Fire Sermon

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Date looks more like 19 than 14 in both cases.

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no not as
the some are some good as on
but as
the ah the some laws some good hassan
what does
the some are some good as are good hand how long sung hung never saw me

so to doesn't you might not have been here in the last couple of weeks i've been
working my way through the first few discourses of the buddha and so the first week i did the the the turning of the wheel before unable to teach on the four noble truths and then
last week with the are not a lock on a suitor that teachings on selflessness and so
today and not surprisingly we go to the as a threat to talk about the third sit out the third formal teaching of the of the buddha which is called the fire salmon on in
in the western pilots i think it was ts eliot gave it a particular name and i wonder when i came back from thailand or either those more familiar with ts eliot and i wasn't with buddhist scriptures and i came back after a couple of years in the monastery in thailand and came to england and
and there was a very scholarly monk that we had in the community where in england the swedish mungkin and he knew a lot more about parley in the scriptures and the rest of us i asked him and where i could find that the fire sermon in the in the scriptures and so i expected to find something that was a close parallel to what ts eliot
come up with them
somewhat taken aback fire where you are very scanty relationship between the two better it's in his poem the wasteland and ts eliot's found the wasteland and as the one of the sections i think it's the third or fourth which just called the fire sermon and hinges around this
this idea of burning was burning burning and the under yeah the kind of key element is a he ties it up with a quotation from st augustine in which she is a to carthage than i came and it's the whole of the quote is to carthage than i came with
or a cauldron of unholy loves rang about nine years
so let's face and stuck in my mind a cauldron of unholy loves
so cartridges of as the and something like the tenderloin of the is a year
the first few centuries a d
so but this principle of a burning and the fire being associated with the passions and cauldrons or unholy loves but we are very familiar with one way or another or this is what this the or really talks about in its essence
and it's the as and like with the the attorney that to teach on the of the turning of the wheel the four noble truths as the full truth is basis and then last week the the teaching as describing is based around what's called the five candidates are the five and
categories of body and mind then the buddha was very keen on having things in neat chunks with that you could remember by numbers and having neat headings and so this is based around the six senses and these are all parts of the all the bases of insight the the different groups of around
other qualities that the buddha talked about us that what's called the basis of insight that which we derive insights and liberation understanding from but the the six senses is a is one of those groups the other two are the what are called a spiritual faculties the india's that's a fake
the energy mindfulness a concentration and wisdom and the quality of knowing and the last one is called the dependent origination he's all different formats that the buddy used to describe the same basic insights or to elaborate will give a different context for the basic liberating insight that is the underpinning of
his whole teaching
so the fire sermon revolves around a contemplation of the six senses
the eye ear nose tongue body and mind
allium to give you a little bit of background to the sitter and has been has a quite a bit more of a of a prologue to it and this is one of the stem
and if one of the more amusing incidents that happened that you find in the in the pali canon actually the the probably scriptures are riddled with humor i am told
often times you have to be you have to be a poly speaker to get the joke because it's filled with like double meanings and a it can idioms and implications and a double entendre is that it's a carry a particular message or have a particular flavor but if you know the indian speaker you tend to the miss them but this particular succession
the of incidents running up to the giving of this this teaching is one of the more a bizarre and the and amazing so if you're not into miraculous powers and extraordinary events and pleaser ten turn off for five minutes
because what happens it is the buddha this has happened just after his enlightenment and is the he becomes aware in his mind this
a a leader of a group of a fire worshippers
who is living nearby who as and i've got a lot of spiritual qualities but is caught up in some some particularly meaty wrong views or diluted opinions and so he decides to cfm he can to help guide this fellow or this spell that can make any use of of his
insight and this is any of the early on in the buddhist career so he intended to more approach people and and then and sort of be more overtly
and of forward in the way that he operated and also he later on in his career he but he displayed much much less than a way of psychic powers but on this occasion he was he was very very free with them so anyway he comes to upon this sound this fellow is called a little de la casa rivera was near the place with the buddha was
