Archive for January, 2012

Educational Techniques in Buddhism


 How we firstly drop into new subject (Sussusathi Sutta – AN)

– Making likeness to relevant subject by thinking it will help to your future

– Focusing full concentrate to that subject

– Making persistence to your mind that “I can learn & understand this subject”

– Understanding & making clear to yourself – new ideas about that subject

– Throw away ideas & thoughts that aren’t help or related to your new subject

– Use that new idea to your day to day life

 

Buddhist Way to Increase Memory (Combination from Buddhist teachings)

– Ask questions about subjects from yourself & teachers

– Keep your education or personal room & your body clean & neat way

– Your devotion must be same as wisdom & your persistence must be same as concentration time

– Get away from bad & negative people or negative places that help to discourage you

– Stay with great & wise people or stay alone

– Read about past life stories of Lord Buddha (Jataka Stories) & try to learn difficult Sutra Dharma

– Do every works with right mind – Keep concentration

 

Traditional Five Educational Rules of Buddhism (Sussusathi Sutta – AN)

– Listening very well – Now also reading

– Keeping those things in your remember

– Talking or writing down what you remember or read loudly

– Experience & Investigating what you learnt

– Connect new things with previous learnt things & your current life

 

What actually we need to learn (Lakkana Sutta – DN)

– Differences between Merits & Bad things

– Differences between Right & Wrong

– Who must be friends of us & Who must not

– What important to your Future & What are not

– One or more skill to making money

– About four noble truths

– Meditation techniques

 

Responsibilities of Teachers For Students (Sigalowada Sutta – DN)

– Teach and practice them social customs, precepts and religious activities

– Teach all what you leant from your teachers – Don’t keep hidden things

– Introduce your students to your friends who in higher level in relevant felid

– Save your students from hazards (social & environmental) as their father & mother

– As a teacher you need to keep good character for sample you to your students

Solid Your Mind, Make Great Persistence To Achieve Your Goals ! – Lord Buddha

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The Highest Gift


In this world there are various aspects of living, but actually, the same purpose is expected. Living beings are maintained by nutriments. We eat for living, not living for eating. We take meal with compassion and loving-kindness, not because of physical strength or health. With awareness of what is happening to our lives, we bear to have moderate food daily. As a baby always needs milk to drink daily, therefore the beloved mother with compassion and loving-kindness provides the baby’s need. And then he is also in need of mother’s care in life to grow wisely in the world. This can be called a great gift for him. ‘Gift’ is what we need to get and to give in life. Do we know how many kinds of ‘Gift’ we need in life? How do we behave in order to get ‘Gift’ from others? Why do we have to give ‘Gift’ to others? And what is the use of giving ‘Gift’?

 

‘Gift’ is literally meant ‘a thing that we give to someone, especially on a special occasion or to say thank you’. Many things around us can be given to someone as ‘Gift’ no matter how the things are, good or bad. But what I want to point out here is the Highest Gift. There are two kinds of ‘Gift’, the Gift of Materiality and the Gift of Truth, that we can do offering. Which ‘Gift’ is the highest? From the Buddhist standpoint of view, the Gift of Truth is the Highest Gift.

Firstly, the Gift of Materiality should be understood. As a well-being should be aware of what he is doing daily. We are here because of our thoughts from life to life. We are here because of our Kamma (action). Literally, we reap what we sow. According to the seed that is sown, so is the fruit we reap therefrom, the doer of good will gather good, the doer of evil, evil reaps. We are advised to do offering daily as much as we can for the benefit of many, for peace and happiness of the world and also for the welfare of all mankind. The four requisites, cloth, food, dwelling, and medicine can be donated to all people who require. We earn honestly for living no matter where in the world we are. With compassion and loving-kindness from the bottom of heart we share what we have such as cloths, food, dwelling, medicine, and other materials with those who are lack of merits living difficultly around us. Without compassion and loving-kindness we are not able to do offering even a piece of bread to the poor. Being faithful in the law of Kamma, we understand that we were born in this world with the wealthy family, not because of unknown external agency or supreme power. The universal teacher of all says that giving cloth is called giving beauty; giving food means giving strength; giving dwelling place is to give happiness or comfort; and giving medicine is to offer longevity (healthiness). In addition, as a good citizen in the society must not live selfishly because thousands of people are starving and need our helps. We should give even if we only have a little. It is believed that our properties can be divided into four parts in order to live peacefully and happily. First part of earning is for the support of children; the second part is for the support of our beloved parents; the third part is for the support of daily living (payment for food, water, electricity, health care etc..,); and the fourth part is for doing charity or doing social service.

