By Nhat Quan
Talk about the two words calamity and blessing. When talking about disasters you often think of the phrase accidents as things no one wants to experience. Therefore, when talking about accidents, people immediately think of disasters as unspeakable suffering and sadness.
In this world, there are people who have just been born and have to endure misfortune and suffering: illness, disability, being abandoned as an infant, or being born into a poor family, wretched… Some people were born in a chaotic war situation, some people were born in a poor and backward land, lacking cultural light, lack of living conditions, etc. There are people living a peaceful life, and suddenly, an event happens to the family, causing the house to be broken down, the loss of happiness, the loss of loved ones, and the loss of property and business... The miserable circumstances, the calamities, the sufferings, and the pain that you have to endure suffering, it is called calamity.
Such miserable circumstances, calamities, and tribulations make people fall into a state of anxiety without a way out, leading to confusion, mild depression, and severe thoughts of death to escape suffering. Getting into this situation is called a disaster.
The question is the cause from where?
- The cause is greed, hatred, and delusion, .....
The opposite of disaster is a blessing. If there is a time when disaster is a factor that makes your life upside down, crazy, causing you to suffer unhappiness, and suffering. Then bless you to have a happy and satisfying life. The reason is that you have created from wholesome conceptions, deeds, thoughts, and words through your lifestyle in many past and present lives. Because this merit is a very important factor in shaping your life of peace and happiness. When you have many blessings, you will easily succeed in life, easily overcome obstacles and difficulties and get what worldly life expects such as:
- Authority, wealth, fame, luck, peace, happiness.
The more you practice what the Buddha taught, the happier your life will be in the present, and in the future, you will be born as a person with many blessings or be born in heaven. As for those of you who have abundant blessings and are born in the heavens, you don't appear in the human realm, because the nature of the human realm is no joy, no lasting happiness, and imperfection.
Relatively assessed, this world is less happy and more painful in the eyes of people who have no or little blessings. And more happiness, and less suffering in the eyes of people with many blessings. And suffering and joy are mixed, overlapping each other, taking turns coming and going unsteadily for the guilty, and the blessings are equal, or nearly equal.
Very few people create the necessary and sufficient merits for a full, happy life. Meanwhile, most people have one blessing but lack another, so there are not many people who are satisfied with this worldly life. Therefore, there are people who are successful and famous from a young age, but at the end of their lives, there is nothing left. There are people who live to the end of their lives without making any career, even if life is precarious, suffering from misery, poverty, and many calamities. However, there are still some people who are satisfied in life but very few. Because, not everyone who is successful and famous is peaceful, happy, and satisfied with their lives. If you look closely you will see that:
- Not everyone who is rich, successful, or powerful, is talented and virtuous. Not everyone who is poor or needy is also incompetent and useless. All due to the karma that you have created in the present and the near or long past, leading to receiving more or fewer blessings.
There are people who are blessed with wealth but not blessed with long life. Due to the karma of killing sentient beings in the past, he was born to enjoy wealth and prosperity but died early at a young age.
There are people who have the blessing of living a long life but not having the blessing of wealth, so they live their whole lives in poverty and hardship.
- There are people who have talent and wisdom thanks to their diligent study in their previous lives, often close to learning from wise people and spiritual practitioners, that is, people who have created intelligent and talented karma, but if they do not create the karma of giving, making offerings, narrow-mindedness, selfishness, not knowing how to share with others, you will not get rich blessings and when you do something, few people will support you.
Living in life, it is true that there is no blessing to disaster, every disaster to happiness, all luck to bad luck, and all bad luck to luck, it's hard to predict. These disparate phenomena seem to be unjust, almost irrational. With the eyes of ordinary people, you cannot see the deep root cause, only the Buddha who is the Fully Enlightened One can clearly see the correlation or interdependence of Karma, just teaching you. The Culakamma-vibhanga-suttam Sutta No. 135 (of Madhyamagama III) tells the story of the Buddha answering a young man named Subha Todeyyaputta at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi when he asked some questions:
- What causes and conditions between humans, there are noble people, lowly people, short-life people, long-life people, many sick people, few sick people, beautiful people, ugly people, people with great power, people with small power, people with small fortune, people with great wealth, people from lowly families, people from noble families, people with weak intellect, and people with full wisdom.
Buddha said:
- Phenomena that occur differently are due to Karma. If you cause karma, you must be born in a certain situation to repay the karma.
Buddha continued:
- Sentient beings are the owners of karma.
More broadly, the Buddha mentioned a number of causes that lead to karma, which then leads to the difference between humans and humans, between sentient beings as follows:
- Early death, short life is caused by the Karma of killing sentient beings, without compassion...
- Long life, long life is due to abstaining from killing sentient beings, having compassion, and knowing how to care for the happiness of all sentient beings.
