Making the Right Aspirations

Venue: TIMS

All degrees of selfish desire, longing, attachment and clinging are called Lobha in pali (ref. Abhidhamma Sangaha). It has been commonly translated into a single English word as Greed.

A devotee inquired whether it is greedy or going against the teachings for making a wish that her child will excel in her studies each time she offers Dana to the monks. I did not answer her that particular question but I told her something else, and today I will like to share with you all about it.

You see, all of us must understand, when we are not Arahants, it is not an unacceptable thing for us to be greedy. The important thing is that we do not harm anyone including ourselves while being greedy. Entertaining our greed, we can still follow the Buddha’s teachings by leading a fruitful life practising DanaSila and Bhavana everyday, and that is not a problem.

When we practise the Buddha’s teachings, we are actually not forcing ourselves not to have any Greed. If we could force ourselves not to have any greed, we might as well force ourselves not to have any hatred and delusion and we could thus be liberated without even having to practice the Buddha’s teachings so diligently day in day out, year in year out.

The path toward liberation as laid down by the Buddha is by developing the Noble Eight Fold Path. As we progress along this path, our understanding of the true nature of things will also develop and naturally decrease our Greed, Hatred and Delusion. When we have totally developed the Noble Eight Fold Path until its full perfection, then we would naturally be free from Greed, Hatred and Delusion forever without needing any tiny amount of forcing.

Now, coming back to that devotee’s question, it is greedy if she had compelled her daughter to take up a subject of study not to her daughter’s capability and liking but because out of her own interest. This particular aspiration might, however, put pressure on all the parties concerned. When the child knows of her mother’s desire, she might be pressured to succeed. Should the aspiration fail to come true, the parents might lose faith in the religion. As it is, academic achievement isn’t the ultimate hallmark of success in life. It would be
preferable for parents to aspire for their children to be diligent, virtuous, with a liking to associate with the wise. Furthermore, success or failure is very much dependant on our past kamma and the present efforts we make.

In every successful person, you will find the following qualities:

● The desire to succeed;

● Persistent and unrelenting effort;

● Clear and bright mental faculties; and

● Persistent investigation for the pathways to success. (Iddhipaada)

You will likely see such qualities as well in every yogi who aspires to search for the TRUTH!

That’s all for today. May you all take good care of yourselves and be happy always. Thank you.

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