Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera
Light of the World
are the things to be understood,
Cultivated are the things to be cultivated,
Eradicated are the things to be eradicated,
Therefore Brahmin, I am the Buddha.' (Sutta Nipata)
brethren, as the Moon and Sun have not arisen in the world, just as long
is there no shining forth a great light of great radiance. There
prevails gross darkness, the darkness of bewilderment. Night is not
distinguishable from the day, nor the month, the half-moon and the
seasons of the years from each other.
brethren, when the Moon and Sun arise in the world then a great light of
great radiance shines forth. Gross darkness, the darkness of
bewilderment, is no more. Then are months and the half-moon and the
seasons of years.'
brethren, as long as a Buddha, who is an Arahant, a Buddha Supreme,
arises not, there is no shining forth a great light of great radiance.
But gross darkness, the darkness of bewilderment, prevails. There is no
proclaiming, no teaching, no showing forth, no setting up, no opening
up, no analysis, no making clear of the Four Noble Truths.
The Noble Truth of Suffering, the Arising of Suffering, the ceasing of
Suffering, and the approach to the ceasing of Suffering.
brethren, do you exert yourselves to realize 'This is suffering; this is
the arising of Suffering; this is the ceasing of Suffering; this is the
approach to the ceasing of Suffering.'
above words give us a clear picture of the great value of the arising of
the Buddha to the world. The Buddha arose at a time when Western
Philosophy as inaugurated by the Greeks, was led by Heraclites who gave a
new turn to the early religions of the Olympian gods. It was a time when
Jeremiah was giving a new message among the Jews in Babylon.
It was a time when
Pythagoras was introducing a doctrine of reincarnation in Italy. It was a
time when Confucius was establishing the national life of China by his
ethics of conduct.
It was a time
when India's social fabric was heavily encrusted with priestcraft,
self-mortification, caste distinctions, corrupt feudalism, subjection of
women and fear of Brahmancial dominance.
It was at such time that
the Buddha, the most fragrant flower of the human race, appeared in the
land where saints and sages dedicated their lives in the search for truth.
He was a great man who
wielded an extraordinary influences on others even during His lifetime.
His personal magnetism, moral prestige and radiant confidence in His
discovery, made Him a popular success. During His active life as a
Teacher, the Buddha enlightened many who listened to Him. He attracted the
high and low, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, men and women,
householders and ascetics, nobles and peasants. He went in search for the
vicious to teach, while the pure and virtuous came in search of Him to
learn. To all, He gave the gift of the Truth that He had discovered. His
disciples were kings and soldiers, merchants and millionaires, beggars and
courtesans, religious as well as deluded people. When people were deluded,
He enlightened them. When they were inflamed with rage and lust, He gave
them the cooling water of Truth. When they were forsaken and wretched. He
extended to them the infinite love of His compassionate heart.
He did not set
out to remold the world. He was 'Lokavidu'?'The knower of the world.' He
knew the world too well to have any illusions about its nature, or to
believe that its laws could be completely refashioned to suit the desires
of man. He knew that the world does not exist for the pleasure of the man,
He knew about the nature of worldly conditions. He realized the
vicissitude of worldly life. He knew the futility of human imagination or
day dreaming about the world.
He did not
encourage wishful-thinking in terms of establishing a worldly Utopia.
Rather, He told each one of the Way by which one could later conquer one's
own world?the inner subjective world that is everyone's private domain. In
simple languages, He told us that the whole world is within us and the
world is led by the mind and that mind must be trained and cleansed
His teaching was
basically simple and meaningful: 'To put an end to evil; to fulfill all
good; to purify the mind. This is the advice of all the
He taught the people how
to eradicate ignorance. He encouraged them to maintain freedom in the mind
to think freely. Rigid rituals, rigid dogmas, blind faith and the caste
system, all had no place in His way of life. All people were one in the
eyes of the Buddha.
By every test of what He
said, did and was, He demonstrated Himself to be the preeminent man in His
day. He declared a faith of service, a ministry of sacrifice and
achievement. He advised us to start our life from today onwards as if it
is the beginning of our life, and to fulfill our endless responsibilities
and duties of daily existence here and now without depending on others to
do it for us.
He gave the world a new
explanation of the universe. He gave a new vision of eternal Happiness,
the achievement of perfection in Buddhahood. He pointed out the way to the
permanent state beyond all impermanence, the Way to Nibbana, the final
deliverance from the misery of existence.
His time was 2,500 years
ago. Yet, even today this great Teacher is honored not only by the
religious-minded people, He is also honored by atheists, historians,
rationalists and intellectuals all over the world who have acknowledged
Him as the Enlightened, most liberal minded and compassionate Teacher.
Happy is the birth of the Buddha. (Dhammapada 194).
Study and Practice Group, http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/
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Update : 01-11-2002