enlighten near gaia bodhgaya and he's called little avail a counterpart and so the buddha meets him and and here
and he asked them and just he doesn't mean doesn't present himself as any kind of extraordinary being but by as his whole manner and his appearance or the the fire worshipper recognizes this fellow has got a because i mean going for him he's very tall very clear eyed very radiant of composed
so the buddha asked him can i stay in a in your hermitage for tonight i'd like to stay in was in the what's called a fire chamber or that the firehouse is like a sweat lodge that their people would have in those days and they said will certainly you can do but there's a there's a dragon that lives in there that will certainly kill you
if you try and spend the night and it's very ferocious and and malevolent and the buddhist as well i i'd like to spend the night in there anyway and so then i think oh well that will do the funeral for you in the morning
no problem so anyway the bullet goes and spends and idea and then it goes a long descriptions of his battle with this was the naga like a dragon is not a serpent and he basically he ends up taming the naga and he comes out of the fire chamber in the morning in not even singed and with the naga shrunk down and and it's inside his arms boat is
he's begging bowl and says to reveal a the customer is the naga in it didn't have much shoe and effect in a here is your naga who is so mighty and powerful and dangerous and customer next long this great this is certainly a great monk and he's very nicely and powerful but he's not really in our hunt is not an enlightened being like me
and then
but he's obviously a bit on edge about this and so a few days later they do to have a big festivals and so that he thinks will have been a fear shame as this big it it's great monkeys around and then he kind of out shines me at this festival i'm supposed to be the great enlightened sage and and fellow make them show me up in public and so the buddha reads his mind and then and then disappears and doesn't show up
that day and so on the next day after after the the festival is over the cost of a system where where did you go to and
then he didn't come yesterday and the buddhist that well i realize that you were afraid that i might show you up in public and so but i stayed away so this makes it even worse but will look a little direct consequences were okay well maybe he did read my mind but he's not really now hard like me
and then he get this long succession of of more extraordinary and wild and miraculous things that the buddha does goes off to the at the continent the ultra cool in the far north and brings back this sort of magical fruit since
when they are the fire worshippers this because all of a customer has like five hundred disciples and they they have to bathe in the river and it gets the cold season of the year and then and in the notice is all the fireworks she was shivering and shaking by the side of the riverbank and he conjures up five hundred fires graziers for the for the
the for five worship as to warm themselves by and then he m
he does a whole series of other extraordinary procedures after each one of which are the thought passes through the mind of rivera castle pan well the great monkey certainly mighty and powerful but he's not really in our hands like me
so anyway the final finally after weeks and weeks of this and there's a great flood and then there's the water rises and so the whole district is being washed out and so then the customer gets worried about the boutons is i will use this living in a little hot down by the river he's going to get washed away so they went down
down there in a boat to see if you could find him and rather than the border having been washed away by the flood he's he's what he's doing walking meditation on the ground and all the water is a parted around him like in the air the red sea and cecil b demille smoothie as the buddha just calmly walking up and down with the waters
swirling all around him going to feet deep
and and and of it comes up and his little bulletins as though you all right and nieces yes i'm fine
and and of a the customer looks down and thinks well the great monkeys certainly mighty and powerful but he's not really an era hunt like me from the buddha realizes this fellow is totally hopeless
so he rises up in the air out of the out of the and from below the water level floats across stands on the edge of the boat which in itself is quite an achievement and and then and the he realizes the customer is still hanging onto this sword and so he says the okay well i suppose i better give him a shock and he says to
cassiopeia you are neither in our hands no on the path to becoming an hour heart nor are you doing anything that could possibly bring you onto the path of being in our hunt
so reveal a customer at this point realizes that he's gonna between to france okay i admit
and he bows to the buddha and asked for instruction or anywhere he becomes very inspired by the buddha and says i want to become your disciple and the buddha as well you can't just do this here in charge of five hundred fire worshippers you can't just convert with and follow me and what about them so then cancer for asks his followers and and nieces were actually
we've had a lot of faith in the great month for quite a while now
