What follows is a rough transcript of a Dhamma talk. One can listen to the talk here.
Homage to the Blessed One, Noble One, the Rightly Self-Awakened One
Welcome to all the monks and novices and blessings to all the laity. The training (learning) in Dhamma is for the purpose of progressing the mind to be better. This is called bhavana. Making the mind higher and better. In the current state of society in the present day, we follow our moods when we do work, we like to do the things that we feel like doing, and we are quick tempered. We try to get whatever we feel like we want, and we want things quickly, in the shortest way possible. And we don’t like being controlled. But this isn’t possible in present day society, which has the infectious virus, that we know, Covid-19. This has caused the way we live in the world to change. And when we get a lot of pressure and are controlled, then there is stress and suffering arising. Because we have never lived in a peaceful way before, a life that is free from enjoyment and fun.
But when it comes to the present situation, there are even young children who are separated from their mother. The mother has to go to a controlled centre to get treated for her sickness. And the young child needs to separate and be quarantined to be treated for their sickness. And this squeezes the heart of the father and mother a lot. But that young child says to the mother that there is no need to worry about them. They will survive. They can overcome it. They can give encouragement to their mother like this. We see things like this in the present situation. And in our life being born till now, we may have never faced anything like this before. Sometimes we may very quickly lose those whom we love and like, those we honor and revere, or those whom we respect. So this is Dhamma, that we know as, being impermanent and being uncertain, which arises very clearly in the present situation.
So what is important is having Dhamma which is the way to protect our minds well. And then we will live our lives in the present society, having mindfulness and wisdom that has careful consideration and is all-rounded. And we can’t let greed come and control us, otherwise it will be even more chaotic. Wanting more wealth. Wanting more things. If we think that this desire is the best for our life, then it is a thought that is not correct. We may feel that the most important and best thing in our life is to get whatever that we like, of everything and in all ways. But it is not like that. When we get what we want and desire, then the craving to want to get more, to want to be something more, and to want to get more things, goes on with no end. This is a teaching of the Buddha.
But what we should search for, is for something good, something which has a higher value. But whatever our situation, we do live in society and the world, so we do need to have the 4 basic requisites in looking after our life. And we need to find wealth, and search for wealth. So there is the wealth that is material and has a shape. Or it can be the wealth that has no shape, but still has value, which comes about according to the laws of the country. But if it is the wealth in terms of Dhamma, then it is separated into material wealth, and the noble wealth. So there is the outer wealth and inner wealth. The outer wealth, we know about. Like the possessions we use: our house, the supports for maintaining the body, like food and medicines. This is called material wealth, whether directly or indirectly. But we people go look for this outer wealth, more than what is appropriate (necessary). Fully putting in one’s strength of body and mind to seek outer wealth excessively. And sometimes there is sickness that follows, which is a bad result. Like one senior monk has said, “What are people thinking? They go search for outer wealth, search for money, so that they can have happiness. But they end up having to use that wealth to treat their body from sickness. Because searching too much for outer wealth causes sickness and disease. They need to use their strength of body and mind to get it, and then sicknesses and diseases come up. Then the money and wealth they get, they need to treat the body.”
So this has to be done in the right amount. We have enough to survive, are not distressed, and not lacking. But we need to have the time to find some of the inner wealth. The outer wealth, the money and gold, is not lasting, stable, or doesn’t stay safe. Sometimes it may be taken from us. This wealth may disappear one day. It is possible. Or it may be a cause for its owner to get into big trouble. If the owner likes to boast, like they wear gold, or valuables on their body, ornaments around their neck or on their wrist. This may catch the eye of a bad person who comes to kill, or to steal it away from us.
So if we have wealth and we don’t know how to maintain it well, it could be a danger to its owner. But in regards to the inner wealth, there are many types. We call it supreme wealth, because it is far from enemies, there is no-one who can take it away from us.
