On the Full-moon Uposatha of 12 March, Nalandians and devotees dedicated the whole day to cultivating their minds at Nalanda Centre. The day was designated a ‘Dhamma-Sarana Day’; the programme included the observance of Eight-Precepts, Dhamma teachings by venerable monks, and meditation sessions.
During the Uposatha Morning Service, Venerable T. Seelananda from Bhāvanā Society, U.S.A., was invited to deliver a talk on ‘How Buddhism enriches our spiritual path’. Ven. Seelananda began by stating that Buddhism has a vast amount of literature, which provides an enormous resource to enrich not only our spiritual practice, but also our worldly lives.
“Beings wander in Samsara fettered by cravings – with minds that habitually grasp and cling to various objects.” Because of craving, dukkha arises – this is the same for all beings. Some people misunderstood this teaching and view it as pessimistic. However, we must remember that the Buddha taught about the cause, cessation, and the way to the cessation of suffering; thus Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor optimistic, but rather a realistic and humanistic teaching.
As a guide for lay people, Ven. Seelananda elaborated on the Anana Sutta (Sutta 4.62 of the Anguttara Nikaya), where Buddha gave a discourse on the four types of happiness to be won by a householder – the happiness of righteously earning a living; the happiness of using one’s wealth; the happiness of being free from debt; and the happiness of being blameless.
The Buddha also taught us to completely destroy defilements through the cultivation of generosity, virtue, and mental cultivation. In addition to that, the Blessed One taught us the four foundations of mindfulness as detailed in the Satipatthana Sutta, which is to cultivate mindful awareness in our daily activities. In short, whatever found in His wide array of teachings, we can discern that the Buddha taught the Dhamma for us to be happy and free from suffering.
We are very grateful to Ven. Seelananda for sharing his knowledge and insights on ‘Dhamma-Sarana Day’. Let us diligently learn and practise Dhamma so that one day we will realise unshakable happiness, peace, and true bliss. Sadhu!