New Year Message
*This is a Dhamma talk that has been given by Bhante Saddhasara on New Year’s Eve.
Happy New Year!
The year 2015 is gone now. You can go back to the beginning of that year and reflect on what you’ve wanted to do, what you wanted to be and you can think about what you’ve achieved throughout the year. But the year is just a concept that we have in this world. Tomorrow is going to be the first of January 2016; the beginning of another year, according to our modern calendar. We will pass another twelve months this coming year and we will get older. I would like to give a short new year message to you all today wishing you all a happy new year.
So, everybody wants to make or fulfill his or her wishes in the New Year. What would be the best wish that we should have? I think we should have a wish to be peaceful; have a wish to have a peaceful mind, a calm mind, and peaceful life. The whole year we should have it. In order to make it happen throughout the year, we have to come to every moment of our life, every moment of the day, every second of the day and we have to think of that moment which is present. We need to think of what we’re doing in that moment. What kind of actions we do, what kind of ideas and thoughts we harbor, what kind of words are coming out of our mouths. Are they peaceful words? Are our thoughts peaceful? And kind? Compassionate? Generous? Are our actions wholesome and kind and peaceful? That’s all we need to think of.
People might be thinking of achieving higher goals of whatever they wish to be or wish to have in the material world, but at the end of the year, if they don’t reach those, it will just leave them with regret and remorse, but not peace. Even throughout the year, they will work so hard to make it. If they make it, they might be happy for a little while, but there is going to be another one for them to work on. They just work so hard.
And there’s another problem: When people have a very strong desire to be something or to achieve something, if they are not mindful of what they’re doing, and if they are not applying moral principles into their goals, into their actions and into their work, even though they achieve something, they lose another thing, which is peace. But if they can apply moral principles in their life they will be able to be calm and contented with whatever they have achieved. We will be happy with it. A life without moral principles is nothing. That kind of life is worth nothing; it is filled with suffering, filled with unhappiness, unsatisfactoriness or anger.
Or, it could be unwholesome. Because, some people reach their goals by hurting lots of people and there is violence. People bring violence based upon their religious perspectives, based upon money, and the various kinds of other perspectives that they have, or anger, greed, and hatred. People bring violence into this world based upon those unwholesome states of our mind.
We should think about bringing kindness and peace into this world. That is what we should do, right? In order to bring kindness and peace into this world, we need to be moral and we need to be kind. If and individual person takes care of them selve by being moral and kind and generous, then we can make this world peaceful and better. I think that’s what we need. That should the best wish that we should ever have. Every day, right? How can we be peaceful and bring harmony into this world, without framing [stereotyping] people! Putting people into a frame you know, you are a Muslim, you are a catholic, you are Christian, you are a Buddhist, and you are this and that. When we frame people, when we put people into a box, there is segregation and there is a variety of ideas and things… there is conflict. When there is a conflict, people try to protect their own frame that they’re in and they try to fight with other people, other views, other ideas, and there is no peace in this world, even though every religion, all those people, talk about peace and think of peace. They can’t bring it. It is just this fake, very commercial word “peace” that cannot be seen in our actions in our views.
If everybody likes to be peaceful and happy, then we should all come to the principles of peace and happiness. We should all come together and find out what are the best principles that conduce to peace and happiness in the world. Not killing is the best principle. Not stealing is another principle. Not betraying each other is another principle. Not lying is another principle. And not taking any intoxicating drinks and drugs, which hurt ourselves and others, is another principle. Being humble is another one. Being generous is another. And being kind is another one. Seeing everybody as human… and seeing every being as beings that value their own life and not hurting them. That is another one. Why can people not come to that? Removing all the frames, all the perspectives, why can we not come to that point? If we can come to understand That we are responsible for our actions and our actions together, make this world, then all we need to do is make our bodily actions nice and kind, calm and moral. Also, make our verbal actions nice and calm and wholesome. Then make our mental actions moral, calm and wholesome. We don’t need a religion for that! That is what the Buddha brings to this world but unfortunately it became a religious belief.
What the Buddha always talked about was removing jealousy, anger, greed, hatred, passion, removing desires and attachments, being moral, being kind, and being generous! That is what we should do. We need to have these principles in order to make this world better. Then we will have a peaceful world. That is what we should do in this year. We will bring people together and in order to do that we must be calm, moral, and generous. If we individually take care of our self, it is then that we can make it.
We can at least help another from our behavior; from following these moral principles without letting ourselves become overwhelmed by our desires and attachments; we should become compassionate and think of the world. Think of others without being so selfish. People are being so selfish, just to have what they think they need to have. And this is what is happening in most relationships. Some women, they are being so selfish to have what they think that they want, that they don’t think of the men in their lives. Likewise some men don’t think of the women. In this way there is no hope to have a good relationship. It is all because of their selfishness. We shouldn’t have such a world filled with selfishness.
All the religious perspectives bring selfishness into the world saying that they are right. What is right is this… Not killing or such a thing. Killing is not right! It is bad. Stealing is not right! Not stealing is right. Betrayal is not right! Abandoning betrayal is right. Lying is not right. Telling the truth and being honest, that is right. Being moral is right. That is what is right, we should do what is right and wholesome. Being jealous is not right; being greedy is not right. If we can see what is good and bad, then we would bring everyone to these principles. It is so simple but so hard to understand.
So I hope and I wish that many more people will see and understand that message and bring themselves into that training and that spiritual practice: being moral, kind and compassionate and making a better world for themselves and everybody.
May all of you be moral compassionate generous and kind. We can make a better world for this New Year. May all be well and happy, calm and peaceful!