Buddhism emphasises on self-reliance and self-development; it is through one’s own efforts that one overcomes suffering to achieve the highest happiness, Nibbana. Therefore, it is important for us to do what is essential to lighten our suffering and increase our happiness. Wise reflection (Yoniso Manasikara) is a practice that will help us to reach this goal and attain wisdom.
On Sunday 22 May, Achariya Tan Siang Chye shared on how we can be a ‘good teacher to ourselves’, and hence be good people, through wise reflection. He quoted the Upajjhatthana Sutta from Anggutara Nikaya 5.57 on ‘Subjects for Contemplations’. The Buddha advised us to constantly contemplate on the impermanent nature of aging, illness, death, separation with our dear ones, and that we are heirs to our own kamma. Due to ignorance, we may not behave wholesomely through our speech, bodily actions and mind, and this will give rise to more suffering.
By reflecting wisely and regularly, and understanding the true nature of the five subject matters, we can eliminate desire, sense of attachment, and will be more mindful of our speech, bodily actions, and thoughts, thus achieving the highest happiness.
Achariya further elaborated that our anxieties and troubles can be overcome if we learn and reflect on the Dhamma well. Wise reflection will lead to right views of the Four Noble Truth and the Law of Kamma, and this will inevitably give us a sense of dread for unwholesome deeds and help us focus on the wholesome deeds. He also referred to the Sabbavasa Sutta from Majjhima Nikaya 2, where the Buddha taught us the practice of eliminating our defilements through self -restraint and wise reflection to achieve happiness.
We thank you Achariya Siang Chye for the insightful sharing, which reflects Nalanda’s Wesak Day theme — ‘A Life of Wisdom’, and reminding us to take the Dhamma home for our spiritual practice. Sadhu anumodana!