THE THREE TRADITIONAL DESTROYERS by Sayagyi U Ba Khin Piyato jayati soko piyato jayati bha

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*THE THREE TRADITIONAL DESTROYERS* by Sayagyi U Ba Khin Piyato jayati soko piyato jayati bhayam Piyato vippamuttassa natthi soko suto bhayam. Pemato jayati soko pemato jayati bhayam Pemato vippamuttassa natthi soko suto bhayam. Ratiya jayati soko ratiya jayati bhayam Ratiya vippamuttassa natthi soko suto bhayam. Kamato jayati soko kamato jayati bhayam Kamato vippamuttassa natthi soko suto bhayam. Tanhaya jayati soko tanhaya jayati bhayam Tanhaya vippamuttassa natthi soko suto bhayam. What is loved gives rise to grief. What is loved gives rise to fear. There is no grief for one who is released, so how could there be fear? Affection gives rise to grief. Affection gives rise to fear. There is no grief for one who is released, so how could there be fear? Attachment gives rise to grief. Attachment gives rise to fear. There is no grief for one who is released, so how could there be fear? Sensual desire gives rise to grief. Sensual desire gives rise to fear. There is no grief for one who is released, so how could there be fear? Craving gives rise to grief. Craving gives rise to fear. There is no grief for one who is released, so how could there be fear? Dhammapada, vv. 212-217 At one time, a wealthy brahman went to see the Buddha in order to ask a question.[1] "Friend Gotama," he said, "according to the sayings of brahmans who lived long ago -- men who were old, who taught other teachers -- this world was once very crowded with people. Why does there seem to have been a decrease in the number of people?" The Buddha answered, "At the present time, brahman, people are infatuated with unrighteous passion (adhamma-raga-ratta), overpowered by inordinate greed (visama-lobhabhi-bhuta), overcome by unnatural (desires) (micchadhamma-pareta). Because of this, they seize knives and weapons and kill each other. Because of this, the (rain) deva does not send timely rains. Because of this, food is scarce, crops fail, there is famine, and people must live on blades of grass. Because of this, Yakkhas release non- human beings (to attack people). This is why there has been such a decrease in the number of people in the world." After hearing the Buddha's discourse, the brahman took refuge in him. In this discourse, the Buddha speaks of the three destroyers of the world: war, drought and famine, and pestilence. These three destroyers are also mentioned in a discourse in which the Buddha describes how there is a gradual decline in the human lifespan until people only live for ten years.[2] The same causes are given in both discourses: people are infatuated with unrighteous passion, overpowered by inordinate greed, and overcome by unnatural desires. In the commentaries, unrighteous passion is defined as incest and unnatural desires are defined as homosexuality. The Buddha says that these tendencies, which give rise to the traditional destroyers, were already prevalent in his own day. Today, they seem to be even more widespread. In the Western world, there has been a general rejection of traditional moral values -- but unfortunately, this has not been accompanied by a healthy re-examination of religious and social teachings. People seem rather to be interested only in finding excuses for satisfying their every desire. They do not believe that wrong actions in this life will lead to suffering in future lives. Once the belief in cause and effect is rejected, then people begin to believe that they can act with impunity. Not everyone is so blind, of course. We read of efforts to combat child abuse (including incest), of people who question whether blind accumulation of material possessions can lead to happiness, of reactions to the so-called sexual liberation. But many times people who crusade to re-establish moral rules in our society are considered to be old- fashioned. And it is true that some of the crusaders are religious zealots who go to extremes that work against their cause. Some of the effort is being made by government agencies, and the resulting bureaucracy does not make for efficient handling of the many problems involved. What is needed in the world today is for people to understand that if they will make the effort to lead moral lives, not only will they be rewarded in future lives -- an idea that may only appeal to people who hold religious beliefs -- but their present life will be happier, too. We should make the effort to follow the basic five precepts, which the Buddha