Welcome to all the monks and novices, and blessings to all the laity. This Friday, we talk about the determination to bhavana, to train the mind and look after the mind. Because the mind is the chief, the mind is the leader. In the present situation, we can see that to have a means of living for a human-being is hard, troublesome, and full of much suffering. There is a battle to fight against the taking over of the pandemic, which is an enemy that we can’t see. And this isn’t easy. It’s very difficult. So this infectious virus has spread all over the world. But though we may have the most suffering like this or the most fear towards this, when times of disaster come up like this, what should we do? The Lord Buddha said that if the time comes when we are suffering and troubled, without any refuge or support, recollect him, the Tathagatha. We think of the Buddha, we think of the Dhamma, we think of the Sangha as our highest recollection and true refuge. When we recollect like this, then our minds have a refuge. And if our minds lack a refuge, then it will get a lot worse, it will be a lot more chaotic. We will have more bad thoughts, more bad actions, more bad speech. But when we have the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha as our highest refuge, then it will be a foundation for our minds. The mind that had chaos and troubles, will have mindfulness come up, and there will be more firmness and stability in the mind. And this will help us overcome and get through this economic crisis and pandemic disaster.
So this strength of mind is important. Although there are other things that are important, but strength of mind is very important. If we lack strength of mind, we are discouraged, and we have no refuge in the mind, then we are defeated from the very beginning. But if we have a refuge, then our minds will be strong and tough, and we can find a way out. And when the situation is like this, then it’s a good chance that we people who have the resources of wealth, the strength of mindfulness and wisdom, and the strength of body, can use this to build our merit and parami, spiritual perfections. So we can help each other out, we have metta, loving kindness for each other, we have compassion and help each other out. We do this according to our ability, not beyond our strength. The frontline workers, the medical professionals, doctors, nurses, are truly doing their duties fully. To the point that it’s too much for them to handle. But we can be another body of strength. So everyone tries to help out. Everyone helps by physically distancing, by protecting oneself against the infectious virus. Be established in sila, morality. By not gathering together and gambling, partying, going out at night. By now it should be less, or it has been cut off completely. Here, chatting and gathering together is a problem. Because if one person catches it , then lots of people will catch it. Here we have to be careful. When traveling somewhere or anywhere, we have to be extremely careful. We protect ourselves from catching the virus, or from us infecting other people. But however it is, as this situation has arisen already, then we need to help each other in order to overcome this situation so that it gets better. This has to be done with every person’s self-sacrifice. What sacrifice? Whatever strength we have, we use that to help in society. So that it is of benefit in order to reduce the number of sick people, or if they are in pain already, we can help them to lessen that pain. Whatever we can do, we help in that way.
I anumodana, rejoice, with the many laity who are considerate to help in this economic crisis and pandemic disaster that has arisen.
During this period, at Wat Marp Jan monastery, we aren’t going for alms-round. Many monasteries are doing the same. If we go for alms-round then we may catch Covid. There are other monasteries where the abbot has caught Covid. Some monasteries still go alms round but they have caught Covid. Now that we have come to this urgent situation, it is necessary to stop going for alms-round, because we have many monks here, so we have to protect the safety of the monks in the monastery. So as to not be a burden on society as well. But after closing the monastery, there are the faithful lay disciples, in Thailand and from overseas, who have helped out and sent donations, so that the laity in the monastery can cook food to offer the monks everyday. Here, I, on behalf of all the Sangha, give our anumodana to those who have helped out in all aspects and who are considerate of us and have metta always to the monks and laity in Wat Marp Jan. So you have built goodness like this as your foundation. And the foundation of goodness comes from the sacrifices you have make like this.
Then this progresses to become sila, morality. This then progresses to the qualities of mindfulness and wisdom. It progresses up to knowing and understanding deeply into Dhamma. So even though you don’t come here to the monastery, you send your strength of mind here. This counts as something excellent arising in your life, where you have built goodness and progressed your minds.
The Buddha had built his parami until it was full in every aspect, in all ways. His parami was complete. And then he could attain to becoming the Rightly Self-Awakened Buddha. So donating dana are excellent supplies while we walk the long path towards Nibbana. When we are born in whatever life, then we will have everything, complete in all aspects, and in all things. So may you be determined. May you help out in this time of economic crisis and pandemic disaster through establishing your mindfulness by recollecting the virtues of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. May you set your minds directly and firmly on the Buddha, that “I have been born into this life, so may I recollect the Buddha as my highest refuge and my protection. Let it be my strength in my heart.” So may all the laity, whether you live near or far, from Thailand or overseas, may you recollect the virtues of the Buddha as the object of your mind. This shortens to Buddho, Dhammo, Sangho. Buddho, Dhammo, Sangho.
May this make us safe and protected and to be free from all dangers, to be healthy and complete in strength of body. May you be determined to build goodness like this. May you grow in blessings.