SAMADHI

JOURNAL OF THE LONDON BUDDHIST VIHARA
THE FIRST AND THE FOREMOST BUDDHIST VIHARA OF THE WESTERN WORLD
ESTABLISHED IN 1926 BY THE ANAGARIKA DHARMAPALA

 

ISSUE No. 21                                                    JANUARY 2003                                     B. E. 2546                             ISSN 1368-1516

  INSIDE THIS ISSUE


PRINCESS ROYAL VISITS 
THE LONDON BUDDHIST VIHARA

The Princess Royal visited the London Buddhist Vihara on 10th July 2002. She was the first member of the Royal family ever to visit the Vihara in its entire history of 75 years. The visit was organized as part of a series of royal visits to all the major faith communities in the United Kingdom to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth. The London Buddhist Vihara was greatly honoured to be selected as the most suitable venue to host this important event on behalf of the entire Buddhist community in the UK. Working in close co-operation with the Network of Buddhist Organisations, invitations were extended to monks and lay people from all Buddhist traditions together with prominent members of the InterFaith Network. Unfortunately, limitations of space meant that admission had to be restricted and we are sorry it was not possible to invite all the dayakas of the Vihara. Nevertheless, a large gathering attended and video screens were erected to relay pictures of the events to all parts of the Vihara.

On arrival at the Vihara, the Princess Royal was welcomed by Most Venerable Dr. Vajiragnana Head of the Vihara and Sangha Nayake of Great Britain, Mr. Ranjith Hewavitarne and Mr. Paul Seto, Secretary of the Network of Buddhist Organisations. A flower bouquet was presented by a little girl, Harini Payagala. Dr. Nyanissara & Dr. Kusum Subesinghe guided some Dhamma school children of Vihara in singing Jayamangala Gathas. Then the respected guests visited the shrine room.

In his welcome speech, Most Ven. Dr. M. Vajiragnana paid tribute to the benign and stabilising influence of the Queen during her long reign of 50 years. He emphasised the commitment of Buddhists to serve the whole community in matters of visiting schools, hospitals and social service in general. In her reply, the Princess Royal said in her travels all over the world she had always been made very welcome in Buddhist countries, and she had a high opinion of the monastic community and the contribution it makes to the well-being of society.

Monks from the Theravada, Chinese and Tibetan traditions performed chanting to invoke blessings, long life and happiness on Queen Elizabeth. A Buddha rupa, portraying the "no fear" pose, was presented to the Princess Royal by Ven. Dr. Vajiragnana. Later the guests were entertained by cultural dances from Sri Lanka, China and Nepal, and the Princess Royal presented them with gifts in recognition of their performances.

The Princess Royal then unveiled a plaque commemorating the building extension in the Vihara. After that, she spent about half an hour walking around the Vihara, speaking to many of the monks, supporters of the Vihara and InterFaith representatives. She seemed to be in no hurry to leave and everyone was very impressed by her sincerity and charming nature.


NEW YEAR GREETING
by Most Venerable Dr. Medagama Vajiragnana,
Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain, Head of the London Buddhist Vihara

Seasonal greetings from the Venerable Sangha of the London Buddhist Vihara. New Year is something which brings happiness and joy to everybody. Many people look forward to this opportunity to organise different social functions for their enjoyment, and others arrange religious ceremonies in their respective religious places to get blessings for a happy and prosperous new year. Virtually everyone gets a holiday from work and from school, and all the members of the family are looking forward to getting together and enjoying a social gathering. This is a time for family unity. Let us Buddhists join fully with others in New Year Celebrations radiating love and kindness to all, beginning from our own home.

Buddhism is interested in the welfare of man through his own development without depending on any supernatural being or supreme power. Buddhism guides every man, woman and child to regulate and develop their lives in wholesome ways for the good of themselves and others. Therefore, this is also a time for reviewing the path on which one had walked during the past year to assess how one fared on. That will give us the opportunity to rectify the weaknesses if there have been any. There is every possibility in us to make mistakes as we are not perfect beings. The goodness of our deeds has to be judged according to our intentions, the results we reap and how they affect others. It is man who has the power to decide what is right and what is wrong. The yardstick is the norm, the Dhamma.

