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8. Having skills
發表於 : 2019-09-25, 13:13
8. Having skills
__ The Pali-sippa is handicrafts. The Burmese word sippan (It seemed to come from this Pali word) is sciences. Therefore it includes all worldly skills. It will be a very wide subject in today world. It is important for material progress and development. If harmful to humans and environments and become useless and no blessings. It must benefit to humans and nature. So any skill in arts and sciences( with technology) must support the happiness and welfare of human beings. If not, it will have detrimental consequences.
In the Khuddaka Nikāya, Peta Vutthu-ghost stories, there was an interesting story that supports this point. In Baranasi City, there was a man who had the skill of throwing stones. He could make many different types of the picture by throwing stones on tree leaves. He made his living in this way. One day the king of Baranasi came to this place and saw his skill. He invited this man into his palace. The king had a brahmin teacher who was very talkative. Therefore he wanted to teach him a lesson. The king and the stone thrower arranged for it. He was hiding inside the curtain behind the king. The king summoned the brahmin teacher, and he was talking non-stop.
So the stone thrower threw a pallet of goat shit as soon as the brahmin opened his mouth to talk. It went straight into his mouth every time he tried to speak. In this way, the brahmin teacher corrected his talkativeness. The King gave 14 villages to the stone thrower as prize money. This man taught his skill to others. One of his servants learned this skill from him. After the man mastered it, he wanted to test his skill and went to the Ganges River.
__ A Pacceka-buddha named Sumitta was staying near the river. At that time he was in meditation. This foolish man out of delusion decided to test his skill on the Pacceka-buddha. He threw a stone at his right ear, and it went through and came out from the left ear. With the injury, the Pacceka-buddha passed away. When people knew what was happening and became very angry and killed this man. After he died and was born in hell. After he released from hell and at the time of Buddha, Gautama became a ghost near Rajagaha. Because of the result of his heavy kamma, this ghost’s head was struck with many iron hammers at the same time.
After he fell to the ground and the hammers disappeared. As soon as he got up again, the hammers appeared and struck his head again. And this way the ghost suffered continuously. The result and power of kamma were unthinkable. Therefore anyone should not use his or her skills to harm people or nature, and the outcome of suffering is unthinkable. Here skills mean all kinds of skill, including in politics, economics, any types of arts and sciences, and technologies, etc. If for power and money only, it is like licking the honey on the tip of the razor blade.
9. Well mastered disciplines
發表於 : 2019-09-25, 13:22
9. Well mastered disciplines
__ Vinaya is disciplined and not only Buddhist Monks should have it. All human societies must have it. Only following and practicing it that human beings can have progress and development. For understanding and practicing has to be begun in family life and spreading into all parts of society. Starting from the family life have to teach and train the children. Laypeople disciplines are: to avoid the ten unwholesome courses of action; and to develop the ten wholesome courses of action. The ten unwholesome courses of action:
(1) Destruction of life
(2) Taking what belongs to others
(3) Sexual misconduct
(5) Malicious speech
(6) Harsh language
(7) Frivolous talk
(10) Wrong view( Here not believe in the law of kamma)
(Note: Someone can ask, what about using intoxicants-i.e., drugs and alcohols? This is including in number ③).
The ten wholesome courses of action:
(1) To avoid the destruction of life and be anxious for the welfare of all lives.
(2) To avoid taking what belongs to others.
(3) To avoid Sexual misconduct
(4) To avoid lying, knowingly speaking a lie for the sake of any advantage
(5) To avoid malicious speech, to unit the discordant, to encourage the united, and to utter speech that makes for harmony.
(6) To avoid harsh language and speak gentle, courteous, and agreeable words.
(7) To avoid frivolous talk; to speak at the right time, by facts, what is useful, moderate, and full of sense.
(8) To be without covetousness
(9) To be free from ill-will, thinking; “May these beings are free from hatred and ill-will and will lead a happy life free from trouble.” etc.
(10) To possess the right view, such as gifts and offerings are not fruitless, and there are results of wholesome and unwholesome actions. That is believing in the cause and effect of the law of kamma.
When human beings are alive and living with three types of action(kamma); i.e., mental, verbal, and bodily actions. All are including in the ten unwholesome and ten wholesome actions. Therefore these are very important. If we want to live our lives free from the courses of 10 unwholesome action and have to follow the disciplines. The rules of law are also discipline.
So disciplines are a very wide range of subject. It includes worldly affairs to spiritual matters. Human degeneration and progress are connecting with disciplines. In the world, many problems and sufferings arise from humans without disciplines. Therefore disciplines are fundamentally important. We can justify a nation and people by its standards of discipline.
Why people have no discipline? Because some people do not have the proper education on moral disciplines and how to become a human. They did not bring up or grow up with disciplines. Usually, we overlook or even do not know the importance of how to bring up children with discipline. So every type of goodness must be trained and developed at an early age.
Without proper education and training on disciplines and grew up with bad habits and behaviors. And then becomes an immoral person. It is like a white sheet of canvas and a piece of soft clay. You can draw any picture and put other colors on it. You can model with the soft clay into any image, but with the hard and dry clay, it cannot be. Nowadays, people never take care or seriousness on disciplines and train children. Instead, they let all sorts of media to teach and train their children.
Therefore it at homes children are difficult to teach and at school so difficult to discipline them. There are also signs of disrespectful to parents and teachers by youngsters. If you look at the present-day human societies will see the signs of the decadence. With a proper comparison with the Chinese Virtue Standards - Di-Gi-Gui will see the negative sides of societies. When we were young never seen youngsters retorted to the parents and teachers when they taught them.
Nowadays we even heard the news of beating and killing them. We can get good children and citizens only by educating and training. We cannot let them go their ways without disciplines and moral standards of the period. Without these foundations, no family, society, and country will stable. We can justify this point with current situations around the world.
__ Nowadays, we heard a lot of very nice words on democracy, human right, equality, etc. Do we use them rightly and wisely? No, it is not. Mostly we use it as empty words and even create more problems and chaos. Without disciplines and moral standards not only become empty words but also create instability, chaos, problems, and violence, etc. in family, society, and the country.
We can see all these things going on in this 21st century around the world. E.g., a rich superpower can have a weapon of mass destruction, but another small country cannot have it or keep it. This country can interfere and invade a small country. But if another country does the same thing is unacceptable. There are promoting and protecting sexual misconducts. Are these human right? There are a lot have to say and contemplate on some of the modern-day philosophies.
The ways of correcting and cure are not promoting and protecting unwholesome matters and also not by punishments. To educate and change people mind. Only with proper and right education can solve all these problems. Using these philosophies wrongly are not only create problems in politics, economics, media, etc. but it is also spreading into family life and schools. Therefore, nowadays, children and youngsters are cannot be taught, trained, and controlled them in the right directions.
So these nice words are should only be used in good and wholesome matters. It is the same as a nuclear power. If you use it wisely and will help the human race in progress. If you use it improperly and unwisely, it brings destruction to humans. It is also very important to take heed of someone's admonishing who has the knowledge, intelligence, wise and noble. (e. g. teachers and parents). There was a jataka story demonstrating this point. In one of his past lives, the Bodhisatta was a king. Later he had the sense of urgency (saṁvega) and renounced the world and became an ascetic.
Another king who was the past life of Ven. Ānada heard this news and also became an ascetic. Later they met each other in the forest and stayed together. One day they went for alms round and took back their foods to the forest. Ānanda took out the salt bag which he has stored before and put it into his foods. The Bodhisatta saw it and admonished him. He said to him; “You have been renounced the kingship and the whole country. It's not proper and inappropriate for clinging to this salt. Ānanda retorted; “You also renounced your kingship and came here for practice. It's not good for you to admonish others.”
The Bodhisatta replied; “What I have reminded you is sensible. Therefore I am not wrong.” Ānanda remarked again; “If you say something people don't like, then it is wrong.” At last, the Bodhisatta explained to him that he had to say something beneficial and appropriate. If not, it was like a blind wild buffalo moving around blindly in the thick forest and encountered suffering. Then Ānanda became aware of his own mistake.
Therefore it is very important to take heed of admonitions from parents and teachers with eagerness, willingness, and compliance. Today in societies a lot of youngsters have problems in family life and schools is lacking in these qualities. Therefore well-mastered discipline is a blessing and protection.
10. Well spoken words
發表於 : 2019-09-26, 13:06
10. Well spoken words
__ This is a very, very important topic. Even most people not take it seriously and not think about it carefully. It is a very wide and profound subject and not a small thing. We use words and speech nearly all times. Thinking is also inner chattering. The speech also a connection with the ten unwholesome and ten wholesome dhammas(see on the topic of well-mastered disciplines). Therefore we should abstain from speech connection with the ten unwholesome dhammas, and it should develop the kinds of speech connection with the ten wholesome dhammas. It is impossible without speech and cannot escape it from hearing.
There are four kinds of wrong speech and four kinds of right speech. The four kinds of wrong speech include in the ten unwholesome dhammas. These are lying, divisive speech, abusive speech, and idle chatter. The four kinds of right speech include in the ten wholesome dhammas. These are abstaining from the four wrong speeches: speaking only true; to unite the discordant, to encourage the united and to utter speech that makes for harmony; speak gentle, courteous and agreeable words; to speak at the right time, in accordance with facts, what is useful, moderate and full of sense.
The four kinds of right speech included in the Noble Eightfold Path as right speech. Speech – good or bad has power. Therefore we must take them seriously. The results of wrong or right speech will follow living beings in the round of existence even a Buddha could not escape from it.
__ The mouth is for speech and eating. Man needs to communicate with each other, so we use it all the times. If we are not deaf cannot escape from hearing. Therefore man invented languages and letters. All our human civilization is depending on it. Even though it is very important, we do not take it seriously. Therefore we use it improperly, Unwisely and harmful to oneself and others. Wholesome speech and skillful speech bring harmony, happiness, and peace, and even leading to the ending of dukkha.
One of the factors for the realization of Dhamma is listening Dhamma. In the Chinese language, the explanation of the Chinese letter character mouth(口=kho) is an opening where speech comes out, and foods go in. Whatever coming out and going in is very important for everyone.
We can create a lot of negative kammas and problems with it, and also can create a lot of positive kammas and benefit with it. It depends on how you use it. It can be harmful to oneself and others, and also can benefit for oneself and others. If we observe the world today, there are a lot of unwholesome things going on for the mouth. Polluted media and food poisonings are very harmful to the mind and physical body. Most media are talking about the development and promoting of greed, hatred, and delusion. Using science and technology to poison food chains( chemicals, pesticides, etc.). Some politicians are using the wrong speech and nasty tricks to get elected. How can the citizens rely on these leaders and their governments?
__ In the Buddha's teachings, we can study and learn a lot on wrong speech and right speech. The Buddha was the most skillful person in using speech. We should learn from him. There is a lot for reflection and contemplation on this subject. I want to quote some of them here.
In the Sutta Nipāta, the Buddha gave a discourse on Well Spoken Words (Subhasita Sutta). He distinguished four poorly spoken words and four well-spoken words.
(1) Unwholesome or poorly spoken words and wholesome or well-spoken words
(2) Unworthy or unjust words and worthy or just words.
(3) Unpleasant or un-enduring words and pleasant or enduring words
(4) False words and true words.
Then Ven. Vangisa(the arahant poet)praised the Buddha with the attractive verses: Speak only not cause us pain and not hurt each other. These are truly well-spoken words. Use pleasant speech which makes people glad, and not resorting to evil speech.
These are pleasant speech. The speech, the Awaken One(i.e., the Buddha) speaks is leading to Nibbāna, putting an end to dukkha. This is the only surpassed or worthiest speech. Therefore we should take care of the wholesome and friendly qualities constantly watch the movements of our minds and speeches.
