Friday, May 24, 2013

Vesak 2013

In a world awash in intolerance, bigotry, misguided religious zeal and the manipulation of  the truths spoken by the great teachers of yore for personal advantage, on this day, 2600 years after his passing, let us re-visit the truth spoken by the Buddha - the one who acquired knowledge of the four truths of the noble ones, the Thathaagatha - the one thus gone, the Lokawidu - the seer of the world.

This, the Vijjacharana Sampanno - the one endowed with supreme knowledge and conduct - instructed us to understand for ourselves as suffering: being born, aging, death, sickness, enforced company of the unloved, enforced parting from the loved and the inability to acquire things that we want. Let us reflect on this for awhile. Is this true? Are there other avenues of suffering that exist outside of these seven roots? I have examined carefully, thoughtfully, impartially, and have found none.

This, Saththa Deva Manussanam - the teach of Gods and Men - instructed us to understand for ourselves this as the cause of suffering: craving arising from a desire for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming and craving for non-becoming. Let us reflect on this for awhile. Is this true? Are there other avenues that cause or grow suffering? I have examined carefully, thoughtfully, impartially, and have found none.

This, the Buddha - the one who realized Nibbana independently - instructed us to understand for ourselves as the cessation of suffering: the remainderless stopping of that very craving. Let us reflect on this for awhile. If craving causes suffering, does it not follow that the cessation of craving ceases suffering? It does.

This, the Bhagavatha - the blessed one - instructed us to understand for
ourselves as the means to achieving this cessation: Simply this - the eight fold path practiced by the wise. Right vision, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. This, is up to each of us to practice and realize for ourselves. One can be instructed on ways and means but one must acquire the vision, the thought, the speech, the action, the livelihood, the effort, the mindfulness and the concentration that yields the result of cessation.

The Buddha's message is simple: I practiced this, I achieved this. If you practice this, you too shall achieve the same. The question is, do we want to? The eight fold path practiced by the wise is based on giving, on virtue, on renouncing, on insight, on diligence, on patience and tolerance, on truth and honesty, on determination, on loving-kindness and on equanimity. A quick glance at the world shows us how unfashionable such human traits have become.

In Sri Lanka, the Buddha has been subsumed. Instead, Buddhism had risen. In other parts of the world, Christ is no longer relevant, Christianity is, the Prophet Mohamed (Peace Be Upon Him) is relegated to the sidelines and Islam has taken him over, Lord Shiva might as well have never spoken formidable truths to Sankarachariya because Hinduism has trundled over him. The great teachers spoke the truth and walked that talk. Fallible men and women made religions out of them and merely talked their non-existent walk. The resultant disaster is all too evident.

Today, a man in robes emulated himself in front of the Dalada Maligawa. For what? According to him, to stop the slaughter of cows, to stop religious conversions. I feel sorry for this man because he is both ignorant and foolish. The Buddha never made any distinction between animals but simply stated, as Christ did 500 years later, "though shalt not kill, cause the death of another living creature or live by killing another living creature". So why does this man talk like a cow about cows? Not because it is part of the truth spoken by the Buddha but because it is something that Muslims do that he seems to be against.

In the first, he does himself harm on two fronts. On the one side, he has, while in robes, modified and changed what the Buddha spake - for this, he is guilty of one of the five heinous crimes (Ananthariya - no time lapse between crime and its result), namely, of causing schism amongst the Bhikkus and the result for changing just one of the word spoken by the knower of all truths is an eon in a woeful state in hell. On the other, paradoxically, he attempts to destroy life (his own) while asking for the sparing of other lives (those of cows) and a person who destroys a human life will find it hard to regain such a human form in later lives.

In the second, he violates one of the principles of monkhood - that of patience and tolerance (kanthi). It is not his to worry in the slightest about what the world does or does not do. Whether they convert from science to religion or religion to atheism or atheism to agnosticism, those are activities indulged in by human beings caught in the thrall of lust, desire, self-servitude, anger and belligerence.These are not conducive to the cessation of craving but rather for the grown and exacerbation of it.  If he is a monk, he is, by the disciplinary rules for monks (Uposatha and Pathimokka), preempted from this. If he does this, despite his supposed vows, he is once again guilty of the same Ananthariya sin.

Poor man. I am astonished at the level of self-inflicted suffering that a person, supposedly of the cloth, can inflict upon himself. I can only wish him peace at some point in his journey through Samsara. For now, I know where he is and where he is going and it washes me with sadness and shocks me into silence.

Here below is a small video I made for my wife to show her students. Unlike fire, impatience and intolerance, it is cooling. Enjoy...


  1. Why don't you allow anonymous comments for your blog?? It will make more people attracted to it.

  2. This will be news to you, but unfortunately your brother Malinda says that people who eat meat are promoting animal cruelty and hence immoral. So, your own brother considers you, who obviously eats meat as a bad, immoral person. :)


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