to reach your goal
Dispelling the darkness
Buddhism and science: One analysis but two
Science and the 'kaduwa' - how practical is
Meegahakumbure Dhammagaveshi Thero continues
the series on Paramita
Persevere to reach your goal
Viriya in Pali means effort and perseverance. The effort referred to here,
is not the physical but mental effort . We have different types of duties
to perform during our lifetime. If we are not able to perform them with
understanding and courage, we will not be able to lead a happy and worthwhile
If we examine the type of work we have to do, we realize that irrespective
of age or gender, we have certain tasks to perform. A child has to do his
studies. A housewife has her domestic chores to attend to. An employee
has a job at his workplace. If one were to feel lazy and inactive, nothing
will get done. One will feel lethargic if he does not have enough perseverance.
Such a person will keep on postponing doing what he has to do. He will
neglect his work. And find enough excuses for doing so.
In 'Singalovada Sutta', the Buddha identifies how people neglect their
duties. "One does no work saying 'It's too cold'. Another would say 'It's
too hot'. For one 'it's too late' to start work, while for another 'it's
too early'. One will say 'I am hungry' and avoid work while the other will
say 'I am too full'. As he thus avoids doing what he has to do under various
pretexts, such possessions he is entitled to, will not reach him. And what
he already has, will begin to exhaust."
A Sanskrit stanza describes the need for making an effort. None can
succeed by mere thought. You have to go ahead and make an effort. The lion
is the bravest and strongest beast in the forest. Yet if he sleeps without
looking for food, his prey will not fall into his mouth.
This verse in Dhammpada explains that effort is an indispensable element
for success in life:
sanatassa ca dhammajivino
For him who has effort, mindfulness, purity in deed, consideration,
self-control and righteousness, the glory increases.
Several methods are taught in Buddhism in relation to effort and perseverance.
One is 'Prevent method'. That is to try to prevent evil and unwholesome
thoughts which have not arisen. It is important for one to understand the
nature of good and bad thoughts. As long as we can keep good thoughts in
mind, bad thoughts like greed, hatred, delusion, and jealousy will not
This method can be used to prevent problems that often confront us in
our daily life. For example, when we speak, we must train our mind to consider
the consequences of the type of words we may use. The same can be said
of our actions. Prevention is better than getting into trouble.
The 'abandon' method is the next. Here, one should try to give up evil
thoughts which have already arisen. Most of the time our mind is spoilt
by unwholesome thoughts. We should try to get rid of them. Bad thoughts
never promote the nobility of a person. Such thoughts affect the positive
and constructive nature of a person.
Why does one worry? One begins to worry when he starts thinking about
things that he should not have done. Such thinking is of no use. One should
just forget about it. On the contrary, what is necessary is to try and
do that which was not done at the present moment. One may also worry about
the bad things he has done. There is no point in doing that. What has been
done, has been done. At least hereafter try not to do things which you
now feel are bad.
The 'produce' method is the third. Here, one has to make an effort to
bring about good, productive and positive thoughts which have not arisen
yet. For example, if you have not done anything for charity, now is the
time to start. Or if you have not started to meditate, start doing so now.
It is never too late. Any time is a good time to start good, wholesome
and beneficial deeds.
The 'develop' method is the last. Try to nurture good thoughts which
have already arisen by practising them.
Some start doing certain things with a lot of effort but they lose interest
as time goes on and finish up without achieving the desired objective.
Such an effort can be compared to a bottle of soda. As soon as you open
a bottle of soda, there is a rush of bubbles. They are there only for a
short time and then they disappear. If you want to do something or achieve
something, keep doing it till you reach your goal.
Life is not a bed of roses. We have to face numerous obstacles and negative
forces. You can face them with perseverance. You will not fail.
(The writer is the resident monk at Lankaramaya, Schofield, NSW, Australia)
Dispelling the darkness
By Nedra Wickremasinghe
Amavasi Aloka Puja means bringing light to the darkness of the new moon.
This simple but illuminating religious ceremony was held by Prof. Bhikku
Dharma Vihari bringing together young and old on the darkest day of the
month or new moon. This was held earlier this month in the garden of the
Narada Centre at Sarana Road, Colombo 7.
Buddha's Enlightenment brought about new visions for the world to see
the reality of life. "In this Aloka Puja, we express it symbolically dispelling
the darkness of the night with hundreds of coconut-oil lamps. In terms
of religion, we wish to dispel or remove the ignorance of man not knowing
the reality of life as it really is," said Prof. Bhikku Dharma Vihari.
He believes that the attempt to portray light with unfailing regularity
especially on the dark day of the moon is to remind humanity to get a clearer
view of things of the world as they really are. Also that such new visions
facilitate the correction of our failures or shortcomings was clearly explained
in his sermon.
The highlight of the evening was the chanting of the Dhammachakkapavattana
Sutta, the First Sermon delivered by the Buddha to the 5 disciples which
explains the basis of His Teachings. In it the symbolism of light is explained
as gaining of insight into the unsatisfactory nature of life namely, Dhukka,
its origins or Samudhaya, its cessation in Nibbana and the way to achieving
it via the Noble Eighfold Path.