Secondly, the Gift of Truth must be critically studied in our daily lives. Hence I would like to remind that ‘all beings are maintained by nutriment’. In Buddhism there are four kinds of nutri- ment being used daily, namely, material nutriment, contact, mental volition and consciousness. And ‘Truth’ here is referred to ‘the Teaching’. This word is familiar to all learned people in the world, especially the religious practitioners. Since we were in our mother’s womb, we have been taught something mentally. I thought our beloved mothers had difficulties to teach us when we were still in their wombs, but they had to pray hundred times for us to be well-born and to be good citizen in the society when we were given to birth. Then the Education is gradually provided to us. Our parents taught us how to call them and how to live righteously in this modern world. The Lord Buddha says ‘the Gift of Truth excels all other gifts’. We can lead righteous life with the right knowledge we have learnt from our own beloved parents, relatives, teachers, schools, and societies since we were child. The right knowledge given to us is the highest Gift. With right understanding of everything we will be aware of what is happening to us. It means we are living peacefully and happily in the present moment and with mindfulness. The Awakened One says, ‘Mindfulness is the way to the Deathless; unmindfulness is the way to Death. Those who are mindful do not die; those who are not mindful are as if already dead’. This verse is very essential to everyone. This is the best Gift given by the Lord Buddha more than 2600 years ago. It has been well kept in the sacred books of Buddhism through centuries for the purpose of all mankind. Now it is good time to share what we have learned through Buddhism with those who are interested. The Lord Buddha says, “Go forth, O Bhikkhus, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, benefit, and happiness of gods and men… Let not two go by one way. Preach, O Bhikkhus, the Dhamma, excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle, excellent in the end, both in spirit and in the letter. Proclaim the Holy Life altogether, perfect and pure. There are beings with a little dust in their eyes, who, not hearing the Dhamma, will fall away. There will be those who understand the Dhamma”. It is believed that the Gift of Truth can be given in various ways as follows:

 

How we firstly drop into new subject

–       Making likeness to relevant subject by thinking it will help to your future

–       Focusing full concentrate to that subject

–       Making persistence to your mind that “I can learn & understand this subject”

–       Understanding & making clear to yourself – new ideas about that subject

–       Throw away ideas & thoughts that aren’t help or related to your new subject

–       Use that new idea to your day to day life

 

Buddhist Way to Increase Memory (Combination from Buddhist teachings)

–       Ask questions about subjects from yourself & teachers

–       Keep your education or personal room & your body clean & neat way

–       Your devotion must be same as wisdom & your persistence must be same as concentration time

–       Get away from bad & negative people or negative places that help to discourage you

–       Stay with great & wise people or stay alone

–       Read about past life stories of Lord Buddha (Jataka Stories) & try to learn difficult Sutra Dharma

–       Do every works with right mind – Keep concentration

 

Traditional Five Educational Rules of Buddhism

–          Listening very well – Now also reading

–          Keeping those things in your remember

–          Talking or writing down what you remember or read loudly

–          Experience & Investigating what you learnt

–          Connect new things with previous learnt things & your current life

 

What actually we need to learn

–          Differences between Merits & Bad things

–          Differences between Right & Wrong

–          Who must be friends of us & Who must not

–          What important to your Future & What are not

–          One or more skill to making money

–          About four noble truths

–          Meditation techniques

Responsibilities of Teachers For Students

–          Teach and practice them social customs, precepts and religious activities

–          Teach all what you leant from your teachers – Don’t keep hidden things

–          Introduce your students to your friends who in higher level in relevant felid

–          Save your students from hazards (social & environmental) as their father & mother

–          As a teacher you need to keep good character for sample you to your students

 

In short, the Gift of Truth is needed. As we have already known on life’s journey: FAITH is nourishment, VIRTUOUS DEEDS are a shelter, WISDOM is the light by day and RIGHT MINDFULNESS is the protection by night. Without the gift of Truth we are not able to live peacefully and happily in the world. Actually, everyone needs such Gift in life, but not everyone gets it. For those who receive and give the Gift of Truth will live in Joy, in Love, even among those who hate; they live in Joy, in Health, even among the afflicted; they live in Joy, in Peace, even among the troubled. Anyway, in our daily living we need both of Gift, the Gift of Materiality and the Gift of Truth. But these two Gifts give different results. The Gift of Material only brings a lot of problems to human lives, while the Gift of Truth brings ultimate peace and happiness to the world.