__ In the Discourse to Prince Abhaya(Abhaya-rāja-kumāra Sutta), Majjima nikāya, the Buddha divided the speeches into six types. In the discourse, the Buddha gave the factors that went into deciding what was and was not worth saying. The main factors were three: a statement was untrue or true; unbeneficial or beneficial, and not pleasing or pleasing to others. The Buddha only spoke what was true and beneficial. He would look for the time to speak these things whether or not it was pleasing to others. With the main three factors and speeches can divide into six types:
(1) Untrue, unbeneficial and not pleasing
(2) True, unbeneficial and not pleasing
(3) True, beneficial and not pleasing
(4) Untrue, unbeneficial and pleasing
(5) True, unbeneficial and pleasing
(6) True, beneficial and pleasing
__ The Buddha spoke only what was true and beneficial. It might be pleased or not pleasing to others. But he would look for the appropriate time to speak them. So the Buddha spoke only (3) and (6) types of speech. One of the attributes of the Buddha is sugato- the well-spoken person(sugato also has other meanings). The first quality of the Dhamma is svākhāta-well expounded, that is good in the beginning, in the middle and the end.
Therefore the Buddha was the well-spoken person. His speeches were educating and training to become a worthy person. The speech the Buddha spoke for attaining Nibbāna that made an end to sufferings(dukkha). Therefore it was unsurpassed. The Buddha himself encouraged people for it. Therefore among the speeches, the speech on the Four Noble Truths are the most blessing and the best protection.
__ Last I want to quote a sutta and the topics of conversation in the Aṅguttara Nikāya. It is very important because we converse with people nearly all times. With conversations, human beings create a lot of wholesome and unwholesome kammas in all walks of life from the family level to government level. Therefore we should take it very seriously. In the sutta, the Buddha reminded it to the monks. But it also relates to lay-people. If everyone follows the instruction will bring happiness and peace in life and not pollute the mind, which is the source.
Topics of Conversation(Aṅguttara Nikāya)
The Buddha was staying in Sāvatthi, Anāthapindika’s monastery. One day a large number of monks, on returning from alms-round, gathered in the meeting hall and were engaged in many kinds of bestial topics of conversation: conversation about kings, robbers, and ministers of state; armies, alarms, and battles, foods and drink, clothing, furniture, garlands and scents ;relatives, vehicles, villages, towns, cities, the countrysides. Women and heroes; the gossip of the street and well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity; the creation of the world and the sea; talks of whether things exist or not.
The Buddha emerging from his seclusion in the late afternoon, went to the meeting hall. He asked the monks what they were talking about. They mentioned their conversation, and he told them that it was not right for monks to have these kinds of conversation. He taught them the proper conversation.
__ There are ten topics of proper conversation. Talk on modesty, contentment, seclusion, non-entanglements, arousing persistence, virtue, concentration, discernment, release, and the knowledge of vision and release. If you were to engage repeatedly in these ten topics of conversation, would outshine even the Sun and the Moon, so mighty, so powerful to say nothing of the wanderers of other sects.
__ We are not only engaging in conversation with others but also nowadays listening to a lot of them from the media; such as radio, movie, internet, etc. Most of us will never think that these media are teaching and educating us all the time. Why there are a lot of youth problems in family, school, and societies?
Because they were educated by some media. If parents are not controlling and leading them in the right direction, most problems will never be solved. Instead, their minds will become more polluted. Speech is so important that it can lead to problems, disharmony, violence and wars in politics, economics, nationalism, racism, religion, etc. These are ill speech, hate speech, and others.
The speech also can lead to harmony, peace, love, compassion, and enlightenment. There are eight causes for wrong views to arise: Two of the causes are very important, and the Buddha mentioned it very often in some of his discourses. These are: listening to wrong talks/ teachings and unwise attention(ayonisomanasikara).
Right view also based on listening to the right talks/ teachings and wise attention. In the Noble Eightfold Path, right view comes first, because it will lead to the right directions. Therefore the wrong view also will lead to the wrong directions.
Therefore the outcomes of the wrong view are bad consequences and right views are good consequences. Topics on speech are wide and profound. People are using it every day in the life. And if we can use it skillfully, then it is a better world to live. To understand more on speech, it needs to study the suttas. The Buddha was called-Teacher of gods and humans/ Satthā deva-manussānaṁ. Therefore well-spoken words are real protection and blessing,
11. Support for one’s parents
發表於 : 2019-09-27, 13:25
11. Support for one’s parents
__ Everyone’s life has duties. We have filial obligations to support and look after our parents. Nowadays human beings are very weak in this duty and even neglect about it. This is not a good sign for society. It is the sign for selfishness, ingratitude, disrespect, no empathy, no love, etc. Someone neglects this duty and obligation; it is sure that he cannot be good to others also.
The Buddha and the ancient sages emphasized this duty strongly. In the whole Chinese history and culture, there were highly developed philosophy and practices in this virtue as filial peity. A man does not have this virtue will never progress and no future. Why must we support for one's parents? There are many good reasons for it.
Someone has this virtue can be called a humane person, and without it, a beastly person. If anyone has a common sense, this is not difficult to understand. Our beginning of life totally depends on parents. Our survivals in life are starting from our mothers’ wombs until to grow up can take our responsibilities. The most fundamental importance is the basic education which our parents, especially the mothers, taught and trained us when we were young. This basic education is on morality and virtues.
Nowadays, most people neglect and overlook its importance. Mothers are our first teachers, and our progress in the right and wholesome directions are in their hands. It is also true that our failure in the wrong and unwholesome direction is in their hands.
Good emperors, leaders, sages, and great people came from the care of good, intelligent, and wise parents. Even we can say filial obligations is the foundation of all goodness to arise. It represents gratitude, respect, love, sympathy, and concern for others.
There is a saying: “The hand swings the cradle conquers the world.” A woman has the most important role within the society, even those people in the society of today maybe not aware of it. In ancient time Chinese sages and wise people knew this point very clear and profoundly. Therefore they created and handed it down a lot of written records in texts and books from generation to generation.
She can teach and train her children to become a noble person, a sage and a great man for the society, and also can produce a wicked, evil, dangerous, and criminal for the society. A good, intelligent, and wise daughter is born to good parents. And then later in life will become a good wife and mother. Therefore a happy, peaceful, and harmonious society is a lot of dependence on women. Therefore it is not surprising that filial obligations or filial piety are the fundamental quality or virtue in Chinese culture, philosophy, education, and practice in Chinese history.
__ Supporting for one's parents is a noble action and must have to be done. With its obligation and action brings a lot of merit, satisfaction, and happiness. It is important to understand the gratitude of parents and should always remember it. To forget the duty & obligation is very bad indeed. We should not feel remorse or remember whatever bad things have been done before. We determine not to repeat it is enough. These things can appear near the time of death and bring more sufferings.
But for good things and on Dhamma, it is good to remember and reflect them very often, e.g., one’s own dāna and sīla, reflection on death, etc. There was a remarkable jataka story on a parent's love. This was the story of the Bodhisatta in one of his past lives as a hermit Sumanasama. He and both of his parents were living in a forest as ascetics. His parents were blind, and he had to look after them. One day the king of Benares came for hunting in the forest and shot Sumanasama with a poison arrow because he was mistaken him as a deer.
To save his life, both parents and the female deity who was also the mother of the Bodhisatta for seven past lives in the past, each one of them made the asseveration of Truth. Both parents said that they loved him more than their lives. The deity said that her love of Sumanasama was more than anyone she had before. With the power of their truthful asseverations made the arrow poison disappeared.
__ Someone can ask this question; “Of the parent's love who love is stronger?” In Dhammapada, on the Chapter of Mind(Cittavagga), the story of Soreyya gave a clear-cut answer. The love of a mother is more than the father. This story was strange and interesting. It expressed the power of the mind, and we should not neglect its functioning. Soreyya, the son of a rich man and some attendants went for a bath. On the way, he met the Ven.Māha-kaccāyana, who was adjusting his robes outside the city for alms-round.
He saw the golden complexion of the Thera and thought, “How I wish the Thera were my wife, or else the complexion of my wife was like him.” As the unwholesome thought aroused in him and his sex changed into a woman. She ran away and arrived at Texila and met a rich man. She married him, and two sons were born to her. Also, there were two sons from the previous marriage as a man. Later she had the chance to meet and offer foods to the Ven. Mahā-kaccāyana.
She respectfully asked forgiveness to the Thera for her wrong thought on him some years before. Then the Thera said to her: “I forgive you.” As soon as these words were spoken and she changed back to a man as before. With reflection, he was feeling very weary and repulsive of all these things and left the household life and became a monk.
After that, he was often asked; “Whom do you love more, the two sons you had as a father or the other two you had as a mother?” To them, he would answer that his love for those born of the womb was greater.
The important lesson we gain from here is we cannot think about things foolishly out of control. We should not neglect the mind and become its slaves and have to control and train it for one's benefit and others. Any sexual fantasy and misconducts, including homosexuality, could bring problems, dangers, and sufferings.
__ The Buddha compared parents with the deity of the Brahman because they treated their children with love, sympathy, and appreciative joy and for success. We could appreciate the mother's love, if think about carefully her periods of pregnancy (9 months) and during the delivery (It must be very painful indeed, even sometimes have to risk their lives). After the delivery, she had to look after you carefully in all possible ways.
She had to feed you with her breast milk until we could take foods by ourselves. Therefore a mother's love is enriching with courage, patience, unselfishness, care, noble, and has the healing power. When I am contemplating these things, it makes me cry. Mothers are very noble, and their love is touching to the heart. Where is breast milk coming from? It is changing from her blood.
Once a Chinese movie director kept his wife breast milk in a small bottle for some years. One day he took out and checked it. It changed back into the blood. There was a story, a cow was feeding her calf, and at that time a hunter came and hit her with a spear. Instead of harming her, the spear was bent at the tip. Unselfish love is very powerful, and it has healing power.
__ Parents are our first teachers, especially mothers. Our progress in life depends on their education and training to us. Good and moral people, great men and sages are the outcomes of proper education and training. It has to be started from family life. Therefore the proper duties of a mother are very important for the growth and progress of the good qualities of the child. Without a good and skillful mother, the child's future is hopeless. We cannot easily repay for the kindness and gratitude of our parents.
According to the Buddha, the best way to pay it back was helping them grow in conviction(saddhā), virtue(sīla), learning(suta), generosity(cāga) and discernment(paññā). It is very important to treat our parents very well, and cannot treat them like others, e.g., the anger you have on your parents is more harmful. Insulting the parents is like burning oneself with fire.
The Buddha mentioned seven kinds of fire in the Aggi Sutta-the Fire Discourse Aṅguttara Nikāya. The fire of greed, hatred, and delusion have to be removed. The fire of parents, husband, and sages (samana) have to be worshipped (showing respect and making supports). The last fire has to be taken care; that is fuel fire. A husband gives security to the family. Therefore he has to be respected.
If someone very badly treating his or her parents and will get the same outcome from his or her children. Both of them can’t get good children of their own. This we can see in the life of King Ajātasattu. He killed his father King Bimbisara for power. Later in life, he was also killed by his son. Again his son was killed by his grandson.
Three generations had been committed patricides. Nowadays if we observe our present societies, there are more and more cases of insulting, beating, and killing parents than before. We can see more and older homeless people on the streets. These and other things are the signs of decadence in human societies. Human beings are creating their hells on Earth. These are also predictions for their future to come.
12. Assistance to one's wife and children
發表於 : 2019-10-09, 13:18
12. Assistance to one's wife and children
__ In Sigālovāda Sutta- Advice to Sigāla, Digha Nikaya, the Buddha gave instructions to Sigāla, the house holder’s son, on the duties and obligations as a husband to wife and children.
