Maṅgala Sutta--Protection with Blessing(吉祥經)

文章: 418
註冊時間: 2017-03-03, 08:00

18. Avoiding, abstaining from evil

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-19, 20:41

18. Avoiding, abstaining from evil

__ Avoiding and abstaining are in Pali āratī and viratī, respectively. Avoiding is the matter of the mind, and abstaining is the matter of speech and bodily action. Avoiding evil means even not thinking about evil or unwholesome things with the mind. Speech and bodily action come from the thinking mind that mind is more important of the 3.

In one sutta of the Buddha (discourse), a monk wanted to go back to lay life. The reason was there were many rules for a monk to look after that difficulty for following it. The Buddha knew about it and asked him to look after one only. That was the mind. What is evil? Pāpā is a Pali word for evil. What are evil dhammas? The ten unwholesome dhammas are evils.

See the ten unwholesome courses of action in the 9th blessing-well mastered disciplines. In the ten unwholesome courses of action, three connect with the bodily actions, 4 with speech and 3 with the mind actions respectively. In this 18th protection with blessing, avoiding means not thinking about all the ten unwholesome dhammas.

There was a Dhamma talk by Sayadaw Dr. Nandamalarbhivamsa—The kammic results of misconducts, based on Ducaritavipāka Sutta. Here I will give the gist of this talk on the results of misconduct and the nature of kamma-actions. So that people will know how much importance the protection with the blessing of avoiding, abstaining from evils. Actions, after done, can give the results for many world aeons. The resultant energy of the action and its quality will not disappear.

The volition-cetana or mental factor has disappeared, and the energy is leaving behind and following with the mind process. It cannot be seen. The power of energy able to perform things. As an example, some of the lessons we learned at a young age did not disappear.

Good conduct-sucaritta or wholesome dhamma is like medicine. Misconduct-ducaritta or unwholesome dhamma is like a disease. Wholesome dhamma removes unwholesome dhamma, e.g. see Ven. Angulimāla’s story. It is good to know these things so that people can avoid and abstain from evils. If not people will make mistakes again and again and becoming worse. This discourse of the Buddha was from the Aṅguttara Nikāya. It was mentioned eight factors—the eight misconducts.

(1) The taking of life-when indulged in, developed, and pursued leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from the talking of life is, when one becomes a human being, it leads to a short life span.

(2) Stealing—leads to hell, rebirth as a common animal, to the realm of hungry shades (ghosts). When one becomes a human being, the slightest result of stealing is leading to the loss of one’s wealth.

(3) Illicit sexual behavior-leads to hell, rebirth as a common animal, to the realm of hungry ghosts. When one becomes a human being, the slightest result of illicit sexual behavior is leading to rivalry and revenge.

(4) Telling falsehoods—to hell, rebirth as animal and ghost. When it becomes a human being, it leads to being falsely accused.

(5) Divisive tale-bearing-to hell, rebirth as animal and ghost. When it becomes a human being, it leads to the breaking of one’s friendships.

(6) Harsh speech—to hell rebirth as animal and ghost. When it becomes a human being, it leads to unappealing sounds.

(7) Frivolous chattering—to hell, rebirth as animal and ghost. When it becomes a human being, it leads to words that are not worth taking to heart

(8) The drinking of fermented and distilled liquors—to hell, rebirth……, it leads to mental derangement.

__ In the ten unwholesome courses of action, not included the drinking of fermented and distilled liquors. Therefore some think that it is wholesome. But in this sutta, the Buddha included in the misconduct-ducaritta and also in the five precepts.

Although it does not include in the ten unwholesome actions directly, count it with the misconduct of illicit sexual behavior. Because in the five sensual pleasures, alcoholic drinks are connecting with taste. Therefore count it with illicit sexual behavior. Ducaritta-misconduct means all the bad/not good behaviors.

To fulfill misconduct, there are five factors included. As an example for talking life:

(1) Must be a living being
(2) Knowing that it is a living being
(3) Has the intention(volition) to kill
(4) Commit the action of killing
(5) Has been killed.

Doing an action, there are many stages; beginning, many times, a lot or again and again. And then become a habit, and later a character. In the beginning, you take drugs. Sometimes later, the drugs take you. And then put you in the jail, becomes a criminal. Sometimes we are doing things without intention. This intentional/volitional killing can fall into hell. After freeing from hell and born as an animal. After death as an animal and born as a hungry ghost (peta). The slightest of its result is when it becomes a human being has a short life span.

For stealing: The slightest result is the loss of one’s wealth.
For illicit sexual behaviors: The slightest result is hating by others and has many enemies.
For telling falsehoods: The slightest result is being falsely accused and arrested.
For decisive tale-bearing: The slightest result is breaking of one’s friendships and family break up. These things happen very often.
For harsh speech: The slightest result is not hearing about pleasant and happy things and matters.
For frivolous chattering/useless and meaningless: The slightest result is no one talking his words to heart or accepting what has said.
For drinking of fermented and distilled liquors: The slightest result is leading to mental derangement or becomes a dull and stupid person.

As a human being, it is very important to understand the analysis of action. Because the human world is a place where a living being has more chances than any other existences to cultivate goodness. There was a sutta in the Majjima Nikāya on the analysis of action; Cūla-Kammavibhaṅga Sutta(Sutta no.135). It is worthwhile to study it for avoiding and abstaining from evils and performing goodness.

Therefore human existence is a precious birth and should use it properly and skillfully. If not with this precious existence can do a lot of evil deeds will suffer here and after. Also, the nature of mind is difficult to control, and it takes an interest in unwholesome matters and sensual pleasure.

There are three ways of abstaining from evils(virati).

(1) Sampatta-virati: abstaining from evils by controlling one’s mind when an encounter with a situation.
(2) Sammadana-virati: undertaking the precepts and looking after it.
(3) Samucheda-virati: perfect or noble abstaining of the noble beings (ariyas) from stream enterer to arahant.
Because they had already eradicated defilement (kilesa) related to evil deeds, with Path and Fruit Knowledge.

(1) Sampatta-virati:
__ There was a story in Sri Lanka related to sampatta-virati. There were two brothers, and one day, their mother was sick. So they invited a doctor to treat her. He told them a prescription which could cure her illness. That was to eat fresh rabbit meat. The younger brother went to the field to look for rabbits. After sometimes he saw a rabbit was eating the young rice crops. The rabbit, after seeing him and in fright, ran for its life. He was chasing the rabbit and at last its legs entangled in creepers.

When he caught the poor lovely animal, and it was trembling with fear. He had a strong sympathetic feeling to the rabbit and could not take its life. Therefore he released the poor creature and decided to go back home. His elder bother learned what had happened and scolded him for not concerning their mother’s illness.

To please his brother, he decided to use the Dhamma of truth to cure his mother. He made the following asseveration of truth. “In my whole life, I have never been killed an animal intentionally.” Here there were two factors; his sīla was pure, and the asseveration which he made was also true. After repeating the asseveration of truth for three times and the mother was cured.

__ In the world, nearly everyone encounters unavoidable difficulty and problem, e.g., doing unwholesome matter for livelihood. When encounter problems, it is very important to use the right way or method. If not, it becomes more confusing or worse. (e.g., the 2011 year of the Syrian Civil war was a great tragedy). Therefore world leaders and governments should contemplate this point very carefully. In the beginning, by solving the problem in an unwholesome way, it seems to be solved the problem for a while. Later it becomes worse and chaotic. Because the purpose was overcoming it instantly. But it is also like collecting the unwholesome kammic results.

These points are very important to consider and contemplate. There was a very good Dhamma talk by Sayadaw Dr. Nandamalarbhivamsa on the unwholesome and wholesome dhammas. In there has many valuable points to contemplate and follow accordingly by everyone. This section also about-avoiding and abstaining from evil deeds. Therefore Sayadaw’s talk will help us to achieve this very important protection with a blessing. Here I will give a gist of it only.

__ Whatever thing we are doing, this must be a wholesome matter. This was taught by the Buddha. By doing wholesome action, someone gains a valuable thing. Wholesome dhamma is not easy to arise. It needs the causes for it to arise. With its arising and one will get the good result of natural energy (kammic wholesome energy).

This is the view of Buddha and noble beings (ariyas). But worldlings do not see in this way. They only want to gain wealth and fortunes. For them, wealth and fortunes are greater than wholesome merits. But the Buddha saw it oppositely because it gave a longtime result.

To attain wealth and fortunes also good, but it has a short life span, and we get it only for one life. Wholesome merits give the results of for this life and next life until the end of saṁsāra.

The Buddha was always thinking about for this life and next life, i.e., seeing both sides. For permanence and short term; we should choose the permanent results. If we got both, then it is better. If not, then just choose the permanent one. The Buddha always encouraged us to have mindfulness with contemplation. With this, we will find out the answers and can solve the problems. If seeing things superficially, we cannot see it clearly or penetrate it.

This is the case with most world leaders and governments, economists, and scientists. Therefore they create a lot of human problems and environmental pollutions in today world. Whatever matter must contemplate and reflect carefully and wisely. We-human beings should have the kinds of education with discernment and wisdom, which can discern cause and effect, good or bad, wholesome or unwholesome, long term and short term. Most human beings nowadays are lacking in these qualities.

These are the results of wrong educations which clouded the mind. The shining nature of the mind buried underneath of greed, hatred, and delusion, which make the mind darker and darker. Wholesome kinds of education are valuable and priceless treasures. Buddhists should not waste their precious lives and times. With wise contemplation and reflection do what should be done to pass our lives is the best way. In one sutta, the Buddha reminded his followers and disciples as follow.

“The days and nights are relentlessly passing, how well am I spending my time? This should be reflected upon again and again.”

Do we ever reflect how we spend our times every day, every month and every year? Without contemplation, no answer will come out. With it will find out the answer and doing thing accordingly. It is like a business matter, has to reflect very often on loss and profit, but very few reflect with life. Therefore most people do not know about loss and profit in life. Without any answer could not change the way of life. With contemplation in economics can change the way, system, and method.

Everyone wants to be:

(1) long life
(2) healthy
(3) happiness and
(4) fulfilled one’s wishes.

A life with these four factors can be called successful enough. But the Buddha mentioned more than that. Is long life good for everyone? Someone in life has a lot of misconducts and demerits with longer life means more misconducts and demerits. Like a war going on longer and more sufferings and deaths (see, the Syrian Civil War). It is more harmful to this person in his long life. Someone (e.g., a miner) like digging a pit; with more digging, it becomes deeper and more dangerous. What the Buddha taught was always true. It is about natural law-cause and effect, without time limits. Only we do not know it yet. There was a verse in the Dhammapada worth for contemplation.

The Buddha was comparing two long-lived persons. One is no sīla and going his life with unwholesome matters. The other is the opposite nature. A life without sīla and with misconducts like a pit with the continuous digging becomes deeper. With sīla and merits is like building a high wall, with continuous construction, it becomes higher and higher. Therefore for the second person, his long life is better.

So, the verse said: “A life with merits one day is better than a life with demerits for 100 years.” Their values are quite different. For a fool, his life also affects others (surroundings). According to the law of action, everything that one has done is responsible for oneself.

But it also affects the surroundings. A bad son creates sufferings for the whole family. A good son brings happiness to the whole family. But his path of life is nothing to do with the family. Therefore as long as a fool life with demerits effects the whole family. If he dies will bring peace to the family. A gigantic useful tree is a refuge for 10,000 birds. (A Burmese Saying)

It is amazing to know the wise social views of Chinese sages. There were many similarities between them and the teachings of the Buddha (i.e., on the worldly matters). They knew a long time ago that moral and ethical education was fundamentally important for goodness and wholesome developments in societies.

Even they emphasized it to start with the family. Because parents are the first teachers of a child and their mind is pure and innocent in the beginning. Therefore the parents are easy to teach and train them whatever directions they want them to be. Parents can teach and train a child to become a sage or a criminal.

__ In life, There are only two kinds of persons; someone with moral, ethical standard and value and someone without them. Their lives are far away to each other, as sky and earth. Attaining a human existence has two duties; performing the duty of one’s welfare and others. In Pali language: These are called attahita and parahita. Based on these two duties, Buddha divided human beings into four groups. These were:

(1) Only for oneself and not for others
(2) Only for others and not for oneself.
(3) Not for oneself and others.
(4) For oneself and others (both).

The 3rd person is the worst of all. A person with attahita and parahita is the best. Without attahita, and cannot has parahita. A bad person cannot make people good. (By protecting oneself, one protects others – Sedaka Sutta, Saṁyutta Nikāya). By benefitting oneself and harming others is also not good.

Nowadays, in societies, this kind of businesses and making money is more than before, e.g., using pesticides in crops, fruits, vegetables, etc.

Tobacco and alcoholic businesses are making a lot of money and harming a lot of people with health problems, social problems, etc. There is no end to mention these things. But these people never think about their actions which they cannot escape for a short term sensual pleasures. With more consumers and make more money, but the kammic results they have to pay are greater and heavier (They are like licking the honey on the razor blade).

First, we should benefit oneself and later to help others. Buddha and bodhisattas were noble beings who arose in the world for their welfare and others. Philanthropists are also in this group. Therefore they are becoming richer and richer. The Pali word-hita means good conditions for good results to arise. Sukha-means happiness, the result of hita.

Therefore people should create good conditions (hita) for the happy results of oneself and others. The education systems of Chinese sages were for this purpose. Chinese civilization and culture survive for over 3000 years of history are one of the main factors from these systems. Some government projects and plannings are also a good example of hita. Parents are also must create good conditions (hita) for their children to develop in morality, ethics, and virtues. To become a good and virtuous person is more important than a highly educated and rich person. Most worldly problems come from the fools and not from the wise and virtuous people.

Some parents, instead of teaching or training them to become good and virtuous people they left inheritances for their children. Without moral foundations, some of these outcomes are not good. Some parents create good conditions such as good educations (here mean for livelihoods), (fortune) money and good jobs only but not for the mind. So some of these children also do not have good endings. Good conditions are like good weathers.

Therefore in the old days some highly venerable monks at the end of their treatises with wishes and prayers for good weather and rain. So that having good weather and rain no drought and other dangers. Then human beings and other animals can be survived. Every politician (leaders), economists and scientists should take these points very seriously. Our physical worlds (physical body and nature-earth) are depending on the four hitas-good conditions; action (deed and behavior), mind (mental states), weather (climates), and foods.

If human beings continue to act and behave foolishly and stupidly like nowadays, there will be more disasters, dangers, and sufferings to arise. Do human beings want to be suffered and distressed? I hope not. Therefore all parents and governments must create good conditions for their children and citizens.

__ The Buddha arose in this world for this reason and purpose. Not like the God and the gods of other faiths. They worship him with fear and rely on his power. If they do something wrong with confession is forgivable. God has the power of protecting and blessing.

There is nothing to do with one’s power and rely on outside power. Therefore one’s intelligence, knowledge, and ability to do things become blunt and stagnant. In human, the qualities of desire-wholesome desire (chanda), persistence(viriya) and intelligence/discrimination, discernment(paññā) are very important. The Buddha gave us the guidelines and showing ways only. He taught people to increase and develop their goodness and knowledge, stopped and prevented them not to do unwholesome matters.

Everyone has the inner powers and has to rely on them. These powers are good conditions(hita). We should never forget these powers and always increasing and developing them. These inner powers are : conviction(saddhā), virtue(sīla), learning(suta), generosity(caga) and discernment(paññā). These are the inner powers and as good conditions for everyone. Someone has these best conditions or qualities he/she will have worldly good fortunes and welfare in this life and afterlife.

These inner powers or good conditions are also called noble growth or spiritual growth. Even the Buddha mentioned that someone had these qualities and performing the duties, and then whatever wishes and inspirations he made could be fulfilled.

These inner powers are good conditions(hita). Everyone should develop these qualities. Only then we will get happiness and peace. By knowing these things (especially the teaching of the Buddha), the wholesome paths we walk are becoming clear and straight. In the human world whatever we are doing, the main points or right standards are: what should be done and what should not be done, what is suitable and what is not suitable, what is a benefit and what is harmful, etc.

