Four more months...!
April 2022 edition
As you all know, “Nirvana Dhamma” always shares only the purest teachings of Samma SamBuddha which leads us to the true liberation – the Nirvana. So, no here & there stories… no excuses for defilement. Just shares what we should do as true disciples. I have chosen a wonderful story of a Bhikkhu and the teachings given to him by Samma SamBuddha for this month’s editorial. This teaching is in Dhamma Pada.
The incident happened when Samma SamBuddha resides in Devram Monastery. Bhikkhu’s name was Ven. Aththadaththa.
It says the incident occurred like this. When Samma SamBuddha was nearly to pass away, the blessed one informed, “Bhikkhu, I am going to pass away after four months of time”. After hearing this message, a group of bhikkhus were so worried… confused… and moved away from Samma SamBuddha… and were discussing “what shall we do… oh what shall we do now… what will happen to us…” etc... You know, when some terrible news comes to us, we normally get confused and couldn’t understand what to do next… something like that.
But there was this bhikkhu named Ven. Aththadaththa among the crowd. He thought like this, “Oh! Samma SamBuddha is going to pass away after 04 months of time. I just have 04 months to achieve the final attainment. I should give my best try to attain the Nirvana while the blessed one alive!”
So, he ignored the company of those confused bhikkhus. He even gives up on talking to them. He just tried his very best to do what has to be done as a true disciple. Then those confused bhikkhus again got confused by his attitude towards them. They went to Samma SamBuddha and said that this Bhikkhu Ven. Aththadaththa stopped talking to them and ignoring them, and can’t understand why.
Then Bhikkhu Aththadaththa explained Samma SamBuddha what he felt when he heard the news of “Just four months more”. He said he just wants to try his level best to do what Samma SamBuddha asked them to do while the blessed one alive. That’s it… nothing else! Then, blessed one was so pleased and praised him. And said,
“Oh, Bhikkhus… If you truly care for me… if you truly respect for me… then you should be like this Bhikkhu Aththadaththa. There is no use of offering me by flowers & other incents, if you do not offer me by doing what I ask you to do. So, everyone should be like this Bhikkhu Aththadaththa".
And said this wonderful Dhamma teaching which you can find in Dhamma Pada – Kuddaka Nikaya – Sutta pitaka – The Pali canon
“Attadatthaṁ paratthena, bahunāpi na hāpaye; Attadatthamabhiññāya, sadatthapasuto siyā”.
“Never neglect your own good for the sake of another, however great. Knowing well what’s good for you, be intent upon your true goal”.
After by hearing this whole teaching, Bhikkhu Aththadaththa became an Arhath who has completed what has to be done by a true disciple. We should relate this to our own path of nibbana. There are so many lessons we can learn through this incident.
As you know, there are always issues, problems… bad news all the time. That’s natural and that’s life! But we mostly like those bhikkhus who got confused by hearing the bad news. They just teamed up and discussing what has to be done… and what happen to them in future etc… Always carried away with the external issues by believing how badly they could affect us. And forgets what has to be done!
But bhikkhu Aththadaththa well knows with the issue as well as with the solution too. He understood worrying and confusing for the issue to arise is not the solution. He understood that one shouldn’t waste time for such useless things. He didn’t even bother how successful he can be, whether he could complete the path or not…
HE JUST DECIDED TO DO WHAT HE HAS TO BE DONE AS A TRUE DISCIPLE! And he didn’t even bother to pamper the team of bhikkhus who are worried and confused. He just determined to do what he has to do! All those bhikkhus who were confused got the same opportunities given by bhikkhu Aththadaththa. But they failed to make use of it.
There is another strong message here, Samma SamBuddha always praised the disciples who are dedicated to complete the path of nibbana. That’s why the blessed one guide us here by saying; “Never neglect your own good for the sake of another, however great. Knowing well what’s good for you, be intent upon your true goal”.
Many says “You shouldn’t be such a selfish person… bless them… do some offerings… held some sacred event to bless the others… they are confused… help them… do not just focus on what you have to do… They can’t focus on dhamma teachings at the moment… because they are not smart enough like you… all they need is blessings…” etc… etc…
Offering Samma SamBuddha with a true intention of being gratitude is not out of the path at all. But offering the blessed one and the noble ones by expecting blessings for solving the external issues is what Samma SamBuddha refused by saying “If you care for me… if you respect me… don’t offer me flowers & other… just respect what I have asked you to do and DO IT!”
Like in this story, many get confused with bad news. That’s natural. But one with strong focus do not get confused or carried away. So, it’s up to you always whom you are going to be!
So, beloved Dhamma friends, you may be going through many of external issue like plague, war, political issues, hunger, natural disasters etc… etc… There is this beautiful teaching of Samma SamBuddha which is still available for us. But not for so long. We really don’t have time to waste. So instead of correcting the external world, try your best to look into your inside and find what goes wrong. The root of all the issues! The cause! Find it. Blessings are still there… but not for so long!!!