- By Htun Tin Htun
“For a liar who has violated the one law (of truthfulness),
who holds in scorn the hereafter,
there is no evil that he cannot do.”
“Fear to do evil (Ottapa in Pali)” and “Shame to do evil (Hiri in Pali)” are two cardinal principles guarding the Universe and guarding the mankind; that’s why it is called “Guardian of the World”. The Dictionary of Buddhist Terms (Ministry of Religious Affairs, Yangon, Myanmar, 2000) defined that “moral shame and moral dread are the immediate causes of Morality (Character/Discipline) and lacking them, relationship between the sexes would go awry so much so that there cannot prevail in the human world any sense of propriety between mother and son, father and daughter or between brother and sister, and humanity would sink to the level of animals, bringing about utter chaos.”
Envy is a feeling of discontent aroused by someone else’s possession of things or success and it is one of the worst evils destroying the life of the people living in this planet. (Stinginess or niggardliness is reluctance to share what one has with others and is a mental concomitant, such as stinginess regarding one’s dwelling place, one’s relations and disciples, one’s material gains, one’s own appearance and one’s religious doctrine, which is also one of the worst evils to damage the life of the people dwelling in this world).
Abstention means abstaining or refraining from evil; there are three kinds: (1) abstention from evil through observance of moral precepts, (2) abstention from evil even though not under a vow to observe the moral precepts and (3) abstention from de-meritorious actions through eradication of all roots of evil by attaining Path-Knowledge.
Reflecting on the virtues of the Buddha, virtues of the Dhamma, virtues of the Sangha, perfection of the morality, one’s charitable deeds, one’s virtue and thinking of celestial beings as precedents, sublime attributes of Nibbana (supreme bliss), constituent parts of the body, the nature of death and being mindful of out-breath and in-breath are ten things consisted for repeated contemplation or constant mindfulness in order to avoid all evils.
Telling lies “Falsehood” with malicious intent is “musavada” and the gravity of that offence corresponds to the amount of harm done; there are four factors which make this offence complete: the statement is not true; there is the intention to lie; it is actually spoken/written/communicated; others understand what has been spoken/written/ communicated. The liar will have to suffer in the four miserable realms, “apaya” at the time of his death; if he were to be reborn in the human world he will be afflicted with the following: poor enunciation; uneven teeth; foul breath (halitosis); unhealthy complexion; poor eyesight and hearing; defective personal appearance; lack of influence on others; harshness of speech and a flippant mind. Taking intoxicants and narcotic drugs such as alcohol, hashish, cocaine, marijuana, heroin and the like result in heedlessness to do meritorious deeds and excessive use can lead to the committing of the wrongful assault, murder, lying, adultery, etc. The consequences of using intoxicants and narcotics can be fatal, cause one to be reborn in the woeful states and suffer from the following evil consequences in successive existences: being divorced from reality; laziness; torpidity and heedlessness; being ungrateful to one’s benefactor; not being ashamed or afraid of being immoral; insanity; and propensity for evil.
One should do what one teaches others to do; if one would train others, one should be well controlled oneself; difficult indeed is self-control. One who destroys life, utters lies, takes what is not given, goes to another man’s wife and is addicted to intoxicating drinks—such a man digs up his own root even in this very world. O good man, know this, evil things are difficult to control; let not greed and wickedness drag you to protracted misery. One is not wise because one speaks too much; he who is peaceable, friendly and fearless is called wise.
Defilement is impurity of mind and which consists of 10 kinds of mind-defiling factors such as greed, hatred, bewilderment, conceit, wrong view, doubt, mental torpor, restlessness, shamelessness (to do evil) and not fearing (to do evil).
One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? One with fully controlled who gains a supreme bliss (total cessation of Craving) that is hard to gain. Overcome the anger by non-anger; overcome the wicked by goodness; overcome the miser by generosity; and overcome the liar by truth. One by one, little by little, moment by moment, a wise man should remove his own impurities as a silver smith removes the dross from the silver. Of all paths, “The Noble Eightfold Path” is the best; of all truths, “The Four Noble Truths” are the best; of all things, “The Total Cessation of Craving” is the best, and of men, the Seeing One (the Buddha) is the best.
Easily seen is the fault of others but one’s own is difficult to see; he who seeks another’s faults, who is ever censorious— his cankers grow. Easy to do are things that are bad and harmful to oneself; but exceedingly difficult to do are things that are good and beneficial. Easy is life for the shameless one who is as impudent as a crow, is backbiting and forward, arrogant and corrupt. Education (Wisdom) is of paramount importance for all human beings in order to avoid all evils, to cultivate good and to cleanse one’s mind, this is the teaching of all Buddhas so that the youth population (under 30 years of age) who makes up over 50% of total population (2014 census) of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar need to be nurtured with the teachings and ethics of the Awaked/Exalted/Blessed One (the Buddha).
Vain talk/writing is the idle talk/writing; the conversation/written communication that is not true and beneficial to oneself as well as to others and those who tale frivolously will incur the following disadvantage: lack of credibility; dislike by others; disrespect by others; poor intellect; scanty gains; lack of power and authority; and rebirth in Niraya, or as an ever hungry being.
In Buddhist ethics, certain moral obligations are incumbent on one such as: paying respects, warmly welcoming, making obeisance (homage), showing reverence and attending on one’s elders who may be senior in age or in status and one has to fulfill them; such fulfillment is called virtuous conduct in addition to the precepts based on abstention (morality): constant observance of the five precepts (great charity to all living beings in this universe) which denotes being virtuous and abstaining from evil speeches (four verbal offences) and evil actions (three physical misdeeds).
Loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative (sympathetic) joy and equanimity are four universal cardinal virtues (Brahma Vihara) for all people in this planet who loves equity, justice, equality, peace and tranquility, liberty and freedom from man-made evils/disasters. Let’s live to learn (lifelong learning), learn to love (loving-kindness and compassion), love to leave a good legacy for next generations (posterity). “Learn while you earn, earn while you learn.”
May you all be free from physical sufferings and mental sorrows!!! May you all be free from dangers and disasters!!! May you all be free from enmity and aversions!!! May you all be healthy, happy, wealthy, peaceful and prosperous!!! May the Buddha Dhamma be with you!!! May peace, tranquility, security, love, justice, joy and happiness be with you in the Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous year of 2018!!!
(1) A Dictionary of Buddhist Terms, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Yangon, Myanmar, 2000
(2) Dhammapada (Anthology of Verses), Acharya Buddharakkhita, Maha Bodhi Ashram, Bangalore, India, 16th October 1986