Monday, October 30, 2006

BUDDHIST VOWS


Any Lay Buddhist simply joins the Three Refuges and undertakes the Five Precepts like this: Newly bathed, shaved, white-clothed, with clean bare feet, one kneels at a shrine with a Buddha-statue, and bows first three times, so that feet, hands, elbows, knees & head touch the floor. Then, with joined palms at the heart, one recites these memorized lines in a loud, calm & steady voice:As long as this life lasts:

I hereby take refuge in the Buddha.
I hereby take refuge in the Dhamma (Buddha’s teachings).
I hereby take refuge in the Sangha (Buddha’s disciple monks).
I hereby seek shelter in the Buddha for the 2nd time.
I hereby seek shelter in the Dhamma for the 2nd time.
I hereby seek shelter in the Sangha for the 2nd time.
I hereby request protection from the Buddha for the 3rd time.
I hereby request protection from the Dhamma for the 3rd time.
I hereby request protection from the Sangha for the 3rd time.
I will hereby respect these
Three Jewels the rest of my life!
I accept to respect & undertake these 5 training rules:
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Killing.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Stealing.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Sexual Abuse.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Dishonesty.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Alcohol & Drugs.As long as this life lasts,
I am thus protected by these 5 precepts...

(Courtesy of Bhikkhu Samahita, Ceylon)

BUDDHA MUDRAS



Mudras are a non-verbal mode of communication and self-expression, consisting of hand gestures and finger-postures. They are symbolic sign based finger patterns taking the place, but retaining the efficacy of the spoken word, and are used to evoke in the mind ideas symbolizing divine powers or the deities themselves. The composition of a mudra is based on certain movements of the fingers; in other words, they constitute a highly stylized form of gestural communication. It is an external expression of 'inner resolve', suggesting that such non-verbal communications are more powerful than the spoken word.

1.Dharmachakra mudra
Dharmachakra in Sanskrit means the 'Wheel of Dharma'. This mudra symbolizes one of the most important moments in the life of Buddha, the occasion when he preached to his companions the first sermon after his Enlightenment in the Deer Park at Sarnath. It thus denotes the setting into motion of the Wheel of the teaching of the Dharma.

2.Bhumisparsha mudra
Literally Bhumisparsha translates into 'touching the earth'. It is more commonly known as the 'earth witness' mudra. This mudra, formed with all five fingers of the right hand extended to touch the ground, symbolizes the Buddha's enlightenment under the bodhi tree, when he summoned the earth goddess, Sthavara, to bear witness to his attainment of enlightenment. The right hand, placed upon the right knee in earth-pressing mudra, and complemented by the left hand-which is held flat in the lap in the dhyana mudra of meditation, symbolizes the union of method and wisdom, samasara and nirvana, and also the realizations of the conventional and ultimate truths. It is in this posture that Shakyamuni overcame the obstructions of Mara while meditating on Truth.

3.Varada mudra
This mudra symbolizes charity, compassion and boon-granting. It is the mudra of the accomplishment of the wish to devote oneself to human salvation. It is nearly always made with the left hand, and can be made with the arm hanging naturally at the side of the body, the palm of the open hand facing forward, and the fingers extended.

4.Dhyana mudra
The Dhyana mudra may be made with one or both hands. When made with a single hand the left one is placed in the lap, while the right may be engaged elsewhere. The left hand making the Dhyana mudra in such cases symbolizes the female left-hand principle of wisdom. Ritual objects such as a text, or more commonly an alms bowl symbolizing renunciation, may be placed in the open palm of this left hand.

5.Abhaya Mudra
Abhaya in Sanskrit means fearlessness. Thus this mudra symbolizes protection, peace, and the dispelling of fear. It is made with the right hand raised to shoulder height, the arm crooked, the palm of the hand facing outward, and the fingers upright and joined. The left hand hangs down at the side of the body. In Thailand, and especially in Laos, this mudra is associated with the movement of the walking Buddha (also called 'the Buddha placing his footprint'). It is nearly always used in images showing the Buddha upright, either immobile with the feet joined, or walking.