- Many diseases are caused by previous lives often harming sentient beings. Less sickness is caused by not harming sentient beings.
- Ugly appearance is caused by often angry, resentful, is said to be a little disgruntled, angry, and opposed.
- A beautiful appearance is due to not being angry, not much resentful, not disgruntled, not opposed, not disgruntled, gentle in mind, and loving.
- Less authority is due to jealousy, and envy towards those who are entitled, and those who are respected. Much power comes from not being jealous or envious.
- Poverty is caused by not giving alms. Wealth is due to giving alms.
- Being born into a lowly family is due to an arrogant, haughty mind, often despises others, does not respect respectable people, and does not respect respectable people.
- Being born into a noble family is due to a humble heart, often revering respectable people.
- Stupid lack of wisdom is due to not often going to the spiritual level to learn. Having wisdom is due to often coming to learn from monks.
According to the Buddha's teachings, both blessings and misfortunes are caused by Karma, which are actions created by you through your body, speech, and mind. Creating good karma is called good karma. Creating bad karma is called unwholesome karma. In your present or past life, you have created countless good karma and bad karma, so you have to experience happiness and suffering together.
When you have created more bad karma than good, your life will have to go through more ups and downs than when you create more good karma. Therefore, there are people who are rich, happy, and extremely powerful, and there are people who are poor and miserable. As once said, in the world, there are also many difficult situations such as rich people but short lives. It is because the previous life knew how to give, so this life was born into a rich family but carried the karma of killing living beings in the previous life, so this life does not live long. Or poor people with unusually beautiful beauty. Or a beautiful person who lives in poverty is tortured by her husband and children, etc. It is also due to her good or bad karma created from the past. That's why the Buddha said:
- Sentient beings are the owners of karma, the heirs of karma. Karma is a relative, karma is the fulcrum of each person.
In this world, if you commit a sin, you must bear it. It is the same with worldly laws, you cannot judge by personal feelings. As the child's crime, the child must bear it. Even though parents are mercifully afraid that their children will suffer, they can't voluntarily bear the punishment for their children. The same goes for the Law of Cause and Effect. If you do light karma, you will receive light results. If you cause heavy karma to harm others, you will have to suffer the consequences of heavy mental and physical harm, even if you complain and beg, no one can reduce it. The karma you have caused, no one can take that for you.
The Buddha taught that your life is your own. Whatever causes you to create, you will receive that result. So, having been born in this world, you will surely have to endure more or fewer ups and downs when enjoying blessings while suffering from calamities. The important thing is, how you behave when disaster visits, or blessings visit. For example, when disaster suddenly comes, as a person who has studied Buddhism, you know it was caused by your own bad karma in the past, now bear fruit, you can't avoid it, so instead of panicking, trembling, crying, resentful... only makes yourself and your family members more miserable. Try your best to stay calm, endure patiently, find a solution, and continue to do good in your ability. When your mind is calm and not wavering, your observation will be clearer, that's how when you meet a disaster, accept it. You have wisdom. It is also paying bad karma, but paying with a calm mind of acceptance, the heavy misfortune will become light, and the light will be considered as nothing.
When you have understood the Law of Cause and Effect or Karma then you know for yourself that when you are living a happy life then you know that this is the result of some good deed that you have done in many past lives. The right action of a person who is afraid of the cause is when he is enjoying the blessing and enjoying the fruit, so he needs to save and create more blessings, to save the blessings. That means you focus on practicing more, and doing more good deeds so that when the disaster comes, you still have blessings to share and alleviate your calamities. The Buddha also once compared good karma to a cup of water, and bad karma to be seen as a cup of salt. If you do more meritorious deeds, the water portion will increase. The more water when dissolved with less salt, the less salty the water becomes. That is, thanks to meritorious deeds that help alleviate the sins that you have caused harm to others in the past.
The story of disaster or blessing is unexpected, no one knows. It is rare that blessings come many times in life, but misfortunes come more often. The ancients who went through that experience should have a saying:
- Blessings do not come twice, but disasters do not come alone once, that is, disasters often come to people many times.
You also often hear:
- The blessing is there, but the disaster is also there
Alluded to in life, in luck, there is bad luck or vice versa, like the story in the book Classical Essence, the story says:
- The other person is drying the grass at the foot of the fence. The next day when he went out to gather grass, he heard the sound of stinging in the grass, he dug up the grass and caught a buzzing bird. He was very happy, leaving the grass as before. A few days later, he went to the haystack to listen, there was also the sound of stinging. He hurriedly digs up the grass with his hands, hoping to catch another buzzard. But unexpectedly, he was bitten by the tiger snake right on his hand. Unable to save time, he died on the spot.
The content of this story shows that calamity is the root of blessing, blessing is the root of disaster. Both appear alternately. Therefore, when you are blessed, you should not be so happy that you forget to watch out for the disaster that will come. When you encounter disaster, you should not suffer too much to damage the spirit.
