In everybody, one who did the merit deeds or the demerit is not anybody except himself. Other is not the prime mover for one’s prosperity and development. It is correct that other can support him. One who really has to start doing is he himself only. If the good deed is done, the result of it will be enjoyed by one himself only, as the result of the evil deed will be suffered by himself only if the evil deed is committed. Therefore, Buddha preached that one’s self should be adhered by himself (‘At-tahi-attanau-nathau’). In ‘Thera Nanghala Vatthu’, referring to Thera Nanghala who became a bhikkhu from the peasant, Buddha preached as follows:
“One’s self should be adhered by himself. How can any other be adhered! He himself only is the object of observing. Therefore, one has to behave himself with circumspection as a merchant takes care of a good horse”, said Buddha.
Thera Nanghala made a thinking to return to the manhood, having appeared to dislike the life in ‘sasana’ as a bhikkhu, but he got back a good mood, after admonishing himself. Again, two or three days later, he appeared again to dislike the life in ‘sasana’. Everytime he had that kind of thinking, he used to go to a tree where his stock of harrow was kept at. Then he considered and admonished himself. Whenever he was unable to make up his mind, he went to that tree and took care of his circumspection. Finally, his unsteadiness of mind had been eliminated, and receiving ordination as a bhikkhu was completed. Knowing about this event, Buddha preached as follows:
“Beloved bhikkhus! This is the right son of me, Buddha, has already completed of receiving ordination as a bhikkhu, after dispraising himself by himself”, said Buddha.
Although it was said that everybody would love himself more than any other, in reality, he would take time more in thinking about either others, or their affairs than about himself. He considered about ‘law of nature’, seeing either development and prosperity of others, or being poor and meeting a calamity. He wanted to get experience from that. He would find out those which were to be adopted and envious through his knowledge from reading books as well as the experience of others. He would find that it was impossible to imitate the activities done by other in every occasion.
When one was thinking about other, he could rarely know the real condition of other. At that time, compounding it with a desire appeared in his mind, he happened to guess about that person. One would perceive, consider and criticize other, based on the intentions occurring in his train of mind either offensive or moderate, either considerateness or unfavourableness, either benevolence with rejoicing or malice and disobligingness, etc.
What kinds of good results can he obtain? Can he get the correct lesson? In fact, it is important that he should be able to consider about himself truly, before he looks into other.
Which kind of mind can one grow in the occasion in the condition of his existing life? In the present world, when man is looked on, that can be easily known and seem is that one can see clearly the difference between the poor and the rich. However, it will be difficult to see clearly the difference between the wise men and the unwise men (the foolish). Probably, one can see clearly the difference between the upright, conscientious people and the wicked people. In some occasion, there may be the pretenders as either the wise men or the upright, conscientious people. If one himself is unintelligent and weak in knowledge, he will be unable to differentiate between the upright, conscientious person and the wicked person. As Buddha was still alive, referring to Thera Udayi, Buddha preached on the ‘dhamma’ and the foolish man. In the very beginning, other bhikkhus regarded that Thera as a wise man. The reason was that as soon as the venerable bhikkhus left the ‘dhamma’ preaching assembly hall, he often went to the hall, and seated himself in the place that the preachers took. Once when other bhikkhus asked him about the ‘dhamma’, they came to know that he was not a wise, for he was found knowing nothing about the ‘dhamma’. Referring to the matter of pretence, Buddha preached as follows:
“Even though a foolish man lived together with a wise man for life and adhered him, that foolish man did not know the excellent ‘dhamma’ preached by Buddha, as a pudding stick was unable to feel the senses (hot, salt, astringency, bitter, etc.) of taste of curry”, said Buddha.
The reason of being cheated by other and having a trouble after imitating other’s activity, is due to the defect, weakness and lack of knowledge of himself rather than due to the ‘evil spirit’ (‘payoga’) of other. Having a self-criticism, one has to consider on what kind of person he is, as well as whether his mind is defective or being under non-control of wisdom.
There is a saying: “Even though others broke the ‘dhamma’ (law), don’t break it by yourself”. One’s self should be reflected on, when either the evil mind or the demerit mind occurred because of either the ‘evil spirit’ (‘payoga’) of others, or that of himself. Buddha preached that it was important to reflect on oneself.
Once, a rich lady living in Savatthi had been offering alms and food to a ‘titthi’ (‘wrong viewer’) named Paveyaka, having regarded him as her son. However, one day she donated food to Buddha and the bhikkhus in spite of that titthi’s objection. Disliking that matter, the ‘titthi’ slandered the rich lady, who was listening to the preaching of Buddha. He said: “Hell! Evil woman. You’ve been spoiled. You did this kind of offering to that bhikkhu Gautama”. Abusing in words also to Buddha, he went away. Meanwhile, Buddha preached as follows to the rich lady having a mind in disorder.
“Not bearing in mind the evil, rude, dis-obliging words of others. That, whether other should do (or not) the good deed, or (the evil deed), should not be looked into. You should reflect on that you only did (or didn’t) the good deed (or the evil deed)”, said Buddha.
By just looking on and criticizing other, there will be no possibility of flourishing the precepts and excellent minds that are to be observed by one’s-self. It can only help make one’s reputation and excellent minds filthy. There is only one way to avoid it. That is that one has to reflect often on whether the active states of mind (such as strong desire, anger, ignorance, pride, etc.) have the evil deeds appeared and cloven in his mind, or the active states of mind (such as non-strong desire, non-anger, kindly affection, kindly regard, benevolence with rejoicing, ignorance-‘upekkha’) etc.) have the good deeds appeared and cloven in his mind. He has to mend his mind. Like this, one’s self should be reflected on.
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