In your retrospecting, if you found that you have enjoyed more happy and joyous times than unhappy miserable times that means you have done more right actions. If you had to suffer from remorse, anxiety and been miserable, it indicates you have done mistakes which you have to rectify and correct by doing good. Goodness has the power to overcome bad and defeat evil.

The New Year is an appropriate juncture for you to resolve to abandon your known weaknesses with self discipline and self development. We ourselves must purify our own actions for no one else can do it for us. Do not repent upon your past misdeeds and do not brood over the future, for the past is already gone and the future has not yet come. Therefore, try to live the present moment with clear awareness of your actions, words and thoughts. Try to use it for the benefit of both yourself and others by radiating love, kindness and compassion to all around you. It brings you happiness, peace and prosperity in the New Year.

May the blessings of the Noble Triple Gem ever be with you.


THE BUDDHIST WAY OF LIFE

by Ven. Buddharakkhita

The Buddha calls His Teaching 'MAJJHIMA PATIPADA' - The Middle Path. Moderation in all affairs - religious, social, political and economic - constitutes, therefore, the chief ingredient of Buddhist life, which means that a Buddhist must eschew excess of every kind.

Eschewing excess and cultivating moderation require a disciplined conduct. Only a disciplined life can harness the great flow of energy that is within us all, and give it the right direction towards emancipation. An undisciplined life dissipates this energy and misdirects it into various wrong channels which carry one into the tumultuous sea of samsaric existence.

Through disciplined life alone is achieved the moral purification, Sila, which forms the foundation of Buddhism. Without Sila there is no mental nor spiritual growth.

Buddhists also believe that if Sila is beneficial and profitable in spiritual life it is equally advantageous in day-to-day mundane existence. It is, therefore, imperative for all Buddhists strictly to adhere to the 'Code of Conduct' known as Pancha Sila which the Buddha enjoined as the basic minimum for all. These Fivefold Precepts are not negative rules; that is, these do not mean just passively avoiding certain evil acts such as, killing, stealing, adultery, lying and drinking. On the contrary, these signify a most positive code of conduct which makes it incumbent upon all Buddhists actively and deliberately to cultivate the virtues of love and compassion, generosity, chaste living, truthfulness and temperance. Ultimately, it is pure conduct and good life that matters. Buddhists are, therefore, expected to be practical minded.

But, for conduct to be steadfast and lasting, it must necessarily be rooted in firmer ground. It must have a purpose. A life devoid of purpose is like a tree without fruit. That which provides purpose to right living is known as the THREEFOLD REFUGE - TISARANA. A correct understanding of the significance of the Three Refuges, namely, the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, constitutes the essential pre-requisite for the Buddhist way of life. A right understanding of the Refuges alone endows one with the right motive and resoluteness towards self-perfection. Self-perfection, indeed, is the ultimate goal of Buddhism and no ulterior motive can bring about his great consummation.

If a person calls himself a Buddhist because of a blind regard for his leader or because he hates some people and wants to spite them, or out of an inferiority complex or any other ulterior motive, he is only carrying a signboard on his forehead without ever becoming a Buddhist. Faith in Buddhism is always born of right understanding and wisdom. One of the characteristics of Buddhism is that it is antithetical to blind faith. Similarly, hate or spite and Buddhism are two diametrically opposite poles. Love and Compassion are the central features of the Buddha's Teaching. It must be remembered that if the goal is great, the path leading to it should also be great. Buddha prescribes 'purity of means' as the only technique; it is the hub round which revolves the entire scheme of Buddhist life.

