Anagarika Dhammapala Web Site

 

 

INDEX

 

Biographical Sketch

 

Diary of Anagarika Dhammapala

 

Some speeches and Writings

It is gratefully acknowledged that these speeches and writings

have been gleaned from The Anagarika Dharmapala Archive

 which is a vipassana.com project. Please note that they are

 written in European English and some country

 names are as they were then.

 

CONTENTS

An Introduction to Buddhism

What is Buddhism?

What Buddhism is Not

The Religion of the Householder

The Development of Spiritual Emotions

 

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Nearly one and half centuries ago, on 17th September 1864, there was born a son to a rich and influential family in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The parents were H. Don Carolis, the founder of the renowned furniture manufacturing establishment and Mallika Hewavitarne. It was the time Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, was under British rule. In accordance with the custom of the day the child was named Don David and went by the name David Hewavitharana. From his young days David's ideas were fashioned in conformity with the Buddhist way of life and very soon he came under the influence of two great Buddhist leaders of his time, Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera and Migettuwatte Sri Gunananda Thera and as a result of this he developed a great attachment to the Buddhist monks. In one of his early articles he wrote:  

"In contrast to my wine-drinking, meat-eating and pleasure-loving missionary teachers, the Bhikkhus were meek and abstemious. I loved their company and would sit quietly in a corner and listen to their wise discourse, even when it was far above my head."

In 1880 as a boy of 16 years he chanced to meet Colonel Olcott and Madam Blavatsky as a result of which meeting he was drawn to a life of religious dedication. In 1884, much against the wishes of his father, young David was taken by Madam Blavatsky to Adyar, in India. Later returning from India he resided at the Theosophical Society Headquarters, in Colombo.

 

In 1886 when Colonel Olcott and C.W. Leadbeater came to Sri Lanka to collect funds for the Buddhist Education Fund, David was a junior clerk who had already acquired a sound knowledge of English, Sinhala and Pali and, in addition, had mastered the Buddhist scriptures. Soon he joined Colonel Olcott and Leadbeater in their campaign for Buddhist schools. Young David renounced the wealth, position and comforts of a home life, adopted the name Anagarika (homeless) Dharmapala and dressed in the simple attire of a Buddhist devotee he became a religious missionary. His travels to Sri Lanka's remote villages made him understand the handicaps the local villagers were forced to experience without proper roads and houses, schools and hospitals. Shortly he was convinced of the fact that the greatness of a nation depended solely on the happiness and contentment of the rural folk and he dreamed of the day when Sri Lanka would emerge as an independent nation and bring back to life the religion and pristine glory of the Sinhala race.

Anagarika Dharmapala's services to Buddhism were many. The most outstanding contribution in his life was the active part he played to resuscitate Buddhism in Sri Lanka and the contribution to the nationalist movement. He possessed a deep sense of patriotism, nationalism and service. His enthusiasm and tireless efforts made him drive his human frame to lengths beyond common human endurance. A noble life dedicated to national and religious causes, he has left inspiration for his compatriots of all times. Dharmapala, a distinguished son of Lanka, who saw the plight his people had fallen into; their religion neglected, their lives dispirited and drifting into something alien and unnatural. He campaigned for the revival of Buddhism and the Sinhala race amidst tremendous difficulties.

He first made his name internationally known when he attended the World Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893. Being erudite in his knowledge of the Dhamma he won many converts and admirers. A pen-portrait of Anagarika Dharmapala published in the American Journal, St. Louis Observer, on his memorable address to the Congress of World Religions in Chicago in 1893 states: 

"With black curly locks thrown from his broad brow, his clean, clear eyes fixed upon the audience, his long, brown fingers emphasizing the utterances of his vibrant voice he looked the very image of a propagandist, and one trembled to know that such a figure stood at the head of the movement to consolidate all the disciples of Buddha and to spread the light of Asia throughout the world".

Anagarika Dharmapala, whose foremost thoughts were the love for his country and religion, had a truly international outlook as well. In fact he was a colossus that spurned the barriers of race, creed and nationality. His activities were not confined to his land of birth; he inspired men and events of other countries as well. His untiring struggles in India to obtain Buddha Gaya for the Buddhists is an outstanding example which shows that his principles transcended barriers of race and nationality. He went about his onerous tasks with a great missionary zeal and all that he uttered came from a sincere heart with a burning patriotism and religious fervor.

 

He was fearless in manner, independent in spirit and his dynamic personality beamed forth radiant energy that permeated through both national and international audiences. Wherever he went large crowds assembled and listened to him with deep attention. His vibrant voice resonated throughout the country and inspired the listeners with its magical effect. His silver-tongued oratory transcended throughout the country calling for Buddhist resurgence, Buddhist unity and national awareness.

 

He was in the forefront of national and Buddhist movements for nearly half a century. On 31st May 1891, he founded the Maha Bodhi Society. His weekly publication, Sinhala Bauddhaya, was a powerful organ of Buddhist opinion that guided and inspired the nation's religious and national campaigns. Besides these, he addressed thousands of meetings and published numerous articles in national and international journals. Whenever he wrote he was very forceful. Anagarika Dharmapala's personal correspondence shows his real form; warm and genial, friendly but devastatingly critical. He was always clamoring for independence and repeatedly criticized the British imperialists. Anagarika Dharmapala always held lofty ideals on religious tolerance and he often remarked:  

"Religion is a thing of the heart, and it is beyond the power of man to go into the heart of other people. To oppress a human being for his inner conviction is diabolical."

En route to America, he had first visited England where he met with Sir Edwin Arnold, the author of 'Light of Asia'. Having experienced such great influence from the British, and since at that time London was considered the 'center of the world', Anagarika Dharmapala was determined to set up a Vihara with resident monks from Sri Lanka to share the great joys of the Dhamma with the English people. He had met Mrs. Mary Foster whilst traveling to Honolulu and this lady became his main benefactor.  She financed the setting up of 'Foster House' in Ealing, London that was the very first missionary vihara to be founded outside Asia. The London Buddhist Vihara was opened in 1926. The London Buddhist Vihara, the oldest Buddhist temple in the west is managed by the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust.  Amongst many monks who have been resident there, from time to time, were the Ven. Narada Maha Thera, Ven. Dr. H. Saddhatissa, Ven. Dr. Medagama Vajiragnana and the New York Buddhist Vihara Chief Priest, Ven Kurunegoda Piyatissa Nayake thera.

   
In an era when the Sinhalese were succumbing to the pressures of the British rule and nothing was being done to overcome their lethargy and passive submission, rose the voice of Anagarika Dharmapala who waged a historical struggle for freedom. This was the era when the missionaries exercised great control over Ceylon, and loyalties were bought over the counter. Many converted to Christianity for material gain, and it also became a status symbol for some. Dharmapala urged the people to cherish and look after their heritage instead of succumbing to pressure. He realized that the changing world would demand that Sri Lankan society change accordingly. His belief was that spiritual elevation itself was inadequate if the society was poverty stricken. He began speaking of the importance of a firm educational and economic foundation if the struggle for freedom was to succeed, and poverty be alleviated.