Assistance to one's wife in five ways:
(1) By respecting her
(2) By his courtesy
(3) By being faithful to her
(4) By handing over authority to her
(5) By providing her with adornments
Assistance to one’s children in five ways:
(1) Restrain them from evil
(2) Direct them towards the goods
(3) Train them to a profession
(4) Arrange suitable marriages for them
(5) In due time hand over the inheritance to them.
The five duties and obligations of a wife:
(1) By doing her duties well
(2) By hospitality to attendants, etc.
(3) By her fidelity
(4) By looking after his earnings
(5) By skill and Industry in all her business dealings
The five duties and obligations of a child:
(1) Once I was supported by them now, I'll be their support
(2) I'll perform those duties they have to perform
(3) I'll maintain the lineage and tradition of my family
(4) I'll look after my inheritance
(5) I'll give alms or generosity(cāga) on behalf of them(When the parents are dead)
__ This 12th blessing/protection of assistance to one's wife and children is a very interesting and important topic, and it has a lot to say and for contemplation. It is also wide and profound subject and depending on how someone views on it. People who want to penetrate about them should study, research, and contemplate all the teaching of ancient sages and the Buddha. Most people using or spending a lot of time and money to study and research for nourishing of greed, hatred, and delusion, which are the mind pollutants. Instead, they should work with the mind which is closet to them than anyone else. It can bring them to happiness or destruction.
__ These cover from family life to society (i.e., the eleventh & twelfth blessings). Each family life is the smallest part of society. Therefore it is like each part of the whole body. If any part of the body has a problem or becomes abnormal and you will surely suffer or die. If each family could handle their matters very well and will solve many problems which nowadays people encounter in societies.
Therefore it is so very fundamental that good education within the family life can have strong effects and influences in society. We should not only take education as making for a living. Our experiences with all the six senses are educations. Therefore no one can free from it. Education can be wholesome and unwholesome. Even science and technology, if we use it properly and rightly become right knowledge, and improperly and wrongly become wrong knowledge.
All other human knowledges also have to be counted, including religions. All wrong and harmful actions come from wrong views and thinkings. The assistance to one's child is the duty and obligation of all parents. As the Buddha mentioned it five ways; the most important ones are three. These are: restrain them from evils; directing them towards good; and train them to a profession.
The one and two are fundamental education, which is morality and virtue, and without it, the child will never become good persons and going in the right direction. Here I will present two stories in the Buddha's time. The first is the story of the son of Māhadhana in Jāravagga-Ageing; and the other, the story of Kāla, the son of Anathapindika in Lokavagga- The World, both from Dhammapada. The first one without morality and virtue had negative results, and the other was the opposite.
The Story of the Son of Mahādhana:
The son of Mahādhana did not have any education while he was young. When he came of age married the daughter of a rich man, and she also had no education. Here both sides of the parents did not do their duties and obligations as parents, and among the five duties, only the fifth one was fulfilled. (In due time both sides handed over the inheritances to them), & without the other factors, it became useless and harmful.
Therefore some wise parents, even they were rich, not leaving wealth behind for their children. But only gave them good education; such as morality, virtue, professional works, etc., so that they could stand on their own feet in life. When the parents on both sides passed away, they inherited a lot of money and very rich. Both of them were ignorant and only spending the money by wasting it (just only for sensual pleasure). They just ate and drank had a good time by squandering their money.
After they had spent all and later sold their fields and the house. Later they became very poor and helpless. Because they did not know how to make a living and became beggars and begging on the streets. Wealth and power are like very poisonous snakes for the fools, and it becomes a real treasure to the wise. The problems in society are there are more fools than the wise.
__ One day the Buddha saw him leaning against the wall of the monastery and eating the leftovers given by the novices; seeing him and the Buddha smiled. Ven. Ānanda asked the Buddha for the reason of his smiling. Then the Buddha answered to Ven. Ānanda;
“ Ānanda, look at this son of a rich man; he had lived a useless life, aimless life of pleasure. If he had learned to look after his riches and in the first stage of his life would have been the top ranking rich man.
If he had become a monk, could have been an arahant and his wife an anāgāmi (the non-returner). If he had learned to look after his riches in the second stage of his life, he would have been a second ranking rich man.
If he had become a monk, could have been an anāgāmin; and his wife a sakadāgāmi (the once-returner), etc...However, because he had done nothing all the three stages of his life that lost all the riches, and also all the chances of realization of the paths and fruits.”
The Story of Kāla, Son of Anathapindika:
Kāla, the son of Anathapindika always kept himself away, whenever the Buddha and his company of monks came to their house.
Anathapindika was worried that if his son kept on behaving in this way would not get any benefit. So he used money as a bait to change his son. He promised to give him 100 coins if the son consented to go to the monastery and keep the sabbath for one day. So Kāla went there and returned home early the next day without listening to any Dhamma discourse.
Next time, Anathapindika said to his son; “My son, if you learned a stanza of the Buddha's teaching, I'll give you 1,000 coins on your return.” Therefore Kāla went to the Monastery again. This time he tried to learn something from the Buddha. The Buddha gave him a short stanza for learning by heart, and at the same time made him forgot it. Thus he had to repeat it so many times that in the end came to understand the full meaning of the Dhamma and then attained the Path and Fruit of a stream-winner(sotāpanna).
Early on the next morning, Kāla followed the Buddha and the sangha to his house. His father offered the rice gruel to the Buddha and the sangha. After that, the father brought 1000 coins and gave him, in front of the Buddha, but he refused to take it. Then the Buddha told Anathapindika;
“Dayaka, your son had attained the Fruition State of a stream-winner which is much better and greater than the richest off of a universal Monarch, the status of celestial beings and Brahmā-gods.”
__ These two stories in the time of the Buddha gave us food for thought, on the parents’ duties and obligations to children. If they neglect it and the children will be like the son of Mahādhana and going downhill in their lives. It was a nuisance for the family and society. The two outcomes were like heaven and earth. For the parents to behave like Anathapindika, they first should have the qualities of good and skillful parents. They must have the education and training from their parents, with experiences and learnings (suta).
Therefore fundamental education and training should begin at the family level. The ancient Chinese Sages understood it very clear and not much different from the Buddha. The systems and skillful means in the Chinese texts were more in details and rich experiences. At least it might have over 3,000 years of Chinese history. In the Sigālovāda Sutta, the first duty and obligation of a wife are doing her duties well. The wise of the past had a lot to say on these duties and obligations.
They have the clear-cut right views on these matters. One of the very important duties of a wife is as a mother. A very important duty of a mother is educating and training her children in the right and wholesome direction. Nowadays, a lot of mothers neglect this duty and obligation. Instead, their children are educating and training by many kinds of media; such as video games, TV, movies, internet, music, etc. There are a lot of unwholesome and unhealthy contents in them.
Only someone knows the Buddha's teachings, and the sages will know the harmfulness of these things. Why nowadays more youth problems in families, schools and societies than before? Because mental pollutions are increasing like the other external pollutions. External pollutions are the reflections of the human mind. A skillful mother comes from a good wife. And a good wife comes from a good daughter.
She is not selected by votes, but with the upbringing of educating and training in the right & wise direction. We should not forget that there are more fools than wise in the world.
__ Most people do not take ethics, morality, virtues as very important and fundamental for human beings. Therefore they think, speak, and act foolishly out of delusion(moha). These are the foundation of all goodness to arise. These good and wholesome qualities of the mind are not invented by sages and the Buddha. They discovered and penetrated it with wisdom. These are parts of nature, mind laws, and also affect the physical world. They have the universal characteristic, such as the law of kamma. They are also closely related. They also represent human standards and status. Human beings are the masters of their destiny.
Other types of living beings do not have this chance and opportunity. Therefore the right and fundamental education are very important for everyone. Parents are the first teachers of children and more important than school teachers. So it has to begin early in family life. Chinese sages classified education into four types.
(1) Family education:
The standard textbook is a booklet called Di Gi Gui- Chinese ethical standards, compiled by a Ching Dynasty scholar from Confucian Classics. On human relationship within the family, schools, societies, and states on standards of ethics, morality, virtue, etc.
(2) Education on the law of kamma:
This is the province of Buddhism. The subject on the law of kamma is profound, deep, related to all living beings and fathomless, except for a Buddha. One of the inconceivable phenomena and the province of a Buddha. Therefore except a Buddha, no one can fully penetrate it. Even we can say that it is the perfect knowledge of a Buddha. If he was only giving the teaching on the law of kamma and no other teaching, still no one equals or greater than him. This law of kamma governs all kinds of living beings.
Why most living beings during their wandering in the round of existence encountered many different kinds of sufferings? The main answer is they don't know the law of kamma and never heard about it. Even the majority of Buddhists, they know about it superficially, not profound and clear enough. Therefore they cannot use it good enough in their daily life. Even though most Buddhists encounter the teaching and not receive many benefits which should be.
(3) Worldly educations:
Many kinds and types of education of the world; schools, universities, professions for a living and ordinary knowledge, etc.
(4) Religious education:
All the major religions, not include the cults. With careful & wise contemplation; whatever people religions or faiths and the cultural background the education on law of kamma should be in the first place. Because it is the universal law and all living beings are under these laws. All beings cannot escape time and space; it is the same as with the law of kamma. All human actions; wholesome, unwholesome, and mixed under this universal law.
After studying and contemplating on laws of kamma and its working principles will have clear knowledge on it. And then study, contemplate and practice ethics, morality, and virtue become more effective. If a human being can study, contemplate, and practice these two educations(law of kamma and ethics) in their daily life, the human world will be like heaven on Earth.
__ In the Sigātovāda Sutta, on the duties and obligations of a husband to wife; the third one is by being faithful to her. In the same way, a wife to a husband is by her fidelity. Faithfulness and fidelity between husband and wife are very important for the family and also to society. Some of the problems in family and society are connecting with infidelity between husband and wife. It will create unhappy marriages and harmful to family members, especially children.
Then this affects society. A lot of youth problems are connecting to broken marriages. Because it affects the mind of children and they cannot have proper education and training. Why nowadays more youth problems and crimes than before? According to some researches, if there are more and more broken marriages, create more and more youth problems and crimes. Most people only take adultery as sexual misconduct, but there are also other sexual misconducts harmful to oneself, and then to society. Even these sexual misconducts are like entertainment in some media.
13. Consistency in one's work
發表於 : 2019-10-14, 19:18
13. Consistency in one's work
__ At doing one's task, we should not waste time and do it later. We should be active, energetic, and persistent in whatever we are doing. Doing only the kinds of task or job which should be done. This is not harming to oneself and others; benefit to oneself and others. There are some ignorant and deluded people doing silly and foolish things just for money and fame, even give up their lives for it. We should do things which only have values; not trivial, meaningless, frivolous, silly, and inferior.
Nowadays, human beings are doing all these meaningless things than before. Do human beings become wiser than before? Do they progress or regression? If we observe the societies and environments, all kinds of internal and external pollutions going on. Why is that? Anthropologists say: Human beings are developing from a type of ape. If it is true, then human beings should become wiser and intelligent. This is Evolution. But if we observe and contemplate about human beings, they are closer to ape than human.
The human mind is becoming more and more like a monkey. Is it human becoming in de-evolution? Evolution and de-evolution are in our mind. If someone behaves like an animal, then he is in de-evolution. You cannot measure progress or Evolution with power, money, fame, and the amount of sensual pleasure. These are the ways to downfall. It is nothing to do with the external matters but the internal ones. Therefore each human creates hell, animal, ghost, heaven, etc. for himself on Earth. This also his future destiny after he dies.