KALAMA SUTTA


1. I heard thus. Once the Blessed One, while wandering in the Kosala country with a large community of bhikkhus, entered a town of the Kalama people called Kesaputta. The Kalamas who were inhabitants of Kesaputta: "Reverend Gotama, the monk, the son of the Sakiyans, has, while wandering in the Kosala country, entered Kesaputta. The good repute of the Reverend Gotama has been spread in this way: Indeed, the Blessed One is thus consummate, fully enlightened, endowed with knowledge and practice, sublime, knower of the worlds, peerless, guide of tamable men, teacher of divine and human beings, which he by himself has through direct knowledge understood clearly. He set forth the Dhamma, good in the beginning, good in the middle, good in the end, possessed of meaning and the letter, and complete in everything; and he proclaims the holy life that is perfectly pure. Seeing such consummate ones is good indeed."

2. Then the Kalamas who were inhabitants of Kesaputta went to where the Blessed One was. On arriving there some paid homage to him and sat down on one side; some exchanged greetings with him and after the ending of cordial memorable talk, sat down on one side; some saluted him raising their joined palms and sat down on one side; some announced their name and family and sat down on one side; some without speaking, sat down on one side.

3. The Kalamas who were inhabitants of Kesaputta sitting on one side said to the Blessed One: "There are some monks and brahmins, venerable sir, who visit Kesaputta. They expound and explain only their own doctrines; the doctrines of others they despise, revile, and pull to pieces. Some other monks and brahmins too, venerable sir, come to Kesaputta. They also expound and explain only their own doctrines; the doctrines of others they despise, revile, and pull to pieces. Venerable sir, there is doubt, there is uncertainty in us concerning them. Which of these reverend monks and brahmins spoke the truth and which falsehood?"

4. "It is proper for you, Kalamas, to doubt, to be uncertain; uncertainty has arisen in you about what is doubtful. Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,' abandon them.

5. "What do you think, Kalamas? Does greed appear in a man for his benefit or harm?" -- "For his harm, venerable sir." -- "Kalamas, being given to greed, and being overwhelmed and vanquished mentally by greed, this man takes life, steals, commits adultery, and tells lies; he prompts another too, to do likewise. Will that be long for his harm and ill?" -- "Yes, venerable sir."

6. "What do you think, Kalamas? Does hate appear in a man for his benefit or harm?" -- "For his harm, venerable sir." -- "Kalamas, being given to hate, and being overwhelmed and vanquished mentally by hate, this man takes life, steals, commits adultery, and tells lies; he prompts another too, to do likewise. Will that be long for his harm and ill?" -- "Yes, venerable sir."

7. "What do you think, Kalamas? Does delusion appear in a man for his benefit or harm?" -- "For his harm, venerable sir." -- "Kalamas, being given to delusion, and being overwhelmed and vanquished mentally by delusion, this man takes life, steals, commits adultery, and tells lies; he prompts another too, to do likewise. Will that be long for his harm and ill?" -- "Yes, venerable sir."

8. "What do you think, Kalamas? Are these things good or bad?" -- "Bad, venerable sir" -- "Blamable or not blamable?" -- "Blamable, venerable sir." -- "Censured or praised by the wise?" -- "Censured, venerable sir." -- "Undertaken and observed, do these things lead to harm and ill, or not? Or how does it strike you?" -- "Undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill. Thus it strikes us here."

9. "Therefore, did we say, Kalamas, what was said thus, 'Come Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, "The monk is our teacher." Kalamas, when you yourselves know: "These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill," abandon them.'

10. "Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them.

11. "What do you think, Kalamas? Does absence of greed appear in a man for his benefit or harm?" -- "For his benefit, venerable sir." -- "Kalamas, being not given to greed, and being not overwhelmed and not vanquished mentally by greed, this man does not take life, does not steal, does not commit adultery, and does not tell lies; he prompts another too, to do likewise. Will that be long for his benefit and happiness?" -- "Yes, venerable sir."

12. "What do you think, Kalamas? Does absence of hate appear in a man for his benefit or harm?" -- "For his benefit, venerable sir." -- "Kalamas, being not given to hate, and being not overwhelmed and not vanquished mentally by hate, this man does not take life, does not steal, does not commit adultery, and does not tell lies; he prompts another too, to do likewise. Will that be long for his benefit and happiness?" _ "Yes, venerable sir."

