Blessings for the dawn of New Year 2022
Every year dawns regularly after 365 days. There is also a leap year with 366 days after every four years according to the sola calendar. Things are growing older by year after year although we used to say the New Year. The life also continues in a circle as that of time. Buddha says, “Appamadena sampaadetha” That means, one must fulfil his own duties without any hesitation. Man tries to forget about all woes on the arrival of the New Year. However, it is a good idea because man cannot live with negative thoughts although everything is impermanent. Buddhism is not a pessimistic religion although it contains the doctrine of impermanence.
The purpose of life
“Yo ca vassa satam jive -Dussilo asamaahito
Ekaaham jivitam seyyo – Silavantassa jaayino”
Life is not precious due to longevity but on the way that person lives. The Pali poem says, one day life of a person with moral practice and meditation is better than a person that lives hundred years without moral practice and uncontrolled mind.
We should have good purposes for living. Life is not just to eat and sleep but to it is to do work for the mankind. We are eating to live but we are not living to eat. Lord Buddha used to rest only two hours and the rest of his day spent for the welfare of human beings and gods. He taught 84000 sutras in his life time to guide people and to show them the correct path. Every morning Lord Buddha used to see the world with his absorption on Great Compassion to help to those who needed his moral support. Then He used to walk barefooted to see the person who has met into his vision of compassion.
There were not only ordinary people who were caught to the attention of the compassionate Lord Buddha but there were also monsters like Alavaka who intented to eat a child, animals like elephant Bhadravatika who had been neglected by the King Udeni after using in its healthy days, notorious murderer Angulimaala who had been misguided by his teacher, hopeless maid Rajjumaalaa who wanted to commit suicide due to maltreatment by the Brahmin mistress, innocent child Sopaaka who had been isolated in the burial ground by cruel father, the youth Catta Maanavaka who was to be killed by the thieves, Kisaagotami who had been stricken in woes due to the loss of her child and Pataacaraa who had been upset by the grief due to the loss of parents, children and the husband.
The Lord Buddha not only preached sermons but he has also been an example in his all actions and words. That is why he is known as Vijja-carana in Pali that implies that He is endowed with wisdom and conduct. He is known as Tathaagata because he keeps words on the thoughts and actions on the words unlike people who think, talk and do on the contradiction to one another.
Life of the Buddha and his teachings are very inspiring for people to change their misleading life into a better condition.
The dawn of the New Year is a very good opportunity for this purpose.
Four kinds of individuals
Buddha says in the Anguttara Nikaya that there are four kinds of individuals such as
One who is going from light to dark (joti tama paraayano)
One who is going from dark to light (Tamo joti paraayano)
One who is going from dark to dark (Tamo tama paraayino)
One who is going from light to light (Joti joti paraayano)
Here the light represents the good life achieved by good Karma and the dark represents the suffering life achieved by evil Karma. There are some people who have good life due to their good Karma in the past but presently they don’t do any good Karma and they commit a lot of evil deeds in spite of doing good. They are the people who go to dark from light. Some people practice good deeds although they suffer due to the past Karma. Therefore, they go to light from dark. Although some people are suffering due to their past Karma they continue to commit evil Karma. Therefore, they go to dark from dark. People who continue to do good deeds while experiencing good result of good Karma of the past go to light from light.
“Andhabhuto Ayam loko – Tanukettha vipassati
Sakunto jaalamutto’va – Apposaggaaya gacchati”
There are a few who are born in the heaven just like birds who can escape from a net of hunter because there are only few who see the things correctly as the world is illuded. Although Corona 19 pandemic has destroyed the peace and happiness of our life, we should determine to survive our life with positive thoughts as advised by the Buddha. Buddha says that man is caught under the influence of the evil Mara due to his indulgence in extreme sense pleasures.
Under the inevitable conditions such as Corona Epidemic the best way for the man is to cultivate mindfulness as the Lord Buddha advised in Satipatthana Sutta. It reveals that there is only one way for man to purify oneself, to control of sorrow and lamentation, to get rid of physical and mental grief, to achieve the emancipation, the everlasting happiness. That is to follow mindfulness on all physical deeds and conditions of the body, different kinds of feelings, uncultured and cultured thoughts, things that cover Nirvana, five aggregates, sense faculties, four noble truths, and factors of enlightenment.
“Asaare saara matino – saare caasaara dassino
Te saaram naadhigacchanti – micchaa samkappa gocaraa”
These gems of Dhamma won’t be understood by the people who inculcate wrong thoughts in the mind. They see useful things as not useful and not useful things as useful.
“Saran ca saarato nyatvaa -Asaaram ca asaarato
Te saaram adhigacchanti – Samma samkappa gocaraa”
If you have right thoughts, you will see beneficial things as beneficial and not beneficial things as not beneficial.
Discovery of the end of the world
There was a sage in the past who was having a very wide stride and he walked all the way to find out the end of the world but finally he died on the way without finding out the end of the world. Then he was born as a god who visited the Buddha and he told his story of the past and his vane and unsuccessful effort. Then Buddha told him that no one is able to find out the end of the world without ending of the suffering. The ending of suffering is the ending of the world.
Buddha also said that the suffering is nowhere but within the fathom long body of an individual. Its cause, its cessation and the way to emancipation, the everlasting happiness are also within this fathom long body of an individual.
Therefore, in this New Year let us find out the truth and happiness through Dharma, through our own moral actions rather than going after foreign agency. There isn’t external remedy for our Karma that has been committed by ourselves
“Atta dipaa bhikkhave Viharatha – Attasaranaa ananya saranaa
Dhamma deepaa bhikkhave viharatha – Dhaamma saranaa ananya saranaa”
Monks, make yourself an island, Depend upon yourself. Live on island of Dhamma and make it your secure place but not others.
“Bahum ve saranam yanti – Pabbatani vanaani ca
Aaraama rukkha chetyaani – Manussa bhaya tajjitaa”
“Netam kho saranam khemam – Netam saranamuttamam
Netam sarana magamma – Sabbadukkhaa vimucchati”
Dukkham dukkha samuppaadam – dukkhassa ca atikkhamam
Ariyachatthamgikam maggam – dukkhupasamagaaminam
Etam kho saranm khemam – etam sarana muttamam
Etam sarnamaagamma – Sabba dukkha pamucchati
Triple Gem is the only guide and it has revealed the way to eliminate suffering, the path to welfare and happiness of the beings. There is none but oneself is the one’s helper. One who restrains himself is getting the help that is very difficult to receive.
“Attaa hi attano naatho – Ko hi naatho paro siyaa
Attanaa’va sudattena – Naatham labhati dullbham”
One ascetic advised his disciples to respect mountains and trees for their salvation. Then the Buddha told him that most of the people who are stricken in fear go to the refuge of mountains and trees but only the Triple Gem, reveal the four noble truths for the everlasting happiness.
Therefore, let us make the dawn of New Year for a turning point of our life into a better one with good purposes of living for useful future.
Most Venerable Dr. Galle Udita Maha Nayake Thero
“Sihapura Sanghapati” The Chief Sangha Nayake of Singapore, Senior Religious Adviser of Buddha Vihara Society, Singapore