We need to be happy at the efforts made by a majority of the people to cut down waste and live in a simple way. Earlier also our people had lived simple life with thrift. But later, we saw a situation where people would not spend to have a proper meal but waste money on [...]


Let us avoid waste and lead a simple life


We need to be happy at the efforts made by a majority of the people to cut down waste and live in a simple way.
Earlier also our people had lived simple life with thrift. But later, we saw a situation where people would not spend to have a proper meal but waste money on non-essential luxuries. In India, the Rotti and the sambol still comprised the main meal for most people. Simple eating habits are good for the health. Earlier, when people when to the nearby boutique, they bought items in the pound measure. Later it changed to a kilogram measure. But today we have items weighing 50 or 100 grams. One thing is clear if we have money we will buy more.

Though money circulates freely in society, its value has diminished. People who were used to gold and silver jewellery are now happy wearing plastic and other imitation items. When houses were built they were built strong for the benefit of two or more generations. But today we use cheaper material and sacrifice quality. It is time to do away with mere outward beauty, and appreciate and look for quality in our life. True there is nothing permanent in this impermanent life, but we must make our short stay happy, healthy and more meaningful. There was a time when a doctor could just by a touch diagnose blood pressure without the help of a meter. This was because they were more relaxed and patient. Though they had the meters, they still relied on their fingers to gauge the actual state of the patient. People who manage their time properly and act with patience are fewer today. Most of us are in a wild rush and in a mighty hurry. Whatever the religion everyone had patience, forbearance. These qualities are seldom seen now.

The Borahs are Muslims. Their good practices are an example. They consider certain games as a means to developing their mental powers and therefore play it among families only. So no one is the loser as it is played only among family members. Similar type of practices was there among the Hindus and the Sinhalese of those days. Though it was not made public people in their heart of hearts were convinced that this life was impermanent and lived accordingly.

Who destroyed this conviction, we do not know. If development does not contain good qualities such as gratitude, it becomes useless. Today we do not get proper answers to most questions. Though we have development, without a proper religious outlook we cannot achieve greatness in society. Those who yearn for happiness go through a lot of trouble to achieve it, but have they achieved it in the end? I am afraid it is not so. When we talk of justice and fair play, we need to cultivate such qualities in our society. But today we lack qualities such as patience, kindness and the quality of being a role model.

If we are industrious, we will not be in need. Those who are planning development activities first need to be conscious of their own physical limitations. Some who are afflicted with certain illnesses try to hide it from others. Who can avoid the mental worry when it comes upon us? Our parents and children will not be able to do so. We have to face the situation, ourselves. If we are not kind to ourselves, we cannot be kind to others. Buddhism is about kindness, forbearance and being grateful. If we wish to develop the others in society, we have to develop ourselves. We need to stop being deceitful, avoid wastage, and do our duty well. Those who know their duty and what is expected from them need no rules to govern them. We have some parents and elders who can teach these qualities to our younger generation. Wrongs go unpunished. If someone tries to mete out punishment, the issues of human rights is brought up.

Today the media are full of reports about drug peddling, immoral acts, criminal and revengeful activities. How did a country that practises so many religions fall into this? It seems that some in the clergy are mainly interested in fortune telling and sorcery. Our society has put the clergy into such a situation. Preaching sermons and giving blessings have become of little value. Animals in the forests have become the prey of the poachers. Authorities and security services are controlled by these poahcers. Why do we need a wildlife Authority?

It is time to correct the wrongs and do our duty. We should put away our religious and ethnic differences and live in a united manner. We cannot achieve these without being united. If we can solve our internal problems, we can achieve what we want. If wastage occurs and wasteful activities are encouraged we will have no rice but sand to eat.

While I was writing this, one of the temple devotees came and spoke to me. He was living in Kollupitiya and was considered rich but sold his house recently and went into residence in Thalawathugoda. He said, “Reverend Sir, you know from my birth I was rich, but I sold the house because I got into debt. My wife is sick. For a month I have to spend more than Rs. 40,000 on medicine. My pension is less than fifty thousand a month. I am in debt. For a month the interest alone is more than 68,000. This is our plight today”.

Everyone seems to be in debt today. No one is thrifty these days. Unless we teach at least our children to work without wastage and be thrifty, we will have more criminal activity and ill-will all around. I am not criticising anyone but only placing the correct facts to open everyone’s eyes.

Every sales store showcases items to attract customers, creating unwanted greed. Some are bent on double or treble profit and are bent only on making profit rather than protecting the consumer. Items are given to the seller on credit terms and money comes only after six or seven months. Because of this the manufacturer charges an interest, the shopkeeper raises the prices and the consumer is the ultimate loser. Something has to be done quickly to rectify the plight of the consumer. There is no way of taxing the debtors and the lenders. All are going on as blind leading the blind.

When Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe started to govern the country for a short period, the country was in bad shape. But within one and a half years it was under a proper plan for development. The secret was to cut down wastage and create thrift among the people. Today the situation is entirely different. Today there are places selling a cup of coffee for hundreds of rupees. There are enough of incidents around creating jealousy, ill-will. When we see posh vehicles on the road we may think our country is rich. If the devils are active, the gods too will be cautious! Let all beings be healthy, be without trouble and let Prosperity reign over everyone!

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