Daily Mirror - Print Edition

Meaning of Esala and Dhammachakka

04 Jul 2020 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

The Enlightened told not to accept anything on the authority of tradition



“At Saranath near Benaris I would almost see the Buddha preaching his first sermon and some of his recorded words would come like a distant echo to me through two thousand five hundred years.  Asoka pillars of stone with their inscriptions would speak to me in that magnificent language and tell me of a man who though an Emperor, was greater than any King or Emperor.”  - Jawharlal Nehru :Discovery of India-- 

Enjoying luxuries provided by father, King Suddhodana,  Prince Siddhartha Gauthama lived in three luxurious palaces – ‘Ramya’, ‘Suramya’ and ‘Subha’, until he reached age 29. However, he was not content with these pleasures after witnessing evidence of falling sick, growing old and dying; he developed an urge to seek answers.  Finally, 2600 years ago on Esala Poya day he renounced the worldly life leaving all his possessions, including wife Yasodhara and new born son Rahula,  undertaking  this great renunciation seeking to attain the highest mental state. 



So a man who is in search of the realisation notes that violence does not fit in to any country, religion,  race or any political party

 It took three months after enlightenment for him to preach his first sermon, the Dhammachakkapavattana Sutta to the five ascetics namely, Kondanna, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama and Assaji at the deer park, Isipatanaramaya in Benares on Esala Full Moon Day.   The  Sangha Sasana was established on Esala full moon day with the above five monks.  At Isipathanaramaya Gautama Buddha observed Vas during the rainy season beginning the month of Esala with those five monks. The conception of the Great Being in the womb of Queen Maha Maya, the revival, or Theravada Buddhist Reformation of the Maha Sangha, also took place at  Malwatta Maha Viharaya in Kandy, on Esala Poya.



Freedom from the bonds of  Samsara
Only through an unpolluted mind, which is free from political affiliations, can one find complete freedom; freedom cannot be found in any political system; democracy, autocracy, socialism or communism.  To be free, one has to look inwards, their own minds and work towards releasing themselves from the shackles of ignorance and craving. Buddha, who closely associated with kings, princes and ministers,  never attempted to influence political power to establish his Dhamma, nor did he consent to the teachings being abused or misused to get the benefit to aspire for political power. Politicians of rival factions are dragging Buddha’s sayings into politics by quoting or mis-interpreting  the Sutras.  A procession of leaders visiting temples; both those which  have become central propaganda units of political interests as well as the neutral places of worship is a regular feature today. While a few saffron robed extremist elements have formed political entities to contest the elections, all big political organisations encourage sangha units within party machinery.



Politicians of rival factions are dragging Buddha’s sayings into politics by quoting or mis-interpreting  the Sutras



Divisions created by Tribal Groups
 The middle way comprehended by the Buddha; shunned the extremes,— produced vision and knowledge leading to tranquility, to direct knowledge, to unbinding and self-awakening. Being humans, why build walls between us and our neighbours through race, religion caste, and class – it breeds 
isolation, loneliness.

Race, religion, class, caste, creed and other divisions are artificial obstructions created by tribal groups and developed through millennia by medieval and modern societies. It was the Buddha who spoke on equality of human beings long before, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklyn, Disraeli, Gandhi, Churchill or Mandela did. According to Gautama Buddha, human beings can be classified only on the features of their moral behaviour. This is passionately encouraged in advanced societies which have a close parallel to the scientific classification of Homo sapiens, which separates humans into three main categories based on physical attributes, namely, Caucosoid, Mongoloid, Negroid, and the indigenous people of small group called Australoids.



Racial myths
When we call ourselves a Singhalese, a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Christian, or anything else, we become violent.  Because we are separating ourselves from the others. When we do that by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is in search of the realisation notes that violence does not fit in to any country, religion,  race or any political party. Separation is one of the fundamental reasons for war; for the appalling devastation and misery in the world. What is the purpose of identifying  ourselves with a group, country, region,  socially, economically or politically? All human beings belong to one species, the human species called Homo Sapiens.  Sinhalese, Tamil, English and a thousand other nationalities are only description or labels born out of belief and having no intrinsic meaning whatsoever.

 Is life an agony? We have survived in these suffering millenniums upon millenniums, in agony, in despair, in sorrow without discovering a way out of it; instead he creates gods, temples, churches, mosques and rituals, and all that or he escapes in varied ways. To change this, we must begin with ourselves; and the significance is in beginning with ourselves. The intention must be to realise ourselves and not to assign it to others to convert themselves. It is important to know that this is our responsibility. Thought is so cunning, so smart, that it deforms everything for its own expediency. 



What the Buddha Said
He said, “Accept nothing on the authority of tradition. Do not accept anything because it is rational; anything because it is logical; anything because it agrees with your own pet view; anything because it is said by an ascetic whom you are bound to honor. Do not accept anything on the authority of tradition and handed down by the older generation; anything because you think it ought to be so; anything because of its in agreement with the doctrines of your books.”
Take nothing for granted in your endeavour for understanding the truth; it requires that we accept nothing on faith or belief. Question everything around us, about ourselves, practice with diligence, honesty and sincerity. Challenge your most basic beliefs and convictions, even those we may have about the Dhamma itself; a spirit of critical examination, a spirit of questioning that is what Gautama Buddha highlighted in Kalama sutra.
May all beings be happy!




Athula Senanayake passes away

09 Aug 2020 09 Aug 2020

Seeking blessings!

09 Aug 2020 09 Aug 2020