Alavaka

Posted on Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Artikel berikut berupa rangkuman dari ceramah Bhante Sunim yang dibabarkan di DhammaCakraTra Los Angeles pada tanggal 13 Februari 2010.

Who or what is Alavaka?
AlavakaYaka. Yaka usually means demon or devil. However, this story is about the time when Buddha went to visit Alavaka. Alavaka didn't like Buddha because he felt threatened by the presence of Buddha. Thus he said to Buddha "I shall ask you a question, ascetic. If you don't answer me, I shall either strike down your mind or split your heart, or seize you by the feet and throw you over the Ganges".

According to Bhante Sunim, Alavaka didn't mean literally to split Buddha's head. But he tried to say is that he's going to distract Buddha's peaceful mind and make him confuse by his questions.

Here the 4 questions that Alavaka asked Buddha.

Q1) What in this world is the best wealth for a man?

Normally, people will answer money is the best wealth for a man. However, money is not the answer as money can also bring problems to people.

Buddha said Sadha is the best wealth for a man. In Pali, Sadha means faith, believe, or conviction. But we have to remember, Buddha also said don't have blind faith, but we must have understanding. Sadha in here means faith in Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

Sadha has 2 stages:
a) Intention to be and do good things
- It is human nature to have that, but unfortunately our surrounding often distract us for doing good things.
- Doing good in one place/country/culture, may not be good in other place/country/culture.
- Thus it is difficult to define what is doing good.
- In general, doing good is where, when we were born, we were bound and abide to a duty to be a good child to our parents. It's our duty and obligation, thus when we fulfill this duty we have done good things. Such duty and obligation are the doing good things with no boundary. It is the same in every where.
- If we fulfill our duty and obligation it gives us a little satisfaction and piece of mind to ourselves.
- When we are healthy, we don't think of it. But once we are sick, then only we reliased and regrets that we didn't fulfill our duty and obligation as a child to our parents. Thus, we must always act now, so, later on, we won't regret. Hence, we must always do and fulfill in our full ability.
- We also must have confidence in ourselves to fulfill these duty and obligation.

b) Enrich yourself under Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha
- Even though we always do good things, we often still need to enrich our mind and heart under Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha to 'refresh' and 'remind' ourselves again on these goodness.

Having sadha is the quality that makes human feel rich and happy, because our mind and body are fulfilled and happy; having money only is not enough.

Q2) What when well practised brings happiness?

It's not to have nice car, nice house, good job, pretty wife or handsome husband, money, and etc; because even after you have all those, you may not still be happy.

Buddha said to Alavaka "Dhamma. If it is well practise, then it will make you happy".
It's not who and what you marry, but it is your attitude towards the person you married that will bring happiness to you.

Dhamma that's well practised means don't let your fear, anxiety and suspicion dominate your mind. You need to always maintain your mind in the same way (from before and presently being married). It's not easy to do so, thus we must always practised Dhamma to maintain this mindfulness.

So when such distractions come, you must still see that person in innocence way. Don't judge and jump to conclusion on your spouse directly, must maintain pleasant attitude until proved otherwise or proved that person really do something wrong.

In practise Dhamma, we must see everyone in the same fair way, without judgement or suspicion. We should always keep balance mind in any situation we are in.

For e.g., Christopher Lee (a former Superman actor) once being interviewed after this major accident. He was asked "are you happy?". He said "yes, I'm very happy". The interviewer asked "how come?". Christopher said "at least I still have my brain".
Thus, it's our own mind and attitude that makes us happy.

Practising Dhamma is not easy. You must have lots of understanding about your mind, body and attitude to maintain and practise it, without losing your mind. That's why people always go to Vihara and listen to Dhamma to keep on practising and reminding one-self.

Q3) What indeed is the sweetest of flavours?

Buddha said "Truth is the sweetest of all flavours".

E.g., when you go to restaurant A, you like the food and you find it's so delicious. You went on tell your friend that the food at restaurant A is so delicious. But after few months, you went back to the same restaurant and you find it's not as delicious/tasty as before.

E.g., if your friend tell you that the food at restaurant A is delicious, you can't ask your friend or other friends to taste it for you. You have to discover it yourself, whether or not the food at restaurant A is indeed delicious.

Thus, we have to experience the truth on our own. Only you can experience and discover it/taste it, not someone else for you.