Man on the highest level of evolution can become a Buddha, and to the lowest level of de-evolution becomes a hell being. All the levels are in each one of us. One early morning in June, there was a pink lotus flower opened its beautiful and fragrant petals in a small pond. It decorated the Earth with its beauty and purity. After sometimes the sun was rising higher, and then the weather became very hot. The lotus closed its petals and protected itself from the strong heat.
But nowadays human beings know all the dangers come out from pollutions, continue to do all the foolish things are quite stupid and foolish.
Could human beings have a future? Yes, they have. Only they behave like a human; not like an animal, ghost, and hell is. They should only do things which have values and for the welfare of the human race and nature. If we practice samatha and vipassanā regularly with consistency is a great blessing and protection. Consistency in one's work is very important whatever task we are doing, whether it is worldly or spiritual matters. We should not spoil it by laziness, carelessness with wasting, and postponing of time.
__ During the time of the Buddha, there was a good story on these points. Three friends became monks. Two of them learned meditation and instruction from the Buddha. After that, they went to a secluded place, practiced diligently, and realized the Dhamma. They came back and went to see the Buddha. The Buddha was praising of them. The third one who was lazy and wasting time in the monastery heard about it. He also wanted to be praised by the Buddha in front of the others. Therefore he was practicing hard in the monastery. Because of his restlessness and carelessness in the practice and fell seriously and broke his hip. So his two friends had to take care of him and could not leave the place. The Buddha knew about this and told them about their past lives.
__ In one of their past lives; these monks were the students of the Bodhisatta- who was a teacher. One day the teacher asked the students to collect fire woods in the forest for the next morning meal. Because they had to go to a distant place in the early morning for an invitation. All the students went to the forest and did their duties properly. But the lazy student (the 3rd injured monk) not did his job properly. Instead, he chose a big tree, lied down and slept, thinking that near the time of leaving he could go up and break the branches for fire woods. At the time of going back; he quickly got up, climbed the tree, and broke some of the branches.
He had done it in a rush and carelessness that the tip of a branch hit one of his eyes. He was suffered in pain and came down quickly, took the wet branches of the fire woods, and followed behind the others. His wet fire woods were mixed with the dry ones. The servant did not know it and picked up the wet ones to cook for the gruel. At last the students missed the chance to the invitation.
This story taught us a good lesson. We should not do things with disinterest, wasting time, in a rush, improperly, disarray and confused. What about today, human beings are doing things? Are they better than this monk or student? By studying, observing, and contemplating today, human and society will know that it is not better. Some politicians, businesspeople (including economists), scientists, technologist, artists, etc. are viewing and doing things with greed, hatred, and delusion for power, wealth and fame. They are not only harming themselves( they have to pay for their kammic consequences) but also to the human race.
The reasons are not difficult to see; severe climate changes and all sorts of pollutions, both internal and external ones and leaving a dangerous Earth for the future generation. Human beings, however crazy and craving for power, wealth and fame, at near death they cannot take anything with them. Even the clothes they wear on, and when a very severe drought comes their power, wealth and fame cannot do anything.
__ As a Buddhist, the best protection and blessing is consistency in one's work to end dukkha. This is the most important task for all: i.e., the Noble Eightfold Path-sīla, samādhi, and paññā. Therefore we should not waste time by doing many meaningless and useless things. If we miss this chance and at near death will be in a miserable situation (miserable deaths and rebirths).
發表於 : 2019-11-18, 13:57
__ This is on dāna practice. In all world, great religions have dāna practice. Mostly dāna is a blessing for the giver, but not all of them. For example, if someone offered liquor and drugs to drunkards and drug addicts.
Dāna practice is the way of progress in this life and for the future to come. There were many stories in the time of the Buddha and modern-day stories. There are many ways of giving. The best way of giving is with understanding and knowledge. There was a sutta in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, On Giving. The discourse discusses the possible motivations for generosity, and rates in ascending order the results they can lead to. It is interesting to mention here.
Once time Ven. Sariputta, with a large number of lay followers, went to see the Buddha for a Dhamma talk. Ven. Sariputta said to the Buddha; “Might there be the case where a person gives the gift of a certain sort, and it doesn’t bear great fruit or a great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefits.” The Buddha answered as it was right. Then Ven. Sariputta asked the Buddha the cause and reason for this. He answered him the seven kinds of motivations and their results.
(1) Having given the gift seeking his profit, with a mind attached to the reward, seeking to store up for himself, with the thought of enjoying it after death. After death, born in the company of the four Great Kings (Catummahārājika Heaven), from here after death, return to this world.
(2) Someone gives a gift with the thought giving is good” on the break-up of the body, after death born in the company of the devas of the 33 (Tavatimsa Heaven), from here after death return to this world.
(3) Someone gives a gift with the thought “This was given in the past, done in the past, by my father and grandfather. It would not be right for me to let this old family custom be discontinued”.
After death born in the company of the devas of the Hours (Yāma Heaven), from here after death return to this world.
(4) Someone gives a gift with the thought “I am well off. These are not well off. It would not be right for me, being well-off, not give a gift to those who are not well off.” After death born in the company of the contented devas (Tusita Heaven) from here after death return to this world.
(5) Someone gives a gift with the thought “Just as there were the great sacrifices of the sages of the past-Athaka, Vamaka, Vamadeva,....etc. In the same way, will this be my distribution of gifts,” after death born in the company of the devas who delight in creation (Nimmanarati Heaven), from here after death coming back to this world?
(6) Someone gives a gift with the thought “When this gift of mine is given; it makes the mind serene. gratification and joy arise.” After death born in the company of devas who has power over the creations of others (Paranimmitavasavatti Heaven). From here after death come back to this world.
(7) Someone gives a gift with the thought “This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind.” After death born in the company of Brahma’s Retinue( the lowest of the first jhāna plane). Then, having exhausted his kamma, he is a non-returner. He doesn’t come back to this world.
The commentary explained the 7th giver as giving with the enrichment of samatha-vipassanā practices.
__ There are also some givings not become dāna practices; such as giving to someone for fear(e.g., mafia gang), giving by expecting something(e.g., bribery), giving with raga( sexual desire), etc. Giving is not an easy thing to do; you have to make an effort. Why is that? Because every living being more or less has lobha(greed) and self-view. Greed of covetousness, confiscation, clinging with craving, etc.
All these make dāna difficult to perform. Therefore we have to make an effort to do it. But if we know and understand the benefit and value of dāna or knowing about them, and will be sure to perform it. Even we can give up things too valuable for us, as an example, the dāna parami of a Bodhisatta.
There was a very touching story to the heart at the time of the Buddha. It represented an unselfish nature and right motivation of a dāna. Also, it gave immediate results in the present life. It was about Ven. Mahākaccāna and a poor lady. He was the foremost disciple in the detailed exposition of brief sayings, and a native of Avanti, to the far south-west of the Ganges basin. King of Avanti, Chandapajjota heard about the Buddha and sent Mahākaccāna and others to invite the Buddha.
After they listened to his talk and became monks. Later they became arahants and went back to Avanti to see the king. On the way back they went for alms-round in a village and did not get anything. There was a young lady, now became very poor and knew about it. Before she was a rich man’s daughter and had strong saddhā(faith), she had a beautiful, long, and shining black hair. There was another rich man’s daughter who wanted to buy her hair and paid 1000 coins for it. This was happening sometimes ago, but this poor lady did not sell it. This time she urgently needed the money to prepare the meal for the monks.
Therefore she cut her beautiful long hair and sent the maid to sell it to the rich lady. This time instead of giving the 1000 coins, she only gave eight coins for it. The maid became very sad and cried. The poor lady prepared the meal for the monks, and each monk received one coin value of food (the monk’s number were eight). When the monks were receiving the meal, the poor lady did not dare to come out to meet the monks. In the past, the beauty of a woman was long, soft, shining black hair.
__ But Ven. Mahākaccāna knew all these things and invited the lady to come out. She came out, and as soon as bowing to the monks, her hairs were growing back to normal. Scientists will take it as supernatural.
No, this is super normal, and it is by the mind or mental laws, cause and effect. Insects, birds, jets, airplanes, etc. can fly, but scientists cannot fly in the air. Above before already has mentioned an episode connecting with Ven. Mahākaccāna.
A lay-man, Soreyya had an evil thought and changed into a woman. There were two main causes, including in these two episodes, internal and external ones. More important is the internal ones. The mind of the lady and Soreyya; and the purified hearts of the arahants. If we can accept the atomic power, this is not difficult to understand. The mind is more powerful than matter. Therefore all human beings especially someone has power (political leaders, governments), wealth (tycoons, business people, business corporations), scientists, etc. should know how to use their mind properly and wisely for the benefit of the human race, not to harm them and destroy the Earth.
Ven. Mahākaccāna went to see the king, and he told him the episode. Therefore the king took the poor lady as his consort. With strong saddhā (faith) and volition (cetana), then the result is greater. On one occasion the Buddha was staying near Vesali, in the Great Forest, at the Gabled Pavilion. General Siha went to the Buddha and asked him as it was possible to point out the fruit of giving visible in the here and now. The Buddha answered in positive and gave five results of it. These are:
(1) One who gives, who is a master of giving, is dear and charming to people at large. We can see this kind of giver in the past and present.
(2) Furthermore, good people, people of integrity, admire one, who gives who is a master of giving: this too is the fruit of giving visible in here and now. The people mentioned here are moral and virtuous people; sages and noble beings (ariyas). Therefore the giver has the chances to close and near them. On learning their teachings gain knowledge. He will live the wholesome and progressive life, towards the noble direction, and even he can end dukkha. We can see this kind of giver in Buddha’s time and present Theravadin countries.
(3) Furthermore, the fine reputation of one who gives, a master of giving is spread far and wide: this too is a fruit of giving visible in here and now.
(4) Furthermore, when one who gives, a master of giving, approaching by the assembly of people—noble warriors, brahmans, householders, or contemplatives—he/ she does so confidently and without embarrassment: this too is a fruit of giving visible in here and now.
These results of (1) to (4) are visible in here and now.
(5) Furthermore, at the break up of the body, after death, one who gives, the master of giving, reappears in a good destination, the heavenly world: that is a fruit of giving in the next life.
__ When these five results of giving were mentioned to General siha : he replied the Buddha that the four fruits of giving (from (1) to (4)) visible in here and now were not by faith (saddhā) in him. He knew it with experiences because he was a master of giving. But the last fruit, after death, reappeared in a good destination, the heavenly world, he did not know, that was he believed in the Buddha by conviction (saddhā). Some people are not giving to others, but they spend it themselves. Even worse than these are people not only not give to others but also not spend by themselves.
Even the worst of all are encouraging people not to give. There was once a very wealthy man named Ānanda in Sāvatthi. He was a miserly man and encouraged his son Mūlasiri not to give. This rich man had five pots of gold buried in his house and died without revealing its location to anyone. He was reborn in a village of beggars not far from Sāvutthi. From the time his mother was pregnant beggars in the village had difficulties in beggings. They thought there must be a wicked and misfortunate person among them.
By dividing themselves up in groups with the process of elimination. They found out the pregnant woman, and she was driven out of the village. A son was born to her, and he was very ugly and repulsive. If she went out alone by begging and got something. And with the boy got nothing.
So, when the boy could go out by himself for begging, and she left her son. He wandered alone in Sāvutthi for begging and remembered his past life and old home. After arriving there, he went straight into the house. When the children of Mūlasiri saw him, they were frightened and crying. The servants beat him and threw him out of the house.
The Buddha was on his alms-round and saw the incident. Then the Buddha told Mūlasiri that the ugly young beggar was his father of previous life. He did not believe it. Therefore the Buddha asked the beggar to show them the buried gold. And Mūlasiri became a lay disciple. Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follow:
Verse 62: “I have sons and wealth; with this, the fool is afflicted. Indeed he is not his own, how can sons and wealth be his.”
