Let us develop the swan’s skill!

Dear Friends,

Did you know that the swan has a unique skill? In many cultural and spiritual myths and legends the swan has highly been praised for this special skill. The swan, of course, is an ancient symbol of spiritual grace and purity. But, the special skill the swan has is the one we are trying to develop within ourselves and instil in the young hearts and minds. Suppose we mix water with milk. It is said that the swan has the skill and ability to separate milk from water. Leaving the water aside, the swan drinks milk only. In the same way, the entire society is a mixture of good and bad. Like the swan, we should be able to separate good from bad. And, we should also help the children develop the same skill. Now imagine we help children develop the swan’s skill, as they grow up and take up the responsibilities and duties of the family, society and the world, we can secure a good family, society and world in the future. With love for the humanity let us give an education to our next generation to develop the swan’s skill. Through this education they will be able to separate good from bad and they will choose to follow the good only by leaving the bad aside. Sustainable peace if guaranteed !

With many blessings !
Bhante Saranapala
The Urban Buddhist Monk

A Three Steps Ladder to Heaven: Truth, Love and Giving

Dear Friends,

Today I want to tell you a Buddhist story. One day a disciple of the Buddha paid a visit to heaven and he asked three gods how they ended up there. The first god said all he did nothing else but speaking the truth in his entire life. The second god said all she did was giving love but not getting angry with anyone during the most upsetting and difficult times. The third god said all he did was giving something to someone whenever asked. The monk returned to the human world and told the Buddha about his adventure. He asked the Buddha what would take a person to heaven. Then Buddha said, “O, Monk, you heard from three gods what took them to heaven.” Reconfirming what gods explained to the monk, Buddha said, “One should speak the truth. One should not yield to anger. One should give when asked even if it is only a little. By means of these three, one may go to the world of the devas” (gods.) So, my dear friends, to secure your life in the heavenly world, train yourself to speak truth by shunning lying. Train yourself to cultivate love and compassion by shunning anger and hatred. Train yourself to be generous by shunning greed and stinginess. These are the three steps of the ladder to the heaven!

With many blessings!
Bhante Saranapala
The Urban Buddhist Monk

Shun Extreme Views and Adopt Middle Way for Sustainable Peace!

Dear Friends,

Extreme views, opinions, perspectives and practices have the nature of destroying the human dignity. By following and subscribing extreme views could cause a huge damage to the human dignity. Extreme views always lead to violence, disrespect, restlessness, agitation, impatience, intolerance inequality, injustice, anger and hatred. On account of clinging to extreme views human beings suffer deeply. As their suffering becomes unbearable, they spill suffering onto all others. If we love humanity and us we should find and adopt a principle of middle way by shunning the extreme views. The principle of middle way leads to non-violence, respect, calm, patience, tolerance, equality, justice, love, kindness and sustainable peace. I strongly believe by following the principle of middle way we can be at peace, we can become happy and peaceful. We can live side by side with acceptance, tolerance, love and kindness. Please think about this. May you always live a peaceful and happy life through the light of middle way!

With many blessings !
Bhante Saranapala
The Urban Buddhist Monk

Meditation for a increased quality life

Harvard Neuroscientist Sara Lazar: “I did a literature search of the science, and saw evidence that meditation had been associated with decreased stress, decreased depression, anxiety, pain and insomnia, and an increased quality of life.” Read the whole report here.

So, come and meditate today (every Wednesday) from 7pm to 8.30pm. At the West End Buddhist Temple located at 3133 Cawthra Road, Mississauga.

FAITH & WISDOM

FAITH AND WISDOM

Dear Friends,

A bird needs two wings to fly. With one wing, the bird will not be able to fly. Because there is no balance. To create balance, the bird needs two wings.

In the same way, a person needs two spiritual qualities to progress in the spiritual journey. They are rational faith/conviction and wisdom/insight. A person has to develop faith as well as wisdom to advance in the journey. If a person has both faith and wisdom, he/she will be able to achieve the spiritual goal. Faith alone cannot create the spiritual goal. Also, wisdom alone cannot create the spiritual goal. There should be a balance between faith and wisdom. These two spiritual qualities are the two wings for spiritual advancement!

