for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. ~UNESCO

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"CHOE-SHED LAERIM"- The Religious Discourse

3rd September, Samtengang MSS.  A Choeshed lerim aka Religious discourse was organised by the Choethuen Tshokpa  or The Religious Committee of the school. Simply put, the main focus of the day was on the correction and proper maintenance of our thoughts/mind.  We had Lopen Lhatu, a senior monk and a lopen (teacher), from Wangdue monastery. It was a part of the tshokpa's  annual programmee.

I confess that I am not so much into religion but this  state of mine  was challenged to its end today. So, I am here with news, knowledge acquired... and prayers.

The discourse started with recitation of Tashi Tsegpa and Jampelyang Soeldep.  It was so humble of the Lama to thank the school for giving him a platform to pass the virtues of the Buddha. Then, he outlined the day's aims and the areas that were to be covered.

During the program, he focused on two things- The Bodhisattva way of thinking and  the way to virtous living. In the process of the discourse, the lama was so eloquent in his discourse that the floor listened without a wink. He had a great way of getting his messages to the listeners. As a preacher, he used harsh realities and jokes to keep the audience vibrant.  We were taught how to think like a Bodhisattva. And also, we were exposed to the vice and virtues and asked to choose the virtues. The way he explained about the rarity of being born as a human being really opened our inner eyes and gripped our senses. We are lucky to be born as human beings and we need to live good human. One simple thing the lama talked of was that we need not become monks or nuns to live the Bodhisattva way; we can control our thoughts and divert them to doing virtuous and valuable things. I think we know this simple truth but we are so lost in the world of lust, love, hatred, jealousy, envy, wrath.  The most interesting part I liked was the way he explained the pain that parents take for the well being of their children. The lama narrated as if he suffered all the pains that a parent does. I was stunned to see the depth in which he knew about the mundane world (He is a monk and has very less experience of the mundane world) Students and teachers pledged to follow the way of the Bodhisattva and only the almighty knows how many will keep the promise.

My Views...and pledge...

The path of the Bodhisattva is very difficult to live if you are enveloped with the excitement and joys of the mundane world but it is very simple if you can control your thoughts. Try to divert your thoughts and deeds to doing something useful and valuable. It's quite simple. Lets view it like this- We are putting our hands in a big bag, full of different things; if you pick something valuable, keep it and if your hands are pricked by a thorn or something invaluable, throw it away.  The bag which is full of different things can be compared to our different thoughts;  the valuable things you keep from the bag are the moral thoughts we have to think and the invaluable things are the immoral  thoughts like Lust, jealousy etc,  that we need to drain out from our mind. An average human runs more than 60000 thoughts  in a day. Let us pledge today to divert our thoughts toward moral deeds  (or as many thoughts as we can). I am not a Bodhisattva and know nothing of the way of a Bodhisattva. Please pardon me if I have got anything wrong or misguided. Forgive me and thank me not if I made you to think twice before thinking a thought of- killing an irritating mosquito or eating a delicious chicken curry or  going against your parents or doing a deed that is against the say of the Buddha.

The programme concluded with question answer session and prayers for all sentient beings.

Some questions were very important  and I think it will be wise and helpful of me to share what  was discussed.  (Pardon me if I am not able to put the contents in detail or clearly. I admit, I'm not a good translator)

Q1. A man kills insects/animals unknowingly. For instance, I kill an ant when I am walking, unknowingly and unintentionally. Juxtapose to this, a man kills an animal knowingly and with the intention to kill it. Is there a difference in the the amount of sin we accumulate?

Answer (As answered by the Lama): Both will surely accumulate sin but the amount and degree is different. There are three (actually the lama referred to four but I was not able to translate one in English but the three listed below cover all the four) different kinds in which we accumulate sin from killing according to the words of the enlightened one. They are as follows:
1. Intention of killing
2. Sin for the act of taking the life
3. Sin for the 'state of knowing' that you are taking a life (soow in dzongkha)

Thus, when we take a life unknowingly, we are bearing the sin for the act of taking the life only. And we accumulate all four when we kill something knowingly and with the intention.

Q2. An animal or any soul is about to perish but the state is such that the being is suffering a great deal of pain. Is it a sin to kill the animal with thought of reducing its pain? Is there a difference in the amount of sin?

Answer: There is sin, after all you are taking a life. It is also the same amount of sin as a butcher accumulates when he slaughters an animal. My suggestion is to help and nurse the particular animal as much as one can do.

Q3.  When you chant the mantra Om mani pedmay hung, Is it necessary to say the word Hri at the end of the mantra? Do we need to say Om mani pedmay hung hri?

Answer: It is not necessary to say the hri . We can just chant as Om mani pedmay hung.

Q4. A butcher slaughters animals and we eat the meat from the slaughtered animals. What is the difference in the sin? 

Answer: The butcher will suffer the sins we talked about but the one who eats the meat will share certain sins. The butcher kills because we eat meat. They are thriving because of our demand. I think you now know how to weigh the amount of sin.

Q5. Is there a pardon if we realise our mistakes and vow to stop doing the same things?

Answer: To this I'll narrate the story of Gey she (revered lama) Beaan. Beaan was a robber who killed and robbed people. He didn't spare even  the horses. He never realised that he was traveling the evil path. Once, he attacked a traveler with a horse and her foal. He killed the man and then the mare. When he was about to leave the place, he saw a very unusual thing; the dying mare struggled herself to the foal, licked her with eyes full of tears and the mare breathed her last breath, died with her head on the foals neck. Instantly, Beaan threw away his tools, the loot and cried. He was sticken with grief and despair. Then and there, he decided to ask for pardon and the only way was to live the life of a monk. So, he left and became a monk. he was pardoned of his past deeds and became a revered lama.

May all sentient beings be deprived of the evil thought and be released from the sufferings of the samsara. 

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1 comment:

  1. A good reminder for all of us who fail to follow the paths of Bodhisattava. Enjoyed going through the words of a revered lama.
    Happy to see this beautiful blog la.