- By Htun Tin Htun
Our friends from 1970 Batch of the Yangon Institute of Economics are very energetic and enthusiastic in organizing Sayar Ka-Dawt-Pwe (Great Ceremony for Paying Homage to the Teachers) for 15th Ceremony for the year 2017. Since 2003 they have been forming a friendly support team for social welfare of the old students who attended the Institute of Economics during 1966 and 1970 and were awarded with B.Com (AA, IT, BFI) and B.Econ (PD, AE, AS, MS) and most of all our friends served the interest of the people of this planet not only at home as government employees as well as private entrepreneurs but also in abroad as International Civil Service personnel and International UNVs of the United Nations as well as staff of private enterprises/institutions/ organizations/ corporations. Our friends use to organize two major events among others in a year such as the Ceremony for paying merits to those who unfortunately passed away during the past period (for 2017 they organized at the Dhamma Zedi Monastery at Shin Saw Pu Road on the 10th of December) and the Ceremony for paying homage to the teachers (this year Ceremony will be held on 17th December 2017). This article is therefore written to honour the teachers of our Yangon Institute of Economics and in the world as well with great respect and to honour our friends of the organizing team (Eco’70 Batch) for both the ceremony of sharing merits to deceased friends and the ceremony of paying homage to the teachers (this is the unique and can only be seen in Myanmar) as well as the welfare of our friends in need.
Teachers play the role models for all of us in this planet and we believe that the ultimate and supreme happiness can only be attained through the good teachings of the great and good teachers who taught and teach all of us in this world in various means. “To avoid all evil, to cultivate good and to cleanse one’s mind”-this is the teaching of the Buddhas. The great teachers taught that “Those who imagine evil where there is none, and do not see evil where it is-upholding false views, they go to the State of Woe (Realm of Continuous Suffering) (duggati). Those who discern the wrong as wrong and the right as right- upholding right views; they go to the Realms of Bliss (sugati)”. Education for all is of great importance for our future generations (Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030) and the teachers in this world will contribute to achieve the goals of Education for All (EFA) with their great power such as wish-to-do, work-hard, will and wisdom. Always be thoughtful, enlightened, active, clear, healthy, excellent, right, smart, outstanding, friendly, timely, honest, efficient, wise, organized, reasonable, liberal, diligent, dignified, effective, sympathetic, expert, reliable, vigilant, experienced, heedful, optimistic, meditative, accountable, good and exemplary are the some valuable words representing the TEACHERS OF THE WORLD DESERVE HOMAGE. Calm is his thought, calm is his speech, calm is his deed, he is the one who truly knowing is wholly freed, perfectly tranquil and wise. Health is the precious gain, contentment is the greatest wealth, a trustworthy person is the best kinsman and Nibbana (cessation of sufferings and sorrows) is the highest bliss. He/she who is full of faith and virtue, and possesses good repute and wealth-he/she is respected everywhere, in whatever land he/she travels. Easily seen is the fault of others, but one’s own is difficult to see, evil things are difficult to control, let not greed and wickedness drag you to protracted misery. Easy to do are things that are bad and harmful to oneself but exceedingly difficult to do are things that are good and beneficial. Enduring patience is the highest austerity, “Nibbana is supreme,” say the Buddhas. Remember that there is none in this world who is not blamed, there never was, there never will be, nor is there now, a person who is wholly blamed or wholly praised. Strive hard and strive on with diligence and vigilance and become wise! Seek no intimacy with the beloved and also not with the unloved, for not to see the beloved and to see the unloved, both are painful. Should a person do good let him do it again and again; let him find pleasure therein, for blissful is the accumulation of good. Should a person commit evil, let him not do it again and again; let him not find pleasure therein, for painful is the accumulation of evil. Speak not harshly to anyone, for those thus spoken to might retort; indeed angry speech hurts and retaliation may overtake you. (These are what the Buddha, Awakened One taught and the Buddha, Exalted One is our Great Teacher)
Our value, our culture, our custom is based on the Buddhist Teachings taught by the Buddha and we are good to observe and maintain our own calendar, our own number/figure, our own literature, our own costume, our own culture, our own custom, our own language, our own tradition, our own ethics, our own spirits, our own habits among others with our confidence/resolution in Five Moral Precepts (great charity to all beings), Four Universal Cardinal Virtues (Brahma Vihara)(Loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity), Four Noble Truths (suffering, causes of suffering, cessation of suffering and the path leading to the cessation of suffering), Noble Eightfold Path (Right Understanding, Right Thinking, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration). 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 truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? One is one’s own protector, one is one’s own refuge; therefore one should control oneself, even as the horse trader controls a noble steed. Full of joy, full of confidence in the Teaching of the Buddha (the Great Teacher), the one attains the Peaceful State, the bliss of cessation of conditioned things.
