Excerpt from www.mahamevnawabm.org
Secure the comfort of good destinations
Meritorious devotees and meritorious children,
The time we have been spending up until this moment is time spent in a good destination. There are lots of good destinations. Out of those, this human world is the last level of good destinations. Above the human world, there are sensual worlds such as Chathummaharajika, Thavatimsa, Yama, Thusita, Nimmanarathi and Paranimmitha Vasavatti, which also belong to the category of good destinations. Likewise, there are brahma worlds such as Brahamaparisajja which belong to the category of good destination as well. This human world which is the lowest destination of them, is the most critical place.
Meritorious devotees and children, you know that the Supreme Buddhas appear only in the human world. A supreme Buddha does not appear among gods or brahmas. That does not happen as the opportunity to benefit from this, will be lost for the human world. But, when a Supreme Buddha appears in the human world which is the lowest level of good destination, all worlds including the human world gets the unchanged benefit from that Supreme Buddha. Then we should understand it like this; the Supreme Buddha appears in the human world because of the boundless compassion.
And, this world in which we live, there is another world among us which is seen from our eyes. It is the animal world. This animal world does not belong to the good destination but to the bad destination. There is a significant difference between a good destination and a bad destination. Now you will see that the animals also have senses such as eyes, ears etc. like us. But they do not have the ability of doing something thoughtfully and creatively like us. It is difficult for them to get their things done by themselves. They do not know to communicate when they are hungry or thirsty. Their expression of emotions is weak. And they do not know to accomplish their basic necessities. They suffer when it is cold. They suffer when it is hot and raining too. They do not know what to do when it is dark. They do not know to earn money or to do a job. Though they are trained using some techniques by humans, they perform them only under the orders of humans. They do not have wisdom. They suffer but they cannot win over that suffering by struggling for it.
Now look at the human world. They are very thoughtful. They make plans for their future. They try and put effort to overcome the natural disasters. They try to make food and drinks tasty. They plan to build beautiful houses. They make their travelling easy. They make communication easy. Their arms and legs are originated in a way that they can live easily. Their thoughtfulness can be used to give rise to the comfort of the life. As a result of this, they are clever to live by creating comfort than usual beings. Isn’t this a speciality of a good destination?
The humans have the ability of using the prudence to spend the usual life comfortably; they have the ability to realise the life as well. The animals do not understand to restrain their senses. Animals cannot identify the emotions and categorize them but humans can. Wise man restrains the senses. Even the words are controlled well. By identifying the emotions, develops the beneficial things and restrains from detrimental things. Isn’t this an amazing ability of human beings?
Meritorious devotees and meritorious children, though the human world is a good destination, a human who is born in here now, was not born in the human world in all his past lives. Sometimes, he is reborn in hell. Sometimes, he is reborn in animal world. Sometimes, he is reborn in ghost world. Sometimes, he is reborn in titan world. Rarely, he is reborn in heavenly world too. Samsara is such an unfortunate destiny which gives dangerous births like these. But the human who attracts to the sensual pleasure, does not direct his wisdom to understand this danger.
The Supreme Buddha, having appeared, expounded the Four Noble Truths to us. It is said that, this samsara journey (rebirth and death cycle) is full of suffering. And it is formed because of a cause and by eliminating the cause, eliminates the suffering. For the elimination of the suffering, the Noble Eightfold Path should be followed and practised. Why isn’t this matter sensible to us who live in the human world? Isn’t it because, our minds are deluded by the sensual pleasure?
In order for our minds not to be deluded, the intelligence and the wisdom should be directed. Suffering is realised not by undergoing suffering but only by developing the wisdom. Earlier mentioned, fourfold bad destination; hell, animal, ghost and titan worlds have lots of suffering. We understand it only listening to the Supreme Buddha’s Dhamma. The Supreme Buddha expounded that one is reborn according to the result of one’s own kamma committed by him. Therefore it is very important to understand that we have not yet been freed from the nature of rebirth in the samsara which is arranged according to the kamma.
Now, let’s find out a little bit about this good destination. It is true that the human world is a good destination where comfort can be arranged by humans. But there is a danger in them. That is, they can be easily fallen into the wrong doings. Bending towards the offensive actions. Easily fallen into the wrong path. This shows that the human when he is not able to lead his prudence beneficially, he falls into very serious troubles. Therefore, by carrying out actions without thinking broadly he collects kamma which leads to the bad destinations. This is the danger in the human. The human who falls victim to this danger, using his body commits killing beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, and taking intoxicating drinks and drugs. And, when he is unable to direct the word beneficially, he tells lies, tell-tale, vicious words and meaningless words. And, if he is unable to understand his thoughts properly, when he sees things that belong to the others he plans in mind to own them. He creates bad thoughts such as hatred, ill-will, jealousy, stinginess in his mind. He is deceived in various opinions and arguments. Aren’t all these, misleading the man who is born in a good destination?