and so we're very happy to have to follow him and so they will cut off their their matted hair they had dreadlocks colorful their dreadlocks and through all their gear for the the fire sacrifice into the river
and became became follows the the buddha became became because
then just down the river that customer rivera a customer had a brother who was called a customer of the river and add three hundred disciples and he sees all these dreadlocks and bits and pieces of the fire sacrifice floating down the river and even oh dear maybe some disaster has befallen my brother so he sends off the messages to find out what
happened and they they the other followers tell them and say well is this better than what we're doing and nice oh yes this is better so then and caterpillar the river than does the same and he did chops of his dreadlocks as do is three hundred disciples and they throw all that stuff into the river a little further down the river
a for this always do everything in threes as a third brother who is called caterpillar gaia and then he says he has two hundred and two hundred disciples and he also is a fire worshipper and so he sees all the dreadlocks and stuff really now if any and oh dear maybe some disastrous before the my brother and the same thing
happens he sends a messenger and this and this is you know you all right this yes we all right and then they explain what's happening so well this is is this better and it's oh yes this is better so he and his two hundred disciples it will become because will become disciples of the buddha so there we are with the say now you must understand this is to be taken as of myth and
meaningful myth rather than history
if your credibility has been stretched beyond the elastic limits buddhist scriptures are very definitely cast in a mythological for and i'm supposed to be literally of scientifically accurate test their for reflection and for it can of creating symbols and patterns and ideas for us to
consider and and there and reflect upon so anyway then these the thousand of these thousand monks and then joining with the buddha then it's the on this occasion as they are walking along as a group together and as the commentary say that is when they are looking down from a ridge into the valley nc a vast first fire burns
in down below them than the buddha
thought i gave this discourse and address the the monks and after you find that the buddha use the the the way of life where person their livelihood or their position in society or some particular attribute that they had as a medium as a
joanna an analogy for teaching them like you a farmer he would talk about plowing and sewing and a king he would talk about ruling and so for the fire worshippers and the forest fire burning he used the the analogy of fire
now what are the way the teaching begins the city begins his is a subang decorar the tongue which means all is burning because everything is burning and then he says what is what is the all that is burning when here he goes onto describes as the eye is burning visible for
homes are burning and the whole process of seeing is burning and the feelings that pleasant painful or or neutral that arise from the action of seeing these are all burning and what are they burning with their burning with the fires agreed the fires of hatred fires of delusion they're burning with the fires of
birth of aging the fires of death a burn with the fires of sorrow weeping pain grief the fires of despair
and so through with the ears of the ear is burning sounds are burning the the process of hearing itself is burning and so to the feelings and then through the all of the six senses the tongue the knows the body physical sensations
the mind is burning and mental phenomena in the buddhist terminology the mind is simply the sixth sense that the brain is that is the organ of perception which perceived thoughts and feelings ideas so that there's no distinction that the between the thinking mental processes in the us
other senses the thinking processes like a coordinator of the other five senses but the brain the mind is seen as simply the sixth sense so you always have eye ear nose tongue body mind in the format of are talking about the sense world and the object that the the mind perceives his is dumb or as for
nominate mental phenomena in this case so then this section of the suited and finishes with thing that the mind is burning mental phenomena are burning yeah the whole action of cognition cognizable is is burning and the feelings pleasant painful neutral that arise from the whole process of com
greed hatred and delusion and so forth now again these are these are not like absolute statements these are not like judgments that they might be thinking well you know i can think it's nice things to look at i can think of some beautiful sounds that are not burning
i can see you know what's so bad about birth and aging can be quite beautiful too
but these are not like absolute statements but more and saying that there is this quality of of on
of obsession of on the mind being entangled the minding inflame the mind being caught up in mashed and status of heated nuts
around these different aspects of our of our sensory world the i the ear nose tongue body mind so these are not like saying it's always like this in all cases or that song the anything that we see is inherently impure but it's just her pointing out that associated with we're seeing hearing for
