31 August 2012 marked the sixth anniversary of the passing away of Nalanda’s late Spiritual Advisor, Most Venerable Dr. K Sri Dhammananda Nayaka Thero. Bro. H S Tan gave a Dhamma teaching on this day in honour of the late Venerable. He shared the following Burmese saying:
Cool is the shade of a tree;
Cooler than that is the shade of Parents;
And even cooler still, is the shade of Teachers.
On a hot day, it is easy to appreciate the shade of a tree which offers shelter from the heat and direct sunshine. Parents, however, offer a much more substantial shade and protection in their love, care and provision of essentials in everyday life. And surpassing even that is the advice and guidance of Teachers, who provide direction and lead the way towards what is good and true. This is why it is important for one to have good Teachers.
Before the Buddha passed away, Venerable Ananda asked Him who we should turn to for guidance after His demise. The Buddha replied that we should refer to the Dhamma and Vinaya as our Teachers. When in doubt, we should check if something is moral, blameless, praised by the wise, and conducive to happiness and benefit. If so, then we can proceed with it.
Learning Dhamma is not just about gaining knowledge or ‘being informed’. The teachings we have learned should be reflected in our actions, speech and thoughts. This is how one becomes ‘independent in the Dhamma’.
Love the Dhamma! Let us “recognise the essential as essential, and the inessential as inessential, thus knowing and appreciating the essence of Dhamma, cultivating right thoughts.” (Dhammapada verse 12)