Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera
The attainment of Buddhahood is the
most difficult task that a person can pursue in this world.
Buddhahood is not reserved only for chosen people or for supernatural
beings. Anyone can become a Buddha. No founder of any other religion ever
said that his followers can have the opportunity or potentiality to attain
the same position as the founder.
attaining Buddhahood is the most difficult task a person can pursue in
this world. One must work hard by sacrificing one's worldly pleasures. One
has to develop and purify one's mind from all evil thoughts in order to
obtain this Enlightenment. It will take innumerable births for a person to
purify himself and to develop his mind in order to become a Buddha. Long
periods of great effort are necessary in order to complete the high
qualification of this self-training. The course of this self-training
which culminates in Buddhahood, includes self-discipline, self-restraint,
superhuman effort, firm determination, and willingness to undergo any kind
of suffering for the sake of other living beings who are suffering in this
This clearly shows that
the Buddha did not obtain this supreme Enlightenment by simply praying,
worshipping, or making offerings to some supernatural beings. He attained
Buddhahood by the purification of His mind and heart. He gained Supreme
Enlightenment without the influence of any external, supernatural forces
but by the development of His own insight. Thus only a man who has firm
determination and courage to overcome all hindrance, weaknesses and
selfish desires can attain Buddhahood.
Prince Siddhartha did not
attain Buddhahood overnight simply by sitting under the Bodhi tree. No
supernatural being appeared and revealed anything by whispering into His
ear while He was in deep meditation under the Bodhi tree. Behind His
Supreme Enlightenment there was a long history of previous births. Many of
the Jataka stories tell us how He worked hard by sacrificing His life in
many previous births to attain His Supreme Buddhahood. No one can attain
Buddhahood without devoting many lifetimes practising the ten perfections
explains why a Supreme Buddha appears only at every long intervals of
Buddha's advice to His followers is that in order to find their salvation
it is not necessary for each and every person to wait until he gains his
Buddhahood. Aspirants can also find their salvation by becoming Pacceka
Buddha (Silent Buddha) or Arahantas - (saints). Pacceka Buddhas appear in
this world during the period when there is no other Enlightened Buddha.
They are also Enlightened. Although their degree of perfection is not
similar to that of the Supreme Buddha, they experience the same Nibbanic
bliss. Unlike the Supreme Buddha, they do not preach to the masses. They
lead a life of solitude.
Arahantas can also
experience the same Nibbanic bliss as the Buddhas do. There is no
discrimination or status in Nibbana. The only difference is that Arahantas
do not have the Supreme Enlightenment to be able to enlighten others in
the same way as the Buddhas do. Arahantas have overcome all their desires
and other human weaknesses. They can appreciate the Dhamma which was
discovered and taught by the Buddha. They can also show others the correct
Buddhist way of life and the Path to salvation.
Rare is the appearance of the Buddhas.
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