January 2023 edition
Let’s discuss something highly important to our path of liberation, through this month editorial. As usual, I would like to take some beautiful teachings of the blessed one as the guideline to our message.
At one time, the King Pasenadi of Kosala went up to the Samma SamBuddha. At that time seven matted-hair ascetics, seven Jain ascetics, seven naked ascetics, seven one-cloth ascetics, and seven wanderers passed by not far from the Samma Sambuddha. Their armpits and bodies were hairy, and their nails were long; and they carried their stuff with shoulder-poles. King Pasenadi saw them passing by. He got up from his seat, knelt down on the ground, raised his joined palms toward those ascetics, and pronounced his name three times: “Sirs, I am Pasenadi, king of Kosala! I am Pasenadi, king of Kosala! I am Pasenadi, king of Kosala!” Then, soon after those ascetics had left, King Pasenadi said to Samma Sambuddha, “Sir, they are too among those in the world who are perfected ones and who are on the path to perfection”
Then the blessed one replied;
“Oh, Great king, as a layman enjoying sensual pleasures, living at home with your children, using sandalwood imported from Kāsi, wearing garlands, perfumes, and makeup, and accepting gold and money, it’s hard for you to know who is perfected or on the path to perfection. You can get to know a person’s ethics by living with them. But only after a long time, not casually; only when paying attention, not when inattentive; and only by the wise, not the witless. Also, only when you have the intention of seeking for the true purification – Sila’ You can get to know a person’s purity by dealing with them. … You can get to know a person’s resilience in times of trouble. … You can get to know a person’s wisdom by discussion. But only after a long time, not casually; only when paying attention, not when inattentive; and only by the wise, not the witless.”
Then the king replied;
“It’s incredible, sir, it’s amazing, how well said this was by the Samma SamBuddha… Sir, these are my spies, my undercover agents returning after spying on the country. First, they go undercover, then I have them report to me. And now—when they have washed off the dust and dirt, and are nicely bathed and anointed, with hair and beard dressed, and dressed in white—they will amuse themselves, supplied and provided with the five kinds of sensual stimulation.”
So, let me share the message I wanted to share with you with this beautiful piece of Dhamma teaching. Nowadays, many are seeking what is Buddhism, what is the real Buddhist teaching, what is the Dhamma for liberation etc… But how? Most of their search is based on internet. They just listen to some online teachings and quickly deciding this is the correct teachings etc. Then quickly decides that the person is a perfected one or a person who is in the path to perfection. They don’t have any idea about the person at all. They aren’t willing to meet them personally. In such case, it is easy for you to mislead in the path of liberation.
Some listeners judge quickly after listening to few online discussions or Zoom meetings that these are the best one and what they explain is the correct one. Also judge quickly as they are NOT the correct ones too. As you can see, judgment of accepting or rejecting comes so quickly after spending few online sessions or interaction. Or maybe a few visits.
The blessed one pointed out a very important point here. That’s “Those who have the intention of seeking for the true purification – Sila” which means your true intention, your dedication, your genuineness of seeking the liberation. If your search is not genuine, you won’t be willing to spend much time with the noble ones. Your effort is so lesser, and you seek for a quick liberation. In that case, your judgment also so quick.
So, be in touch with the persons who share the topics which you are truly seeking for. Meet them, be friend with them. Be a part of their lives. And then, only you can understand how their teachings resonate through their actions. BUT again, the blessed one pointing out another important point. “Only by the wise!”
So, if you are not wise enough no matter how long you keep in touch with the one whom you believe is a good teacher or Dhamma sharer, you won’t be able to see their true identity. You will end up like a spoon in a soup which have no idea of the taste of the soup, even though it has been sitting with the soup for so long.
After the dialogue of the king, the blessed one expressed this heartfelt sentiment, over the true monkhood too!
"The monk himself does not engage in all the mundane activities (such as mission work, personal mission work, etc.). One does not become another's servant. They do not live in the company of other rulers. He does not trade in Dharma (he does not give sermons for wealth or gifts etc.)"
So, may you develop the force of faith, Vigor, Awareness, Focus & Wisdom to identify the true noble friends who support your true liberation!