By Ven. Horowpothane Sathindriya Thera –
Twenty-six centuries ago, an unprecedented and extraordinary epoch was dawn in our human history which a multitude of people still respectfully commemorate and spiritually celebrate, not blindly but realistically.
An incomparable birth, the full enlightenment and great passing away of the Son of Shakya clan (Shakya Putta) are the most significant events which are commemorated by millions of people through the practice of giving, moral conduct and purification of the mind.
As the aspirant of the Buddha; the Bodhisatta, who enthusiastically sought the ultimate truth, an incomparable noble search was implemented and actuated with indefatigable endeavour and indefinable determination till he reached the beacon of the conclusion of the aspiration of his spiritual purpose, the full enlightenment.
Inconceivable challenges and ineffable difficulties were enormous and excessively inundated in his life, but he patiently overcame and assiduously conquered them with courage and perseverance. With his unique dedication and paramount persistency, he conquered the battle of defilements and impurities; ultimately by treading the Noble Eightfold Path or Path of Purification which he attained by his spiritual accomplishment, the bliss of Nibbana.
As the Perfectly Enlightened One, the Gautama Buddha made his foremost statement and solid proclamation by presenting the following confirmation.
“Through many a birth in Samsara, have I wandered in vain, seeking the builder of his house of life. Repeated and continual birth is indeed suffering!
O’ house-builder, you are seen!
You will not build this house again. For all your rafters broken and your ridgepole shattered.
My mind has reached the unconditioned! I have attained the destruction of cravings.”
Though we pompously speak and make observations with excessive pride with others about worldly-minded achievements of science and Nano technology along with digital revolution in this New Millennium, still none of the scientists or technologists can guide humanity to eradicate and eliminate his/her mental agonies and miseries the way the Master the Gautama Buddha trained and led mankind without any discrimination or prejudice.
Modern science and Nano-technology have created competitive commercial culture in our human society today. Profit based multinational companies have influenced innocent people towards less happiness based life style.
Numerous countries struggle to improve their own Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but never introduce and concentrate on Gross National happiness (GNH). This is the catastrophic situation in Sri Lanka today. Back in 1970s 04th king of Bhutan famously pronounced that for Bhutan “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product”. This is an unprecedented pronouncement and very impressive statement which we rarely hear from heads of state in other part of the world today.
Today, emotional disturbances and mental traumas are overflowing in our human society. Unfortunately some members in our society come to an end with catastrophic conclusion due to their inconceivable agonies. Mental distress, frustration, stress, anxiety, grief, misery, sorrow, despair and depression which are widely known and prominent maladies and afflictions which we daily experience and encounter around the globe today.
The significance of the Buddha Dhamma, the teaching of the Buddha is opening the gateway to find and scrutinize the underlying tendencies of the mind and removing the cloud of ignorance which tremendously covers the human mind. The great Master, the Buddha has prescribed many techniques to apply and train ourselves to win the battle of hidden tendencies. This is why the Buddha Dhamma is widely accepted and appreciated in our human society today.
It is methodical and precise; it is practical and pragmatic. The vital factor in the Buddha Dhamma is training and discipline. This is why many members in our society diligently follow and practise meditation. The Gautama Buddha has clearly emphasised the way to get rid of and root out all impurities that victimize the human mind in his numerous discourses during his forty five years ministry as a Fully Enlightened One.
Majority may believe that building monuments, decorating shrine rooms, constructing colossal ramparts, gigantic domes and giant arches, organizing massive parades are the factors that one should perform and complete to achieve the true spiritual goal. Of course they are the supportive factors to maintain the dispensation of the Buddha. But, in order to cultivate and develop inner spiritual faculties one should wisely and honestly practice meditation. Practice of meditation truly helps one to detect and discover the true nature of one’s mind. An extensive period of concentrative process will be in conclusion of the detection and disclosure of true nature of the mind. The constant effort and the resolute dedication is the key factor to achieve innermost peace.
Some may firmly believe that aggressively working and fighting to preserve and protect their nationality and culture was what the Gautama Buddha asked and encouraged us to practise but none was included in his discourses at all. Once, when his disciples assembled, the Buddha precisely emphasised thus;
“Bhikkhus, there are these four means of sustaining a favourable relationship.
What four? Giving, endearing speech, beneficent conduct, and impartiality. These are four means of sustaining a favourable relationship.”
Unfortunately, many people have completely forgotten the authentic approach to find the true peace and innermost happiness that the great Master, the Buddha compassionately asked to achieve. There are numerous unacceptable and disgraceful activities are visible in the vicinity of the island of the Dhamma and political movements are gravely apparent and undeniable in our society today.
These provocative pursuits will constantly lead and create a very violent and hostile environment in our peaceful society.