Therefore, from now on we should start to learn how to give and to get the special Gift in life. As we want to taste the joy of freedom, we should keep in mind that there is no fire like greed, no crime like hatred, no sorrow like separation, no sickness like hunger of heart, and no joy like the joy of freedom. Hunger is the greatest affliction, conditionality the greatest source of despair. The wise, seeing this as it is realise liberation, the greatest joy.

Colombo, Sri Lanka, 21 January 2012

Ven. Suy Sovann (Paññàvaro)

 

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Be On Your Own Way…


Everything is changeable, but changing cannot be changed. It continues its change every moment. Look! Can we remember the change of ourselves? Our bodies change every second, but we are never aware of these changes. We thought it is not a big deal, indeed. But we are in fear and worry all the time. Why do we fear and worry? This is because we do not understand the nature of change. Therefore, the natural law of everything should be understood. Where there is birth; there is also suffering. There is birth; there is also aging, sickness and death. This is the truth no matter we accept it as it really is or not. But we now got confused where we should continue our journeys. We do not know whether we should move forward or backward-be on our own way………

At night it is so dark but we still can walk. The darkness of ignorance keeps away everything. We do not see anything even who we are. How lonely we are to walk along! In the modern world, everything is so wonderful, but the problem is bigger and bigger in the world. The mind is more wandering. There is no shelter for the mind at all. And there are thousands of scholars, philosophers, teachers around the world. Anyway, those are not our own experiences. We should be on our ways. The Buddha says: “Do not simply believe what you hear just because you have heard it for a long time. Believe nothing on the faith of traditions, even though they have been held in honour for many generations and in diverse places. Do not believe a thing because many people speak of it. Do not confirm anything just because it agrees with your scriptures. Do not be fooled by outward appearances. Do not believe what you yourself have imagined, persuading yourself that a God inspires you. Do not accept as fact anything that you yourself find to be logical. Believe nothing on the sole authority of your masters and priests. But whatever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings­, that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide”. The light is turned on. We can see the way clearly, but we must slowly walk with the great effort. Again, we should know the four reliances: first, rely on the spirit and meaning of the teachings, not on the words; second, rely on the teachings, not on the personality of the teacher; third, rely on real wisdom, not superficial interpretation; and fourth, rely on the essence of your pure Wisdom Mind, not on judgmental perceptions.

In short, on life’s journey FAITH is nourishment, VIRTUOUS DEEDS are a shelter, WISDOM is the life by day and RIGHT MINDFULNESS is the protection by night. We should bring these internal properties with us on life’s journey. These properties are dependable to everyone no matter where in the round of rebirths and death we will be. Please be on your own way: “Live in joy, in love, even among those who hate. Live in joy, in health, even among the afflicted. Live in joy, in peace, even among the troubled. Look within. Be still. Free from fear and attachment, know the sweet joy of living in the way”.

By Ven. Suy Sovann

2012/01/11

 

 

 

 

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Nice To Be With You…


Nice To Be With You…

By Ven. Suy Sovann

 Being with you I feel happy. Being with you I do not feel lonely. Being with you I am free from hatred. Being with you I find my way to live in the present moment. Being with you I live peacefully and happily. Being with you my mind becomes calm…

When you see a phrase, ‘Being with you’, you might have doubt what I mean. I think you get confused by reading this statement a few sentences. But actually it is simple statement which I want to express what I experienced in life. We always want to live peacefully and happily in the world. There are four kinds of expectations of human thinking, namely:

1-      Experiencing Happiness,

2-      Expelling Suffering,

3-      Living Longer, and

4-      Not to Die

These are our human expectations. How can we access our expectation? Life is suffering, isn’t it? Actually, life has not been happening in the past. That is just memory. Life is not going to happen in the future. That is just plan. So how do we live? Life exists only in the present moment. The past has already gone beyond call, and the future will never come. In our day to day living, we always think about the past and the future. Here the Buddha advises to live only in the present moment. We must be with our best friend, mindfulness or awareness all the time. What I mean by ‘YOU’ in this statement is ‘Mindfulness or Awareness’. In day to day living, all people are in need of awareness to achieve our wishes. In Digha Nikaya, Satipatthana Sutta, the Buddha says: “This is the only way, monks, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of suffering and grief, for reaching the right path, for the attainment of Nibbana, namely, the four foundations of mindfulness. What are the four? Herein (in this teaching) a monk lives contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief; he lives contemplating feelings in feelings, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief; he lives contemplating consciousness in consciousness, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief; he lives contemplating mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief”. This is the only way that we can purify our minds from the defilements. In addition, Mindfulness or Awareness is compared to a driver of vehicle that all passengers rely on. If the driver is mindful in driving, all passengers will be safe. In the same way, all meritorious deeds are depending on our awareness or mindfulness. In the Dhammapada, the Buddha says: “Mindfulness is the way to the Deathless (Nibbàna); unmindfulness is the way to Death. Those who are mindful do not die; those who are not mindful are as if already dead”.