pointed out were necessary if the world is to escape from being destroyed -- not because he invented these precepts, but because they are part of the natural order of the conditioned world. Anyone who has made an honest effort to do so will know what a difference it can make. Leading a moral life gives much joy and energy. We can free ourselves from the fears and anxieties that accompany immoral actions. It will not be easy. The world has seen constant wars being waged during the twentieth century. The two World Wars were only the largest of many other wars -- some of which are still going on today. We are seeing strange famines in which countries that have bumper crops cannot gather in the food necessary to feed the people, famines in countries with vast stores of food that are not distributed because of the greed of a few people. There is much talk of disruptions in the earth's climate -- the greenhouse effect. Some people see evidence that it is already happening. Others claim there is not enough evidence yet. And many governments refuse to take precautionary steps to try and curb the damage that has already been done -- damage that will affect many future generations. We can see new diseases appearing--the equivalent in the modern world to the un-human beings set loose by yakkhas in the Buddha's discourse. The more modern science tries to find cures, the more difficulties there are to overcome, and the treatments are often so expensive that only a small number of people in the richer countries can benefit. If only a small fraction of the money and effort spent in trying to treat the results were devoted to getting at the root cause, how different the world could be! We may not be able to feed all the hungry people in the world. We may not be able to find cures for all the diseases in the world. But we can strive to make the world a better place to live in, both for ourselves and for others. The Buddha taught his disciples that through practising the Brahma-viharas (the Divine Abidings) they could protect themselves and help other beings. We should therefore develop //metta// (loving- kindness), //karuna// (compassion), //mudita// (sympathetic joy), and //upekkha// (equanimity).[3] As Ashin Buddhaghosa says, for each of these four Boundless States (appamanna), we should progressively develop thoughts of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity for various people depending on the characteristics of each Abiding. For //metta//, we begin with ourselves. If we feel no love for ourselves, we will not be able to feel altruistic love for others. Then we develop thoughts of loving-kindness for others in the following order: someone we like, admire, and respect; someone who is dear to us; someone we feel neutral towards; our enemies. We must at all times strive to avoid feelings of attachment or anger towards others. Loving-kindness is not sentimental. Ashin Buddhaghosa emphasizes especially that for enemies we must avoid all thoughts of anger or resentment in all the four Abidings. For //karuna//, we begin with thoughts of compassion for an unfortunate person. Then we develop these thoughts for other people in the following order: those who are dear to us, a person we feel neutral towards, a hostile person. For //mudita//, thoughts of sympathetic joy (i.e., rejoicing in the success of others) are developed first for a dear companion, then for a neutral person, and finally for an enemy. //Upekkha// is the most difficult of the four Abidings, for an unperturbed, calm attitude towards others is very hard to maintain. We should begin with thoughts of equanimity for a person we are neutral towards, then move on to a dear person, and then to a hostile person. Once we have mastered the four Abidings with regards to individuals we know, then we can develop thoughts of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity towards all beings everywhere. We can think in terms of all beings in all directions: those in front of us, those behind us, those to our left, those to our right, those above, and those below. Developing thoughts such as these will make us better people and will work for the good of one and all. These Divine Abidings will also help us to put into practice other aspects of the Buddha's Teachings. For those of us who are fortunate enough to follow the Buddha's Teachings, we will do more than just try to restrain the innate tendencies that push us to act in ways that will bring on the destruction of the world. We will work to eradicate these innate tendencies by developing our