All combine these opposites, then there are only two kinds of phenomena (dhamma)— wholesome and unwholesome (kusālā and akusālā). Others are only human’s views. We should be afraid of and fear of unwholesome things and matters, and not others. E.g., most people are afraid of and fear of hells, but not the unwholesome deeds and unwholesome dhamma. Anger, hatred, and ill-will are dangerous and very harmful to both. The result of evil deeds that come from them is leading to hell existences.

The contemplation and reflection of benefits and faults of wholesome and unwholesome dhammas and their actions are the cause of progress and development for the human race, in Pali—adinava, and anisamsa (fault and benefits). In the four satipatthāna sutta: The first one is body contemplation. There is a section called mindfulness and clear knowing-sati and sampajañña. The commentary commented on four aspects of clear knowledge or knowing. The first and second are purpose and suitability. These are connecting with what has mentioned above.

(1) Sammadana-viratti:
__ In human life, sometimes we can be encountered with difficulties and do not know how to deal with it. Most people in these kinds of situation and follow what the majority has done. Knowing that it is not suitable, but most people still doing it. Therefore they are just making the same mistake. Nowadays, this kind of thinking is quite common.

Not able to use one’s knowledge and decision and follow with the common people. But they do not know that in the world there one more fool than wise. There was an incident told by a bhiksuni.

One time she was traveling by train and met a Christian on it. The Christian said to her that he also believed in the law of kamma. But nowadays most people were doing things in unethical ways that we all had to follow suit. And he could not do anything about it. What he said was very wrong, and two mistakes in his words. The law of kamma and the Creator are two different views. Someone believes in the Creator will not accept the law of kamma, and vice versa. If one of them is right, then the other is wrong. If he believed in the law of kamma would not follow the ways of harming oneself and others. We have to deal with our livelihoods and family matters, but also try to avoid and abstain from evils at the same time.

The following story abstained from unwholesome action. In Sri Lanka, a man had undertaken the five precepts from a monk and went to the forest for fire woods with his ox. Later he lost the ox and was looking for it. Unexpectedly he encountered a boa constrictor, and it constricted his body. He was thinking of to cut off its head with the knife in his hand. And remembering of he had been undertaken the five precepts before and reflected on it for three times. After the last time, he resolved not taking the life of the boa and threw his knife away. Because of his pure sīla and mind power, the boa freed him and went away.

Hiri-sense of shame and ottappa-fear of wrongdoing are the important factors for preventing someone from doing evil actions. These dhammas are also called the guardians of the world. These are not ordinary kinds of shame and fear, and with the knowledge in it. These are also including in the seven noble treasures. Someone has these two qualities will complete with this blessing of avoiding and abstaining from evils.

文章: 418
註冊時間: 2017-03-03, 08:00

19. Refraining from intoxicants

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-20, 13:29

19. Refraining from intoxicants

__ It is a very important matter need to contemplate and reflect by every human being. Alcoholism has the longest human history to harm the human race. In some societies, even it becomes a culture. Drug addiction is worse than alcoholism, but it is not becoming a human culture yet. Nowadays, some countries legalized some drugs that will also become a human culture sooner or later in the future. Alcoholism is less harmful than drug addictions, but its effects on societies are much wider and complicated.

Here refraining from intoxicants means all kinds of intoxicants which clouded the mind and cannot think clearly and behave foolishly. It is one of the very ill problems in societies. But the majority of people not taking it seriously like smoking problems. Why is that? Because they are in ignorance of the five precepts and no discernment in the harmfulness of alcoholism. It is including in the five precepts and may be the most dangerous one. If someone breaks this precept, there are more chances to break the others too. Because the mind cannot think good or bad, right or wrong, proper or improper, etc.

Alcoholics are the nuisances to their families and societies they lived in. They usually create a lot of problems and unhappiness in their families. Therefore a very ill and serious problem in societies, especially for families. Everyone in a family should tackle alcoholism successfully, and then will have a prosperous and happy family life. There is a lot to talk about life sufferings and unhappiness which come from alcoholism. There was a documentary film on alcoholism and the sufferings and dangers it brings to societies.

__ This was the collections of photographs around the world of drunkards and alcoholics. From all these photos we can see very clear of the sufferings and dangers alcoholism brings to societies. These pictures were very disgusting and representing the shameless behavior of drunkards. When someone is drunk, the mind is becoming abnormal and out of control. And then he can do any evil thing which brings harmfulness to oneself and others.

Even their standards as a human being are lower than animals. Hiri-sense of shame and ottappa-fear of wrongdoing are the two important factors for preventing someone from doing evil actions. Therefore these are called the guardians of the world. A drunkard or an alcoholic cannot have these two qualities. Then becomes shameless and not fear of wrongdoing—ahiri and anottappa.

These will destroy himself/herself and their family life. I had seen a lot of these people in my life. Some men and women because of their past lives of good kammas; in this life, they had the good chances to meet good people as their spouses. But their present lives’ of kammas (misconducts) were not good that they ended up with miseries. They became alcoholics, drug addicts, gamblers, etc.,

because of bad companions that did not have any moral, education. They did affect not only their own lives but also their family members. If both partners are immoral, the family lives are even worse. Even the husband is very bad, with a good wife or a mother, the family can be protected. But with a bad wife or mother, the family life is ruined. I had met both types of family in societies. In 2008, there was a tragic case in England. A man had a son with a woman. Not very long, they were separated.

The man left his son and the mother. I did not know the reason behind their separation. Anyhow she was a drug addict and lived with another man who was also a drug addict. The little boy was known as Baby P. In the news media not mentioned the real boy name. The Baby P was tortured by the drug addict for sometimes that not very long died with many injuries. The cruel mother and her boyfriend were arrested. This sad news was shocked by the people.

__ There were many stories in the world about alcoholism (included drug addiction and drug addicts), its problems and sad stories. A lot of social problems are made by foolish, stupid, and deluded people. Man-made sufferings are unnecessary to arise. If people have good moral standards and education which started from family life and many of these problems can be prevented.

If everyone has good knowledge/education on the law of kamma and following his/her life accordingly to natural law, life is quite enjoyable and better. But the majority are ignorant about it and rely on the outside power that they did a lot of unwholesome things and matters. And then dishonestly blame it on others and the outside power. They cannot solve their problems and overcome them. Every story, good or bad, suffering or happiness, pleasant or unpleasant, etc., has lessons to teach us. Even things in nature can teach us many valuable lessons, such as water, lotus flower, sunrise, sunset, etc.

Here I want to present two true stories; a man and a woman, both of them were alcoholics. It showed how alcoholism destroyed both lives and their good kammic results of past lives. With contemplation, we can learn valuable lessons from these incidents.

The man was over 60 years of age when he passed away with cancer. He was born at the beginning of the 20th century in a Buddhist country, but the family was not Buddhists. His education was only at the middle school level. But he was a well-known carpenter as a profession and had good incomes. As a young man married a young woman with an arranged marriage. Marriage is the most important matter between a man and a woman.

He was very lucky in this matter because he encountered a dutiful wife. His wife was not only dutiful as a housewife, but also a good mother to the children. From where a good wife and a good mother come from? Without a doubt that both were the outcome of a good daughter. Even though she was low educated like most women of her generation, she had high qualities as a good daughter, wife, and mother. A perfect woman, in accordance with the old Chinese standards.

She was a considerate person and had extreme patience and endurance with pains and difficulties in family life. We may think this couple had a happy family life. There was a real and cruel enemy between them; alcoholism. It destroyed the man life. In reality, he was a good person, intelligent, and had a creative mind. If he was not drunk and a very nice man.

After he had drunk and like a crazy person. He was living among Buddhists but never became a Buddhist. His children were also very good because under the protection of a good mother. Some of them became Buddhist practices. He was successful in his livelihood and making money, but most of them were wasted by drinks and gamblings (in his early life). His drunken behavior, especially speech, was creating a lot of bad deeds day in day out.

At the age of over 60, he was afflicted with terminal cancer and died in an unconscious mind state in the hospital, the sign of not a good rebirth. His wife because of her moral qualities and good deeds still alive, healthy, and nearly becomes a centenarian.

Here we can contemplate this man’s life what we have learned with the 4th, 5th & 6th blessings: living in a civilized land, having made merits in the past; directing oneself rightly. His present life was completed with the 4th & 5th blessings, but his great mistake was not directing oneself rightly.

At last ended his life with downfall. Even we had many good kammas in past lives & using them wrongly in this present life will end up with misery like this man. Also, our future lives in saṁsāra will be not good.

__ The second story was about a middle-aged woman. A tribal woman of a small tribe in Taiwan. Most of them have a history of alcoholism. It seems to me this came from their cultural background. Because I have seen many of them drink regularly from old to young ages, from grandparents to grandchildren.

From this kind of cultural background, she was a low educated woman in this developed island. She also did not has a moral standard and education from her young age.

This could be clearly justified from her behavior and deeds, but she had the good kamma from her past life. Because she married a Chinese old man who was good and had a secure life.

If she had the moral standards and gave up her alcoholism, it was no doubt that she would have a happy family life. After she was born a child to this old man and they ended up with separation. Now she is living a miserable life and doing a lot of evil deeds.

__ In these two true stories, the man’s life was worth contemplation. He had a very good kamma from his past lives. There was nothing lacking for his progress as a human, but he had two weak points. He did not have moral education like his wife. Another important cause for his downfall was an association with bad companions. But he also had the skill to make many friends; some were educated and high-class people.

He met these good people very rare and learned nothing from them. His usual companions were the alcoholics and always gave them free drinks. In the Maṅgala Sutta: The first blessing and protection are: not consorting with fools. What the Buddha taught was quite true. If someone lacks this first blessing, and then he/she will lack the others. He had never been consorting with religious people, even though he had many chances.

All human problems and sufferings were caused by fools and not by the wise. Therefore he had wasted his precious human birth and good chances. We could see this type of people in the world; some were government leaders and rich men. Instead of using their political powers and riches for the benefits of others, they created evil deeds which would send them to the lower worlds and a lot of sufferings and miseries in the future to come.

Drunkenness is like a culture in some tribal and hill tribe people. They never take it as harmful and unwholesome. Around the world, many people take alcohols as nothing wrong with them. Therefore alcohols and cigarettes are successful businesses and making a lot of money. I had been met a lot of people with drunkenness and alcoholism before but never seen anyone made progress in their life. Even originally if they had possessed good qualities which were spoiled with alcoholism.

Therefore the Buddha mentioned that there were four matters made a monk never shine. These were money, women, wrong livelihoods and alcoholism (all sorts of intoxicants)

__ There are 6 faults connecting with intoxicants;

(1) lost one’s wealth and fortune,
(2) leading to quarrels and fights,
(3) get diseases, illnesses,
(4) has bad reputation,
(5) without shame and fear to evil deeds,
(6) weaken in perception, memory, and knowledge.

(1) Lost one’s wealth and fortune

__ Because of intoxications, people become heedless (pamāda), or negligence. Therefore easy to commit unwholesome deeds/ acts. If an immortal person with intoxications, there will be more and more misconducts. Apamāda means non-negligence and represents mindfulness (sati). Apamāda is not ordinary mindfulness, not forget in wholesome dhamma and actions.

Always looking for doing good deeds. Therefore it is not easy to arise and has to be cultivated. So the Buddha taught the four foundations of mindfulness for us. Without mindfulness, knowledge cannot arise. There was a jataka story reminding us of the first fault of intoxicants—lost one’s wealth and fortune. In one of his lives as a human being, the bodhisatta had a son.

After he died and born as Sakka – the king of heaven. He had been left some wealth for his son. But he did not do any work and just spent the money left behind. The bodhisatta had a strong attachment to his human son, who became an alcoholic without him. So he came down to the human world and gave his human son a wish-fulfilling magic pot. If he wished something just put his hand inside the pot and he would get it. He warned his son to look after the magic pot carefully, and not let it broken.

One day he was quite drunk and playing with the magic pot by throwing it up in the air and catching it when it came down. At one point, he could not catch it and fell to the ground and broken into pieces. Later he was very poor and died with misery. In the world, some had powers, wealth, and highly educated. With alcoholism or drug addiction, later their lives were spoiled like the foolish son of the bodhisatta.

(2) Leading to quarrels and fights

__ This fault is very common with drunken people. Someone drunk has noisy, clumsy, and foolish behavior. When some are drunk, they like crazy people and talkative, without any sense. They are talking and doing things blindly that it like insulting people. Therefore it leads to quarrel and fights with others.

Some drunkards are very good nature when they are at normal times. After drunk, they are insulting people and beating their wives. People can be patience with a crazy person but not to drunkards. So they can create enemies and dangerous for themselves. These quarrels and fights sometimes lead to crimes and murders. And then it spoiled their whole life.

(3) Get disease and illness

__ The common illness caused by intoxicants is cancer. There are also some of them I do not know about it. It can also lead to mental derangement or mental problems. I had known a family who had two children with mental derangement. The father was an alcoholic and married two times. From their first wife, he had two children, a daughter, and a son. The son after graduated and had a proper job.

And later had mental derangement and became a crazy man on the street. From the second wife, the man had some children. The oldest daughter in her teens had mental derangement and became crazy. Sometimes the working of kamma is very strange and inconceivable. I am allergic to alcohols and have an aversion to alcoholics and drunkards.

But in my life, I can never run away or stay away from these people. Always encountered them and living near them. Did I have some kammas connected with intoxicants from my past lives? E.g., I was selling intoxicants as a livelihood, etc.

(4) Has a bad reputation

__ Someone has a reputation as an alcoholic or a history of alcoholism nobody trust him. He will have difficulty to find a job, and nobody wants to hire him. Their bad reputations also affect their families. Not only they are looking down by others also to their family members. I am sure a good family will not marry their children into an alcoholic family. They will shun them and stay away from them.A good reputation is very important in society to someone for progress and developing in the right direction.

The Buddha himself encourage to associate with the wise and not the fools. Because human problems, sufferings, and dangers come from the fools, not the wise. Therefore someone with a bad reputation will never approach by good or wise people. So, they will not have the chances to correct himself/herself. Because of that in their lives, they cannot progress and develop in the right direction. Only bad people will contact him/her for their evil deeds.

So his life will become more and darker. When I was young heard Buddhists doing morning and evening pujas (worshipping in a shrine room). One of the wishes they made in their prayers was wandering in existences (i.e., saṁsāra) never encountered and made companionship with the fools.

At that time, I did not understand the meanings very well and cleared. Later after studied the Buddha’s Teachings in the Suttanta Pitaka I was amazed and admired the wisdom of the Buddha. There were many stories in the pitaka mentioned some people life stories. Mostly good people encountered or made companionship with bad people, then their lives never became good, always in dangerous problems, and even sometimes spoiled their lives.

If we research, human history, golden ages were the period when human beings had good moral standards. (e.g., see the Chou Dynasty in China). It is also important to read and contemplate on the discourse of the Buddha, The Lion’s Roar on the Turning of the Wheel – Cakkavati – Sīhanāda Sutta (Sutta No. 26 – Dīgha Nikāya), on these matters. We will understand today human problems in the world and the future to come.

(5) Without shame and fear of evil deeds

__ Even people are in normal mind states, sometimes can do evil deeds without shame and fear. Therefore for a drunken person, it becomes easier to be in misconducts. Because in the drunken state, he cannot think clearly and become an ignorant person. So he is doing things foolishly and impulsively. Sometimes people in the drunken state commit heavy or serious crimes that which spoiled their whole lives. Therefore no one should take intoxicants as lightly as cigarettes.

Because many people take smoking lightly that it is the great killer to human as cancer. But still many are worshipping their killer-intoxicants and cigarettes. How much stupid these people are? Money is not easy to come by. Everyone has to work hard for it. And then wasting it or paid their killers to murder them. Many more foolish than these people are businessmen who make money with these harmful things. Their kamma debts will never end; they have to pay for it in the miserable states. There are many foolish people in the world wasting their times and money for useless things and matters.