Buddhadharma deals with eternal truths which none can change. Whether the Buddhas arise or not, the truths irrevocably exist. Following Buddhism through blind regard for a leader, however eminent, is to make Buddhadhamma, hence also these eternal truths, subservient to the views and idiosyncrasies of a person. Even the Buddha Himself never makes a claim over the Dhamma unlike lesser men who delude themselves with the idea of being the founder of truths. The Buddha has discovered the truth and out of boundless compassion He points out and makes known the truth, hitherto unknown, to suffering beings. He is the Refuge as a PATH-FINDER and as a TEACHER par excellence. Dhamma, His Teaching, is the Refuge because it is the one Supreme Path to Deliverance. And Sangha, the Order of His holy Disciples, is the Refuge because these holy ones have trod and are treading the Supreme Path, therefore the peerless guides and living examples to those who follow this Path.

Apart from the THREE REFUGES the Buddhist recognises no other refuge however great. Those misguided people who create an extra refuge for their own self-glorification, blind regard or any other ulterior motive, do the greatest harm to themselves and to Buddhism. Even great men like Emperor Asoka and King Milinda who spread Buddhadhamma in the most lasting manner and who have served the cause of Buddhism in a way that will ever remain unique and unsurpassed, were never made a refuge. In fact the very idea of another refuge sounds fantastic and ridiculous.

To sum up, moderation which forms the sheet-anchor of Buddhism enjoins self-imposed discipline and right conduct based upon right understanding and leading to self-perfection, to be the only and correct attitude of a Buddhist towards his religion.


EDUCATING CHILDREN

by Most Venerable Dr. Medagama Vajiragnana,
Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain, Head of the London Buddhist Vihara

Living beings in the world suffer from many tribulations because of their mental diseases, such as greed, anger, covetousness, conceit and selfishness. Because of these weaknesses, they do wrong deeds, speak wrong words and think wrong thoughts which cause unhappiness and pain both to themselves and to others. We need to develop an understanding of why these characteristics develop and what can be done to overcome them. This is the role of education. Furthermore, a child needs to be equipped with the practical skills necessary to make one’s way in the world.

It goes without saying that every child has the right to receive an adequate education. Parents wish to give their child every opportunity for advancement. They wish them a better standard of living and this tends to go hand in hand with a sound education. We should not forget however that the most important education starts in the home. The Buddha said that parents are the first teachers.

As human beings we are unique in our ability to see the difference between good and bad. We have the capacity to make moral choices and thereby to influence the shape of our own lives and that of others. The development of a moral life governed by a code of ethics derived from a right view of life is much more important than becoming an accountant or a bank manager. This code is founded on Buddhist teaching, given by example as well as formally, by the parents in the everyday situations of home life. This code was originally designed for individual observance, but when put into practice it has far-reaching benefits for the social order. This is education in the widest sense.

In all the teachings of the Buddha, and especially in the Sigalovada Sutta, he systematically lays out the responsibilities, duties and the necessary qualities and actions of a person, whether he be a layman or a monk. There are five duties of parents to children: (1) Guide children away from evil; (II) Persuade them to do good; (III) Provide them with an education (IV) Set them up in a suitable marriage; (V) Hand over their inheritance at the right time.

Let us look at the first and the second duties in this list. Parents should take care to steer their children away from all kinds of evil, such as lying, cheating, dishonesty, revenge and so on. The second duty of parents is that they should persuade their children to do good. By their words and by their example, parents should persuade them to develop and manifest good qualities, such as kindness, obedience, courage, honesty, perseverance, simplicity, good manners and other kinds of virtue.

Nothing is more important for a parent than to give his child a proper education in the widest sense of the word. Proper education is a duty of parents. It is the best legacy that they can bequeath to their children. There is no treasure more valuable for a human being than a good education. Parents should see that their children learn a suitable art or science along, of course, with good ethical and moral discipline.

How many parents especially in modern advanced societies give heed to this all-important advice? How many children grow up with full understanding of the difference between right and wrong? We may be taught a great deal about the outside world as revealed by the wonderful achievements of science and technology, but too often we remain woefully ignorant of our true selves and how to lead a happy and contented life as a member of a harmonious society.

