Today 4 May 2023, the Full-moon day of Vesakhā of the Buddhist Era 2567, ushers in a future of hope and confidence in contrast to the fear and uncertainty we endured in the last three years. Although these years can easily be regarded as belonging to some of the worst in human history, we must also acknowledge that they taught us to better appreciate the Buddha’s teaching on impermanence, dissatisfaction and non-self (anicca, dukkha and anattā). They made us realise how fragile life can be and how this very fragility makes life so precious.
Life is precious because it is extremely difficult to be born in the human realm. And birth as humans is necessary because it is as humans that we can work out our deliverance from the suffering of Samsāra. It is as humans that we can choose to live our lives meaningfully. What does it mean, to live our lives meaningfully?
It means we can use our human intelligence not only to realise the unsatisfactory nature of existence but also to direct our lives to attain the final release by following the Noble Eightfold Path. This ability to re-direct our lives by looking within and cultivating ourselves, is what gives meaning to existence. We do this by developing the right values and principles, and endeavouring to improve the quality of the lives of others. When we are usefully engaged in looking beyond ourselves, we fill the void of dissatisfaction inherent in our lives, and enjoy wellness here and now.
At Nalanda, we have utilised the teachings of the Buddha in formulating a holistic education system to help Buddhists make their lives MORE meaningful. This system includes :
Certainly this is not an easy path, but it is said that the more difficult the path, the greater the satisfaction when it is surmounted. It is also not a journey to be completed in a limited time, but over many lifetimes. However, it is a journey to be started today. And what better time can there be than today – the day when the Buddha realised the Truth of Existence more than 2600 years ago. On this auspicious occasion, let us resolve to make our lives more meaningful by committing ourselves to walk in the footsteps of the Buddha.
Happy Buddha Day B.E. 2567.