Even these types of people do not have common sense. As an, e.g., there are three things; foods, intoxicant (including drugs) and cigarettes give to a young boy and a dog. Which one the boy and dog will choose? Another, e.g., during famine time, if you ask people to choose only one of the 3. All will choose foods for survivals. I do not think at that time alcoholics, and drug addicts (including smokers) will choose the others for their survivals. There are many things and matters with these kinds of stupidity going on around the world. Some foolish people give up their health and life for these kinds of useless and meaningless things and matters.

__ We should always remember and remind us that shame and fear of wrongdoing (hiri and ottappa) are the two guardians of the world. Without shame and fear of evil things (ahiri and anottappa) are the destroyers of the world. With ahiri and anottappa human beings do not have moral and moral standards. Therefore all sorts of evil deed and action arise. This effect and change the weather and natural environments.

And many social problems and natural disasters appear and human life span decreases. It is sure that with these kinds of unwholesome conditions, there will be no happiness, peace, and harmony among human beings. Therefore anyone desires for happiness, peace, harmony, health, long life should develop moral values and standards.

There was a well-known story of a monk who had psychic power and after drunk behaved shamelessly in front of the Buddha. There was a powerful dragon (nāga) made trouble in a village. Ven. Nagata who had psychic power went there and with his supernormal power, defeated the dragon.

Out of gratitude and respect villagers, there wanted to offer him the best thing they could think about. Some foolish men suggested the best alcohol in their village. At that time the Buddha not yet laid down the training rule of forbidding intoxicants for monks. In his alms-round, the villagers offered him alcohols. With a lot of consuming and he flattened out on the ground at the entrance of the village.

Some monks found him and carried him to the Buddha. After arriving there, they laid him down in front of the Buddha with his head towards the Blessed One. But he changed his position by turning his feet towards the Buddha. (a sign of disrespectful) Then the Buddha said to the monks that before Nagata had psychic power and people respected him. Now, he had none and even could not conquer a water snake.

The Buddha laid down the training rule of forbidding the monks to consume alcohols. From this incident, a sensible person became insensible and disrespectful and lost all his good qualities under the influence of intoxicants. Even a person with dignity becomes without any of them.

(6) Weaken in perception, memory, and knowledge

__ Knowledge is a connection between mindfulness and perception (sati and saññā). It is the power of perception. Therefore these people (alcoholics and drunkards) become without discernment and wisdom. Even with intelligent people, their minds slowly become dull and blunt. They do not have the power to distinguish good or bad, proper and not proper, etc.

There was a tragic story that happened in a very long distant past life of Ven. Sariputta. In one of his past lives, he was a king and addicted to intoxicants and meat. Every day he must take his meal with meat. One observant day (religious holiday) the meat in the kitchen was eaten by the dog. It was the day there is no shops were killing and selling meat. The cook had to inform the king about the incident. At the time he informed him, the king was very drunk with the baby prince on his laps and the queen also sat near him.

Suddenly like a crazy man, he killed the baby on his lap by twisting the neck then he asked the cook to use the dead baby as meat. The cook was so frightened that just took the baby away and cooked the human meat for him. After his meal, the king was fallen into sleep. After awakening from the sleep, and his drunkenness was gone. At that time, he remembered his baby son and asked the queen to bring the baby to him.

After knowing what was happening to the child, he had great remorse with pain, grief, and sorrow. With the strong hatred and aversion to intoxicants, he made the following strong resolution (adhitthāna) on giving up this harmful stuff forever. This was from this life onwards until his last life in saṁsāra.

__ Intoxicants and drugs affect one’s mind states is very great indeed. I have mentioned two stories above; baby P and baby prince, both of them were killed by the drug addict and alcoholic. These seem a little better than killing one’s parents. There were also stories of alcoholics, and drug addicts killed their parents. These were very worse cases. All these crimes cannot be corrected. After death, the destination of rebirths will be sure to hells. There is a lot to say about the problems, dangers, and result of intoxicants and drugs.

Some evil conducts even become human cultures when unwholesome dhammas, things, and matters become human cultures. All these represent the degeneration of human status and dignity. Evil things, matters, and deeds becoming a culture, then many people will follow and go after them, e.g., alcohols, drug, smoking, guns culture in the U.S, homosexuality, etc.

From my own experiences of encountering alcoholics and the documentary on alcoholics and alcoholism, the problems and dangers it brings to family and society are very great. By seeing all these miserable things and matters give you the sense of gloom and disgusting, like seeing rats and cockroaches and their surroundings. It was also very clear why the Buddha included the abstaining of intoxicants in the five precepts.

All human beings, whatever their backgrounds, views, and beliefs should never take the five precepts as insignificance and these were taught by the Buddha. It is the law of nature, not a philosophy, not come from thinking, invention, and imposed by someone. It will always true, anywhere at any place, anytime in the whole universe. Truth is universal.

Heavenly beings are depending on the results of their wholesome kammas, as their livelihoods. Therefore they understand the benefits of wholesome dhammas and actions more than human beings. Human beings have to rely on their efforts more than merits that they do not much appreciate it. When heavenly beings are near death, they want to take rebirths in the human world.

Because in the human world, they have more chances of making merits. Not because they like the human world. With merits after death and they return to heavenly existences. In a sutta, Sakka-the deva king came down to the earth offered foods to Ven. Mahā-kassapa was for this reason. Because he did not has the chance to make merit in Heaven. Let us refraining on intoxicants and protecting oneself and others. Let us bring peace and happiness to the family and society. This is the highest blessing.

文章: 418
註冊時間: 2017-03-03, 08:00

20. Being heedful of the qualities of the mind

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-20, 13:37

20. Being heedful of the qualities of the mind

__ Appamāda is heedfulness. Here is being heedful in wholesome dhammas, mainly referred to worldly good deeds or merits. Appamāda is also mindfulness, and it can be covered the whole pitakas. This is not an ordinary heedfulness, being heedful in wholesomeness. It means always doing and performing in goodness.

We should have steadfastness in doing good. This is not ordinary mindfulness and difficult to arise. Therefore it has to be developed. Without mindfulness and knowledge cannot be arisen. Therefore there is no discernment or wisdom without mindfulness.

This kind of discernment or wisdom is not ordinary knowledge. It is thoroughly penetrating of natural phenomena. For the goodness to arise and realization of the Nibbāna element, we cannot be without mindfulness. In daily life must cultivate mindfulness and clear knowing (sati and sampajañña). Near death also we cannot be without it. Heedfulness (appamāda) has different levels; these are giving, precept, mind development (dāna; sīla, bhavana). In bhavana-mind development also has different levels; from sotapānna to arahant. Only by becoming an arahant that heedfulness is perfected.

It is very important for everyone to ask the question of why are we here and what are we doing here(i.e., in human existence)? People will give different answers. Even some do not know the answers.

Common worldly people will have different views and opinions, depending on their desires. People with different faiths also in the same ways. With the Buddha’s Teachings, Buddhists can give two general answers for this very important question. For the worldly people, they are for enjoying sensual pleasures and doing things to enjoy them. Different religious people are also for sensual pleasures and doing things to union with their God in heaven after death. True Buddhists have different views, and they have clear guidelines and clear paths for what to do.

__ According to Buddha, human births are rare, and the best place for doing good is also the human world. Human beings have more chances and opportunities than any other births. The most important thing to do now is studying and following the Buddha’s Teachings to end dukkha. This is the highest thing to be done here. At least as a Buddhist one should or must does good deeds and abstain and refrain from misdeeds. To complete and fulfill the Buddhist task, we have to develop being mindful of the qualities of the mind.

We must live a life with heedfulness (appamāda). Appamāda is so important in the Buddha’s Teachings that every day he was reminding the monks to be mindful or being in heedfulness. Before he passed away, the last words of the Buddha were also in heedfulness: Vayadhammā saṅkhārā-appamādena sampādetha: All conditioned phenomena are subject to decay. Bring about completion by being heedful.

Therefore being heedful of the qualities of the mind is very important in worldly progress and spiritual development. In the Dhammapada: on the section of heedfulness, the Buddha compared a person with heedfulness/non-negligence and the person with heedlessness/negligence as a person awake and a person in sleep; a racehorse and a common weak horse.

Heedfulness is the way to Deathless, and heedlessness is the way to Death. Those who are heedful do not die and who are heedless as if already dead. A person with diligence, heedfulness, pure in thoughts and words or deeds will do everything with care and consideration. With restraining of the senses, he earns his likelihood by the wholesomeness that the fame and fortune of this heedful person will increase.

The foolish and the ignorant give themselves to over heedlessness, whereas the wise treasures heedfulness as a precious jewel. Someone delights in heedfulness and seeing the danger in heedlessness advances as a like fire burning up all the fetters (samyojana).

Someone delights in heedfulness and seeing the danger in heedlessness cannot fall away from the Path. In practice to transcend dukkha; it is important for the five spiritual faculties to develop and mature. These are:

(1) The faculty of conviction—saddhindriya
(2) The faculty of persistence—viriyindriya
(3) The faculty of mindfulness—satindriya
(4) The faculty of concentration-samādhindriya
(5) The faculty of discernment-paññindriya.

Of the five faculties, conviction(saddhā) and discernment have to be in balance. Persistence (viriya) and concentration (samādhi) also have to be in balance. Only mindfulness (sati) is no need to be in balance but stronger and better. Sati is also like salt crystals in every food. Sati is necessary for everything we do. Therefore the Buddha was always reminding and encouragement to develop it.

__ On Dhamma level, the very important knowledge is not forgotten or not negligent the true nature of the khandha. Its true nature is changing (viparinama), inconstant(anicca), suffering (dukkha), not-self (anatta), and loathsomeness (asubha). These are aging, sickness, and death dhammas that we should not forget them.

After some time, everything will fall apart. With regular contemplation, we are not wasting times and living a meaningless life. Especially we should not forget about death with the contemplation of death (marananusati). Without negligence on death also leads to non-negligence of wholesome dhammas, merits, etc. It protects us from doing evil deeds and matters. And then we do only what is proper, useful, beneficial to oneself and others. Regular mindfulness on death can lead to the ending of dukkha—i.e., Nibbāna.

__ Death can be compared to a big river flows into the sea, but they also have differences. The water flows down slowly, and it is becoming closer to the sea. In the same way, everyone with times goes on is closer to death.
The differences are; we can measure the journey of the river to the sea and period it arrives there. But we cannot measure on death. Now how much time still left for us to continue for this life.

Even everyone has a different life span, and not everybody the same way. It depends on different factors and causes. Some of these related to past kammas and some to present factors and causes, such as action, mind state, climate, and foods. It is nothing to do with God or the outside power. The most important factor is the internal cause—the mind. Therefore every human being can change his or her destiny. It can be better or worse.

Therefore the Buddha’s Teachings came in to give us the guidelines and show the way. Without the Buddha arose in the human world even we do not know very clear about the wholesome and unwholesome dhamma, do not say about to transcend them. Therefore the Buddha was called the Teacher of gods and human beings. In the Buddhist text, there are four factors of not knowing about death.

These are the time of death, the illness or death, the destination of rebirth, and the place of death. Among the four factors, the most important one is after death, the destination of rebirth, or new existence. Combine the 31 realms of the existence, and we only get the five existences. These are hells, animals, ghosts, humans, and deities. Only two groups, human and deity existences, are good rebirths.

The other 3, hells, animals, and ghosts existences are very painful and miserable. To has a good rebirth and existence, everyone should be heedful of the qualities of the mind by doing good and developing the mind with the practice of bhavana in this life.

__ In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, monks and teachers always encourage us to practice the four protective dhamma regularly in our daily life. These are Buddhanusati(Recollection of the Buddha), Metta Bhavana(meditation on goodwill/loving kindness/ loving friendliness). Asubha Bhavana (meditation on the repulsiveness of the body) and Marananusati (mindfulness on death). These contemplations are called catura-rakkha dhamma, the four protective dhammas. With the regular practices can protect someone from fear, dangers, unwholesome mental states, and living a heedful life.

In the Sutta Nipāta, there are three suttas for metta bhavana, contemplation on the repulsiveness of the body and mindfulness on death respectively. In the Snake Chapter; Metta Sutta—Discourse on Good Will and Vijaya Sutta Discourse on Victory (victory over delusion or overcome attachment on the physical body).

In the Great Chapter; Salla Sutta—Discourse on the Arrow(Mindfulness on death), all these are very good for contemplation. Already has mentioned, being heedful of the qualities of the mind has many different levels-from the worldly results to spiritual attainments. We have to cultivate and develop both and should not stop only at the worldly level. Any worldly level and progress are unstable and can be changed. Only the spiritual level is safe and leading to the ending of dukkha.

__ Here I want to present a story in the Dhammapada about mindfulness on death—marananusati—the great result it brought to a weaver girl. Not forgetting on death reminds someone not to follow one’s life in ordinary and useless ways. It sharpens one’s knowledge and develops the right thoughts or thinkings. Therefore marananusati is a very useful meditation object for mundane and supramundane achievements.

It is also very close to the Noble Truth. With the regular contemplation, it reduces greed, hatred, and delusion. Also, it helps someone comes to the sense of wise urgency (saṁvega) regarding the fleeting nature of the world, suffering, and unsatisfactoriness of the world.

With the saṁvega knowledge; he will not waste the human life span, and it encourages him for the practice to end dukkha. All the Buddha’s Teaching is not for intellectual knowledge, but we have to put into real practice, whether it is worldly or spiritual.

The story of the weaver girl supported this view. This mind development (bhavana) develops the wholesome roots of non-greed, non-hatred, and non-delusion. It supports these three wholesome roots. It also relates to heedfulness (appamāda.) It develops the perception of inconstant (anicca), suffering (dukkha), and not-self (anatta). It is helping to discern anicca, dukkha, and anatta of the three universal characteristics of the mind and body and their true nature.

The story of a weaver girl

At that time the Buddha was residing in the country of Ālavi. At the end of an alms-giving ceremony, he delivered a discourse on the inconstancy of the khandhas. He taught the people to be always mindful and put effort to perceive the true nature of the khandhas. With the practice, it was like armed with a weapon to meet a poisonous snake—i.e., Death. One who was ever mindful of death would face death mindfully.

And after death would have a good rebirth. In the audience was a 16 years old girl who understood the message and took it seriously, and practiced the teaching regularly. After three years had passed by. One day the Buddha was as usual surveyed the world to help living beings. He saw the young weaver woman (now 19) in his vision and knew that the time was ripe for her spiritual attainment. Three years ago, she had received the meditation on death from the Buddha.

She had done the practice regularly for three years now. Her perfection for the realization of the Dhamma was becoming mature. It was like a lotus bud waiting for the sunlight to open it up. Her mind was free from mental hindrances.

__ Therefore the Buddha went back to the country of Ālavi for the second time to help her. She heard the news of the Buddha arrived and went to listen to his teaching. On the same day, her father had also asked her to wind some thread spools which he needed urgently. So she also took them together with her. She listened to the Buddha’s talk among the crowd. He also knew that the woman would die when she arrived in the weaving shed. So the Buddha invited her came closer to him. And then he was asking her the following four questions.

Q. “Where have you come from?”
A: “I don’t know Ven. Sir.”
Q. “Where are you going?”
A: “I don’t know Ven.”
Q. “Don’t you know?”
A: “Yes, I do Ven. Sir.”
Q. “Do you know?”
A: “I don’t know Ven.”

__ These were not ordinary questions and answers as most people thought. Only the Buddha and the young woman knew them. So the Buddha asked her to explain to them. The direct questions and answers of them were as follow.

Q. “From what past existence you have come here?”
A: “I don’t know.”
Q. “To what future existence you would be going from here?”
A: “I don’t know.”
Q. “Whether you don’t know that you would die one day?”
A: “Yes, I do.”
Q. “Whether you know when you would die?”
A: “I don’t.”

The Buddha was satisfied with her explanations. And then spoke the following verse: Verse 174: “Blind is the people of the world, and only a few see them. Just like only a few birds escape from the net. So only a few get to the world of deities and realize Nibbāna.”

__ At the end of the talk, the young weaver entered the Stream(became a stream-winner). Then she continued the way to her father weaving shed. When she got there, her father was asleep and suddenly woke up by her arrival.