Some people, both so called monks and laities have politicised the Three Refuges (The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha). Lack of true knowledge, lack of correct practice, lack of true leadership qualities and inadequacy of discipline and training are the well known facts and distinct reality. Cultural values and religious ethics are utterly forgotten. The current unscrupulous demeanour of some monks is very dangerous example for our future generation.
This may drive to ruin and damage the authenticity of the Buddha’s words. Millions of followers listen to numerous sermons; preachers competitively verbalize and prattle with their own interpretations to entertain unwise listeners. But crime rates and other despicable acts are brimming and horrendously overflowing.
Unfortunately, the deplorable and distressing fact is that individual branded credos and dogmas are proliferated and multiplied in the name of the Buddha Dhamma. No authority in the community of the Buddhist monks or responsible government to take any decisive and conclusive action to protect and preserve true doctrine and discipline (Dhamma –Vinaya).
The quality and standard of the monkhood has been drastically changed. Many monks have embraced and engaged in party politics. The life style, the way of life, behaviour as a disciple of the Buddha, deportment of monkhood, duties and responsibilities as a monk is completely disappeared and absent in certain individuals.
Unacceptable behaviour and disgraceful acts of so called monks lead drastically changed people’s respectful attitudes and deep rooted devotion. The way they speak and express their antagonistic ideas and inimical views is completely dangerous and catastrophic. Our future generation will be in a vulnerable situation and true spiritual practice will be dramatically disappeared.
The Buddha declared that “Vinayo Naama Sasanassa Aayu” Discipline is the lifespan of the dispensation of the Buddha. Numerous well-disciplined and well trained monks have guided our Buddhist community with outstanding examples but now it is in topsy-turvy.
Some mentally retarded and psychologically damaged individuals attempt to repair and renew their blemished reputations by using their own political views and racial provocations. Some of them have mixed the doctrine and are asking lay people to practise what monks should practise and monks are doing on the contrary to what they have to practise.
Vinaya or discipline is a very crucial fact in Buddha Sasana or dispensation of the Buddha. As a monk or Bhikkhu, he must be trained under his teacher or senior monk for at least five years after higher ordination. If teacher or senior monk does not allow him to perform activities such as delivering sermons, conducting meditation programmes or holding discussions, he must remain till he is given permission. Unfortunately currently what has happened is catastrophic. No training or probation period for novices or Bhikkhus, therefore people are confused and following wrong dogmas.
The current propensity and inconceivable proclivity in the Sinhalese Buddhist community around the globe is indescribable. Listening to multitudes of sermons and taking part of meditation programmes are widely spread and a fast growing cult of personality.
Time has arrived with the pure and pragmatic message of peace and harmony which is 26 centuries old but is still fresh and applicable to all without any impediment. We all must honestly and truly implant the correct and unblemished seeds of Four Sublime Qualities such as Metta ( Loving Kindness), Karuna ( Compassion) Mudita ( Appreciative –joy) and Upekkha (Equanimity) and genuinely cultivate and diligently develop them to achieve the true peace within.
Hatred, jealousy, craving for power, lust, all defilements and underlying tendencies are the driving forces which lead humanity to disharmony, warfare and conflicts. That is the true nature of external environment, but their innermost atmosphere is horrendously defiled and dreadfully corrupted.
Everyone must be very mindful of this grave and serious inner environment. The Buddha Dhamma is the very pragmatic guide and captain that directs us to the right path to meet the ultimate indescribable innermost peace and inner happiness. The practitioner must be very patient, humble, determined, effortful, ambitious, efficient, skilful, competent and courageous. The practitioner who is endowed and equipped with these spiritual devices and funds will definitely offer the true ingredients and elements for the reconciliation of our human society.
Antagonism and animosity are the burning issues in the globe today. World recognized organizations indefatigably work hard to implement and execute numerous programmes to resolve and to find the solid and long-lasting solution to this smouldering matter of contention. Until members of our human society accept the inner failure and start with the fresh thoughts of loving kindness and compassion, none can reach the destination of unity and harmony.
An antagonistic and hostile manner or approach never comes to the conclusion of goodwill and amity at all. The history of ours and others has clearly proved that failure. This is not an easy task in action, but this definitely will pave the way to reconciliation.
Hope this reconciliation will be in action rather than in word.
“He who is friendly amidst the hostile,
Peaceful amidst the violent,
And unattached amidst the attached
Him do I call a Holy man”
“When I meet a man I never think of his race, colour or religion but I feel that I have met another member in my human family”
(His Holiness The Dalai Lama)
May all beings be well and happy!
*Ven. Horowpothane Sathindriya Thera -Samadhi Buddhist Meditation Centre – Victoria – Australia.