We had the first Dharma Study session last Tuesday, August 26th, here at the Buddhist Center - RKINA.
We started with short meditation. It is very calming to sit quietly, particularly after a hard working day.
The study was on the Life of the Buddha.
The Buddha was enlightened to the Dharma, shared the Dharma, and lived the Dharma. So the theme of this session is ‘Live the Dharma’.
I shared one story from a book, "Shakyamuni Buddha" by Nikkyo Niwano.
"The Buddha was meditating under a tree in a forest when a large group of young men rushed to him, saying, 'Sage, have you just now seen a young woman pass by here?'
“Calmly opening his half-closed eyes, the Buddha said, 'No, I have not seen such a woman. Why do you seek her?'
“Then the young men told him that the woman had stolen their valuables and disappeared.
“After hearing the story, the Buddha asked them gently.‘Which do you think more important, to seek that woman or to seek yourselves?’
“Startled by the Buddha's words, the young men realized they were being asked a very serious question and assumed a respectful attitude. ‘Oh Sage, we think it is more important to seek ourselves.’
“The Buddha then taught them the Dharma in plain words. The young men all attained the initial stage of enlightenment and became his disciples.”
This is a very significant story.
There is an assumption that if we find “the woman”, we will get back the treasure, and then our anger will go away and we will become happy. But the Buddha is posing a question whether our peace and happiness depends on “the woman”, or “ourselves”.
In the Law of the Twelve Causes, it is revealed that ignorance is the fundamental cause of suffering. So the true way for liberation from suffering and for attainment of complete peace is the process of getting rid of ignorance, or awakening to the truth. Searching the woman without trying to eliminate the fundamental cause of suffering is futile. The process of awakening is the way for the complete peace, and this is the meaning of “seeking yourselves.”
I often seek “the woman” in different form, instead of seeking myself. All forms of irritation tempt me to fix up superficial external causes that create my irritation; a too slow car in front of me, an impolite sales guy in a shop, resentful attitude of my daughter... All these encounters are actually important opportunities for reflection and application of the Dharma. This is the practice of seeking ourselves, the way for awakening.
Come and see our ‘Live the Dharma’ Study session. And let’s live the Dharma.