Saturday, May 29, 2010

Worldly Vicissitudes (Loka-dhamma)

Everybody has had their ups and downs of life. In the circumstances, it is important to maintain their integrity and to remain calm and smooth. More or less, people surely must face with this nature of eight manifestations of Worldly Vicissitudes (Loka-dhamma). But it is not easy for a layman to become tolerant of Lokadhamma. In the Mangala Sutta, the Buddha said:
Phutthassa lokadhammehi cittam yassa na kampati

The Arahat's mind remains unshaken. In other words, he is unaffected by gain and loss, praise and blame, fame and defame, happiness and sorrow, when affected by pair of worldly vicissitudes. He remains calm and stable in mind, because there are no defilements (kilesa) at all. There are no dangers for him. So, the arahats are also subjected to Lokadhamma though they can receive both ones of the good and the bad with equanimity (uppekkha).
Lokadhamma shows the natural consequences that every being has to receive and contend with. It relates to the loka of sentient beings (Sattava). Therefore, Loka means “being” and Dhamma means the “law”. The Buddha had delivered Lokadhamma in his suttas. Like a shadow, human beings are always accompanying Lokadhamma. No one can dispel it.
The Worldly Vicissitudes are composed of eight in number. The following eight laws are grouped in pairs: gain and loss (Labho and Alabho); fame and dishonour (Yaso and Ayaso); praise and blame (Ninda and Pasamsa); happiness and suffering (Sukha and Dukkha). They are the facts of life such as:
1. Labho (material gain) 
2. Alabho (material loss)  
3. Yaso (having a large retinue)  
4. Ayaso (having no followers) 
5. Ninda (being blamed)  
6. Pasamsa (being praised)  
7. Sukha (happiness)  
8. Dukkha (suffering)
In one's life, there are four good ones and four bad ones under living conditions. People actually like the good four and dislike the bad four. One may be elated at one of the four good circumstances, if he encounters it. He is also proud of the condition because of somanassa. However, one of the four bad circumstances may cause distress to someone, when he encounters the opposite condition he got. He is also getting perturbed unbearably. He felt emotionally unstable and depressed due to the domanassa. In order to gain normal position of his consciousness in the upside-down life, everybody must stand firm according to the appropriation of Dhamma.
Posted by Nyan U

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wrong Livelihood (Miccha-ajiva) and Dhammiya Laddha

Ajivatthamaka Sila in which right livelihood is included as the eighth precept. Earning a living by unjust means specifies Miccha-ajiva. With abstinence from injustice and earning a living by fair means is known as right livelihood (Samma-ajiva).

Miccha-ajiva consists of three physical actions (kayaducarita) and four verbal actions (vaciducarita). It is also concerned with the following earning a living by means of:

Killing or destroying any living beings, but also injuring, assassination or torturing inclusive. It means earning one's living as a hunter, fisherman, executioner, terrorist, butcher and such like, evil deeds which are concerned with earning a wrong living, miccha-ajiva.

Stealing, taking or robbing someone's property what is not given. It is usually done for economic reason. So these acts are said to be wrong livelihood. It may be inclusive thief, pick-pocket, snatcher, extortion, gang-robber, pilferer, smuggler, evasion of taxes, exploiter, offences of stealing through lying, imitation, swindling, bribery, etc.
Illicit sexual relations that is improper action. It has not usually to do with one's living. In order to seduce a woman for the sake of profession is wrong livelihood. It means the unlawful intention of trespassing upon a person to whom one has no right of acting. For example: prostitution.

Telling lies in a business transaction, for example, in the case of false witness or advocating for unjust cause in court. The same may be said of lying (musavada), slander or divisive speech (pisunavasa), abusing or swearing (pharusavasa), and idle chatter (samphapplapa). The four kinds of words are of wrong speech. These are harmful to others. There are also other examples: earning an income by telling tales and fables as a narrator, some kinds of propaganda for defamation, idle chatting in fiction, play and film, improper occupations such as cheating, deceiving, working for a bad person and only for money, etc. are unwholesome deeds related to livelihood.
Those who observe the five precepts are free from the seven kinds of wrong livelihood. And then betting on horse race, holding cock fight, oxen fight, playing cards, gambling, etc. are really inclusive in miccha-ajiva. Miccha-ajiva is also certain even if one agreed happily with his sibling's similar business of wrong livelihood.

Moreover, in miccha-ajiva there also included the five types of business. According to Vanijja Sutta: Business (Wrong Livelihood), there are the five kinds of business that a lay follower should not engage in. Those are Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison.” __AN5.177

By abstaining from wrong livelihood, acquiring wealth in a skilful and ethical manner is known as a lawfully obtained things (Dhammiya-laddha). Properties of heritage, earning one's living by teaching, crop farming, etc. are reasonable and fair. So it is surely lawful thing that is called Dhammiya-laddha.