And then accidentally pulled the shuttle and the point of it struck his daughter’s chest, she died on the spot, and he was in broken-heart. With great sorrow and pain, he went to see the Buddha. The Buddha with Dhamma talk lightened his sorrow and pain. He had strong saṁvega(sense of wise urgency) and entered the monastic order. With diligent practice and he became an arahant.

__ Once, King Pasenadi of Kosālā asked the Buddha a question: “Is there anyone dhamma in the world could complete and fulfill one’s goal in the present and future.” the Buddha short answer was— Appamāda Dhamma—Being heedful of the qualities of the mind. This is the highest protection with a blessing.

文章: 418
註冊時間: 2017-03-03, 08:00

21. Respect

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-20, 13:43

21. Respect

__ We must show respect to respectable people, and it is a noble state of mind. It is a praiseworthy action in this life. And in the next life will have the result of a good and noble life. Therefore it has good results in this life and after. The objects of respect are; the Three Noble Treasures of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha (Ti-ratana), one’s parents, one’s teachers, people who one older than us (especially old aged people), people have noble qualities and someone has gratitude on you.

The action of showing respect to respectable people supports the development of Brahmavihara Dhamma – love (metta), compassion (karuna), appreciative joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha) for both sides. So both sides have benefits. The action of showing respect has four benefits; longevity, beauty, happiness, and strength (mind and body strength). These results were mentioned by the Buddha in a discourse. This story was in the Dhammapada: The Thousand (Sahassavagga).

The story of Āyuvaddhanakumāra

__ A couple had a son and took him to see the Buddha. They paid obeisance to the Buddha, and he said to the parents only by “May you live long.” Then the Buddha predicted the impending death of their son. To prevent his early death, he advised them to build a pavilion at the entrance of their home. Put the child on a couch in the pavilion. Invited the monks to recite the Parittas—Protective Charms for seven days there.

On the 7th, the Buddha himself came and followed by deities from all over the universe. At that time an ogre named Avaruddhaka came there and waiting for the chance to take the child away. With many deities were arriving at the scene, the ogre had to retreat backward to give way, and he was very far away from the child. For the whole night, the recitation of parittas was going on, and then protected the child’s life.

The next day the parents took their son to see the Buddha. After the child paid respect to the Buddha, he said to him, “May you live long.” The Buddha also said that he would live up to 120 years and named him Āyuvaddhana.

__ The child grew up, and one day with his companions went to see the Buddha and the sangha. The monks recognized him and asked the Buddha; “For being is there any means of gaining longevity?” The Buddha’s answer was by respecting and honoring the elders, wise and virtuous people would gain longevity, beauty, happiness, and strength. Then the Buddha spoke the following verse: Verse 109: “Someone always respects and honors those who are older and virtuous, the four benefits of longevity, beauty, happiness, and strength will increase.” At the end of the talk, Āyuvaddhana and his companions entered the Stream.

__ The actions of respect and honor are always practicing by the wise and noble people. We must know and understand what is valuable as valuable and must respect those who are respectable. We should have the right attitudes if not, will lose protection and blessing. Ven. Sariputta was ideal in this respect, and the most lovely human being on earth. (See—The biography of Ven. Sariputta by Nyanaponika Thera)

Every night Ven. Sariputta paid respect to the direction of his first true teacher, Ven. Assaji (Ven. Assaji was the youngest of the pañcavaggi who listened to the Discourse of the Turing the Wheel of Dhamma. Sanjaya was his first teacher but belonged to an outside sect) and laid down his head towards Ven. Assaji is the direction. Some monks misunderstood his behavior. The first time, when he met Ven. Assaji, who was on his alms-round, admired his noble demeanor. He knew that Ven. Assaji was something special from others whom he had met before. Therefore Sariputta requested him for his teaching.

Ven. Assaji gave him a short verse on the teaching of cause and effect. After this short instruction and Sariputta entered the Stream (became a sotāpanna). For Dhamma teaching, long or short is not important. The importance is its effectiveness. Mostly with long teaching and we do not get much benefit from it. In this respect with wise contemplation, we know that worldly matters and knowledge are wasting our times and life span.

Everything has their causes, and by stopping the causes and the result will stop. Craving (tanhā) is the cause of suffering (dukkha). By destroying craving and dukkha will be ceased. By entering the stream, Sariputta had strong gratitude and respect on his first true teacher Ven. Assaji. For wise and noble people, we have to focus on their noble qualities by respecting and honoring them. If we know and understand more and more Dhamma, our respect to the Three Noble Treasures— the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha are becoming greater.

Among monks, paying respect is according to seniority in rain years (vassas). Among common people, paying respect is according to older age or old people (e.g., younger siblings to older siblings.) Sometimes we pay respect to people for their knowledge and moral integrity. There was a jakata story about three animals; a small bird, an elephant, and a monkey, on the matter of respect.

Three of them relied on a great banyan tree. One day they met together and discussed the matter of paying respect to others by their ages. The elephant mentioned that when he was young, he passed through this small banyan three underneath his stomach. The monkey said that when he was young, he used to eat the buds of the banyan tree.

The small bird told them that when he was young, there was no banyan tree at the same spot. Only after he ate the fruits of banyan from another place & excreted it at the same spot & this banyan tree grew out from the seeds of the excreta. Therefore, the small bird was the oldest of them. So, the day onwards the elephant & the monkey had to pay respect to the bird. (These three animals were the past lives of Ven. Sariputta, Mahā-moggallana & the bodhisatta).

__ The most important matter on the subject of respect is our attitudes to one’s parents & teachers. More important of the two is showing respect & honoring to one’s parent. If someone harmed one’s parents, the result of misdeed is heavier then to a teacher. E.g., someone kills his parents & his teacher, the killing of one’s parents and after death for sure to fall into the hell existence in next life.

We should not doubt about it, because the Buddha himself mentioned it. From today media, we know some incidents very unpleasant to see, as to how some people treat their parents. There was more news about killing parents, beating, cursing & treating them very badly. When I was young, I never heard or seen these evil & ingratitude actions & behaviors in families.

These are the signs of decadence & bad omens for human societies. If these kinds of evil deeds & behaviors going on like this will become a bad culture & leading to the destruction of human beings. Respect, gratitude & honor to one’s parents & teachers are the foundation of goodness to arise. The Buddha himself had high regards about it & praised its qualities. Maybe this was one of the foundation & important cause for Chinese culture & civilization survived up to this day for over 3,000 years.

But other great cultures and civilizations were disappeared. With the foundation of goodness on respect, gratitude, honoring & duties to one’s parents & teachers develop love, kindness, appreciate joy, considerations for others truly bring happiness, peace & progress for human beings. This was one of the reasons why Chinese sages & noble beings paid attention & emphasis on it as a very important training & education.

Another has to be showed respect & gratitude is our teachers. This point is also very weak in nowadays societies. The young & the youth treat their teachers as equal & treat them as friends. Sometimes even worse than to a friend & it becomes very rude. They tease their teacher physically or verbally in the classrooms. A student no respect & gratitude to his teacher will never progress in the study & goodness.

Nowadays many teachers complain that students are difficult to teach & train, in the east or the west. The main reason is we use some modern views, such as – equality, human right, democracy, etc.

In the wrong & unwholesome ways. Therefore, all these create problems & difficulties in family life & school. With wrong views and ideas in mind creates difficulty to teach & train the children & the students in the right & wholesome directions. It is like catching a poisonous snake – cobra or viper in the wrong way. Instead of grasping its head, we grasp on the tail.

If we use these sweet views and ideas, wrongly & improper ways increase the self-centeredness, greed, hatred & delusion. And it will create negative results. We can see all these problems in politics, economics, societies, etc.

It also likes a knife – it can become a tool for work or kill people. Therefore, the matter of respect or the results of respect is not small wholesome dhamma. This quality has to be developed when people are still very young and should start from family life. Even we do not have respect & concern for our parents & teachers; there will be no hope on others. So, the Buddha emphasized it as protection with a blessing.

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22. Humility

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-20, 13:48

22. Humility

__ The opposite nature of humility is conceit or pride (māna). Everyone has conceit (māna). It is one of the latent dispositions (ānusayā) & one of the defilements (kilesā). Only on the highest stage of arahatship māna is eradicated. It uses to happen in people who have a fortune, beauty, highly educated, high status, etc. Without any of them, also people can have pride. Some take pride in their youthfulness, healthiness, and life faculty (jivitamāna, i.e., live a longer life), etc.

The qualities of respect & humility are connected. Someone has conceit (no humility) cannot show respect to others. And without respect means someone has conceit. Therefore, they are supporting each other. Conceit has the nature of rigidity. A rigid person cannot or will not change his attitudes, opinions, or behavior.

So, they are difficult to teach or admonish. It is also a cause for downfall & dislike by others. A person has the quality of humility loved by others. It also increases or develops the wholesome dhamma to a holy life (brahmacariya dhamma). The quality of humility is the nature of noble & wise people. In textbooks, it taught us to behave like a rag for wiping feet or a poisonous snake which fangs are broken or a bull with broken horns.

Ven. Sariputta was a very good example as a humble person. In the Dhammapada, there was a story described his great quality of humility. It was the end of a rain retreat (vassa), Ven. Sariputta was about to set out a journey. He was saying goodbye to some monks & passing a young bhikkhu without saying anything to him.

But his outer robe brushed against this monk body when he was passing through him. This young monk had conceit and also wanted Ven. Sariputta to pay attention to him. Therefore, bore some grudge against him & approached the Buddha. He complained to the Buddha that Ven. Sariputta had abused him.

The Buddha, therefore, sent for Sariputta & questioned him about the complaint. He answered that how could a monk who steadfastly kept his mind on the body, not apologized to a fellow monk after had done something wrong. He was like the earth with no feeling of like or dislike when flowers & rubbish piled on it. He was also like the rag cloth, the beggar, a bull with broken horns, etc. (There were nine examples).

__ The-pye-kan Sayadaw gave a natural example. Rice plants when they are young & immature, the stalks are at upright positions. After they are grown up & laden with rice grain, the stalks are bending down. These are the differences between a fool & a wise, or someone has conceit & someone has humility.

There was another story about Ven. Sariputta of showing his humility to a 7-year-old young novice. One time the robe of Ven. Sariputta was not very neat & a 7-year-old young novice saw it. And he informed it to Sariputta. On the spot, Sariputta corrected his robe by readjusting it instantly. He humbly asked the novice as was it good enough. Ven. Sariputta & Ven. Rahula (The only son of the Buddha) were high-class persons with great wisdom & very humble nature if a person has conceit & difficulty to possess good qualities.

If a person becomes wiser & he will become humbler. By knowing more about the faults of the khandha (body) one’s conceit will be decreased, and then he will look for the refuge. We cannot find it externally. Most people are looking for outside that they would never find it. Most religions came from external searches & speculations.

At last most people will die without the true refuge. When still alive, they encounter a lot of difficulty & problems which they cannot solve or overcome by outside powers. The perfect or true refuge is wisdom (paññā), which is the internal quality of the mind. Everybody has it, and only we need to develop it.

Therefore, the Buddha, the Dhamma & the Sangha (ariya sangha) are the perfect or true refuge. They represent only one thing - which is perfect wisdom. In general, true everyone refuge is the wholesome dhammas such as dāna, sīla, samādhi & paññā. These are not the outside powers & sensual pleasures which most people rely on it.

Generally speaking, the outside powers and external things/matters are untrue and belong to the fleeting nature. These things can be deluded our mind & created a lot of problems & sufferings in the world & societies. These unfortunate things are happening around us, which we can see in today world. Violence, terrorism, wars in the name of religion and power & all kinds of pollutions (mind, body & nature) in the name of economics for sensual pleasures & overindulgence.

All these miserable things are created by fools & not the wise. The quality of humility or without conceit is one of the characteristics of great wisdom. Therefore, everyone should develop this noble quality. So, the Buddha said; humility was the highest protection with a blessing.

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23. Contentment

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-20, 13:53

23. Contentment

__ This quality of contentment is a very important one for today world. Both for layman & ordained monk. It has a profound meaning & message within it. We can only discover them by using the Buddha’s Teachings with contemplation. It can also be a great wide subject to think about in today human societies. In the English dictionary; contentment is a feeling of quiet happiness & satisfaction.

So, it has a connection with non-greed (alobha). The opposite of discontentment is a connection with greed (lobha). Therefore contentment leads to true happiness & peace. Discontentment leads to unhappiness & suffering. The quality of contentment is easy to understand & accept by the noble beings, the sages & the wise. But not by common people or mostly not by power & money mongers, business men & greedy people (i.e., some politicians & some economists).

Even we can say today, many world problems have a connection with discontentment or lacking contentment. We are craving for more than we need. Therefore, we are wasting the natural resources, in extravagance, & overindulgence in sensual pleasures. The United States of America is a very good example. They are in great debts to other countries. Not because they are very poor like some African countries, Latin Americans & Asians. But still, many people want to imitate them.

__ Most worldly people overlook the importance of contentment & discontentment, which affect the families, societies & international levels. Contentment leads to happiness, peace & harmony. Discontentment leads to unhappiness, disharmony & suffering. For examples, in a documentary film, a Chinese bank made a lawsuit to a young man who could not repay his credit card debts & ended up in jail.

This happened for the 2nd time. The first time his father paid for his debts & this time not taking the responsibility. He blamed the bank for knowing his son situation & still loaned him money. In this case, we can see the connection between discontentment & greed. Worse than this case was a university student in China used his credit cards to borrow money from many different banks.

Now, this is a very big problem in the Banking System of China which came from B.B.C. News. These were very similar to the US Government & its citizens consumed things which more than they needed & created a lot of debts. There was also a very sad story about 15 years or 16 years old youth wanted to possess a smartphone killed his grandma, who had deposited some money in the post office.

Then he took her deposited account book, & took the money out to buy the phone. Some young women, including university students, are selling their bodies to some rich people for money to satisfy their discontentment. There is a lot to talk about family & society problems & suffering which connection with discontentment.

__ Its connection with international levels is more on a grand scale, which harmfulness brings to the human race. In some countries, the political leaders were still clinging to their powers when the time came for them to let go of it. If they let it go & went back to normal life still could enjoy their high living standards. But most of them did not & just followed behind their master Discontentment like slaves And then what happened?

Some countries had civil wars & the whole country in chaotic situations, harming, torturing, killing, famine, diseases, war refugees crises around the world, etc. If these people had contentment all the small problems in their countries would be solved. Big problems always start with small problems. A forest fire starts from a spark, e.g., a burning cigarette butt. Some superpowers came in & interfered between the conflicts that even became more harmful to the people (e.g., the Syrian Civil War). For clinging to lowly sensual pleasures & created evil deeds are not worthy of it. The kammic debts have to be repaid very seriously.

In economic levels discontentment creates mind & body pollutions, & natural pollutions. What are the mind & body pollutions? Human beings become more selfish, greedy, cruel, violent, extravagant, indulgence in sensual pleasures, etc. and the mind become defiled.

To fulfill our greed & make more money with the help of science & technology, we polluted our foods with all sorts of chemicals. What are natural pollutions? There are the pollutions of earth, water & air - and all sorts of waste materials, such as industrial waste, consumers’ rubbish, etc. With more worldly knowledge and contemplation, the matters and problems from the outcomes of discontentment will never end.

But whatever it is; discontentment never brings true happiness & peace to anyone & society. For a human being to be survived, he only needs the basic four requisites: clothes, foods, dwelling & medicine. So, all the other things are extras for him. Even the Buddha taught the monks to have contentment in these four requisites. To have a simple lifestyle, unburdened to the mind & body, just as a bird whenever it goes, flies its wings as its only burden. So too is a monk has contentment with a set of robes (3 sets of robes), an alms bowl & foods to provide for hunger (one meal a day).

Wherever he goes takes only his barest necessities along (the only barest necessities are - a water strainer, a razor for shaving, & a string girdle to fasten the lower robe at the waist as a belt). A great disciple of the Buddha, Ven. Mahākassapa was an example for contentment; he had mastered left-over scrape for food, smelly urine for medicine, the foot of a tree for dwelling, cast-off rags for robes.