Why does the human go in the wrong path? Why is it that he falls victim to stressful emotions instantly? Why is he heedless in developing beneficial emotion such as patience, compassion, and loving- kindness? The reason for this, though the man is born in the human world, the desire, ill-will and delusion which are rooted in his mind, performs without his knowledge. If he is to hear, see or get to know factors which create the desire, then, the desire arises instantly in him whose mind is deluded. If he is to listen, see or get to know factors which create anger, then, the ill-will arises instantly in him whose mind is deluded. And, if he is to listen, see or get to know deceitful factors, then, he is deceived, deluded and isolated.
Doesn’t the present-day man live caught in the fire of desire, ill-will and delusion? All these troubles of man are created because of these dangerous sentiments which are in his own mind. Because of this, it is seen in every way that the whole world is going towards a grave catastrophe. On one side, man who produced the nuclear weapons is boasting about the power of his weapons. On one side, man who becomes a terrorist is destroying other people ferociously. On another side, by fraud, and cheating the man is plundered. On another side, various kinds of devices are being produced which mess up the mind of the man. On another side, being unable to quench the thrust of sensual pleasures intoxicated and wandering aimlessly, he burns in the fire of sensual pleasures. It is seen that the current day man truly ensures that he does not come to the good destination again upon his death.
What else are the reasons for this apart from desire, ill-will and delusion? The man, whose inner life is overwhelmed by these dangerous sentiments, is going to cover everything by highlighting the ego. All these things dispossess his comfort of good destination from him. The supreme Buddha appeared in the human world, showed this and expounded it with the immense compassion towards the humans. Taking uncountable effort and walked through out the villages and cities, the Supreme Buddha tried to show the danger from desire, ill-will and delusion to the man.
The current day man does not know that there is a danger from desire, ill-will and delusion, but he suffers an uncountable sorrow and lamentation as a result of those disastrous sentiments. If the man is liberated from desire, ill-will and delusion due to a Dhamma, that is the benefit for him. If not so, the man, who is deluded, goes in search of other religions. For that reason he will be going towards catastrophes further and further. Today the entire world has been pulled into a fearful danger by some prayers and beliefs that do not respect the humankind and causes humans to abandon their humanity in a way which leads to the deprivation of humanness. The future man’s ruthless war will be the usage of weapons held on religious thoughts. The only solution to this problem is the Dhamma of our Supreme Buddha who identified the internal problem of the man.
Meritorious devotees and children, the good destination that we live in now can be deprived from us at any moment. We can remember the Tsunami; the people who lived in the good destination disappeared from it instantly. Various wars and riots arose in there. Then also, people disappeared from the good destination. Because of infectious diseases, he disappears from the good destination. Man disappears from the good destination because of the accidents too. In fact, if he is led by a disastrous action which is arisen from desire, ill-will and delusion, he should leave to suffer the result of it. Then, isn’t he to go to hell or animal world or ghost world or titan world? So isn’t it bad destination?
Meritorious devotees and children, for this to not happen, there is another special thing in us. It is extremely helpful for our protection. It provides a great backing for our progress. That is our wisdom. It is a must for us who were born in the good destination to take an effort to lead the wisdom. In some way, if we are skilled to lead the wisdom, we will meet an extremely rare thing. “Bikkhus, this Dhamma of mine is for the wise. Not for the ones who do not have wisdom” it is the Supreme Buddha’s Dhamma.
The man suffers because of the desire, ill-will and delusion. Then he collects demerits. Are there various evils of him such as ambition, profit, admiration, fame, praise, showing himself prominent and putting-down others, jealousy, telling lies, accusing for no reason, humiliating others, insulting others, taking others belongings fraudulently, misleading others to accomplish personal objective, disuniting others and breaking up the friendships, using weapons, giving false evidence, All these evils are a result of desire, ill-will and delusion, apart from them, what else? But if the wise man is capable to evolve the Noble eightfold path, shown and expounded by the Supreme Buddha, in him from that day onwards his evil will be waned little by little. wholesome actions will be increased. Desire, ill-will and delusion will be eradicated and will go towards a well stable comfort.