In the Dhammapada of verse 244, the Lord Buddha said precisely,Life is easy for one who is shameless and bold as a crow, who slanders others and is pretentious, aggressive and corrupt.

So as to see better, silly, stupid person will make proof this nature of Dhamma, because of their appropriate action, word and thought. It is indeed more and more stupid today. Due to the downstream of falsification, it is very easy for every lay person.

Therefore, we must make our own morals pure more and more. It will cut off the ducarita and miccha-ajiva. Let's try our best to live morally. By refraining from earning wrong livelihood and doing unwholesome deeds, it will be definitely easier done than said.

Posted by Nyan U

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ajivatthamaka Sila and Right Livelihood (Samma Ajiva)

It is enough to observe the Ajivatthamaka Sila once and for all. One has no need to repeat it again. But, it is essential for purification of a living as well as for no breakage of the 5 and 8 Buddhist precepts.

Ajiva” in Pali means any earned living for one's life. Unjust earning a living is called “Miccha-ajiva” in Pali. Justice in earning a living is known as Right Livelihood “Samma-ajiva”, with abstinence from injustice. So its definition is Ajivatthamaka Sila because of the eighth (atthama) precept in this sila.

From number 1 to 7 precepts out of 8, are the three physical actions (kaya kamma) and the four verbal actions (vaci kamma) of the ten wholesome deeds (punna kiriya vatthu).

Buddhist Five Precepts (Panca Sila) is nicca sila. One who commits it has certainly got misdeed, whether he observe or not. Likewise, Ajivatthamaka Sila also has definitely taken offence. That is why, every Buddhist devotee must do observe this precept persistently. One will never attain magga and phala unless his ajivatthamaka sila is safe.

As before in the Buddhist five precepts (Panca Sila), the four steps are repeated except steps 3 and 6. However, in asking for the Ajivatthamaka Sila, step 3 and step 6 have to change in substituting the respective set of words as follows:

3. Asking for the Ajivatthamaka Sila

Ahaṁ bhante, tisaraṇena saha, Ajivatthamaka Silaṁ, Dhammam yācāmi, anuggahaṁ katvā Sīlam detha, me bhante.
Dutiyampi, Ahaṁ bhante, tisaraṇena saha, Ajivatthamaka Silaṁ, Dhammam yācāmi, anuggahaṁ katvā Sīlam detha, me bhante.
Tatiyampi, Ahaṁ bhante, tisaraṇena saha, Ajivatthamaka Silaṁ, Dhammam yācāmi, anuggahaṁ katvā Sīlam detha, me bhante.

Venerable sir, I ask you for the Ajivatthamaka Sila together with the Three Refuges. Please have compassion for me and help the way to undertake the precepts.
For the second time, I ask you for the Ajivattthamaka Sila together with the Three Refuges. Please have compassion for me and help the way to undertake the precepts.
For the third time, I ask you for the Ajivatthamaka Sila together with the Three Refuges. Please have compassion for me and help the way to undertake the precepts.

Monk:Ya-mahaṁ vadāmi, taṁ vadetha.” _ Repeat what I say,
Devotee:Āma bhante.” _ Yes, Venerable sir.

6. Vowing to observe the Ajivatthamaka Sila
[1] Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
[1] I undertake the Precept to refrain from killing and injuring living beings.
[2] Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
[2] I undertake the Precept to refrain from taking what is not given.
[3] Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
[3] I undertake the Precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
[4] Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
[4] I undertake the Precept to refrain from false and harmful speech.
[5] Pisuna vaca veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
[5] I undertake the Precept to refrain from backbiting.
[6] Pharusa vaca veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
[6] I undertake the Precept to refrain from using harsh or abusive speech.
[7] Samphappalapa veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
[7] I undertake the Precept to refrain from useless or meaningless conversation.
[8] Micchajiva veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
[8] I undertake the Precept to refrain from wrong means of livelihood.

Idaṁ me Silaṁ magga phala ñāṇassa paccayo hotu. 
May the precepts I keep be an aid for the attainment of magga and phala.

Monk:Appamādena sampādetha,” _Accomplish the training without forgetfulness and negligence
Devotee:Āma bhante.” _Yes, Venerable Sir.

Buddham Pujemi, Dhammam Pujemi, Samgham Pujemi.

Posted by Nyan U

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Seven Co-natals (Sahajata) of Siddhattha Gotama (3)

Kanthaka horse 

Kanthaka, the most efficient horse in the court of King Suddhodana was the favourite of prince Siddhattha Gotama. It was 18 cubits in length and purely white colour. Its neighing was said to be heard from a distance of one yojana.

Kanthaka took part in some of the prominent events of Siddhattha Gotama. To marry princess Yasodhara, Siddhattha Gotama had to prove his capabilities. In other words, he had to compete in the contest where expertises in archery, sword play and horse riding were shown among princes. Siddhattha Gotama won all these sports while mounting on Kanthaka horse.

