Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Wesak Day Special
By Ven Aggacitta
Hokkien Cemetery Pavilion
First, a warm welcome to all present. Before starting today’s talk, we would like to invite all of you to join us for tonight’s Wesak Day Celebration up in SBS. We have arranged three simultaneous programmes for you – a conducted meditation session at the multi-purpose hall, a screening of the show “The Life of Buddha” near the open shrine and a free and easy light dinner. You are welcome to participate in any of these.
According to the Theravada tradition, Wesak Day commemorates three auspicious events:
‘Aggohamasmi lokassa ‘I am the foremost of the world.
Sceptics may question the ability of a newborn baby to perform such miracles. However, Ven Ajahn Brahm once told us about a real-life case published in the mass media where a newborn baby was reported to have uttered the words "Oh no! Not again!” at birth. Even though Siddhattha was not yet enlightened, there existed this instinct accumulated from countless previous lives that gave him this knowledge that this was going to be his very last birth.
‘Anekajātisamsāram, ‘Through many a life in samsara
It is our Craving (House Builder) that causes our countless rebirths. The ‘House’ refers to our physical body. In the Buddhist context these are the five aggregates. With the dissolution of the five aggregates, the ‘House’ cannot be rebuilt. There is no more rebirth when the Rafters (Defilements) are broken and the Rooftop (Ignorance/Delusion) destroyed. The majority of us have no memories of our past countless rebirths and subsequent suffering in Samsara. As a result, we always enjoy and celebrate each and every birthday, with a “Happy Birthday”, unlike the aforementioned child who could remember and cried, “Oh no! Not again!!”
‘Yadā have pātubhavanti dhammā, ‘Indeed when things become apparent
All cravings disappear, as the arahant understands that all phenomena are conditioned.
Final passing away
‘Handa dāni bhikkhave, ‘Well then monks
This is the final parting advice of the Buddha to us. Subsequently the Buddha attained the jhanas and the Formless spheres progressively and then in reverse order until the final cessation of his five aggregates. It is difficult for those who have not attained to understand the above just as it is impossible for a person born colour-blind to understand the world of colours.
Honouring the Buddha
1. Ara/ han
Ara (enemy), han (killer). The Buddha is one who has eliminated his enemies of greed, hatred and delusion.
2. A/ rahan
A (no), rahan (secrets). The Buddha is totally pure and blameless. He has nothing to hide.
One who is worthy (of respect, offerings, hospitality, etc.)
Now let us recite together “Arahan Samma-sambuddho” and recall the wonderful virtues of the Buddha as I just explained. Mind you, these are just two of his nine qualities mentioned in the scriptures. But these will suffice for you to practise Buddhanussati (meditation on recollecting the virtues of the Buddha). In this way we can honour the Buddha on this auspicious occasion with the high-end honour of practising according to his teachings. Also, don't forget the Buddha’s final exhortation to fulfil our practice of sila, samadhi and pañña too.