And a Life Sublime
by Venerable Professor Dhammavihari | 22,946 words
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa (Adoration to my Buddha, The Glorious, The Worthy, The Fully Enlightened One) To the cherished memory of Athandra Deepanie: a dear daughter and a loving sister This little gift of the dhamma is offered for the furtherance of her pursuit of the goal of Nibbana....
This little booklet consists of a selection of talks on Buddhism given by me over the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and a few articles published in journals here and abroad, spreading over a period of nearly twenty years. Most of them have been rearranged and considerably enlarged, keeping in mind the needs of the day. It has been my endeavor all my life to present Buddhism as a living reality, which enriches human life to an unimaginable degree. This is what Buddhism really is. It is this enrichment aspect of Buddhism, namely bhavana or the culture and nurture of the human mortal through the multiple process of sikkha, viz: moral rectitude [sala], acquisition of purity of mind and thereby power over it [samadhi] and consequent gaining of wisdom with regard to the real nature of the world we live in which gives every down to earth human being or lokiya puthujjana his own right of transcendence over all that is earthly, good and bad, to become lokuttara or supra mundane or supremely above the mundane.
It is to be understood and appreciated whether we speak in terms of progress, culture or achievements, the Buddhists cannot, without thoroughly deluding themselves, look for anything divorced from these or anything which contradicts these. Such a perfection of man acquired through this threefold culture of tisso sikkha is truly an achievement greater than the conquest of space. For it is this very process of the journey which every Buddhist has to undertake which makes the world around us a better place to live in. It is well worth a trial.
Thus as every space shuttle, whether to the moon or to Mars or Jupiter, has first to get off the launching pad, it would be noted that these essays have a singleness of purpose, and earnest endeavor to get the correctness of direction and the ideal conditions prior to the launching. Let us know what exactly we have to do, religion wise as Buddhists, and let us also ask ourselves whether we are all ready for it. Everybody knows how work goes on at NASA and the discipline behind it. If a job of work has to be done, one must get down to it, no matter what it costs in terms of money, time or labor, not to talk of name and fame and pomp.
The essays in this collection are not meant to be read like chapters in a thesis, with continuity from one to the other. Read each one, as it was independent of the other, gaining total vision through each one. Then a point of convergence will emerge and you cannot miss it. It is earnestly hoped that our readers would make an honest attempt to familiarize themselves, sooner or later, with Buddhist texts, closer to the originals as far as possible. Their balmy freshness is to be felt. Incorporation of Pali quotations in their original form has been at times unavoidable for this reason. They alone can provide that vitality and vibrancy to the word of the Buddha. This is really delivering the Buddhavacana in Caesarean style and therefore without any contamination and consequent lowering of quality in the process of delivering through translations.
Let me conclude expressing my deep sense of gratitude to Mr. W. K. Premaratna who sponsors the publication, Mr. D.C. Ranatunga and Mr. B. N. Jayawardhana, who helped me at all stages in the preparation of the manuscript for the printer, all of whom I have known since their days at the University in Peradeniya in the early fifties. These are the enduring joys of a guru who has been able to look upon his pupils with paternal affection.
With a firm conviction I wish to add that Mr. Ariya Wickrama and the staff of Lanka Printing and Packaging Co. Pvt. Ltd., the printers, deserve a special word of thanks for the keenness and devotion with which this manual of the dhamma has been so excellently brought out.
Dhammavihari. / 5th November 1990
Vajirarama Aranya , Bowalawatta , Kandy.