And there are 7 types of inner wealth. There is the wealth of saddha. The faith and confidence that we have. Even if we are a child who is learning, you have faith and confidence in the teacher, so you come to this or that school and are determined to learn, study, and find knowledge so as to gain wisdom. This can then be used to find wealth so that you can be self-sufficient, and not to burden others and society. And the wealth of saddha, faith is important. May the students try to listen and have confidence in the teacher first. Because you are still innocent and inexperienced in the world. You are of the age where you haven’t yet learnt much, and don’t have wisdom yet. So be determined to practise according to what your teachers teach you. And when you try to practice what they teach, then you will have wisdom arising one more time. Stay within the rules and be disciplined. This is what we call as sila. The wealth of sila, this is following rules and being disciplined. When we learn various worldly subjects, and we follow the rules well and are disciplined in learning, then we will be able to succeed in that learning and study. But if it is in terms of Dhamma practice, then the wealth of sila is the 5 moral precepts, the 8 precepts, the 10 precepts, or the 227 precepts. This is contained in Dhamma practice and bhavana. It is maintaining one’s actions and speech to be peaceful and restrained.
And the next virtues are the wealth of hiri, a sense of shame, and ottapa, a fear of wrongdoing. This is a great wealth that everyone needs in their minds. Sometimes, those who have a high status and responsibilities, they have finished their studies and are well-educated. But they don’t have hiri, a sense of shame, and ottappa, fear of wrongdoing, and they err to wrong-doing. Sometimes they have to take an exam, and they get someone else to take the exam for them. That is wrong in terms of sila-dhamma, morality. And when this is discovered, it makes them lose all things. Lose their job, fail their responsibilities, get a bad reputation in their life. They lose all sorts of things, because of having no sila, no hiri, shame, and ottapa, fear of the bad consequences. This is an important virtue of a deva or devatta, a heavenly being. So humans need to have sila. And devas need to have a high level of virtue, that is, hiri, shame, and ottappa, fear of wrong-doing. So those who err to wrong-doing, they have an unskilful state of mind, and they do something that breaks their sila-dhamma, like they may get someone to take their exam, or kill a living being. And breaking sila-dhamma, is the cause for chaos and no peace. Agitation and worries come up, instead of receiving peace. And living a human life, we need to reduce the agitation and worries in the mind, in the search to gain, or the agitation that comes when we do get that wealth, and then the agitation still continues with no end. That is not peace. We have to try to be able to end this agitation.
Being a student, we have to reduce the agitation and worries in studying. Even if we are determined to study, we have to be able to make our minds peaceful and still. We don’t just keep having these agitations and worries all the time. Even if we get what we want, we can pass our exams, but we still have agitation and worries with other things. Then it never ends. We have to be able to make the mind have peace and stillness as well. So we come to listen to Dhamma, training in sitting mediation, and having a great teacher (Kruba Ajahn) to lead us, this is really excellent. So may you be very determined to study and learn, listen and develop knowledge, so that you can have a higher level of mindfulness and wisdom, which we call as a clear insight of wisdom in our knowledge and learning. Or having the clear insight of wisdom in knowing and understanding the Dhamma.
And then the next virtue is the self-sacrifice for the benefit of others, that we call caga. This abandoning of selfishness is important. When we are with many people together, then we have to have this sense of self-sacrifice, helping each other out. We have metta, loving kindness, to each other. The teachers help the students, the students help the teachers, and the place that we have received that supports us. And we think and remember those who have helped us. Then we will be a good person in society. Someone who is diligent in cultivating wisdom to arise.
And wisdom is very important. Anyone who does wrong, it is because they lack wisdom. They are missing true understanding. They see it as nothing. And even in the present situation, where there are many who have gotten infected with Covid, they are still those who are careless. There is no wisdom arising. They understand that it is nothing. It is just a normal and ordinary sickness. But if they catch it, or even the doctor catching it, they feel that it really isn’t normal at all. They have a lot of pain and suffering. But when they don’t yet know it, then they will think it as something ordinary. So this wisdom is important, both in ways of the world and in the way of Dhamma. And especially in the present situation, we need to be supported by a lot of mindfulness and wisdom. If we lack mindfulness and wisdom, then it will be chaotic. We may get infected with the virus ourselves, and then infect the family. This is because of lacking mindfulness and wisdom. By going to a place that we shouldn’t go and giving this sickness to parents, the elderly, or even our children. And this is a great wrong-doing. So may you live together with wisdom, in the world and in the Dhamma. May you all have prosperity and growth in the Buddha’s Dispensation.
