Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera
Message for All
Buddha--the flower of mankind, is no more in this world, but the
sweet fragrance of His peace message remains forever.
is one of the oldest religions still being practised in the world today.
While the names of many other religions which existed in India have been
forgotten today, the teachings of the Buddha, (better known as the Dhamma)
are still relevant to the needs of today's society. This is because the
Buddha has always considered himself as human religious teacher
whose message was meant to promote the happiness and well-being of other
human beings. The Buddha's primary concern was to help His followers to
live a normal life without either going to the extremes of self-denial or
totally surrendering to sensual desires.
nature of the Buddha's teaching is revealed in the fact that not everyone
is expected to attain exactly the same goal in one lifetime, since the
mental impurities are deeply rooted. Some people are spiritually more
advanced than others and they can proceed to greater heights according to
their state of development. But every single human being has the ultimate
potential to attain the supreme goal of Buddhahood if he has the
determination and will to do so.
Even now does
the soft, sweet voice of the Buddha ring in our ears. And sometimes we
perhaps feel a little ashamed because we do not understand Him fully.
Often we only praise His Teaching and respect Him, but do not try to
practise what He preached. The Buddha's Teaching and message have had
their effect on all people for thousands of years whether they believe in
religion or not. His message is for all.
Though the Buddha, the
flower of mankind, is no longer in this world, the sweet fragrance and
exquisite aroma of His Teachings have spread far and wide. Its balmy,
diffusing fragrance has calmed and soothed millions. Its ambrosial perfume
has heartened and cheered every nation which it has penetrated. The reason
that His Teachings have captured millions of hearts is because they were
spread(not by weapons or political power)but by love and compassion for
humanity. Not a drop of blood stains its pure path. Buddhism wins by the
warm touch of love, not by the cold claws of fear. Fear of the
supernatural and the doctrine of everlasting hell-fire have no place in
During the last 25
centuries since the appearance of the Buddha, many changes have taken
place in this world. Kingdoms have risen and fallen; nations have
prospered and perished. However, the world today has forgotten many of
these past civilizations. But the name of the Buddha remains alive and
fresh in the minds of millions of people today. The Kingdom of
Righteousness that He built is still strong and steady. Although many
temples, pagodas, images, libraries and other religious symbols erected in
His honor were destroyed, His untainted Noble Name and the message He gave
remain in the minds of cultured people.
taught man that the greatest of conquests was not the subjugation of
others but of the self. He taught in the Dhammapada, 'Even though a
man conquers ten thousand men in battle, he who conquers but himself is
the greatest of conquerors'.
Perhaps the best example
of how the gentle message of the Compassionate One could rehabilitate the
most savage of men is the case of the Emperor Asoka. About two hundred
years after the Buddha, this king waged fierce battles across India and
caused great anguish and fear. But when he absorbed the Dhamma, he
regretted the evil that he had done. We remember and honor him today
because after his conversion to the path of peace, he embarked on another
battle: a battle to bring peace to mankind. He proved without doubt that
the Buddha was right when He asserted that true greatness springs from
love, not hatred, from humility, not pride; from compassion, not cruelty.
Asoka's conversion from cruelty to kindness was so complete that he
forbade even the killing of animals in his kingdom. He realized that his
subjects stole because of want and he set out to reduce want in his
kingdom. But above all, he instructed the followers of the Buddha to
remember the Master's teaching never to force their beliefs on others who
were loyal to other religious leaders. In other cases we have heard of
kings who, upon conversion, diverted their thirst for blood by spreading
their new religion by the sword! Only Buddhism can take pride in a king
who has never been equaled in such greatness before or ever since.
Teachings were introduced in order that societies could be cultured and
civilized and live in peace and harmony. All of life's most difficult
problems can be better understood if we but try to learn and practise His
teachings. The Buddha's approach to the problems and suffering of mankind
is straightforward and direct.
The Buddha was the
greatest conqueror the world has ever seen. He conquered the world with
His infallible weapons of love and truth. His Teaching illuminates the Way
for mankind to cross from a world of darkness, hatred, and suffering, to a
new world of light, love and happiness.
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Update : 01-11-2002