Teaching of Venerable Sayadaw Ashin Ottamasara
Delivered on 8th November 2015
at Thabarwa Centre (Thanlyin)
(3) Cleanest, Freest and Fairest Election
Do not expect to be good if you are doing bad things. Do not expect to gain merit if you are doing unwholesome deeds. Do not expect to gain demerit if you are doing wholesome deeds. This is the cleanest, the most beneficial and the fairest Wholesome v.s. Unwholesome deeds election. Anyone can cast their votes. Anyone can run for wholesome v.s. unwholesome election. It is wrong not to participate in this important dual party election. It is worthy of participation. This, indeed, is an election concerning an infinite number of sentient beings residing in this universe.
This election involves everyone, without any exclusion. Not only the yogis, but also the politicians, entrepreneurs, students, children, senior citizens, infirm, Buddhists, non-Buddhists, free thinkers, multi-racial, multi-ethnicity, multi-faith, multicultural, citizens by birth, naturalized citizens, citizens by substitution and stateless, regardless of profession, age, health status, race, religion, citizenship, everyone can get involved in this extraordinary free and fair election. Each and every one of us needs to try his very best to get involved in this election, which has no bias against race, religion or citizenship, representing an infinite number of sentient beings residing in this universe.
We should not abandon the mundane General Election of Myanmar. At the same time, we also should not grasp it as a real election and hit a dead end. As a human being, we have imperfections. For the General Election, we need to be vigilant in choosing the party and candidate who has fewer imperfections, great knowledge, high calibre and who is willing to serve the masses.
Do not stop at politically inspired General Election dead end. You need to continue participating in the wholesome against unwholesome deeds election, where infinite numbers of sentient beings, including the winners, losers, voters, non-voters, monks, nuns, elders, youths, the healthy, the sick, human beings, celestial beings, Brahmas (the supreme beings) can also unanimously participate. As in the General Election of Myanmar, your participation in this wholesome against unwholesome deeds election is also compulsory. In order for the merit-making party to claim victory in this election, we must always be mindful and do all kinds of good deeds continuously and diligently.
Always be mindful and cast your vote for the merit-making party. You need to understand and accept the fact that ordinary worldlings tend to have unwholesome attitudes, conduct, and verbal actions, in the past, at present, and that they might also be committing the same mistakes in the future. The powers of our wholesome deeds must unceasingly triumph over the powers of unwholesome deeds.
As a community leader I lead by example. I do a diversity of good deeds continuously. At the same time, I am also training my disciples, each and every yogi, to follow my merit making footsteps. The improvement or decline of physical and mental states, success or failure, convenience or inconvenience, all are solely depending on you. You must have the right attitude, right perspective, right conduct and right verbal actions at all times. Always try to advocate and pass on these good qualities and moral virtues to yourself, to your own family, to each and every one in the society as well as the society as a whole.
(4) USA Cinema Music Event
As Myanmar’s General Election was taking place, the Cinema Music Event, a charity fundraising concert to raise money to build hostels for the elders at Thabarwa Centre, was held in the United States of America.
The elders at Thabarwa Centre represent all the elders in Myanmar, as they come from all regions of Myanmar. By nature, people take care only of their own relatives, grandparents and those related to them. This egocentric nature is not wholesome. Also, instead of condemning or criticising the people who are in distress for their dreadful mistakes, hopeless fate or bad karma, when the opportunity arises, take that golden opportunity to help, assist and look after those who are not related to you, those who are not Myanmar citizens, those who are facing difficulties and need your help.
Thanks to those who are facing difficulties and who are in need, we have the chance to use our money, assets, possessions and labour for a good cause to accumulate merit. By nature, ordinary worldings are not selfless. We need to go against our will, take pleasure in the happiness of others and learn to be selfless even if no one else knows.
We need to do as many meritorious deeds as possible with right understanding in mind. Since these are not our usual or habitual tasks, we always need to go against our will to do them. By doing so, the outcome will always be meaningful and fulfilling despite facing and enduring numerous sufferings, difficulties and obstacles along the way.
The majority of ordinary worldings habitually spends most of the time, effort and life doing unwholesome deeds, including having an unwholesome point of view, uttering unwholesome words and doing unwholesome actions. By going against mundane nature, if someone or some association takes a lead role in organising merit-making events, assembles people to participate and overcomes difficulties along the way, these actions can also be considered as voting for the merit-making party.
Whilst some people might participate in merit-making activities, the majority will still be leading their usual life, not making any effort to eradicate ugly loba, dosa and moha blemishes. By opposing the nature of ordinary worldings, the Cinema Music Event can also be considered as participating in the election between wholesome and unwholesome deeds on the side of the merit-making party.
The success of the merit-making election should not be measured by how many donations are collected or how lavish an even looks or how much time, money and effort are spent in preparations. You can consider a merit-making event as successful so long as you managed to make it happen. Due to the self-centred nature of human beings who are not interested in helping others, this merit-making event might face failure at the planning phase or initial execution phase, or half way through, or might be unable to reach completion.
The path towards this victory is a journey of obstacles, hurdles and difficulties. As long as you manage to overcome all the disruptions along the way and organise the merit-making event successfully, this can be called an event where wholesome deeds gained a glorious victory over the unwholesome deeds.
Sooner or later, at present or in future, you will experience the favourable consequences and benefits of the wholesome deeds that you have done successfully. This is very much fulfilling since you will gain as much merit as the effort you put in.
It does not matter where you start. As long as you start doing meritorious deeds, it will not be difficult for you to continue doing them. As long as you do wholesome deeds and vote for the merit-making party, it does not matter whether it receives a single vote or many votes, your effort will not go wasted.
As long as you manage to convince as many people as possible to participate and do as many good deeds as possible, and continue doing them as long a period as possible, it can be considered as a glorious victory of the wholesome deeds. Indeed, this kind of voting will not be in vain. Instead, it is very meaningful and worthy of your best efforts.
Note : In order to honour Miss Valerie Sheibel, a.k.a. Barbie, the main organiser of the USA Cinema Music Event held at Lowell High School, Carol Channel Theatre, San Francisco, the Mayor of Daly City has announced 7th November as Valerie Sheibels's Day of Daly City.
To be continued …..