If you say that you are a Buddhsit, that means you are very generous, very nice and very calm. Are you?
By Ven. Bhante Seelawimala
First of all I would like to express my gratitude to Venerable Seoljo Lee and So Won Sunim for giving me the opportunity to speak to you on this very special occasion of the history of this temple. All of us must be grateful to Ven. Seoljo Lee coming from Korea and starting this temple thirty years ago. He came here with very little English Knowledge or experience about American culture. But now you can see how successful the temple is today. Now Yeolaisah temple is serving a large number of people in Northern California. A large number of Buddhists are seeking the services of the temple. All of you are so fortunate to have a place like this to learn and practice Buddhism because it helps us to improve the quality of our day to day life.
Shakyamuni Buddha lived forty five years after he became enlightened. Every day he met many different people and taught Dharma in many different ways. His followers collected all his teachings into a big collection. But on many occasions he has condensed his teachings for the convenience of the followers. The first discourse of the Buddha is a great example. Buddha’s teaching can be divided into two sections. One is the theory and the other is the practice. In this dharma talk I focus on the practice of Buddhism which will help you understand and apply the knowledge and wisdom to your day to day life. If you practice Buddhism correctly your life should be better, happier and more peaceful day by day. You have already heard the practice of Eight Fold Path and Six Paramitas and many other Buddhist practices. Today I would like to make it even simpler for you.
As Buddhists first thing we must practice is the habit of letting go. Practice of giving is big part of the practice of letting go. You can give material things, your time, your expertise and your knowledge etc. You can give to your friends and family. You can give to those who are in need. Forgiving and forgetting is also big part of letting go. The more you give or let go your heart becomes lighter and your life becomes easier and better.
The second part of the Buddhist practice is the practice to be a nicer person. Being a nice person is trying to live without hurting the feelings of others around you. It is not an easy practice as it sounds. It is so easy for us to say or do things that may hurt others. When we live our lives it takes a lot of effort not to upset others. It takes a lot of mindfulness and wisdom to become a nice person. A good Buddhist put a lot of calculated effort to be a nice person. We need a lot of practice for this. Buddha has taught us to follow resolutions to help us to be nicer people. These resolutions are called precepts in Buddhist traditions. The nicer you are, the happier your life becomes.
The third Buddhist practice is to keep our minds be as calm as possible. It is also very difficult to keep our minds calm and peaceful. Thing we see, hear or feel arouse our emotions very quickly. Most of the time we act on our emotions and things we do or say may easily hurt someone or oneself. We need a lot practice to stay calm without being disturbed emotionally. Buddha has taught many mental exercises to help us not to be emotional easily. When we practice various Buddhist meditation techniques we are practicing to stay calm and peaceful. People who stay calm and peaceful are very happy people in the world.
These three practices work complementary with each other. The more you give or let go, the easier it is for you to become a nice person. The nicer you are, the more peaceful you become. Likewise, the more peaceful you are, the easier it is for you to be nice and the nicer you are, the easier it is for you to practice giving. Then, the more peaceful you are, the more wisdom arises in your mind. Finally with the ultimate growth of wisdom one becomes fully enlightened, which is the ultimate goal of all Buddhist practices. Today let us make a resolution to seriously start practicing Dharma. Each one of us who practices helps the world to be a better place for everyone to live.