Friday, February 13, 2009

The Mystical Wind-Rhythm of LP Jarun

What is Wind-Rhythm, or Assasa Passasa (Pali: As-Pas for short)? It is actually the method of standing meditation taught by LP Jarun of Wat Ampawan to all his followers. This is the method where you breath in deeply and observe with mindfulness your own body from the top of the head down to the tips of your toes; then breath out deeply observing from the tips of the toes up to the top of the head. If you can breath deeply with mindfulness, your mind will not be distracted and it will become wholesome. Those who have bad tempers will gradually become calm and those who have illnesses will also gradually get better.This method of combining mindfulness of the body with the breath is the same method used by yogis and mystics, and it is also the same method practiced by the Buddha himself. It is said that in the 2nd week after the Buddha's Enlightenment, he stood in meditation under the Bodhi Tree for the whole week in appreciation of the shelter it provided during his struggle for enlightenment. This event is represented by the Sunday Buddha image, or Phra Pang Tawai Net. This As-Pas method also corresponds to the 5 basic objects of meditation on the body taught by the Buddha; which is Kesa (head hair), Loma (body hair), Nakha (nails), Danta (teeth) and Taco (skin). These are the very fundamentals of the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness. Every newly ordained monk must learn them by heart, yet not many understand the true significance of reciting these 5 parts of the body. When a yogi practices standing meditation, observing the body up and down 5 times, these 5 bodily parts are the objects to apply mindfulness to. Once mindfulness and concentration reach a certain level, the true nature of the body would reveal itself to you. This is the most important practice and basis of life. LP Jarun took 10 yrs to master the As-Pas method of standing meditation. He used to ask many teachers how to practice it but those who did not understand could not answer him correctly. In the past LP studied under many great guru monks. At one time he was learning the Wicha of making magic oil under LP Jong of Wat Natangnok, Ayuttaya. However he tried for one month without success as there was no manifestation of magic. The incantation that LP Jong taught him to consecrate the oil was to recite the Buddhaguna (Virtues of the Buddha) 108 times followed by the Bahum Mahaka (Verses of the Buddha's Auspicious Victories and Victory protection), or to recite the 9 Virtues of the Buddha as well as OM in abbreviation. This mystical formula is as follows:

A = Arahang, the accomplished one, worthy of offerings.

Sam = Samma Sambuddho, the completely self-enlightened.

Vi = Vijja Carana Sampano, perfect in knowledge and practice.

Su = Sugato, the well-gone one.

Lo = Lokavidu, knower of the world.

Pu = (Anuttaro) Purisa Dammasarathi, incomparable leader of men to be tamed.

Sa = Satta Devamanussanang, the teacher of gods and men.

Bu = Buddho, the Awakened.

Bha = Bhagavati, the world-honored one.

Ma = M, passing away.

A = A, arising.

U = U, staying.

