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Friday, May 8, 2009

Wesak 2009 Special : The Buddha’s message: virtue and practice

The Buddha’s message: virtue and practice


Vesak Full Moon Day is the most sacred day for Buddhists all over the world, as it emphasises the Birth, Enlightenment and the Passing Away (Parinibbana) of the Buddha.


The Buddhists in Sri Lanka indulge in many religious activities described as giving alms, virtuous deeds and meditation in temples. Although many of us are Buddhists we do not engage in these customs with awareness.

The Buddha exhibited virtue by practice

The Buddha was the embodiment of all the virtues he preached. His noble example was a source of inspiration to all his iron will, profound wisdom, universal love, boundless compassion, selfless service and perfect purity in actions words and thoughts alike.

The giving up of all evil, the cultivation of the good, cleansing of one’s mind is what the Buddha taught while compassion and wisdom are the guiding principles.

The great teacher declared suffering, arising of suffering, cessation of suffering and the Path leading to the cessation of suffering calling it the Four Noble Truths, being the essence and the summary of Buddhism.

All of us who respect this great teacher should join our hearts to cleanse and correct the path of the religion.

All human beings need a set of customs and traditions called religion to which you give special respect. One should respect all religions and sincerely adhere to it.

We also must take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Never before has the need been greater for all of us to remember the great message today. No one can save us but ourselves. Walk on the path, the Buddha only showed us the way.

To put the Dhamma first means to follow the Noble Eight-fold Path:

1. Right view.

2. Right aspiration.

3. Right speech.

4. Right action.

5. Right livelihood.

6. Right effort.

7. Right mindfulness.

8. Right concentration.

Buddhism is also called the religion of peace. We live in an age of conflict and war of hatred and violence all over the world. So on this great and sublime day let all of us decide and determine to deviate from all sinful deeds and practise the teachings of the Buddha by spreading loving kindness to all human beings and creatures for ‘darkness cannot be dispelled by darkness but by brightness. Haterd cannot be overcome with hatred but by loving kindness’.

One can never gain happiness by destroying other’s happiness but by giving happiness and peace to others, for the most noble path one can follow is the path of compassion and this means doing one’s utmost to ease the suffering of the world we live in and doing everything in our power to reduce that suffering in others.

It was to serve all living beings that the Buddha was motivated by boundless compassion, strove 45 years to spread his sublime message to bring everlasting happiness to all creatures that are born.

It is only by spreading happiness and loving kindness selflessly that we can be truly happy within ourselves. Rabindranath Tagore wrote of his ceaseless compassion:

“May my heart

lend its ear to every cry of pain, As the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun. Let not the fierce sun dry one tear of pain, Before I wipe it off from the sufferer’s eyes. But let each burning human tear

Drop on my heart and there remain,

Nor ever be brushed off until the pain

That caused it is removed.....”

May there be everlasting peace to all human being. May your heart be filled with loving kindness.

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