The following is the dhamma talk given by Sayadaw U Pannasami on 07.02.2007 to a group of students ( 22 ) from St Boniface RC Primary School, Yew Street, Salford, Manchester. The visit was lead by teacher Mrs Barbara Kilner.
Firstly, I would like to welcome you all to this meditation centre. I am one of the resident monks and my name is U Pannasami. I am also very pleased with the interest that you all show. My English is still not very good but I will try my best to explain to you all about Buddhism.
Shall we start with What is Buddhism?
The teachings of the Buddha is called Buddhism.
Now, you all probably like to know– who is the Buddha and what are his teachings.
Who is the Buddha?
The Buddha is a great teacher who show people how to live a good and peaceful life. He was born an Indian Prince. His real name was Siddhattha. He was born in the year 623BC,– 2630 years ago, in a forest called Lumbini, which in the present day is in southern Nepal near Indian border.
His parents were- King Suddodana and Queen Maha Maya. He was married to a Princess, Yasodhara, at the age of 16. He lived a life of a real prince with all the luxuries till the age of 29.
When on one glorious day, on his way to a park, he saw
An old man
A sick man
A dead man and
A peaceful monk
The first three sights were very disturbing to him and they made him realised the sufferings people face from birth, aging to death.
However, the last sight of the monk who appeared calm and peaceful made him think that there must be a way to overcome these sufferings of life and achieve calm and inner peace. He develops a strong desire to find the solution.
On the day his only son Rahula was born, he left his princely life to find the Ultimate Truth which took him 6 years.
Then- at the age of 35, he became the Enlightened one, the Buddha. Two months after he became the Buddha, he gave his first sermon to five monks. Within few days- the number had risen to sixty. Since then, this tradition continued until now, and at present, there are thousands of monks all over the world.
With great compassion and loving kindness, he preached the Truth that he found himself for the next 45 years.
He passed away and gained Nibbana, which is the complete ending of the cycle of rebirth, at the age of 80.
Now let see What is his teachings are:
The Buddha showed the way for people
How to live happily, purely and peacefully
How to relate to others with compassion and loving kindness
How to appreciate fellow man
How to make an honest living
How to practice meditation and develop a pure mind
How to be free from the sufferings of the cycle of rebirth
His teachings are based on Morality, Concentration and Wisdom and is called the Eightfold Noble Truth which are
1. Right Understanding
2. Right Thought
3. Right Speech
4. Right physical action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration
Who is a Buddhist or what we mean by a Buddhist!
A Buddhist is one who follows and practices the teachings of the Buddha.
-He or she must understand the view on Kamma, which is the law of cause and effect – for example
Good actions will give good results
Bad actions will give bad results
– A Buddhist is one who takes refuge in the Triple Gem
The Dhamma (his teachings)
The Sangha (his disciples)
– He or she must observe at least five rules of moral behavior
not to kill any living beings
not to steal from others
not to do sexual misconduct
not to tell lies
not to take drinks or drugs that will cloud the mind
In Short, a Buddhist should always act with compassion and loving kindness.
Buddhism begins in India- and then spread to Sri Lanka and most of the Asian countries- including Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Tibet, China, Korea and Japan. At present day there are monasteries and meditation centres in Europe, U K, North America and Canada.
This is a meditation centre. What is meditation?
Meditation is a practice which will make your mind more calm and peaceful and ultimately will gain the inner peace.
Thank you for listening.
May you all be happy and well
Following the Dhamma talk the students and their teachers had a taste of meditation for about 5 minutes.
Afterwards, the following questions were asked.
What is the difference between the two Buddhist tradition ? ( asked by the teacher )
How long this meditation centre is established in Manchester?
Who are the pictures on the wall?
At what age can one do the meditation?
Will there be any painful sensations with meditation?
How many days are there in a retreat?
The students then enjoyed biscuits and soft drinks offered by Sayadaw.
Special thanks to Dr Khin Zaw