feeling tasting smelling touching that these passions passions arise and these are what causes distress what causes alienation what causes a feeling of disharmony and discord with life
so get for the end of that section and then he says
seeing thus the wise noble disciple becomes dispassionate towards the i becomes dispassionate towards visible forms becomes dispassionate towards the the action of seeing itself and towards the feelings of a pleasant painful or neutral that arise with the the seeing process
and so too with all the other the other five senses but year the nose tongue body and mind
this quality of dispassion arising towards each of the senses and then the final paragraph is that and
becoming dispassionate ben fear and desire fades away when fear and desire when these fade away than the heart is released when the heart is released there is the knowledge there is release there is liberation there is the knowledge this is the end there is nothing more for me to do my work is complete
and the at this at this point that that realization that completion of the of the discourse then it said that all one thousand of the of the because the former fire worshippers every single one of them became totally enlightened
so i'm not asking you to believe this just my femurs to to be sort of are taking you to be credulous in there but the again i it's ones in one looks at these all in symbolic or mythological terms not to say that it might not actually have happened but not say
that this is untrue but this one is looking at it with an elastic vision she like
one can mixer
makes the measure for like an
i kind of fuzzy vision if you like the be i have the heart of the hardness skeptic can a man can put on some they're fuzzy glasses
so that's a on that on that description
and what is being what is being portrayed then is as a simple process of of 'em
the development of inside their the process of liberation occurring around contemplating the six senses and how they work and how they how they become causes of suffering and how they when when there is a quality of dispassion that they the i
the things we see the beautiful and ugly things like beautiful and ugly sounds and flavors events physical sensations they cease to to carry us away says to obsess since to terrify cease to have the ability to to disturb or or on
corrupts or interfere with the the realization of the true nature of mine
now you you might notice that the whole thing hinges around that one little sentence in the middle seeing that the wise noble disciple becomes dispassionate said well as very nice says you know half a dozen words or eight or ten words but
it's like a hinge on a door is like a it's it's just a small bit of the door but it's the door happens to be a foot thick and luck
in the even if you go to unlock this if the door hasn't got a hinge you can't open it in the whole of this process hinges on that one one aspect of seeing thus the wise noble disciple
now when it when we when it says seeing
it's not just comprehending medicine is few minutes so describing this one might be able to comprehend this process and see that it hangs together okay i can i can follow the the reasoning of it the logic and but it's not just a matter of comprehending the idea it's much more than a penetration of it a full
and a profound understanding to to
to truly realize that it's like the difference between
they say hearing a language like if i if i was speaking in french or in tie you might be able to recognize or that's thai language or as french but not actually to be able to understand the meaning so you might go to recognize they asked the external aspect of it wouldn't be able to penetrate the meaning so that when we use a term like seeing us
it's not just a matter of
comprehending the mechanics of it but it's actually
an action a whole a whole transformation is involved whereby bears a i go
profound intuition and that in that
in an intuition what you have is a a realization of the the painful results of identification
the painful results of of hanging on to sights and sounds to thoughts into physical sensations to flavors to odors that is like a true recognition of or if i do this that results
do i really want to bother
this is painful for why do i keep doing this and then the response of of of letting go of releasing that of allowing that to to be seen as just an aspect of nature rather than something that is mine that i've got to follow i go to escape but just to draw
the process of identification with it

and one thing that crossed my mind this is something that that one about the monks in england pointed out and seguito vista and
has an astute and astute i that the thai word for it this for disciple is or looks it not quite sure the etymology of in time but someone asks him someone asked him ma'am cause we can because it's in monastic vocabulary this sort of he often get a number of words or get included in an old needs of everyday veneer
ocular and so he will say oh so and so is it looks it of urgent char or is it looks it of of this teacher as or looks at of that teacher and so someone wisdom was looking city it was new to the monastery was sitting there looking very puzzled and they said what is it looks it and the adjusted you to say that looks it it means a disciple it means that you
will you you look and you said