13. "What do you think, Kalamas? Does absence of delusion appear in a man for his benefit or harm?" -- "For his benefit, venerable sir." -- "Kalamas, being not given to delusion, and being not overwhelmed and not vanquished mentally by delusion, this man does not take life, does not steal, does not commit adultery, and does not tell lies; he prompts another too, to do likewise. Will that be long for his benefit and happiness?" _ "Yes, venerable sir."

14. "What do you think, Kalamas? Are these things good or bad?" -- "Good, venerable sir." -- "Blamable or not blamable?" -- "Not blamable, venerable sir." -- "Censured or praised by the wise?" -- "Praised, venerable sir." -- "Undertaken and observed, do these things lead to benefit and happiness, or not? Or how does it strike you?" -- "Undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness. Thus it strikes us here."

15. "Therefore, did we say, Kalamas, what was said thus, 'Come Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, "The monk is our teacher." Kalamas, when you yourselves know: "These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill," abandon them.'

16. "The disciple of the Noble Ones, Kalamas, who in this way is devoid of coveting, devoid of ill will, undeluded, clearly comprehending and mindful, dwells, having pervaded, with the thought of amity, one quarter; likewise the second; likewise the third; likewise the fourth; so above, below, and across; he dwells, having pervaded because of the existence in it of all living beings, everywhere, the entire world, with the great, exalted, boundless thought of amity that is free of hate or malice.

17. "He lives, having pervaded, with the thought of compassion, one quarter; likewise the second; likewise the third; likewise the fourth; so above, below, and across; he dwells, having pervaded because of the existence in it of all living beings, everywhere, the entire world, with the great, exalted, boundless thought of compassion that is free of hate or malice.

18. "He lives, having pervaded, with the thought of gladness, one quarter; likewise the second; likewise the third; likewise the fourth; so above, below, and across; he dwells, having pervaded because of the existence in it of all living beings, everywhere, the entire world, with the great, exalted, boundless thought of gladness that is free of hate or malice.

19. "He lives, having pervaded, with the thought of equanimity, one quarter; likewise the second; likewise the third; likewise the fourth; so above, below, and across; he dwells, having pervaded because of the existence in it of all living beings, everywhere, the entire world, with the great, exalted, boundless thought of equanimity that is free of hate or malice.

20. "The disciple of the Noble Ones, Kalamas, who has such a hate-free mind, such a malice-free mind, such an undefiled mind, and such a purified mind, is one by whom four solaces are found here and now.

21. "'Suppose there is a hereafter and there is a fruit, result, of deeds done well or ill. Then it is possible that at the dissolution of the body after death, I shall arise in the heavenly world, which is possessed of the state of bliss.' This is the first solace found by him.

22. "'Suppose there is no hereafter and there is no fruit, no result, of deeds done well or ill. Yet in this world, here and now, free from hatred, free from malice, safe and sound, and happy, I keep myself.' This is the second solace found by him.

23. "'Suppose evil (results) befall an evil-doer. I, however, think of doing evil to no one. Then, how can ill (results) affect me who do no evil deed?' This is the third solace found by him.

24. "'Suppose evil (results) do not befall an evil-doer. Then I see myself purified in any case.' This is the fourth solace found by him. "

25. The disciple of the Noble Ones, Kalamas, who has such a hate-free mind, such a malice-free mind, such an undefiled mind, and such a purified mind, is one by whom, here and now, these four solaces are found."

26. "So it is, Blessed One. So it is, Sublime one. The disciple of the Noble Ones, venerable sir, who has such a hate-free mind, such a malice-free mind, such an undefiled mind, and such a purified mind, is one by whom, here and now, four solaces are found. "

27. "'Suppose there is a hereafter and there is a fruit, result, of deeds done well or ill. Then it is possible that at the dissolution of the body after death, I shall arise in the heavenly world, which is possessed of the state of bliss.' This is the first solace found by him.

28. 'Suppose there is no hereafter and there is no fruit, no result, of deeds done well or ill. Yet in this world, here and now, free from hatred, free from malice, safe and sound, and happy, I keep myself.' This is the second solace found by him.