__ Why the Buddha always praised contentment with little & encouraged monks to have this quality? Because it leads to happiness & peace, easy to develop the practice & realization. People have contentment easier to have patience & endurance in difficult times & situations. Intelligent & wise people will appreciate the quality of contentment. Spiritual people, sages & noble beings know it very well by direct experience on contentment. It develops joy, happiness & peace.

The forest monks live a simple lifestyle in a forest (pristine forests) also experience it very well. (I have mentioned about this in the Introduction of Dtow Dum forest at the border area between Thailand & Burma). Lay people also if they live a simple life with contentment sure to have joy, happiness & peace compare to discontent people, who have more problems & suffering in life.

Why is that? Strong desire or greed (lobha) is the opposite of contentment. The Buddha mentioned in the 4 Noble Truths, the main cause of suffering was strong desire (tanhā). One of the meanings of dukkha is unsatisfactoriness, which equals to discontentment. The Buddha also said that someone had contentment would be happy. It is a noble quality which all noble beings have it. You cannot see it with the eyes. Contentment is a kind of fulfillment, an inner one. It is nothing to do with outside things, such as wealth, money, or sensual objects.

Happiness comes from wealth & sensual pleasures are not true happiness. There are some very wealthy people without happiness. If someone cannot use the wealth properly will harmful to oneself. Even the Buddha said that for a fool without any wealth was better than he had it. It was like an evil person who lived a shorter life was better than a longer life.

__ It is also very important not to misinterpret contentment wrongly. It is nothing to do with laziness or non-action. Only the fool, greedy & selfish people interpret in this way. Contentment relates to wholesome dhamma. Discontentment relates to unwholesome dhamma. For searching, knowledge & wisdom should not have contentment.

Have contentment in knowledge & wisdom is not contentment, only laziness & dullness, or a lazy guy & a dullard. So, we should not misinterpret or misunderstand the Buddha Teaching wrongly. Interpret & contemplate according to its context. There was a very good jataka story for contemplation on discontentment, which leads to negative nature & result. If we observe & study today world situations will see all these points.

The Hanza Jataka

__ One time the bodhisatta was born as a human being & had a family with two daughters. After he passed away & born as a hanza bird – a type of water bird which had beautiful color feathers & could fly. It remembered its past life & had compassion on the family of his past. He had golden feathers & every one or Two months went there & gave them a golden feather. So, their lives were improved. After sometimes what happened was his former wife became discontent & very greedy to get more instantly.

The last time when the bird came & she arrested him & plucked all the feathers out. It was cruel & without any consent from the bird that all the golden feathers changed into ordinary ones. Therefore, the evil wife kept the naked bird in a trap & waiting for its golden feathers for growing back.

As soon as the feathers were growing back, the golden hanza bird flew away & never came back again. Discontentment or greedy leads to the ending of everything good, & becomes zero. Someone becomes very greedy could do all sorts of evil deeds. His bodily action, speech & mind become unwholesome.

These people could do heavy kammas such as patricide, matricide, tried to kill the Buddha, split the monastic sangha, etc. We can see these things happened even in the Buddha’s time. For, the Buddha’s cousin Devadatta tried to kill him for power. King Ajātasattu killed his father King Bimbisara was also for power. Nowadays, these things are even worse, in family matters, societies, politics, economics, etc. For power & money, people can do all sorts of harmful things. Worshipping money is the most popular religion in the world.

Human beings (mostly politicians, economists, businesspeople) measure human development with how much money we make, how much sensual pleasures we can enjoy, etc. People and all the media never emphasis or talk about moral issue, virtue & ethic. Therefore Human thinking & actions are mostly connection with greed, hatred & delusion. The media are also educating people in this direction.

There is a country that measures its progress & development with happiness – this is Bhutan. This is a country in the Himalayas in Southern Asia with beautiful nature of mountains & forest. Their lifestyle is very simple & close to nature & follow the teachings of the Buddha. By seeing the beautiful nature is make your mind becomes joyful & peaceful.

Bhutanese are right, the real progress & development is happiness & peace – this comes from a simple lifestyle, close to nature & contentment with life. Spiritual people, ancient sages & noble beings – mostly forest monks knew the happiness & peace of contentment with direct experiences. With discontentment and greed, human beings create human problems, suffering & natural disasters which all of it we can see in today world.

__ Therefore, the Buddha with great compassion taught us that: Contentment was the highest protection with a blessing.

文章: 418
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24. Gratitude

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-20, 14:03

24. Gratitude

__Kataññutā – gratitude is a very important noble quality which most people neglect or overlook it. Even the Buddha emphasized its noble quality in some suttas. The quality of gratitude connects with the quality of integrity. In the English dictionary, integrity has two meanings: the quality of being honest & firm in your moral principles; quality of being one united thing – harmony & peace.

It also connects with the qualities of Respect & Humility & Contentment, etc. These qualities are in this 7th group of Maṅgala Sutta with gratitude. Here & other places the Buddha arranged his Dhamma teaching in a very systematic & profound way. It is no doubt that the Buddha penetrated the whole universe – mind & physical worlds very profoundly.

Even the great genius of science – Albert Einstein profoundly penetrated the physical world. But still, he had family problems (see his biography) because he was a worldling & only seen one side of the coin. The Buddha & noble beings had seen both sides. There will be many future dangers, small & great are waiting for human beings, if we neglect the importance of the mind & its nature.

Because wholesome dhammas are connecting and relating to each other. Unwholesome dhammas are also in this way. We can arrange all the Buddha’s teachings into three groups (made by the Buddha himself): Sīla Precepts (morality, virtue, ethics), Samādhi – Concentration (calmness, tranquillity, peacefulness) & Paññā (discernment, knowledge, wisdom). It is called three pieces of training or educations. But in real practice – the Noble Eightfold Path are arranged in Paññā, Sīla & Samādhi – Right view, Right thought; Right action, Right speech, Right livelihood; Right mindfulness, Right effort & Right concentration.

These arrangements were made by the Buddha himself, very systematically, profound, by the real progress & development. First, we need intellectual knowledge or paññā to follow the teachings & practice, as like any worthy knowledge & learning. Therefore, it is more like education than religion. Buddhists do not accept God idea & its Creation; only interest in human beings, nature & natural laws. It is more like a science. The great differences are scientists only knew the physical world, even they do not know about themselves. Their mind is closer to them than the external world.

__ Only we have the intellectual knowledge on the Teachings can have right view, and will follow with right thoughts & thinking. Human thinks accordingly with their believed systems, ideas & doctrines. After thinking, we follow with actions & speech. And then we do all these actions (wholesome or unwholesome) in our daily life with people & in livelihoods.

We have to do or create all these actions with mindfulness (attention), effort & focusing on it. Therefore, start with right view & whatever follows will become right or wholesome. And start with wrong view & wrong thinking whatever follow will be wrong or unwholesome. The results are positive & negative, happiness & suffering, harmony & disharmony, peace & problems, etc.

__ We have to acknowledge the gratitude & then repay it kindness with action & speech. In a sutta of Aṅguttana Nikāya, the Buddha mentioned about two persons hard to find. He said; “Monks, these two people are hard to find in the world. The one who is first to do a kindness. And the one who is grateful for a kindness done & feels obligated to repay it.”

The first person is someone without any reason; good on others & kind to others. The second person is someone who is acknowledging & grateful for kindness done to him. And then feels the obligation to repay it. At least he responded kindly with thank you. Even we cannot be like the first person & must have the quality of the 2nd one. If we are naturally not good on others, at least be good on others who have benefited us. Even we should see gratitude as a debt. Some not respond gratitude with kindness & good action, instead insult & injure their benefactors. These are evil, nasty & ignoble people, & it will harm themselves greatly.

Mahākappina Jataka Story

__ This was a good lesson for these people. It also taught us what the noble & ignoble beings are. Mahākappina was the name of the monkey, & it was the bodhisatta’s past life. A brahman was lost in a deep forest & later fell into a deep valley, injured & could not climb up to the top. Mahākappina – the monkey saw him & had the compassion to save his life. So, he carried the man on his back & brought him to the top.

The monkey was so tired that he placed his head on the lap of the brahman & took a short rest. During the rest, the man wanted to bring the monkey meat to his wife at home. So, he took a large stone & smacked the monkey head with one blow. The monkey’s head was severely injured & blood spurted out & flowed on the whole face & body.

The money jumped up instantly & uttered these words surprisingly; “Oh! my God, in this world, still has this kind of man exists.” And then he climbed up instantly to a tree nearby & looking at the brahman amazingly. The man then remembered he was still in the deep forest & knew it dangers there with wild beasts, began to cry pitifully. With sympathy he told the brahman; “Now, I can’t close to you anymore. But I still keep my promise to let you out from the forest. Follow my blood drops.”

The bodhisatta bore his severed pain patiently & jumped from one tree to another & showed the way out. After they came out to the edge of the forest, the monkey watched him from behind until to a short distance & left.

As soon as the brahman was out of the bodhisatta’s sight, boils & sores appeared from his whole body. It was very painful & unbearable. He did not dare to go back home & ended up at the city gate & became a street beggar. He lived a very painful & miserable life for a few years. One day the king of the country came out to observe the city, & saw him. He was looked like a strange beast (may be similar to the elephant man) & the king asked what happened to him. After he told his story to him & died. After died & he was reborn in a hell.

This was a miserable outcome of ingratitude & severely injured one’s benefactor, who was a noble being. This story was interesting & touching. Ledi Sayadawgyi, in his “Uttamapurisa Dipani”, a short treatise on perfection, analyzed the ten perfections in this remarkable story.

__ Another very important gratitude we have to repay as debt is to our parents. In a sutta on Gratitude in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Buddha taught as follow: “These are the levels of a person of no integrity & a person with integrity. A person of no integrity is ungrateful, doesn’t acknowledge the help given to him. This ingratitude, this lack of acknowledgment is second nature among rude people. A person of integrity is grateful & acknowledges the help given to him.

This gratitude, this acknowledgment is second nature among fine people. Two people are no easy to repay, your father & mother. Even if you were to carry your mother on one shoulder & your father on the other shoulder for 100 years. And were to look after them be anointing, massaging, bathing & rubbing their limbs, & they were to defecate & urinate on your shoulders, you would not in that way repay your parents.

Even we were to establish them in absolute sovereignty over this great earth, abounding in the seven treasures still would not in that way repay them (i.e., the status of a universal monarch). Why is that? Father & mother do much for their children. They care for them, nourish them & introduce them to this world. But anyone who rouses his unbelieving parents establishes them in conviction (saddhā); rouses his unvirtuous parents establish them in virtue; rouses his stingy parents establishes in generosity & rouses his foolish parents establishes them in discernment (paññā). To this extent, one repays one’s parents.”

__ Above, what the Buddha emphasized the important quality of gratitude as not a small matter. Because he was the greatest of all beings in wisdom & mind power, penetrated everything profoundly & clearly. Now, let us contemplate ancient sages & today people how they see the matter of gratitude. First, study, observe & contemplate ancient culture & sages on gratitude.

Here I can do it with the eastern culture & sages which more or less I know. In all the Buddhist countries with the Buddhist culture & teachings will follow what the Buddha taught. Nowadays the view & practice with gratitude will be Changed a lot with the influence of western culture & thinking. This also strongly influences on the modern Chinese, old or young.

Chinese people were from ancient time had teachings & education in moral & ethical standards, disciplines, duties & obligations from the family level, society level & government level. It seemed to be these wholesome views & education systems were already existing even before Confucius’s time. At a family level, it includes the relationship between parent & children concern with disciplines, rules, duties, obligations, etc.

One of the most important matters is children should have gratitude, respect, proper duties & obligations to the parents. This Shao Tao (it seems to translate into English as filial piety) is the foundation in family education. These moral or ethical codes are very important for human development. Without mental or mind development, material development is dangerous & harmful as seen in today world. Why is that?

If someone does not have any gratitude, respect, duty & obligation to his/her parents will never good to other people. These moral education & codes of conducts are not only concern with family life; it also related to society & country levels. Family life is like the source of a tree, its root. A healthy & strong root will grow a strong trunk, branches, leaves, flowers & fruits. Therefore, in the ancient time wise emperors, teachers & sages trained & educated crowned princes, government officials & students with these moral & ethical educations & codes of conduct.

Some Chinese dynasties were last longer than others because of moral or ethical standards. These were not surprising if someone understands the laws of nature. From wholesome dhamma,, people will get wholesome results.

__ Nowadays, some Chinese politicians & Chinese people influence by outside or foreign views, cultures & educations & they look down on their culture, moral & ethical values & standards as superstitions & nonsense. These misunderstandings & interpretations come from ignorance & delusion. They are deluded & quite ignorant that these moral & ethical standards, values & codes are by the natural laws & ways.

In Chinese can be said as tien tao & tien fa or roughly in Chinese the heavenly way & codes of conducts. These are universal & by the law of cause & effect, law of dependent co-arising & law of conditional relation. Whatever your faiths, views, nationality & culture backgrounds, it is always true. These are not inventions by ancient sages & noble beings like the Buddha. They have only discovered the natural laws which govern nature & beings & not by gods or God.

So, some people crazy for power & money is so strong that they do not have any moral standards, values & behaviors. These people take unwholesome things & matters as wholesome, & wholesome as rubbish & non-sense. They misconceive poison as medicine; medicine as poison. The sun will never rise from the west & only from the east. Especially influential people (leaders, politicians, economists, businessmen, etc.) have to be very careful with their outlooks & conducts.

If they are thinking foolishly & conducting stupidly, the harm they cause themselves & others are very serious. We can see all the harms caused by foolishness & stupidity in world history. Great dynasties, kingdoms & great cultures were wiped out on the earth.

To become a decent human being need moral educations & conducts. We are born into the human realm must think & behave like a man, & not like animals, ghosts & hell beings. If we have to change, have to change our mind & conduct. We cannot change the natural law & it will never be. If we were born & will die for sure, & not by God’s wishes, but by the natural laws.

__ A very well known English historian Arnold Toynbee who had studied many world languages praised Chinese culture very highly & its philosophical & wisdom language. People who study Chinese letters will understand what he had said. Some people are asking questions like; “Is man has any future?” Some scholars refer to Chinese civilization & culture as a good example.

From the Buddha’s teachings, this point is also true. The ups & downs of human civilization greatly depend on human moral principles. These are foundations not only as a human but also for survival & progress. All these points were mentioned in 2 of the long discourses in the Dīgha Nikāya; Cakkavatti Sutta & Aggaññā Sutta.

It seemed to be the Chinese knew these things even before the Buddha. This might be one of the main reasons when Buddhism came to China & Chinese people were easily accepted as part of their lives & developed it. Now, these three teachings: Taoism, Confucianism & Buddhism are inseparable, & not like the other faiths & religions.

__ Talk about gratitude, Ven. Sariputta was also a good example of integrity. He was grateful & acknowledged the help given to him by someone. It was second nature to him, & among the fine people, the Buddha also supported it. Therefore, I have said many times before Ven. Sariputta was the loveliest man on the earth. He had many fine qualities we need to learn from him. Sariputta entered the stream (became a sotāpanna) was not with the direct teachings of the Buddha. He heard a short verse from Ven. Assajit (Assaji) which run thus:

“Ye dhammā hetuppa bhava, tesaṁ tathāgato āha, tesañca yo nirodho, evaṁ vādī mahā samaṇo.” “The Tathāgata (i.e., Buddha) has declared the cause & also the cessation of all phenomena which arise from the cause. This is the teaching held by the great monk.” Therefore Ven. Sariputta always paid respect in the direction where Ven. Assaji was & went to sleep with his head lying in the same direction. This was out of gratitude & respect for his teacher. The Buddha also encouraged the monks to follow his example.

__ Another story about him was related to Ven. Rādha. Rādha was a poor old brahman who stayed in the monastery & helping the sangha with small matters. So, the sangha provided him with foods, clothing & dwelling. He wanted to become a monk & asked permission from them. Because of his old age, no one wanted to help him. But the Buddha, with his supernormal power, knew that he was due for arahatship. So, he called all the monks & asked them as was there anyone received Rādha’s offering before.

