Buddha's Teaching in a Nutshell - Ovadapatimokkha | Dhamma Talk on Magha Puja | Ajahn Dhammasiha | Dhammagiri
On Magha Puja Full Moon, in the first year after the Buddha's supreme awakening, 1,250 of his most outstanding Arahant discpiles gathered in a spontaneous assembly around the Buddha in the Bamboo Grave Monastery at Rajagaha. The Buddha then recited the 'Ovādapāṭimokkha' to them.
In just 16 lines of beautiful poetry, the Buddha summarized the most essential points or his teaching and the practice meditative practice leading to Nibbāna:
"Abstain from any evil deed
accomplish what is good and true,
And fully purify your mind -
That is what all the Buddhas teach.
Enduring patience is the best
of all ascetic practices;
The best of everything at all
is called Nibbāna by the sage.
If you cause harm to anyone
you can't be called a genuine monk!
Refrain from harming and abuse,
and strictly keep the Buddha's rules;
Be moderate when taking food,
and dwell alone in solitude
devoted to the Higher Mind -
That is what all the Buddhas teach."
In his Dhamma Talk, Ajahn Dhammasiha particularly emphasizes the central importance of non-violence. Total harmlessness, not to intentionally cause any harm or hurt by action or speech to any being is central to our Dhamma practice.
In particular, we have to protect our precepts, with the first one on not killing the very foundation of harmlessness.
Unfortunately, this precept is being severely undermined in our modern society, even in regard to humans, in three areas:
- "Euthansia" - The Buddha NEVER endorsed, encouraged or condoned the killing of humans in any way. Active euthanasia is breaking the first precept and can have severe karmic consequences
- Abortion - The Buddha did consider a fetus/embryo/unborn child to be a human being, and causing an abortion is breaking the first precept with all potential severe karmic consequences
- War - War propaganda tries to convince us that the 'enemy' is so evil, that killing them is actually a 'good' thing. The Buddha NEVER endorsed, encouraged or condoned the killing of anyone, however 'evil'. He encouraged mettā, Loving Kindness, even to our 'enemies' (Of course, mettā doesn't mean we consent or agree with any unwholesome actions. We do oppose them and try our level best to prevent them. But not by killing, and not based on emotions of hatred)
We have to protect our mind not to get deluded in above three areas, that we can continue our unwavering commitment to harmlessness, and maintain the first precept uncompromised.
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