In short, nice to be with awareness of breathing in and breathing out in our daily living. We must be aware of what we are doing for all postures, walking, sitting, standing or lying down. Life is too short, but if a person is energetic, mindful, pure in his thought, word and deed, and if he does everything with care and consideration, restrains his senses, earns his living according to the Law (Dhamma) and is not unheedful, then, the fame and fortune of that mindful person steadily increase.

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A Happy Family


In the society, we might not find any family which has only peaceful and happy condition in daily living. Of course, peace and happiness exist in any family, but it does not maintain always. The root causes of violence have already been mentioned above in order to seek out the certain point of problems. The Teachings of the Buddha guides every family to live with harmony, peace and happiness no matter how difficult things fall apart in their daily living.

I would like to set a few questions here. How much do you love your family and society? How much do you wish your parents, children, family and society to be peaceful and happy? Do you know you are responsible to everything you have done? If not you, then who? When will you take your responsibility to your family and society? If not now, then when? How do you admonish yourself to be a good citizen in your family and society?

                To get these questions answered, is quite easy if we have looked the Teachings of the universal teacher, Buddha. In Uggha Sutta, the Lord Buddha gave His instructions to the girls who were going to get married soon. But here I would like to quote duties of both husband and wife because they play important role their family.

Five duties of a wife:33

1. To perform/discharge household duties

2. To keep things/possession spick and span,

3. To avoid sexual misconduct,

4. To distribute provisions appropriately, and

5. Not to be indulged in indolence.

 

                Five duties of a Husband

1. Not to show disrespect,

2. To surrender one’s earnings to her,

3. Not to commit sexual misconduct,

4. To provide her with food and clothing,

5. To cherish her.

These duties are the great things which will bring peace and happiness to families and society. If one of two, husband or wife pays respect to his/her duties as a householder, the environment in his/her family is going smoothly and everyone lives in harmony, peace and happiness with one another. Each of them must perform one’s own duties for the sake of his or her family and their children.

Of course, every couple must keep in mind that you have to understand each other and live together until your dying day. No matter how difficult situations in your own family are, but you have to discuss and find the resolution together. You are responsible to everything. Please don’t find any outsiders to solve your own family problems. Here, Uggha Sutta, there are the great instructions which every society has to pay attention, note and put these into daily practices.

A father’s instruction to his daughter Visàkhà34

1. Not to let the internal fire be carried outsides,

(Not to leak out the household secrets)

2. Not to let the external fire be brought inside,

(Not to bring in gossips or rumours from outside)

3. To give (loans) to those who give (repay),

4. Not to give (loans) who never give (repay),

5. To give (loans) who repay or not (to relatives),

6. To sit well (not right in front of one’s parents-in-law),

7. To eat well (only after one’s parents-in-law),

8. To sleep well (only after one’s parents-in-law),

9. To tend the fire (to take care of one’s husband and parents-in-law),

10. To pay homage to the internal deity (to respect one’s husband and parents-in-law).

The first and second instructions are very great to the modern couples in these days. As what has already been mentioned earlier, husband and wife are separately two bodies, but they should have only one heart which is the compassionate heart between one another.

Another thing I would like to mention is patience. Every couple should be patient to every situation in family because the nature of family life cannot be gone smoothly always. You have to be patient whatever anyone (husband or wife) has done something wrong or she/he has shown unsuitable behavior to you. Patience is never bad, but it is great deal with the greedy, hatred and deluded persons in your family and outsiders. When anyone, for example, gets angry because of her/his bad emotions, you have to be clever enough to know the circumstances. Knowing the time is also really important to everyone. You should know when this word is talked to this person or that person.

In short, if you wish to bring peace and happiness to your family for the sake of your innocent children. You must be determined yourself not to challenge each other in the name of husband and wife. You should understand each other and try to be patient as much as possible. Please remember and keep in mind the word, ‘not let internal fire to outside and not let external fire be brought inside’.

Reference:

33. Siægàla-Sutta, D-III, p.154-155

34. Dh, A.I., p.254-255

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The Five Precepts


This section is quite difficult to expound to the blind world today. So long as greedy people are enjoying five sensual pleasures, the whole world will also be burnt with the fire of greed, hatred and delusion one day. Nowadays some countries in the world are walking along these rough roads in order to survive themselves.

