Vesak - The Commemoration of the Birth, Enlightenment and passing away of The Buddha
On the full moon day of May in the year 623 B.C., a Noble Prince was born in Lumbini Park at Kapilavatthu, on the India borders of present Nepal, who was destined to be a greatest religious teacher of the world.
According to the legends about this birth, the baby began to walk seven steps forward and at each step a lotus flower appeared on the ground. Then, at the seventh stride, he stopped and with a noble voice shouted:
chief of the world,
Eldest am I in the world,
Foremost am I in the world.
This is the last birth.
There is now no more coming to be."
"The Bodhisatta, the foremost jewel, unequaled, has been born for welfare and ease in the human world, in a town in the Sakyan countryside, Lumbini. …… He, the highest of all beings, the ultimate person, a bull among men, foremost of all people, will set turning the Wheel [of Dhamma] in the grove named after the seers, like a strong, roaring lion, the conqueror of beasts."
"The Noble Quest" (MN 26):
Monks, before my enlightenment, I considered thus: "Why, being subject to birth aging, sickness and death, to sorrow and defilement, should I seek what is subject to birth, aging, sickness and death, to sorrow and defilement?
Suppose that, being myself subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, I seek the unborn, the un-aging, the un-ailing, deathless, sorrowless and undefiled state, the supreme security from bondage, Nibbana."
Thus, at the age of 29, in the prime of life, with his parents weeping, he cut off his hair and beard, put on the saffron robes of a mendicant, and entered upon the homeless life of renunciation. The Buddha’s biography adds that he left the palace on the very day that his wife gave birth to their only child, the boy Rahula.
"On the night of the full
moon of May, the Tathagata fully awakened to the unsurpassed Right Self-awakening;
totally liberated in the Unbinding property with no fuel remaining; Being
delivered, He knew, “Delivered am I”, “Birth is ended; the Holy Life fulfilled;
done what was to be done; there is no more of this state again”. Ignorance
dispelled; the wisdom arose; darkness vanished, light arose.
Whatever the Tathagata has said, spoken, explained is just so (tatha) and not otherwise. Thus he is called the Tathagata, that was our Lord Buddha.
The Middle Path
"There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth.
Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure (Kammasokhalikaniyoko) with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: (Athakilamthanuyoko) painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.
The Buddha’s Teaching ministry had gone on uninterrupted for 45 years and he now approached 80 years of age. Three months prior to his passing away he advised his community of monks and nuns that he would pass away in three months time. Gradually the Sangha community, led by the Buddha made its way to Kushinagar where the Buddha fell seriously ill after taking a meal.
The Buddha said to Ven. Ananda, "Ananda, please prepare a bed for me between the twin sal-trees, with its head to the north. I am tired, and will lie down."
Responding, "As you say, lord," Venerable Ananda prepared a bed between the twin sal-trees, with it's head to the north. Then the Blessed One lay down on his right side in the lion's sleeping posture, with one foot on top of the other, mindful & alert.
Now at that time the twin sal-trees were in full bloom, even though it was not the time for flowering. They showered, strewed, and sprinkled on the Tathagata's body in homage to him. Heavenly coral-tree blossoms fell from the sky, showering, strewing, and sprinkling the Tathagata's body in homage to him. Heavenly sandalwood powder fell from the sky, showering, strewing, and sprinkling the Tathagata's body in homage to him. Heavenly music was playing in the sky, in homage to the Tathagata. Heavenly songs were sung in the sky, in homage to the Tathagata.
The Venerable Upavana was standing next to the Buddha fanning him and the Buddha said; “Stand aside, Oh Bhikkhu; stand not in front of me”. The Venerable had long been an attendant of the Buddha and now was being told to move away. What may be the cause of this he wondered?
Ananda inquired of the Buddha who said; “In great numbers, Ananda, are the Devas of the ten world systems assembled here to behold the Tathagata. For twelve leagues, Ananda, around the Sala Grove there is no spot in size even to admit the tip of a hair which is not occupied by the powerful Devas.
And these Devas, Ananda, murmuring say; “From afar we have come to behold the Tathagata. Few and far between are the Arahant Buddha’s who appear in the world”.
The blessed One addressed Ananda and said: It may be Ananda you will say thus:
“Without the teacher is the Sublime Teaching. There is no teacher for us!”. Ananda you should not think thus!
Whatever Doctrine and Discipline have been taught and promulgated by me Ananda, they will be your teacher when I’m gone.
Lastly the Buddha addressed the disciples and gave his final exhortation.
“Behold, O disciples I exhort you. Subject to change are all component things. Strive on with diligence” (Vayadhamma sankhara Appamadanasampadetha).
These were the last words of the Blessed One.
Then the Buddha’s mind went to each of the four form jhana’s, the four formless jhanas, then back down through to the first form jhana. After moving up through the four form jhana’s again, he passed away. The death of the Buddha occurred in 543 B.C. on the Vesak full moon day.
The Lord Buddha asked his son, Rahula, "What do you think, Rahula: What is a mirror for?"
Rahula answered: "For reflection, sir."
