Seeing Things as They Really are

Swami Deva Rituraj



A modern guide to meditation based on the teachings of Anagarika Munindra and Osho, and their presence in my heart.

Chapter 1   Why meditate?                                                 p   2
Chapter 2   What’s behind it?
                   Buddhism: the Science                                    p   9
Chapter 3   See what is?
                   Reality: Vipassana                                           p 13
Chapter 4   How?
                   Meditation: The Method                                  p 17
Chapter 5   The Community of enlightened
                   disciples: The Sangha                                      p 27
Chapter 6   Masters: The Buddha                                       p 30
Chapter 7   Truth: The Dhamma                                        p 35
Chapter 8   A Warning:
                  “Religions” and Ideologies                               p 37
Appendix 1: Basic lessons in contemplation
                     by Mahasi Sayadaw                                       p 42



Chapter 1
Why meditate?

The Wheel Of Life

Adam is a discovery channel ‘myth buster hero’ who says the following with a big smile on his face: “I reject reality and substitute my own”.
The unfortunate truth is that this is exactly what we are all doing! And this is likely to go on forever, unless one is lucky enough to meet a meditation Master and after the appropriate period of time, experience for the first time, a full stop: Nirvana. When that happens, you experience the first glimpse of enlightenment and you enter the stream.
If you are not familiar with Buddhist Science, you will need to be convinced of a few things before you can understand the precarious situation you are in.
The first one is rebirth.
Western conditioning tells you that you have one life and that’s it. This has a number of implications. For example it is thought that when you execute a dangerous criminal you are getting rid of him forever. Or, soldiers who die in a battle are thought of as having disappeared once and for all. What happens with the remaining mental energy is not considered, because the science of the mind is still very underdeveloped in the occidental societies.
But what if after death there is rebirth? All these soldiers would be coming back, with nightmares and all, creating all kinds of problems. James Redfield in his “The Celestine Prophecy” describes how he sees in a vision, soldiers killing each other, getting reborn and doing it all over again, life after life after life. This is also what Buddha describes in a vaster vision. He said he saw all of humanity doing stupidities, dying and repeating the same stupidities, for thousands and thousands of years. Because humans do not remember their past, this can go on for eternity.
Osho keeps repeating the same thing. Although the body is only a space suit that can be used for a hundred years or so, consciousness never dies. A Buddha is a highly evolved being who doesn’t need a body anymore. In his life he has eliminated all desire to be in a body and therefore lives on forever and everywhere, in universal consciousness. This is the ultimate goal of meditation.
That’s why Osho says you can meet the Buddha always and everywhere, if you know how of course.

The body exists somewhere; when the body disappears, the soul, the consciousness exists everywhere. You can meet the Buddha everywhere; wherever you go you can meet him.
The Body is there because the mind seeks desires through the body; desires cannot be fulfilled without the body. You can be completely fulfilled without the body, but desires cannot be fulfilled without the body. Desire needs the body; the body is the vehicle of desire.

                                                                 Osho, a bird of the wing, cap.7: The Severe Teacher.

The same is the case when you enter a womb, enter into a fresh body, and start the journey of desires. But if you die alert, in that alertness not only the body dies, all desires evaporate. Then there is no entering into a womb. Then entering the womb is such a painful process, it is so painful that consciously you cannot do it; only unconsciously you can do it.

Another point to understand is what Buddha calls anatta, or absence of soul (as opposed to personality belief, or wrong view).
This is a little difficult to understand in the beginning because in our culture exactly the opposite is believed to be true. You are somebody, you are responsible; you are the doer. You are innocent or guilty. You are the author of your work; you have copyrights. And if you think you are the author of your deeds, you will also think that everybody else is the author of his deeds and so starts the endless circle of blame and claim.
The reality is that we cannot blame anybody for what they do because they are not the author. They are only the manifestation of the effects of certain causes. You can never claim anything from anybody because that body cannot even control his own life, being subject to the same chain of cause and effect as everybody else, much less satisfy your expectations. Those in a relationSHIP will understand what I mean.
Absence of soul means there is not anything fixed, unchanging, within a being. In truth a “person” consists of five aggregates. Just as a car consists of a chassis, an engine, a gearbox, etc., so a being consists of five “things” put together. When we look inside of ourselves we do not find a soul anywhere, but we do find a body, a consciousness (witness), mental contents, perceptions and feelings. Each and every one of these parts are subject to the same law of cause and effect and don’t have any “soul” nor permanence of their own whatsoever.
The question then arises: if I am not the doer, who is?
This gets us to the question that Osho has called the only valid religious question: “Who am I”

So, why meditate?
For those still caught-up in the ego and its fear, life is sooner or later going to be painful.
After birth, the outlook is that we will get sick and we will die. Unavoidable!
And if you look a little closer you will see that it is an unending phenomenon, because after death it does not end! YOU will not be reborn, but the desire remaining at the moment of death will not simply disappear. It will cause another life to start.
So at some point in the evolution of a being, there arises the desire to know the truth. Who am I? What am I doing here? Who is in charge here? How the bleep does it work?
Understanding the laws that govern the functioning of the outer and inner world is the next point: understanding the Dhamma.