"We allow our cattle to die of starvation in our own fields, while we feed the cattle in distant Switzerland or Denmark by purchasing their products. We are the custodians of our property, and must look to the future to protect the interests of the coming generations," he said. He had a vision of a newly emerging Sri Lanka that could effectively link up with other countries and forge ahead.

When scholar Ananda Coomaraswamy was leaving our shores to settle in England, his bungalow and several acres of land were bought by Dharmapala. The bungalow known as "Obeyesekara Walauwa" was used by the Anagarika, and part of the land subsequently was given to house the homeless and the slum dwellers. This area is known today as "Obeyesekerapura".

Dharmapala had been aware that a missionary school was to be set up in Welikada (now Rajagiriya) way back in 1888. So he promptly put up a cadjan hut and roamed the area seeking young people who could be enrolled as students. Aththiligoda Nanayakkara Gamage Mangonona became the first student of the institution. With twelve students, Dharmapala commenced conducting classes just the night before the missionary school was to come into operation. The church eventually abandoned the idea of starting a school there. In 1912, this was expanded and it became the first industrial training school in the country.

The Hewavitharna Industrial Center founded by Anagarika Dharmapala and Walisinha Harischandra as an act of rebellion, offered a variety of courses that only few institutions could provide. In addition to the normal courses of study, there was weaving, pottery, sewing and similar arts and crafts. This great institution was the first industrial training school in the country. Dharmapala having visited several industrial schools in the United States, London, Liverpool, Italy and Denmark was inspired by the progress achieved by other countries. In 1904, he commenced an industrial training school in Saranath, India. Anagarika Dharmapala’s visionary act was not well received by the British Empire. The authorities viewed him with suspicion, and called him "an instigator of a scheme for sending young people to Japan for technical education in the belief that the students would return with anti-British views." Yet, he continued his work and strengthened the Center.

Anagarika Dharmapala worked tirelessly to create many charitable institutions, maintaining hospitals, schools and foundations for spreading Buddhism and helping all those in need. He commenced publishing the splendid Buddhist journal "The Mahabodhi" in 1891. To continue his mission for future generations he established the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust in 1930. During that year he ordained as a monk. Anagarika Dharmapala's service is of great historical significance both to India and Sri Lanka and even today we are guided by some of his mature views. He died at Saranath in 1933 and his last words were "Let me be reborn. I would like to be born again twenty-five times to spread Lord Buddha's Dhamma." His was a life rich with dedication and deep commitment that every human being should strive to emulate.

 

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An Introduction to Buddhism

by Anagarika Dharmapala

(Maha Bodhi Journal, Vol. 15, June 1907)

WE are here assembled to celebrate the thrice sacred festival of the Birth, Buddhahood and Parinirvana of the Tathagata, who was born on the full moon day of May 2531 years ago in the city of the Royal Sakyas, Kapilavastu. His mother was the immaculate Queen Maya and His father was the Raja Suddhodana of the solar dynasty of Ikshvaku. A thousand years before His birth there was a prophecy that a Buddha shall be born to save the world and when the time came the future Buddha, who was then in the Tusita Heaven as the god Svetaketu, was approached by the [other] gods who announced that the time had come for Him to be born to save the world. Leaving the divine pleasures the Bodhisatva took birth as a human being. Our Lord Himself in the scriptures has taught us the nature of the exalted condition of the Buddhahood. To become a Buddha the aspirant has to practise for four asankheyya and a hundred thousand Kalpas the ten great perfections called Paramitas. Countless millions of Kalpas ago when Buddha Dipankara had appeared to save the world, our Buddha was born in a Brahman family of immense wealth. Reflecting on the vanity of pleasures he, having given in charity everything that he had received from his parents - the accumulated inheritance of seven generations, left home and taking the garb of the ascetic, went to a Himalayan retreat and practised the Dhyanas and Samapattis. Having attained the five transcendentally phenomenal powers he was in a position to work wonders. One day having heard that the Buddha Dipankara was visiting the city of Rammanagar where he happened to be, he was greatly delighted and decided to see the Buddha. Having seen Him the future Buddha resolved to attain to the supremely glorious height of Buddhahood to save living beings.

The Buddha Dipankara looking into future declared that this great ascetic after many millions of ages shall become a Buddha and be known as Gautama, and that his mother will be known as Maya, his father as the Raja Suddhodhana, that as a Prince he would be married to the Princess Yasodhara, that he shall have a son and that he shall renounce all to save the world. That day the great ascetic, who was known as Sumedha Tapasa could have attained Nirvana ; but his great compassion overcame the desire to pass silently away to enjoy the supreme bliss of Nirvana. The 'Patisambhida' accentuates the absolute compassion of a Buddha, who seeing the manifold miseries of the suffering world plunges into the ocean of Samsara and exerts life after life, practising absolute charity, observing the highest virtues of a perfect life, renouncing all sensual pleasures, acquiring wisdom, exerting strenuously, never uttering a falsehood, ever forgiving and patient, developing a determined will, showing absolute love and equalmindedness to all. The 550 Jatakas give biographical accounts of his previous births, each showing an individual paramita which he had practised for the sake of attaining the Anuttara Sammasambodhi state, Whatever the Bodhisatta accomplished, and the name is applied to one who aspires to attain Buddhahood, it was with unswerving will of saving the world. No being that has appeared on this earth, except a Buddha, has made such absolute sacrifices for the salvation of the world. Hence the great love that one begets in his heart after he has read the ' nine portions' of the Buddhist scriptures.