What follows is a rough transcript of a Dhamma talk. One can listen to the talk here.
Homage to the Blessed One, Noble One, the Rightly Self-Awakened One
Welcome to all the monks and novices and blessings to all the laity. Today we learn Dhamma about the highest blessings that the Buddha taught. There is one important aspect, that is, training in discipline. Being well-trained in discipline (Vinaya) will be a blessing in one’s life. This is an important teaching of the Lord Buddha. And we can see the state of the pandemic in the present day, that the numbers infected with the Covid-19 virus has increased significantly. One part that has led to the rapid spread of the virus, comes from people not having discipline (Vinaya), and not being truthful to oneself, not truthful to society and to the greater public. And when there is also concealing of our information then there is great damage done. Not being contained in rules and discipline comes from following one’s own thoughts, one’s own moods and likes, which is just not having sila-dhamma, moral conduct. The world is fighting against the pandemic disaster, but there are people in the world who have no discipline, they do not follow the advice of the medical professionals and health officials by protecting against infection, as we are aware of. There is concealing of information. There are people travelling to different places, and people following the paths that lead to decline. Like going out at night, watching shows, gambling, going to bad places, drinking intoxicants, and going down different paths of decline. And this makes the spread of the infectious virus go vastly more out of control, more than what can be managed by doctors and nurses.
If we have a little bit of kindness, then we think a bit deeper that our actions can lead to harm to ourselves, harm to others as well. And how does it harm ourselves? We think we are going to find enjoyment and fun. We aren’t interested in the results. And we go drink alcohol, go out at night, go watch shows, enjoy and have fun, and we don’t know that it is a big danger. That is, pain, sickness and death are coming closer with each moment. Delusion is like this. And delusion leads to great damage to our lives. And it’s not only like this. It may make our father, mother, brothers, sisters, close friends sad. Or we have friends that we take to go with us, and this spreads the damage out even more. So we need to be careful. At this period of time, we need to take up the moral precepts. Have sila, morality, have discipline. Make sure to have the 5 precepts first. So that it will protect us from falling to a place that is a lower realm. A place that is in the lower realms is uneasy, uncomfortable (ill at ease) in the present moment. It’s not that it happens after we die then we are uneasy. It’s in this present moment.
And our Sasada, and all the religions’ Sasadas, their founders, would have wanted us to have happiness and be free from suffering. But we may go blame our Sasada on why he didn’t protect us. Then this is an even greater misunderstanding. Because our Sasada taught us not to be heedless. For us to know how to control ourselves, and on having forbearance. And so in the times of disaster, during this world pandemic, we have to be careful. We have to have the 5 precepts to protect and look after our minds. And when we have sila, this sila will protect us to not fall to a place where we will receive suffering, difficulties and troubles. So we should know that being well-trained in discipline is one of the highest blessings of our life.
