has entered such surroundings one knows quite well that one is 'living in the tiger's den'; for who can remain at ease as if it were a market place? One will naturally be suspicious and fearful of them.
In living in the forest and mountains, the practitioner usually seeks for fearful surroundings to aid with his exertion. And such wild animals as tigers can aid with his exertion very effectively. The Kammatthana Bhikkhu therefore like those tigers even if they are afraid of them, because they can cause fear to arise very quickly. As soon as one sees their paw prints, the fear that was in a deep state of sleep will suddenly be awakened, and this will cause one to be constantly suspicious of them, regardless of one's posture. This feeling will constantly haunting one, and the Heart will always be in a state of preparedness.
While one is in this state of preparedness and carefulness one is actually exerting. For, when one is afraid, the Heart must spontaneously reflect upon Dhamma, using it as a refuge or countering device. The longer one reflects upon Dhamma the more will one be aiding and developing the strength of Sati-Panna and every aspect of exertion. the resulting tranquillity arises depending on the intensity of the exertion, until it becomes perfect tranquillity.
Both the liking and fearing of tigers therefore becomes the means that aids and encourages the practitioner who is seeking the essence of Dhamma. That this is possible is quite beyond belief and speculation. The truth about many of these experiences has arisen within the circle of Kammatthana Bhikkus. This is due to a boldness in sacrificing; if one has to die one is not concerned during that time. When one is in a difficult spot, and being driven into a corner and one cannot depend on any other things, then one will have to think about helping oneself. Dhamma, which is the perfect and natural refuge, when taken inwardly as the Heart's refuge during the time when one really needs the refuge, will definitely manifest its result for one to spontaneously see and experience, without any doubt.
Those who have not practised and experienced this might be doubtful and deny that this is possible. But there are those who have practised and have already experienced the result within themselves, even if it is not witnessed by others. In the end which side the truth belongs to is really for the critics to decide; for those who have already experienced it with their Hearts will probably have no comment to make. Once these things are clearly seen for oneself they will no longer be a problem. This is like the Dhamma of the Lord Buddha, whether in the principal or the minor aspects, because the Lord Buddha and the Savaka are not all doubtful as regards any aspect. But for the one who has not seen it is impossible not to be uncertain about Dhamma, which, for example, states that: the Truth exists; woefulness truly exists; virtue truly exists; hell truly exists; heaven truly exists; Nibbana truly exists. The Lord Buddha and Savaka have no questions because they have all seen and taught these things themselves. But those who have not seen will naturally be doubtful and will argue about these things, but for the one who knows within himself, the questions will naturally disappear.
In summary: the various Dhammas presented by the Lord Buddha which are based completely on truth, can be seen and understood by those who firmly put their trust, both of Heart and mind, in Dhamma. There are those who cannot see or understand, who do not believe and deny that Dhamma is the truth, right up to the present day. It is not possible for someone to eliminate this doubt in others because Dhamma is not a material substance that can be held up as proof like in the way of the world. It can only be seen within oneself – Sanditthiko – according to each practitioner's ability to reflect upon it. Therefore the results of training oneself are not a public property that can be shared with others who have not done the work of testing the truth, which is within the ability of every individual.
The Kammatthana Bhikkhu who trains himself by putting his like at stake, can be considered to be testing both himself and Dhamma. This is to find out the truth and is a method not beyond the bound of the expounded teaching, the Sasana-Dhamma.
All of these methods that have been discussed here, have been regularly applied by the Kammatthana Bhikkhus. Each Bhikkhu selects the mode of practice that suits his character, with definite result. This has not been practised blindly nor is what is written here from mere speculation, for even the writer has already tried and practised following these methods of training. Among the practitioners of this lineage, there are those who have practised and experienced the results enough to be able to testify that these various methods of training oneself are not impractical, as is they were just a means with no end rewards. But they are modes of practice which are very meaningful, complete with all the results that on could ever hope for. They will always be well received within the circle of those who practise, who have practical and excellent modes of practise.
The various claims made about Magga, Phala, and Nibbana, that they are no longer effective due to the passing away of the Lord Buddha into Parinibbana; and that the practitioners can no longer gain the results from practising Dhammanu Dhammapatipanno (whoever practises Dhamma in accordance with the way of Dhamma, he is truly the one who gives Puja to the Tathagata); these are not contained within the 'Well-Taught Dhamma', Savkkhata Dhamma, and will never be in the Dhamma of the Lord Buddha. There is no absolute sacred power other than the 'Well-Taught Dhamma'. It is the nature of Dhamma to impart equality among all things. Therefore one who believes in Dhamma is not complacent in trying to seek after goodness for himself, right from the beginning to the end of Dukkha using the various means of exertion as accords with one's strength and preference as to which method of exertion one chooses.
The taming of the Citta that is afflicted with far by the most efficient technique until the fear totally vanishes is very important. The result that appears when the Citta surrenders to Sati-Panna is marvellous beyond any specification. The Heart becomes bold and daring the instant the fear vanishes by using the proper remedy, and afterwards the Citta becomes perfectly calm without any fear. When the Citta withdraws it is still bold and fearless and this becomes supporting evidence testifying clearly to the Heart that the Citta can be tamed, having the various kinds of circumstances as supporting conditions, such as fear for example. One is then satisfied with that or some other method used in training oneself without any fear of death.