All the main religions have their respective scriptures, codes of discipline, views of what is evil and what is good, their festivals and many other characteristics. But actual day-to-day practice of religion as a moral guide to a person’s private and public life is on the decline and no longer seems to be a priority. Most emphasis seems to have shifted to the material aspect of religious festivals. For example, Vesak and Christmas have become commercialised to the extent that the participants derive hardly any spiritual feeling. The true message or significance of the festivals is neglected.

Social and economic changes have brought about major alterations in our life styles. Consequently, imparting religious education has taken a back seat. Parents may find themselves to be too busy to devote some time to educate their children. Particularly if parents are working long hours at a job, then they return home in the evening too tired to spend some time with their children. At weekends they have other commitments and demands on their time such as hobbies, sports, or party-going which also limit the amount of time they devote to their children. Too often, they take the soft option or easy way out which is simply to provide the child with some kind of entertainment or distraction to keep him happy and quiet. This may take the form of just turning on the television or lavishing on the child all manner of expensive toys, including toy guns. It is sad that some parents encourage their children to practise shooting even for fun, which reduces their fear of using real guns. We hear from time to time of some incidents of very young children killing others by shooting. Parents should be very careful when buying toys for their children. I am not saying that children should never watch television, or play with toys, but neither of these is a proper substitute for parental love and care. For it is only by receiving love that we can learn to give it. It is only by being taught the difference between right and wrong that we can learn to respect other people in thought, word and deed.

This is why moral education, what we call sila, is so important if we are to achieve a happy and harmonious society. The goal of sila is to produce a well-balanced individual who has brought under control all his actions of body and speech so that he can live his life without causing any hurt or harm to other beings. Ethical behaviour should be taught both in the home and at school. Parents think it is the responsibility of teachers and teachers think that this kind of instruction is the responsibility of the parents, but some parents are themselves products of this same educational system and often they are just as confused and lacking in spiritual direction as the children they are supposed to be guiding. Religious education as a subject has been in and out of the curriculum, especially in the state schools of most countries. Denominational schools teach their own religion up to a certain level. However, we live in a multi-racial, multi-cultural world, so it is essential to have a knowledge of and respect for all faiths. Moral conduct should be taught to children from an early age in schools as well as at home, but some children do not learn about these things, either at school or at home. Nevertheless, parents have a clear responsibility to understand how to behave properly and to transmit this understanding to their children.

It is understandable that people should seek to achieve a high material standard of living in this competitive world, but there is danger of going too far and pursuing an ill-balanced lifestyle which confuses material wealth with spiritual wealth. Any education system which simply gives children the kind of knowledge and skills to find suitable employment is not sufficient. Doubtless this is a very important function of education, but it fails to teach the child how to become a good member of society and how to live a happy life. Public education throughout the world aims at producing intellectuals to work in specialised fields such as science and technology, and some of these people are highly skilled in their particular discipline. Great emphasis has been laid on the intellectual side of their development, but the emotional side has often been neglected. The intellectual side is connected with the brain, and the emotions such as love, kindness, compassion, non-violence, fellow feeling and sympathy are connected with the heart. In the Buddha’s teaching, compassion is to be developed equally with wisdom. That side has been neglected in many education systems by omitting moral and ethical education from the curriculum. There should be a balance in education to develop both the emotional as well as the intellectual side of the child so as to produce a well-balanced, fully-mature person. Otherwise the result may be a lop-sided, ill-balanced person who is constantly in conflict with society or within himself. Religious principles are very important for any society. Without them, wholesome qualities tend to lie dormant, and negative, harmful qualities such as anger, jealousy and avarice develop. Man’s progress must be achieved by his self-discipline and mental culture, gained through religious principles. In the Seelavimansa Jataka it says, "Education devoid of virtuous conduct is not for the gain." (Silena anupetassa sutenattho na vijjati). Those intellectuals who have not disciplined themselves in ethical principles are capable of systematically planning violence, crimes and other destructive measures.