if you've known as folk etymology it doesn't actually have any basis in real life but it it fits quite well so that someone is a design for you sit and you look he looking he said
and then soviets really works here this the one is is doing like the wise noble disciple looks and sits and that this is how we really bring about this is kind of
profound seeing like it's only by sitting by contemplating by meditating and observing the results of what we do not out of a critical plays nothing yeah i shouldn't be like this and i keep doing that and this is a stupid obsession and i i should stop it and i couldn't i can't
i am
woe is me
to this step back from that and see that the here is that they should the should demon someone said to me today should is the first learn the first word i let's say
as poignant observation in life

presbyterians it works too
so that's that's the process whereby we bring that about
and then and in this word this passion is also worth contemplating seeing that the wise noble disciple becomes dispassionate now this passion i've noticed particularly in in the usa particularly in california this passion is something like pro
the it to talk about this passion means that you you have decided to become a total wimp
and to fit a dilute or your experience and your feelings towards life to the point where you are like software lump
and the don't really feel very much about anything at home if you do than you feel embarrassed about it and so that them this passion is is gonna really bad press and that them and in a way is it's not a bad thing because and our culture is to to revere to some extent the are those who live pass
finitely to live life to the hilt the jack kerouac's and neil cassidy's resident the have a street named after jack kerouac now down by city lights bookstore jack kerouac airy
neal cassady his mate
on the road and people like dylan thomas tallulah bankhead
my candle burns that both it ends it will not last the night that oh my foes and oh my friends it gives a lovely lights
tulu those offering to the poetic world and
i was emily dickinson i think a little a events
anyway thirty license employing here sir
but anyway one of those that even though we might it is revere the glory in the blaze that some people who live life to the hill in that way most of them seem to end their days and with very bad liver
and then i feel other problems to go along with it so yeah not that i condemn that that way of life but certainly it has its its downside
and so that said he was in the buddhist the buddhist way of looking at things the way to happiness and the way to fulfillment and to
home this is a human being is is not bad that path that is is is not going to them really do the trick
so the what we talk about more the definitely talk about this whole aspect of fire in a different way there's one aspect of it which is rather than kind of burning and blazing brightly is the containing fire by the whole idea of contained fire is very much part of the hopes of buddhist and yogi
and tradition so they're like i'm using the body energy the energy of body and mind containing a controlling and guiding it and raising it up from the the lower and more of an animal based urges and and tendencies towards their aggression and sex
will desire willfulness self centeredness to to transform the energy to raise it up in through meditation or through through yoga as the one sort or another and to transform it into energy which helps to eliminate ones whole being
oh and in that or one because one's not condemning fire per se because the city is not talking about that fire is evil but does the file and it's out of control so in some respects is talking about containing fire and so like the precepts the fire the moral precepts that we live by
in the buddhist community these are also talked about in in terms of containing fire containing the the fire of on a our tendencies to to flow out into acquisition into aggression into
dishonesty one sort or another to pleasure seeking and so forth to contain that energy and control it and guide it and and use it again to help illuminate the mind rather than flying out in a in a wasteful and dangerous and destructive way and so in a similar way they could make the say the fire of
electricity is that also is contained and controlled fire or light the candles hamas's fire when it's in a in a controlled and and watched carefully guided state then it can be used to beautify our lives to make life
i'm easier more wholesome can help our us with our education our health problems are many different aspects of our life eating and
warming and lighting our homes and socal or any difference many different things so it's not that that energy or fire is inherently a bad thing but it's just when it gets out of control like pay for took one of these candles and just put it to the edge of this cloth here and man can made and then broke up the table in a nice little heap you know we could
you can have ourselves a very exciting evening
but i think the the congregation as nathan's church will be a bit upset but so years as a fire is contained and controlled this is something that helps us it's it's
useful to us but also this the this teaching is not just talking about controlling fire it's talking about about dispassion about the fire going out and this is something that some with people particularly in the west fine for i'm pretty disturbing as soon as you
who is they will want this what does nibbana mean and this word dispassion is a translation of the parley
