Discover the power within you
BY VEN. SOURABA Nanda, Lanka Daily News, October 17, 2005
Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Today the world is experiencing enormous technological progress. Unfortunately, inspite of material progress, people are not quite happy. They might feel comfortable, easy and happy; but this feeling of euphoria does not last for long.
They feel some sort of lacunae, an unsatisfaction within and start to pray to God or gods for their needs and wants. This is where they surrender themselves and dishonour human dignity.
Humans are the most marvelous beings who are capable of amazing activities. The Buddha says that man is his own master. He is His own lord. Whatever a man is, he is so by virtue of his own deeds, good or bad or both. In other words, the actions performed by him follow him like a shadow.
Man is what he does and he becomes what he thinks to be. Therefore, man is responsible for his pollution or purification. He is the cause of happiness as he is the cause of suffering.
He is the cause for his own chains to bind himself to the wheel of birth and death and he himself can cut them off and free himself. He does not have to depend upon another for his salvation. As the saying goes happiness is not something to be bought from anybody.
In the same way the self liberation need not to be granted by others and it should be attained by oneself within. Everyman will have to work out for his own salvation. It is therefore necessary that each one of us should become our own refuge.
The Buddha has spoken gloriously of man and his potential. Human beings possess immense potential. He can lead himself to the miserable state of life doing too much evil whereas he also has the potentialities to do good and beneficial activities. It depends upon his wisdom and energy to do good and shun evil.
Yet another aspect of self-dependence is its altruism. Though one is self-dependent, yet one should not just think of himself in a selfish manner. He should have feeling and think for others. Do something beneficial to others.
That was the reason why the Buddha with his sixty Arhant disciples went from place to place in different directions and work for the welfare and happiness of others.
Another problem is that we have become more egoistic. The result is that we do not put a priority on the views of others. We look down upon them. A chain reaction of hatred sets in and we become more and more involved. If we do not learn to control our emotions, we are likely to be doomed.
So in that case we must have Proper View to understand what is good for us and what is not and then we have to use Right Effort to act accordingly. With the expanding material progress our spiritual life has made no progress at all. All of us must agree that we are in a spiritual crisis. Most people today are machine-minded.
Sometimes they have no feeling for others at all. All that mankind achieved in the name of civilization and culture is destined to be destroyed and all that are nice and valuable for mankind will be lost forever.
In this nuclear age, what needs is a slight misunderstanding between the super powers for our planet earth to be destroyed in a blink of an eye.
The real danger, however, is not the bombs themselves but some sick minds behind the scene who are troubled with their inner life.
To destroy the source of troubles we have to pacify our mind as the Buddha taught: See your own real mind - you can realize Buddhahood. Only if we all have a peaceful mind, can lasting peace be achieved. The technological progress does not bring about the real peace and happiness in the world.
The Buddha summarizes his teachings thus: abstaining from evil deeds, doing good and purifying the mind, is the teaching of all the Buddhas.
So the core of Buddhism is to purify the mind and to be alert lest any bad thought like greed, anger, hatred etc. come to our mind. As they appear, we must realize it and try to stop it and, that is what we call Proper Effort (samma vayama) in Buddhism.
Greed, Anger and Hatred are the enemies that everyone must subdue. Most of the ills of the world today have stemmed by giving free play to our emotions of greed, anger and hatred.
With the increase of these qualities people are engaged in crimes and unworthy activities; Even murdering and committing suicide. Such crimes are increasing day after day. So what could be the answer to these problems?
Well, one must understand that a mind with such qualities is in an impure and unhealthy state.
Meditation (bhavana) is the best way to purify our mind. A meditative mind is always calm and serene and with such a mind one develops positive emotions like loving kindness, compassion, equanimity and enthusiastic joy.
The true nature of the world; impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and soullessness becomes very clear to him. He understands the reality as it is and thus leads a very content and a simple life.
Buddhism is the only religion that encourages not just the giving up of evils and accumulating good - it also teaches the purification of one's own mind, which is the root of all evil and good, the cause of both suffering and true happiness.
So it is up to us to discover the potentialities within us or depend on some other external blind faith for our salvation.