In as much as the Brahman astrologers had foretold that the Prince, who was named Siddhartha, would one day, if he did not become a great world conqueror - a Chakravarti, - become a Buddha, the King ordered that three palaces, one for each Indian season, should be built for his residence. In the sixteenth year, the Prince was married to his own cousin the Princess Yasodhara, known for her exceeding beauty as Bimba Devi. Amidst the luxuries that royalty could command the Prince lived a life of exceeding sweetness till his twentyninth year. Beyond his pleasure gardens and the experience of his own palatial surroundings, the Prince Siddhartha knew nothing of the world. The day the Princess Yasodhara was to give birth to a child, the Prince Siddhartha attended by his Royal charioteer drove to see the decorated city. It is said that the gods knowing that the day of the Great Renunciation had come, created four scenes to make the Prince reflect on the miseries of human existence and the escape therefrom. The sight of an old man, a diseased man and a dead man which the Prince had seen for the first time made him question his charioteer, who, explained to him that man was born fated to grow old, get ill and die. The fourth scene he had witnessed was pleasant to look at, it was the dignified figure of a yellow robed monk walking majestically. Having reflected on the blessings that attend the life of absolute renunciation the Prince resolved to leave the palace that very day. Returning home on the way the Prince met Royal messengers who had. been sent by the King to announce the birth of a son to the Princess Yasodhara. On hearing the message the Prince uttered 'Rahula' - a tie, which was subsequently used as a name to the infant Prince. That night, 2502 years ago, the Prince made the greatest Renunciation, unparalleled in the history of the world. A young wife, a baby just born, father, kingdom, comforts, all these the Prince renounced for the sake of all living beings. The Renunciation that the Prince made for the sake of the suffering world is accentuated by the larger Renunciation that was made by him when he first made the resolution to give up Nirvana, countless ages ago, under the Buddha Dipankara. For our sake the Bodhisatta gave up Nirvana and died many million times, and eventually came down from heaven to save all beings - animal, human and divine.

Renunciation and an active life of absolute compassion and Nirvanic wisdom are the essential characteristics of the Buddha's life. Leaving Kapilavastu and the Sakya territory, walking on foot, the Prince ascetic came to the city of Rajagriha to beg for food. His majestic mien, his more than divine countenance, attracted the attention of the citizens, and Royal messengers went to King Bimbisara and announced the arrival of the unknown personage. Having obtained food the ascetic Prince went to the Pandava Rock in the outskirts of the city, and there sat to eat the food. The King with his ministers came and inquired of him who he was. The Prince ascetic then announced himself as a Sakya Prince of the race of 'Adityabandhu ' and said that having seen the vanity of human pleasures he had become an ascetic to obtain the highest peace. The King who was five years younger than the the Prince thereupon asked him to accept half of his Kingdom ; but Bodhisat declined. From Rajagriha he went to the Brahmanical teachers Alarakalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, who had attained to the two Lokas. The Prince was not satisfied with their conceptions of happiness. Where perceptions and sensations were in operation there could be no permanent bliss ; and he found that after the expiration of 84,000 Kalpas of existence in the Nevasanna nasanna realm the individual being has to be reborn again on this earth. The conception of an absolute Nirvana was as yet undiscovered, and religious aspirants, cutting off their domestic ties took to the homeless-Anagarika Brahmachari-life. Having failed to obtain the highest peace of Nirvana according to the philosophic methods of the Aranyakas, the Sakya hermit practised the most terrific forms of physical asceticism for six years with five Brahman Bhikkhus, who were his associates. Penance and fasting were carried to their extreme limits, and the Prince became so emaciated that life was despaired of even by the celestial witnesses who were watching him. One day he fell down in a state of unconsciousness and when he woke up he experienced such pain that he abandoned the torturous life.

Neither the exciting sensation of a life of pleasure, nor the contemplative life of semiperceptive bliss of solitude, nor the painful tortures leading to unconsciousness gave peace to the analytical mind of the Sakya Prince. Then he looked back to the infant life he had spent in the palace and found that it was appropriate, in as much as it was neither ascetic nor sensual. It is interesting to the student of child psychology to note the basis of the great discovery, which resulted in the promulgation of the Universal Religion, was laid by the Sakya Prince on the child experience which he had as an infant. Can an infant live without food ? Can he bear the exciting sensations of a pleasure loving youth ? Food taken in moderate quantity was necessary to live, and a sober consciousness was necessary to experience the bliss of peace. Dwelling on such thoughts the Bodhisat abandoned the life of mortifying asceticism ; and when he began to take food in moderate quantity, the five companions became dissatisfied and left him. The Bodhisat thereupon came to the sylvan solitude and lived the life of the middle path, not far off the silvery stream of Neranjara, the modem Lilajan. The Sakyan Hermit on the full moon day of Vesak was sitting under the shade of the Ajapala Nigrodha tree when the attendant maid of the village chief Sujata, seeing the majestic figure of the Sakyan Hermit, and taking him to be the tree god, hastened home and told Sujata, who had made a vow to present a bowl of milk rice to the tree god on that full moon day which she had prepared. Sujata with the bowl of milk rice came to the tree and offered the food to the Hermit. He received it, gave her his blessings, and when she had gone, arose and went into the river, to bathe his body, ate the food and having rested in the afternoon went to the hallowed spot where stood the Bodhi tree. Facing the East the Bodhisat sat under the tree with a resolute will never to get up from the adamantine seat till he had become the Omniscient Buddha. In the middle watch of the full moon night the Blessed One received Divine Insight, and at dawn He became the Omniscient Buddha. Ten thousand worlds were bathed in a flood of radiating light, the earth trembled, nature rejoiced, the lame walked, the blind received sight, the dumb spoke. This glorious event occurred 2496 years ago. From that moment the powers of darkness felt that a new power had arisen to save all beings. The Lord Buddha spent seven weeks at and nearby the Bodhi tree enjoying the bliss of Nirvanic Emancipation. Buddha-Gaya is on this account sacred to thousand millions of Buddhists.

In the seventh week while sitting under the shade of the Ajapala tree, the Brahma Sahampati beseeched the Lord to preach the Dhamma and The Blessed One saw by his Divine Eye that people were ready to receive the Truth of the Nirvana Dharma. Thence He proceeded on to Isipatana in Benares to meet the five Brahman Bhikkhus who were prepared to receive the Eye of Truth. On the fullmoon day of Asalha 2496 years ago He preached to them the Doctrine of the Middle Path, which avoiding the extremes of painful asceticism and sensualism, enunciated the Four Noble Truths and and Noble Eightfold Path. The extreme asceticism of the Yogis and the hedonistic pleasures of Vama Marga or Kama Yoga the Lord condemned as ignoble, un-Aryan and profitless. For forty-five years the Lord taught the Doctrine which may be summed up in four lines :

"Sabba papassa akaranam,
Kusalassa upasampada,
Sachitta pariy odapanam,
Etam Buddhanasasanam." -
(Avoid all evil,
Cultivate the good and the true,
Purify your heart,
This is the Teaching of the Buddhas)

The Noble Eightfold Path has in it the essentials of scientific analysis, exalted and benevolent aspirations, truthful and gentle speech avoiding slander and falsehood, righteous actions avoiding the destruction of life, stealing and taking intoxicants, righteous livelihood avoiding all sinful professions, righteous exertion, a continuous determined struggle to avoid all that is evil and to develop all that is good., purifying the heart by destroying the errors of egoism by a process of continuous watchfulness operating in the four planes of objective and subjective metabolism ; right concentration ending in saintliness and in the realization of Nirvana. These Eight Principles of Absolute Truth have been classified under other categories called the 37 Bodhi Pakkhiya Dhamma.

