Vesak Message 2022
Like a lotus bloom
Unstained by the vicissitudes of the world
He rises above all turmoil and suffering.
Showing the path to all Free from extremes
Leading to liberation.
Let’s pray and supplicate May there be peace, love and harmony In the world.
SUKHO BUDDHĀNAṂ UPPĀDO
Happy is the birth of all Buddhas!
The Buddha was born to bring peace and love to the world. His birth as Siddhattha Gotama was the culmination of all the great virtues he had perfected from life to life.
Although born as a human, he was not an ordinary being.
Like a lovely white lotus,
unsoiled by the muddy water,
So too am I unsoiled by this world;
Therefore, O Brahmin, I am a Buddha.
Through his example and teachings, he showed how we too are able to live in this world unaffected by the turmoil and suffering around us – not through mere indifference but through loving-kindness, compassion and altruistic joy.
The cultivation of loving-kindness or METTĀ, the wish that all beings be well and happy, will naturally trigger compassion or KARUṆĀ, the wish for beings to be free from suffering, to develop. This in turn will lead to METTĀ in action, or acts of kindness.
Seeing the joy of those who are able to overcome their problems and difficulties will naturally condition MUDITĀ, sympathetic or altruistic joy, to arise within oneself. This will become a strong motivating force for us to do more for others, and through the experience gained in serving others, a sense of equanimity or UPEKKHĀ will develop.
A truly harmonious and equanimous mind – unaffected by profit and loss, praise and blame, fame and ill-fame, happiness and suffering – results from wisdom and insight into the true nature of all phenomena. This is how we develop detachment through METTĀ KARUṆĀ MUDITĀ UPEKKHĀ, or loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy and equanimity. These four qualities are called the Brahma Viharas or the Four Immeasurables and they have the power to transform both ourselves and others.
In these challenging times, we need to commit ourselves to practise what the Buddha taught in order to overcome fear, worry and anxiety. Violence, war and other manmade disasters are the direct results of greed, hatred and delusion.
The preamble to the UNESCO Constitution states:
“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.”
The best way to overcome hatred and build the defences of peace, from a Buddhist perspective, is through the cultivation of METTĀ or loving-kindness. And the best way to overcome the tendencies of greed and the deluded idea of the self as ‘I, my, me, mine’ is through the systematic cultivation of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Metta and mindfulness will bring about effective self-transformation.
Why should we focus on transforming ourselves? While we may not able to change all the big things happening in the world outside, we are able to change the small things happening in the world within ourselves. That is how we will be able to maintain peace and harmony within ourselves, amidst war, chaos and turmoil in the world.
Vesak is a time for merit-making rather than merry-making. Through acts of generosity and other meritorious actions, we will make connection with the Buddha Dhamma Sangha, which will pave the way for us to develop wisdom and insight into the realities of existence. Merits and wisdom are essential for enlightenment.
As we celebrate Vesak, let us recall the great virtues and qualities of the Buddha and aspire to transform ourselves by nurturing the innate goodness within, for the welfare and happiness of the many.
Let us seek refuge and grow in faith and confidence in the Buddha Dhamma Sangha, to receive their blessings, guidance and protection so that we will develop the strength, courage and wisdom to overcome whatever problems and difficulties that may arise in these challenging times.
On this auspicious occasion let us extend our goodwill to all and pray:
May all suffering beings be free from suffering,
May all those in sorrow be free from sorrow,
May all those in danger, fear and worry be free from danger, fear and worry,
May all beings be well and happy.
May you and all other family members be well and happy!