Thus the full chant is "A Sam Vi Su Lo Pu Sa Bu Bha Ma A U U A Ma A Ma U", which was also to be recited 108 times. When LP was about to leave due to a lack of success, he contemplated hard on this and suddenly realized that this incantation was actually the same method as As-Pas. So he tried again one last time that night and finally succeeded. LP practiced standing meditation which was the wind rhythm before chanting the incantation. His mindfulness and concentration were very powerful in that state and the ordinary oil was transformed by that consecration into magic oil. Naturally, LP Jong was pleased with the success of his student. At another time he studied under LP Lee of Wat Asokaram in Samut Prakan. LP Jarun was fascinated with the story of LP Parn (Wat Bangnomkho) unlocking locks with his psychic power. Apparently LP Parn recited the mystic formula "Na Ma Pa Ta" and blew onto the locks, and they opened by themselves. LP Lee knew of this and asked LP Jarun whether he wanted to learn how to unlock locks by blowing them. LP Jarun replied he wanted to. LP Lee taught him to use his mind to unlock the lock. What did he mean? LP Lee said it was the same as when you encounter problems. One should use the mind to solve them, like one use the mind to unlock the lock. What was the key? The key was mindfulness. If one was mindful then one could succeed in solving any problem. There was no need to ask others or consult fortune-tellers. Those who ask fortune-tellers were unwise and would only end up with more problems. At that moment LP Jarun realized that LP Lee was using the story of unlocking locks as a metaphor to teach him the Dhamma. "Na Ma Pa Ta" actually represented the 4 Elements - Water, Earth, Fire and Wind. They are the elements that make up the physical body as well as the physical world. Blowing represented wind-rhythm, and in order to solve the problem of suffering one must apply mindfulness to one's own body! LP Jarun finally understood what As-Pas was about.
Therefore we should try to learn the wind-rhythm method, for there are many benefits to it. Firstly there is the health benefits. Those who have illnesses can recover faster through the practice of As-Pas. Most illnesses originate from the abdomen, which is the centre of the body or Dan-tian in Chinese. When the organs or the 4 elements of the body are not in harmony, it will manifest in the abdomen and we will fall ill. Practicing As-Pas in the sitting position, noting the rising and falling of the abdomen with mindfulness can help to balance the 4 elements and return our body to normal. Whoever that is very emotional, over sensitive, easily anxious or depressed should also practice As-Pas and note their moods by focusing on the solar plexus. Their minds will be unlocked and they will know how to solve their problems. Another benefit of As-Pas is telepathy. If you are thinking of a friend or relative and want to know how they are doing, practice As-Pas and then focus your mind on them. Your mind will immediately reach them no matter how far away they are. Wish them happiness and they will be able to receive your metta or loving-kindness. In the past when LP Mee of Wat Manwichai, Ayuttaya was in hospital and about to pass away, LP Jarun decided to go help him. LP Mee was also a disciple of LP Jong and a friend of LP Jarun. If he was to die, at least he should do so with mindfulness. So LP Jarun went to visit LP Mee in the ICU room of the hospital. LP Mee was unconscious and in a critical condition. LP Jarun practiced As-Pas and transmitted metta towards him. Miraculously, LP Mee opened his eyes immediately having received that powerful mental energy. That night one of LP Mee's lay supporters at Wat Manwichai dreamt that LP Jarun went to the hospital to massage him. LP Mee did recover from his illness and lived for quite a few more years, passing away in 2543 (2000) at the age of 88. Those who practice As-Pas well can also know a person's nature simply by looking at him or her with mindfulness. Just as one observes one's own body from head to toe and back, one can also observe the bodies of others in the same way. Is a person honest and trustworthy, or simply appear friendly, but is actually scheming to get something? Mindfulness will observe, Clear-awareness (Sampajana) will tell you the answer. Then there is also the benefit of protection from all dangers. In ancient times, mystics used As-Pas as an incantation of invulnerablity. It is said that when you recite "A Sam Vi Su Lo Pu Sa Bhu Bha Ma A U U A Ma A Ma U" and press your tounge firmly against your hard palate, bullets cannot harm you. One must do this with a concentrated mind for it to be effective. If the mind lacks concentration, then 10,000 incantations are also useless. One master who was expert at this was Kruba Siwichai of Wat Ban Phang, Chiangmai. He was also an expert in many other kinds of Wicha and the greatest Lanna monk in the recent era. Many are the applications of As-Pas. It is possible to change salty water into drinking water by performing As-Pas. It is the same way that LP Tuad miraculously transformed sea water into fresh water on the boat to Ayuttaya. As there was no more drinking water on the boat, LP Tuad sat in Samadhi and performed As-Pas before dipping his foot into the sea, drawing a circle in the water. The water within that circle actually became drinkable and everyone on the ship was saved from dying of thirst. This famous story is called "LP Tuad Yiab Nam Talay Jerd", and the temple famous for making images of LP Tuad dipping his foot into the sea is Wat Si Mahapo in Pattani. Another experiment that one can try is suggested by LP Jarun. Take 3 betelvine leaves. Practice the wind-rhythm breathing in and out deeply, then concentrate your breath on the leaves by blowing hard on them. The flavour of the leaves will change from being hot into sour. If one has very advanced concentration, one can even change it into a sweet taste. The more you practice, the stronger this ability becomes. The same applies to the other benefits of As-Pas mentioned earlier. It is very meaningful and I leave it for the consideration of the reader. May you be able to benefit from this Dhamma, sadhu.

No comments: