THOUGHTS OF THE BUDDHA’S BIRTHDAY
Thich Thai Hoa
The Buddha’s Birth Day is returning to all monks, nuns and Buddhists in Vietnam as well as all human beings in the world. Being the Buddha’s disciples, monks, nuns and lay people alike, we again have chance to listen to, study, and experience the Buddha’s teachings so as to apply them into our daily life.
1.MIND AS MASTER
The Buddha teaches: “The mind thinks of good things, the mouth says good things, the body does good things; as a consequence, good karma will arise and be accomplished in the life of every one of us, thus making us happy with life and helping us to lead a meaningful life”;
“The mind thinks of bad things, the mouth says bad things, the body does bad things; as a consequence, bad karma will happen in the life of every one of us, thus making us annoyed with life and facing a life full of disappointment and misery”.
Therefore, we should purify our mind and thought so that our three kinds of behaviour can stay in peace, thus making our life peaceful, happy and noble.
Those who control their mind can control their good things and avoid bad things; they will live happily and avoid all sufferings right in this life.
2.THREE UNSAFE REALMS
The Buddha teaches: “Please realize that the three realms of Passions, Form or Beauty, No-Form or No-Beauty are unsafe, like houses on fire”, so as to encourage ourselves to make efforts to do what need to do, to say what need to say, and to think of what need to think of, so that we can wipe out any cause and condition, flames of greed, passion, hatred, anger, ignorance and arrogance, thus making all beings able to live in a safe and happy house.
3.LIGHT YOUR TORCH YOURSELF TO MOVE FORWARD
The Buddha teaches: “All kinds of beings obtain nature of buddhahood and are able to become buddhas like the Buddha himself; Tathagata has become a buddha, all beings will become buddhas in the future”.
The Buddha’s teaching encourages us to realize our potentials and internal power within ourselves as well as unlimited potentials within all beings so that we are motivated to stand up right from our own internal power or potentials to build up our life without looking for or borrowing from external assistance, which forces us to become debtors of any kind who can not control ourselves and who live passively without any freedom.
4.SILA OR PRECEPTS TO BE FUNDAMENTAL TO MORALITY
The Buddha teaches: “People who obtain a life full of precepts and virtues and live up to the precepts they vow to follow and behave under the protection of the precepts, show to live virtuously in a strict and thorough way. They realize danger in each minor error and are willing to receive precepts and behave up to the precepts. Therefore, anything thought of, spoken out and done has to originate from this basis”.
And the Buddha teaches: “Sila is fundamental to enlightenment, therefore I am supposed to be Pratimoksa. Thanks to Sila, we can develop meditation and wisdom, thus enabling us to eradicate all sufferings…Therefore, we should know that Sila is the origin of all kinds of good conducts”.
From the teachings, we can find that Sila is fundamental to all virtues and enlightenment; Sila is the origin of all peace, blessings, and virtues.
Therefore, if we wish to improve ourselves, we have to base ourselves upon the practice of Sila; if we hope to make our family life peaceful, we have to base ourselves upon the practice of Sila; and if we desire to bring peace to the society and order to humans, we have to base ourselves upon the practice of Sila.
The Buddha’s Birth Day, Buddhist Calendar 2563, has come back to all the disciples as well as to those who have belief in and admiration for the Buddha, we should then practice what the Buddha has taught to all of us within our possible conditions so as to offer what we have obtained from our dharma practice to the Buddha. That is the way we celebrate this great event in an effective and significant way.
Together with the Buddha’s Birth Day, the event of Vesak, Buddhist Calendar 2563, is currently organized in Vietnam by the United Nations. How significant is this event?
With the significance of the Buddha’s wisdom and compassion that is admired and unanimously followed by world leaders, concretely by those in the United Nations, it is therefore necessary to establish a new order for the human society in which all people co-exist in peace and happiness, and in which human life is full of sources of the Buddha’s wisdom and compassion so as to settle down all conflicts on religion affairs and political ideologies, reduce military power, thus leading to the balanced distribution between supply and demand for all the countries that produce and consume, not by deceptive tricks but by wisdom and compassion so that all nations are able to realize their own internal power and potentials for the purpose of contributing to world peace.
Moreover, Vesak is a three-in-one event in which three great days of Buddhism are included: the Buddha’s Birth Day, the Buddha’s Enlightenment Day, and the Buddha’s Day of Entering Nirvana.
The Buddha’s Birth Day is a day on which the Buddha exists in this life: “to heal what is broken down and destroyed for human beings; to set straight again what is tottering; to turn on the light for everybody to see; to show them the right direction”.
Therefore, the Buddha’s Birth Day is the day when monks, nuns and Buddhists in Vietnam and the world welcome the day on which the Buddha incarnated and transformed himself into this secular earth from the Bodhi vow to benefit the majority.
The Buddha’s Enlightenment Day is the day on which monks, nuns and Buddhists in Vietnam and the world celebrate the comprehensive accomplishment of Sakya Muni Buddha, of the incarnation body of the Buddha to obtain enlightenment from his vow of practicing wisdom and compassion.
The Buddha’s Day of Entering Nirvana is the day when monks, nuns and Buddhists in Vietnam and the world celebrate the completion of the Buddha’s cause of propagating the Dharma. That is the celebration of the day when the Buddha obtains the supreme truth and Dharmakaya or dharma body.
Therefore, Vesak is neither a cultural event nor spiritual cultural one, but it is a day that marks the beginning of a life full of wisdom and compassion for the purpose of assisting human beings to escape the long and dark night of greed and lusts, hatred, anger, and ignorance, confirming potentials and noble values inherently present in humans and other beings and encouraging them to stand up and remove all nets of false beliefs and all yokes of ego attachment and, as a result, to become humans full of humanistic nature and then rich in nature of Buddhahood. Also, this is an occasion we Buddhists celebrate both the birth and the non-birth of the Buddha in the stream of life and death of the earth; both the extinction of reincarnation and immortality of the Buddha in the stream of life and death of this secular life.
Bearing such significance in mind, monks, nuns and Buddhists alike in Vietnam and the world are willing through celebrating Vesak to “improve ourselves so as to become purer” in accordance with the precepts set by the Buddha. By so doing, we are worthy of the Buddha;s disciples, quite eligible for living in the pure land of Buddhism, thus contributing to the cause of wisdom and compassion, bringing peace to mankind, protecting environment and developing this planet into a safe shelter for all kinds of beings.
(Chuyển ngữ: Nguyên Dung)