And in the Buddha Sasana, who was the one who was well-trained in discipline? In the Buddha Sasana, the one who truly learnt the Vinaya, the monastic discipline, and remembered the Vinaya well was Venerable Upāli Thera. He was one of the 80 great disciples of the Buddha. And there is the story in the Theravada tradition, that we may have learnt, that he was the son of a barber for all the royal lineage of Sakyan princes. He was an attendant and looked after the ornaments of all the Sakyan princes. He was close to all of the Sakyan princes. Here, the 5 Sakyan princes wanted to go to ordain. There was Ven. Bhaddiya, Ven. Anuruddha, Ven. Ananda, Ven. Bhagu, Ven. Kimbila, and another related Sakyan prince, Ven. Devadatta. They had a desire to renounce and ordain following the Lord Buddha. So they took off all their ornaments and gave it to Upali to take back. But Ven. Upāli had a lot of mindfulness and wisdom, and asked to ordain as well. But the 6 Sakyan princes didn’t want him to go. They didn’t give him permission. But Ven. Upāli contemplated that all this wealth has value, and the Sakyan princes could throw it away just like spitting out saliva. So why should I take it? Shouldn’t I search for that of more value? So he took all the valuable ornaments and placed them at a tree. And he followed to go ask for ordination as well. This is the history of Ven. Upāli in the Theravada tradition. And after ordaining, all the Sakyan princes saw that they were of the Sakyan lineage, and they had ego and conceit of being the caste of royalty. So to put down their ego and conceit, they had Ven. Upāli ordain first. This is from the Theravada suttas. But let us also look at what the Mahayana Suttas say about this as well. Let us learn together:
The monks who went forth to ordain, in the Theravada tradition, know it as: Ven. Bhaddiya, Ven. Anuruddha, Ven. Ananda, Ven. Bhagu, Ven. Kimbila, Ven. Devadatta. But in the Mahayana tradition there is also the minister Kāḷudāyi. So this is learning that the Theravada suttas are like this, the Mahayana suttas are like this. It is not contradictory. But we look at the one who is skilled and foremost in learning the Vinaya, who is Ven. Upali Maha Thera. And that the Buddha lowered the ego and conceit of those who had high status and rank, those who had power and parami, by having Ven. Upali ordain first. This is the important heart of it, and both the Theravada and Mahayana are the same in this. And about the difference on who ordained and went forth together, we learn it and let it add to our knowledge.
So, what arises for the one who is well-disciplined? They will have truthfulness and honesty, will not cheat oneself or others, will be responsible, will have determination to work, and will follow up on the results of their work well. They will respect the rights of others, and follow the rules and laws in society. If we can practice being disciplined like this, then we will be able to overcome the adversity of the current pandemic, for the benefit of ourselves, society, and for our family too.
And a person who is well-disciplined will be a leader, they have ability to lead, they can overcome problems, and they can fulfil well the duties and work of the group so as to get to the goal that has been set. And it is important that we be on time, and know the proper time and occasion for things. When we are well-disciplined like this, then we will have inner courage, and have inner power as well. We will have patience (endurance), we have effort and diligence, our mind is strong, and we will not fall to any obstacles. We know to self-sacrifice, we feel for others, and we are responsible for the things we do. And here, the Buddha praised Ven. Upali Thera, as being foremost in the Vinaya. And he was a very important monk who learnt the Vinaya thoroughly, and could overcome various issues that came up skilfully. After the Buddha’s parinibbana, Ven. Upali Maha Thera could answer questions about the Vinaya, which is what we learn of in the present day, because of Ven. Upali Maha Thera upholding the Vinaya.
May you all have a mind beautiful and complete. May you all have good health and strength always.
What follows is a rough transcript of a Dhamma talk. One can listen to the talk here.
Homage to the Blessed One, Noble One, the Rightly Self-Awakened One
Welcome to all the monks and novices and blessings to all the laity.
This Friday, we learn Dhamma about the topic of humbling and lowering oneself. In Pali, this is called nivāto ca. This is not inflating oneself, being modest, being humble, lowering one’s head, having beautiful manners, being refined and gentle, not being coarse and rough. Like a poisonous snake whose fangs have been taken out and is not vicious anymore. One who is deferential through body, speech and mind has a great blessing in one’s life. And in Pali, this is the word nivata. Which translates as ‘no wind’, not inflated. One can control oneself to be in a normal state, according to the truth. Like a ball that has not been inflated. Not showing off one’s skill that one knows one has to others, or using these skills to belittle others, or to boast. Not boasting that one is good, and not being arrogant, but behaving as modest and reserved. Being someone who is very humble and meek. It’s characteristics are similar to having respect. But it has a different meaning. Respect and reverence is being aware of the goodness and virtue of others or of other things. And then one behaves to that person with respect and reverence, mainly shown through one’s body and speech. In regards to humility and lowering oneself, this is being aware of oneself and one is able to behave correctly and appropriately. Not being arrogant in any way. Not boasting and exaggerating the truth. Not raising oneself up, and putting others down. One is polite and has manners that give respect appropriate to another’s status. And one knows the appropriate time, what time is appropriate, or what time is inappropriate. This is important.