Many of those who commit crimes are not uneducated people, but they do lack ethical knowledge. It is a strange but sad fact that in many cases these criminals are found to be youngsters. No ethics have been taught in the home and they have had no opportunity to learn about the importance of morality. Some parents set a bad example by engaging in bitter arguments in front of their children. When they grow up, too often they find work in factories or laboratories where they interact with impersonal machines. In other kinds of job people are treated as mere commodities, to be moved around at the unthinking command of an insensitive employer. In all these cases there is a danger that they will become out of touch with human feelings.

Many of society’s problems can be traced back our failure to provide each individual with a sound education in moral principles. If children can be brought up to know the difference between right and wrong, and to respect everyone and their property, then we have laid the foundation for a happy, peaceful society.


BUDDHISM IS NEITHER A THEORY
NOR A MERE PHILOSOPHY

by Ven. Dr. K Dhammananda Nayaka Thera, Malaysia

Buddhism is a righteous way of life for the happiness of every living being in this world. It is a method to get rid of miseries and to find eternal salvation. The teaching of the Buddha is not limited to one nation or race. It is neither a creed nor a mere faith. It is a teaching for the entire universe. It is a teaching for all time. Its object is universal service, good will and peace. Its object is the salvation or deliverance of man.

Salvation in Buddhism is personal and individual. You alone must save yourself just as you alone must quench your own hunger and thirst. The advice given by the Buddha points the way to liberation; but his advice was never intended to be taken as a theory. When he was questioned as to what theory he propounded, the Buddha replied that he preached no theories and whatever he did preach was the result of his own experience. Thus his teaching does not offer any theory to the world. Theory cannot bring one nearer to spiritual perfection. Theories are the very fetters that bind the mind and impede spiritual progress. The Buddha says, "Wise men give no credulity to passing theories. Why should they tie themselves? They are past believing everything they see and hear."

Theories are products of the intellect and the Buddha understood the limitations of the human intellect. He taught that enlightenment is not a product of mere intellect. One cannot achieve emancipation by taking an intellectual course. This statement may seem ridiculous; however, it is true. Intellectuals tend to spend too much of their valuable time in study; critical analysis and debates. They usually have little or no time for practice.

Once the Buddha told a story about a man who was wounded by an arrow. Instead of allowing his relatives to find a doctor to pull out the arrow, the man insisted on first finding out who hit him, the colour of his skin, where he came from, what material the arrow was made of, who made the arrow, etc. Buddha pointed out that the man would die long before he could find these answers.

A person who studies but does not practise is like one who is able to recite a huge cook-book but who never goes to the kitchen to prepare food. He can never relieve his hunger by the book alone. Practice is therefore a prerequisite of enlightenment. In some schools of Buddhism, such as Zen, practice is even put ahead of knowledge.

A great thinker - be he a philosopher, scientist, metaphysician, etc. - can also turn out to be an intellectual fool; such a person may be an intellectual giant endowed with the power to perceive quickly and express clearly and accurately. But if he pays no attention to his actions and if he is not careful about the consequences of his actions, and if he is only bent on fulfilling his own longings and inclinations at any cost, then, according to the Buddha, such a man is an intellectual fool, a man of inferior intelligence. Such a person will indeed destroy his own progress here and hereafter.

Remember that the Buddha was a practical teacher who made use of his knowledge and experience to attain enlightenment. Thus his teaching contains practical wisdom that cannot be limited to theory or to mere philosophy.

Buddhism is not a mere philosophy because philosophy deals mainly with knowledge but it is not concerned with translating the knowledge into practice in daily living. Buddhism lays special emphasis on practice and realisation. The philosopher sees the miseries and the disappointments of life but, unlike the Buddha, he offers no practical solution to overcome our frustrations which are part of the unsatisfactory nature of life. The philosopher merely pushes his thoughts to dead ends. Philosophy is very well and good but it has failed to quench spiritual thirst. However, philosophy has enriched our intellectual imagination and diminished dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against further progress. To that extent, Buddhism values philosophy.