In training oneself with other methods, it should be noted that it is practised with a certainty in the results that have been gained. There is only the increasing in the intensity of the practice for the progress of the Citta and Dhamma within the Heart, until finally reaching the pre-established goal.
The training of oneself and the Heart which the Kammatthana Bhikkhu follow has many different methods depending on the suitability for the different characters. But usually the method selected is the one with which one has experienced results. It is this method that one regularly endeavours with more than the other ways. The characters of people differ; the Citta of some characters when afflicted by fear has no controlling mindfulness, and one becomes 'one without mindfulness'. This type of character should not use fear as the means of taming himself. One can lose one's mind and go insane. The 'taming' must suit the character of each individual. The means has to be selected to suit one's character and to be capable of supporting and encouraging the Heart. One should not take up a method just because one has heard that it is good, without considering one's Citta, for then the results will not be as expected.
However , in mentioning this here, it is not for the purpose of arousing weakness in those who practise. It is mentioned out of suitability, so that one can gain the proper benefits that are appropriate to one's capability. Some readers, after having read the above passage, might consider anything that is difficult or contrary to one's habit as not suitable for one's character. One's character must suit living in comfort, without having to encounter the different kinds of fear; it is suitable to just eat and sleep in comfort; this is most appropriate to one's character which likes ease and comfort.
But on the contrary, one should reflect upon the Lord Buddha – the Supreme One – and the Arahants, that are the refuges (Sarana) of the world. For they realized and attained to Dhamma by means of taming and training themselves rather than by the other means which the weak and lazy consider good. Also, no one attains to Dhamma by way of just living and sleeping, following the Heart's desire without the need to retain the Citta and tame the Heart at all.
The relating of these tough and hardy methods of taming and training of some practitioners is due to the seeing that the Kilesa of people are usually more afraid of the power of coercion and restraint than just letting go, following the Heart's desire. If one uses some coercion they will submit somewhat, making room for one to open one's eyes and breath some air. But if one complies with them, they will be encouraged and tend to get worse. It is necessary to us the various methods of coercion and restraint to subdue the Kilesa. One who likes to see the Kilesa subdued should take some of these methods to use as his device of training, as is suitable to his character. It is then possible to pass these obstacles from time to time. The Kilesa can be subdued successively, one by one, and the Dukkha gradually reduced until arriving at the safe haven of bliss and happiness using these methods as the supports.
The practitioner who has experienced the results of using these tough and hardy methods, has clearly seen and truly experienced them to his Heart's contentment. The nature of the Citta that needs these methods of taming is usually dynamic, earnest, and serious. It is very bold and resolute, ready to fight to the end without giving up. Ready to die when it is time to die.
When it is time to subdue fear, the practitioner really searches for suitable surroundings – for instance having tigers as the tamer. The most fearful surroundings are usually selected. The training is very serious and genuine. One is willing to die during that time and all one truly desires is to see the fear vanish due to the subduing power of Sati-Panna. If one was not willing, one would not be able to subdue the Heart that is afflicted by fear and it would not be possible to continue on in those fearful environments.
But one manages to subdue and tame until seeing that the power of fear is not able to withstand the power of Dhamma. Then one sees fear dissolve right before one's eyes where it is replaced be a very clear and definite fearlessness, which testifies that that particular method of training is not empty of results, and is tremendously beneficial beyond any speculation.
For some practitioners the Heart immediately calms down the moment when they hear the roaring of tigers around the living area. For others, the Citta comes to calm the moment they hear the sound of the tigers innocently walking close by; the tigers neither paying attention to those who might be afraid or fearless of them. And for some others, while exerting in their normal way, the Citta will not come to calm. When one then devises a means of sitting Bhavana on the path where the tigers pass; even if there are no tigers, the Heart will calm down into Samadhi by depending on the thoughts and fear of the tiger coming towards them.
There are two methods of Bhavana when fear arises.
One concentrates the Citta to be with the Dhamma object that one has been practising with, without ever sending the Citta out to be with the animals and tigers. One keeps one's concentration one the work of Bhavana having Sati guarding that particular Dhamma object. One depends solely on that particular Dhamma that one is doing the Parikamma with as a matter of life and death. When the Citta surrenders, truly taking Dhamma as a refuge, and not seeking here and there, it will definitely calm down without doubt. As soon as the Citta comes to calm, the fear simultaneously disappears. This is in the method of practice for one who is in the beginning stage of training.
The other method is the method used by those practitioners whose Citta has attained to Samadhi, having it as the Heart's anchor. This method is then to investigate by means of Panna when fear arises. One differentiates and analyses both fear and the tiger which the Citta purports to be frightening by breaking it up into parts, from the teeth, nails, skin, head, tail, and body and every organ of the tiger, analysing them with Panna until seeing clearly how fearful they really are. Then the fear will naturally disappear.
This second method is used by those who have already trod the path of Vipassana. It is possible to overcome fear by this method. The practitioners who live in the forest all use these methods to train themselves with satisfactory results and without ever being harmed by the tigers at all.