So what is the truth?
In Christianity, God is their truth. But in Buddhism, it can't be told. We have to experience and discover it ourselves.

E.g., one day you saw a bird lingering around in the tree at your backyard. You started to give the bird food and water, built shelter and talk to the bird even though the bird didn't know what you are talking about. However, after few days or after the season has passed, the bird fly away leaving the place behind. Then you start thinking "what have I done wrong? Is it the food? Is it the water?". But it's just the nature of the bird to come and go at their own will.

It's not just bird, but our own friends and family will come and go in our life. It's the nature of things. So we have to understand everything is for a little time only. All only stay for awhile. Our parents will go too. We will feel so sad once they are gone, but that's just the nature of things.

So truth is, everyone will definitely experience a little suffering. But with our understanding of the truth, we can go through such suffering because we know it is only our thoughts and feeling, it is only temporary. So we should just enjoy what we have now, don't cling on it, because the truth is nothing is permanent.

We need to get along with everybody, do some favours for them. But under certain circumstances, our friends will change and go away too. It's the nature, even ourselves will change too.

We always notice the changes in other people, but never realised or look at ourselves that we, too, are changing all the time too. We only notice other people's mistakes, but we never look and examine our own mistakes.

In Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, at the very end, it said "suffering is to be realised", not just blindly believe it, but we have to realise it in Buddhist way.

You see your own photo from baby until now. You can see that you have changed from baby until adult. You know you have changed, you are changing. But you still live your life. You still brush your teeth, wash your face, wear clothes, go to work, eat, breath, etc.
You still realised the changes but still live with your life. So we must understand it and realised changes do happen, but we should just carry on with it. Not to get stuck there and always think of these changes or mourn about it.

Reading alot of self-help book or any other books is useless if you still don't know anything about yourself. It's better to learn and know about yourself first instead of learn about everyone else, but not yourself. There is no point to read so many books on what people are telling you to do, but you still don't know about yourself. Discover and find out yourself first.

Q4) Living in what way do they say one's life is best?

Buddha said "Living the wisdom is the best thing".

Why live wisely? Simply put, if you don't, you won't die happily.

If you live ignorantly and do stupid things, when you are dying, you will regret, suffer and keep on apologizing for all your wrong doings.
But when you are understanding and live wisely, you will understand life easier.

The world/life is always changing. One day, someone may like you, but one day s/he will hate you. So you have to keep a balance mind. When they praise/like you, you should not be arrogant about it. When they hate/scold you, don't be angry too. Just be calm.

In people, there are some goodness and badness in them. If they have good stuff, we focus on it and just forget/ignore their bad parts. Thus, we should only see/focus/think people's good sides, don't focus on their bad sides or mistakes.

Don't increase your expectations on other people. If you keep increasing, you will cloud your mind/judgment, and once it don't go as what you expect, you will feel disappointed and angry. So it's better to keep low expectation on other people. Hence, we must live with such wisdom. Then you can live in this world peacefully.

If you always have expectations, you will get emotional all the time.

We must understand, life always changes. So don't keep emotional stuff and expectations, understanding the world as it is, live in present moment. Thus live wisely in life. So when you die, you won't feel disappointed.

Lower your expectation, do what you suppose to do, get along with everyone is peaceful way, appreciate each other efforts, don't simply judge people; then we can all be at peace and can get along with everyone.

Not to think you are the best person among the rest, that's high ego and will only disappoint your own self.
So we must keep this wise thinking, thus you can live peacefully with everyone else, in your family, spouse, society, organisation and friends.

These questions were asked back in 2500 over years ago, when Buddha Gautama still alive. Back then there was no internet, news, books, library, etc. So you can see, Dhamma is amazing and timeless. Dhamma is about guidance and to be practised in every body lives, day to day lives.

Death can come at anytime, with no warning. If it comes, you cant say no, not the time yet. It's just the nature of things. Thus, we must always have wise thinking and live wisely, peacefully among other people. Only see good things in other people, not see/focus bad stuff. Just throw away such bad thinking from your mind. So you can live happily all the time and peacefully.

Demikian rangkuman Dhammadesana Bhante Sunim pada tanggal 13 Februari 2010 yang telah dibabarkan di Vihara Dhammacakratra Los Angeles, CA.

Semoga rangkuman ini bermanfaat dan membuahkan kebahagiaan bagi kita semua

Dirangkum oleh: Cherry

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