Tu Viện Quảng Đức105 Lynch Rd, Fawkner, Vic 3060. Australia. Tel: 9357 3544. quangduc@quangduc.com* Viện Chủ: TT Tâm Phương, Trụ Trì: TT Nguyên Tạng   

5. Questions of King Milinda

28/10/201017:05(Xem: 1899)
5. Questions of King Milinda

 

Buddha and Buddhism

 

5. Questions of King Milinda

Another great literary work of the Theravada ("way of the elders") school of Buddhism is The Questions of King Milinda. Menander was one of the Greek kings who ruled Bactria after the conquests of Alexander, carrying Greek power further into India than any of his predecessors in the last half of the second century BC; his name was Hinduized to Milinda by the unknown Buddhist author, who wrote this work a century or so later.

The philosophical dialog is preceded by a prophecy from the previous lives of the two individuals whereby the Buddha foretold they would have this discussion some five centuries hence. While living as a god in a heavenly world, Mahasena is persuaded to be reborn as Nagasena so that he could help to enlighten this king. King Milinda delights in philosophical discussion and has never met his match until he encounters Nagasena. He asks the sage every difficult question he can think of and is continually amazed at the sagacious replies of Nagasena. In this way the Buddhist doctrine is thoroughly tested and explained.

Even the first question asking his name elicits the response from Nagasena that there is no permanent individuality. King Milinda asks then who it is who lives, receives gifts, devotes himself to meditation, attains enlightenment, etc. Like a chariot it is none of the separate parts though their combination comes under the name "chariot," and he is known as Nagasena. Nagasena wants to know if Milinda will be discussing as a scholar who may be convicted of error or as a king who punishes disagreement, and King Milinda agrees to discuss as a scholar.

The next day the king asks Nagasena what is the goal of his renunciation. The highest aim is the end of sorrow and the complete passing away. Sinful beings are reindividualized after death; sinless ones are not. True wisdom is cutting off one's failings, and this is accomplished by good conduct, faith, perseverance, mindfulness, and meditation. Good conduct is achieved by virtue and wisdom. Faith frees the heart of lust, malice, mental sloth, pride, and doubt. Perseverance renders support, and mindfulness discerns the good qualities from the bad; but meditation is the leader of all the good qualities. The one who will not be born again is more aware and, though suffering physical pain, is free of mental pain.

But if there is no soul or individuality, how does reincarnation occur, and what reincarnates? Nagasena explains the doctrine of karma - how causes have their effects even from one life to the next. One who sets a fire is responsible for the other things that are burned by the spread of the fire. A person who prepares poison and drinks it oneself as well as giving it to others is responsible for one's own pain and shares responsibility for the pain of the others too. According to the Buddha it is karma that causes the many differences among people.

The king asks why the recluses are so concerned about taking care of their bodies if they don't love their bodies. The body is like a wound that must be treated with salve, oil, and a bandage even though one does not love the wound. Although Buddhism is in many ways a pessimistic philosophy, Nagasena nonetheless finds more merit than demerit, because eventually the wrong-doer acknowledges the wrong and feels remorse, eventually correcting and ending demerit. Yet those who do well do not feel remorse but gladness and peace and blissful feelings; thus good increases.

After seven days of abstinence the king continues his discussion with Nagasena asking him about various dilemmas he found in the Buddhist doctrine. Nagasena solves every problem by giving various illustrations. For example, the Buddha admitted Devadatta to the order even though he knew that he would cause a schism, because he perceived that even this contact with the Buddha would keep Devadatta from becoming even worse. Social prejudice is transcended as even a prostitute is able to perform a miracle by the power of truth.

Eleven advantages come to those who feel love toward all beings and put it into practice. Such people sleep in peace, awake in peace, have no sinful dreams, are dear to people and spirits, watched over by gods, not harmed by fire nor poison nor a sword, are easily tranquilized, calm, undismayed by death, and if arhatship is not attained are reborn in the Brahma world. Though of a loving disposition Prince Sama was shot by a poisoned arrow, because the virtues are not inherent in the person but are only effective at that moment while in use. The king is convinced that the felt presence of love has the power to ward off all evil mental states. Nagasena agrees heartily:

Yes! The practice of love is productive

of all virtuous conditions of mind

both in good and in evil ones.

To all beings whatsoever,

who are in the bonds of conscious existence,

is this practice of love of great advantage,

and therefore ought it to be sedulously cultivated.8

The king asks Nagasena whether virtue or vice is more powerful. The karma from vice seems to be effectively punished, this balancing in fact causes it to die away rather quickly; while virtue because of its grandeur lasts for a long time. Because virtue is rarely rewarded immediately as vice is often so punished, the results of virtue usually are received more abundantly in the lives to come. Also according to Nagasena vice only affects the doer, while virtue overspreads the whole world of gods and people. By giving the individual no peace the remorse from wrong-doing leads more quickly to the eradication of that evil.

Finally at the end of their discussions King Milinda ordered a building constructed for Nagasena and the monks, turned his kingdom over to his son, abandoned the household life to become homeless, grew in insight, and eventually became an arhat himself.