The Tathagata appeared at a time when India was in the zenith of prosperity and progress. It was then the centre of the spiritualistic world. Speculations on the ‘whence, whither and what am I’ formed the basis of different philosophical schools. Animal sacrifice and priestly ritualism were rampant. Heaven was to be obtained by propitiating the gods. Caste was a subject then under discussion. It was not then fully established. Opinion was divided. The priests asserted that it was the 'Creator's work' and therefore it should be upheld. The selfishness of the originators of the caste system was condemned by the Buddha in several of the important Suttas in the Digha and Majjhima Nikayas. The Blessed Lord came indeed as a Saviour breathing loving kindness to all that lives. The meanest worm to the highest man was the object of His divine compassion By His gentleness and wisdom He won all hearts. His sweetly vibrant voice was like that of the Kurawika bird. He made men and gods abandon their erratic and heretical ideas. He taught the supreme importance of individual exertion. He proclaimed the Doctrine of Scientific Analysis. Before accepting traditions, revelations, dogmas backed up by logic and analogy, the utterances of saints and magicians they should be tested in the crucible of Scientific Causality. Only when the effects are productive of happiness should a doctrine be accepted.

For the first time the Karma doctrine which remained a secret confined only to the Aranayaka philosophers was made the basis principle of individual evolution. The karma doctrine in its fullness was enunciated by the Blessed One and the errors of sixty-two beliefs were emphasised. Instead of metaphysics, materialistic theology and fatalistic teachings, the Lord promulgated the Law of Dependent Origination. Life cannot be annihilated nor can it be created. In the cosmic process nothing is permanent. Annihilation and a permanency of things are both ridiculed in the Dharma of our Lord. Everything is changing. In the plane, both of matter and spirit everything is subject to change and decay. A constructive and a destructive metabolism is subject to change and decay. A constructive and a destructive metabolism is the natural cosmic process. There is no known beginning of individualised life. The theory of absorption and emanation which is a cardinal doctrine of certain pantheistic philosophies is explained in the cosmology of Buddhism. At the beginning of each Mahakalpa beings descended into this earth from the Abliassara Brahmaloka. These in their primitive state are ethereal. With the evolution of their desires they became material and evil began. At the destruction of the Universe human beings and animals that were on this earth are all reborn in the Abliassara. At the grand dissolution even the hells are destroyed. In Buddhism there is no eternal hell nor an eternal heaven. After long ages they appear and after long ages they disappear. To be within the cosmic process, to be reborn in any finite conditioned existence is not the aim of the follower of the Buddha. He aspires to realise (Ajatam, Abhutam, Akatam and Asankhatam) the unborn, non-material, uncreated and the unconditioned state of Nirvana. To realise this is not given to those who believe in a creator, who are still under the law of ignorance and change, those who are fatalistic and those who are nihilistic in their ideas. He who has false perceptions of the permanency of his own individual Ego and who confounds the Ego with his own sensations, perceptions and sankharas is bound by the fetters of ahamkara. Nirvana is not within his grasp. Those who are suffering from some form of insanity cling to their own phantom Ego, and those who have an exaggerated idea of their own Egos are partially insane. Nirvana is for the sober scientific analytical student, who discarding all forms of theological metaphysics, priestly ceremonies and nihilistic ideas, exerts strenuously to lead an active life avoiding evil, doing good and purifying the heart.

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What is Buddhism?
by Anagarika Dharmapala (1928)

(Maha Bodhi Journal Vol. 36, January 1928 and Vol. 36, October 1928)


BUDDHISM is the English name for the great Religion of Ancient India known as the Buddhasasana. The teachings of the Lord Buddha are known under name of the DHAMMA. The Lord Buddha was born 2551 years ago at Kapilavastu, the capital of the small kingdom of the Sakyas. The Prince who became the supremely enlightened Teacher of Gods and men, was known as Siddhartha. His father was the Raja of the Sakya country. In his 29th year the Prince Siddhartha left his kingdom and went in search of Teachers who would show him the way to eternal happiness. Where there is no birth, no death, no illness, no old age, no lamentation, despair. disappointment, worry, anxiety and other ills. He found no satisfaction in the mere enjoyment of luxuries in the palace, and as it was then the custom to practise bodily mortification to get the final release from sin, the prince went through the severest mortification for six years in the forest of Uruwela, near Gaya. Having failed to secure enlightenment and wisdom by bodily mortification, he abandoned the ascetic method, and adopted the Middle Path, which was his own discovery and within a very short period, some say within seven days, he became the possessor of supreme wisdom and the ten kinds of transcendental knowledge, that he called himself the BUDDHA.

For forty five years He continued preaching the Middle Path of Right Knowledge, Right Desires, Right Speech, Right Deeds, Right way of earning livelihood, Right Endeavour, Right training of Consciousness and Right Concentration. He was the first to preach against cruelty to animals, against animal sacrifices, against ascetism, against hedonism, against cruelty to children, against war, against the manufacture of destructive weapons, against slavery, against alcoholism, against dealing in poisons, against slaughter of animals, etc. He was the first to teach the principles of Evolution, of the Law of Causality, of Psychic relativity, of the changeability of all cosmic organisms, of the foolishness of relying on others to go to heaven. He taught the common people the way to happiness, and to take precautions against the risks of fire, floods, robbers and the tyranny of kings. He taught that between man and man there is no difference, and the differentiation lies in the profession and character. The aristocratic caste distinction which was organised by the Brahmans, He repudiated as unjust. It was the ethic of spiritualised democracy that He enunciated. Happiness could be realised here not by sacrificing to the gods, and praying to get possessions, but in ceaseless activity in doing good in helping the sick, both animals and men, in giving pure water to drink, in distributing clothes, food, flowers, scents, perfumes, vehicles, to the poor and in building houses for their dwelling, and in teaching the law of righteousness. Love to all, both men and animals was the ethic that the Blessed One emphasised. He said that there is no place for an anthropomorphic creator in the cosmic process where millions of habitable worlds are found in starry spaces. A God who creates fools, cripples, the blind, the dumb, the deaf, the insane, the epileptic, could not be a wise creator, such a creator has no place in a country where sensible people dwell.

The Lord Buddha was a scientist full of compassion for all. His great religion at one time prevailed in all Asia, but since the advent of barbarian religions it declined, and today it is found in China, Japan, Ceylon, Burma, Siam, Tibet, Cambodia, Korea.


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What Buddhism is Not
by Anagarika Dharmapala (1926)

THE Lord Buddha taught the Middle Doctrine to avoid the extremes of asceticism and sensuous indulgence. The Noble Eightfold Path shows the way to comprehend the Middle Doctrine. Buddhism is the English term to express the religion of the Lord Buddha. The Pali term for Buddhism is DHAMMA. The specific names to denote the DHAMMA are Sambodhiyana, Dhammayana, Jhanayoga, Ditthijala, Attajala, Brahmajala, Brahmayana, Vibhajjavada Samukkansadhamma, Vimutti nanadassana, Ariyamagga, Ariyadhamma, and Bodhi pakkhiya dhamma. It is not Nihilism (ucchedavada) ; it is not fatalism (pubbekatahetu vada) it is not Creatorism (issaranimmana vada). Then what is Buddhism ? It is a kiriyavada, kammavada, hetuvada, a paticcasarnuppanna dhamma, and an anupubbadhamma. Kriyavada connotes cause and effect, as for instance from milk is produced curd. The variations of absolute predestination, creatorism and nihilism are rejected by the Lord Buddha. He found the Universe is not the product of Chance, or is caused by the will of a foolish ignorant despotic phantom Creator, or due to absolute predestination, but the result of unerring natural Immutable Law of Cause and Effect. It is the Doctrine of gradual evolutionary development as we find in the biological evolution of the human germ cell. The supreme Teacher of gods and men taught that man is not the slave of muddle-headed metaphysicians who created from their imagination certain types of god. Theologians found in the god-idea a weapon to enslave the people. In the Tevijjasutta our Lord showed the foolishness of those who wished to assimilate themselves with their own imaginary gods. Repenting gods are still under illusion.

The Jatilas of ancient India came nearest to the psychology of Buddhism. They accepted the law of kamma or karma. The Jainas were believers in painful asceticism. They were under the belief that by bodily mortification evil karma could be destroyed. The liberated Jiva, they said, is bodiless and lives in eternal happiness in the state of kaivalya. The Brahman metaphysicians believed in the absorption of the liberated soul (atta) with Brahma. The German Buddhists of the Grimm school accept the dogma laid down by Dr. Grimm that there is a supreme permanent I. The opposite school led by Dr. DahIke lays down the dogma, which makes people think that the end of existence is annihilation. Dr. Grimm's theory is near to the Vedanta ideal. The psychology of Buddhism is transcendentally mystic. It is founded on purifying altruistic ethics without the least tinge of selfishness.

Covetousness, conceit, pride, egoism, anger, stubborness, etc. have to be completely destroyed from the mind. Until all immoral ideas are removed there is no possibility of progress in the mystic path. Desire for sensual enjoyments, illwill, slothfulness, restlessness and psychic scepticism are the obstacles to be removed by supreme effort with the aid of the Teacher. He is then to practise the Jhanas which are four, and in the fifth Jhana where no perceptions and feelings are at work, he realizes Nibbana in consciousness on this earth. The upekkha sati parisuddhi state clarifies the mind to realize the supremeness of anupadana state whereby the arammana of Nirvana is realized. European philosophers have no idea of the transcendental mysticism laid down in Buddhist psychology. The ordinary religionist thinks of heaven as the supreme goal of existence, where he thinks he can enjoy a sensuous existence in a sublimated form. Buddhism repudiates attachment to celestial existence as unworthy of the perfect Brahmachari. Even the higher forms of Brahmaloka existence is held in loathsomeness by the great Teacher because of the inexpressible sublimity of the eternal state of unconditioned Nirvana. Without Jhana there can be no acquisition of super knowledge (panna) without panna there can be no realizing of Jhana. The two together working in sympathy brings the devotee to the threshold of Nirvana. Nirvana is an abyakatadhamma. What it is only the perfected mind of the Arahat realizes. Neither the Sotapatti, Sakadagami or Anagami can have complete knowledge of Nirvana. The Sotapatti can hardly comprehend the mentality of the Sakadagami, and the Sakadagami is not able to know what is the state of the Anagami mind, and the Anagami if he dies without realizing the Arahat condition is born in one of the Suddahavasa brahmalokas where he lives for millions of years and then realized Nirvana. What is the final state of the Arahat consciousness? It is abyakata beyond speech, and only the Arahats know what it is. It is a state to be realized. Where the ten fetters operate there is no possibility of knowing the state of Nirvana.

In Buddhism there is also what is called the thapaniya panha (question to be set aside) which the Buddha has set aside as unprofitable to discuss. Did I exist? Wliat am I? What is my future? Is the body different from the soul? Are they the same? Is the world eternal? Is the world not eternal? Does the being exist after death? Does he not exist? etc. These are called thapaniya to be set aside. The muddle-headed scholar who knows nothing of the mystic doctrine of Jhana comes to the erroneous conclusion that Buddhism is Agnosticism. Buddhism is positive in these Four Noble Truths and the Bodhi pakkhiya Dhamma. Instead of wasting time to find out the Ego, the Buddha showed the path to find the consummation of Truth, which is Nirvana. So long as the four upadanas are active in the mind there is no hope of realizing Nirvana. Make the effort to destroy the four upadana and you arrive at the anupadana state, which is vimutti sukha. The upadanas are kamupadana, ditthi upadana, silabbata upadana and attavada upadana. Clinging to sensual pleasure is an upadana ; clinging to speculative beliefs is an upadana, clinging to manifold forms of ascetic habits is an upadana ; clinging to the manifold variations of egoism is an upadana. Desire to he born in a heaven or any state of Brahmaloka is an obstacle to realize the Nirvanic happiness. All exoteric popular religions are upadanic. To realize Nirvana one should strictly follow the 37 principles of the Bodhi pakkhiya dhamma. Effort must he made to destroy the ten fetters. Activity in doing meritorious deeds with no thought of self is Immortality.

(Maha Bodhi Journal Vol. 34, November 1926)

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The Religion of the Householder

by Anagarika Dharmapala

(A Lecture delivered at the Bengal National Medical College, Calcutta in February 1911.)

 

BEFORE the appearance of the Buddha, Sakya Muni, as the Universal Teacher of mankind, a religion founded on universal pity, kindness, and non-sectarian ethics was not known. Religions were formulated by leaders of tribes for the especial use of such tribes over whom they held sway. When we study the old testament of the Jews, what do we see, except that Moses, as leader made the laws to suit the wandering nomads, who were going to find a home in Canaan? Laws were made to keep the rebellious tribes under control during their march through the desert. A religion for a settled people and a religion for a wandering nomadic tribe should not he the same. In a settled community like the great body of people of India, religion is a necessity. The religion of a conquering people is soon accepted, under certain conditions, when it is offered to them. Persecution makes people to accept a religion, even against their will. But, succeeding generations forget the ancient national traditions, and may even become quite iconoclastic in their turn. Christianity was at first the religion of helots and the poorer class of people who lived in various parts of Greece, Asia Minor and Rome. It was a comforting doctrine to the poor to be told that they will get the reward in the next birth in heaven. There was unity in the indigent community. The early Christians were poor but united, and this helped them. The expansion of Christianity was not due to any philosophical teaching, but to the exigencies of the situation. The Roman Empire was in a decadent state at the time of Constantine, and the Roman army was full of poorer class of people, and they had come to look upon Christianity as the special religion intended for the poor. Slaves were many at that time and they had all accepted Christianity. Augustine was converted to Christianity not by argument, but by a vision from heaven. It might have been a case of hallucination. Whatever it may be, Constantine did not become penitent and followed the principles of righteousness, thus showing that he had not changed his evil life to become good. On the contrary he did the most inhuman acts which neither a father no a husband ought certainly to do. His was merely a political conversion, but the leaders of the Church the bishops, found the opportunity to achieve their ambitions. The religion that taught non-resistance, poverty, meekness, by an irony of fate gave birth to the most voluptuous, gorgeous, and inquisitorial and persecuting ecclesiastical organization in the world.

In ancient India Brahmanical priesthood was exacting, and made laws to suit a specialized class, who kept the non-Brahman communities in a state of stagnation. Religion of the higher class was not to be given to the servant class. Caste became a stereotyped institution, and class hatred was born. But the servile class had no way to rebel. They were reduced to impotency by the cruel laws enacted by the law-givers. The Veda was not to be read by the non-Brahman, and to the latter category was brought even the Kshatriyas. The hostility shown by the Brahmans to the Kshatriyas is recorded in the Puranas.

When the Buddha appeared 1500 years ago, the Brahmans were divided into two camps, one party, who took the philosophical attitude of maintaining the more righteous principle of good character above mere birth, trying to convince the other that mere birth was nothing if one had not learning and good character. The Brahmans were making every effort to show that they were the most superior, having been born out of the mouth of Brahma, while the other classes were taught to believe that they came from more degenerate limbs of the same creator. The old generation of Brahmans had to be convinced of the foolishness of the aristocratic theory, and it was evident that among them were some of the noblest, who were ready to accept Truth above the mere assertion of a community that they were superior, and only a great personality was needed to storm the fortress. The younger generation of Brahmans who followed the older were also divided: the aristocratic party treating the Kshatriyas with perfect contempt : and the righteousness-supreme party, who held that greatness consists in noble character. India was then isolated, no Alexander had come from the West to show his power, and Europe was then sunk in darkness. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were not born, Mahommad, Jesus, and other later day prophets had not yet made their appearance. The Buddha appeared and preached the Gospel of Universal Brotherhood, Unity, Love, Mercy and the potentiality of the individual, who, whatever his gotra and jati, had the qualification to understand, and the health to persevere in the path of Truth. In the Pali it is called Khanasampatti, availing of the opportunity to climb high to reach the summits of freedom from the four kinds of bias, showing favouritism, doing injustice through hatred, doing injustice through fear of authority, doing that which is not in accordance with Truth through ignorance of the wisdom which can only be gained by a knowledge of scientific analysis.

To understand the great mission that the Tathagata had accomplished, it is necessary that one should make a study of the different aspects of Religion and social organizations, especially of India, and if possible of the world. The expansion of the intellect by a wider study of human laws will help to discover Truth. We must not lose sight of the fact that however good the article may be, if it is not well advertised, some one else would enter the arena, and by extensive advertising may get his inferior article accepted. The majority of the people are half insane and easily imposed upon by charlatans. We all know that intoxicants are injurious to health, but look at the methods adopted by the different Whisky dealers to advertise their own special whisky. The things that perish, and are impermanent and ignoble receive a royal reception, while the more exalted, which is associated with the Mind and which is more permanent, is neglected.

The national consciousness has to be educated if a nation is to become great. Teachers by the thousands should be trained to bring up children, and parents taught the principles of development and decline. Parents, teachers, spiritual and secular, should be examples of the highest virtue, so that they will be able to influence the future generations. The more the. teachers show the spirit of self sacrifice, associated with the spirit of compassion like the mother that takes every care of herself for the love of her unborn child, still in the womb, the better it will be for the development of the future generation.

We shall not enter into a polemical discussion as to which religion is best in these days of competition, when religions are advertised like "Pears Soap", "Dewar's Whisky", "Beecham's Pills", "Zambuk", "Sanatogan", and "Eno' s Fruit Salt" : We know how easily people are led to accept error on the strength of a book. People are by nature superstitious, and are imbued with the instinct of credulity. Astrology, occultism, ghostology, palmistry are the vulgar sciences that require no investigation. Thousands of the credulous are swindled by men and women who pose themselves as the chosen of god. The real saviour of man is he who saves ignorant people from the hands of immoral occultists, whisky dealers, and opium sellers. The occultists dabbling in mystery and esotericism bring down the human understanding into animalism. They are enemies of human development and of the science of wisdom. And this is especially so in India, the land of insane mysticism and animalising sciences. A few occultists by their degenerate tendencies can help the stagnation of a community. Science never conceals her fruits, and the life-giving Sun does not hide his light : and the Buddha enunciated the God Law and declared that He hides nothing from the people. "Inquire, investigate, analyse, and do not accept anyone's dictum without thorough deliberate investigation, and do not believe the magician, the occultist, a revealed book, or the logical disputant" - this the Great Teacher's advice to the people of India. The common people should not be transformed into donkeys and bullocks : they must be elevated and enlightened, and helped to become men. Wise parents train their children to become good citizens, and enlightened teachers educate their pupils to be courteous and gentle, and learned in arts and sciences. The holy Bhikkhus and Brahmans by their virtuous and noble life show the wisdom of following the law of Renunciation. . Those who spend their time in hedonistic pleasures can never become the best examples of a people. And the holy teacher is he who obtains from the pleasures that the householder enjoys. If the householder does not see in the spiritual teacher virtue, why should he pay him homage ? He must he an example of self-abnegation, cultivating the higher life to receive the homage of the householder. A spiritual teacher can abandon the religious life. and adopt the life of a politician, and keep the people down in a state of vassalage and medievalism, as was the case with the European peoples, under the political supremacy of the Roman Church. A small class will of course be benefited by following this selfish and undemocratic source. But it is not wise to keep the people in a state of ignorance, and slavery for unexpected cataclysms occur, and the power of the elect swept off, as was the case with the priesthood of the Roman church, in France, Italy and Portugal. The decline of Indian freedom began with the degeneration of the people, who were brought under the priestly law of caste, and allowed to remain in utter ignorance. Missions were neglected and allowed to shift themselves in the so-called depressed classes, which number about 140 millions. Man instead of being elevated, became a degenerate, intellectually feeble-minded, and physically a slave to do the work of a beast. The result we see in India in the battalions of coolies struggling for existence. Such a sight as is to be seen in Indian railway stations, at the arrival of passenger trains, when these men are seen actually engaged in hand to hand fight, to get the luggage of the passengers is seen nowhere else. This kind of life reacts upon the nation, and a way must be found to make the burden of the poor easy.

What is the cause that India should suffer in this frightful way? Why should not means be found to make the life of the poor easy ? India in the ancient days was considered to be the richest in the world and the traditional Pagoda tree was then flourishing. What made the people to decline, after having reached such a high degree of civilization?

It is only when you examine the peasant Indian villager, that you realize how much understanding he has? He is the most simple looking individual, contented with a little sattu or fried gram and water. He remains the same while the whole world is moving? Look at the Chinese shoe-maker and compare him with the Indian shoe-maker. Look at the Japanese artizan and the Hindu; what a difference there is in the general intelligence of the one compared to the other. Why should not the Indian artizan get that amount of happiness and enjoyment in India, which his brother gets in Japan. China, or in the United States? This is a great work, a noble work, and much depends on the kind of religion which the householder professes.

The religion of the Buddha was intended for all castes. He made no distinction between the Brahman and the Sudra. To all He gave the ambrosia of the eternal Dhamma. As we see today, the first query which a man has to answer when he is confronted with another native of India, is about his jati, and on that depend the treatment he is expected to get. The same question was put to the Great Teacher by the Brahmans 2500 years ago. What is your caste? And the Buddha in reply said, "Do not ask my caste, ask about my conduct", and the Buddha by His all-embracing Doctrine of Love taught that a man whatever his caste, can become great, provided he follows the laws of eugenics and morality. He was not the teacher of a special darsana, like the system of nyaya, or yoga or sankhaya, and He did not wish to keep one class of men above, and another class below, teaching them to hate each other. He extolled Truth, and set Karma, Vidya and Dharma above wealth and high birth. Karma is good deeds bearing good fruits : Vidya is science of trade, agriculture, industrialism and navigation : Dharma is righteousness. To make all happy contented, loving and to practise the virtue of mercy was His object, and in fulfilment of this great mission, He set to work, and succeeded in discovering a Path which is safe, and a path in which all can travel. He founded a Religion with the lesser and greater precepts. One for the Householder, the Agarika, and another for the Ascetic (Anagarika) who renounced the life of the householder. The former was intended for those who wished to enjoy a life of pleasure, engaged in arts, trade, agriculture, to produce wealth. The Anagarika saw a burden in the family life, he therefore wished to be free from the cares and anxieties of the family man. It was the life of absolute freedom, fearing none, and showing patience, forgiveness, love, and devoting himself for the welfare of others. The householder was the sower, and the religious man was the fertile field, and good deeds were the seeds that the householder sowed.

The twice-born class had his Bible, and he had also the Brahman priest to officiate at his altar and propitiate the family god, but the non-Brahman of the Sudra class, was debarred by the law-givers from reading the Veda, and taking part in the Brahman rituals. What was he to do? To be a perpetual slave does not tend to elevate life, and the Buddha in opening the gates of immortality, welcomed to the Bhikkhu life, men of all castes, trained in the Tathagata Vinaya, the Discipline of the Tathagata, and they were sent among the people to preach and teach. The Bhikkhu settled in the village opened his school, got the village children together, taught them morality, science and religion. The vihara school became the centre of the village, and once in a week men, women, and children assembled in the village Dharmasala, to listen to the teachings of Buddha's Law of Love. It was a comprehensive morality. Once in a fortnight the village folk, dressed in white, spend twenty-four hours in the village vihara, in devoting themselves to the good law, and abstained themselves from all householder's duties, to lead the celibate life. Every village in Buddhist lands has the beautiful vihara, with the small cheti, the courtyard, where the branch of a sacred Bo tree flourished giving cool shade to those who sat under it to meditate.

The first principle of the Religion of the Buddha was prevention of cruelty to animals, followed by the five principles to be observed daily by every householder, viz., to abstain from killing, from taking illegally things which belong to another, from violating women who were under guardianship of their own kith and kin, from lying and slander, and from taking intoxicating liquor and drugs. This was the ordinary code of social morality which the Buddha emphasised, which every householder who wishes to be born after death in heaven, should observe.

In the Sevitabbasevitabba Sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya the Tathagata taught the Dhamma of association and non-association, which included the five precepts as well as the laws of friendly speech, which when cultivated developed love, unity, concord, pleasantness, and a desire to know more of the higher laws of Truth. Hatred, covetousness, superstitious worship ceased, because the mind was trained to follow the ethics of a higher life, and love dawned and universal kindness reigned. The doctrine of Karma was taught which enunciated the principle that by doing good karma you enjoy good fruits; by doing evil deeds, you suffer. Along with the law of Karma the householders were taught to believe that the life of man did not cease to exist here but that according to the Karma, it was born again.

The law of self-development was simplified into a mathematical formula. Hatred quickened the decline of self, and extending love to all expanded self and quickened development. This wonderful doctrine the Buddha enunciated, and enjoined the Bhikkhus to preach it to the Kshatriyas, Brahmans, Vessas, and Sudras. In the Sigala Sutta, Digha Nikaya, He gave a synopsis of the duties of the householder, wherein he was taught how he should live in this world bringing happiness to himself and to the world. His social duties under the all-embracing law of Buddha's love, widened, and from the self it expanded till the whole breathing world became one with self. Buddha was the first Aryan teacher that prohibited the sale of human beings, of weapons used for depriving life, of animals for slaughter, of poisons for killing purposes, of intoxicants that produced disease, making man insane and caused so much domestic misery by reducing him to poverty. He held up the lofty ideals of Buddhahood, and Arahatship above divinity whose consummation depend on the observance of the ten paramitas. Woman and man were equal in the presence of the Good Law, and by evil doing woman and man are both liable to undergo the same kind of suffering in the next world. Nirvana was the appanage not of one sex and of one caste. Women were free to follow their own individual aspirations. The Order of Bhikkhunis was the refuge, and saintly woman found an asylum in the Bhikkhuni viharas were they could, without molestation, live the higher life.

The householder according to his ability to lead the spiritual life, was given the rules to observe. Daily he had to observe the five rules, and also to practise the ten manusya dharma : weekly, or fortnightly he had to observe with his wife, the right rules or silas, enjoining the partial observance of the celibate Brahmachariya life for 24 hours.

The fruits of holiness were for the Bhikkhu and the Upasaka householder. The Arahat stage is only for the Bhikkhu, which is the highest, but the householder had other three stages of holiness, viz., the Sotapatti, Sakadagami, and Anagami. The Sotapatti householder observed the five silas. Even at the risk of his life the Sotapatti Upasaka or (upasika the female devotee) will not violate the five silas. The stage of Sotapatti is the path of the elected one, niyato sambodhiparayano. Men and women remaining as householders are able to reach either of three states of holiness in numerical order, 1st. Sotapatti, 2nd, Sakadagami, 3rd, Anagami. The Anagami, although a householder, yet lives the Brahmachari life permanently. The Arhatship is for the one who abandons the home-life, and men and women were allowed to enter the order of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis after they had received the consent of their parents or guardians.

