Venue: Hokkien Cemetery Pavilion
As long as we are not Arahants, we all have pride.
During the Buddha’s time, there lived a Brahmin whose nickname was Manadatha, which in Pali means ‘the proud one’. He was given this nickname because he did not respect anyone, not even his parents, eldest brother or his teachers. One day, Manadatha heard that the Buddha was giving a sermon in his village. He decided to go and attend the session. However, he told himself that he would only stay if the Buddha acknowledges and welcomes his presence; otherwise he would leave immediately.
When he reached the venue of the sermon, the serenely seated Buddha naturally did not welcome him in a grand or ostentatious way as he had expected. This, Manadatha felt, was a great insult because in India at that time, the Brahmins were positioned at the top rung of the caste system and were always accorded extreme respect. His pride was hurt and he turned to leave.
The Buddha, knowing what was in Manadatha’s mind, then said:
A person should not let his pride get in the way of progress. You are here for a purpose –to listen to a sermon. Do not let your pride block what you should achieve.
Manadatha was surprised that the Buddha could read his mind. Realising the truth of what the Buddha had said, he quickly knelt and bowed his head repeatedly in respect. The Buddha stopped him, asked him to sit down and listen well before He proceeded with His sermon.
There are 4 kinds of people worthy of our sincere respect. They are our mothers, fathers, eldest brothers and our teachers.
- Our parents protect and care for us. They are our benefactors. They go through a lot of trials and tribulations to ensure that we are well brought up.
- In olden times, the first-born son of any family is designated the future head of the family and the one who will succeed the father. He is entrusted with the responsibility of caring for the entire household. This is true even for royalty. The eldest brother should therefore be accorded the respect he deserves.
- Our teachers guide and teach us and for that we should respect them too.
A respectful person is in turn praised by even Sakkadewaraja for even a lofty deity like him knows how to respect his own parents, elders and teachers. In his previous life as a human being, Sakkadewaraja concentrated on perfecting 7 great aspirations:
- He was filial to his parents.
- He avoided harsh speech.
- He respected his elders.
- He did not engage in slander.
- He was generous to all.
- He was truthful and sincere in whatever he did.
- He was not quick to anger. Whenever anger arose, it was quickly doused.
Through his own effort in perfecting these aspirations, he was reborn in Tavatimsa Heaven as Sakkadewaraja.