Siddhattha Gotama was in the chariot drawn by Kanthaka when he saw the Four Sights (an old man, a sick person, a corpse and an holy man). It made him realized the unwholesomeness of sensual pleasures.

The last event was a tragic one. After seeing the Four Sights, Siddhattha Gotama decided to renounce the world. He left the palace, riding on Kanthaka horse accompanied by Channa. Kanthaka carried the prince thirty yojanas away from the city to the bank of Anoma river.

Siddhattha Gotama then compelled Channa and Kanthaka to return to Kapilavatthu. On departing its beloved master, Kanthaka with great grief fell dead. It immediately became a deva in the Tavatimsa for its virtue.

The Bodhi Tree

The Bodhi tree was said to have sprung up at the moment when Siddhattha Gotama was born. Botanically, the bodhi tree is Ficus religiosa, commonly called fig tree. It is a large tree with heart- shaped leaves. Gotama Buddha attained Supreme Enlightenment or Bodhi seated under this tree. So it was named the Bodhi tree.

Buddha stood still and gazed without a blink at the Bodhi tree throughout the second seven-days after his achievement. It was to show gratitude for the shelter that Bodhi tree had given to him.

People believed that the ground in which the Bodhi tree grown and where the Buddha attained full enlightenment was very firm. Even a violent earthquake could not shake it. Also, the powerful Sakka Devaraja could not travel in the air above it. And so, this place was recognized as the 'Navel of the Earth.'

The descendants of the original Bodhi tree took the same name of 'Bodhi tree'. In the history of Buddhism, two Bodhi trees were planted. One was the Ananda Bodhi tree located in front of the gate way of Jetavana monastery near Sravasti. The other was in Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka).

Buddhists pay homage to these Bodhi trees with great respect. Many people misinterpret that Buddhists are 'tree worshippers'. The truth is, Buddhists intentionally pay homage to the Bodhi trees as the symbols of the Buddha.

Four Golden Treasure Pots
  1. Sankha golden treasure pot: size....... one fourth yojana
  2. Jala golden treasure pot: size............. half yojana
  3. Uppala golden treasure pot: size......... three fourth yojana
  4. Punnarika golden treasure pot: size.... one yojana
Neither Siddhattha Gotama used these treasures nor inherited to his son, Rahula. It was known that they disappeared when Siddhattha Gotama gained supreme enlightenment.

These co-natals (sahajata) were also the supporters of Siddhattha Gotama. They supported him in one or the other way. Hence, all of them had good endings.
Posted by Aye Sat

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Seven Co-natals (Sahajata) of Siddhattha Gotama (2)


Kaludayi was the son of King Suddhodana's minister. He was an Advisor of the king.

While the Buddha was staying at the Veluvana monastery, his father Suddhodana wanted to see him. So he sent nine groups of courtiers one by one to invite the Buddha to Kapilavatthu. It was in vain as all of them became arahats and did not return. Finally, the king sent Kaludayi with promise to let him enter the Order.

When Kaludayi arrived there, he became a monk and soon attained arahatship. He then invited the Buddha to visit Kapilavatthu. Buddha accepted it.
The Buddha and his twenty thousands of arahats started the journey of sixty yojanas on foot. As they covered one yojana a day it took two full months to reach the city.
During this time, Kaludayi Thera informed day to day progress of the trip to the king. To do so, he travelled in the air by his supernatural power.
Eventually, the king and Thera Kaludayi had fulfilled their wishes vice versa.
Channa was a royal servant of King Suddhodana. He served as a charioteer of Siddhattha. Channa also took care of him and they were friendly.
King Suddhodana kept Siddhattha in restriction as he was worried that his son might leave the palace. However, Siddhattha went out the palace, accompanied by Channa in chariot pulled by Kanthaka horse. 

Then Siddhattha unexpectedly saw the Four Sights: an old man, a sick person, a dead body and an ascetic for the first time. Channa explained about each item to his master.

Again, when Siddhattha left the palace to seek true happiness, Channa accompanied him. Though Channa did not want to leave the prince alone, he was told to go back and made known of Siddhattha's renouncement. He did so respectfully.

After Buddha's enlightenment, Channa entered the Order. But he was rudely proud of being the only companion when Buddha left the palace. He especially spoke ill of two chief disciples: Venerable Sariputta and Moggallana. Channa continued taunting them though Buddha advised and warned him repeatedly.

According to Dhammapada, Buddha uttered: "One should not associate with bad friends, nor with the vile. One should associate with good friends, and with those who are noble."

Before his Parinibbana, Buddha instructed Venerable Ananda to impose Brahma-punishment (Brahmadanda) on Channa which was for the monks to simply disregard him. Venerable Ananda told Channa about the punishment after the Buddha's Parinibbana.

With deep remorse, Channa asked pardon to the monks for his guilt. He was totally changed then. Concentrating only in his meditation practice, he soon became arahat.

Posted by Aye Sat