( From the Dhammapada: The Fool)
The above story warning us a very important lesson; wrong view, unwholesome mental states, thoughts, and actions gave miserable sufferings to beings. Even the negative energies effect on others. Why nowadays humans have a lot of problems and sufferings than before? We need to contemplate and find out the causes to correct it. There was also another interesting story on giving in the time of the Buddha.
The story of a childless rich man:
__ On one occasion, King Pasenadi went to see the Buddha. He told the Buddha about a rich man who had died in Sāvatthi without leaving heirs. Therefore he had to confiscate all the man’s properties. This man was very rich and stingy. While he was alive and did not give anything in charity. And even was reluctant to spend his money on himself. So he ate very sparingly and wore cheap and coarse clothes. Then the Buddha told the king and audience about this rich man and one of his past lives. At that time also he was a rich man.
One day, when a Solitary-buddha came and stood for alms at his house. He was on his way out that asked his wife to offer foods to the Solitary-buddha and left. It was very rare that her husband gave his permission to give things to someone. So she filled up the alms bowl with choice foods. The rich man again met the Solitary-buddha on his way back home and looked into his alms-bowl. And found out that his wife had offered a lot of good foods.
So, he thought that this monk would only have a good sleep after a good meal. It would have been better if the servants were given such good foods because they would give him better service. He has regretted to ask his wife to offer foods to the Pacceka-buddha. There was also another incident connecting with him. He had a brother and who was also rich. The brother had an only son. Coveting his brother’s wealth and killed his young nephew and wrongfully inherited his brother’s wealth.
__ Because the man had offered alms foods to the Pacceka-buddha that he became a very rich man in his present life. He regretted having offered foods to the Solitary-buddha that no wishes to spend anything even on himself.
Because he had killed his nephew for the sake of wealth that he had suffered in hells for seven existences. This evil kamma having come to an end and he was born in this life as a rich man. But here also he had not gained any wholesome actions. After hearing the story, the king remarked; “Ven. Sir! Even though he had lived here in the lifetime of the Buddha himself, he had not made any offering of anything to the Buddha or his sangha. Indeed, he had missed a very good opportunity and had been very foolish.”
Then the Buddha spoke the following verse:
Verse 355: “Wealth destroys the foolish, but it can’t destroy those who seek the other shore (Nibbāna). By his craving for wealth, the fool destroys himself and would destroy others.”
(From the Dhammapada: Craving).
__ What do we learn from this story and teaching? It taught us the importance of the mind. Even we cannot think about foolish and stupid things which most people are thinking all the times.
Also, it reminds us of the first and second verses of the Dhammapada; The Pairs. Even we are doing good things should not let unwholesome mental states come in between them. We have already discussed the possible motivations for generosity (dāna). It should be like the sixth number giver, giving with joy and happiness before, during, and after the charity.
The-pye-kan Sayadaw commented on these two stories. These rich men were like the alchemist’s billows, which breathing in and out, but without life. Therefore they were dead people. How many dead politicians and wealthy men in the world today? Most of them are fighting for power and wealth. Not for the welfare of the human race and the mother Earth. We can see them clearly in today situations of the world. Temperature is rising every year and getting hotter and hotter. We are killing animals in a very cruel way. One way of eating them is roasting meat. Now the sun is roasting human skin if human beings are continuing doing foolish, silly, and stupid things, the sun will roast our flesh.
__ Talking about dāna will never end. So, here will do a general contemplation on its subject. The Buddha’s teachings are wisdom teachings or wisdom education. Wisdom has the qualities of deep, profound wide, and immeasurable. If you can only see it superficially, then it is superficial. Like the Buddha’s wisdom, then it is immeasurable.
We study, research, and practice the Buddha’s teaching is inheriting his wisdom. As a human being, this task is precious and priceless. And not like all the others worldly knowledge and educations which if we human begins cannot use it wisely and properly, can create great sufferings and disasters.
__ Dāna subject is one of the very basic teachings of the Buddha. So, we can find them a lot in the Pali suttas. Most people will think, including many Buddhists, the Buddha’s teachings are not concerning with worldly matters and human societies. if we research the Pali Suttas and can find out that this Great man (the greatest of all) was a human being, born on this Earth by a woman, and living on this earth, after his great enlightenment, and teaching living beings (mostly humans) for 45 years without rest. He was not living in heavens and talking to super beings liked bodhisattas, deities, devines, etc.
As a human being and living on this Earth and if not talking to humans whom he had to communicate? He was talking to all walks of life, from lower to higher caste, and from beggars to the kings. Therefore he had to talk about men, societies, and human problems and how to deal with them. If he did not has the deep, profound, and immeasurable wisdom and how could he help them.
In the ten perfections (paramis), dāna parami is the first one to come. It has three levels in each parami. The lower, middle, and higher levels, respectively; in Pali- parami, upa-parami, and paramatthā-parami. Except for one’s bodily part, giving outside properties, such as wife, children, wealth, etc. are an ordinary one. Giving up one’s bodily parts, such as eye, kidney, etc. is upa-parami. It can be counted only when one is still alive. Maybe not after death; such as donate one’s body.
Even after death, donate one’s body is not many people can do it. We can see how strong wrong view and craving (ditthi-tanhā) is — this is me, and this is mine. After death, donate one’s body is quite a noble thing to do. Because it can save some one’s life or vision (i.e., for an eye), etc. Therefore dāna-giving practice is not very easy for everyone, especially someone has strong ditthi-tanhā. It needs to put a lot of effort. So, we need to know the benefits of dāna very clear and more easy to let go of our attachments to outside things.
__ For a true bodhisatta follows the ways of becoming a future Buddha, even to give up his own life is not difficult-paramattha dāna parami. Can we recognize, or know a true/real bodhisatta among humans. Nowadays we have a lot of self-declared bodhisattas. In the Majjima Nikāya, we found about two bodhisattas in 2 suttas, Ghatikāra and Dakkhinā-vibhaṅga Suttas. In the Ghatikāra Sutta, it mentioned about Gautama bodhisatta as Jotipāla young brahman in the time of Kassapa Buddha. Jotipāla—the Gautama bodhisatta even did not know himself as a true bodhisatta.
In the beginning, he did not want to meet the Kassapa Buddha. In the second sutta, it mentioned about the Metteya bodhisatta of the future Buddha. Bhikkhu Ajita was the Metteya bodhisatta and had supernatural powers. He got the robes offered by the Buddha’s foster mother Mahāpajāpati bhikkhuni. Many monks there did not know he was the Metteya bodhisatta. (Metteya bodhisatta was not in the original sutta. I had heard about it from a talk by a monk). For a real bodhisatta, even if he knows it himself will not declare about it.
__ People have very deep-rooted-ditthi/tanhā that is even doing wholesome things always calculate loss and profit. Therefore the results of merits are mostly mixed ones. Not always good in the beginning, in the middle and the end.
We had seen the extreme self-views of nationalism, fascism and racism, which had done a lot of atrocities during the second world war. They were not only harming others but also leading to their sufferings in the end. Even some were not wanting to say sorry or asking forgiveness out of conceit. They would never heal their wounds.
__ In the Noble Eightfold Path; The Buddha arranged Right View-Sammā- dhitthi in the beginning. Why is that? Because it is the wisdom factor and the most important one inhuman knowledge. Even, the intention is good without the right view, the results usually follow unsatisfactorily. With the right view and right thinking will be followed. With the right thinking or thought, then the right speech and right action would be followed respectively. These are causes and effects relationship. The right view has two kinds; worldly and spiritual. Without Worldly right views cannot develop spiritual right view.
The most fundamental worldly right view is the belief in the law of kamma. Every human happiness, peace, and prosperity based on this very important fundamental law. It is not making by humans. It is the law of nature; a truth. The sun is rising in the east and set in the west. We can express the laws of kamma in a simple slogan “Action begets reaction”—Wholesome actions beget wholesome results; nwholesome actions beget unwholesome results.
The law of karma is deep, profound, and complex. One of the four inconceivable phenomena that are not to be conjectured about—the mechanism and precise working out of the results of kamma. To become a Buddhist, at least has faith in the law of kamma. Therefore whatever kind of action we made, it will bear fruit and never wasted and will give the result sooner or later.
__ Another one very important point needs to contemplate is why are we coming to this human world? We were not sent here by God, or without reasons. One of your past good kammas sent you to here— cause and effect relationship. After born as a human being, what do you want to do?
Most people will think indulgence in sensual pleasures or seeking sensual pleasures—including politicians, economists, scientists, and highly educated people. Very few people are thinking about the welfare of oneself and others. Just looking at nowadays the world situations, the internal and external ones.
The Buddha taught us very clearly. By protecting ourselves, and we protect others, and vice versa. To achieve this inspiration, the human has to do goods. For wanting to do goods, a human should has right view, right thinking and has ethical standards and values for actions. The human world is the great field of merits which other realms of existence do not have.
Therefore a Buddha always will arise in the human world. A true bodhisatta only has the chances to develop his ten perfections (paramis) in this world. So, every human should take these chances to do goods for developing the perfections. Not comes here as a human to harm oneself & others. We should not do stupid and foolish things by wasting our times as a precious human. After that, we will go back to our frequent homes—the four woeful planes (apāyabhūmi)
__ Developing the ten perfections is a noble sacrifice. So, if we give up a little happier; and more - happier. Therefore dāna practice is a very wholesome action creates happiness here and after (see the answers the Buddha gave to General Siha, the faith of giving). We can protect our wealth from fire, flood, kings(governments), thieves, or hateful heirs by giving. If we die cannot take any wealth and properties with us—come naked, go naked.
So do not become a naked ascetic. Therefore using our wealth, intelligence, skills, etc. by doing all kinds of goodness and we should take all the wholesome kammas with us. This is called wholesome kammic bank account. This kind of bank account following you like a shadow as mentioned by the Buddha in the second verse of Dhammapada: “All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner; they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.”
A human bank account cannot be safe; it still has outside dangers and only last for this life. The wholesome kammic bank account has more increments, and you will have it until your last life in Saṁsāra (the round of rebirths), and every deposit has the seven mind moments of increments. Only this kind of person is the richest man in the world and a true super- billionaire.
Humans do not have these kammic bank deposits and accounts, and then all are naked ascetics—came naked and will go naked. Then their most possible existences are in the woeful and miserable planes. The most pitiful man will be the naked billionaire (Because he has the best chance for doing good).
In Buddha’s time & our time, there were some stories about people who were very rich and became richer and richer. Not because they were stingy and only making money. Because they had done a lot of merits in their past lives and continued to do more and more in this life. I have already mentioned some of them in the 5th blessing—Having made merits in the past.
__ So, wealth and fortunes come from the results of giving, and not by stingy, envy and avarice. It is also one way of practice to conquer tanhā-craving, greed, or reducing it. Wealth is like burning charcoal if you are clinging to it and become more suffering. By letting go of it have peace and happiness. The Buddha mentioned the five wholesome dhammas in many suttas. These are saddhā, sīla, suta, cāga and paññā-conviction, virtue, learning, generosity, and discernment.
These are also called noble growth. These dhammas have the power of fulfilling one’s wishes. Instead of relying on outside power, Buddhists should develop them. Dāna or cāġa is one of them. Dāna is; the act of giving and gift. Cāga is; giving up and generosity. Carana is good to conduct. These 3 Pali words have a close relationship. Dāna-giving and gifts are many ways. Giving one’s time and energy for any wholesome matters to others also include in it.