29. "'Suppose evil (results) befall an evil-doer. I, however, think of doing evil to no one. Then, how can ill (results) affect me who do no evil deed?' This is the third solace found by him.

30. "'Suppose evil (results) do not befall an evil-doer. Then I see myself purified in any case.' This is the fourth solace found by him.

31. "The disciple of the Noble Ones, venerable sir, who has such a hate-free mind, such a malice-free mind, such an undefiled mind, and such a purified mind, is one by whom, here and now, these four solaces are found."

32. "Marvelous, venerable sir! Marvelous, venerable sir! As if, venerable sir, a person were to turn face upwards what is upside down, or to uncover the concealed, or to point the way to one who is lost or to carry a lamp in the darkness, thinking, 'Those who have eyes will see visible objects,' so has the Dhamma been set forth in many ways by the Blessed One. We, venerable sir, go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma for refuge, and to the Community of Bhikkhus for refuge. Venerable sir, may the Blessed One regard us as lay followers who have gone for refuge for life, from today."

Friday, October 20, 2006


The Characteristics of Buddhist Way of Life
1. Avoiding extreme passions and luxury
2. Avoiding extreme self-torture

The Universal Truths of Life
1. The noble truth of pain:_ birth is painful; old age is painful; sickness is painful; death is painful; sorrow, lamentation, dejection and despair are painful; contact with unpleasant things is painful; and not getting what one wishes is painful.
2. The noble truth of the cause of pain:_ the craving for passion; and seeking pleasure here and there.
3. The noble truth of the cessation of pain:_ non-attachment of the mind to cravings for pleasure and passion.
4. The noble truth of the way that leads to the cessation of pain:_ this is the noble eightfold way

The Noble Eightfold Way
1.correct understanding of life
2.correct intentions in life
3.correct speech
4.correct action
5.correct livelihood
6.correct attention
7.correct concentration
8. correct meditation.
PRACTICAL FAITH
Do not be led by reports, or tradition, or hearsay. Be not led by the authority of religious texts, nor by considering appearances, nor by seeming possibilities; not even by the idea of the teacher.
But when you know for youselves that certain things are unwholesome and wrong, and bad, then give them up ... And when you know for youselves that certain things are wholesome and good, then accept them and follow them.

The Buddha's First Sermon


These two extremes, monks, are not to be practiced by one who has gone forth from the world. What are the two?
That joined with the passions and luxury--- low, vulgar, common, ignoble, and useless, and that joined with self-torture--- painful, ignoble, and useless.
Avoiding these two extremes the one who has thus come has gained the enlightenment of the middle path, which produces insight and knowledge, and leads to peace, wisdom, enlightenment, and nirvana.
And what, monks, is the middle path, by which the one who has thus come has gained enlightenment, which produces knowledge and insight, and leads to peace, wisdom, enlightenment, and nirvana?
This is the noble eightfold way, namely, correct understanding, correct intention, correct speech, correct action, correct livelihood, correct attention, correct concentration, and correct meditation.
This, monks, is the middle path, by which the one who has thus come has gained enlightenment, which produces insight and knowledge, and leads to peace, wisdom, enlightenment, and nirvana.
Now this, monks, is the noble truth of pain: birth is painful; old age is painful; sickness is painful; death is painful; sorrow, lamentation, dejection, and despair are painful. Contact with unpleasant things is painful; not getting what one wishes is painful. In short the five groups of grasping are painful. Now this, monks, is the noble truth of the cause of pain: the craving, which leads to rebirth, combined with pleasure and lust, finding pleasure here and there,namely the craving for passion, the craving for existence, and the craving for non-existence.
Now this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of pain: the cessation without a remainder of craving, the abandonment, forsaking, release, and non-attachment.
Now this, monks, is the noble truth of the way that leads to the cessation of pain: this is the noble eightfold way, namely, correct understanding, correct intention, correct speech, correct action, correct livelihood, correct attention, correct concentration, and correct meditation.
"This is the noble truth of pain": Thus, monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me insight, wisdom, knowledge, and light arose.
"This noble truth of pain must be comprehended." Thus, monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me insight, wisdom, knowledge, and light arose.
"It has been comprehended." Thus, monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me insight, wisdom, knowledge, and light arose.
"This is the noble truth of the cause of pain": Thus, monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me insight, wisdom, knowledge, and light arose.
"The cause of pain must be abandoned." Thus, monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me insight, wisdom, knowledge, and light arose.
"It has been abandoned." Thus, monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me insight, wisdom, knowledge, and light arose.
"This is the noble truth of the cessation of pain": Thus, monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me insight, wisdom, knowledge, and light arose.
"The cessation of pain must be realized." Thus, monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me insight, wisdom, knowledge, and light arose.
"It has been realized." Thus, monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me insight, wisdom, knowledge, and light arose.
"This is the noble truth of the way that leads to the cessation of pain": Thus, monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me insight, wisdom, knowledge, and light arose.
"The way must be practiced." Thus, monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me insight, wisdom, knowledge, and light arose.
"It has been practiced." Thus, monks, among doctrines unheard before, in me insight, wisdom, knowledge, and light arose.
As long as in these four noble truths my due knowledge and insight with the three sections and twelve divisions was not well purified, even so long, monks, in the world with its gods, Mara, Brahma, its beings with ascetics, priests, gods, and men, I had not attained the highest complete enlightenment.This I recognized.
And when, monks, in these four noble truths my due knowledge and insight with its three sections and twelve divisions was well purified, then monks,in the world with its gods, Mara, Brahma, its beings with ascetics, priests, gods, and men, I had attained the highest complete enlightenment. This I recognized.
Knowledge arose in me; insight arose that the release of my mind is unshakable: this is my last existence; now there is no rebirth