And for the person who behaves arrogantly and conceitedly, this has many faults. It can ruin a person. That is, they aren’t able to go back to being ordinary, the ways things were before. They ruin their future. Like some people are good people. But when they receive praise, or changing from someone who doesn’t have much, and they suddenly become a multi-millionaire, then they will usually be showing off, dressing up to look rich, and boasting about their wealth. Or those who gain wisdom, then they boast of the wisdom they have, in their knowledge and education. There are many like this. This can ruin a person. And, it makes one lose friends. No one wants to be friends with one. And even if one has friends, they won’t likely be true and real friends.
And, it ruins the group. Each person holds themselves as being good. And they won’t be able to agree on anything. In the end, they won’t be able to get to their goal. And it makes other people around them tired.
But being humble and lowering oneself, has 3 outstanding characteristics. One has manners that are humble and refined, their words are sweet, and their mind is gentle. There are 3 characteristics.
And making oneself be humble and lowering one’s self, has principles as well. One needs to meet and associate with kalyana-mittas, that is, good friends who have sila-dhamma, morality. They will warn us and pull us to go in a good and correct way. Because it is normal that we people, don’t have knowledge, understanding, and wisdom all the time. Sometimes we can forget. But if we associate with wise people, we have excellent kalyana-mittas, then they can warn us so that we will see the virtue in moderation and being content. We will see the virtues in humility and lowering one’s conceit. They will warn us and pull us to go in a good way. And we ourselves need to know how to think and reflect, observing causes and results constantly. Because the nature of humans is that each person’s minds are different. Each person thinks differently, and of different things. But we need to contemplate and investigate causes and results, and keep oneself on a good path. And there needs to be harmony in one’s group, that it can go according to basic principles. Sometimes we can admonish each other. So that is why the Buddha laid down the principle that after the rains-retreat, the Sangha can admonish each other. To listen and respect the thoughts of others that has logic and reasoning. So it’s not that we are stubborn in our own views. That leads to arguments and disagreements. It comes from attachment to that I am right. Being attached to oneself as right, one can then be wrong.
There was one time, when I was assisting Ven. Ajahn Chah. I wrote a letter that Ajahn Chah was going to send one monk to be an abbot of a branch monastery in Ayutthaya Province. But there was a problem with the wording, sent to ‘go there’, or sent to ‘come there’. Some monks in the group, said the wording was ‘sent to go there’. But some monks said the wording should be ‘sent to come there’. And there were 2 senior monks who started to argue, that sent to go was correct, and the other monk said sent to come there had to be used. So Ven. Ajahn Chah said out loud, there is no flag, and there is no wind. When there is a flag and there is wind, then there will be arguments that the flag flaps because of the wind. Or, it’s only because there is the flag that it can flap. So they argued. Each monk had their own attachments. So Ven Ajahn Chah said the Dhamma verse, there is no flag, and there is no wind. This is beyond causes and above results. So there was no more argument. So humility and lowering oneself is an important virtue. Especially when one is one of few wishes and contented, then they will be praised by all people.
And our Lord Buddha, he praised Ven. Maha Kassapa Thera, that he was one who was humble, one who had few wishes and had contentment. In the Mahayana Tradition, there is a story about Ven. Maha Kassapa that is worth listening to and learning from. Let us watch together from the Dhamma of the Mahayana Tradition:
I would like to ask to retell it like this, that if you were the richest, you had the most money in that city, what would you want to do?