With many blessings !
Bhante Saranapala
The Urban Buddhist Monk

Let us not worry about what others say!

Dear Friends,

No matter where we live and how we live. No matter what kind of life we live in the society, we have to understand one thing: we will not be free from criticisms and blames ! People are generally so quick to judge us like this and like that. Criticisms and blames will fall onto our heads. If we get caught to public criticisms, blames and judgements, it will pull us down emotionally and mentally. Then, our life will be dragged with anger, upset and pain.

For instance, if we live a quiet life, people will criticize us for remaining quiet and for doing nothing. They will say we are no good, we are inactive. If we do too much for the society, community, again people will criticize us for being too much. If we do little, people will criticize us for doing too little as well.

This has been the nature of the society. This is the nature of the society. This will be the nature of the society. So, let us not worry about what others say. Let us just try playing our role to the best of our capacity with an equanimous mind, without giving any emotional reaction to praise and blame.
With many blessings !
Bhante Saranapala
The Urban Buddhist Monk

Gods will await in the heaven by holding a banner: “Welcome, my beloved, welcome!

Dear Friends,

Here is a thought to seriously think about. Now imagine we are living abroad. After many years, we pay a visit to our loved ones and relatives in the home country. Indeed, our loved ones will eagerly be counting the days and will arrive at the airport to receive us with lot of excitement and much joy ! With much delight we would be received and welcomed at the airport, or in the city gate, or at the village by your loved ones, relatives, and friends and colleagues. They will be much delighted to see you. Buddha told this simile to convey a great message. That is when we do good deeds and collect merits, the deities, gods will welcome and receive us with the same sentiment. They will wait for us with such an eagerness in the divine worlds.

We know that we are not going to live forever. There will come a day to bid farewell to everyone. Because of our good deeds and merits, when wo go to heavenly world, the gods, celestial beings will receive and welcome us with much joy and delight. In fact, it is our sole aspiration to go to heaven after our death. With lot of merits, when we go heaven, the gods and celestial beings will celebrate our arrival with great joy.

Keep this simile in mind and reflect on this message everyday.

With many blessings !
Bhante Saranapala
The Urban Buddhist Monk

If you can’t become a pearl, at least try to shine like a pearl!

Dear friends,

Value of our life banks on the environment we live in and the kind of people we hang around with. If we hang around with the right people in the right environment, we are in the right direction. It will add good value into our life and family. Happy future with peace, harmony and success are guaranteed. If we hang around with the wrong people in the wrong environment, we are on the wrong direction. Value of our life will drop. Our life and life of our family will be ruined. One time an Indian philosopher gave a great definition to word “Hanging around.” His name is Swami Vivekananda. He said, “The rain drop falls from the sky. If it is caught in hands, it is pure enough for drinking. If it falls in a gutter, its value drops so much that it can’t be used even for washing the feet. If it falls on a hot surface, it perishes. If it falls on a lotus leaf, it shines like a pearl. Finally, if it falls on oyster, it becomes a pearl. The rain drop is the same, but its existence and worth depend on with whom it associates.” This is such a beautiful simile. We have to be mindful of what kind of environment we are choosing to live and are choosing to bring up our children. If we choose to live our life in a gutter-like environment and hang around with people who are gutter-like (i.e. engaging in physical, verbal and mental negative actions), our life will stink and be disgusting. The society will refuse you. If we choose to hang around with pearl-like and oyster-like people, our life will be full of fragrance and sweetness. The society will appreciate our existence and will get attracted to us just like the bees that get attracted to flowers full of nectar. If we want to shine like a pearl, then we have to make our minds like a lotus leaf with shining qualities. Give up all negative actions and cultivate positive actions. If we want to become like a pearl, then we have to make our minds like an oyster with full of love, kindness, compassion, light and wisdom.
With many blessings !
Bhante Saranapala
The Urban Buddhist Monk