Sabbadānaṁ dhammadānaṁ jinati—The gift of Dhama is greater than all other gifts. Because it related to intelligence, knowledge, discernment, or wisdom. Without merits and discernment /wisdom—all beings wandering in the round of existence is very painful. They are also supporting each other. The most important for giving is right and wise motivations.
Give a gift with the thought “This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind.” This is giving with the enrichment of samatha-vipassanā practice or wise ncontemplations. All the merits and wholesome dhammas as the support of ending saṁsaric dukkha or Nibbāna Element. All living beings and non- living beings are parts of the whole nature. We all are related to each other. One affects others, especially human beings.
15. Living in rectitude:
發表於 : 2019-11-18, 14:21
15. Living in rectitude
__ Rectitude is quality or attitude that makes people behave honestly and virtuously. Here is living by the wholesome dhammas, the ten wholesome courses of action. Then kusala dhammas have already mentioned in the 9th blessing—well mastered disciplines. In the world, the best protection is one’s own wholesome dhammas. In the world, why all living beings are quite different from each other.
Please do not say about other types of living beings, even in humans themselves. Because of their views, thinkings, and actions are quite different. Not all of them have the same qualities and attitudes. herefore living beings are different because of the results of their different kammas. It is interesting to read and contemplate the Cūlā- Kammavibhaṅga Sutta (No.135), in the Majjima Nikāya.
__ In the CūlaKammavibhaṅga Sutta—The Shorter Analysis of Action; Subha, Todeyya’s son went to see the Buddha. He said to the Blessed One:
“Master Gotama, what is the reason, what is the cause, why baseness and excellence are seen along human beings, among the human race? For short-lived and long-lived people are to be seen, sickly and healthy, ugly and beautiful, uninfluential and influential, poor and rich, low-born and high-born, stupid and discerning people to be seen.”
The Buddha answered him: “Subha, beings are owners of their actions, born of their actions, related through their actions, and have their actions as their arbitrator. Action is what differentiate beings in terms of baseness and excellence.”
Subha did not understand the detailed meanings of them and requested the Buddha to explain in details. There is another discourse on kamma, the Mahākamma-vibhȧnga Sutta(No.136). Kamma and its results are difficult to foresee. The workings of kamma are strange and surprising.
__ Therefore the law of action (kamma) is very important for living beings, especially for a human.
Law of cause and effect covers all types and kinds of living beings. The man understands it and living accordingly with the wholesome dhammas will become a good person with the wholesome life. This is the way of protecting oneself and others. Then, human existence is beneficial and fruitful. Even, we can say education on law of action is the basic education for man. In the Dīgha Nikāya—Long Discourses of the Buddha, There is a discourse called Lakkhana Sutta (Sutta No. 30)—Physical Marks of a Great man.
There, the Buddha mentioned the 32 bodily marks of a great man. Only two persons could have it; a Buddha and a Universal Monarch. But these marks on a Buddha were more clear and distinct than the other. These marks on the Buddha came from the results of meritorious deeds previously cultivated by the bodhisatta for many lives. These acts were the ten paramis—perfections. Here, I will mention the first and second marks only, which were connecting the actions (causes) and the results (effects).
The first mark: the lowest part of the feet were full and leveled without any depression. Therefore the Buddha’s footprint was appearing full and completed on the ground. This mark appeared on the body because the bodhisatta cultivated wholesome meritorious deeds with firmness and confidence. Kept his words (never broke the promises), never gave up and in low spirit. Completed with this mark no internal and external enemies (kilesa and beings) and dangers could make him trembled. It gave him the stable results and respected by beings. He had stable sīla, samādhi, and paññā.
The second mark: the Buddha had the wheel symbols on both of the lowest part of the feet. In his many past lives, the bodhisatta was giving himself for the happiness of others. And helping to dispel others’ fear and dangers. While he was performing dāna and enriching with other things. As an example, when he was offering a building together with other things such as bed, chairs, table, etc. He was doing every dāna always in this way. Because of this meritorious deed acquired these marks.
With this mark and the result was, the Buddha had human followers of 4 types—bhikkhus, bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen and other beings—deities, divines (brahma gods), asuras, etc.
__ Here my emphasis is not for the physical characteristics. The emphasis is on the importance of human’s thinking, verbal and physical actions which affect the physical world internally and externally. These things were already mentioned by the Buddha over 2500 years ago. Nowadays scientists also confirm it by experiments and research. E.g., they played different kinds of music to the flower plants and observed its changes. The most well-known research for many years was by a Japanese scientist.
He is also using different kinds of music, sounds, visual images, letters and words which have good meanings and bad meanings, etc. with water. Later he observed the changes of water crystals under the powerful microscope. The water crystals were changing accordingly with different sounds and visual images. Wholesome sounds and images created beautiful water crystals. The unwholesome ones created ugly, broken, distorted water crystals which were difficult to see.
__ There was a remarkable documentary film about a Chinese man in the N.E of China. A middle-aged man from a village in Liao Ning province was craving for snake meat. He killed them and ate them for some years, maybe also in a very cruel way. One day his body was starting to show illness. His body skin was very itchy and painful. He had to scratch it unbearably all the times. And later he became well known with a nick-name as a snake man.
The news spread to the city, and a group of Buddhists came to see him. They arranged a special ceremony for him to ask forgiveness to the snakes he had harmed and killed. And then they were surrounding and chanting sutras and mantras for him, especially “The Sutra of Earth Store Bodhisattava”. They performed it for many hours. The Buddhist group did the same ceremony 3 times separately for a few months.
Surprisingly his miserable illness was cured, and the skin color went back to normal, bright, and yellow skin. Before it was dark grey, dry, and ugly.
__ There was also another amazing documentary film experiment with insects. This was done in Yun-nan Province in Southern China. A farm grower of fruits and vegetables made an experiment liked this. He did not use pesticides and fertilizers in his orchards and vegetable plots. Because he knew the outcomes of these chemicals which harmed humans, animals, insects, and nature. He used only organic farming, but how he protected them from the insects. He was a Buddhist and had strong confidence in the wholesomeness of the mind, good-will, compassion, appreciative joy, and a good heart.
So, he arranged a small piece of land with some fruit trees for the insects to eat. Close by not far from it there was a larger plot of land with fruit trees for sale. The vegetable plots were also arranged in this way. He hung letter cards on fruit trees and vegetable plots to invite the insects to eat and requested them not to disturb the others. Surprisingly it worked; the insects could feel it and not disturb the other fruit trees and vegetable plots, for human consumption. They left it for the human consumption untouched.
__ It seems to me nowadays with the development of science & technology; some scientists made researches and experiments on the mind and its power. They had some knowledge of it and wrote some books about them. Therefore human views, thinkings, verbal and physical actions affect the physical world and nature internally and externally, which I had already mentioned above. As a human being physical appearance is also important. Who will marry an elephant man or woman? (Referred to the Elephant Man, the movie. This was a true story & there was a book on it. The elephant man’s mother was a beautiful woman. So nothing to do with genetic, the kammic result of his past life).
Who will use them in the five stars hotel and restaurant? These are individual matters. For the larger scale effect, it is more important. Connection with societies, the human race, nature, and the mother Earth; it becomes very important. It becomes about human survival. The Earth is becoming more and more polluted, rising temperature (e.g. 50°C in the middle east), ice melting in the north pole, strong hurricanes (e.g. Katrina, Harvey, etc. in U.S.), many typhoons in Asia (e.g. mostly in the Philippines), heavy rains, floods, landslides, forest fires, etc.
__ Even animals and insects are sensitive to nature and aware of the dangers. But human beings are not, even they do not know about themselves. Scientists make a lot of researches and experiments on the external world, but they do not know their minds. Their minds are closer to them than any other things, more than their wives and children. They were born with it, living with it and die with it. Nearly all human problems come from it, but they do not know themselves.
This is ignorance (avijjā). The natural sufferings of birth, aging, and death we cannot escape. The others are humans made, and we can prevent and escape from it. We need to follow the Buddha’s wisdom and his teachings. By following the Buddha’s wisdom, we can prevent and solve a lot of human-made problems and sufferings. We cannot find anyone on the Earth who will know about human beings are better than Buddha.
After his enlightenment, he talked about them for 45 years all the times. If we know and understand the Buddha’s teachings, then we can live our life by the wholesome dhamma. This way of life is living in rectitude and righteousness. This way of life is benefitting oneself and others, also it protecting oneself and others. And after death, no-one will become a naked person (empty person). This is a real blessing.
The Buddha declared it very clear that anyone who practiced the Dhamma; and it would protect him. The Dhamma here was wholesome dhamma-the positive ones and not the unwholesome dhamma, which is the negative one. Still, it comes back to the law of action—cause and effect. Therefore, someone is practicing Dhamma at least has three results.
(1) You look after and protect yourself from dangers.
(2) It can bring you happiness.
(3) After death will not fall into painful existences.
__ This was Dhammapala Jataka. In ancient time, Kasi Country had a village named Dhammapala. The bodhisatta was also called Dhammapala and the son of the village headman. He went to Taxila for education. His teacher’s son suddenly died at a very young age. Therefore the family members and the students there were suffered from sorrow, pain, and grief. Dhammapala saw this event and became very surprised about it.
Because it was not the time for death at this very young age, in his village. He had never been seen and heard them before. So, he and the other students were in arguing about this matter. This case arrived at his teacher, and he questioned him. Dhammapala said that in his village nobody died at a young age. All lived up to the full life span. The teacher was very curious about it and decided to make an inquiry in this village.
So, he took some animal bones with him to the Dhammapala village, and met Dhammapala’s father, informed to him that his son died unexpectedly. By hearing it, the people were laughing. Then, the teacher took the animal bones out and showed them for evidence. They instantly responded that it would be the bones of an animal and it not belonged to Dhammapala. The teacher asked them why they did not believe it and the reasons for long life and long living. The reasons or causes were:
(1) They approached the wise, holy men and teachers
(2) They listened to their teachings.
Any ascetic and teacher came to their village and taught them; they would only take what was good and following it. If something were not good, they did not take it and not criticize them. From these 2 points, we know that these people were mature. These two factors are similar to the first and second factors of practice leading to stream entry. These are:
(1)Association with people of integrity
(2) Listening to the true Dhamma.
Let us observe nowadays, mans, and societies. Do they have the standards and intelligence like Dhammapala villagers or what the Buddha wanted them to be? Most people approach unwise, ignoble men, and polluted matters or media. What did they learn from these men and stuff? They learnt the wrong views, sex, violence, greed, selfishness, hate, ingratitude, exploitation, meanness, etc. So most human beings become more and more deluded, and many problems and disasters arise internally and externally.
(3) The Dhammapala villagers were observing the five precepts very well and practiced accordingly.
(4) They performed generosity as much as they could. They took joy and interest in these performances before, during, and after. This was the proper way of doing merits and also taught by the Buddha.
(5) The villagers were living together in harmony, friendliness, and helping each other.
Therefore it was a peaceful and happy society. These qualities are now very rare in societies, even in family life.
In the past, around a small area, people were known to each other very well. Our neighbors were like family members and helping each other. Nowadays, these things are changing dramatically. Living next door and do not know each other. Regarding others with suspicion and no feelings of security. If we observe and ontemplate these five factors and will found that these were had a connection to each other, they are leading to peace, harmony, long life, and happiness.
In the Sakka-pañhā Sutta-Sakka’s Questions (No. 21, Majjima Nikāya), Sakka the deva-king asked the Buddha as follow: All living beings (here men) wanted to be free from hostility, violence, rivalry, ill-will, free from those who were hostile. These were also meant; long life, healthiness, and happiness. But the beings were not fulfilling these wishes. What were the reasons behind that?
