Dhamma Video Conference Talk and Q & A with Ajahn Anan – March 30th, 2018
L uang Por Anan: Being born as a human requires a lot of merit. It is very good fortune to have a human birth.
We should reflect: How does the mother feel when she is about to give birth? What hopes do the mother and father have for the child even when they are just in the womb?
Tomorrow is my birthday. On our birthday, let us all reflect on the goodness of our parents.
Now is another opportunity I have to meet with all of you. And the important thing with this meeting is in the learning and practicing of the Dhamma. All of us have been born into this world and this is considered a result from our good merit and spiritual potential. This is because being born as a human, having a human body, is something difficult to gain. All of us are born with the high hopes of a mother and father. Because when we begin to be born and our mother knows she is pregnant and will have a child, she has the strong wish that her child will be born with good health, a strong body, with all faculties complete. The mother will have great happiness in her life from the first day that we open our eyes and see the world.
From our very first breath that we breathe, we are all born with the high hopes and expectations of our mothers and fathers. As our body develops and grows, and when we get to our birthdays, as good Buddhists we do good acts of merit and goodness in dedication of our parents. Yet if we think on this deeper, we can reflect on our mother who gives us birth and who allowed us to be born, then we think of the goodness inherent in giving us this breath. Thinking like this, we won’t be heedless in our life and we will try to keep building more and more goodness so that we can repay this great kindness our parents have given us with our gratitude. This is the birth in this human body.
On a higher level than this birth, is the birth of a great sage, Prince Siddhartha – the bodhisattva or Buddha-to-be, with fully perfected spiritually. And the birth of this Bodhisattva, is the arising of a Buddha. The birth of a Buddha, who has a completely purified heart and is a Samma-Sambuddha, that is a rightly Awakened Buddha, all through his own efforts, this is the most difficult type of birth in this world. The Buddha who after receiving confirmation of future Buddhahood from another Buddha of a previous era, had built his parami or spiritual perfections for 4 periods of innumerable life times and 100,000 aeons. Such an incredibly long time! And before receiving this confirmation of Buddhahood, he had to build his parami for 16 periods of innumerable lifetimes. During all this our Buddha had to sacrifice giving up his flesh and blood, and even his own life, many times over, all for the happiness of all other living beings.
When remembering this, we should determine to lead our lives in a proper and careful way. We give our homage to the Buddha, who was the great founder of these teachings we follow, whose heart is completely pure, and who has the love and compassion for us for such a long, long time. When we give homage and honour to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha as our highest refuge, and we have met the teachings from the greatest sage who was imbued with the highest wisdom in this universe, then we must follow the path of practice that he taught us to follow. The Buddha teaches that we must avoid all evil, cultivate the good and to purify the mind, so we just follow what he has taught. Then our path becomes very simple.
We practice these teachings till it becomes something normal to us.
If the mind slips away then we use the meditation word, Buddho – to direct our minds.
In our practice we need to receive the results of a peaceful mind. And then we will have confidence and know that this path of practice is the path that we can gain true peace.
The Buddha said that “Whoever sees the Dhamma, sees me, the Tathagata.” The Buddha is in the Dhamma. When one gets to this point in the practice, all things are seen as emptiness. Emptiness is the Buddha. If we see emptiness, then this is seeing the Buddha. We become a true noble disciple of the Buddha.
Venerable Ajahn Chah said, “Wasn’t the Buddha born in Thailand?” When I heard this, I was still a young monk and was confused on hearing this. But this refers to seeing the Buddha within the heart. This Buddha within the heart, you are capable of seeing anywhere.
If our minds get to this point, we will be called a true disciple of the Buddha. A noble disciple that brings the Dhamma that is within one’s heart already and continues to spread the Buddha’s teachings to others.
So, may all of you faithful devotees be determined in your practice. Reflect on your past good actions and virtues. And practice a lot. Because this human birth of ours has been supported by our mother and father who gave us this life. And since we have this breath of ours, we should reflect on them.
When our birthday comes around, we should think of our parents a lot. Our mother who had to bear with a lot of difficulties having us in her womb. From conception till we were born as a baby, our parents nursed and cared for us, gave us food and water, looked after us in happiness and in suffering. They were there for us always until we grew up, helped us gain an education and learn different skills and abilities. They were our starting point – giving us life, flesh and blood, giving us everything. We are able to have today, because our parents gave this day to us. When it comes time for our birthday every year, we should think and reflect on them, and build goodness and virtue towards them. May you all grow in blessings.
Questions and Answers:
Luang Por Anan: What are your thoughts – how should one think of their mother on their birthday?
Q: We should think of her with gratitude.
Luang Por Anan: Tonight, we will stay up late listening to Dhamma talks and doing chanting. Good night everyone.