Friday, May 28, 2010

Thoughts on Wesak Day

Today is Wesak Day, a day to celebrate the birthday of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. On this day, let us ponder over what he tells us as an enlightened being.

According to the Budhha all suffering in this world can be traced to three things we cling to. They are greed, hatred and delusion.

We are not satisfied with what we have and strive to get more things or wealth. This is greed. When we fail to get what we want, we feel disappointed, sad and depressed. This lead to suffering.

Hatred is another feeling that we harbour towards others. When some one says something unpleasant to our ears, we tend to hate him. We shun seeing him and refuse to co-operate with him. Worse still, we will retaliate and try to cause harm to him. Such feeling that is with us makes us suffer.

As for delusion, it is about understanding the true nature of things. Human beings are often unaware of the impermanence of things around us. We cling to our loved ones, dreaming to be with him or her forever. This is impossible as we are mortal and one day we have to die due to old age or disease.

To counteract greed, we should practice dana. We should donate things to the needy. Helping others to overcome fear is a form of dana too. Willing to part with what we have is a good practice for getting rid of greed or avarice.

Practising loving kindness helps us keep hatred at a distance. We shoud try to love everyone as if he is our mother, father, sister, brother, husband or wife. With this mindset, no hatred will arise in our heart. For example, when someone says very bad things about you, you must treat the experience as getting back what you have given him in your past lives. In other words, you deserve to receive this treatment.

Getting rid of delusion needs a scientific mind. Science tells us that all things are made up of atoms which are in constant movement. In solids, they move very slowly. The move faster in liquids and they have the greatest speed of movent in a gas. It shows us that all things change every now and then. Water can become steam and steam can condense to become water. Ice is formed from water when it is subject to very low temperatures. Hence we should not attach to things owned. They will get spoilt one day. So are our loved ones. They may leave us one of these days. If we practise detachment, we will be able to overcome delusion.

Happy Wesak Day to all Buddhists worldwide.

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