The following is a summary of Bro. Tan’s teaching on Gimhana Sunday, 3 June 2012
Attadīpa vihāratha attapatisarana
Dhammadīpa vihāratha dhammapatisarana
“Dwell with oneself as an island, be your own refuge,
with no external refuge.
“Dwell with the Dhamma as an island, Dhamma as your refuge;
have no other refuge.”
Mahaparinibbāna Sutta (DN 16)
Well-guided by the Dhamma, we carry its light within us into every moment, any situation – we are upright, serene and compassionately wise. This is what it means to be a Noble One (Ariya). As Buddhists, this is our mission. In order to evolve spiritually, we must follow through our vision with right action. Every day, wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we continuously practise non-grasping, radiate loving-kindness and accomplish wholesome deeds. In every scenario, we can conscientiously choose happiness (sukha) over suffering (dukkha). Rather than “I Can’t!”, choose to believe “I Can!” and practise “I Will!” instead. In this way, we gradually transform to be better, calmer and free.
It is important that we remember what we have learned; otherwise it is as if we never learnt at all. With full mindfulness (sati) and careful retention when hearing the beautiful Dhamma, we ‘connect the dots’ to see a pattern emerging. As the bigger picture takes shape, insight also arises within. We are making the most of this precious human birth in accordance with Dhamma, taking the well-expounded path to wisdom, peace and liberation.
To transcend this Samsaric existence, we develop Pāramitā – qualities for perfection. Dāna (generosity) and Sīla (virtue) are the two principles which often pave the way for our progress. Cultivating ourselves in the right way, this naturally gives rise to puñña (merit) and joy, laying fertile soil for spiritual progress as our minds gladden quickly and easily.
To successfully take down the big tree of defilements, we should chop at its roots. Part by part, as nutrients are cut off, the tree gradually weakens. We slowly exterminate the defilements deeply rooted in our psyche. When the tree is finally taken down, we are then free from its bitter fruits.
Summarising this week’s teaching, Bro. Tan shared an equation for us to ponder :
The Buddha’s teaching is ‘education’. However, that alone without effort and cultivation on our part will not lead us to liberation. Only with both can we achieve the goal of spiritual ‘transformation’!
The next teaching by Bro. Tan is on Sunday, 10 June 2012, from 9am – 12pm, followed by a communal lunch. Young or old, new or seasoned, all are welcome to join us at Nalanda!