Ven. Sariputta told the Buddha that Rādha had offered him a spoonful of rice before. Therefore, he asked Ven. Sariputta received him as his disciple & trained him. Ven. Sariputta ordained him & trained him. Old monk Rādha was easy to admonish & followed his instructions strictly that within a few days became an arahant. Here was Ven. Sariputta even remembered very clear Rādha as a layman offered him a spoonful of rice very long time ago.

This wholesome quality compared to the character of Devadatta, was quite far apart. In the above story Mahākappina, the brahman who smacked the monkey’s head was Devadatta’s past life. Ven Rādha was not an ordinary monk. He was easy to admonish & train also had the desire to know & learn Dhamma. Because of him, there were some Dhamma recorded in the Saṁyutta Nikāya as Rādha Saṁyutta.

He put a lot of questions to the Buddha on Dhamma (over 20 of them) which the Buddha answered & inspired others. Therefore, he was foremost in this. He also had a darker side about him before ordained. He was a family man before & had some children of his own. But after getting old nobody wanted to look after & care for him. Therefore, I ended up living at the monastery.

Nowadays, most societies are a similar situation; more & more people neglect their parents. Some end up on the street life & others in nursing homes. This kind of ingratitude & disrespect creates without love, compassion & unconcern for others. Even we cannot have gratitude, respect, love, compassion & concern for our parents & it is impossible for thinking to others.

Survival for the fittest is animal philosophy & not for human. Even by reading or hearing about noble beings such as ancient sages, great men, bodhisatta, chief & great disciples of the Buddha & lay people are inspiring & joy arises. If we put them into practice, the results will be greater.

__ Another important matter to contemplate on gratitude & respect is the natural world surrounds the mother Earth or us. One of the most important things always needs to remind us is we are part of nature. We can never be separated from it if we are selfishly exploiting or misusing it & just for suicide. Therefore, all our thinking & behaviors affect our great mother Earth, just as to our mothers.

The Buddha & ancient sages already knew this a long time ago. Today sciences also confirm it with study, observation, experiment & research. (The same as laws of kamma & rebirth. These discoveries by science solve the problem of God). Our Earth is quite a beautiful planet in our solar system. All these we can see in many color photos around the world if any place was protected. Even it is quite beautiful from the outer space.

Any place without destroyed or polluted by human – forest, mountain, stream, river, waterfall, flowers, trees, etc. have amazing beauty. These things can be felt by people who love & closes to nature. The four great element water, earth, fire & air are nourishing our physical bodies day in day out, & all the year round. Our health & survival depend on them.

Does anyone say thank you & I love you to our benefactors? E.g., water is the source of life. It has many interesting qualities with it. We are never thinking & concerning them. Without all these natural resources, our human civilization cannot survive & develop or progress. Nowadays if we look at nature, we do a lot of harm to them out of greed & delusion. All the pollutions we created were poisoning the earth. Therefore there are many natural disasters that appear by destroying the harmony of nature.

Even human beings are in disharmony; there will be violence & suffering arise in societies. In nature, everything is interconnecting & relating, whether these are animate or inanimate things. Therefore, with gratitude & respect, we should protect the Earth, treat it properly & wisely. With gratitude & respect come to love, compassion, concern, harmony, happiness & peace. So, let us develop the noble quality of gratitude for the highest protection with a blessing to oneself & others.

(2017 was the hottest year in records. And also, many disasters appeared such as heavy rains, hurricanes, forest fire, very high temperature (50°C), earthquakes, etc. And then in the United States of America, there were many shootings with guns & killed a lot of innocent people, As an, e.g. in Arizona State, a man from the window of a hotel room was shooting people with the automatic rifle.

These people were gathering at the open air concert. Most of these things were happening on the continent of America. Now, the most important and urgent problem to solve is temperature rising. Human mind & behaviors (i.e., unwholesome mental states & actions) are the main causes of all these unfortunate results.

文章: 418
註冊時間: 2017-03-03, 08:00

25. Hearing the Dhamma on timely occasions

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-21, 13:44

25. Hearing the Dhamma on timely occasions

__ Some Buddhists may be not taken this matter seriously & very important. There are many reasons for listening to Dhamma as very important. Nowadays, we can include also study & reading the Buddha’s Teachings from Pali texts translations or written by scholars (most importantly by Buddhist scholars, such as monks). One of the factors for realization is listening Dhamma talks. The Buddha also said to the monks, after he passed away, the Buddha Dhamma was their teacher.

Only by knowing the teachings we can have right views, what are wholesome & not wholesome, what is right or wrong, what is proper or not proper & then we can walk on the right path. In the Buddha’s time even, some monks & lay people were having the realizations while listening to the Dhamma of the Buddha or one of his disciples.

Among the Theravadin Buddhist countries, Burmese Buddhists are very fortunate in this matter. Because Burmese monks had the strong tradition of study & practice of the Pali texts. It produced many fine scholar monks & meditation teachers. From the middle of the 20th century up to this day, some monks could recite the whole Tipitaka by heart. Burmese monks usually give their talks based on the suttas. So, by listening these talks were like it came from the Buddha directly. Even today, there are more lay people studying the suttas & Abhidhamma directly with teachers.

__ What time should people listen to Dhamma? It had been said differently in the texts. In the Mahāgovinda Sutta, it was mentioned every five days, & in one sutta it also said that if someone had time & teacher for giving a talk should listen to it. The best time may be someone has stress, unhappiness, sorrow, lamentation pain, grief & despair, a very good, e.g. was the story of Theri Patācārā (a Buddhist nun). Before ordained, she had lost her whole family, husband, two sons, parents & 3 brothers. With over sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief & despair, she became nearly mad.

And then she encountered the Buddha & by listening to his powerful Dhamma, she overcame her sorrow & entered the stream. Another interesting story was about the heavenly being (devata) Subrahmā. One time he was enjoying the heavenly pleasures with his 1,000 celestial nymphs outdoor under a flowering tree. Human beings enjoy the lowly & ignoble pleasures by making money to destroy the earth, without unaware of the outcome of it. So heavenly beings are more easily under the power of delusion.

The five hundred nymphs on the tree plucked the flowers & threw it down for the other 500 underneath the tree. They made the wreaths of flower for Subrahmā. After sometimes the 500 nymphs on the tree died suddenly & disappeared on the spot. They took rebirths in hell. Without the flowers coming down and singing, the others looked up the tree and found out the situation.

Not seeing anyone of them, Subrahmā devata with his divine eyes searched for them & found them in the hell. The working of the law of kamma is inconceivable. Everyone (all living beings) has good & bad kammas carrying with them (kammic energy) in the round of existence. All these are waiting for chances to give the results.

Now, the time was ripe for these beings. So, Subrahmā checked his future with his supernormal power, and also found out that after seven days they would die & fall into the hell. Hence, in utter fear, he came to the Buddha for seeking consolation. The Buddha gave them talk & at the end, all of them entered the stream. The door to hell waiting for them was closed forever. So, Buddhists should listen to Dhamma talks (including reading & studying) at any time if they have chances & times.

This will increase our knowledge & become intelligent & wise people. Spiritual people knew this point very well. E.g., the Chinese sages invented a system of training their students, which was called reading texts for 100 times or 1,000 times. Some modern teachers experimented with these systems & found out that children had bad habits & characters changed to good persons. They also had a strong power of attention & intelligence.

__ Time limit is not the main point here in hearing the Dhamma. The time someone needs it urgently is more important, as shown above with the nun Patācārā & Subrahmā devata. But with more listening is better, because it will decrease our mental pollutions. By watching some of the media such as movies, TV programs, video games, etc. are quite harmful to people. If they include a lot of violence, sex, etc.

which are pollutants for our minds. It is like a bulb light in a kitchen at the cooking place, everyday contacts with the dirty air with oil & smoke. After sometimes it becomes dirtier, clouded & not bright anymore. Why is that? Because we use our six senses in an unwholesome way. It also likes eating unhealthy foods for every day; such as junk foods, foods connecting with pesticides, foods with chemicals inside, etc. Then our health degenerate & end up with sickness, pains & deaths.

Our mind is like clear water or bright mirror. With it, we can see things clearly & penetrate them. With the dirty one, we cannot do it. There are some higher beings the rupa-brahma gods (beings with the material jhānic power) seemed to be used only three senses; eye, ear & mind doors. These are very useful & important for them.

They can meet the Buddha & arahants to listen to their talk & easily get attainments. The other sensitivities of smell, taste & touch, which they do not need them. But human beings are not like this. They prefer to see & listen to a lot of media with pollutants such as

Sex, violence, useless chattering, etc. Even some children are not escaping from these pollutants. Because some comic books, cartoons, video games, books included these things in it. Media have the great power of educations. Regarding media education, there was a tragic story connected with a woman named Miss Song. It is worth to mention here. She was from the Liao Ning Province of N.E China.

When she was young as a teenage girl liked to watch Tv, videos, and movies and brainwashed by the polluted media. And then she started to beautify herself & had a lot of affairs with men. According to her confession, she had over 40 lovers in her life. At the age of 50, she found out that she had the cancer of the uterus. It was in a serious & severe situation, blood & pus came out often.

The doctor told her that she could survive only three months. Luckily at that period, she encountered with good-hearted people who studied & practiced Confucianism & Buddhism. Within the short period of her life, she gave a lot of public talks & educated people not to get lost in media.

At last with the Buddhist practice, she passed away peacefully. Here we can see the results of unwholesome & wholesome educations very clear. Therefore, we should not use it for foolishly & stupidly. And should not take media education as lightly. Today a lot of social problems have a lot of connection with them.

__ The benefits of listening Dhamma are:

(1) Hearing things never heard before
(2) Having a clear knowledge
(3) Overcoming doubts
(4) Having right views
(5) One’s mind grows serene.

These are the five rewards in listening to the Dhamma.

(1) One hears what one has not heard before

Most people knowledge is very limited. But Buddhas were an exception. In a sutta, the Buddha said that his knowledge was like many leaves in a forest, but he taught only like a handful of leaves on his hand. Even these handful of teachings we know very little, not completely & only superficially. Many of them were we never heard before. If make out the lists there are many.

The most important one was the Four Noble Truths with its details in many suttas.

Some of the worldly knowledge even we know very little about it, e.g. rebirth, other faiths take it as reincarnation. Some even not accept this view. The Buddha described it as the rounds of existence, & with it 31 realms of existence.

(2) One clarifies what one has heard before

These are also can give many examples of them. Most people think God creates us & believe in the Creation. The Buddha taught the rounds of the existence of all living beings with the law of Dependent Co-arising (Paticcasamupada). Most people believe there is a permanent self, a soul, or God exists.

They also heard from many faiths teach about them. When they read Buddhism or listen to Dhamma on the doctrine of not-self (anatta) which they never heard before, even not in this life, but for many lives of existence. Because only the Buddha & Pacceka-buddhas could discover it & only the Buddha could teach them. Therefore, it is not surprising that nobody can teach about it.

(3) One gets rid of doubt

Overcoming of doubt is very important for whatever we are studying or doing. Because this is one of the hindrances. The meaning of doubt is: have a feeling of uncertainty, isn’t true or possible? Probably not true or possible, might not be true or might not be existed. So, it has the power of obstruction to our progress in doing something & knowledge.

If someone doubts wrong views & practices is better than without it. But if someone doubts right views & practices will incline towards wrong views & practices; then it is dangerous. In Buddhist spiritual practice overcoming doubt is very important. This is one of the foundations of knowledge in insight practice (vipassanā).

The other is the foundation knowledge of the mind & material phenomena or right view. With the analytical knowledge of mind & body, the view of a being, a person, a soul or self is disappeared. Then, it reduces the affection & hate (like or dislike) on someone. Overcoming doubt is the discernment of the conditions of mind & body.

In the world, the different faiths or religions arise is not knowing the causes of phenomena, e.g., the doctrine of the creator & the creation. The causes of phenomena are so deep & profound that people are following the ways of easy thinking. The Buddha did not accept the first cause or root cause. The easiest way of thinking is the doctrine of causes-ahetuka-vada. Both of them are extreme views.

__ Here I want to present a story of a person who had got rid of doubt. This man was born into a Muslim family. At a young age, his father forced him to study & learn the Koran text with a teacher. He had the nature of curiosity, inquiry mind & intelligent. He never accepted anything without clear understanding & direct experience.

Later he fell in love with a Christian & studied the Old & New Bibles. Later he became a teacher in Philosophy Department & studied all the eastern & western philosophy & doctrines. After sometimes, he had the duty to write a book on Buddhist Ethics to teach the philosophy students. He did not have good knowledge of Buddhism, except mentioned in the Philosophy books.

So, he made thorough research & study on Buddhism for the Buddhist Ethics textbook. Even later he wrote a book on Religions, included 11 faiths. From his knowledge about religions, he preferred Buddhism to others. The reason behind it was more logical & profound than others.

The most important point was Buddhism cleared away of his doubt on the Creator & the Creation as it was not the truth. But still at that time not become a Buddhist yet. He still doubted the doctrine on rebirth. The reason was he could not prove it or had direct experience. Luckily, later, he could prove it as a truth. And then became a Buddhist at the age of 50.

Later he went to 10 days vipassanā retreat & had a direct understanding of the 4 Noble Truths & became a Buddhist monk. This was the ending of all of his search for the truth. Doubt on his father’s faith led to the search for the truth, & with the Buddha’s teaching led to the ending of all doubts.

(4) One’s views are made straight

__ If one has wrong views & by listening Dhamma, clearing doubt & wrong views. So, one’s views are made straight or right. There are eight causes for wrong views to arise. The two main causes are:
[1] Listening wrong teachings
[2] Unwise attention (ayonisomanasikara).

The opposites are also true if someone has to listen the right teachings will have right views & wise or right or proper attention. With wise attention & wrong views are overcome. There was an interesting discourse in the Aṅguttara Nikāya.

It was Aramadhanta Sutta & the name of a brahman. He asked the Buddha about the reasons for disputes & arguments. He asked in general & the Buddha also answered in general. Only the Buddha & arahants overcome them. The causes are still existing that people have disputes & arguments. With different views that people are disputing & arguing. Therefore, we must find out the causes for them to arise. The Buddha’s Teachings were searching for the main causes.

There are two causes: original & nearest causes. The 4 Noble Truths are also in this way. These are internal & external causes, without finding out the internal causes we cannot solve the disputes.There are two groups of disputed people; the householders & religious group. Their fundamental internal causes are different. In one of Mahā Kaccāyana’s discourses, the internal cause for householders for dispute is kamaragakilesa - the defilement of sensual lust.

These are the desirous objects of the five sense objects - form, sound, smell, taste & touch. Sensuality is the main cause & there are also other causes. Sensual lust sinks someone. People are controlled & governed by lust & sensuality that in disputes & arguments. Out of craving or desire that many disputes are arising. If we study the present situations around the world, this is very clear.

__ Religious people are disputing & arguing for different views, doctrines, ideas & outlooks. Overcome or transcend sensual lust & views are the Buddha & arahants only.

(5) One’s mind grows serene

Buddhists who listen to Dhamma talks with mindfulness or Pali Chanting know this experience directly. Wholesome dhamma has the wholesome result, & unwholesome dhamma has an unwholesome result. Therefore, we should not overlook the effect of sound on one’s mind. Even nature is sensitive about it. So, we have to be very careful about the media. Seeing & watching all this rubbish will pollute our mind. Now, scientists with many types of research & experiments also have found its effects on the mind and the physical world.

Recently, a very funny thing had happened. In America, at a music concert, surely it was nothing to do with classical music. This was violent music with the youths & they were singing & shouting violently. Suddenly a 16-year-old girl fell & sent her to a hospital & saved her life. Her lung could not work properly because of the over shouting. Luckily, the doctors saved her life back. The Mahayana Buddhists even use sound & spiritual music to calm their mind. In the Pali Suttas there were many stories & incidents of monks & lay people by listening to the Dhamma gave by the Buddha & they had realizations.

Why could these people achieve the results? We know that Buddhist training is sīla, samādhi & paññā. (precepts, concentration & discernment or wisdom). During the talks, their precepts were pure. Concentrating on the Dhamma & their mind became calm & peaceful. Their mind was not concentrating on the sensual objects like today, man. With the calm & peaceful mind & contemplation led to a realization.