BUDDHA
Who is a Buddha? A Buddha is one who has attained bodhi. By bodhi is meant an ideal state of intellectual and ethical perfection which can be attained by man by purely human means. In order to make clear how the Buddha attained bodhi, let me narrate a brief summary of the Buddhas life.

Buddha Gotama
About 623 years before the Christian era, there was born in Lumbini Park in the neighbourhood of Kapilavatthu, now known asPadaria in the district of modern Nepal. an Indian Sakyan prince, Siddattha Gotama by name. To mark the spot as the birthplace of the greatest teacher of mankind, and as a token of his reverence for him, the Emperor Asoka in 239 B.C.. erected a pillar bearing the inscription. 'Here was the Enlightened One born'.
Gotama's father was Suddhodana, king of Kapilavatthu. the chief town of the Sakyan clan; and his mother, who died seven days after his birth, was Queen Mayar, who also belonged to the same clan. Under the care of his maternal aunt, Pajapati Gotami. Sidhatta spent his early years in ease, luxury and culture. At the age of sixteen he was married to his cousin, Rasodhara, the daughter of Suppabuddha, the king of Devadaha, and they had a son named Rahula.
For nearly thirteen years Siddhattha led the life of a luxurious Indian prince, seeing only the beautiful and the pleasant. In his twenty-ninth year, however, the truth gradually dawned upon him, and he realized that all without exception were subject to birth, decay and death and that all worldly pleasures were only a prelude to pain. Comprehending thus the universality of sorrow, he had a strong desire to find the origin of it, and a panacea for this universal sickness of humanity. Accordingly he renounced the world and donned the simple garb of an ascetic.
Wandering as a seeker after peace he placed himself under the spiritual guidance of two renowned brahman teachers, Alara and Uddaka. The former was head of a large number of followers at Vesali and was an adherent of Kapila, the reputed founder of the Sassata system of philosophy, who laid great stress on the belief in atma. the ego. He regarded the disbelief in the existence of a soul as not tending towards religion. Without the belief in an eternal immaterial soul he could not see any way of salvation. Like the wild bird when liberated from its trap, the soul when freed from its material limitations would attain perfect release; when the ego discerned its immaterial nature it would attain true deliverance. This teaching did not satisfy the Bodhisatta, and hequitted Alara and placed himself under the tuition of Uddaka.
The latter also expatiated on the question of 'I'', but laid greater stress on the effects of kamma and the transmigration of the soul. The Bodhisatta saw the truth in the doctrine of kamma, but he could not believe in the existence of a soul or its transmigration; he therefore quitted Uddaka also and went to the priests officiating in temples to see if he could learn from them the way of escape from suffering and sorrow. However, the unnecessarily cruel sacrifices performed on the altars of the gods were revolting to his gentle nature, and Gotama preached to the priests the futility of atoning for evil deeds by the destruction of life, and the impossibility of practising religion by the neglect of the moral life
Wandering from Vesali in search of a better system Siddattha went to many a distinguished teacher of his day, but nobody was competent to give him what he earnestly sought. All the so-called philosophers were groping in the dark, it was a matter of the blind leading the blind, for they were all enmeshed in ignorance. At last Siddattha came to a settlement of five pupils of Uddaka, headed by Kondanna, in the jungle of Uruvela near Gaya in Magadha. There he saw these five keeping their senses in check, subduing their passions and practising austere penance. He admired their zeal and earnestness, and to give a trial to the means used by them he applied himself to mortification, for it was the belief in those days that no salvation could be gained unless one led a life of strict asceticism, so he subjected himself to all forms of practicable austerities. Adding vigil to vigil, and penance to penance, he made a super-human effort for six long years until eventually his body became shrunken like a withered branch. His blood dried up, the skin shrivelled and the veins protruded, but the more he tortured his body the farther his goal receded from him. His strenuous and unsuccessful endeavours taught him one important lesson, though, and that was the utter futility of self-mortification.
Having this valuable experience he finally decided to follow an independent course avoiding the two extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification, for the former tends to retard one's spiritual progress and the latter to weaken one's intellect. The new path was the Majjhima Patipada, the Middle Path, which subsequently became one of the salient characteristics of his teaching.
Early in the morning on the full moon day of Vesakha, as he was seated in deep meditation under the Bodhi Tree, unaided and unguided by any supernatural agency but solely relying on his own efforts. the consciousness of true insight possessed him. He saw the mistaken ways that all the various faiths maintained, he discerned the sources whence earthly suffering came and the way that leads to its annihilation. He saw that the cause of suffering lay in a selfish cleaving to life, and that the way of escape from suffering lay in treading the Eightfold Path. With discernment of these grand truths and their realization in life, the Bodhisatta eradicated all passions and attained enlightenment - he thus became a Buddha.