J. Krishnamurti says: “This law of cause and effect explains that samsara, the process of repeated existences, is perpetuated by a chain of interconnected links of cause and effect; it also reveals the way of breaking this chain and putting an end to the process. Man has been continuing in this Samsara since millennia - through countless eons -millennia upon millennia.”

"The Buddha said: The man with craving as his companion has been flowing in the stream of repeated existences from time immemorial. He comes into being, experiences various types of miseries, dies again and again, and does not put an end to this unbroken process of becoming.
This is samsara, the world of suffering, as explained by the Buddha.

                                                                                                                      J. Krishnamurti

The universal law that governs the world is called the Law of Dependant Origination. It is not only the fundamental teaching of Buddhist science. It is also the only scientific explanation ever given for our great voyage through time and space and it is therefore amazing that so very few people seem to know about it.
For the sake of clarity I would like to state here that I call Buddhism “the science that has enlightenment as its goal and meditation as its method” as opposed to the “religion” that started with the Buddha.
Science is science because its truth is verifiable and repeatable and these are characteristics that are fully applicable in the case of the science of Buddhism: anybody who sincerely applies the meditation will sooner or later experience Nirvana, thereby initiating his final deliverance of the wheel of life, death and rebirth.
Religion on the other hand requires belief, rituals, abracadabra and the result if any, is not obtainable by one’s own efforts but only through the “grace” of “God” and the mediation of priests, who thereby disempower the “followers”. (The religion called Buddhism also has these characteristics.)
The Buddha, (the expression: “the Buddha” means “the fully enlightened one”. It is not a name. There have been many Buddhas), gives the Law of Dependant Origination not only as an explanation, but, more importantly, as the way to escape from the endless circle of cause and effect, of death and rebirth. It specifically explains how and at which point it is possible to get out of this vicious circle.
The wheel of Life consists of an outer circle with 12 divisions, where each division is a cause of an effect, which in turn becomes a cause for the next effect. Then there is an inner circle with six divisions, where the six worlds are depicted, into which a being can get reborn. They are the worlds of the humans, of the animals, the hungry ghosts, the warriors, the devas and the hell worlds. Each one is again subdivided in six.
There is some discussion as to how literally we have to see these worlds, but that is outside the scope of this manual.
This is the law:

Because of Ignorance, conditioning arises.  (Mental objects like thoughts, emotions, dreams)
Because of conditioning, consciousness arises.
Because of consciousness, mind-body arises.
Because of mind-body, the six senses arise.
Because of the six senses, contact arises.
Because of contact, feeling arises.
Because of feeling, craving and aversion arise.
Because of craving and aversion, clinging arises.
Because of clinging, becoming arises.
Because of becoming, birth arises.
Because of birth, aging and death arise
Together with sorrow, lamentation, physical and mental sufferings and tribulations,
Thus arises this entire mass of suffering.

This can be said in many different ways. Lets start with birth because that has already happened and cannot be turned back.
More accurately the beginning is conception.
Conception is the cause, the development of the six senses is the effect.
Because of the six senses, perception of sense objects is possible.
Because of perception of sense objects, there arises feeling.
Because of feeling, desire arises.
Because of desire, thirst for pleasures arises.
Because of this thirst for pleasures, there follows a process of becoming.
This process of becoming is the life of the “ego” and has aging, disease and death, and the whole mass of suffering as effect. What keeps most of us going in spite of all this, is the capacity to dream of a better future, which is of course an illusion.
The life of someone who has experienced at least the first stage of enlightenment, is completely different because this new human being now starts to live in the present, seeing the reality of the situation.