Meritorious devotees and children, for the acquiring of Noble Eightfold Path, the first thing that would help us is, having an unshakable pleasure mind towards the realisation of the Supreme Buddha. It is called in Dhamma as ‘Shraddha’. Let’s think someone listens to Supreme Buddha’s Dhamma. Then he feels happy in his mind and the mind over flows with happiness. Then, he has a pleasure mind towards the Supreme Buddha. Because of that, there is a chance for someone to be deluded that an unshakable pleasure mind has arisen in him. The Supreme Buddha showed and expounded that there are two kinds of Shraddha. That is unstable Shraddha which is called ‘amulika’ Shraddha and the other one is called ‘akaravati’ Shraddha which is stable with the understanding of the qualities of the Supreme Buddha. One can be deluded from amulika Shraddha. If someone could memorize the Dhamma facts and if he accepts that as Shraddha, then that which arises mostly is amulika Shraddha. If someone is capable of saying Dhamma facts cleverly by memorizing, then also there is a chance he could be deceived. This is how it is identified. Someone is having good memorization of Dhamma and also capability of saying Dhamma properly, therefore if egotism arises in him and if he uses it for his prominence, and if he lives without compassion, then he has the amulika Shraddha. That person would use his ability for the profit, admiration, fame and praise. But how could a Shraddha arises in him if he does not have a trust of good and bad kamma, trust of ‘this world’ and ‘other world’, respectfulness towards elders and teachers and gratitude?
It is not an easy thing of acquiring akaravati Shraddha. His own wisdom would help him to acquire akaravati Shraddha. When the wisdom is handled properly, it starts to arise a pleasure mind towards the realisation of Supreme Buddha. With that pleasure mind starts the fear of samsara in him. It creates the fear towards the Evil which causes to be born in fourfold bad destination. It creates the shame and fear towards evil actions. And he is a grateful person. The Supreme Buddha expounded that knowing gratitude is as the entire state of nobility. As this, a person who creates Shraddha in the state of nobility will help others to develop wholesome deeds bodily, verbally and mentally. He prevents others doing evil unwholesome things. He does not represent himself as the safeguard of others. He presents only the Dhamma. He venerates only to the Dhamma. He respects only to the Dhamma. If someone says Dhamma as it is, then he respects and venerates him also. These are the basic signs of a devout believer.
Then, we identify a devout believer as a humble person. He is a person who is not revengeful, not jealous, not having long lasting hate and also not cunning. Who is a cunning person? He tries to accomplish objectives in his mind by hiding his true intentions while showing other matters. The nature of the cunning person is like a wolf that wraps himself with a sheep skin. The wolf that wrapped itself with the sheep skin represents himself as a very good sheep among the other sheep. He is very calm among other sheep. He shows that he has good qualities than the genuine sheep. He kills the lambs and eats as soon as he gets the chance. As he wraps himself in a sheep skin, genuine sheep cannot identify him. The cunning person is like this. Externally he shows the nature of a person who has Shraddha. But internally he holds all bad qualities such as jealousy, revengefulness, viciousness, cruelness. It is the Noble friend who identifies those persons and helps others to escape from their traps. Therefore, if someone is incompetent to identify righteous noble friend, he will have the fate of the lamb that went near the wolf wrapped with sheep skin.
The noble friend does not talk indirect words. He expresses the Dhamma as the Dhamma and if it is not the Dhamma he expresses it as not the Dhamma. The ungrateful man could say that it is altering and modifying the Dhamma. It is because; he holds on to modification and does not know the original Teachings of Buddha. If the Dhamma is prominent, the ungrateful man breaks down. He is frightened about it. Therefore, man, who is born in the good destination should use the wisdom if he is to be stable in the comfort of good destination by reaching the Dhamma.
“Ye keci Buddhang saranag gathase – na te gamissanti apayang
pahaya manusang dehang – devakayang paripuressanti”
“If someone goes to refuge in Buddha, they are not born in bad destination at all. When abandoned the human body, the heavenly world is filled with them”.
From this, one thing is clearly seen to us. Next, we, who were born in the human world, should be going to the heavenly world for the comfort of the good destination. The heavenly world also belongs to the good destinations. We will meet there, the gods who have attained the fruits of Dhamma. We will be able to listen to the Dhamma again. Also we will be able to practice the Dhamma. We will also have the opportunity to realise the Dhamma. The wisdom in gods instantly obtains the realisation. But, the current day man has lots of disturbances to preparing for the birth in the heavenly world. Especially, not knowing the Gautama Supreme Buddha according to his great qualities is the main factor. That is the reason for not having Shraddha towards the realisation of Buddha. Therefore, the wise man should learn the teachings of Gautama Buddha in his own language which can be understood easily and make the effort to understand the Dhamma. Accordingly develop the good qualities. Stay without being inundated by the disastrous sentiments which arise from desire, ill-will and delusion. Become a devout disciple of Supreme Buddha by reaching the state of gratefulness. There is no protection without the Gautama Buddha’s dispensation. May you be fortunate to get the protection from the Gautama Buddha’s dispensation!
Most Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero