Buddha-Dhamma Buddhadasa Archives
"Message from Suan Mokkh"
|There is a kind of servitude or slavery that doesn’t
need abolishing. The more there is of it the better. If everyone where
such a servant, the world would have much peace free of crisis. What
kind of servant is this? A servant of the Buddha, which is called "Buddhadasa."
"Buddhadasa" means one who offers ones life in service of the Lord Buddha. We do so feeling indebted to the Buddha’s Great Compassion, out of gratitude, and because we see the benefits for all humanity. Thus, we wholeheartedly dedicate our bodies and lives to serve the Lord Buddha in every way we can, in order to carry out what we believe to be the Buddha’s purpose.
Which Buddha? To answer in ordinary people language, we mean the historical person who appeared in the world, awakened as a Buddha, and taught sentient beings until the end of his life more than 2500 years ago. However, if we answer in Dhamma language, we mean the Buddha spoken of in the words "Whoever sees the Dhamma, sees me; whoever sees me, sees the Dhamma."1 This is the Buddha that exists throughout endless time and is found in everyone who sees the Dhamma. This thing is the mindful wisdom (sati-pañña) that can quench suffering, as spoken of in the words "Whoever sees dependent co-origination, sees the Dhamma." If we follow this principle, serving the Buddha simply means serving the mindful wisdom in oneself that sees the Dhamma so thoroughly as to end suffering in oneself and then help others to end suffering also, thus benefiting the people of the world in line with the Buddha’s purpose. Servants of the Buddha take this to be the duty of their lives and carry it out wholeheartedly.
How do we serve? We serve by establishing correctness in the study (pariyatti) and practice (patipatti) that leads to true realization (pativedha) of Dhamma. We serve by helping fellow humans to understand Dhamma, accept Dhamma, use Dhamma, benefit from Dhamma, and live peacefully and coolly with Nibbana here and now in proportion to the mindful wisdom and ability of each person. We serve by propagating this wisdom throughout this world and to all worlds. Here "all worlds" refers to all the kinds of persons who are lost through indulging in sensuality, physical or material forms, and formless or abstract things such as power, fate, influence, and even goodness. We might also add, all celestial and human beings. Humans are those who must live through their own sweat, while celestials are those who have no experience of their own perspiration. In people language, "world" means the externally visible, physical planet outside ourselves. In Dhamma language, it refers to the worlds within people, that is, the different levels and realms of mind. Dhamma must rule genuinely and thoroughly throughout both the world and all worlds.
How can Dhamma become popular throughout the world? By incorporating Dhamma into the everyday lives of people from all walks of life. Thus, everyone will be mindful, wise, clearly aware, calmly collected, and tolerant in carrying out their duties in all times and places, that is, every second and every square inch of their lives. People will do their duties joyfully, all the while they work, not only when they get paid and spend it on the various roads to ruin (apayamukha, vices). They live righteously all day long, so that when night comes, they can raise their hands and bow to themselves. This is genuine heaven here and now. Nobody will be unemployed because everyone sees all their work and duties as Dhamma itself, as was once known in ancient times, even before the Buddha appeared.
What is it to be correct in study, practice, and realization? "Correct" or "right," here, isn’t according to the standards of logic or speculative philosophy. Rather, it is correct according to Buddhist principles; namely, it brings the result of nobody being harmed or oppressed, and everyone benefiting. This can be experienced directly without believing an external authority or being told by somebody else (sanditthiko); is so correct that we can call anybody to come and see it for themselves, because it is actually expressed in flesh and blood (ehipassiko); and it bears fruit unconnected with time — now or then or future lives — because the fruits occur immediately whenever that duty is performed (akaliko). Correctness means not bothering or harming anyone and bringing good results to all involved, including oneself. The meaning is clear enough; there is no need to argue about it or take each other to court. Pariyatti is correct knowledge, patipatti is correct action, and pativedha is the right results simply because one understood and acted correctly.
How can suffering really be quenched? By everyone having a peaceful heart and cool mind in ordinary life. If they have sufficient understanding of suññata (voidness), tathata (thusness), and atammayata (unconcoctability), nothing can stir up or cause them trouble. Their minds won’t fall under the power of positivity and negativity because they see everything as being impermanent (aniccam), prone to decay and suffering (dukkham), and not-self (anatta). They won’t hunger for anything except the contentment of feeling they have done their duties correctly. Their sweat will be "holy water" that entices the gods and sacred things to help them. They know most clearly and certainly that nothing sacred can help them, even a herd of holy things, if they don’t live Dhamically, that is, do their duties. When duties are performed correctly, that very sweat transubstantiates into the God or "All the Sacred Powers in the Universe" that alone can help us. They have firm faith that whatever seems to be their selves will alone help them until such (illusory) self is gone and no more help is needed. While selfishness is hot and burns, unselfishness or the end of selfishness is cool and soothes. Whatever they will do, they do it with mindful wisdom or right understanding, rather than through the power of selfishness that burns us as long as it is around.
How do we end selfishness? By studying the lack of a real abiding self (anatta). Body and mind are natures able to know, think, feel, speak, and act in all kinds of ways without needing any spirit or ghost (self or soul) to possess them. Thus, everything must be done correctly in line with natural law according to whatever results are required. If one is still foolish enough to think it’s a self, at least don’t be selfish; otherwise, it will bite and chew with greed, hatred, and delusion, which are like fires. Be mindful and fully aware when experiencing the objects of the senses, so that experience isn’t concocted into selfishness; simply deal with that object wisely as needed. With right understanding (sammaditthi) continuously see clearly that selfishness and clinging to body-mind or the five khandhas as "self" always causes the painful experience of dukkha, such clinging is suffering itself. Without such clinging, dukkha can’t happen and life doesn’t get hot and bothered.
What is the highest right understanding like? The knowledge or understanding that all things are concoctions created by the causes and conditions that are themselves concocted and subsequently lead to the creation of other things endlessly. All this concocting is the stream of change or impermanence called "aniccam." Due to this constant interaction with inconstant, changing things, the symptom of dukkha being difficult to bear occurs, which is called "dukkham." Because there is nothing that can prevent against this change and unsatisfactoriness, we say that there is no lasting self, that everything is not-self or anatta. That everything occurs transitorily (impermanently), unsatisfactorily, and without an abiding self is called "dhammatthitatta," the ordinary, natural way things are. They are this way because the law of nature makes them so, which is called "dhammaniyamata." The fact they everything happens according to causes and conditions is called "idappaccayata," which is the law of nature equal in power to what people call "God." That nothing can prevent against the law of idappaccayata is called "suññata," the voidness that is empty of self or any meaning of selfhood. The highest truth is called "tathata," thusness, that things are just as they are and don’t jump to our wishes; whoever tries to go against this truth with their desires will be bitten, chewed up, and spit out, that is, will suffer. Finally, the experience of atammayata (unconcoctability) arises, the realization that none of these things can be relied on or depended upon ever again, which we express in ordinary market-speak as "I ain’t gonna mess with you no more!" When they are abandoned, the path and its fruits are realized.2 Dhammathiti-ñana, knowing the truths of all created things, is fulfilled in atammayata. From there follows the group of nibbana-ñana, the insight knowledges that transcend worldly experience and are the beginning of coolness, the core meaning of Nibbana.
The world is transformed into a cool, peaceful world, eventually, once it is full of sïladhamma, the natural, normal unperturbed condition of people's minds, despite the ordinary busyness and commotion of the external world. A cool peace of mind is easy to find among these people, no matter how confused and tumultuous the situations they are in, because their minds are free of foolish clinging, refusing to fall for the ordinary ways of the world. There will be fewer prisons, police stations, courts, psychotherapy clinics, psychiatric hospitals, and suicide hotlines. Loving kindness and honesty will be common everywhere in such a society, like the world of Phra Sri Ariyametteya, the future Buddha of Loving Kindness.3 Even if nuclear missiles were to strike, everyone could still laugh, being free of clinging to self, and wouldn't see it as anything strange. Due to the power of the sammaditthi (right understanding) as explained above, they wouldn't let it stir up any suffering or fear. All of this will be the fruits of the labor of all the Buddhadasas who have done their duties to the fullest of their capabilities and sati-pañña.
How many Buddhadasas can there be? If we don't overlook them out of carelessness or narrow-mindedness, we will find Servants of the Buddha all over and in great number. However, they don't call themselves "Buddhadasa," fearing dishonor, and prefer to be called "upasaka" and "upasika" (devotees, men and women who are close to the Buddha). Each day during the evening service, they all chant "Buddhassahasmi daso va, Buddho me samikissaro" (I am the Lord Buddha's servant, the Lord Buddha is my master). Are they declaring themselves to be servants of the Buddha without any awareness? This should be carefully examined.
To be a Buddhadasa truly and fully according to the Buddha's purpose means to carry out that duty perfectly and not just declare things loudly without understanding the true meaning of the words. This duty is to do whatever the Buddha purposed, to carry it out wholeheartedly and successfully according to that purpose. Expressed most succinctly, the Buddha's purpose is for everyone to fully understand, be awakened, and blossom perfectly into life free of suffering. The understanding of Nibbana — which is directly experienced by oneself (sanditthikam), unconnected with time (akalikam), for inviting others to come and see (ehipassikam), and the heart of Buddhahood — is now treated as something beyond our abilities and, anyway, out-of-date. In effect, this means that Buddhism has disappeared in an unbelievably pitiful way. All who volunteer to be Buddhadasas need to be sufficiently aware of this situation.
Everyone can be a Buddhadasa and has everything needed to be one, lacking only sammaditthi, right understanding or correct view. If we look carefully, we will discover that there are more than a few around, only they don't reveal themselves because when thoroughly committed it isn't necessary to show off. This invitation doesn't require anyone to make declarations or displays. Just do it genuinely by being a good example of the cool, peaceful life; by trying to point it out to others so they better understand this system of life; and by striving to help fellow humans understand Dhamma. Further, don’t consider any of these a favor to anyone or expect anything in return. Everyone can participate more or less; there doesn't seem to be anyone who can't do anything at all.
Finally, when we Buddhists have tried to carry out the Buddha's purpose to the fullest of our capabilities, the Buddha's wishes will be accomplished. Benefits and happiness will fill the world, including the worlds of celestials (devaloka), tempters (maraloka), and gods (brahmaloka), and all beings, including sages (samana) and priests (brahmins), celestials (deva) and humans (manussa), fulfilling the Buddha's purpose and his frequent mention of these various groups of beings.4
So, please, let's all be Buddhadasas. There's no better time and place than right here and now. Let's do it!
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