Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Five Ways Of Performing Dāna Part (2) By Venerable Shwe Oo Min Sayardaw (ဒါနျပဳနည္းသိေကာင္းစရာ အပို္င္း ၂)

Thirdly, donating according to the timely need, such as offering robes at the beginning of Vassa, offering Kaţhina robes at the end of Vassa, offering meals at the daily suitable time, offering drinks in the afternoon, those who understand this, those who are skillful at offering whatever is required at the necessary time; their Kusala will come to fruition at their early ages. They will have plentiful of money at their early youthful age; they can enjoy their wealth early too. The good fortune comes at the age where they can do things with the full faculty of youth. They have plenty of time to expand their wealth, and so, they can donate, they can support the Sāsana well to their heart’s content. They can be successful at their Dhamma missions. This is called Kāla Dāna, doing suitable Dāna at the right time. Audience here, you all have done that too, right? At mid day in hot summer time, you all might have offered candle lights to Buddha. In wintertime, you might have offered water bath to the Buddha, too. Doing remedial Dāna, Tuesday born offering water bath early in the morning at the Tuesday corner of the Cetiya. Lucky you do that to the Buddha; if it were to human, I think the person would be trembling with cold! Do you think it will be considered as Kāla Dāna? I do not think so. When the weather is hot, offering cool air by waving a fan will be more appropriate, don’t you think? When Shwe Ceti Sayadaw went to India, when he reached the place where Buddha passed away entering Parinibbāna, he had tears in his eyes. He missed Buddha much. As though Buddha were alive and there in his presence, as he would attend to the Buddha, respectfully he offered kneading as massage therapy. He respectfully bent down and paid homage to the Buddha. So, attending to the needs at the required time is Kāla Dāna. This type of donor will reap benefits at the early age.

Some people got mansions, cars, three sets of television only when they were old and senile, only when they were near their deathbed. One television is enough, isn’t it? Even if someone came and gave ten televisions, it is of no use. Hearing is not so good, eyesight is not so clear, but you still want some fun despite of your aging, isn’t it? May be, fun wanting has still not aged yet, has it? They were told “Buddha doesn’t like it, the wasting of time with television”. They replied that the television was for the children. But, old grand fathers and old grand mothers were never far from the television. PhoneGyi (an appropriate form of self-expression used in the place of “I” or “me” in Myanmar for monks) cannot understand that. Television must have so much attraction power. If they sit in front of Buddha instead, imagine the amount of benefit they may have accumulated. It is pitiful. What those foreigners said could be true. When Taung Pulu Sayadaw went to America on overseas mission about 30 years ago, he left behind one of his disciples, a competent foreigner monk to teach Dhamma there for over a year. His American students inquired the monk whether television had reached Burma. He told them that there began some trial introductions in the capital, it had not spread to all parts of the country yet. They exclaimed that “Oh, you all will be corrupted soon!” Can we say that having television leads us to moral decline? It seems there is progress, so much cars now, they are very hard to avoid. One devotee told me, there are so much cars that they have to wait two traffic light changes to get pass a junction. That much development. But the foreigners said their country has already gone, our country has started down the path of moral corruption. Things start from there. What gets corrupted? Moral characters get corrupted. Children love that kind of education from television. Fighting, killing, they are very good with detailed simulations, detailed descriptions of fights. I heard that if one gave lift to a stranger on the road, one would get robbed and be killed, his car would be stolen. One devotee told me that people got killed for a necklace. Why not just take the necklace, leave the man alive? OK, that subject is enough for now.

Let us get back to Kāla Dāna, such benefits. Even then, the fact that I want to remind you all, is - “It is not as suitable, it is not as sufficient to do all these Dāna all day, wasting time this way”. The best way would be to go to bed at night, building Buddha in your heart. You all know how to build Buddha in your heart, right? How tall should the Cetiya be? 15 feet tall? The Cetiya taller than 15 feet is also possible. When the time for Buddha to enter Parinibbāna was drawing nearer, Ashin Ānanda was much despondent. Buddha knew (realized) that, and so he told Ashin Ānanda “Ānanda, why are you so distressed? You have been looking after me for over 20 years. It is not a small amount of Kusala. I have exhorted 84,000 numbers of Dhamma Khandha; I have established 84,000 Buddhas, the 84,000 Dhamma Vinayas (teachings of Buddha in its completeness). These 84,000 buddhas in the form of Dhamma Vinaya , will be your counsel, will be your admonisher. Do not feel sad. Do not feel despondent. Be calm and composed. Cultivate your meditation calmly and peacefully. You will come to comprehend the Dhamma that you have been longing for”. Buddha made preordainment of that event. Soon Buddha entered Parinibbāna, and later the funeral pyre of the Buddha spontaneously burst into flames. Whenever people saw Ashin Ānanda, as they were disappointed and unhappy, they surrounded Ashin Ānanda and asked, “Ashin Ānanda, where have you left the Buddha? How come we did not get to pay our respects to the Buddha? What have you done? What has happened?” People were engulfed with anguish. Ashin Ānanda had to pacify them. There was a forest Devā, who guarded the forest that he went to meditate. The Devā scold him “Your Venerable, do not be unmindful like this, you will never understand Dhamma this way.” But our Buddha had explained to Ashin Ānanda that he must not despair. All these 84,000 Dhamma Vinayas, these 84,000 Dhamma Khandhas, all these 84,000 Buddhas were there to counsel him, there to teach him. Therefore, we all must understand that Dhammas are Buddhas. Buddha, having understood Dhamma, that he had become Buddha. Since Buddha had passed away, his teachings, the Dhammas stand in his stead as Buddha. Having comprehended whatever is needed to be comprehended, he had become Buddha. So, our way of building Buddha in our heart indeed means – “to learn to understand whatever is there to understand”. Whenever Rūpa arises, we must know that Rūpa arises. By knowing whenever Citta arises, knowing every time Nāma arises, knowing every time feeling arises, we are building Buddha in our hearts – a Dhamma Cetiya.

(to be continued...)

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