Remember that the chief aim of the Buddhist life is to attain enlightenment and spiritual freedom. Enlightenment vanquishes ignorance which lies at the root of birth and death. However this vanquishing of ignorance cannot be achieved except by the exercise of one's will-power; all other attempts - especially mere intellectual attempts - are utterly futile. This is why the Buddha concluded, "These (metaphysical) questions are not calculated to profit; they are not concerned with the Dhamma; they do not lead us to right conduct, or to detachment, or to purification from lusts, or to quietude, or to a calm heart, or to real knowledge, or to higher insight, or to Nibbana." In place of metaphysical speculation, the Buddha was more concerned with teaching a practical understanding of the Four Noble Truths that he discovered; what suffering is; what the origin of suffering is; what the cessation of suffering is; how to overcome suffering and to achieve the final salvation. For these truths are all practical matters to be fully understood and realised by anyone who really desires to accomplish the great act of emancipation.

Enlightenment is the dispelling of ignorance; it is the ideal of the Buddhist life. We can now clearly see that enlightenment is not an act of the intellect. Mere understanding has something foreign in it and does not seem to come so intimately into life. This is why the Buddha placed great emphasis on personal experience. Meditation is the practical, scientific system to verify the truth that comes through personal experience. Through meditation, the will tries to transcend the condition it has put on itself and this is the awakening of consciousness. All the metaphysical problems merely involve us in a tangled and matted mass of thread.


FACTS OF LIFE

by  Narada Maha Thera

FAME AND ILL-FAME

Fame and ill-fame are another pair of inevitable worldly conditions that confront us in the course of our daily lives.

Fame we welcome; ill-fame we dislike. Fame gladdens our heart; ill-fame disheartens us. We desire to become famous. We long to see our pictures in the papers. We are greatly pleased when our activities, however insignificant, are given publicity. Sometime we seek undue publicity too.

Many are anxious to see their picture in a magazine at any cost. To obtain an honour, some are prepared to offer gratification or give substantial donation to those in power. For the sake of publicity, some exhibit their generosity by giving alms to a hundred monks and even more; but they may be totally indifferent to the sufferings of the poor and the needy in the neighbourhood. One may charge and punish a starving person who, to appease his hunger, were to steal a coconut in his garden, but would not hesitate to present a thousand coconuts to get a good name.

These are human frailties. Most people have ulterior motives. Selfless persons who act disinterestedly are rare in this world. Most worldings have something behind their sleeves. Well, who is perfectly good? How many are perfectly pure in their motives? How many are absolutely altruistic?

We need not hunt after fame. If we are worthy of fame, it will come to us unsought. The bee will be attracted to the flower, laden with honey. The flower does not invite the bee.

True indeed, we feel naturally happy, nay extremely happy when our fame is spread far and wide. But we must realise that fame, honour and glory are passing phases only. They soon vanish in thin air.

How about ill-fame? It is not palatable either to the ear or mind. We are undoubtedly perturbed when unkind words of disrepute pierce our ears. The pain of mind is still greater when the so-called report is unjust and absolutely false.

Normally, it takes years to erect a magnificent building. In a minute or two, with modern devastating weapons, it could easily be demolished. Sometimes it takes years or a lifetime to build up a good reputation. In no time the hard-earned, good name can be ruined. Nobody is exempt from the devastating remark that begins with the ill-famed ‘but’. Yes, he is very good; he does this and that, but his whole good record is blackened by the so-called ‘but’. You may live the life of a Buddha but you will not be exempt from criticism, attacks and insults.

The Buddha was the most famous and yet the most maligned teacher in his time. Great men are often known; even if they are known, they are misknown.

Some antagonists of the Buddha spread a rumour that a woman used to spend the night in the monastery. Having failed in this base attempt, they spread false news amongst the populace that the Buddha and his disciples murdered that very woman and hid her corpse in the rubbish-heap of withered flowers within the monastery. The conspirators later admitted that they were the culprits.

When his historic mission met with success and when many sought ordination under him, his adversaries maligned him, saying that he was robbing the mothers of their sons, depriving wives of their husbands, and that he was obstructing the progress of the nation.