nippy tar or becomes dispassionate is the verb is been the t it become one becomes dispassionate and the word nibbana repeater been the t that would need or near in sanskrit means to to blow out or to to have gone cool to have become
cool for fire like a fire going out and as a normal everyday household kind of expression like you'd after you've cooked the rice he leave it to nibbana he leave it to cool down for the fire that to drop down
and so when you say that when you talk about the the goal of the spiritual life is
is this like the blowing out of a flame the dying of of a fire then paternity is particularly in the words people start to get all the
uncomfortable oh dear
it sounds all very neolithic and they know you mean that that the goal of a put his life is to be extinguished you know this is we we do we go through all of this and we we spend ten thousand hours on ios apple to so we can get extinguished like a dinosaur is that i can become extinct and some of the translations of buddhist scripture
does come here are put in that way that term oh the oh what bliss now i am extinct
i have been utterly extinguished how marvelous and
and it's what is done in well meaning way but to western eyes then into my eye when i first came across this this was a very bizarre and highly unattractive and did not want to emulate the dinosaurs as you know nice creatures are they are but then i couldn't see that the consternation of human existence is is could be so
is this the to be totally annihilated sort of squished like a and i notice cockroach and the foot
so then it becomes interesting or one sort of the question is raised but what does this mean what is is talking about
in a new barn and means a fire going out like the blowing out of a flame and it's very clear that put it does use the analogy like the putting out of a fire with fire is growing cold and something in it does shudder because it seems very nihilistic but that's because in our in our way of thinking in the web
best for am
when a fire goes out it means death the fire is dead it's gone out but in in vedic system in the vedic philosophy
that was not the connotation of a fire going out at all they had a very different sense of that the physics of it and the way they looked at it was very different from the way that we do because they saw that fire very much as like primordial universal energy right the the primordial immortal omnipresent energy of the universe and when a
object catches fire than when as flames and the object is is a light like and by analogy when the mind is is a ignited and a light and flying out and blazing than that energy is in his in an agitated attached dependent and
it is
i sent an inferior state and when the and when a fire goes out rather than it being dead what is happening is that the fire element is returning to its immortal omnipresent primordial state and so through the mind when the mind is not flowing out into the into passion into obsession interfere
ear and and greed and hatred delusion when it's not flowing out in that way when it is when the that fire is extinguished than in the same way the mind returns to realize it's primordial immortal state it's it's original
nation and so this is the whole connotation of a fire going out this is what the the the illusions of of new barn or the other blowing out of a flame has in the in the buddhist world the way that the buddha was using the term so that when when you come across in buddhist scriptures is the idea of extinction or
ah these terms they get used if the in a way i miss translation because english doesn't really have a a suitable term that matches it that gives these same connotations but this is really what it's talking about so when we we say that we practice the the buddhist path in order to to put out the fires
this is not in a way of saying your life is is bad everything that we are the whole energy of our being is somehow wrong and askew and distorted and all i'm kind of
inherently out of order but it's more that when we let go of of greed of hatred of delusion when we let go of other identification with the with the six senses then the mind returns to its to realize his original now
nature to it's immortal deathless
so the this sense in this night in his way that the path that we practice sealers samadi punya virtue concentration mental training the development of wisdom visa i've i've heard referred to as the three fire extinguishers
i once came across the dhamma talk you have been given in london the title of it was three fire extinguishers and i thought
who who on earth isn't this is the this must be a joke and and i i realized oh very nice
it's a serious a naughty punya these are indeed the fire extinguishers and when the but fire goes out rather than this being the the state of a complete and deadness and dad is actually the state of of total life of completely living of state of over
fulfillment where the realization of the true nature of of what is what we are and the primordial
quality of of all things
so i asked about need to consider
please add it as you see fit anger at people would like to them ask any questions or have anything to say the please try away we ever
little while yes
no pun intended
you're say said it be morning at a candlelight more like an angel
instead it running around friction in keeping r r t
energy there to make an agent
correct yes