“Enlightened beings never fade with time. Their presence forever resonates through their teachings and through the seekers devoted to their Path.”
On the night prior to His Nirvana, Lord Buddha announced before the congregation of His disciples that shortly before tomorrow’s sunrise, He would leave this mortal body. Naturally, the unexpected news left every disciple appalled and upset. But in his last moments, Buddha blessed them all and counselled them to be a conscious witness to these feelings of grief and sorrow, to be in the acceptance of the forthcoming events and continue the journey of their respective Sadhana. Thereafter, He left for His final rest.
As the word of Buddha’s imminent Nirvana spread, a devotee from the neighboring village came rushing to Buddha’s commune during the night, pleading earnestly to let him meet with Buddha at once. Even after being denied many times, the man remained adamant on his desire. When this reached Buddha’s ears, He asked Ananda, his foremost disciple about the cause of the noise. Ananda informed Him about the devotee’s persistent request. To this Buddha said, “You must let the man in, Ananda. May there be no instance in the history of mankind that says that Buddha, while being alive, did not answer to the pleas of an ardent devotee.”
(Truly, all living Masters are always willing to resolve a seeker’s doubts and questions on the spiritual journey. They make it their sole purpose to guide us and illuminate the path of liberation. Such is their grace!)
In that era, the numerous teachings of Buddha weren’t recorded in written form, rather they were passed and propagated through the verbal medium. So when the devotee met Him, he prayerfully asked Buddha for His final piece of wisdom and directions that the world may follow after His Nirvana. And out of divine compassion, Buddha revealed these four Sutras that lead us to the profound experience of Self:
1. Buddham Sharanam Gachhami
(Be in the presence of a Living Buddha)
The first Sutra that Buddha gave was to seek the presence of a Living Buddha – an awakened being who although resides in a mortal body, but has transcended the boundaries of mind and intellect to experience the bliss within. We must not bear the burden of knowledge received from the past Gurus, for such rigidity and stubbornness may bring a stagnation in our spiritual evolution. The aura of a Living Master has the power to transform us from inside out. Hence, seeking and evolving in the dynamic presence of the Master was the first Sutra.
2. Dhammam Sharanam Gacchami
(Follow the message of Buddha)
Being aware that it may not always be possible to remain in the aura of the Master, Buddha gave the second Sutra – Dhammam Sharanam Gacchami, i.e. to devotedly follow the message of Buddha. Here Dhamma signifies the message of practicing virtue, wisdom and mindfulness. Through this Sutra, Buddha implied, “If you cannot be in the presence of the messenger, then be with His message.” This means to remember the words and teachings of the Master, to reflect upon them and refine our thoughts & actions by applying them in our lives. Thus, living the message is just as important as being near the messenger.
3. Sangham Sharanam Gacchami
(Be in the communion of right-minded people)
Buddha knew about the vices and stubborn tendencies that human beings have accumulated since past so many lives and how they have been influencing the human psyche. Having undergone the similar trials and tribulations as people do, Buddha understood that people may not always receive the continued presence of the Master, nor follow His message in perpetuity. Therefore, He propounded a third way to evolve spiritually – to be a part of a Sangha, a community that pursues purity of thought and sincerity of action. He gave this Sutra so that we seek the communion of right-minded people (not like-minded people) that follow the path given by the Master.
Community plays a vital role in shaping the attitude and behavior of human beings. Parents, teachers, siblings, friends and society are influential in the physical, mental and even spiritual growth of a person. A Sangha is where this growth finds the right direction.
4. Charveti, Charveti…
(Keep moving forward, keep evolving…)
This is a lesser known Sutra through which Buddha inspires us to continue our journey of evolution. In essence, it says that surrendering to a Master, following His message or becoming a part of His Sangha, is not the end. Life is about consistently moving forward on this path of transformation. And with a compassionate Master guiding us, the journey itself is so empowering that we seekers keep marching on, till we merge with the Infinite.
Be in the Master’s presence, follow their Message, become a part their Community. And then keep going. Keep evolving in the limitless expansion of Love and Oneness…!Sri Guru
Derived from Dhammapada Satsang #9 by Sri Guru
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Bliss of Wisdom is a blog for seekers who are in search of their real self. It is published by Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Delhi – a spiritual revolutionary movement founded by Sri Guru. She is a spiritual Master who has transformed innumerable lives through her logical explanations and effective meditation techniques. To know more, visit srmdelhi.org.