Having attained Buddhahood, the supreme state of perfection, he devoted the remainder of his precious life to serving humanity, both by example and precept, without any personal motive whatsoever. In order to deliver his first sermon the Buddha started for Benares, which has been famous for centuries as the centre of religious life and thought. On his way he met one of his former acquaintances. Upaka, a Jain monk, who, being struck by his majestic and joyful appearance, asked, 'Who is the teacher under whose guidance you have renounced the world?' The Buddha replied, 'I have no master, I am the Perfect One, the Buddha. I have attained peace. I have attained Nibbana. To found the Kingdom of Righteousness I am going to Benares: there I shall light the lamp of life for the benefit of those who are enshrouded in the darkness of sin and death.' Upaka then asked. 'Do you profess to be the Jina, the conqueror of the world?' The Buddha replied, ' Jinas are those who have conquered self and the passions of self, and those alone are victors who control their passions and abstain from sin. I have conquered self and overcome all sin, therefore I am the Jina.'
At Benares he met Kondanna and his four companions in the Deer Park, now known as Saranath. When these five saw the Buddha coming towards them they addressed him as Gotama, his family name. Then the Buddha said to them, 'Call me not after my personal name, for it is a rude and careless way of addressing one who has become a Buddha. My mind is undisturbed whether people treat me with respect or disrespect, but it is not courteous for others to call one who looks equally with a kind heart upon all living beings, by his familiar name; Buddhas bring salvation to the world and so they ought to be treated with respect.' Then he preached them his first great sermon, the Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta, in which he explained the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. They received ordination and formed the first nucleus of the holy brotherhood of disciples known as the Sangha.
During his active life the Buddha made many converts, high and low, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, brahmans and chandalas, ascetics and householders, robbers and cannibals, nobles and peasants, men and women from all classes and conditions became his countless disciples, both ordained and lay. After a supreme ministry of forty-five years the Buddha, in his last preaching tour, came to the town of Kusinara in the eastern part of Nepal, where he passed into Nibbana at the ripe age of eighty. His last words to his disciples were,'All conditioned things are subject to decay; strive with heedfulness'.
The Buddha was, therefore, a human being. As a man he was born, as a man he lived, and as a man his life came to an end. Though a human being he became an extra-ordinary man, acchariya manussa, as he himself says in the Anguttara Nikaya; he does not claim to be an incarnation of Vishnu, as the Hindus believe, nor does he call himself a saviour who saves others by his personal salvation. The Buddha exhorts his disciples to depend on themselves for their salvation, for both purity and defilement depend on oneself. In the Dhammapada he says, 'You yourselves should make the exertion, the Buddhas are only teachers. The thoughtful who enter the Way are freed from the bondage of sin. He who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise, who, though young and strong is full of sloth, whose will and thoughts are weak, that lazy and idle man will never find the way to enlightenment. Strenuousness is the path of immortality, sloth the path of death. Those who are strenuous do not die; those who are slothful are as if dead already.'
Buddhas point out the path, and it is left to us to follow that path to save ourselves. To depend on others for salvation is negative, but to depend on oneself is positive. In exhorting his disciples to be self-dependent the Buddha says in the Parinibbana Sutta, 'Be ye lamps unto yourselves; be ye refuges to yourselves; hold fast to the Dhamma as a lamp; hold fast to the Dhamma as a refuge; seek not for refuge in anyone except yourselves. Whosoever shall be a lamp unto themselves and a refuge unto themselves, it is they among the seekers after bodhi who shall reach the very topmost height.'
Furthermore, the Buddha does not claim the monopoly of Buddha-hood which, factually, is not the special prerogative of any specially chosen person. He reached the highest possible state of perfection to which any person could aspire, and he revealed the only straight path that leads thereto. According to the teachings of the Buddha anybody may aspire to that supreme state of perfection if he makes the necessary exertion; thus, instead of disheartening his followers and reserving that exalted state only for himself, the Buddha gave encouragement and inducement to follow his noble example.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The 4 Confidences of a Buddha