Or conversely, if you have had an unsatisfactory life, it is because you have created karma from your verbal conception through your lifestyle in many past and present lives. The karma or the predestined conditions that you have created by yourself until the conditions are met, the old causes will bear fruit. The result is your own destiny for you to suffer or enjoy predestined conditions.
Buddhism is a way of renunciation of the world, but it does not cut off the world, on the contrary, it still clearly distinguishes between worldly happiness and supramundane happiness. And for lay people, family happiness is always reminded and taught by the Buddha. Somewhere in the scriptures, the Buddha often guides the householders to know how to cultivate, build and protect their family's happiness. Therefore, by implementing this investment method, you will have many blessings due to a peaceful mind, and no longer have feelings of anger and hatred for those who hurt, insult, or betray you, but on the contrary. You even try to help them. First of all, you are not psychologically shaken by happiness or sadness, but only know how to be quiet and awake to make accurate decisions that benefit yourself and others. This state of mind is the culmination of the practice of patience, showing compassion for human happiness and world peace.
If you really have the desire to become a rich person and live happily and peacefully in your present life, as well as in the future, from now on, you should start investing in a bank of merit. An extremely safe investment base, the interest rate is not only measured by ordinary material values but also has the value of uplifting spiritual life.
Right from the Buddha's time in the world, he advised each individual to make efforts to perform meritorious deeds with enthusiasm and diligence to bring great benefits. You should remember that even with a small act of kindness, the good effect of that action has a great impact on many people.
It seems that the accumulation of merits, deeds, words, thoughts of body, mouth, and mind will create a fortune of merit for you to enjoy, if there is a surplus, your descendants and inherited by others. This is a merit bank that no one else, each of you can invest, no matter who you are, where you live, what you are doing, and how your income is. That is, depending on your ability to invest in useful deeds, there is interest in earning merit for yourself.
Obviously, merit does not come naturally, it is the investment process of each of you in the implementation of the spiritual life. Your self is directed at your own mind, living in accordance with the Dharma, and doing useful things for the world. Like a garden, if you do not invest in care from weeding, sowing, fertilizing, and performing other stages, you will never enjoy the fragrance and good fruit.
Therefore, you must start investing in the merit bank anytime, anywhere. As long as you have a sense of volunteering to do blessings, the effects will be immediate. By, through diligent practice in accordance with the Mahàmangala Sutta, of the Khuddaka Nikaya, also known as the happiness sutra, the Buddha taught ten methods of creating merit for yourself and others. This is how to create a happy, sustainable and long-lasting life:
- The first method is: Stay away from evil people, stay close to good people, and respect respectable people.
- The second method is: Living in a good environment, creating good conditions, and walking on the right path.
- The third method is: Being educated, having a good job, knowing how to practice precepts, and knowing how to speak loving-kindness.
The fourth method is: Serve your parents, love your family, and practice the right profession.
The fifth method is: Live uprightly, give alms, help relatives and friends, and behave without blemish.
The sixth method is: Abstaining from doing evil, not getting drunk with addiction, and diligently doing good.
- The seventh method is: Be humble, polite, know enough, be grateful, and not miss the opportunity to study the Way.
- The eighth method is: To know how to persevere in good faith, to be close to monastics, and to attend Dharma talks to learn.
- The ninth method is: Live diligently, need to be awake, and learn the mysterious truth, to realize Nirvana.
- The tenth method is: Behave in the human world, the mind is not moved, and the afflictions are gone, so that the body and mind are at peace.
Buddha taught:
- You can live like that, wherever you go, you are safe, wherever you are strong because that is your own merit.
The ten methods above are the good karmas that are capable of generating merit and reward. It has the ability to make the lives of sentient beings, mainly those in the human and heavenly realms, much happier and more beneficial. As soon as you live by the above teachings, you will be a rich and happy person in this life and the next through the accumulation and profits from the merit bank.
In short, in life, everyone wants to have many blessings. If you live with many blessings, you will have few disasters. The fewer blessings you have, the more disasters will happen. And you are unlucky, no matter where you live, it is difficult to avoid disaster. If you have perfect merit, then there is no disaster. Therefore, in order to always live in peace and happiness, you must live well, do good deeds without harming others, uphold the holy life, and create good Karma, so that in the next life you will not have to suffer due to frequent calamities falling on you. And also have to remind the heart, when the blessing comes, don't be too happy, and when the disaster comes, you shouldn't be too sad. Because that's the result you have to accept that can't be avoided.
Finally, you should always try to practice how to get rid of samsara, not just do good and avoid evil. Because of that, you are still in the circle of good and bad. And if you continue like this life after life, you will still have to drown in the sea of ​​samsara.
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