India was the home of the religion of the householder. According to the Brahmanical laws of social polity, the large mass of people, who were not of the twice-born class, practically were precluded from accepting the higher laws of Brahmachariya, and they were debarred from practising the life of yoga. To this large community the Buddha's law of love, and the Discipline which He had in his mercy inculcated and called the Aryan Discipline were meant. For the first time the teeming millions of India received a Religion, and they were given the chance to go through a Discipline, which helped them to be religious. The sensual life of the householder underwent a change, the rich became more unselfish : his superfluous wealth was given to the social betterment of the poor. The king lived the religious life of the householder on the uposatha days, took part in the holy life, eating the same food with the ordinary upasaka, with the same kind of white dress. On that day, once in a week, or in a fortnight, or in a month, the king and the subject met and listened to the sweet doctrine of the Buddha's love to all.

For full one thousand years India had forgotten to observe the principles of the Law of Love. We see the effect of the neglect when we look back to the glorious period of Aryan culture, which produced emperors and kings of the type of Asoka, Kaniska, Siladitya, and Dharmapala. We see the non-Aryan lands today where the Aryan Dharma of the Buddha is helping the people to be contented, happy and free. Which of two countries afford a pleasant picture, Burma and Buddha's law of Love or Bihar without the law of Buddha's love?

Take up the life of the householder as enjoined by the Buddha, and see whether it is beyond you to accept it. Make the effort and see whether you can follow the principles in your daily life. A little self-denial is all that you need, and you will feel the pleasant delight in being able to realize the majesty of a purified life of contented cheerfulness, without the fear of being hated by those who are wearing the sacrificial thread. Without the Law of Love of Buddha there will he always hatred shown by the twice-born to the non-dvijas, for at the initiation of the Brahman boy when he is given the sacrificial thread, he is taught not to look at the face of the Sudra during three days. Can there be love in the heart of a man who shows such a feeling towards his fellow men?

Study the Buddha's Dharma, and you will see how elevating are His teachings which He gave in all compassion to the millions who stood outside the pale of the elect. Surely the people of India under the Emperor Asoka lived happier and better lives than under the kings of the Mogul period. For full one thousand years India had lived without Buddhism, what have the people to show as a record of triumphant deeds? But looking at the past, when the religion of the land was the Dharma of the Tathagata not one caste but all were happy, contented and free. To the present generation of Indians, I bring the message of Buddha, and I ask them to investigate into the Doctrines that He taught, and follow them if they are good. Without inquiry it is not proper to condemn a code of morality which is so admirably fitted to develop the Aryan consciousness in the path of enlightenment and spiritual freedom.

(Maha Bodhi Journal, Vol. 19)

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The Development of Spiritual Emotions

by Anagarika Dharmapala

THE salvation that is insisted on, the Dhamma of the Tathagato, is not a speculative metaphysical salvation but it is an ignorance [of it] resulting in the attainment of knowledge absolute, annihilating all tendencies of the mind leaning towards passionate lust, anger and stupidity. In the individual there must be the desire, the persevering exertion, the energetic will to become pure and free from lust. Some individuals, by the use of their own reasoning faculties, realize the existence of the desire within to attain a nobler condition of life free from the poisoning atmosphere of sensual lust. The introduction of a metaphysical unit into the arena of practical ethics is due to ignorance of the potentialities of the human mind. The questions that trouble the weak-minded imbecile about the metaphysics of the whence, whither, and what am I, have to he brushed aside, being the dusty accumulation of ages of rationalistic indolence. Just as dust will mar the clear transparent glass if it is not daily cleaned, so the rubbish of unenlightened thinking has marred the lustre of the mind from seeing the actuality of its original purity.

The Tathagato declares that the mind in itself is bright, but by evil associations, foreign to its nature, its brightness is destroyed. The foreign accretions that have marred the purity of the mind are ill-will, hatred, harbouring of anger, self-esteem, vilifying others, cunning, hypocrisy, envy, covetousness, stubbornness, revengefulness, haughtiness, conceit, pride of physical beauty, and dilatoriness.

In the Aningana Sutta, Majjhima Nikaya, the characteristics of four different individualities are mentioned, and the individual who thinks that there is no possibility of internal spiritual development is not qualified for advancement ; he is a low man, hina purisa. The one who thinks otherwise and makes a start for the betterment of his life is a Setthapuriso he is a superior man.

The process of purification of the soiled mind, which is compared to a soiled cloth, is to remove the impurities by a determined effort, with a strong desire to become pure. In the Vatthupama Sutta, the simplified process of purification is given, viz. to arouse faith in BUDDHA, by reflecting on the supreme-wisdom of Him who is the Holy One, the Omniscient, One possessed of the eight kinds of knowledge and fifteen human perfections, the One of Excellent manners, Infinite in the comprehension of the laws of Universe, the Trainer of men, the Teacher of gods and men, the Buddha, the Blessed One. Next to the Buddha comes the Dhamma Eternal, Noble Truth that can he seen and realized in this life in complete consciousness. It is the " Bhagavata Dhammo," the Excellent Doctrine. Next to the Dhamma, the Sangha, the association of Holy Ones, exacts one's faith. He who has full faith in the Buddha receives the advantage of having realised truth. Perception of truth produces delight (pamujjam), delight produces joy (piti) joy produces serenity of body (passambhati), serenity produces happiness (Sukham), happiness produces peace of mind (cittam samadhiyati).

It is interesting to find at the end of the Vatthupama Sutta an account of the existing conditions at the time of Buddha in connection with the bathing in certain rivers which had the power of washing off sins. Sundarika Bharadvaja, a Brahman, after having finished listening to a discourse, got up and said : " Bhavam Gotamo, I am going to the river Bahuka to bathe." The Buddha said, "Brahmana, what is Bahuka river? What has Bahuka river to do with you? " The Brahman replied : " It is the (loka sammata) public opinion that the Bahuka river is merit-producing, that bathing in it washes off sins (papakamma) " Bathing in Bahuka, Phaggu, Sarassati, Payaga, was then as common as it is now, and it is instructive to observe that Buddha repudiated the idea with the observation that although daily the ignorant wash themselves, yet their black deeds remained ; and He advised the Brahman to practise universal compassion, to tell the truth, to abstain from lying, to abstain from destroying life, stealing, covetousness. At the end of the discourse the Brahman joined the Sangha as a Bhikkhu.

( Maha Bodhi Journal, 1892-1900)

 

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