 

Gửi ý kiến của bạn
Tắt
Telex
VNI
Tên của bạn
Email của bạn
31/10/201404:31(Xem: 10800)
A roof of the prayer hall collapsed early this morning at the Vietnamese Buddhist Center in far Southwest Houston. The Houston Fire Department tells Eyewitness News that no one was inside at the time and no one was hurt. An alarm went off about 1:45am this morning at the temple on Synott between Old Richmond and West Bellfort, alerting the monks who live on property the building to collapse. One Buddhist follower we spoke to says he received a phone call at home and just had to come see this for himself. A roof of the prayer hall collapsed at the Vietnamese Buddhist Center in far southwest Houston KTRK Photo/ Linh Nguyen "At first we didn't really believe it... We drove out here. Luckily nobody was in the building," said Khoa Ngo. The prayer hall can hold hundreds of people, and parts of the ceiling collapsed to the ground. HFD says engineers will inspect the building later today to determine what should happen next.
30/10/201412:48(Xem: 2883)
Two men shot in the head with a nail gun after an attack at a Buddhist temple Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2812103/Two-men-shot-head-nail-gun-attack-Buddhist-temple.html#ixzz3HaZ9wRnH Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
28/10/201407:44(Xem: 2511)
Disappeared, The Official Documentary for TwoTooMany. Released on the 26th of October, it marks 4months since the 2 Woodville High School boys where taken. Quoted from one of the main powers behind this campaign, Wathnak Vy “4 months of SADNESS”. After these 4 months, the 2 boys have not been returned. The Immigration Minister has still made no comment upon this issue. The Woodville High School Community and the Community abroad will continue to fight for these 2 boys and all Asylum Seeker rights. JLe Productions will continue to support them all the way. Official Correspondence: BringBackTheWoodvilleKids@gmail.com Twitter - @two_too_many FaceBook Group - bringbackthewoodvillekids --- Featuring --- Meredith Edwards Kyle Rigney Kevin Chung Wathnak Vy Kathy Nguyen Narridy Loechel Special Appearance from Neo Pitso --- Crew --- Director - Jordan Le Assistant Director – Jake Capasso and McKenzie Whyte Producer – Kenley Walter and Jordan Le Co-Producer – Alex
27/10/201410:09(Xem: 2869)
The Unified Vietnamese Buddhist Congregation of Australia–New Zealand has received the news that the Former Prime Minister of Australia, The Honourable Edward Gough Whitlam passed away in Sydney on October 21st, 2014, aged 98 years. We Vietnamese Buddhists began arriving in Australia as refugees from communism in the mid-1970s during Mr. Whitlam’s term as Prime Minister. From our reading we know that the Late Former Prime Minister has become a legend, and that for his near century of life all Australians are grateful to him and admire, respect and honour him. He has through his determination and strength of spirit and to the best of his ability brought progress to Australia making her an equal among free, democratic and powerful nations of the world. Through audacious and welcome reforms to education, justice, health, etc… he made Australia and its people feel reassured and more confident in the future.
08/10/201408:15(Xem: 9358)
Dan Stevenson is neither a Buddhist nor a follower of any organized religion. The 11th Avenue resident in Oakland's Eastlake neighborhood was simply feeling hopeful in 2009 when he went to an Ace hardware store, purchased a 2-foot-high stone Buddha and installed it on a median strip in a residential area at 11th Avenue and 19th Street. He hoped that just maybe his small gesture would bring tranquillity to a neighborhood marred by crime: dumping, graffiti, drug dealing, prostitution, robberies, aggravated assault and burglaries.
02/10/201418:59(Xem: 2363)
Someone once said to me that nothing stays forever No state of mind, stays good or bad but it could, if we were together
05/08/201413:21(Xem: 4490)
Ai cũng có quyền được sống an toàn, lành mạnh và hạnh phúc. Vào ngày 26 tháng 06 năm 2014, các nhân viên Sở Di Trú đợi trước nhà của 2 em tị nạn Việtnam đang theo học ở Trường Trung Học Woodville. Khi hai cậu bé đi học về từ trường thì bắt đi và đưa đến Trại tạm Giam Inverbrackie ở Adelaide Hills, trong lúc bản thân hai câu bé không biết chuyện gì đang xảy ra với mình. Hôm sau đó, hai cháu được đưa đến Darwin bằng đường hàng không, và hiện đang bị giam giữ tai Wickham Point.
19/06/201407:21(Xem: 4264)
On December1 1955, in Montgomery Alabama, an African-American woman refused to obey a bus driver’s order to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger. That simple act of defiance for the cause of social justice became one of the most important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movements in the USA. That woman was Rosa Parks. The United States Congress called her “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”. December 1 is commemorated in the US states of California and Ohio as “Rosa Parks Day”
26/05/201418:42(Xem: 4967)
The prison is a scary place, our mental prisons that we've created are no less terrifying. Buddhist Congress and Angulimala Fellowship bring us Ajahn Brahm as he shares his insights and wisdom on this prison-break, peppered distinctively with Ajahn's trademark Brahm Humor.
11/03/201415:20(Xem: 2456)
Visiting Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says that "Heaven is here and now. Don't look into the distance. The kingdom of God is really available in the here and now." San Diego, Calif. (USA) -- His head is shaved, his small frame wrapped in the brown robe of his faith. It is late morning, and Thich Nhat Hanh is bathed in a sunlit room talking about heaven.