Continuing from Part 7, where Alavaka attained the 1st stage of enlightenment, we should bear in mind that these subsequent questions were asked by a Sotapanna. But one unique situation here is that Alavaka was a Yaksha (powerful elemental spirit) at that point in time.
This sutta recorded the conversion of an evil demon into Buddhism! Remember, Alavaka used to eat human beings and enjoyed driving spiritual practitioners mad.
In Buddhism, we have many instances of enlightened masters teaching evil spirits Dharma and converting them into Buddhism. Some of them even attained the 1st stage of enlightenment like Alavaka. That is the beauty of Buddhism, no being is permanently bad, and all beings have that opportunity to renounce evil and become good.
Let us continue reading….
Kathaṁsu labhate paññaṁ? – Kathaṁsu vindate dhanaṁ?
Kathaṁsu kittiṁ pappoti? – Kathaṁ mittāni ganthati?
Asmā lokā paraṁ lokaṁ – Kathaṁ pecca na socati
Translation: How does one gain wisdom? How does one obtain wealth? How does one achieve fame? How does one win many friends? When passing from this world to the next, how does one not sorrow?
Saddahāno arahataṁ – Dhammaṁ Nibbānapattiyā
Sussūsā labhate paññaṁ – Appamatto vicakkhaṇo
Convinced of the arahants’ Dhamma for attaining Unbinding,— heedful, observant —one listening well gains wisdom.
- The mindful and discerning one,
- Who in the Dhamma plead his faith;
- By his will to hear that Dhamma
- Wins the wisdom of Nibbana (inserted this point-form summary)
If we recollect the previous questions by Alavaka, the last of the previous block of 4 questions ended with “How is one’s life/existence purified? And Buddha replied that it is through wisdom. After that, Alavaka attained Sotapanna. Continuing from there, Alavaka the demon, (now a Sotapanna) asked, “How does one obtain wisdom?
[Convinced of the arahants’ Dhamma for attaining Unbinding] The word Arhant refers to all the fully enlightened beings who have stopped rebirth in Samsara. Therefore, that includes the Buddha too. Arhant’s Dharma refers to instructions that lead to enlightenment. This statement can also be interpreted as faith in Buddha Dharma. And what is Buddha Dharma all about? It teaches us how to free ourselves from the bondage we created ourselves, the self-created bondage that binds us to Samsara. (Thus, the unbinding)
So enlightenment is to free ourselves from Samsara. That is the goal of Buddhism. The important question is, “are we really convinced?”
Buddha taught that Samsara is suffering. From the deepest of hell to the highest heaven. All imaginable form of existences are sufferings. Thus, enlightenment or ultimate happiness means that we exit these existences. Stop becoming.
But how many Buddhists are actually convinced and subscribe to this goal? According to Buddha, if we wish to attain wisdom; Then we must first believe and have faith in Buddha’s message that Samsara is suffering. Only then, will our minds be receptive and conducive to perceiving the ultimate Truth.
Then we have to be heedful or mindful of Buddha’s message (Dharma). We remind ourselves and try not to forget it. Following that, we observe. We examine our existences and observe its unsatisfactory properties and conditions. We try to check out the validity of the teaching through our personal experiences in life.
For example, the First Noble Truth states: “Samsara is suffering.”
We may start off by observing impermanence. Impermanence causes suffering. And as we progress, we contemplate the various aspects of suffering and their causes. We do these reflections on a daily basis until we see the Truth in them.
The above 3 factors of faith in Buddha’s message, heedfulness of those Dharma, and verifying them through our experiences mean that we are listening to the Dharma well. Being heedful of Dharma and observing it is also a kind of practice. It is also known as recalling or remembering the Dharma. 念法.
We will gradually develop wisdom as we practice.
May all be well and happy.
Patirūpakārī dhuravā – Uṭṭhātā vindate dhanaṁ
Saccena kittiṁ pappoti – Dadaṁ mittāni ganthati
Doing what’s fitting, enduring burdens, one with initiative finds wealth.
Yasse’te caturo dhammā – Saddhassa gharamesino
Saccaṁ damo dhitī cāgo – Sa ve pecca na socati
If a faithful householder is truthful, wise, energetic, and fond of giving, by virtue of these four qualities, he will not sorrow when he passes on.
Iṅgha aññe’pi pucchassū – Puthu samaṇabrāhmaṇe
Yadi saccā damā cāgā – Khantyā bhiyyo na vijjati
If you wish, ask of other recluses and brāhmins, if there is anything better in this world than truth, self-control generosity, and patience.