Excerpt from www.mahamevnawabm.org
What is this treasure of opportune moment?
A moment can be missed in an instant. Therefore, if in a moment, someone is to listen to the Four Noble Truths, it is his opportune moment. Only the Supreme Buddha expounded clearly about the nature of one’s births in such a prolongedsamsara.
While inviting the wise man to think about this prolonged samsara again and again, the Supreme Buddha expounded, that for each time one dies during the period of an aeon, if his skeleton is not to be soiled, a humongous hill can be constructed from those skeletons.
In such a prolonged journey, it is not only human life that is obtained by an individual. One, who stays in the state of ordinary and sustains this samsara journey continuously, is a human in one life; it is a very rare thing for him to become a human again in the next life. Mostly what happens is that, rebirth takes place in a place like ghost world or animal world or hell world. Therefore, one who obtains humanness can identify the value of it only through the Supreme Dhamma. One should listen to the pure exhortations of our Supreme Buddha to gain a very accurate knowledge about the life. Both, about obtaining the opportune moment and about losing the opportune moment can be seen very clearly in the Supreme Dhamma. The Supreme Buddha made known to us about the loss of the opportune moment as ‘Dushtakshana’ which means, it is not a treasure that is in there but only the viciousness.
The world begins to hear the Four Noble Truths only during a Buddha era. They can be heard only from the Supreme Buddha and disciples of the Supreme Buddha. In that way, when the Four Noble Truths which are extremely rare, is heard in the world if someone living in an environment where it cannot be realised, that moment is a very vicious moment.
When the extremely melodious message about that Supreme Dhamma which is named the Four Noble Truths spreads all over the world like a sweet fragrance, if the one who needs to realise it had been born in the hell, it is a vicious moment (inopportune moment) for him. When the Four Noble Truths are there to be listened, if one who needs to realise had been born in the animal world, it is a vicious moment for him. Ghosts do not have the luck of coming to the border where the Four Noble Truths can be heard. It is a vicious moment for them. All beings who have been reborn in the four bad destinations are the crowd who have dispossessed their treasure of the opportune moment. When the Four Noble Truths spreads everywhere, if a man lives in a faraway place where he is unable to listen to it, then, his treasure of opportune moment is also dispossessed. If someone listens to the four Noble Truths when it is exhorted by the Supreme Buddha, but if he is an unwise one, it is a vicious moment for him. When the Four Noble Truths is exhorted by the Supreme Buddha, if one was born in brahma worlds where they have very long life spans and it is not possible to hear the Dhamma, it is also a vicious moment for him. The next worst opportunity in here is similar to above; one was born in the human world. If he is to listen to the Dhamma, he is able to realise the Four Noble Truths and attain the fruits of Dhamma, liberate himself from the four bad destinations and samsara as well. But he does not have the chance of listening to the Four Noble Truths. It is a vicious moment that he has got.
When a wise person gets the opportunity to listen to the Four Noble Truths, if he is pleased about them, and thinking, “Oh… I too am able to realise these Four Noble Truths, if he comes to a state of pleasure mind towards the Triple Gem, he will gain the most extremely rarest treasure of opportune moment.
Though we Sri Lankans are Buddhists, though we go for refuge in Gautama Supreme Buddha, according to our knowledge it cannot be seen that our parents, ancestors, relatives and friends had obtained that treasure of the opportune moment. To say it briefly, even among the monks who exhort to us if there is one who has obtained the treasure of the opportune moment, it is an extremely rare thing. Even today, a wise person can see the Supreme Dhamma exhorted by the Gautama Supreme Buddha, in the Doctrine and Discipline very clearly and very glowingly. Even today, one can comfortably learn very clear descriptions of the Four Noble Truths. Why did we miss the fortune of obtaining the treasure of the opportune moment through listening and getting to know such rare Four Noble Truths which are so extremely pure?
Among the billions of mankind who live in the present, a very few people can be counted as people who have obtained the treasure of the opportune moment. For this, we cannot see any reason other than the main reason being not having the opportunity to listen to the Four Noble Truths which is the very special message of that Supreme Dhamma exhorted by the Supreme Buddha. When the Four Noble Truths are said, if someone hates, insults or puts down that Supreme Dhamma, though he is a lay person or a recluse, he directly helps to destroy the Buddha’s dispensation. The crowd that listened to that kind of distorted Dhamma of the unrighteous and the undisciplined, and when they accept their opinions, and insult and put down the Four Noble Truths then they also dispossess the treasure of the opportune moment.
The Supreme Buddha exhorted to neglect one’s own head when it is being caught on fire and instead to be heedful to understand theFour Noble Truths because the Supreme Buddha saw properly the especial value of it from His Buddha Eye. Therefore, for a noble disciple who has gone to refuge in the Supreme Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, it is the Four Noble Truths he should hear again and again. The treasure of the opportune moment arises in a wise man only through listening to the Four Noble Truths but not through anything else.
The Supreme Buddha showed and exhorted that there are people who can realise the Four Noble Truths in this society. If they do not get to listen to that Noble Dhamma even the wisdom that they have could be deteriorated. Then the treasure of opportune moment will be dispossessed. The Supreme Buddha expounded that the people who dispossessed the treasure of opportune moment were born in the hell and spend the time in there sorrowfully because of the dispossession of the opportune moment that they had before.
It is by obtaining the treasure of the opportune moment that one can reach the state of nobility, liberating from the state of ordinary which is like a muddy puddle. We have nothing to do other than treating with equanimity about the unfortunate people who obtain the inopportune moment saying that they are ordinary people. Therefore, if you are wise you can understand the value of this rare moment. You who are wise should pay your attention on listening not because of someone’s attractive way of sermonising. You who are wise should listen not because of the beautifulness of the person who is sermonising. You who are wise should listen not because the person who is sermonising has a sweet voice. If you are wise, you should consider wisely whether the Dhamma that you listen to has in it the Four Noble Truths very clearly and very purely. If you do not seek those Four Noble Truths, though you have listened to the sermons many times, then you have listened only to a cluster of personal opinions but not the Supreme Dhamma expounded by the Supreme Buddha. If someone speaks by showing the quotations of Dhamma only to develop the ordinary life which is about sixty to seventy years long, how does he get to know about the nature of such lengthy samsara journey?
Therefore, now, you should understand correctly what the treasure of opportune moment is. If you are a wise man who has the capability of understanding the life, one requirement is completed in you. If such a person like you have the opportunity to listen to the very pure Four Noble Truths and if you have the opportunity to read the Four Noble Truths then you have met the Dhamma which is extremely rare. Through that, an honest confidence arises in you towards the Triple Gem and a necessity of realising the Four Noble Truths arises in your heart, you are a person who has obtained the opportune moment which is extremely rare. May you not deprive that opportune moment, is our heart-felt wish!
Most Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero