Vesak Message 2018

Posted by on May 27, 2018

SUKHO BUDDHANAM UPPĀDO

Happy is the birth of all Buddhas!  

 

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The celebration of Vesak, which marks the Birth, the Enlightenment and the Great Passing Away (or Mahaparinibbana) of the Buddha, is of great significance to our lives as it shows us how to live a peaceful and meaningful way of life, from the time we are born until our dying moment.

The Buddha’s birth was no ordinary birth.  Prior to his birth as Prince Siddhartha, the Bodhisatta Setaketu was residing in Tusita heaven. He chose a suitable time and place to be born, and also considered the clan, the family and the mother. Ordinary beings are not able to do such things.

The Great Passing Away, or Mahaparinibbana of the Buddha is another event which ordinary beings cannot easily understand. The term ‘Mahaparinibbana[i] is used as the Buddha did not die or pass away like ordinary human beings. The Buddha passed away with perfect mindfulness and awareness. He was able to pitch his mind to the different meditative states or mental absorptions, ascending from the first jhana up to the eighth jhana, then descending from the eighth to the first jhana, and again ascending from the first to the fourth jhana before attaining Mahaparinibbana.

The Enlightenment of the Buddha demonstrates the full potential of a human life. The Buddha achieved the complete cessation of the tendencies of craving or grasping; the tendencies of hatred or aversion; and the tendency of delusion – in particular, the delusion about the true nature of the self, and that all phenomena are subject to anicca, dukkha and anatta (or impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and non-self). By completely ceasing the tendencies of greed (or craving), hatred and delusion, he attained ultimate freedom, liberation from the samsaric cycle of birth and death.

The Buddha was an embodiment of great wisdom and great compassion. Through his great wisdom, he awakened to the knowledge of how to attain liberation from samsara. Through his great compassion, he practised various virtues from life to life until their perfection, generating the merits and the supporting conditions in order to attain enlightenment, as well as developing the necessary skills to be able to enlighten others. These are the Ten Perfections:

  1. Generosity – Dāna
  2. Morality – Sīla
  3. Renunciation – Nekkhamma
  4. Wisdom – Paññā
  5. Effort – Viriya
  6. Patience – Khanti
  7. Truthfulness – Sacca
  8. Determination – Adhitthāna
  9. Loving-kindness – Mettā
  10. Equanimity – Upekkhā

Starting from the heart of generosity, or dāna, to the cultivation of compassionate love, or mettā, the Buddha attained to perfect equanimity – upekkhā.

On the occasion of Vesak, we should recall how the Buddha perfected these virtues, and developed the great wisdom and compassion not only to realise the truth and attain enlightenment for himself, but also in order to show the path to liberation to others.  This will inspire us to reaffirm our faith and commitment to the Triple Gem – the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha – and to aspire to grow in the Dhamma’s path.

In November this year, the 4th Metta Convention[ii] will be held in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  This major event provides opportunities for the cultivation of dāna, or generosity, and mettā, loving-kindness or compassionate love.

We look forward to your generosity and participation. We need your support and assistance to promote and preserve the Noble Teachings of the Buddha. May you and all members of your family and friends be blessed with good health, long life and blissful contentment.

With metta,

Venerable Mahinda

 


 

[i] Mahaparinibbana is defined as the complete cessation of the Five Aggregates, without remainder, thus putting an end to rebirth.

[ii] Visit www.mettaconvention.org for further information.