“In the same way, Rahula, bodily actions, verbal actions, and mental actions are to be done with repeated reflection, like a mirror.”
Whenever you are doing a bodily action, you should reflect on it and ask whether it would lead to self-affliction, to self-harm, or to the affliction or harm of others, or to both? Is it an unskillful bodily action, with painful consequences and painful results?
If, on reflection, you know this is the case then any bodily action of this sort is absolutely unfit for you to do.
But if on reflection you know that it would not cause affliction, that it would be a skillful bodily action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then any bodily action of this sort is fit for you to do.
You should similarly consider your verbal and mental actions, reflecting and acting only on those, which you know to be beneficial.
This Sutta taught by the Buddha can be applied to real life in our present time. We know that self-affliction and self-harm occur when people who consume excessive alcohol or engage in drug use. Such unskillful actions lead to aggression and can cause domestic violence.
In order to stop domestic violence in the family, we should observe the five moral precepts: refraining from killing, refraining from stealing, refraining from sexual misconduct, refraining from telling lies and refraining from intoxicating drink and drugs.
When a husband and wife are both observing five moral precepts they will be honest, kind, compassionate, and tolerant.
The teaching of the Buddha:
“The non-doing of any evil,
the performance of what is skillful,
the purification of one's own mind:
this is the teaching of the Awakened.”
This teaching can be applied to everyone to reduce down (Lobha) greedy, (Dosa) ill-will, and (Moha) delusion. These defilements can cause the fighting, quarrels, and also the world war.
'The gift of Dhamma excels all other gifts'
May you be well and happy
May all beings one well and happy
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhasa.
Master Tinh Dao, Linh Son Monastery, Melbourne, Australia.
On Vesak Day Melbourne Town Hall 2017.
Please open your eyes and look down.
Please pay attention, focus and concentrate on your breath in and out.
Please wake up your mind into complete wakefulness.
First step, Stage 01,
When you breath in you are able to collect fresh air from the sky, from the universal energy, leading to purity, compassion, bliss and equanimity inside your body and your mind.
When you breath out you are able to expel sickness, poison, pollution, from inside your body and poison of the mind such as lust, desire, anger, ignorance, suspicion, arrogance, selfishness, jealousy, laziness, ego attachments.. etc. you expel these unwanted poisons (Repeat 2 times or more).
The more you pay attention, the more you focus, the more you concentrate and contemplate following your breath going in and come in out will lead you into meditation.
Then your mind will gradually become calm and clear, settling your mind.
After that joy, happiness and peace arise more strongly.
Second step, Stage 02.
When your mind becomes settled, your concentration becomes contemplation. to escape from life’s eternal sufferings. One must travel the path to enlightenment you must realize Your karma had tied ropes around your worried life. Your love-hate emotions, fear of death and loss of material wealth have locked yourself in an eternal cycle of sufferings.
Therefore, Buddha always teaches:
existence is temporary and forever changing,
however Your life is impermanent,
Your body is just like a drop of dew in the morning.
You can be alive one moment and gone the next – why worry!
Buddha has also written in the Middle Length Discourses that: your body is full of sufferings, it gets sick, ages and dies. Your body is temporarily formed from borrowed four elements earth, water, wind, fire, sperm of father, egg of mother and conscious Karma that have come together as a result of your conditions
Please always contemplate that:
Your body is not yours. Your material wealth is also not yours forever.
You were born with empty hands and likewise you will die with empty hands. When you pass away, you will leave behind your body, parents, husband or wife, children, relatives, friends, material wealth, and status.
Life and death is fragile. Therefore, it is important to understand that your body is temporary and delicate like the dew, quickly melting away. It is like the foam floating along on the river, a play on the stage, a film, or a dream… let it go and be satisfied.
Please always contemplate that:
Much of human existence can be very toxic , depending on one’s mindfulness.
Human Life on Earth can be
full of sadness with little happiness.
The Nirvana is tranquil and solemn and has been formed from limitless amounts of positive merits of Prajna-Paramita: Dana (giving), Keeping the precepts, Ksanti (patience), Viriya (pure progress), Samadhi (Stillness) and Wisdom. This blissful heaven is blessed with Buddha, Bodhisattvas, Arahants, Saints and Sages’ intelligence only happiness resides. There is no sufferings, no intersession of hungry demons or animals from hell,
With Nirvana There are no winners or losers, no hatred and gone are the sufferings of birth, sickness, ageing and no sadness of death to plague the living of missing the loved one.
Please set your heart to contemplation, and you will eventually realise that the body and mind is just an illusion. Remember to take an oath to repent from the six senses, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, and thinking. These are sources of the karma that the body, mouth and thoughts produce and accumulate over many lives and your conscious effort to avoid bad deeds will help to erase negative karma.
I pray that you can leave your earth body and be reborn into blissful existence. Nirvana.
Namo Lumbini garden under the incomparable embody Flower of the tree give birth in light of bright Sakya Muni Buddha.
Namo Tasa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhasa.
Author Master Tinh Dao, Linh Son Monastery Melbourne, Australia.
On Vesak Day, Melbourne Town Hall 2017.