The Buddha answered to this was; beings were fettered with envy, stinginess, and avarice (selfishness), which was why they lived in hostility, violence, rivalry, ill-will and with those who were hostile. These two unwholesome mental states are interesting. It represents lobha and dosa—greed and hate. If we observe and contemplate today world situations, these unwholesome things and matters are happening up to the international levels.
In some countries political parties are fighting each other for power and using many dirty tricks, even some superpowers are in this group. They were exploiting the citizens just for their power and greed. If they concern for the country and people no need to fight for power, whoever wins is the same, even have to support the winning party for the welfare of the people. The Buddha also taught people on the important role of political leaders (in ancient time were emperors and kings) and governments.
Bad leaders and governments (i.e., immoral people), their behaviors and acts affect the citizens and nature and leading to dangers, such as drought, famine, wars, and diseases, etc. Regarding these disasters, even the Buddha said that people would not believe him what he had said. This point was not difficult to understand. Even most human beings do not understand themselves. To understand and see these things which are not within their knowledge. Human knowledge is very limited.
__ If we observe and contemplate the provinces of economics and sciences/technologies, there are also problems created by some economists and scientists. The main problems are unsustainable economic policies and scientific inventions. The main culprit is craving, greed, over-indulgence (tanhā) with ignorance or deluded mind, which cannot discern things. These are our greatest enemies, the inner ones. More destructive than any external one, even than natural disasters which are also caused by these enemies.
Greed, hatred, and delusion (wrong views) are the weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and not Sadan Hussein or Kadatfi or Osamabin Ladin or other people. They are already inside us or in each one of us. If writing about the current situation on nature, politics, economics and science and technology, and there are a lot of problems in these provinces. If we study, observe and contemplate and can see them very clear. The Buddha said that the source of suffering was greed & craving (It including hatred for sure, both as the two sides of a coin). Combine with wrong views, and it becomes WMD. But humans take them as their best friends. They are nourishing and developing them in their whole lives.
__ Many years ago, there was a Hollywood movie called “The Man with the X-rayed eyes.” The actor was Ray Milland, who was a scientist in it. He was researching a chemical liquid which could be used as the X-ray. After he had found it and used it on himself. He was using it as an eye-drop. What he found out was made him happy and a lot of joy.
He could see men and women naked bodies after using some drops. At the beginning, with desire and craving, he was happy with it. In the long run, it caused a problem and distraction like a drug addict. After sometimes, by using the x-ray eye drops, his eyes were starting showing the signs of degeneration. He could not see naked women anymore and instead of their skeletons. And then later he only saw the bright light. This made him unbearable and ended up destroying his own eyes. There are some important and valuable lessons we can gain from it. The scientist’s motivation was not good.
In the same way some economic policies and scientific researches and inventions were not good. It brought up more problems than solved the problems because these were based on greed and selfishness. There is a lot of envy and avarice going an in politics, economics, and knowledge on science and technology. There is also protectionism on economics and sharing of knowledges. These are the signs of greed & selfishness, which lead to distrust & disharmony among countries, and problems.
Greed never brings satisfaction and happiness. If greed is greater and greater, it brings more problems and sufferings. It is like a balloon if put in more and more air and it bigger and bigger. With over limit and then it explodes.
We can see the effects of human greed and craving on earth, in societies and nature. Climate changes and the temperature rising is now close to the limits. Therefore we saw a lot of natural disasters. Hurricane Harvey was a very good example (i.e., happened in America in 2018). And then, we heard and knew some human health problems connecting with food chains which were polluted by chemicals and other pollutions (i.e., air, water, etc.).
Now even we heard some news about young girls as young as ten years old had childbirths. Even these kinds of things mentioned by the Buddha a long time ago and difficult to believe it. Now it comes true. It is important to know roughly about our inner enemies of greed, hatred, and delusion (ignorance). If we like something, then it becomes greed and do not like it and becomes hatred (aversion).
So hatred can be grouped into greed. We do things blindly because we do not know the outcomes of it. This is ignorance or delusion. Greed and hatred go with delusion(ignorance). In the beginning, ignorance is leading to greed or hatred. If we used to it and it becomes a habit, and even knowing the outcome, we cannot stop it. Then we are led by greed or hatred; even we know the outcomes, as an example, someone addicted to drugs.
The Buddha gave a simile (there are many) for greed, craving, and clinging as a drop of honey on the edge of a very sharp razor blade. Sensual pleasures are like this. If we are with a very strong desire to enjoy the pleasant feeling and licking the honey, then we will encounter great suffering. Therefore restraint of the senses brings peace and happiness to the human race. Overusing it or indulgence with it will burn us like fire. The story of the man with the x-rayed eyes reminded politicians, economists, and scientists how to use their powers and knowledge for the human race.
16. Assistance to one’s relatives
發表於 : 2019-11-19, 20:09
16. Assistance to one’s relatives
__ In the Khuddaka Nikāya, the 15th text is Cariyā Pitaka. This text included some of the jataka stories connection with the practices of the bodhisatta on the ten perfections (paramis). How he developed his paramis for the welfare of the world, relatives, and himself. Therefore, assistance to one’s relatives is one of the cariyās. This protection with blessing is relating to love and compassion (metta and karuna).
Nowadays, men are quite weak in these noble qualities. It seems to be human becomes more cruel and violent to fellow human beings and animals. Even we have seen and heard more and more stories of children’s ingratitude to their parents, even in Asian Culture.
Therefore assistance to one’s relatives can be a difficult thing to do, because of lacking metta-karuna. Support for one’s parents, assistance to one’s wife and children, assistance to one’s relatives and others (friends and strangers) are in the three cariyās.
So these practices are a true blessing for oneself and others. Here assistance to one’s relatives is not only included with blood relationship, but also one own people and country. There were many jataka stories for these points. We only contemplate 2 of them.
(1) The Story of the Bodhisatta Crow:
__ One time the bodhisatta was born as the leader of crows. One day a crow in the city chat on the head of the brahman who was the king’s teacher. He was quite angry and had a grudge on the crow population. Unfortunately for the crows, the king’s elephants got the disease. So the king discussed this matter with the brahmȧn teacher. He had strong ill-will to the crows and wanted to revenge them. And then he told the king that there was a medicine which could cure the disease of the elephants. This was the body oil of the crows. Therefore the king ordered to kill the crows for oil.
So, many crows were killed and reduced the numbers of crows. At last, the bodhisatta crow could not neglect this matter anymore. The bodhisatta met the king and explained to him that crows never had oil in their bodies. The reason was that crows were always alert and living their lives with fear and dangers.
__ When we were young as boys, had been eaten crow meat before. But never thinking about this point as crows do not have oil in their body. Even their bodies do not have much meat and liquid inside them, skinny and dry. At that period there were a lot of crows everywhere. In cities, they were making a lot of noises. Chasing and fighting each other for foods and quite noisy. We could see them in the backyard of houses, around kitchens, searching, and stealing for foods.
Nowadays, we cannot see them anymore (i.e., in Burma). It seems they were extinct from the cities. One of the reasons may be poisoned by men. Now we are in the same fate as men poison men by pesticides, other chemicals, and other pollutants. These are the results of greed and selfishness. In the Sutta Nipāta, there was a discourse called Kāma Sutta—Sensual Pleasure.
The Buddha gave some similes for sensual pleasure/sensuality. One of them was a bird (crow, vulture, hawk-etc.) had a piece of meat (here represented sensuality), and other birds following behind him and tried to get this meat. So they attacked him with their beaks. If he did not drop it, then it would never end. If he dropped it, then another bird got it. Therefore the other birds followed this bird again to attack him for the meat.
But the first crow was free from suffering after he let go of the meat. We need to ask the following questions. What about human beings? Do they want to let go off their over-indulgence in sensual pleasure with over craving for making money which will lead to the destruction of the Earth? For human survival, we should contemplate these points very seriously. If not it will be too late, because of the severe climate changes on the Earth. The price of these is too much for a momentary, fleeting pleasure.
(2) A Noble Leader:
__ This was the story of a monkey king called Mahākappina from a Jataka story and a past life of the bodhisatta. It was a very touching story. At that time the bodhisatta was born as a monkey leader called Mahākappina. There was a forest upstream of the Ganges River. A big mango tree was at near the bank of the river. It had very delicious mangoes. Therefore the bodhisatta asked all the monkeys not let any mangoes fell into the water which grew out on any branch stretched out to the river. Because if any mango which was ripe and dropped into the river and carried downstream could eat by men. Then, men would follow their trace upstream and found them. It would be a danger for them.
Unlucky, once there was a ripe mango covered by red ants and all the monkeys not aware of it. After sometimes it dropped into the river and arrived at the human place. Someone found it and presented it to the king. The taste was very delicious that the king craved for it. He and a group of people followed the river upstream to find the mango tree.
At last, they found it and ate as much as they could. And then they slept under the tree for a rest. After they were in sleep, the monkeys came and ate the fruits. But some monkeys made that noises woke them up. And then they saw the monkeys and tried to catch them. There was only one way the monkeys could escape. That was crossing to the other bank of the river which side also had some big trees.
__ So the bodhisatta came in. He selected a strongest and long enough creeper on the mango tree; with his strong force jumped over the river to the other side. From the other side of a tree, he took nearly the same length of creeper jumped back to the mango tree. Here the bodhisatta made a mistake. He forgot to calculate for the length to bind the mango tree. There was not enough time to do it again. So he bound the end of the creeper on his two legs and with both hands holding to a very strong branch and using his whole body as a bridge.
All the monkeys trod on his body, with the help of the creeper and arrived on the other side. But there was an evil monkey who was the past life of Devadatta—the Buddha’s cousin. He had a strong grudge and hatred on the bodhisatta in a very long distant past which he carried along with him until the bodhisatta’s last life. With the evil intention and by force, he jumped on the bodhisatta’s back and crossed to the other shore. The bodhisatta heart was broken, and he bore the intense pain with patience.
The king and the others saw the incident with awe and in surprise. They tenderly took the bodhisatta down from the tree. And then, the bodhisatta taught the king to has discernment, love, compassion, to protect one’s people and passed away. The king took the bodhisatta’s head to his country, and it was plated with gold, kept it as a souvenir to remind him of this memorable event.
Even we heard some animals stories (some were pets) who saved human lives in modern days. What about human beings? It is true that human qualities are changing a lot. Men are becoming more and more self-centered, greedy, and selfish. Do not talk about common people. Some political leaders and governments, they have the duties to govern their people with love, sympathy, concern, and for their welfare. But we saw quite a lot of them (here means more than before) exploited the citizen for their powers, misusing their powers and corrupted. The worst thing was even some power mongers created wars and instability within one country and also to other countries.(These were not difficult to understand. One reason is connecting with the lucrative arms businesses)
Some superpowers they used many reasons and excuses to interfere with other countries and behaving like mafia bosses. Therefore now we have seen many problems, the refugee crisis, wars, and instability in many parts of the world.
__ In this remarkable story, we see the bodhisatta gave up his life to save his species. And an evil monkey who destroyed him. All the big problems were coming from the small ones. Because of man’s ignorance or delusion and it became a great problem (e.g., the Syrian War). Hatred is the most harmful and dangerous unwholesome mental state, which creates hells on the Earth and after death.
In the middle east, there are a lot of wars going on, and some are only a few years old. The hatred between Israel and Palestinian is more than a half-century old. That means hatred cannot overcome by hatred, only by love, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding. Tit-for-tat view and policy never bring happiness, peace, and harmony, only more and more misery and suffering, which will never end. These are human hells on Earth.
17. Deeds that are blameless
發表於 : 2019-11-19, 20:22
17. Deeds that are blameless
__ There are quite a lot of blameless deeds, from smaller one to a great one. Therefore it is a very wide subject to talk about. In general, any wholesome deed for the benefit and welfare of others can be counted here. Everyone can do it. It has to be started from the family life and then spreading to societies, country, and international levels respectively.
