4. “That Cessation, that Detachment, that Deathlessness (Nibbana) supreme, the calm and collected Sakyan Sage (the Buddha) had realized. There is nought comparable to this (Nibbana) Dhamma. This precious jewel is the Dhamma. By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness.Ratana Sutta
Verse 4 recalls the quality of Enlightenment.
Enlightenment is the cessation of Sufferings. It is detachment from Samsaric existence and it is a state of Deathlessness. What do we know? Enlightenment is so simple that it can be described by 3 words,Cessation, Detachment and Deathlessness. Nevertheless, it is still extremely profound for those who have not tasted Enlightenment.
For example, if we were to describe the taste of an apple to someone who had never tasted apple before, we could have described apple as sweet with a little crunch and a nice aroma or aftertaste. That person who had never tasted apple would have imagined something else altogether (based on inference of his past gastronomical experience)
In order to elaborate more and to guide people with different experiences, the compassionate Buddha had spent his time teaching tirelessly when his was physically present. That leads to an extensive number of scriptures. All of them leading towards the state of Cessation, Detachment and Deathlessness.
Therefore, this verse summarised the entire Buddhist canon! Isn’t that full of power?
5. “The Supreme Buddha extolled a path of purity (the Noble Eightfold Path) calling it the path which unfailingly brings concentration. There is nought comparable to this concentration. This precious jewel is the Dhamma. By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness.
Verse 5 describes the way or the method that leads towards the state of Enlightenment. In further elaboration, the Buddhist method of gaining enlightenment can be summarised by the noble eightfold path. This approach leads to purity in our physical actions and speech. (Morality) Which will then build a base for mental purity and stability (Concentration). When that is achieved, wisdom or insights will blossom or unfold (Wisdom).
Such a systematic approach towards self-improvement and enlightenment had been successfully tested and tried by many people. I cannot help being impressed by such an enlightened and systematic approach towards spiritual development. Such quality of the Buddha Dharma is very precious.
Bearing in mind that many Buddhist practice and recollect the Ratana Sutta to keep evil (ignorance and impurity) away. Lat’s appreciate it from that perspective. The above 2 verses in Ratana Sutta recollects the quality of the Dharma. The Buddha said,”Those who sees the Dharma, sees the Buddha” In a way, Dharma help us understand who Buddha is. It also shows us the way that we (the future Buddha) are heading. From this context, it isn’t hard to see the “weight”of Truth that the 2 verses carry. It not only defines the path & Goal (verse 4), it also points the way and method (verse 5) and show us the target destination.(actualising verse 4 & 5) It is an all in one.
“Ratana Sutta: The Jewel Discourse” (Sn 2.1), translated from the Pali by Piyadassi Thera. Access to Insight (BCBS Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.2.01.piya.html .