The nun Patācārā was overcome by sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief & despair, which made her nearly mad.
After hearing the Buddha’s teaching, her mind became calm & serene. And then continued to give her special teaching that she was established in the fruit of stream-entry. Ālavaka was the most violent & fearsome ogre (yakkha). He was so angry with the Buddha that even threatened to split the Buddha’s heart & grabbed him by the feet & hurled him across the Ganges River.

Even this very violent & fearsome being after listened to the Dhamma & his mind became calm & serene & also established in the fruit of stream-entry. So hearing & listening Dhamma is a very important matter for Buddhists. It is as an important practice in cultivation of the mind, by listening very often with contemplation. This is not only accumulated Dhamma knowledge with contemplation but also increase our intelligence & discernment. With a lot of Dhamma knowledge & practice, we can solve many problems in daily life when it needs.

__ In a sutta in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, two brahmins Kāranapālī and Piṅgiyāni were talking about the Dhamma of the Buddha.

Piṅgiyāni brahman explained to the other brahmin on the qualities of the Buddha Dhamma with five similes. Brahmin Piṅgiyāni was a non-returner (anāgāmin) and visiting the Buddha every day to offer incense & garlands.

[1] Someone after listening to the Dhamma of the samana Gautama (i.e., Buddha) & he could not listen to the other dhammas anymore (i.e., the teachings of other teachers). As an example, someone after eating the best delicious food in full stomach & he could no longer desire tastes of an inferior kind.

[2] Whichever part of the Dhamma one had listened, it would give the satisfaction and placidity of mind. (i.e., it was good in the beginning, in the middle & the end). As an example, someone in hunger & received a honey ball whichever part he had bitten & it gave the delicious flavor.

[3] Whichever part of the Dhamma one had listened, one would derive elation and joy.
It was like someone who came upon sandalwood & any part of it would give the sweet smell.

[4] Buddha Gautama was like a medical doctor & his Dhamma could cure the mental diseases (kilesa roga - defilements of the mind). It was like a skillful physician might instantly cure someone who was afflicted & gravely ill. Mahayana medicine Buddha could come from this idea.

[5] Someone was traveling under a very hot sun, with the burning heat, tiredness & hunger. After he encountered a lotus pond, it released him from burning heat, tiredness & hunger. In the same way by hearing the Buddha Dhamma, it freed someone from the heat of defilements (from the Kāranapālī Sutta).

So the power of Dhamma is unlimited & the best medicine for all ills of the world. Whether it is about the body or the mind, in family problems or social problems, political or economic problems, most Buddhists maybe never thought that they are the most fortunate & luckiest beings in the world, because of the past great merits they encounter the Buddha Dhamma in this life.

The Buddha had mentioned very clear that to get a human birth, encounter the Dhamma, to have an interest, to understand and practice accordingly was the most difficult matter in the world. But most of us are taking it as easy & never thinking it as a priceless treasure. We are foolishly & stupidly wasting our chances, time & energy in trivial matters & things. There was an interesting sutta about the four best things in the world.

The devas or gods were looking for the answer to the highest blessing for 12 years. There was also a monk who had supernormal power wanted to know the ending of the four great elements. So he went to heaven to look for the answer. From the lower realms of deity to higher realms of the Brahma god and no-one could answer him. Therefore he had to come down again & ask the Buddha for the answer.

All these profound questions were except the Buddha no one could answer them. Here also the Four Great Kings of the heaven (Cātummahārajika deva) asked Sakka, the King of the 33 Gods on these four best things. Sakka could not give them the answers, so they all came to the Buddha for the answers.

All these four things are connecting with Dhamma.

(1) What is the best gift in the world?

If we are talking about gifts, there are many kinds & for many reasons. As Buddhists, we give or offer four requisites to the monks. Dāna is giving & has two meanings; the gifts & the mental state of giving volition, or things & action. There is a very special kind of gifts which most people overlook or neglect. This is paññā dāna - the gift of knowledge. Gift of things & the gift of knowledge (especially here is the Buddha Dhamma) which one is the best? Dhamma gift is the best one.

The Buddha’s answer to the devas was: “Sabbadānaṁ dhammadānaṁ jinati - The gift of Dhamma is greater than all other gifts.” The devas are satisfied with the answer. The commentary explained it as followed. Why the Buddhists make dāna as the best gift?

There are many reasons for this wholesome action. For some, this is the second nature for them and carried with them from their past lives. For most Buddhists, they develop this wholesome dhamma from the teaching of the law of kamma. The basic reason for Dhamma gift is greater than others is it can lead to the realization of Nibbāna. One of the factors for realization of Nibbāna is listening Dhamma talks. (exception of the Buddha & Paccekabuddhas).

Therefore the gift of Dhamma is the best gift. In this discourse, we are talking about from the point of gift receiver & not the giver. The giver also has its benefits. Material gifts are for this life only & most of them are short life span, e.g., giving foods. Gift of Dhamma leads to the ending of dukkha. Therefore the gift of Dhamma is incomparable from other gifts.

Salvatore Cioffi (1897-1966) – U Lokanatha:
A long time ago in the first half of 20th century, an Italian American chemist received a gift of Dhamma from a friend for Christmas. This book was the English translation of “Dhammapada”. After reading it & he became a Buddhist. Giving up his job & wealth, he went to Burma & ordained there. His ordained name was Ven. Lokanatha or well known in Burma as Italian monk U Lokanatha.

After some years in monkhood, he walked on foot along the silk road from Asia to pass the middle east and to the USA. He determined to follow the Bodhisatta Path (to become a future Buddha). One time he went to pay homage to the famous Ven. Webu Sayadaw & asked him directly; “Ven. Sayadaw, are you an arahant?” Instead of answering his question directly, Sayadaw’s respond was; “I have no courage to become a bodhisatta.” Sayadaw U Lokanatha passed away in Burma in 1966 (He was in Burma for 40 years).

(2) What is the best enjoyment or taste?

There are nine kinds of enjoyment. These are the enjoyments of the common people.

[1] Enjoyment comes from funny things, or people are amusing & make you smile or laugh.
[2] Enjoyment comes from affection
[3] Enjoyment comes from sympathy (garunarasa)
[4] Enjoyment comes from violence; people like to watch violent movies, & people commit terrors can come from this taste, such as terrorism.
[5] Enjoyment comes from courageous acts
[6] Enjoyment comes from loathsomeness
[7] Enjoyment comes from amazement
[8] Enjoyment comes from fright (ghost story)
[9] All other feelings

According to the Buddha; “The taste of Dhamma is greater than all other tastes – Sabharasaṁ dhammarasaṁ jinati.” Why is that? There are no real peace & happiness behind all the other enjoyments.
In the end, these are not good. It cannot last long & at last, make people become in confusion.

(3) What is the best delight of the mind?

There are many things which people are looking for delight. Some are with family members, with wealth, with sense objects, etc. People are always looking for pleasure & no contentment. This is human nature. After they get what they want & become happy & joy with it for some periods. Later they become bored with them. So they are changing object to object, matter to matter & never have satisfaction with it. From discontentment & dissatisfaction come human problems & suffering.

Heavenly beings also have this kind of situation. The Buddha’s answer was; “Sabbaratim dhammaratim jinati” – The delight of Dhamma is better than all other delights” Worldly pleasures are not peaceful & calm, even lead to problems & suffering. Dhamma delight or enjoyment is peaceful & calm & true happiness. Therefore yogis & noble beings who have jhānas & fruits use to stay in these peaceful states. Even the pleasure comes from study & contemplate, the Buddha Dhamma leads to joy & happiness, which excel the sensual pleasure.

(4) What is the best destruction?

The destruction of craving/greed (tanhā) or dukkha is the best. Therefore the Buddha’s answer was; “Tanhākkhayo sabbadukkhaṁ jinati – The destruction of craving or all dukkha is the best.” The destruction of craving or all dukkha is the highest stage of realization, which is arahatta magga & phala – the path & fruit of arahantship.

Therefore the arahatta magga & phala is the destruction of craving/tanhā – tanhākkhayo with the destruction of craving & free from all kind of dukkha. Because craving is the source of all dukkha, we cannot destroy dukkha directly.

So craving is the cause & dukkha is the result. With practice, we can cut off the connection between them.
With the destruction of tanhā & dukkha is ended. But human beings are afraid of the destruction of tanhā. So they are searching & fighting for wealth, power & pleasure with each other. With human conflicts, all social problems & sufferings arise. Nowadays, these problems & sufferings are worse than before. With the power of science & technology, the destruction is becoming greater.

Now we are at a critical point. The Buddha taught & urged us for the destruction of craving. Human beings, instead of listening to the Buddha, & become the followers of Mara – The Evil One/Tanhā & develop & increase its qualities. All these four questions were searching & discussing the answers for 12 years. At last, they found the answers from the Blessed One.

__ The power of Dhamma was so great that even the Buddha took the Dhamma as his teacher. Without a teacher is dangerous & many problems & sufferings are waiting for each one of us from now on to the future. Therefore hearing the Dhamma on timely occasions is the highest protection with a blessing. Listening very quite often is the best way. We should use our leisure time on it. If we are listening to Tanhā very often it will become our teacher; it will sink us to the bottom of the ocean floor & we can never come up to the surface again.

This is the power of tanhā. If we take the Dhamma as our teacher, we can rise higher & higher, at last, will transcend the world & free forever. Listening Dhamma is truly the highest protection & blessing. Here I want to make some suggestions for Buddhists. It is also very important to other faiths by their teachings. Because terrorists & terrorism arise has some connections with the misunderstanding & misinterpretation problems.

Some years ago, the Ven. Nyanaponika Thera mentioned the following point in one of his essays. He said that in the past some Sri Lanka families were teaching their children after they came back from works & schools in the evening before the meal.

Another important thing was some mothers or fathers near bedtime telling their young children with Buddhist stories, such as jataka stories about the bodhisatta – The Great Being. There are nearly 550 stories which described the Buddha’s past lives developed the ten perfections as a bodhisatta. Each perfection has three levels; basic, middle & higher or highest levels. At least every human being should have the basic level of perfection, & can be called as a true human.

Some might think cultivated the paramis was for oneself. It is for both, to oneself & others. These are giving services & making sacrifices for all living beings. Selfishness & self-centeredness bring problems & sufferings to oneself & others. Nearly all the Buddha’s teachings were about human beings & societies. Therefore teaching the children with Buddhist stories is an important education for them. So listening Dhamma is not only for grown-up Buddhists but to all groups.

文章: 418
註冊時間: 2017-03-03, 08:00

26. Patience

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-21, 13:53

26. Patience

__ Patience is in Pali called khanti. In English, if you have patience, you can stay calm & not get annoyed. But this English meaning is not completed. The Buddha’s teaching on patience was not only with unpleasant things & matters but also with pleasant things & matters. So it has a connection with equanimity (upekkha). The Buddha praised this quality highly. With the following of all the explanations & we know why it is so important?

There are ten perfections (paramis) for the candidate of a Buddha to be (i.e., bodhisatta). One of them is patience (khanti). Each of the perfections has three levels; these are basic, middle & highest levels. The hermit Sumedha (the past life of Buddha Gautama) after he received the prediction from the Buddha Dipinkara, he went to a quiet place & contemplated on the ten perfections one by one.

Khanti parami was the number 6th one. It was like the earth whatever good or bad things discarded on it & it did not have any reaction of love & hate. So it is the mental factor of non-hatred (adosa). Sīla, samādhi & paññā can be possible only with patience. All the wholesome dhammas can progress with patience. In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, there was a sutta mentioned some of its power. The power of wise, sages & noble beings was patience.

__ Ledi Sayadaw mentioned about Khanti Parami in the following way, in his “Uttamapurisa Dipani”. Patience has two kinds; patience with living beings; & patience with unpleasant phenomena, such as heat & cold, etc. So the Buddha taught patience with many things. The main point is in the world if we encounter internal & external phenomena not let these things soil our mind, without complaining & facial expression. And we are just doing our tasks of merit & welfare without affecting them, with a clear & determined mind.

Ledi Sayadaw continued to explain the perfection of equanimity (upekkha parami). Upekkha means; not taking pleasure & affection to someone who praises, respect & offers things to oneself. Or not displeasure & hate to someone who blames, doing wrong, harm & defame to oneself. Does not has these double minds on these two persons mean upekkha. With the stableness of khanti & upekkha paramis, the other paramis can progress smoothly. It was like children born from the mother’s womb looked after or protected by the parents would grow up.

If not looked after or protected by them & would die there. Therefore patience is like the mother & upekkha is like the father. Some Buddhists formulated six perfections, which not included upekkha. Maybe they were confused with the equanimity of the 4 Divine Abidings (Brahmavihara Dhamma).

With the two qualities of patience & equanimity will develop wholesome actions smoothly. The wholesome actions which looked after and protected by the perfection of renunciation (nekkhamma parami) can become perfected actions or perfected wholesome actions. Without the protection of nekkhamma parami & taking pleasure in the wholesome results & it will not become the perfected merit.

These kinds of merit are bound with becoming. It was like the children who were looking after by parents but without protecting by doctor & medicines. They were getting sick with foods & drinks. Trees can be grown up & developed by soil & water.

So patience is like the soil & equanimity is water. The equanimity comes from the Brahmavihara Dhammas is a little different from the perfection of equanimity. Brahmavihara upekkha not concern for the welfare of beings. Upekkha parami concerns for the welfare of all without any distinction good or bad to oneself.

Ledi Sayadaw continued the ten perfections with the example of Mahākappina Jataka story. Explained one by one of them in this story. For patience & equanimity as follow:

The monkey (i.e., bodhisatta) head was smacked by the evil brahman with a big stone. Blood streamed out with the severe pain. But the monkey bore the pain without concern for the pain & suffering.

Without soiled his mind with complaining & anger. His mind was in a normal & clear state. This was khanti parami. If the monkey did not have patience, with the severe pain & everything was spoiled. Even the monkey was helping to save his life with a lot of difficulties & effort & did not has any disappointment & anger was upekkha parami. At that time if he had anger & disappointment in the brahman, it would spoil his goodness.

__ Tipitakadhara Yaw Sayadaw gave a talk on human strength & mentioned about patience (Sayadaw was the 5th one who could recite the three pitakas by heart). Patience is the foundation dhamma of sīla, samādhi & paññā. Only with khanti & has progressed. Winning or not winning, good or bad has to be patient with them. With patience is a noble quality. Even dāna-giving is connecting with patience. It is giving up & sacrificing. Patience is strength & make someone noble & outstanding.

There are five benefits of patience;
(1) Love by people
(2) Calm & without dangers
(3) Free from the faults of anger
(4) Die with a clear mind
(5) Good rebirth (sugati).

Patience & right exertion (sammā-viriya) can destroy the mental heat (i.e., kilesa heat). It can burn out kilesa defilements & called tapa-austerity. The source of metta (loving friendliness) is patience. Anger (dosa) has three stages; killing, disturbing & happening in mind. And its results are; short life span, have illnesses & look ugly. Non-anger (adosa) also has three kinds; doing merits always with non-anger, non-hatred comes from patience, & non-hatred comes from metta bhavana (meditation on loving kindness).

With mindfulness is the way of living alone, and with metta is the way of living with others. Bodhisatta wanted to develop the perfection of patience had to take rebirths mostly in the human world. If he had the chances to take rebirths in heavenly & brahma god worlds with merits & jhanas, would never stay there very long. With resolution (adhithana) & came down to the human world for rebirth.

The human world was the best place for fulfilling the ten perfections. The human world is the best place for doing all kinds of wholesomeness. We must sacrifice the human body with Dhamma. The calmness of mind relates to patience. It means complete with sīla & samādhi. With patience & sīla & samādhi develop.

__ In the Buddhavagga of Dhammapada, Ven. Ānanda raised the question to the Buddha on the Fundamental Instructions to the monks by the past Buddhas. The Buddha answered with three verses & one of them was including patience.

Verse 184:
Khanti paramaṁ tapo titikkha,
nibbānaṁ paramaṁ vadanti buddhā;
na hi pabbajito parūpaghāti,
na samaṇo hoti paraṁ viheṭhayanto.

