Mr. Aung Co Luck
We are all very fortunate and beneficially occasioned to be born during this era of the Omniscient Buddha's Sasana. The Sasana comprises the noble and truthful Teaching of the Buddha called the Tipitaka, which is a repository of holy Buddhist scripture.
The Sasana is divided into three parts: pariyatti, learning and memorizing the Tipitaka; patipatti, abiding by the disciplinary obligations enacted by the Supreme Buddha, as well as striving diligently to attain Nibbana; and lastly, pativedha, the full realization and attainment of Nibbana. Tremendous efforts have been made in the past, and continue to be made in the present, by great and venerable Sayadaws (some of whom have been acclaimed as arahants), by the authorities, and by the mass of devotees in Myanmar to sustain this noble three-fold Sasana.:
Because of these efforts, the cool and pleasing rays of the Buddha Dhamma now illumine every corner of the world where learned persons, such as philosophers, scientists, doctors in every field, as well as people in other walks of life are striving for their own welfare and for the welfare of others.
Through the media, we in Myanmar have learned that Buddhist temples and monasteries now shine forth as beacons in many countries for those who are in need of the Truth. Headed by learned abbots, some of national standing, most of these contain meditation centers for those striving to attain Nibbana. Many foreign men and women have taken up the Buddhist path and are practising in these centers. What a joyous blessing for them and for us as well.
Having been born a Buddhist, and being a pious adherent, I have tried to learn the Buddha's Teaching as far as my situation permits. I continue to study the Dhamma and read the biographies of Myanmar Arahants, such as the Venerable Sayadaws, Webu, Taung-pu-lu, Sunlun and many others. I attentively listen to the preaching of suttas by Sitagu Sayadaw, U Nyanissara, both as given by him personally, and on recorded tapes.
When I was young, I refrained from evil deeds and preserved the five precepts because I feared being reborn in hell after passing from this existence. Through not doing evil and following the guidance of my elders whom I esteemed greatly, I even hoped unconsciously to avoid death itself. Years have passed and I am now twenty, and I feel that the Buddha, Dhamma and Samgha have blossomed in my heart.
I am enrolled at the Mandalay Institute of Technology. Unavoidably, the institute has been closed for some time along with all other colleges and universities. Nevertheless, I feel extremely fortunate in that Sitagu International Buddhist Academy has been established in our town of Sagaing, for this was a golden opportunity for me to pursue Buddhist and English language studies. Thanks to the Academy, and to the many sayadaws who teach there, as well as to my parents and elders, I have been able to devote my self to Buddhist learning and to improving my English proficiency. The Academy is guided and sponsored by the world-renowned and learned Sayadaw, U Nyanissara, who has long endeavored to propagate the Buddha's Dhamma in many countries abroad including the United States, England, and Japan.
The Buddha's many lifetimes of selfless striving to gain omniscience (buddhattha cariya), which included his striving for the benefit of associates (natattha cariya) and for all beings (lokattha cariya), culminated in his enlightenment. Compared with his infinite knowledge, what we learned about the Buddha in our studies was necessarily little indeed. However limited our understanding, we much appreciate the lectures given to us as they greatly deepened our reverence for the Buddha.
A number of Western writers and thinkers have expressed their admiration for the Buddha and his Teaching. H.G. Wells (1866-1946), a well-known British novelist stated in his "The Three Greatest Men in History," for example, "He [the Buddha] was more lucid upon our individual importance, sacrifice and service than Christ, and less ambiguous upon the question of personal immortality." The British philosopher and mathematician, Bertrand Russell (1872- 1970), an avowed atheist, declared that the Buddha was "the greatest atheist of all times." We can note here that Russell was referring to the fact that the Buddha did not believe in a Creator God.
While not a god, the Buddha was omniscient. And for this reason, his Teaching, which was born of wisdom and infinite knowledge, is absolutely truthful, scientific and practical, and totally without dogmatism or unreasoned blind faith. Rather, it rests upon the indubitable universal law of cause-and-effect.
Regarding this universal law, Christians are aware of Christ's teaching, "Thou shall reap as thou hast sown." This concept is echoed in Sir Isaac Newton's (1642-1727) third law of motion that states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Thus for Christians and scientists as well, the law of cause-and-effect is a clear and undeniable Truth; a Truth about which the Buddha himself preached in detail in his discourses on paticcasamuppada-dhamma and patthana-dhamma (conditional relations).
When the Buddha taught these Truths, he always took into consideration the instincts, desires, situation and locality of his listeners; his sole purpose being to liberate them from lobha (desire), dosa (anger) and moha (absence of right-view), and so deliver them to the eternal peace of Nibbana. In Myanmar this century, Webu Sayadaw, who was widely acclaimed as an arahant, emphasized the importance of this skillful method. After travelling to America to preach the Buddha's Dhamma, he predicted that foreigners would surely visit Myanmar in the future for the purpose of learning about Buddhism. He said that it was our duty to receive these foreign guests, and while tending to their physical needs, to share the Buddha's Dhamma with them.
Webu Sayadaw's prediction made over forty years ago has come true today. Nowadays, Americans, Swiss, Australians and foreigners from many other countries regularly come to our Golden Land and take refuge in the Buddhasasana. Some attend vipassana meditation courses, while others take robes as nuns, or even ordain as monks. Thus, in many ways they have been able to taste the benefits of the Buddha's Dhamma. I am sure we will continue to fulfill our duty of welcoming guests to our country irrespective of caste, creed, race, religion, class or economic status, so that they too might enjoy peace of mind in this life, and perhaps even the blessings of enlightenment.
At present learned abbots of Myanmar are delivering the message of eternal peace and Truth both here and abroad. Venerable abbots such as Chamye Sayadaw and Sitagu Sayadaw, who are well versed in Buddhist Scripture and experienced in the practice of the Truth it contains, are travelling the world to bring the Buddha's message to rescue all from the whirlpool of worldly miseries. Just as their illustrious predecessors had done in the past, these venerable abbots wish nothing but to guide and encourage their disciples along the path to Nibbana.
Oh virtuous reader, I encourage you. Please take heed. Don't waste time and don't hesitate. Lobha, dosa and moha--destroyers of the world including you--are knocking at your door. With out delay cultivate satipatthana, either as taught directly by the venerable sayadaws, or as ex pounded by them in texts. Send rays of loving kindness boundlessly to all beings. And finally, preserve the five precepts; abstain from killing, abstain from taking what is not given, abstain from sexual misconduct, abstain from telling lies, and abstain from using intoxicants which cause heedlessness.
May the sublime Dhamma prevail in its pristine purity.
Mr. Aung Co Luck
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