Sunday 5 June marked the beginning of the annual 7-week Gimhāna (Summer) Retreat, organised by Nalanda for the fifth consecutive year. This year’s retreat spans from 5 June to 20 July. Director of Nalanda Institute, Achariya Tan Siang Chye, heralded an uplifting start to the retreat by giving a talk on the Buddha as a ‘unique Teacher’, and also his ‘incomparable Teachings’.
The Buddha spent seven weeks in Bodhgaya after Enlightenment. During that period, He contemplated and reflected on the truth of existence before teaching His profound realisation to the masses.
The Buddha later taught that one needed to have these four qualities to attain wisdom and become a ‘Sotapanna’ (stream-enterer) — (1) Unshakable faith (‘saddha’) in the Enlightened One; (2) Unshakable faith in the Dhamma; (3) Unshakable faith in the Sangha; and (4) Perfect morality. A ‘Sotapanna’ will not be born again in the suffering planes of existence, but only in fortunate realms.
Faith in the Buddha arises when we understand His unique attributes. In the Eka-puggala Vagga, (Anguttara Nikaya 1.13), it is mentioned that the Buddha is an Enlightened One who appeared in the world out of compassion — for the good, welfare and happiness of gods and men. He is incomparable because of His realisation of Dhamma. The Buddha is unsurpassed in the analytical knowledge of cause and effect; as well as in the knowledge of the universe. He fully realised the three characteristics of existence — impermanence (Anicca), suffering (Dukkha), and selflessness (Anatta).
Achariya Siang Chye further advised everyone to develop our wisdom diligently through committed study and practice during this Gimhāna retreat. We are grateful to him for the informative talk. Sadhu anumodana.