“The best training in austerity is patience,
“Nibbāna is the Supreme,” said the Buddhas;
A monk does not harm others,
One who harms others is not a monk.”

__ Therefore patience is the cause of progress & nobility in worldly & supramundane matters. Patience is not reacting to any bad thing someone has done to oneself. So it is a quality difficult to practice. This is a Dhamma leads to peace & happiness to oneself & others.

Therefore the Buddha said that patience & forbearance was the noblest practice. In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Buddha mentioned the five results of patience, which I have already mentioned before. But also there are 5 faults without any patience. These are; hate by others; has dangers; with many faults arise in this present & future lives; a bad dying; & after death, not has a good destination, i.e., the woeful planes of existence.

In the world, people encounter problems are the same. The differences are in the ways to deal with problems, & to solve them. Because of ignorance & foolishness, small problems become bigger & worse. We can see all these things in each country & international levels, as examples: Syria Civil War, Israel & Palestine Problem, terrorists & terrorism, etc.. We cannot achieve peace, harmony & happiness with the ways of tit for tat, aggression, violence, hatred, ill-will, etc.

The many ways to solve problems are wholesome dhammas. The most basic one is wholesome education, patience & forbearance, tolerance, love, sympathy, compassion, kindness, concern for others, etc. Interference by some superpowers also made things worse & destroyed the involved countries & citizens. They exploited the situations for political or economic purposes.

__ In the Saṁyutta Nikāya, there is a sutta called “Vipacitti or Patience.” There the Buddha mentioned the teaching of Sakka (king of the 33 gods) to Mātali (the charioteer). It was about the qualities of patience which all people should follow it. This discourse is especially important for politicians & political leaders to deal with conflict. Sakka was not an ordinary deva king. He was an intelligent, wise & noble being & asked some important questions to the Buddha. His teaching on patience was as follow.

Once in the past the devas & asuras were in battle. In that battle, the devas won & the asuras were defeated. The Tāvatimsa devas bound Vepacitti by his four limbs & neck brought him to Sakka in the Sudhamma assembly hall. When Sakka was entering & leaving the hall, Vepacitti, abused & reviled him with rude & harsh words. Mātali, the charioteer, saw this & said to Sakka.

Did Sakka from fear & weakness, endured Vepacitti patiently by listening to his harsh words? Sakka replied that he was neither through fear nor weakness & patience with the asura. He was a wise person & should not engage in combat with a fool.

Mātali continued that if no one would keep the fools in check & they would express their anger even more. So the wise should restrain the fool with extreme punishment urgently. Then Sakka responded wisely. In his view, the only way to check the fool was when one’s enemy was angry & not responded to him. Instead, one maintained one’s peace mindfully.

Mātali said to Sakka that this way of dealing with the enemy was faulty. Because by practicing patient endurance at that time, the enemy would think; “He endures me out of fear.” Then the fool would harm you more. At last Sakka taught Mātali the qualities of patience & the outcomes of anger.

__ Whether or not someone thinks; “He endures me out of fear.” For one’s own good nothing is better than patience. When someone has strength & should patiently endure a weakling, this is the supreme patience. The weak person also must be patient. The strength most people think is not the real strength, but the strength of the fools. Guarded by Dhamma that a person is strong, and no one can reproach him. Respond to anger with anger makes things worse for oneself. Not respond anger with anger & one wins a battle hard to win.

Someone should practice for the welfare of both, for himself & others. If the enemy is in anger & one should maintain his peace with mindfulness. In these ways, someone solves the problem for both his own & others. If people take him as a fool, then they are unskilled in Dhamma.

__ The quality of patience & forbearance is not only difficult to practice & develop but also difficult to appreciate them. Most people want to react instantly without tolerance. This is not surprising, because in the world there are more fools than wise. Not understanding the Dhamma, we do not know how to deal with problems properly & rightly.

There are two kinds of enemy or foe; i.e., internal & external. The internal enemies are more dangerous & harmful than the external ones. Even the external ones come from the internal ones. This is not difficult to see. External pollutions are the outcome of internal pollutions of the mind, i.e., greed, hatred, delusion, etc.

External enemies only can harm us in this life. But the internal ones not only this life, but many lives to come. Therefore patience, forbearance, tolerance are stopping the inner enemies from creating dangers & problems for us.

The Buddha also said in the Dhammapada verse 103:
“A man may conquer a million enemies in battles, but one who conquers himself is the greatest of all conquerors.”

Even one defeats one’s enemy with reaction; the outcome does not benefit for both. The loser suffers in this life & the winner has enemies. (See the Palestinian & Israelis conflicts – the process is never ended, because of impatience and intolerance, tit for tat policies). The loser suffers in this life & the winner has to bear his unwholesome kammic results in the future. There is also the loser has a strong grudge towards the winner, which will follow to saṁsāra for a long time to come. This was evident in the strong grudge (hatred & ill-will) Devadatta had towards the Buddha started from a long distant past.

__ The strength of the fools is not real strength. The power of patience, forbearance & tolerance is the real strength. Only with non-hatred & non-violence can overcome hatred & violence, & solve the problems & make peace. There was a saying that the quality of patience could realize Nibbāna. This is on the spiritual matter. This is true because patience is the foundation of sīla, samādhi & paññā.

In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Buddha instructed the monks on the 10 Dhammas as protectors, & one of them was patience. The Buddha usually taught the monks to have patience with the following things; heat, cold, weather, hunger & thirst, bitten by insects, criticism by others, unpleasant feelings of the physical body, etc. Therefore patience is a protector & the power of strength to overcome mundane matters & to overcome difficulties in spiritual endeavor.

We can see this in the lives of political leaders such as Mahatma Gandhiji, Martin Luther King & Nelson Mandela. The bodhisatta cultivate the perfection of patience to the highest level, and we can read them in the jataka stories, such as – Khantivadi Hermit & Prince Temiya Jatakas. These stories make the Buddhist readers awe-inspiring & hair raising phenomena & will never forget them.

__ In the Khantivadi Hermit story, the bodhisatta was a hermit & taught the Doctrine of Patience. The evil king was the past life of Devadatta who had a strong grudge towards the bodhisatta from one of his past lives. Now, he had the chance to torture the bodhisatta to test his patience. He cut off his limbs one by one to test his patience, from nose, ears, arms & legs. The bodhisatta bore all these physical sufferings with patience, forbearance, endurance & tolerance & still declared his Doctrine of Patience.

At last, because of the nobility & greatness of the bodhisatta & the evilness of the king, the earth opened up & Swallowed him to the hell realm. Prince Temiya Story was very remarkable. In this bodhisatta story, we can read the perfections of resolution (adhitthana), patience (khanti) & renunciation (nekkhamma). His patience & endurance to all the difficult tests were awe-inspiring. It seems to me except a highly developed bodhisatta would bear & succeed them.

__ Even though most Buddhists cannot imitate the bodhisatta to the higher levels, at least should cultivate the basic levels. If we imitate & learn from popular worldlings such as tycoons, politicians, actors, actresses, pop singers, etc. & increase our defilements or polluted our minds.

Therefore let us cultivate patience for peace to oneself & others in daily life. Here we have to remember that we have to be patient with not only unpleasant things & matters but also with pleasant things & matters. The best known Mahaghandhayone Sayadawgyi U Janakabhivamsa had this saying:
“Someone has patience with good & bad worldly conditions is an outstanding one.”
The worldly conditions are the eight loka dhammas; gain and loss, status and disgrace, censure and praise, pleasure, and pain. Indeed, the quality of patience is the highest protection with a blessing.

文章: 418
註冊時間: 2017-03-03, 08:00

27. Compliance/Obedience

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-21, 13:59

27. Compliance / Obedience

__ The Pali word sovacassatā is compliance or obedience. There was another Pali word in the Metta Sutta is suvaco cassa – easy to instruct. They are a very close relationship. Only obedient people are easy to instruct & easy to talk with them. This quality is also very important for one’s progress in the right direction of mundane & supramundane welfare. Therefore obedience & easy to instruct are connecting with wholesome things & matters. With unwholesome things & matters are ignorant & stupid, & not these qualities. All these we can see in the cases of Devadatta (The Buddha’s cousin) & Prince Ajātasattu.

Devadatta was not compliant & heeding to the Buddha’s admonitions that at last came to destruction & ruin. Prince Ajātasattu was following Devadatta’s evil advice & killed his father King Bimbisara & missed the chance of realization of Dhamma. A humble person is not proud or conceited & easy to teach. We can see these in the cases of novice Rahula (the Buddha’s son) & the old monk Radha.

Ven. Webu Sayadawgyi was the most venerable monk in Burma. In many of his Dhamma talks mentioned sovacassatā – compliance very often as a quality in practice. That is paying heed to teachers, sages, wise & noble ones to follow their advice & instructions. That is very true. We do not have this quality that most of us still roaming in the saṁsāra of sufferings.

__ Compliance or obedience is very important in societies. This quality has to be started from family life & schools. Obedient & easy to teach children & students are loved by their parents & teachers. Therefore these children are progressing in life because they follow in the right directions. Nowadays, the situations are different. We allow too much freedom to children & students.

Now children are difficult to teach & admonish. Instead, parents & teachers comply with their desire & views. Now we heard a lot of complaints from parents & teachers about these things. Why these things happen nowadays & not before? Because children & youths have a lot of freedom of rein as they can do what they think & like. Parents & teachers are not their parents & teachers. And they become parents & teachers, & not as children & students.They are influenced by many kinds of media. Media are their parents & teachers & their educational departments.

More than half a century ago, Mogok Sayadawgyi mentioned a very important point of Dhamma to U Tun Tin. (At that time a young man & one of the frequent listener of his talks). These words were also a prediction on science & technology to mankind. Sayadawgyi started teaching on meditation practice after the 2nd World War, i.e., 1945. His talks were not recorded until 1954. Only in 1955 onwards had proper recordings & it was invaluable Dhamma treasures for Buddhists.

Once he mentioned to U Tun Tin as follow; “Maung Tun Tin! With the progress of science & can record the voices/sound. If we can use it properly/rightly lead to Nibbāna. If we use it wrongly & go into the Woks (i.e., hell cauldron or hell wok).” Sayadaw’s prediction becomes evident nowadays. The problems are not lying with science & technology but with the human mind or saying rightly with the defiled mind. And all the fake progress are leading by greed & delusion, which are the causes of sufferings.

Now we see all the social problems & natural problems as the outcomes. Most people do not see the whole picture of anything & matter. And also they see things & matters superficially & very short-sighted views. They are carrying away by defilements. But the Buddha & noble beings were quite different. They saw the whole picture & penetrated it in depth, which extended to the future.

If we study & research of the suttas, these were not only teaching us for the present life but also for the future to come, even extended to the saṁsāra. Scientists, politicians & economists, can be intelligent & stupid but not wise. Therefore intelligence & wisdom are different things. A wise person is also intelligent but not stupid.

An intelligent person is not necessarily wise. Even sometimes, they are dangerous. This conclusion is not wrong. Internal & external pollutions of man & nature testified this point.

__ As already mentioned before wholesome dhamma has a connection with other wholesome dhammas; nwholesome & unwholesome are also in the same way. A disobedient person is not easy to teach & admonish. It is likely that he also disrespect to others (parents, elders & teachers). He is stubborn & follows his ways. We can see some children & students retort to their parents & teachers, even sometimes insult them with actions.

If they grew up in this way, their lives would be in downfall for sure. So parents & teachers should instill these qualities in children. Then they will have blessings & protections in their lives, & also to the societies. The following story in the Saṁyutta Nikāya was good for reflection on this subject.

A Thief of Scent:
A certain monk was dwelling in a certain woodland thicket. When he had returned from his alms round & after the meal, he had a habit. He used to descent into a pond & sniff the scent of lotus flowers there. The female devatā inhabited the woodland thicket concerned his practice, desired his good & to stir up a sense of urgency (saṁvega) in him, & approached him. She reproached him as follow.

The monk sniffed the scent of lotus flowers which had not been given. So this was a factor of theft, & became a thief of scent. The monk responded that he did not take it or damaged it. And only sniffed the scent from a distance. So what was the reason to accuse him as a thief of scent? But there were also others who dug up the lotus stalks & damaged the flowers. They had rough behaviors & why did not she reproach them.

The devatā replied that these people were already rough & fierce, & like a soiled & dirty cloth. So she had nothing to concern for them. But the monk was different. Because he was a person without blemish, & always in quest of purity. Even a small bit of unwholesomeness appeared as big as the cloud.

__ Then the monk accepted her admonition & thanked her for the advice. And requested her to admonish him again in the future whenever she saw such a deed. The deity reflected that this monk might become negligent & would think a deity was looking after his welfare. Therefore, she rejected his request & proposal. And told him that she was not his hired servant. He should know himself what was good for his welfare & the way to a good destination.

The monk in this story was seemed to be a good monk who loved nature & easy to be admonished & compliant. But he still lacked restraint with fragrant flowers. Even it seemed he was attached to it as a habit. For most people take small matters & things as insignificance. But for the wise, sages & noble beings even they take the minor things as important for mental development.

If someone can take care of the small things & for the serious ones not become problematic for them. Therefore the Buddha warned the monks even to see the slightest thing as a fault. Even small problems are more important than the bigger ones. Most of the bigger problems come from, the smaller ones. From nothing and it becomes something. So most of the human problems or social problems are created by human cravings & ignorance.

__ In this story, even an unseen being wanted to help good people. This was not the only story in the Nikāyas. Ven. Channa, who was proud & stubborn & not easy to admonish & teach by other monks. He was born with the bodhisatta on the same day & very close to him. So he was very conceited & not changed his bad behaviors even after admonished by the Buddha.

The Buddha, on the night of his parinibbāna, imposed the brahma punishment on him: he was to be left to his ways without anyone to teach or correct him. This punishment made his life difficult.

So he corrected his conceit & stubbornness & went to see Ven. Ānanda for help. Ven. Ānanda had learned by heart all the discourses of the Buddha that he gave him a suitable discourse, & then Ven. Channa became an arahant. So we can see how much important the quality of compliance. In the Dhammapada, one has to show gratitude to someone who points out our faults.

We should take it as someone shows us the buried treasures in the earth. That is true because most people cannot easily to recognize one’s own mistakes. But easy to see others’ faults. Only by knowing one’s own mistakes that one can have the chance to correct it. The best way is to check your own mistakes & faults very often. So it needs mindfulness. To rely on oneself is better than on others.

__ In helping or teaching others, we also need to be careful. Sometimes it can get into troubles. Importance to know the time, the place, the person involves & how to use words. The following jataka story described these points. Once the bodhisatta was a hermit. One day he crossed the river by boat with other passengers. The boatman was a bad-tempered man. And he never mentioned the boat fee to passengers beforehand. Only after passengers arrived at the other shore & he charged the boat fee. This behavior of his often caused the quarrels with the passengers.

This time also happened the same thing, at first with the passengers. At last, he turned towards the hermit for the fee. The bodhisatta told him that he did not have any money. So gave teaching to him as a fee. The bodhisatta hermit advised the boatman to declare the fee beforehand. And continued to exhort him that should not be angry, the outcome of anger was not good to him, etc. His anger was already arising with the passengers & after what he heard from the hermit made him angrier.

So he beat the bodhisatta on the spot. At that time his wife sent foods for him arrived there. She tried to pull apart her husband from the hermit. This foolish man was so angry that he turned to his wife & kicked her away. Unfortunately, at that time she was pregnant & terminated the pregnancy. He was also arrested & put in jail because the hermit was the king’s teacher. The hermit gave the same teaching to the king & rewarded with a village of 100,000 income tax money. But the bodhisatta rejected the reward.

__ This time the hermit received the blows from the boatman. The qualities of compliance & easy to teach & instruct are very important for worldly & spiritual progress. People want to be peaceful & happy in life should develop it. Parents should take this point seriously. And have to train their children to be obedient & respectful.

These qualities are ingrained in sages & noble beings. To become a good person it needs this quality. Therefore the parents want their children to progress in life & not to be worried about them should put effort to train them. So the Buddha taught; compliance was the highest protection and blessing.