Every goodness has to be started from the family life when we are young. Therefore family education is the foundation for all other goodness to develop and arise. All goodness is based on ethical and moral values and standards. Only wholesome causes have wholesome results. Human beings should never forget this natural law and always keep it in mind for our whole life. To have confidence/conviction in the laws of cause and effect is the basic principle to all human beings.
As a human being has to know what should be done and what should not be done. It seems very simple, but even still, many people do not believe in it or not take it very seriously. Blameless deeds can be included in carana-good conduct. One of the nine attributes of the Blessed one (the Buddha) is—Vijjā-carana-sampanna-Consummate in knowledge and conduct. This 3rd attribute of the Buddha includes three types of dhamma: sīla, samādhi, and paññā. Sīla and samādhi are including in carana-conduct and paññā in knowledge. To do things for the benefits and welfare of others include oneself.
The Buddha as a bodhisatta for many lives was the best example of it. Someone believes in the law of kamma will keep the precepts-sīla and not harming others and oneself. Without sīla cannot develop samādhi. Without sīla, beings are wandering or falling into painful existences. Conduct is two kinds; ordinary one and related to perfection (parami). Knowledge is also the same. Conducts include in parami are dāna, sīla and samādhi bhavana.
Knowledges include in parami are: listening, studying, spreading suññāta Dharma-such as, khandha, āyatana, dhātu, etc. Contemplating them with insight and teaching to others. In the past, people who met/encountered the Buddha’s Teachings had fulfilled these two perfections. Therefore when later they encountered the Buddha’s teachings again and realized the Path and Fruit. For examples; Ven. Sariputta, Ven. Mahā-maggallāna; Khema Theri, Upallavana Theri; laymen Anathapindika and Citta; lay women Visākhā and Uttara, etc.
__ Someone only had the perfection of conduct and without knowledge, when later he encountered the Buddha’s teachings, even listened to his teachings very often did not realize the Path and Fruit (For examples; King Pasenadi of Kosālā and his Queen Mallikā, etc.).
__ Someone only had the perfection of knowledge and not conduct-such as caga, sīla, bhavana, etc., as, e.g., the well-known scholar monk Kapila of the Buddha Kassapa’s time. After death, he fell into painful existence – the hell. In the Buddha Gautama’s time, he was born as an animal – the big golden fish with the stinky mouth.
I have met this kind of lay Buddhists, they are not interesting in conducts and only in meditation. In the beginning, they are serious, but with time going on their saddhā (faith) are going down. Like a straw fire burning very quickly and die out very quickly.
__ Nowadays very difficult to find someone who has both qualities, conduct, and knowledge. It seems to me more and more people lack both. People are more and more greedy and selfish; their six sense doors are occupying with polluted media. Saddhā is a very important factor for developing good conducts/deeds, which leads to fortunate rebirths and having good lives and fortunes. Carana parami and saddhā give the results of high-class people, such as —kings, leaders, rich people, etc.
__ Paññā is a very important factor for developing knowledge—vijjā, which leads to understanding and has profound knowledge. It gives the results of becoming teachers, sages, and noble beings. Therefore every Buddhists should develop both qualities.
What about ordinary good conduct? These are also very important for a human being. For the human race to have happiness, peace, and harmony, every man has to follow, practice, and develop good conduct. This is to be started from the family level, societies to international levels. To be fulfilled this inspiration and purpose, humans have to lay down the basic causes for it. These basic causes are moral value, standard, and education.
If we observe and study present societies and international situations around the world, only we understand and see these basic causes as very important and unavoidable. I had seen a documentary film on human problems in societies, environmental pollutions, and some natural disasters caused by human deeds and actions. I will mention them in general only.
There was a scene a father and son were like playing a funny game (i.e., in the father’s view). They slapped each other face in turn. The son might be 4 or 5 years old. This small boy was using force and sometimes seeing the father rubbing his face, but he was still laughing. Was this the way a father teaching his son becoming a good person? Now he was slapping you only with hands, but in the future will stab you with a knife.
People are nowadays instead of teaching children respect and gratitude to their parent, teaching them in opposite ways. Around the world, some are shouting for democracy, equality, and human right. Are human beings using it rightly, properly, and wisely? All their good qualities have to be used in the right place in wholesome matters. If using them, wrongly & improperly democracy becomes demo-crazy; equality and human right become licentious matters (current situations around the world become like these). If not societies and the world will be in chaos.
__ There was another scene in China. A father was filming with a video camera to his two children; a five years old boy and ten years old girl. What was he filming about? He was urging, encouraging, and cheering them to fight each other. Both children were quite different in body size and strength. Every time he was beaten and fallen on to the ground, and then she kicked and stamped on his body by force. After sometimes the man’s aunt came out to the compound to see what happened. This elderly woman did not say anything and went back inside the house. The father asked the boy to get up and fight. Every time the boy was beaten and cried, the father was laughing.
By looking into the girl’s eyes and face, and we can know that she had cruel nature (without the wholesome education, her future will be hopeless). Where this video came from? It was sure that the father put it on the internet. It was also broadcasted in the TV news in China. Did he want to train his children to become criminals and terrorists? Why there are many violence, terrorist activities, and wars around the world?
__ Even men are very cruel and violent to men. So it is no need to mention how humans treat animals, can be even worse. Some video clips were showing how humans treated animals.
Some human cruelty on animals is shocking and unbelievable, similar to hell scenes. Mans kill animals for meat, skins, and furs to satisfy their sensual pleasure. Sometimes the killings are like torturing animals in hell scenes, as example-stripping off the skin furs of animals alive, etc. Even it is unpleasant to talk about these things. Some of the human activities to animals can be seen in shark fins, dolphin and whale meats industries, etc.
The sea water is covered with red blood. These business people and their workers are creating hell on Earth for their future births in hells. Some humans, for money they can do any evil thing you cannot imagine. For a momentary, fleeting pleasure they are harming others and themselves, really stupid and foolish.
Also, men cannot escape the dangers made by men, such as air, water, earth and foods poisonings and many other kinds of pollution. All these things create health problems, life-threatening, and surviving problems.
__ There are also sex problems in societies. We heard about as young as ten years old pregnant girls in the news. Homosexuality among young boys and girls, even no need to mention about youth and grown-up people. Why these kinds of sexual abnormality becoming more and more in humans? Because we do not see it as abnormal and immoral. Therefore we encourage, promote, and protect these things to happen.
Sexual misconducts create these results of abnormality. That is, people are born in these ways because of their past sexual misconducts (i.e., kammic results). There are also some causes of this present life. These are unwholesome educations and polluted media. If sexual abnormality becomes out of control & become the more serious one – unlawful sex (adhamma-raga), sexual practices between family members. For money or ill-will, make their things happen. The only solution is not by punishments, but with educations—on virtue, morality, and ethics; the results of its values, standards, and benefits. All worldly and spiritual developments always based on these qualities. Without these qualities even cannot be called a human being.
__ Another human problem is ignorance and delusion. Why are human beings becoming more and more ignorant and deluded? In short, their views and knowledge are wrong. Because of misguided opinions and attitudes come from media are wrong. Some of these media are promoting and spreading polluted things—can be called unwholesome educations to the public.
Therefore we can see more and more smokers, alcoholics, drug addicts and their ages are younger and younger. Even some governments make illegal drugs become legal drugs. That is encouraging their citizens becoming drug addicts and ignoramuses, deluded citizens. What a pity? The ways of solving problems are wrong.
It was the same as solving sexual misconducts and sexual abnormality, not by encouraging and promoting, but with wholesome education. Dealing with violence, terrorism, and wars are also in the wrong ways. It should be with love, compassion, forgiveness, and wholesome education. With tit-for-tat, it will never end, and become more serious. It was like the polluted Earth, with more and more pollutions (internal and external) more and more natural dangers and disasters will arise.
__ Human beings should check and contemplate/reflect their thinkings/views and behaviors to find the solution for living beings and the Earth. Within a half-century (estimation only) human beings with the development of sciences and technology and unsustainable economic views and policies were making the Earth became situations today. We are nourishing the three unwholesome roots of sufferings-greed, hatred, and delusion for overindulgence of sensual pleasure. And we are never thinking about the outcomes it brings to the human race and the Earth. We are nourishing and making friends with our real enemies—so the outcomes are dangers, disasters, and sufferings.
We cannot become sages and noble beings instantly but at least can become virtuous, moral, and ethical persons. To achieve this inspiration, we must reduce the forces of greed, hatred, and delusion which influence us. This is the way of wholesome education—starting from family life to societies and international level. At least our deeds will become blameless and will have the blessing of happiness, peace, and harmony among us and in nature.
__ There was an interesting story about Magha—The past life of Sakka—The king of devas. This story represented blameless deeds. Magha was a young man of Macala village. He had a good heart and was repairing damaged roads and planting trees. In the beginning, he was doing alone and then later increasing to 33 men and their wives. Therefore their projects of social works and social welfare increased in many ways.
The head-man of these groups of villages was becoming displeasure with their activities of social welfare. Because he was making great fortunes with his promoting of wrong livelihoods, such as gambling, liquors, etc.
More and more people became good and ethical persons, and he made less and less money. So, he planned to get rid of them. He informed the king that Magha and his group were planning to revolt him. At last, the king believed in him and arrested Magha and his men and condemned them to death. The executioners buried their bodies in the ground with the heads above and stamped them with elephants.
They had already prepared for it. Magha asked his men not to have ill-will and hatred to the king, the executioners, and the elephants. Instead, they were spreading love and good-will to all of them. Because of the power of metta and many of their wholesome merits for the welfare of others, the elephants could not stamp on their heads. The executioners tried with the elephants three times, and all were failed.
At last, the king asked Magha did they have any mantra-sacred syllables to stop the elephants from harming them. Magha answered to the king that they had it, and these were goodwill (metta) and social welfare services to others. The king got rid of the evil head-man of the villages and replaced him with Magha.
__ Magha was not an ordinary man. Because of his many past deeds after death and born as the king of 33 devas of Tavatimsa Heaven. Later he met the Buddha, listened to one of his talks and became a stream-winner (sotāpanna).
His life taught us a very valuable lesson what to do as a human being. The Buddha taught that human birth was difficult to attain. It is not the direct meaning of difficult to born as a human being. The birth of a brahma-god was more difficult than human birth. Because one has to practice jhānas. But as a human who has many chances to do wholesome deeds and merits. Other higher births do not have these chances. They only enjoy their merits and jhānic pleasure.The human world is like a treasure island. There are seven kinds of treasure hidden on the earth. These treasures are:
(1) The treasure of conviction (saddhā)
(2) The treasure of virtue (sīla)
(3) The treasure of conscience (hiri)
(4) The treasure of concern (ottappa)
(5) The treasure of listening (dhammasavanaṁ)
(6) The treasure of generosity (cāga)
(7) The treasure of discernment (paññā)
What happens to nowadays human being? Do they know about the hidden treasures and find it? Even most human beings do not know that these things exist. They do not have the treasure’s map. Therefore most of them behave like rats, cockroaches, and flies. They do not behave like bees, which are selfless creatures and doing their duties for the welfare of others. If someone behaves like rat, cockroach and fly and becomes a nuisance to society, their future births will be very painful.
Now someone is power-monger (politicians, leaders), war-monger, money-monger, etc…, because of their misdeeds and next time will be a servant cleaning toilets. And a rich person will be a beggar and begging for foods. These seven kinds of treasures are called noble treasures can be found only in the Buddha’s Teachings.
Everyone can attain it by noble deeds or deeds that are blameless. Therefore every Buddhist should cultivate these blameless deeds and attaining the highest blessing in the life—i.e., Nibbāna.