- 1. Preface
- 2. Notes to Parents and Teachers
- 3. How to Impart Buddhism to Children
- 4. Devotional Exercises
- 5. The Life Story of Lord Buddha
- 6. The One Main Teaching
- 7. The Refuges
- 8. The Five Precepts
- 9. The Four Noble Truths
- 10. Right Understanding
- 11. Right Aims
- 12. Right Speech
- 13. Right Action
- 14. Right Livelihood
- 15. Right Effort
- 16. Right Mindfulness
- 17. Right Meditation
- 18. The Law of Karma
- 19. Rebirth
- 20. The Three Signs
- 21. The Seven Jewels
- 22. The Three Evils
- 23. Our Duties Towards Others
- 24. The Meaning of Wesak
- 25. Trusting to Luck
- 26. The Wheel of the Law
- 27. The Teaching of all Buddha
- 28. The Greatest Secret in the World
- 29. Filial Piety
- 31. Perseverance
- 32. The Drawings in this Book
- 33. Remembering Lord Buddha
- 34. A Buddhism Catechism
It is so easy to call oneself a Buddhist and to talk about religion. Man individuals like to talk about Buddhist doctrines, to recite devotions and to be a Buddhist “on the outside.” Our Lord’s Dharma is for “the inside” of a person as well as for outside and is far more than just something to argue about or words to recite. If we really have respect for Lord Buddha’s Dharma in our hearts, then our “outside” lives will be right and will set bright examples to others.
It is sad that a few of us seem to think that regular recitation of certain favourite devotions is all that is necessary in order to be a first-class Buddhist. Of course, recitations of holy texts are very good indeed, but this is not all there is to the Buddhist way of life. Unless we live the doctrines of our religion every moment of our daily lives, then we are not really sincere Buddhists. Let us not forget the well-known Chinese proverb: “Empty barrels make the most noise.” If we do not walk on the Noble Eightfold Path, then there is not much use in merely talking about it. Chatter about Buddha-dharma without living Buddha-dharma is just noise from an empty barrels make the most noise.” If we do not walk on the Noble Eightfold Path, then there is not much use in merely talking about it. Chatter about Buddha-dharma without living Buddha-dharma is just noise from an empty barrel.
Temptations come to us all. Character grows stronger each time we resist temptation to do anything we know we ought not to do. Another character-builder is hardship. Each of us really needs to go through a certain amount of hardship. If everything is too easy and comfortable for us we are likely to become “softies”, not only physically but also in our spiritual nature. It is also only too likely that living too easy a life may cause us to lose all feeling of sympathy with those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
The more we learn to resist evil temptations and the more we can endure a certain amount of hardship, whether it be poverty, sickness, disappointment, grief or any other sorrow, the stronger we grow in our moral nature and more and more we have sympathetic understanding of the problem of others.
Sooner or later there comes a time when we realize that the things we used to think were so very important are not so important after all. It is an old and true saying that “the best things in life are free.” Certainly this is true of the Buddha-dharma. It is free to all, rich and poor, sick and well, high and low, male and female, and to all races and nationalities. When we master this perfect teaching, we find that sorrow no longer has the power to overwhelm us and joy no longer can make us so falsely happy that we are silly. We reach a true understanding of life and “find our balance.”
Remember always that merely talking about following the Dharma is not enough. We must actually walk on the Noble Path. If we do less than this, then we are only “empty barrels.”
THIS WOULD I KNOW
Of those who talk the Noble Eightfold Way,
How many walk the way?
How many know
The pitfalls and the snares;
The swampland and the plain,
The scorching heat, the snows,
The drenching rain?
The loneliness and heartache
The pilgrim as he journeys
Night and day?
How many walk the way?
This would I know:
Of those who prate the Fourfold Noble Truths,
How many speak the truth?
How many know
Release of mind,
True wisdom comprehended?
Cessation from their pain
And craving ended?
Work out their own salvation,
And in the silence
Find the strength to win?
This would I know.
- Which is easier, to talk about being a Buddhist or actually to be one?
- What do we mean when we say we ought to be Buddhists “on the inside” as well as “on the outside”?
- If we resist temptation what happens to our character?
- What do we mean by the word “softie”?
- How can sorrow and disappointment be of help to us?
- Must we pay for everything or are some of the best things in life free?
- What are some of the good things that are free of charge?
- What do we mean by “finding our balance” between joy and sorrow?
- What is the ancient proverb about barrels?
- Can you explain the meaning of the poem with this lesson?