Extract from Sakkapañha Sutta (DN 21) : How to live without hate

Venue: Hokkien Cemetery Pavilion

On one occasion, Sakkadevaraja approached the Buddha and asked:

“Beings wish to live without hate, violence, hostility and enmity. They wish to live in peace yet fail to do so. By what fetters are they bound so that they live in such a way?”

The Blessed One replied:

“It is envy and stinginess that bind beings in such a manner.”

Envy is the feeling of displeasure over another’s prosperity, success, looks, achievements, happiness, etc. There are countless things we can be jealous about if we do not cultivate MUDITA (sympathetic joy).

Stinginess is the reluctance to share and 5 examples of stinginess are as follows:

1. Dwelling

When a dwelling is offered to the Sangha, all monks, regardless of status are allowed to live in it, unless it is offered to only one particular monk. There was the case of a monk in a temple who initially offered another senior monk a place to stay. However, soon this learned elder monk became so popular with the devotees that he incurred the envy of the first monk who then made it difficult for the senior monk to continue dwelling there. He was stingy and refused to share, out of envy.

2. Friends/ Intimates, Supporters/ Disciples

A good example is the possessiveness of a man/woman for his/her girlfriend/boyfriend. Even among the monastics, some monks get jealous if another monk is more popular among their group of supporters.

3. Possession

In their quest for money many businessmen often forget themselves and want the entire share of the cake/pie, often refusing to share with another.

4. Virtue

Some learned people (monks/laypeople) want everybody to know that only they have great virtue or are excellent at Dhamma.

5. Learning/Dhamma

Some do not like to share their experiences/knowledge with others.

Sakkadevaraja inquired of the Buddha:

“But what gives rise to envy and stinginess and what is their origin?”

In reply, the Buddha said:

“Envy and stinginess arise from liking and disliking which in turn is caused by our desire.”

Many people have a great desire to seek and acquire things by whatever means. They then consume/enjoy it as well as hoard it for future use. In addition, it is used to gain affection/loyalty of loved ones, servants or followers.

Sakkadevaraja inquired of the Blessed One:

“What then gives rise to desire?”

The Buddha replied:

“Desire arises from thinking. When the mind thinks about something, desire arises. When there is no thought, desire does not arise.”

Desire arises from thinking. When we are beset by excessive worry and compulsive thoughts, we should train ourselves to take a break. This will refresh the mind and give it more space for inspired and creative thinking. The practice of mindfulness meditation can help us in this matter.

Sakkadevaraja further inquired of the Buddha:

“What gives rise to thinking?”

The Buddha replied:

“Thinking arises from elaborated perceptions and notions.”

A yogi will understand this statement very well. Very often during meditation, past memories float up through association with various stimuli via our 6 senses. If one is not cautious, then continuous thinking results in the arising of desire. It is often easier to be aware of this chain link of thoughts during the process of meditating compared to being aware of them during our day-to-day activities. However, an experienced person can still learn to be generally aware of what our body and mind are doing. This will prevent us from being led astray and to lose focus of what is at hand. The control of our mind is largely dependent on our ability to be aware of what we are currently focused on and to cut out distractions every time they arise.

To know how to do this, one must learn how to meditate. What better way to do this than to join us up in SBS for our weekly Saturday night meditation sessions. All are welcome.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

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