The Discourse on the Fundamental Knowledge
about the Principles of Insight Meditation
as taught by the Buddha to Bhikkhu Mālukyaputta
by Mahāsi Sayādaw
edited by Bhikkhu Pesala
Size: 5.5” X 8.3”
Pages: 85 pages
The Mālukyaputta Sutta gives us the fundamental knowledge about the principles of insight meditation (vipassanā). It is found in the Saṃyuttanikāya of the Sutta Pitaka, and the twenty verses it contains can also be found in the Visatinipata of the Theragātha. It was given by the Buddha to Bhikkhu Mālukyaputta, at his request. He was the son of a female devotee by the name of Māluṅkya, or Mālunkya according to the Sri Lankan edition of the texts.
"Venerable sir, it would be good if you
would teach me the Dhamma in brief.
Having heard the essence of Dhamma,
I will practise it in solitude, abiding vigilant,
strenuous, and with single purpose."
In effect, Mālukyaputta was asking the Buddha to prescribe a subject of meditation, which he wanted to practise in the right way at a quiet place.
The Buddha replied ot Mālukyaputta as follows:
"Then what shall I say to other bhikkhus (monk)
when you are making such a request? You are old,
having reached the latter part of your life.
Even so you ask for just the gist of the Dhamma from me."
These words of the Buddha can be taken as both reproach and approval. The old monk had not striven for the Dhamma while young. Only when he already had one foot in the grave did he speak of abiding in it. Taken in that light, Buddha's admonition might be a reproach. However, Mālukyaputta was determined to live the life of a rexcluse in spite of his advanced years. What would young monks say to this? They should certainly want to emulate him. In this context it may be interprted that the Buddha was full of praise for him. If youngsters see old people striving hard for the realisation of the Dhamma, they should try to follow suit.
Since Mālukyaputta repeated his request, the Blessed One taught him the fundamentals of insight meditation by posing a series of questions to reveal the method of insight.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
VENERABLE MAHASI SAYADAW was born in Seikhun village, near Shwebo in Burma (Myanmar) in 1904. He become a novice at the age of twelve and from the very earliest time in the robes showed unusual powers of memory and intelligence.
In 1931, having gone about as far as scriptural knowledge could take him, he left the monastery he was staying in to pursue the study of vipassana meditation under Mingun Jetawan Sayadaw. He stayed at that monastery for about one year, practicing intensive insight meditation, but was forced to leave it when the abbot of his former monastery died and he had to return. He continued, however, to practice meditation in conjunction with his administrative and scriptural duties.
He began teaching insight meditation in 1938 on a visit back to his home village, where his teaching was enthusiastically received.
At the historic sixth Buddhist Council, which was inaugurated with every pomp and ceremony on 17th May 1954, Mahasi Sayadaw played an eminent role, performing the exacting and onerous tasks if Osana (Final Editor) and Pucchaka (Questioner) Sayadaw.
Over the years his fame as a meditation teacher gradually spread, and centers were opened all over the county. Since then, “Mahasi Centers” have spread too many places in the world, now numbering eighteen in ten different countries.