Something incredible happened in the city of Rajgir, more than 2500 years ago. The boy Pippali, the son of a wealthy family, was weary of the world, wanted to find the sacca-dhamma, the truth of existence. He wanted to live peacefully and learn the Dhamma. But because of his gratitude, he couldn’t go against his parents. His parents wanted him to get married and have a family. So they found one wealthy family who had a daughter called Kapilānī. And they arranged it and held the wedding. When the two had married, there was the 2nd incredible occurrence, that it was opposite of what it seemed on the outside. Both of them felt the same way inside, they were weary of the world. They wanted to find the truth of existence. After the parents of the couple had passed away, Pippali consulted with Kapilani, that he wanted to renounce the world and ordain, to look for the truth of existence. All the wealth he would give to their workers, and their lands to give to the villagers. And she agreed. Is that incredible? Before Pippali would go travel to find a teacher, he made a promise with Kapilani that if he found a teacher who had found the truth of existence, then he would come to take Kapilani to practice Dhamma following in that way. Pippali went to go look for a teacher and he travelled many years before he found a teacher. Ultimately he travelled and met the Buddha. Pippali quickly bowed to the Buddha and asked to be his disciple. The Buddha said that I know the truth of existence. And the Buddha said the truth, that if the Tathagatha does not know and says he knows, if he does not understand, but pretends that he understands, then the body of the Tathagatha would break apart into 7 parts in this moment. Pippali heard this and gained even more faith. So he requested ordination to become a monk, and received the name Venerable Kassapa. And he listened to the teachings of the Buddha. He listened continuously, and not even one word was missed. Later, he followed the Buddha to go back to Veluvana Monastery, to practice Dhamma there. And he practiced as a disciple of the Lord Buddha. And though there was the Vinaya with many rules, and that the practice must be strict as well, this was not a problem for Venerable Kassapa. He practised them all completely.
And later one day in a Sangha gathering, the Buddha was giving the most difficult Dhamma teaching. He taught that all Dhammas arise from the mind. Everything arises from causes, and ceases due to causes. After the Buddha asked his disciples if they understood. And all the disciples there did not understand, there was only Ven. Kassapa who understood. The Buddha asked for Ven. Kassapa to come sit next to him to explain to the group, the meaning of this Dhamma teaching. But due to Ven. Kassapa’s restraint, he thanked the kindness of the Buddha, and answered, I have no right to sit next to the Buddha. And more so to explain the teaching in the Buddha’s place, I cannot accept. May I simply be in the group of disciples of the Buddha, and listen to the Dhamma of the Buddha. This is sufficient. After he spoke, he stood and walked off. And the Buddha did not fault him and was not upset. And the Buddha said to his disciples there, that 8 days after Kassapa met the Tathagatha, he understood into true nature of the Dhamma. He practices seclusion and being of few wishes, he does not speak what is not beneficial. He practises in line with the Vinaya. Herein, everyone should practise following Maha Kassapa. And after this incident, they called Ven. Kassapa, Kassapa the Great who cultivates peace.
Being humble was a characteristic of Ven. Kassapa.
Though he had met a teacher who had realized the truth of existence, the Buddha, he was not able to go get Kapilani to practice Dhamma together. Only until the Buddha accepted female disciples, then did he take her to practice in the same place. She was determined to practice. And the Buddha praised her as a Bhikkhuni who was skilled in recollecting her past lives. And other than this, there were instances of teachings and practice that were significant.
There was the group of Ven. Upanandi, who went to go for alms in one village. But it was shocking that all the rich and poor people closed their doors and windows and ran away. This was because Ven. Upanandi forced the villagers to donate so he could build a dwelling for himself. Ven, Kassapa saw this and he felt he had to reprimand his fellow friend. But his method to reprimand , he did so through his actions. Ven. Kassapa walked alms until he met one sick, old woman. On her body were boils of pus, as she was sick and close to death. She had no wealth or money. She only had a bowl of old, stale porridge. When Ven. Kassapa met her, he asked for alms. She said she was poor and she had nothing to give. Ven. Kassapa answered, what about your heart, what is important is your willingness to give. She was able to have a heart that wished to give. Whoever had a heart who wanted to help others is not a poor person. This old woman, upon hearing this, her heart was uplifted, so she poured the porridge to offer to Ven. Kassapa. But do you know from her wound, the pus on her finger fell into the bowl of V Kassapa. And Ven. Upanandhi and the group standing watching, hiding from behind, they were disgusted, and made disgusted faces, which was opposite of Ven. Kassapa who was not disgusted. Because he ate that bowl of porridge until he finished it. And he thanked the old lady. And he told the lady that he had finished todays meal, and he had enough strength to keep going with this life till the next day. This is because of your gift that you have offered. Thank you very much. And Ven. Upanandhi’s group who was hiding watching behind, were ashamed. Some of the monks fell to the ground. When they came back to the monastery, and told the Buddha what had happened. The Buddha praised Ven. Kassapa, that he was someone who spoke little, but used his actions to teach. He relieved the suffering of people. And he used his actions to teach the Sangha as well.
