Dhamma talk on Energetic Effort

Report by Stephanie Chua.

Datuk Charlie Chia explaining the meaning of Right Effort.

On 4 June, Datuk Charlie Chia was invited to give a Dhamma talk for the Gimhana Sunday Service.  Datuk Charlie spoke about ‘viriya’ or energetic effort, which is an important spiritual quality.  Datuk Charlie said that the inspiration we receive from our Dhamma teachers builds up and sustains our energy to practice for a period of time.  However, this energy deteriorates after a while.

Datuk Charlie interesting compared Dhamma practice to the board game of Snakes and Ladders – when overcome by temptations, we slide to the bottom, like encountering a snake; but we can speed to the top if we meet with inspiration, like progressing on a ladder.  To avoid incessantly going forward and backward in our practice, Right Effort has to be cultivated.

Sunday Service began with meditation and chanting, led by Bro. Charlie (front left) and Bro. Alex.

So, how did the Buddha exert effort to achieve enlightenment?  Right Effort in the Noble Eightfold Path concerns the mind.  When the mind is well-trained and focused, realization can take place.  However, Right Effort requires energy (viriya) to inspire us to accomplish wholesome actions continuously.  The Buddha said that “The goal (Nibbāna) is for the energetic person, not for the lazy one”.  When Right Effort and energy work together, eradication of our desires and bad habits is made possible.

The talk was followed by Dhamma discussions in small groups to better understand the subject.

Datuk Charlie explained Right Effort as follows:

  • The effort to overcome evil that has already arisen
  • The effort to avoid evil that has not arisen
  • The effort to develop good that has not yet arisen,
  • The effort to maintain the good that has already arisen.

Thus, we should put forth effort in replacing negative mental states with positive ones, to live in accordance to the Dhamma, and to practise gradually, leading us to the ultimate bliss of Nibbāna.  Sadhu!