The confidence inherent in complete & perfect self-enlightenment, is the 1st certainty, assurance, safety & fearlessness a Buddha enjoy.
The confidence inherent in total elimination of all mental fermentation, is the 2nd certainty, assurance, safety & fearlessness a Buddha enjoy.
The confidence inherent in knowing & seeing all obstructions as obstruction, is the 3rd certainty, assurance, safety & fearlessness a Buddha enjoy.
The confidence inherent in teaching a Dhamma which unambiguously always lead to the complete & irreversible destruction & ceasing of all suffering, is the 4th certainty, assurance, safety & fearlessness a Buddha enjoy.

Buddhas 6 knowledges


1: Direct knowledge of penetration of other being's Abilities.
2: Direct knowledge of other being's latent Tendencies & biases.
3: Direct knowledge of how to perform the Twin Miracle.
4: Direct knowledge of how to achieve Great Compassion.
5: Direct knowledge of Omniscient Knowledge.
6: Direct knowledge of Unobstructed Knowledge.

The 10 Powers of a Buddha


1: He knows what are the causes & not-causes of any event & thing. He knows the possible as possible & the impossible as impossible.
2: He knows the results of any past, present & future action.
3: He knows the destination of any way, path & course.
4: He knows the diversity of forms in any world & dimension.
5: He knows the diverse character & inclination of any being.
6: He knows the different abilities & possibilities of any being.
7: He knows the obstruction, clearing, reaching, emerging, release & concentration of any meditation.
8: He knows and remembers his prior lives in every detail.
9: He knows & sees the decease & rearising of the various beings.
10: He knows directly the elimination of the mental fermentations.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"Four Noble Truths" & "The Eightfold Noble Path"


Four Noble Truths
1.All human life is suffering.
2.All suffering is caused by human desire
3.An end of human desire is the end of human sufferings.
4.An end to all the desire can be achieved by following the "Eightfold Noble Path".

