New Year Message 2020

New Year Message 2020

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

Our life as a human being is very precious. Compared to all other beings in the different realms of existence, we have the unique opportunity to develop our minds and gain total liberation. The human lifespan enables us to enjoy the worldly pleasures of life and also to experience the various manifestations of sufferings, which can act as a stimulus for us to seek true peace and happiness by reducing and overcoming the tendencies of greed, hatred and delusion – the root cause of all our sufferings.

At New Year we always pray for longevity, happiness and prosperity. Longevity provides us with greater opportunity to fulfill our worldly duties and responsibilities. It also provides greater opportunity for us to see the true nature of life. With each passing year, we see our children growing up, and we wish for them to have a bright future. At the same time, we see our elders aging, and we wish that they remain healthy and free from pain and sickness for as long as possible. While we reflect on all the good things that we have done over the past year, we also see that they are impermanent and that we cannot avoid facing difficulties from time to time.

If we see this and truly reflect on the impermanent and unsatisfactory nature of life, this will prompt us to aspire for something higher, to gain liberation from the cycle of samsara, not only for our own happiness but also for the benefit of others. Therein lies the true purpose of the long life we wish for.

The recent bushfires in NSW serve as a lesson in impermanence for us to wake up to the realities of life. There is nothing in this world that we can grasp or cling on to as “I” or “mine”. While we use these words in the conventional world, our knowledge and understanding of the Dhamma will naturally lead us to realise the ultimate reality of things around us. It is the understanding of the true nature of life – the knowledge that enables us to go beyond “I”, “my”, “me”, and “mine” – that constitutes wisdom. As the years go by, we need to grow in wisdom and realise the true meaning of life.

I truly rejoice with all those who have supported the Aloka Meditation Centre, the ABM, ACI and all their related activities over the past year. I also rejoice with all those who have put in the time and effort to cultivate their own minds, through retreats and the Novitiate programme held earlier this year, as well as in their own practice – for one’s own benefit as well as for the benefit of others.

In the coming year there will be several special events. From 1 to 9 February, the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik Drupchen will be held at Aloka Meditation Centre, followed by Ushnishavijaya Puja from 12 to 14 February. A number of spiritual masters and lamas will be coming to conduct this special retreat and long life blessings ceremony, which is being held for the first time in Australia. I urge you all to take this opportunity to make a connection in whatever way you can with this activity to promote peace and happiness for the benefit of all beings.

The 5th Metta Convention is planned for 13-15 November in Nagpur, India. Please refer to the website in the upcoming months for further information.

May the blessings of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha be with you always.

With Metta,
Venerable Mahinda

New Year Message 2019

New Year Message 2019

New Year greetings to all!

We rejoice with all the services you have rendered over the past year, and with your continued generosity and effort in supporting Aloka Meditation Centre, ABM and ACI.

The highlight of the year 2018 has been the success of the Metta Convention in Putrajaya, Malaysia, along with various other activities held in conjunction with the birth centenary celebrations of the late ‘Chief Reverend’, Ven. K Sri Dhammananda Nayaka Maha Thera.

Our grateful thanks to all our sponsors and donors, organisers and volunteers, as well as all the participants.

The Metta Convention generated greater awareness of the need to cultivate loving-kindness and compassion amongst all the 500 participants, young and old. Going forward, we wish to promote Metta-in-Action ‘From Womb to Tomb’. As such, we are looking out to recruit those interested to offer their services and expertise to form a task force to identify and implement activities for metta-in-action catering for all stages of life. These would include workshops, seminars and other activities dedicated specially for newly-wed couples, young parents, retirees and our elders, for metta to be embraced and practised for their own well-being and also for the happiness of others. This will ensure continued blessings to all members, devotees and their family members at different stages of their lives.

As you celebrate the New Year 2019, the Year of the Pig – considered an auspicious year – please do not forget the age-old values of generosity, reverence, humility, contentment and gratitude. These values are essential to promote peace within oneself and live in harmony with others around us.

Peace and harmony are the basis of all worldly gains such as health, wealth and longevity. They also provide the basis for us to progress further along the Dhamma’s path.

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

With Metta,
Venerable Mahinda

Vesak Message 2019

Vesak Message 2019

The real significance of Vesak lies in the universal peace message of the Buddha.

What the Buddha realised on the night of his enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree in Bodhgaya more than 2,500 years ago, he taught in simple language to the first five ascetic disciples in terms of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Four Noble Truths explain DUKKHA, the sufferings and unsatisfactoriness of life; SAMUDAYA, the cause of suffering; NIRODHA, the cessation of suffering; and MAGGA, the path which leads to peace and the end of all suffering.

The path which leads to peace and the end of all suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path. It consists of:

Right Understanding, Right Thoughts, Right Speech, Right Body Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.

These eight path factors help to purify our thoughts, speech and body action from the tendencies of grasping (or greed), aversion (hatred), and delusion, through the systematic cultivation of:

SILA (morality or good conduct),

SAMADHI (concentration) and

PAÑÑĀ (wisdom).

SILA, or morality, refers to the restraint of speech and body actions, through the practice of Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood.

SAMADHI, or concentration, is achieved through the discipline of the mind, by cultivating Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.

PAÑÑĀ, or wisdom, refers to the cultivation of Right Understanding and Right Thought.

These three phases of training are essential for the purification of our body, speech and mind. Through the restraint of speech and body actions, the tendencies of greed, hatred and delusion can be prevented from manifesting at the physical and verbal level, but not at the mental level.  As such, we need to meditate, to cultivate calmness and insight, in order to prevent the tendencies of greed, hatred and delusion from manifesting at the mental level.

When one’s mind is well trained and is at peace with oneself, naturally one’s speech and body actions will be under control, resulting in a peaceful and harmonious way of life.

The training of the mind based on moral and ethical principles is indispensable if we wish to live in peace and harmony within our families, society, nation, and the world.

The preamble of the UNESCO constitution declares that: “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed”. Therein lies the universal peace message of the Buddha.

We are indeed very fortunate to live at a time when we are able to enjoy the freedom and relative peace and harmony in our country. As such we should make good use of this opportunity to live a life of discipline and to cultivate our minds – not only for our own benefit, but also for the welfare and happiness of all.

As we celebrate Vesak by radiating thoughts of METTA, or loving-kindness, and extending goodwill to all, we need to realise that peace and harmony can only come about with one’s own discipline of body, speech and mind. The inner peace in our minds will naturally manifest in outer harmony. Let us reaffirm our faith and commitment to the Triple Gem.

May the blessings of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha be upon you always.

May all beings be well and happy.

Happy Vesak!

– Venerable Mahinda –