As an illustration I would like to introduce here the view of some of the Tibetan Buddhists on this rebirth process.
They say that when one dies, the body-mind dissolves, but as a result of ignorance, there is a residual desire, which is the last moment of the previous life. This desirous-mind-moment floats around looking for what it wants and begins to see couples making love. There are always thousands of couples making love and through attraction and repulsion it approaches a couple that it feels close to and begins to feel more attracted to either one of the couple. If attracted to the male, it becomes female and if attracted to the female it becomes male. (Exceptions are there due to confusion). The whole process is of course governed by ignorance, lack of awareness, therefore one has no control over it.

So as one begins to see the reality of this eternal never-ending gauntlet, naturally the question arises: how to get out of this?
Now, Buddhist science is totally unique in that it is based on the discovery of the greatest enlightened Master who ever walked the earth.
Here is what U Bha Khin, the Burmese teacher of Goenka, has to say about the Law of Dependent origination:

The origin of each link depends upon the preceding one. As long as this chain of twelve causal relations operates, the wheel of becoming keeps turning, bringing nothing but suffering. This process of cause and effect is called the Law of Dependent Origination in forward order. Every link results in misery, as a result of absence of awareness, which is at the base of every link.
We have to emerge from this wheelof suffering. Explaining how to do so, the Buddha said that when one of the links of the chain is broken, the wheel of becoming comes to an end, resulting in the cessation of suffering. How can that be achieved? Which link of the chain can be broken?

Through deep insight, the Buddha discovered that the crucial link is Feeling. (Feeling is the translation of the word Vedana that means specifically: feeling good, neutral or bad.) Feelingis the cause of thirst, which gives rise to suffering. In order to remove the cause of suffering, desire, one must not allow feeling to result in thirst, in other words, one must practice Vipassana meditation at this juncture so that absence of awareness becomes mindfulness or wisdom. One has to observe feeling, to experience and to understand the truth of its arising and passing away, in other words one has to see the impermanence of it.
In this way, by the breaking of one link, Vedana, the whole process is shattered and the wheel of repeated existence is broken completely.

If we want to advance on the path of liberation, we have to work at the level of feeling because it is here that the rotation of the wheel of misery can be arrested. With feeling starts the turning of the wheel of becoming, leading (because of absence of awareness) to thirst, which causes suffering. That is the path, which ignorant persons follow, since they react to feeling and generate thirst. And from here also the Wheel of Dhamma or the wheel of cessation of suffering can start to rotate, leading to the eradication of feeling and thirst: the end of craving, as a result of awareness of impermanence or wisdom, leading to the cessation of suffering. This is the path, which wise persons follow by not reacting to feeling, because they have developed awareness of impermanence by the practice of Vipassana.

Many of the contemporaries of the Buddha held the view that craving causes suffering and that to remove suffering, one has to abstain from the objects of craving.
In order to develop detachment, the Buddha tackled the problem in a different way. Having learned to examine the depths of his own mind, he realized that between the external object and the mental reflex of craving, is a missing link: feeling. Whenever we encounter an object through the five physical senses or the mind, a feeling arises; and based on the feeling, thirst arises. If the feeling is pleasant we crave to prolong it, and if it is unpleasant we crave to be rid of it.

                                                                                                                U Bha Khin.

That Buddhist monks are told the same nonsense – that in order to get enlightened you have to prevent the seducing objects from entering the doors and so “catching you”, - is shown in an old Zen story:
Two monks were arriving at a river crossing in China and seeing that a woman had difficulty crossing the water. One of the monks picked her up in his arms and carried her to the other side. The monks continued their walk but after some time the other monk could not hold his outrage anymore: “How could you do that! You know we are not even supposed to look at a woman!”
The monk who had carried her across said: “I left her at the river, are you still carrying her?”

We interrupt the chain of cause and effect by becoming aware of the feeling. (There are 5 kinds of feeling: good body feeling (called pleasure), bad body feeling (called pain), good mental feeling, indifferent mental feeling, bad mental feeling. This is generally what people mean when they ask: “How are you?“ In reality this constantly changes from moment to moment and one should try to always know what feeling is there.
In fact being aware of the feeling that is actually present in the moment, is the same as that experienced by a driver, who is constantly aware (ideally!) of the traffic lights, green, orange or red - even though he is driving, talking, smoking - and this applies to the outside as well as the inside. (Outside being the traffic, and inside the technical condition of the car).
Whenever you go into a negative zone you experience a red light; you have to pay a little more attention. When you are on the path of the green light, you can relax a little.  Orange is when you don’t really know what’s happening.

Understanding the Law of Dependent Origination is considered difficult but essential to get the insight leading to enlightenment.

