Do You Like to Become Independent?
Apr 27, 2016
We can see a trend of our teenagers trying to become independent in the society at present before they are matured enough to make their own decisions. It is an unfortunate situation, and there could be various reasons for such careless propensity. Children in Western countries are a good example for this pressing matter. They now tend to make their own choices after becoming independent as soon as they reached their very young ages like 13 or 14. Even in our community, the teenage children have started becoming couples by finding partners by themselves. Let me tell you an incident recently happened in our country. It was a 13 years old daughter who was a seventh grade student in her school at that time. She wrote a letter to her boyfriend on the Valentine’s Day and even found a ring as a gift for him. Her boyfriend was also a young boy of 14 years of age. She gave that letter and the ring to that boy after decorating it attractively. Both of them were too young to have such an affair. They also did not have any means to feed or protect themselves. They just had some childish feelings for each other. Somehow, that daughter started to realize the meaninglessness of their affair as the time went by. When she was about 15 years old, she tried to explain it to her boyfriend indicating how important that they complete their studies first. “We are still young and this is our time to attend schooling. First, we should complete our studies well.” However, that son did not want to end their relationship. Blinded by the love, he could not see a purpose to his life any longer and decided to suicide. By that time, he was just about 17 years old. Still, he has destroyed his education, and it was this love affair that completely caused him to lose everything. He lost his touch in his valuable life and was getting ready to kill himself with a poisonous liquid. Fortunately, the suicide attempt was failed because of a close relative of his. Then, we rehabilitated him at the end. A most pronounced problem we face these days is the opinion about a need of a boyfriend or a girlfriend to a life of a minor. This is the message that is being spread through our young generation at present. It is an unbelievable and a most incongruous idea. They think that their lives are incomplete and disabled if they do not have someone to love even at their young age. Is not this idea an abolishment of the lives of our young generation that is to become the future of a country? In fact, the young age is the proper time for them to develop their lives with some integrity. This should be what a society full of moral principles expected from the young generation and not the development of a mentality filled with childish love… Let us see what the important things that we need in order to build such valuable life. If a child is gifted with a good education, taught well how to control his actions and hence his senses, become virtuous, obedient, and to build the ability to think well and profoundly, then that child will become a great person. On the other hand, there will be a great confusion in that child’s life if his important age is wasted with a love affair. People in this present time also forget another important matter, which is the knowledge of life that can only be taught using the Buddhism. Nevertheless, people neglect to give the priority to the Dhamma when it comes to their children. Even though it is the gift of the Dhamma that every parent must try to give to their children, they just do not care about it anymore. They focused only to provide their children with a general education, knowledge of languages, and also finding them jobs and companions to marry at different stages of their lives. They forget the most vital item that benefits their child’s life. Are not the dangerous outcomes from creating a child without the good qualities seen in the society today? This is a pressing matter that each and every parent should pay attention to. I can tell you something that I know very well. Think about the current situation of Western countries. You cannot find the Dhamma or even an environment for the children to get the protection from it in these countries. These children have inclined to live like adults. Let me tell you something that can be seen in Canada nowadays. There are schools in Canada that help building peoples’ unsuccessful lives again. These are like rehabilitation centers. Children who study in these schools are only about 13 or 14 years old. They are in 7th or 8th grades. Another unfortunate sight in these schools is that these children have their own babies, and they come to school carrying them. Most of the times, these children leave their homes when they are around 13 years old. Since then, they are abandoned by their parents without any influence at all. In fact, there is no going back to their parents in most of these cases. They stay with their friends and start to live a new life as they wish. Even the parents are not ready to take their children back once they left home. At this point, they have to find a way to live and even find a job to feed themselves and their babies. Therefore, they do jobs while going to school to study. Some of these young children even have two babies. Without any regard to their young age, they have to rent an apartment, do a job, and feed the two children while attending school. Some parents strongly believe that their children should leave their homes and start living by their own after they reach their 15th birthday. After that point, parents do not have any commitment to their children. This means, the child is free from any bonds of the parents after he is fifteen. Their society thinks that this kind of child should have a boyfriend or a girlfriend. In case if the child does not have a girlfriend, his parents will take him to a psychologist. The people in these societies think it is a psychological problem to not to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend for these young children at that age. Can we even imagine how dangerous a society of this type is? Moreover, how can we think a leadership born within such society is suitable to lead it to its greatness? Therefore, we need to clarify an important idea here. That is, we need to establish the idea of a virtuous life rich with the moral qualities including the five precepts taught in the Buddhism in a child’s mind starting from his young age. It is also important to make them participate in religious events. Then, they will become rich with exemplary behaviors. Humans become depraved or wholesome a result of their own deeds. They suffer in jail after committing crimes (unwholesome deeds) and face various complications in their lives. Furthermore, they become contrite in their whole lives as a consequence of their own deleterious deeds. We can free our lives from remorse and frustration by clearly identifying the unwholesome deeds and avoid from doing them. In fact, a life’s admirableness is the state of being free from any depravation. The idea about these esteemed qualities must be developed in our children’s minds from the beginning, and this is where the importance of teachings in the Buddhism becomes outstanding. Also, the parents should have a good understanding about the Buddhism and a faith towards it first. They should start valuing what is taught by the Supreme Buddha. In fact, if someone values giving a red rose to a loved one on the Valentine’s Day, then why not value the knowledge of the Dhamma as the perfect rose instead? This is because, the Supreme Buddha taught us the Dhamma as the foremost gift, and that it cannot be surpassed by anything else. We should also try making a society of young people who are capable of appreciating the love they get from their partners in a more meaningful way. For example, they can start such noble approach by giving a book such as ‘Dhamma Pada’ as the gift on that day instead of a rose to their boyfriend or the girlfriend. Why do we need to discuss these simple but crucial events that are happening in our country today? Because, even though the people in Western Countries, who first started the Valentine’s Day, do not have a teaching to reveal the true nature of the life, we have this tremendous doctrine of the Gautama Supreme Buddha with a stable foundation that our ancestors helped building with their lives over the past. We must clearly understand about this and try embracing it since it is our legacy… On the other hand, cannot our children who fall in love exchange the message of the Dhamma among each other? No one should take it wrongly when we say the words ‘message of the Dhamma.’ A Dhamma message is not something that only belongs to the elderly devotees and is definitely not something that should only be spread through the community of our matured parents and relatives. When we sometimes use a passage to present an example using a quote from the Dhamma, people think that it is only related to the elderly people. However, are not we use to quote foreigners’ various sayings defining them as ‘great sayings of scholars’? We think their sayings as the only prudent messages that we get to flourish our lives. Does this mean the Western countries can create the scholars of this time but not the Eastern countries like ours…? Does this mean the great sayings are only written in English…? We need to realize that the Dhamma messages are generated from the wisest and the incomparable wisdom of the most passionate and kind teacher of all time, the Gautama Supreme Buddha. He was the one and only teacher who realized the ultimate truth of the world in our time. In fact, these statements made by the Gautama Supreme Buddha can only be originally preached by another Samma Sambuddha, who can realize the Noble Truths without a guidance of a teacher, and not by anyone else. As disciples, we are juts spreading His great and unique words because lives can be soothed only from those words. Now that we make that point clear, I would like to present our children, who like to celebrate Valentine’s Day, a remarkable teaching from the Dhamma. We know that some people are bound together with their attachments that extend even up to their past lives. They come together even in this life and sometimes become couples. We can find an example for one such incident in Maha Kassapa Arahant Thero’s life when he was a layman. In fact, it is rare to see two people come together in effect of their past lives’ relationships like in this unique incident. In this story of Maha Kassapa Arahant Thero, both were utterly and equally meritorious. Sometimes, two people like them come under one roof as a result of their parents’ proposals. Maha Kassapa Arahant Thero was born with a beautiful figure, and he was called ‘Prince Pippali’. His parents wanted him to get married when he was at home. However, he did not want a marriage. He just wanted to leave the worldly life and find an ultimate freedom to his life. He wanted to free from his parents’ proposals. As a trick to achieve his goal, he asked his servants to create a statue of beautiful female figure and showed that to his parents saying that he will get married only if they could find a girl as beautiful as the one in that statue. Even though his intention was never to find a girl with the beauty of that statue, they could find one. Other than her attractiveness, she also had a beautiful name, Lady Bhaddakapilani. After finding Lady Bhaddakakapilani, they were compelled to get married because of their parents’ compulsion. However, they were allowed to meet before their marriage to discuss about it. Then, Prince Pippali told Lady Bhaddakapilani, “Dear sister, I do not have any intention of getting married. My sole aspiration is to leave the household life and find the ultimate freedom. In fact, I am leading a chaste life.” The Lady Bhaddakapilani also told Prince Pippali, “Dear brother, it is also my intention not to get married. I do not have any attraction to this marriage life. I am also leading a chaste life.” After knowing each other’s noble perspectives, they came to a decision of getting married but stay with their chaste life styles even after the marriage. To make sure the existence of their pure thoughts are not endangered, they put a garland of flowers in between them on their bed. Then, they took an oath of continuing and protecting their thoughts without corrupting them with lust. They vowed that anyone of them failed to do so will result in withering the flowers. See how noble their life styles were? In fact, those flowers did not wither until Prince Pippali’s renunciation of the household life. Now you know that there were wonderful people of such noble characters in this community in the past. This is the way how some meritorious people come in this Samsara cultivating skills in their lives. Sometimes, they even get together as a result of their merits. Once in the Gautama Supreme Buddha’s time, a couple known as Nakula Mata and Nakula Pita came to the Supreme Buddha and told that they like to meet each other in their next lives as well. Then, the Supreme Buddha told them “if that is your wish, you need to cultivate virtue, generosity, faith, and wisdom equally. You will then be able to find each other even in the next life times of this Samsara.” Therefore, there will be people of similar skills in this society. They will also become attached to each other. Such a bond is of course fortunate because they find each other due to their qualities mentioned above. Furthermore, these couples will have an opportunity to develop their skills that help realizing the Dhamma while having a successful marriage life. Some love affairs form just to make the couples suffered. Various problems arise in these couples’ lives even from the beginning of such affairs due to disagreements. Still, they will not abandon each other. They live under one roof even with all the suffering they have to go through to keep their family from being part. This happens because of some demerits they formed in some of their other past lives. Actually, what we have gathered in our various past lives affect the present life in many different ways that we cannot even fathom. This is why we used to be afraid of marriage and find protection under different false beliefs such as matching horoscopes. However, horoscopes cannot help making a marriage successful, but the Dhamma can… If a married couple becomes equal in virtue, concentration, and wisdom, then their lives will become pleasant and fortunate. There are many people who live painful lives after their marriages but without showing it to others. They undergo all their troubles because of the commitments and attachments they have to their children and to some other parties like their parents and relatives. Though, the only protection to all of them is the teachings of the Gautama Supreme Buddha. He taught us that we need to be virtuous throughout our entire lives, stay faithful to the Supreme Buddha by being delightful about his qualities, build the wisdom of the Noble Truths, and stay away from performing unwholesome deeds in order for us to have an enjoying marriage life. If it needs to be clarified further, one should know that by breaking one’s virtues he starts the doubt in a marriage life which in turn leads to unimaginable consequences. As a result, there will be no more relieving attachments with each other again. Therefore, we need to be vigilant about these matters… Most Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero

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