concentration and our insight. As Sayagyi U Ba Khin pointed out:[4] In Buddhism we have the cure for all the mental ills that affect mankind. It is the evil forces of the mind (past and present) that are responsible for the present state of affairs all over the world. By inspiring a strong sense of Buddhism into the minds of the people during the most critical days of Burma some two years ago [written in 1951], we have been able to get over the crisis. Nowadays, there is dissatisfaction almost everywhere. Dissatisfaction creates ill-feeling. Ill-feeling creates hatred. Hatred creates enmity. Enmity creates war. War creates enemies. Enemies create war. War creates enemies and so on. It is now becoming a vicious circle. Why? Certainly because there is lack of proper control over the mind. ... Let us then study the mind and its peculiar characteristics and solve the problem that is now facing the world. Sayagyi U Chit Tin FOOTNOTES: [1] A I 159f. (GS I 141-143). [2] D sutta nr.26 (THIH, pp. 395-405). [3] The discussion here is based on Ashin Buddhaghosa's //The Path of Purification//, Chapter IX. See also our books //Knowing Anicca and the Way to Nibbana//, pp. 227-241, and //The Anecdotes of Sayagyi U Ba Khin I//, pp. 59-65. [4] //What Buddhism Is//, p. 28. Worldwide Contact Addresses in the Tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ *AUSTRIA*: International Meditation Centre, A-9064 St. Michael/Gurk 6, Austria;Tel: +43 4224 2820, Fax: +43 4224 28204 Email: CIS, IMC-Austria, 100425,3423 *EASTERN AUSTRALIA*: International Meditation Centre, Lot 2 Cessnock Road, Sunshine NSW 2264, Australia; Tel: +61 49 705 433, Fax: +61 49 705 749 *UNITED KINGDOM*: International Meditation Centre, Splatts House, Heddington, Calne, Wiltshire SN11 OPE, England; Tel: +44 380 850 238, Fax: +44 380 850 833, Email: CIS, IMC-UK,100330,3304 *USA (East Coast)*: International Meditation Centre, 438 Bankard Road, Westminster MD 21158, USA; Tel: +1 410 346 7889, Fax: +1 410 346 7133; Email: CIS, IMC-USA, 74163,2452 *WESTERN AUSTRALIA*: International Meditation Centre, Lot 78 Jacoby Street, Mahogany Creek WA 6072, Australia; Tel: +61 9 295 2644, Fax: +61 9 295 3435 *CANADA*: IMC-Canada, 336 Sandowne Drive, Waterloo, Ontario, N2K 1V8, Canada; Tel: +1 519 747 4762, Fax: +1 519 725 2781 *GERMANY*: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Gesellschaft, Christaweg 16, 79114 Freiburg, Germany, Tel: +49 761 465 42, Fax: +49 761 465 92 *JAPAN*: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, Komatsuri-Cho 923, Kishiwada-Shi, Osaka-Fu, 596 Japan, Tel: +81 724 45 0057 *THE NETHERLANDS*: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Stichting, Oudegracht 124, 3511 AW Utrecht, The Netherlands, Tel: +31 30 311 445, Fax: +31 30 340 612 *SINGAPORE*: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Association, 9 Penang Road #07-12, Park Mall, Singapore 0923 Tel: +65 338 6911, Fax: +65 336 7211 *SWITZERLAND*: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Gesellschaft, Greyerzstrasse 35, 3013 Bern, Switzerland;Tel: +41 31 415 233, Fax: +41 61 271 4184; Email: CIS, 100256,3576 *USA (West Coast)*: Contact Address: IMC-USA c/o Joe McCormack, 77 Kensington Rd., San Anselmo, CA 94960,U.S.A. Tel: +1 415 459 3117, Fax: +1 415 459 4837 *BELGIUM*: Address as for the Netherlands, Tel: +32 2 414 1756 *DENMARK*: Contact Address: Mr. Peter Drost-Nissen, Strandboulevarden 117, 3th, 2100 Kopenhagen, Denmark. Tel: 031 425 636 *ITALY*: Contact address: Mr. Renzo Fedele, Via Euganea 94, 35033 Bresseo PD, Italy. Tel: +39 49 9900 752 -------------------------------------------------- Published by the Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, United Kingdom Address as above, registered charity no. 280134 -------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------- DISTRIBUTION AGREEMENT ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TITLE OF WORK: The Three Traditional Destroyers FILENAME: DESTROYR.ZIP AUTHOR: Sayagyi U Chit Tin AUTHOR'S ADDRESS: n/a PUBLISHER'S ADDRESS: International Meditation Centre, Splatts House, Heddington, Calne, Wiltshire SN11 OPE, England COPYRIGHT HOLDER: The Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, U.K. DATE OF PUBLICATION: RIGHTS & RESTRICTIONS: See paragraph below. DATE OF DHARMANET DISTRIBUTION: 19 February 1995 ORIGIN SITE: BODY DHARMA * Berkeley CA 510/836-4717 DharmaNet (96:101/33) The copyright holder retains all rights to this work and hereby grants electronic distribution rights to DharmaNet International. 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