So why meditate?
I once came across a text that enumerated all the possible ways in which life is painful. It was methodically put together and it was awful. It scared me.
It went something like this.
You get born and already you are lucky if your spacesuit is working well. Then you grow old, get sick and die, only to get caught in a womb again.
In the meantime, even if you’re lucky enough to maintain all your senses more or less intact, the objects hitting them are regularly too much and there is nothing you can do about it. You are associated with others you hate and you are separated from the ones you love. You maybe in constant fear of being abused, robbed, raped, murdered or getting involved in an accident. The diseases you can get are more than you can remember. You’ll probably get involved in at least one war, a mutiny, revolution or a coup d’etat. Death will take away all your beloved ones if you don’t die at a young age. You can get arrested for deserved or undeserved reasons, falsely accused, tortured by the government or by pirates. The fruits of your labor can be robbed; your children can rise up against you…
It went on and on for pages and I gradually became aware that this text was very old. In fact nothing had changed in thousands of years and all our ‘progress’ had meant very little so far.
Something needed to be done.



I started on the path of meditation because my father was killed in the war and I could not understand why. I used to think that I had a wonderful life. There was no problem whatsoever. But once in a while out of the blue this anguish would come up, again and again, until I began to understand that I needed to find someone who understood the meaning of life, if any.
I had read “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones”, a compilation of short Zen stories by Paul Reps, a few years earlier in Istanbul, so I decided to go to the East where the Masters were supposed to be, with my wife, by local transport, overland!
After many adventures and expeditions I found out that the Master was not sitting high in the Himalayas. Instead a friend sent me to Bodh-Gaya where I arrived on full moon day in October 1970. This was where Munindra lived.
I was convinced that my marriage was perfect and that it would be difficult to find a happier couple than us. The first thing Munindra did was talking to my wife about jealousy, as if it were some kind of disease. We were shocked at first but soon I began to see that he was right and that he had seen a problem we didn’t know existed, way before us.
Two years later she had her first serious attack of manic-depression as it was called at the time.
Munindra had been trying to make it clear to us that things were not so “hunky-dory” after all. Around that time I began to see that I carried a lot more hidden pain inside than I was willing to admit.
We stayed three weeks there, meditating for about two hours per day. Then we had to go back to Holland and we were totally convinced that we had found the solution to all problems and indeed our trip back was twice as fast, very smooth, without misadventures, like clockwork. We meditated one hour in the morning before going to the bus station and this gave us a degree of protection we had never experienced before. Remember we were traveling by public transportation through Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and these were never very stable regions.
Before meditation I had tried the way of psychiatry, but it only got me deeper in trouble. It only managed to rub in the question of why there was always war, but did not give me any answers. The difference with meditation is that in meditation you don’t have to expose yourself, but you spend a lot of time with yourself, and you have time to be friendly to yourself and get deeper into whatever needs your attention in that moment. Even though the teacher never told me to do this, I spent many hours, days, weeks, consciously reliving memories, thinking about problems, remembering what happened yesterday, the day before and the day before that, until I was back at age one, amazingly enough never missing even a day! This idea came from somewhere in the Buddhist scriptures, and I decided to try it out to check the scriptures. I am telling this because the word Sati (mindfulness) also means remembering.
I also spent weeks watching sexual fantasies until one day I realized that this was all very nice but it was not meditation.
Munindra was indeed the door to all these new insights so these three weeks in India were absolutely essential. It became clear that everything I did in this meditation was healing, effective, giving great clarity.
Nevertheless there was something I didn’t get, and in the years to come, that was to become the cause of a lot of despair.
By now my life had begun to unravel. My wife was admitted in a mental hospital three months per year. I abandoned my university studies. I could not see the sense of it. I had dropped tabacco, alcohol and drugs, but I was still not happy. Worse, I was actually getting more and more unhappy. It seemed that nothing could make me happy even though all the material needs were fulfilled and superficially our life was going very well indeed. I thought I was ready to get enlightened and planned to let it happen soon: “Six weeks should be enough”.
I was of course unaware that these insights need to ripen by themselves in the underground of the unconscious. I made all the mistakes. I was trying to be good, making too much effort, trying to plan my own enlightenment. It almost hurt. I was going nowhere and after eight years I realized I had unsolved sexual problems. I could not apply what Munindra said about this. The problem was that deep inside I wanted to make love to many women but could not even admit it to myself because I was trying to be “goody goody”, and, I was married.
So after another ten-day course where instead of meditating, I spent my time reading Osho’s book: “The Way of the White Clouds”, I told Munindra I was going to see the well known “sex guru” Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, later known as Osho.