On Sunday 1 May, Nalandians from near and far happily gathered at Nalanda Centre Sri Serdang to celebrate the Society’s 13th anniversary, also known to us as ‘Nalanda Day’. The day’s programme started with breakfast dāna at 7am, followed by meditation and chanting at 9am.
In his Sunday talk, Nalanda founder Bro. Tan reminded Nalandians not to be self-congratulatory and overjoyed by our achievements over the years. Instead, we should remain humble and grateful for the supporting efforts and contributions of many people – known or unknown to us – who have enabled Nalanda to carry out our mission successfully.
In this context, Bro. Tan spoke on the simile from ‘Maha Saropama Sutta’ (Majjhima Nikaya 29), whereby a man in search of heartwood in the forest, came away with twigs, bark and sapwood thinking that those were actually heartwood. Those twigs, bark and sapwood would not be of any use for him.
In that discourse by the Buddha, the twigs, bark and sapwood represent honour, praise and recognition that can intoxicate one’s mind and harm her practice. Similarly in our spiritual pursuit, we must not see non-essentials things (such as honour and material gains) as essential, and essential things (virtue, peace and liberation) as non-essential.
Worldly gains, praise and fame will boost our ego and sense of ‘self’ which may cause us to do the ‘right things’ but for the wrong reasons. Hence we need to practise Dhamma and serve wholeheartedly not for recognition, but to cultivate generosity and compassion, without any expectations from others.
We thank Bro. Tan for his insightful sharing and reminder for all of us to stay focused on essential practice. We also take this opportunity to record our deep appreciation and gratitude to all supporters and benefactors who have helped Nalanda in so many ways to continue our educational mission for the past 13 years. Sadhu anumodana!