by SAYADAW U SILANANDA
Edited by Karuna Rakkhita
Size: 5.5” X 8.5”
Pages: 79 pages
LAY BUDDHISTS, particularly meditators, need constant reminders to practice, to realize theoretical knowledge. Sayadaw Silananda’s booklet on Clear Comprehension – Sampajanna (transcribed from a set of 5 talks) serves as one such inspirational reminder. Buddhists are admonished to practice clear comprehension as it leads to enlightenment.
Sampajanna is mentioned in the discourse on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, in the third of 14 sections on contemplation of the body, the fist foundation. The Commentaries explains that Sampajanna means precise (not mixed with other objects), thorough (understanding the object in all aspects) and even (without liking or disliking) understanding of an object. Sayadaw elaborates: “When we say we here clear comprehension of an object, we mean we see it precisely, we see it in all its aspects, and we see it without greed or anger in our minds…Clear comprehension in brief is seeing the true nature of things”.
There are four kinds of clear comprehension: clear comprehension of purpose, clear comprehension of suitability, clear comprehension of resort and clear comprehension of non-delusion. They are explained for meditators with specific reface to the following seven sets of activities: going forward and going back (walking meditation); looking straight and looking sideways; bending and stretching of limbs; wearing robes, taking bowls and so forth; eating and drinking; answering the calls of nature; going or walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, walking, speaking and in being silent.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Venerable Sayadaw U Silananda was selected by the late Most Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma to carry out the honourable task of spreading the Dhamma in the West, more than 30 years ago.
Today, the Venerable Sayadaw is the Abbot of Dhammananda Vihara in California and the Spiritual Director of the Theravada Buddhist Society of America, Dhammachakka Meditation Center in Berkeley, the Tathagata Meditation Center of San Jose, the Society for Advancement of Buddhism in Ft. Myers (Florida) and the Bodhi Tree Dhamma Center in Largo (Florida). In Mynmar, the Venerable is also one of three spiritual directors (Ovadacariya Sayadaws) of the Mahasi Meditation Center in Yangon.
Born to a devout Buddhist family in Mandalay on 16 December, 1927, the Venerable received his early education at Kelly High School, an American Baptist Mission School for boys. In 1943, at the age of 16, he ordained as a novice monk and began formal religious training with his preceptor and other renowned monks. Full bhikkhu ordination followed in 1947.
The Venerable holds two Dhammacariya (Master of Dhamma) degrees and has taught at the Athithokdayone Pali University. He was an External Examiner at the Department of Oriental Studies, University of Art and Sciences in Mandalay, Myanmar.
The Venerable was the Chief Compiler of the Tipitaka Pali-Burmese Dictionary and was one of the distinguished editors of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries at the Sixth Buddhist Council held in Rangoon (Yangon) from 1954 to 1956. He is the author of seven Burmese Buddhist books and nine in English. Three of his English books had been translated into Chinese.
Well-regarded as a compassionate, knowledgeable and wise teacher, the Venerable Sayadaw teaches Vipassana meditation, Abhidhamma and other aspects of Theravadian Buddhism in English, Burmese, Pali and Sanskrit. He has led meditation retreats throughout the USA, Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Europe.
In 1993, the Venerable was awarded the title of Agga Maha Pandita by the Burmese religious authorities and in 1999 the title of Agga Maha Saddhamma Jotikadhaja. He was also appointed as Rector of International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University of Yangon in Myanmar. More recently, in 2000, he was conferred Honorary Doctorate (D.Litt.) by Yangon University.