The Eightfold Noble Path is:
1.Right Understanding
2.Right Thought
3.Right Speech
4.Right Action
5.Right Livelihood
6.Right Effort
7.Right Mindfulness
8.Right Concentration

Medicine Buddha

"If one meditates on the Medicine Buddha,
one will eventually attain enlightenment,
but in the meantime one will experience
an increase in healing powers both for oneself
and others and a decrease in physical
and mental illness and suffering."
—Lama Tashi Namgyal

O great Buddha


"Eating, drinking, sleeping!
A little laughter! Much weeping!
Is that all ? Do not die here like a worm.
Wake up! Attain Immortal Bliss."
- Swami Sivananda

Monday, October 02, 2006

If you have little, give little;
If you have a middling amount,

give a middling amount;
If you have much,give much.
It is not fitting not to give at all...

Share your wealth,use it.
Tread the path of the noble ones.
One who eats alone eats not happily.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Buddhahood


The earliest Buddhist sources state that the future Buddha Shakyamuni was born SiddharthaGautama, the son of a local king in Kapilavastu on what is now the Indian-Nepalese border around the fifth century BCE. He was thus a member of a relatively privileged and wealthy family, and enjoyed a comfortable upbringing. Buddhist world-view, however, views his birth not as a onetime event so much as a grand finale of a long series of countless previous lives as an enthusiastic seeker of religious truth.
The story goes back incalculable numbers of aeons ago to when there lived an ascetic called
Sumedha (the future Buddha Shakyamuni) who encountered the buddhaDipamkara. This meeting affected Sumedha in such a way that he too aspired to becoming a buddha. Sumedha thus set out on the path of the cultivation of the "Ten Perfections." (Nepalese image of Dimpankara from Patan Museum) The Bodhisattva cultivated these perfections over many lifetimes. The life in which he becomes the Buddha Shakyamuni some time in the fifth century BCE, represents the fruition of Sumedha’s distant aspiration and tireless endeavors. An old tradition tells us that shortly before his final rebirth the Bodhisattva spent his life as a god in Tusita (the Heaven of the Contented). Surveying the world from Tusita, the Bodhisattva saw the time had come for him to take a human birth and at last become a buddha; he saw that the "Middle Country" of the great continent of Jambudvipa (India) was the place in which to take birth, for its inhabitants would be receptive to his message. The Bodhisattva was conceived on the full moon night in July; that night his mother, Maya, dreamt that a white elephant carrying a white lotus in its trunk came and entered her womb through her right flank.
Figure 1 and 2 depict the scene of the Boddhisatva’s descent into earth and entry into her mother’s womb.
Figure 1, the sculpture from the stupa of Bharhut, took on the task of illustrating the above-mentioned story in a simple manner. Maya is shown reclining, her head to the left of the spectator, on a four-legged bed. A water pitcher and a lighted lamp (indicating that the scene took place at night) complete the furnishings. Maidservants at the bottom watch over their mistress’ sleep, one holding a fly whisk and the other being startled to see the entry of the white elephant into Maya. Above the medallion there are inscribed the words "the descent of the Blessed One." The white elephant here symbolizes perfect wisdom and royal power; in India, an elephant is accounted the most sacred animal on earth. As a matter of fact, prior to the descent, the Bodhisattva in the Tusita heaven consulted with other gods about what guise he should take to enter his mother’s womb. The gods suggested all the divine forms imaginable, but one of them, who knew the writings of the brahmins better because of his recent birth, closed the discussion by stating, "In the form of a white elephant having six tusks."
Now the Bodhisattva enters his mother’s womb in the form of a white elephant, but here we encounter a little problem in that we are not informed at what moment he exchanges his animal form for a human one. The Chinese thought they solved this problem by showing the Bodhisattva as entering his mother’s womb "mounted on an elephant"
the Chinese painting of the same scene. One more point that attracts our attention is that at this decisive moment of conception Maya is always shown alone on her couch; her husband is always absent. This restraint can be attributed to the religious belief of the time that everything having to do with the birth of the Buddha be physically and morally pure. This preoccupation with moral purity is carried over to the second act, the birth of the Buddha.

Simply Buddha

Buddham Saranam Gacchami
Dhammam Saranam Gacchami
Sangham Saranam Gacchami