The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words

This page describes Overt Action and Action in Private contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as the Buddha Declared the Seven Factors of Non-Decline for Rulers. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).

(a) Of Deeds

Examples of overt action:

Helping in the stitching of robes of fellow-bhikkhus, whether senior or junior to oneself, the younger bhikkhus washing the feet of bhikkhu-elders or doing other personal service, such as fanning, respecting him, etc. Example of action in private:

Looking after the personal property of fellow-bhikkhus, whether senior or junior to oneself, which have not been properly looked after by the owner, and in doing so, doing it without having any disrespectful opinion about the lack of care on the part of the owner, but doing it as if it were one’s own property that needs looking after.

(b) Of Words.

Example of overt verbal action:

Addressing another bhikkhu in reverential terms. e.g., the Venerable Thera Tissa. Example of verbal action in private:

In inquiring after a certain bhikkhu-elder, asking as, “Where is our Venerable Thera Deva?” or “Where is our Venerable Thera Tissa? When is he expected here?” (etc.)

(c) Of Thoughts.

Example of overt mental action:

When one looks at a fellow-bhikkhu with endearing eyes in a clearly pleased expression this is the outcome of loving kindness in the looker’s mind; it reflects his thoughts, (The facial expression itself is bodily action springing from loving kindness.)

Example of mental action in private:

Wishing Venerable Thera Deva or Tissa, etc. to be well, etc., is mental action in private, due to loving kindness.

Regarding the fourth factor of Non-decline above:

‘To enjoy something alone’ means either not sharing something as an article that is obtained, or not sharing something with a certain person or persons. In the first case, the extent one is prepared to share something is an instance of enjoying something alone in respect of an article. In the second case, one has in mind: “I shall share it with bhikkhu so and so; but I shall not share it with bhikkhu so and so”; this is an instance of enjoying something alone in respect of person.

In this fourth factor, a bhikkhu who regards any item received as an offering to the Sangha as common property of all virtuous bhikkhus co-resident with him, considers thus: “This alms-food is of great value (morally); I shall not give it to lay persons since that would amount to ‘pursuing gain with gain’. I shall not enjoy it alone first. I shall offer it to the Sangha. If anything is left after all the Sangha have partaken of it I shall then eat it. For this food has been obtained with the intention of becoming common property of the Sangha.” Accordingly he first announces the meal time for all the Sangha by the striking of the gong. This noble practice under the Buddha’s Teaching is called Saraniya Practice.

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