The parents are recognized as the first and foremost (primary) teacher for all people in this planet and the teachers are recognized as the parent-like teachers, that is what we (the people) in Myanmar strongly believe and value like three Gems (the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha are called Refuge because they protect the one who takes refuge in them against all kinds of danger and misfortune). True friend is worthy friend and association of good, virtuous and faithful friend is one of the four factors for one’s progress; such friendship is a necessary condition for gaining Path Knowledge and realizing Nibbana. There is no fire like lust; there is no grip like hatred; there is no net like delusion; and there is no river like craving. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this planet; by non-hatred alone is hatred appeased; this is an Eternal Law. Easy is life for the shameless one who is as impudent as a crow, is backbiting and forward, arrogant and corrupt. Evil things are difficult to control, let not greed and wickedness drag you to protracted misery.
Wisdom is power, wisdom springs from insight meditation; without insight meditation wisdom wanes; and wisdom makes the impossible possible and without wisdom we, the people of this planet cannot differentiate evil (wrong) things and good (right) things. Our people in this world are eager to attain liberty, peace, love, joy and prosperity and they do not want greediness, disintegration, violence, hatred, delusion, poverty, religious extremism, terrorism and man-made disasters. Right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration are (eight in one and unique) noble eightfold path leading to the cessation of all sorrows and sufferings and it is a great tool to solve any problems in this planet. Love to live, live to learn (lifelong learning) and learn to leave a good legacy is great concern for any individual person in every corner of this world. Discipline (Character/Morality) is power and without discipline the sovereignty of a country will be lost and we therefore need to observe the five precepts (great charity for all living beings) and four universal cardinal virtues such as loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity for the co-existence, peace, security, harmony, dignity, reciprocal respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty and development.
Difficult is life for the modest one who always seeks purity, is detached and unassuming, clean in life, and discerning. Do not give way to heedlessness; do not indulge in sensual pleasures, only the heedful and meditative attain great happiness. Drop by drop is the water pot filled, likewise, the wise man gathering good little by little. Easily seen is the fault of others, but one’s own is difficult to see. Should a person do good, let him do it again and again; let him find pleasure therein, for blissful is the accumulation of good. Speak the truth; yield not to anger; when asked, give even if you only have a little; by these three means one can reach the presence of the gods. Even the gorgeous royal chariots wear out, and indeed this body too wears out; but the Dhamma of the Good does not age; thus the Good make it known to the good. Repeated contemplation, constant mindfulness of ten things consists of: reflecting on the virtues of the Buddha, the virtues of Dhamma, the virtues of Sangha, the perfection of morality, the one’s charitable deeds, the one’s virtue and thinking of celestial beings as precedent, the sublime attributes of Nibbana, the constituent parts of the body, the nature of death and being mindful of out-breath and in-breath need to be learned and practiced by all human beings daily for attaining inner peace. Victory begets enmity; the defeated dwell in pain; happily the peaceful live, discarding both victory and defeat. Ever grows the glory of him who is energetic, mindful and pure in conduct, discerning and self-controlled, righteous and heedful.
Hard is it to be born a human; hard is the life of mortals; hard is it to gain the opportunity of hearing the Sublime Truth, and hard to encounter is the arising of the Exalted Ones, the Buddhas. Hunger is the worst disease, conditioned things are the worst suffering; knowing this as it really is, the wise realize the Nibanna, the highest bliss. One who, while himself seeking happiness oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain happiness hereafter. One who, while himself seeking happiness, does not oppress with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will find happiness hereafter. One will always be happy by not associating with fools. Overcome the angry by non-anger; overcome the wicked by goodness; overcome the miser by generosity; and overcome the liar by truth. Mind precedes all mental states; mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought; if with an impure mind, a person thinks, speaks or acts, suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox; if with a pure mind a person thinks, speaks or acts, happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow. Man matters most and mindset is of great importance for all citizens of the nation to build a federal democratic union and the teachers play the crucial role in nurturing, cultivating, educating and training of the children and youths who are our future leaders. A well-guarded mind brings happiness, let the discerning man guard the mind, so difficult to detect and extremely subtle, seizing whatever it desires. Abandoning the dark way, let the wise man cultivate the bright path. All tremble at violence; all fear death, life is dear to all; putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill. Good it is to see the Noble Ones; to live with them is ever blissful. Good is virtue until life’s end, good is faith that is steadfast, good is the acquisition of wisdom, and good is the avoidance of evil. Exceedingly difficult to do are things that are good and beneficial.
May the Dhamma (the teachings of Buddha) be with you!!! May all teachers in this planet be free from fears, all dangers, man-made disasters, violence, physical and mental suffering, enmity, aversion, conflicts and terrorism!!! May you all be healthy, happy, prosperous and peaceful!!! Wishing all of you a Very Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year 2018!!!