Āsāḷhā Full Moon Refuge, Precepts and Dhammatalk with Ajahn Dhammasiha at Dhammagiriand Mask Simile for 4NT Precepts Ed
Āsāḷhā Full Moon marks the beginning of the annual 3 months 'Rains Retreat' period ('Vassa') for the monks. It commemorates the first formal discourse of the Buddha, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, where he expounds the four Noble Truths.
During the session, Ajahn Dhammasiha wears a surgical mask. Not because he or anyone at Dhammagiri is sick, or because there is an outbreak in Brisbane. In fact, everyone is fine at the monastery, and Queensland did not have a single case of community transmission for more than a month. But he wants to make a point: Just as masks are effective, as they dramatically reduce the cause of COVID-19 disease, which is the virus; likewise, precepts are very effective in reducing the cause of suffering 9'dukkha'), which is craving ('taṇhā').
We can compare the Buddha's teaching of the 4 Noble Truths with a doctor diagnosing and treating a disease:
- The disease we've all got is suffering ('dukkha'), with the following symptoms: Old age, sickness, death and rebirth; seperation from loved ones; encountering what we dislike; not getting what we want; in short the 5 groups of clinging
- The deep cause for our sickness is the craving ('taṇhā') in our own heart
- If we remove craving, the sickness which is caused by it, will be removed as well
- The prescription to cure the craving is the Noble Eightfold Path
By the way, we have put a lot of effort into improving audio quality, and it should be noticably better now :-)