By Buddhadatta Bhante
“Na hi verena verani sammantidha kudacanam,
averena ca sammanti, esa dhammo sanantano.”
This Dhammapada verse connotes that hatred is never appeased by hatred, only non-hatred alone appeases and this is the eternal law. Today we are living in a world of strife, terror, sorrow, lamentation and also silver lines of joy and happiness!
Lord Buddha accomplished his mission of compassion and love in his times averting wars, sorrows and sowing the seeds of the right practices of morality, concentration and wisdom towards a peaceful co-existence in the society. Lord Buddha adopted the practical approaches to the life by showing the Way to a condition-less state which he called Nibbana.
What are those approaches? He taught us to follow the simple practices of being truthful, not harming, hard working, being mindful, meditating etc. He had the vision of transforming the world into a sorrow less state through these easily comprehensible methods. That is why these practices are relevant today even after 2600 years of the Buddha‘s passing away.
Though Buddhism had lost its foot hold some in its land of origin some centuries back, it has not only revived now here, but has also spread far and wide in the world because of its orientation on cognate phenomena for a happy living and not on God-centered theories for liberation. In his famous oft-quoted verse the Buddha says,”Avoid all evil, cultivate good things and cleanse the mind”- is the sine qua non for a human being for liberation from unwholesome states. Here the prescription is meditation for purification of the mind. Lord Buddha ,being a physician for life and life after (having seen his earlier lives through his divine eye and believing in Karma theory) admonishes that oneself has to strive for disease free(from greed ,hatred and delusion) life and the Masters only show the Way (Verse 276,Dhammapada).
Lord Buddha advocated the perfections for a qualitative life. The list of perfections:Giving Morality, Renunciation, Wisdom,Energy ,Forbearance, Truthfulness, Resolution , Loving kindness and Equanimity. There is a beautiful story regarding Giving (Dana) .A rich man built a luxurious house and lived in it with his family members for years. One day the house was caught on fire. The rich man who was alone present at that time dare entered the house on fire and tried to save as much as possible from being burnt into ashes. He removed, from the burning house the utensils, costly items like gold jewellery to some extent. The raging fire did not allow him to do much and he came out to save himself. The fire took the toll and house was completely burnt into ashes in hours. What he saw outside his burnt house was a few utensils and some costly goods which was not even five percent of what he saved in his lifetime. He gave away all the saved goods from fire, which otherwise would have discoloured into ashes, to the needy ones. The Aditya Sutta of Samyutta Nikaya drawing the moral from the story says that this kaya (body) subject to marana dhamma (death) is like a house and turns into ashes one day through disease, aging and death and therefore cannot take anything with it. The possessions have value when they are given out, like the fire saved articles becoming useful at the hands of the needy.
Lord Buddha did not confine himself to one corner, he travelled from place to place to spread the wisdom he obtained under the Bodhi tree to free the suffering humanity from ignorance, craving and existence in the true spirit of Dhamma Dana. He made his monastic followers to be on the on the move to spread the message of love, compassion, loving kindness and equanimity. The community of Buddhist Monks, called the Holy Sangha ,apart from dispensing the four Noble Truths enunciated by the Buddha, has entered into the field of social service by providing free educational and medical services to the poor and down trodden and some monks like Ven.Bhikkhu Bodhi have even vowed to end the hunger in the world .The late Ven. Chary Buddharakkhita Mahathera ,the towering personality and the founder of the Maha Bodhi Society, Bengaluru through his strict adherence to the Buddhist principles has installed a strong Holy Sangha in Bengaluru .The seeds of Dhamma sowed by his holiness are now rewarding in the form of Viharas in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, , Ladak, Tawang and other places. The bhikkhus from Bengaluru are going all around the world preaching the Dhamma in the true Theravada tradition to make the society march forward with fragrance of loving kindness in heart to light the candle of wisdom to ward off ignorance and to see a world without strife, terror, sorrow and lamentation.
We Bhikkhus in the holy Sangha are not just guided but also believe in ourselves like what the Buddha said in Mahaparinibbana Sutta,: “Attadeepa viharatha, attasarano ananyasarano, dhammadeepa viharatha dhammasarano anannasarano“ (be light unto yourself, take refuge in yourself, not in others, let Dhamma be your light, take refuge in Dhamma).We are Dhamma guided and fearless in guarding the Arya Magga (the Noble Path) seeking not only our liberation but of the beings too around us.
May the enlightening message of Buddha brings peace harmony and happiness; may light of Buddha’s wisdom pervade through all directions; may all being be well and happy!
Wish you all a very Happy Buddha Purnima (10th May 2017) – The Blessed Day of Birth Enlightenment and Parinibbana!
The author of the article is Buddhadatta Bhante, Principal of Mahabodi Monastic Institute, Mahabodi Society, Bangalore. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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