Failing in all these attempts to ruin his noble character, his own cousin, Devadatta, a jealous disciple of his, attempted to kill him by hurling a rock from above, but failed in his attempt.

If such be the sad fate of the faultless, perfect Buddha, what can be the fate of imperfect, ordinary mortals?

The higher you climb a hill, the more conspicuous you become and appear in the eyes of others. Your back is revealed but your front is hidden. The fault-finding world exhibits your short-comings and misgivings but ignores your salient virtues. The winnowing fan thrashes the husks but retains the grains; the strainer, on the contrary, retains the gross remants but drains out the sweet juice. The cultured take the subtle and remove the gross; the uncultured retain the gross, but remove the subtle.

When you are misrepresented, deliberately or otherwise, remember the advice of Epictetus: to think or say "O, by his slight acquaintance and faint knowledge of myself, I am lightly criticised. But if I am known better, more serious and much greater would be the accusations against me."

It is needless to waste time in correcting the false reports unless circumstances compel you to necessitate a clarification. The enemy is gratified when he sees that you are hurt. That is what he actually expects. It you are indifferent, such misrepresentations will fall on deaf ears.

In seeing the faults of others, we should behave like a blind person. In hearing unjust criticism of others, we should behave like a deaf person. In speaking ill of others, we should behave like a dumb person. It is not possible to put a stop to false accusations, reports and rumours.

The world is full of thorns and pebbles. It is impossible to remove them. But, if we have to walk in spite of such obstacles, instead of trying to remove them, which is impossible, it is advisable to wear a pair of slippers and walk harmlessly.

The Dhamma teaches:

Be like a lion that trembles not at sounds. Be like the wind that does not cling to the meshes of a net. Be like a lotus that is not contaminated by the mud from which it springs. Wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Being the kings of the forest, lions are fearless. By nature they are not frightened by the roaring of other animals. In this world, we may hear adverse reports, false accusations, degrading remarks of uncurbed tongues. Like a lion, we should not even listen to them. Like the boomerang they will end where they began.

Dogs bark, but the caravans peacefully move on.

We are living in a muddy world. Numerous lotuses spring therefrom without being contaminated by the mud, they adorn the world. Like lotuses we should try to lead blameless, noble lives unmindful of the mud that may be thrown at us.

We should expect mud to be thrown at us instead of roses. Then there will be no disappointments. Though difficult, we should try to cultivate non-attachment. Alone we come, alone we go. Non-attachment is happiness in this world.

Unmindful of the poisonous darts of uncurbed tongues, alone we should wander serving others to the best of our ability.

It is rather strange that great men have been slandered, vilified, poisoned, crucified or shot. Great Socrates was poisoned. Noble Jesus Christ was ruthlessly crucified. Harmless Mahatma Gandhi was shot.

Well, is it dangerous to be too good?

Yes, during their lifetime they were criticised, attacked, and killed. After death, they were deified and honoured.

Great men are indifferent to fame or ill-fame. They are not upset when they are criticised or maligned, for they work not for name or fame. They are indifferent whether others recognise their services or not. To work they have the right but not to the fruit thereof.


OBITUARIES 

MRS. REGINA CALDERA

Mrs. Regina Caldera passed away and her funeral was held at Ruislip Crematorium on 6th June. She is survived by her husband Sidney and son Saliya.

MR. GUNAPALA RANATUNGA

Mr. Ranatunaga passed away and his funeral was held at Golders Green Crematorium on 6th July. He is survived by his loving wife Soma, children Aruna, Pandula, Kanchana and Ravindra.

MR. LUCKSHMAN KARUNARATNE

Mr. Karunaratne passed away and his funeral was held at Ruislip Crematorium on 14th November. He is survived by his loving wife Sakuntala, two daughters Dilani and Surini.

MR. DANTON SAMARAWICKREMA

Mr. Samarawickrema passed away and his funeral was held at Mortlake Crematorium 30th December. He is survived by his loving wife Felicia, three children Giles, Shane, and Natasha.


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Ven. Tawalama Bandula
2003