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Gem of Truth embodied in Dhammapada

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The three significant events associated with Vesak is the Birth of Siddhartha, Enlightenment and Parinibbana of the Buddha.

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Vesak signifies the most outstanding events in the life of the Buddha Anthology sacred stanzas popularly known as Dhammapada, achieves a high significance as, the Essence of Buddhist Wisdom. The moral and philosophical teachings of the Buddha is embodied in Dhammapada.

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Dhammapada is an unmatched Buddhist Text which sum up the Essence of Thripitaka Dhammapada is sacred to Buddhists as the Bhagawath Geetha to Hindus, the Holy Bible to Christians and Al-Quran to Muslims.

Out of a selection of 423 stanzas found in the 26 chapters (Vaggas) of the Dhammapada, a selected three stanzas from Dhammapada and to analyse how it helps build one’s character and personality in Buddhist way of life are given.

To begin with a stanza from Bala Vagga (Ignorance) the Buddha referred here, that Samsara is long to ignorant or fools. How true it is?

“Diga Jagarato Rath

Disham Satassa Yojanam

Disgo Balanam Sansaro

Saddhamman Avijanaram”

(Long is the night to the sleepless; Long is the league (12 miles) to the tired: long is the Samsara to the fools or witless. Who know not the Sublime Teachings).

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To elucidate his point, the Buddha relates a story which centres round a young man, a woman and King Passenadi Kosala.

One day King Passenadi Kosala on a visit to the City with all pomp and glamour, saw a pretty young woman and fell in love at first sight. She was a married young woman and totally unaware of King’s desire. The Kings’s ambition was to have sexual pleasure with this woman in question.

The king’s, “modus operandi” was to send a word to young woman’s husband and employ him in the palace and give him a “Mission Impossible”. Once he fails in his Mission he was to be killed for not performing the task.

The young man was given the task to bring “Kumudu” (Lotus) flowers from a distance of 12 miles (Yojana) away and also to bring red earth called “Arunawathie”.

The young man on his way shared his meals with a traveller and threw some rice in the river for the fish and wished that his mission be a success. Hearing his appeal a Naga King appeared as an old man and through compassion to him brought the Lotus and Red Earth. Greatly delighted, in a half day he returned to the City.

King Passenadi Kosala anticipating that the young husband will arrive in time closed the City Gates.

The young man arrived at Jethavana Monastery and took shelter. Meanwhile, king Passenadi Kosala obsessesed with sexual desire could not sleep and kept thinking how he could get rid of the young husband.

At midnight, King Passenadi was taken unawares, shaken, when he heard some eerie sounds of four persons suffering in Lohakumbu Neeraya (Hell). The King was terribly frightened.

Early morning he went to Jethawanaramaya to consult the Buddha about these terrible sounds on the advice of his queen Mallika.

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The Buddha said that those awful voices and sounds were from four sons of rich men who suffer in Lohakumbu Neeraya as they committed sexual misconduct with others’ wives.

Hearing what the Buddha said King Passenadi realised the gravity of his deed and the severity of punishment.

King Passenadi uttered “Venerable Sir, now I have realised how long the night is when you keep awake.

In the meantime, the husband of the pretty woman came forward and said “Venerable Sir” I travelled 12 miles. As a long traveller, I know how long the journey as a weary man.

In reply the Blessed One uttered that those who does not know the sublime teachings for them Samsara is a long journey and a weary one.

Wise are not moved by Blame or Praise

In a stanza in Pandita Vagga (The Wise) the Budda preached this stanza stating that the wise are steadfast.

“Selo Yarha Ekagahano

Varena na Samirati

Evam Nindapasamsau

Na Samijjanti Pandira”

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(As a solid rock that cannot be shaken by the wind, the Wise are not moved by Blame or Praise).

This stanza is woven round a short stature a monk, named Bhaddiya known as Lakuntaka (dwarf) to other monks.

The young monks were in the habit of teasing Lakuntaka, but he never retaliated in anger. He never abused them. His patience was amazing and unbelievable.

One fine day, at a gathering the young monks informed the Buddha and questioned about Bhaddiya’s patience.

The Blessed One said “Oh Bhikkhus an Arahat never loses his temper. He has no desire to speak in hurting others. Just as a solid rock, he is not shaken by the strong wind. Even so the Wise are not affected by Blame or Praise.

Whence Sons -Whence Wealth

When One does nor belong to oneself

The Great Philosopher Thinker, the Buddha, uttered this in Bala Vagga. He remarked that fool worries thinking that I have sons, I have wealth. Indeed, when he himself is not his own, how can sons, and wealth be any help.

“Putha Mathi Dhanam Attai

Iti Balo Vihannati

Attahi Attano Nathi

Kuto Putta, Kuta Dhanam”

This valuable stanza in Dhammapada - Bala Vagga transmit an important message to present day society. It shows the value of giving the needy. While residing at Jethavanaramaya the Buddha uttered this stanza with reference to the miserly rich person named Ananda.

This rich man who hails from Savatti possessed wealth to the tune of 80 billion. He was very reluctant to give anything in charity. His ambition was to collect wealth. He never gave alms or money to the poor. He advised his son Mulasiri not to give any money to the poor nor give alms to anyone.

In the good old days in India, money was buried in pots. Ananda the miser, buried the gold in five pots in his mansion and passed away without revealing their locations to his son Mulasiri.

Ananda was re-born in a village in close proximity in Savastti to a beggar family. He was extremely ugly and repulsive. After his birth, her mother was in dire strait as people never gave anything to them.

One day, while begging in the street of Savastti this young beggar went to his old house where he lived in his earlier birth. When the sons of his son Mulasiri saw this ugly beggar, they were so frightened they shouted and servants beat him and threw him out his house.

While this incident was happening, the Buddha saw this unfortunate incident. Through (Venerable Ananda Dharma Bandagarigka of the Buddha) invited Mulasiri to the scene. The Buddha told him, this young beggar was his own father Ananda, in his previous birth.

Mulasiri did not believe it. Then on the advice of the Buddha the young ugly beggar showed where he buried the Five Gold Pots. Then only Mulasiri accepted the truth and became a devotee of the Buddha.

This story is a fine message to the present day society. While piling wealth, you must always remember to distribute part of your wealth to worthy causes and to the poor and thereby uplift the living standards of the poor. These three stanzas clearly give a very strong message to the present day society.

Source

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