And on the day that it was the Buddha’s parinibbana, during that time, Ven. Kassapa and his group were going wandering on tudong, so they did not come in time for the Buddha’s parinibbana. And when he heard the news he was shocked. But there was something else that was even more shocking. It made him very worried. This was the behaviour of his disciples. There were ones like Ven. Upanandi, who were pleased that there was no Buddha to reprimand and control them, and they could do whatever they wanted to. And there was the 2nd group that were crying and saddened, without mindfulness. Ven. Kassapa thought that if it was like that when only 7 days had passed, how would the Sasana continue on for a long time. So he paid his respects to the Buddha’s body. In the cremation, Ven. Ananda had tried to light the fire many times but it would keep going out. Until Ven. Kassapa came, and he paid his respects to the Buddha’s body, and determined his mind to make the vow, to the Buddha , that now I have been reborn, after this point, I wont drink the elixir of Dhamma only myself. I will be like the sun, and burn myself up in order to spread the correct Dhamma , for the rest of this life. May the Buddha rest his heart at ease, I will follow my vow.
After Ven. Kassapa made this vow, not long after the fire that Ven. Ananda had tried to light many times, it lit itself and came ablaze.
90 days after the Buddha’s Parinibbana, Ven. Maha Kassapa held a Sangha meeting of 500 monks, holding the first Sangha Council of the Tripitaka in the Sattapanni Cave. Ven. Maha Kassapa saw Ven. Upanandi outside, so called him to join the meeting, Ven. Upanandi wasn’t sure if he was allowed in because of his past actions. Ven. Kassapa, said, if there was no you or the Buddha, I would be a silent and lone renunciant. Only enjoying happiness being by myself. I have made the vow to get everyone together to hold the first Sangha Council, and this merit belongs to you. Ven. Upanandi was deeply impressed and started to cry.
We have learned now from the Mahayana cartoon, and we can see the Buddha held Ven. Maha Kassapa to be like a close friend. Not just as a disciple. This was deep within the Buddha’s heart and greater than that of other disciples. Though the other disciples did not understand the teaching, but Ven. Maha Kassapa understood. And the Buddha gave teachings to Ven. Ananda and Ven. Maha Kassapa until the end of his life. Ven. Ananda listened to all the Buddha’s teachings and memorised them. And, Ven. Maha Kassapa was like the 2nd Buddha. He practised to know for himself. So may you learn about the history of Ven. Maha Kassapa. He was foremost of all the monks in the dhutanga austere practices of the Buddha. And he continued the Dhamma Vinaya, the monastic discipline, and held the first Sangha Council as well.
And we can imagine that if we were that sick, old woman, that we would be extremely lucky, that she was able to pay respects to Ven. Maha Kassapa. The Buddha said that no matter how much prestige and status one has, being born like this for thousands of lifetimes, it would not be equal to bowing to Ven. Maha Kassapa just one time. Although we can’t remember if we were born at that time, but when we are aware of this, we can homage our minds to bow to Ven. Maha Kassapa. Bowing with our heart that has faith in the Ven. Arahant, free of defilements, the one who had practised upholding the Dhutanga Practices, and who held the First Sangha Council. So this is our great merit and goodness that Ven. Maha Kassapa had the thought to hold the First Sangha Council, so that there would be strong lineage of the Dhamma Vinaya, carried on to the present day. So may you all, the monks and novices be firmly established in the Dhamma Vinaya, and all the laity be established in sila-dhamma, and then puja the Buddha, Dhamma Sangha with your Dhamma practice. May all prosperity come to the laity.