Anyhow the word ‘morality’ or ‘sìla’ in Pàøi has been safely kept by those who have right understanding. Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, one undertakes the precept to cultivate Compassion and protect human, animal and plant life (protecting nature). One is determined not to kill or injure, not to let others do so, and not to support any act of physical or mental harm. It is called first precept, ‘Not to Kill; to Protect’25. In addition, every living being loves his/her life so much, no matter how difficult he/she is living in the universe. But everyone must think deeply not to destroy one’s life and others’. The Buddha said,

‘All are afraid of the stick, are fear death. Putting oneself in another’s place, one should not beat or kill others’26.

All living beings are, indeed, afraid of death no matter who they are or where in the world they live. Can we say how much we love our lives? How long do we wish to live in this world? How are you feeling when someone comes to attempt killing you? Are you happy or nervous? Will you stand in front of the murder to accomplish his wish? Please use your wisdom to think of these.

The Second precept, one must be aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, injustice, theft and oppression; I undertake the precept to cultivate loving-kindness for the being of people and animals. One should practice Honesty and Generosity by sharing one own wealth, time, energy, empathy, encouragement and other resources, especially the gift of Truth with those in need. One must be determined oneself not to possess or steal anything that should belong to others. In the case, the word of Buddha stated,

‘He who seeks for his own happiness by oppressing others, who also desire to have happiness, will not find happiness in his next existence’27.

So, here, one should respect the property of others and the public and prevent other from profiting from suffering of any living being. That is why one must keep in mind, ‘Not to Steal; To be Generous28 so that one will practice Generosity by sharing or giving one own material and spiritual wealth.

The third precept, one must be aware of the suffering caused by sexual intercourse; one undertakes the precept to cultivate responsibility and protect the safety and integrity of individual, couples, families and society. One must be determined oneself not to engage in sexual relations without love, responsibility and a long-term commitment. Anyways as a worldling person has so deep attachment to sensual pleasures, but one must control one’s own mind and body not to commit any evil deeds. If you love your brothers, or sisters, or wife, or husband or daughters, other people do too. Another word of the Buddha shows,

‘So long as craving of man for woman is not cut down and the slightest trace of it remains, so long is his mind in bondage as the calf is bound to its mother’29.

So, one must keep in mind, ‘Not to Indulge the Sense; To be Content30, regarding objects and subjects of sense pleasures, especially adultery, so that one will practice contentment and channel one’s energies towards spiritual development.

The fourth precept, one should be aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and inability to listen to others, one undertakes the precept to cultivate loving speech and deep listening to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve them of their suffering. Of course, the universal teacher advised us,

‘Do not speak harshly to anyone; those who are thus spoken to will retort. Malicious talk is indeed the cause of trouble (dukkha) and retribution will come to you’31.

Being born as a human being is so a rare thing. So long as we are still alive we must admonish oneself, thus:

“Speak the truth not untruth,

Say what is pleasant, not unpleasant;

Speak what is true, not false.

Speak only words that do not bring remorse

Nor hurt another. That is good speech indeed.”32

 

As we ourselves do not wish to be victims of lies and slander, we ourselves should avoid doing such acts to others. Speech is really powerful to everyone. So, we should use only proper word with oneself and others.

The fifth precept, one should be aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, one undertakes the precept to cultivate good physical and mental health, for himself, his family and society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming. One must be determined oneself not to use alcohol, drugs or any other intoxicant, or to ingest foods or items that contain negative elements, so to cultivate greater awareness, attention and clarity of mind. Everyone has to realize that to damage one’s body or one’s mind with these poisons is to let down one’s family and society. The Buddha also strongly advocated avoiding intoxicants and drugs. This because once you have come under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs, you are capable of committing any acts that you would not have done otherwise.

Reference:

25.  Be a Lamp Upon Yourself, p.73

26. Bhikkhu Paññàvaro Suy Sovann, The Dhammapada (Khmer-English), p.46

27. Bhikkhu Paññàvaro Suy Sovann, The Dhammapada (Khmer-English), p.47

28. Be a Lamp Upon Yourself, p.74

29. Bhikkhu Paññàvaro Suy Sovann, The Dhammapada (Khmer-English), p.98

30.  Be a Lamp Upon Yourself, p.75

31. Bhikkhu Paññàvaro Suy Sovann, The Dhammapada (Khmer-English), p.98

32. Saying of the Buddha, p.7

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