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Preserving the Buddha's Teachings, no 5.

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    Dear friends, After the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi-tree he began to teach the Dhamma. He taught satipatthåna, the development of right
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 5, 2007
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      Dear friends,

      After the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi-tree he began
      to teach the Dhamma. He taught satipatth�na, the development of
      right understanding, from then on until his passing away. When the
      relics disappear on the Great Wisdom Seat the teachings have come to
      an end. Therefore, it was very meaningful that the text of the
      disappearance of the teachings was read near the Bodhi-tree. It
      reminds us not to neglect the study of the Dhamma the Buddha had
      penetrated at the time of his enlightenment, and above all, to
      develop right understanding in daily life, so that the meaning of the
      teachings can be realized. After the reading of this text we all
      asked the Triple Gem forgiveness of our faults and shortcomings
      through action, speech or thought. This is done each time we visit
      the holy sites, at the very end of our visit, and in this case it was
      near the Bodhi-tree.
      The Buddha explained the eightfold Path so that people could develop
      it and realize the four noble Truths, the Truth of dukkha,
      unsatisfactoriness of all conditioned realities that arise and fall
      away; the Truth of the origination of dukkha that is clinging; the
      truth of the cessation of dukkha that is nibb�na; the Truth of the
      Path leading to the cessation of dukkha, that is the eightfold path.
      When there isn�t anybody who can clearly explain the right practice,
      the development of the eightfold Path, people cannot develop it and
      they cannot realize the four noble Truths. When nobody in this world
      can penetrate the four noble Truths anymore, the world will be dark.
      The Dhamma will gradually disappear.
      At the last day of our pilgrimage, when we were in Patna, Acharn
      Sujin said: �The teachings are almost dying, let us develop right
      understanding�. We do not have to feel depressed when thinking of the
      disappearance of the teachings. On the contrary, we should have
      courage and cheerfulness to begin again and again developing right
      understanding. Each day Acharn Sujin exhorted us to take courage and
      to be cheerful. We read in the �Kindred Sayings� (I, S�g�tha vagga,
      IV, M�ra, Ch II, �6, The Bowl):

      On one occasion, at S�vatth�, the Exalted One was instructing,
      inciting and inspiring the monks by a sermon on the five khandhas of
      grasping (upad�na khandhas). And the monks with their whole mind
      applied, attentive and intent, listened with rapt hearing to the Dhamma.

      The Commentary (the S�ratthappak�sin�) explains that the Buddha was
      instructing, teaching under different aspects the specific and
      general characteristics of the khandhas of grasping. The Buddha was
      enlightening, inciting and inspiring them. The Commentary explains
      that he exhorted them to have energy and endeavour. As we read in the
      sutta text, the monks listened with enthousiasm, with rapture, to the
      Dhamma. Thus, this text reminds us to be courageous and not to give
      up developing understanding, and to be cheerful, glad about the
      Dhamma. We discussed courage and cheerfulness because of the Dhamma
      several times. Acharn Sujin explained that when akusala citta arises
      we may dislike it, we may feel bad about it, but akusala can be
      realized as only a conditioned reality. Then we shall not try to do
      something else but the development of right understanding of what
      appears now, even if it is akusala. We have accumulated akusala for
      countless lives, and thus there are conditions for its arising. We
      shall not be downhearted but we can be courageous and glad to be able
      to know the truth. We may be discouraged about our lack of awareness
      and understanding, our lack of progress. We should not expect the
      arising of a great deal of understanding when it has not yet been
      accumulated. Understanding should be developed very naturally in our
      daily life and in that way we can live happily, without anxiety. We
      can rejoice in the Dhamma we learnt and take courage to continue
      developing right understanding.


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