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Religious Life in a Secular Society

by Tissa Weeraratna

Ladies & Gentlemen

Thank to Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Mrs.Gisela Zeidler

You are in this place which as you see for your self a Buddhist Temple built by a German Dr. Paul Dahlke who build this temple 1924 to 1928 almost the first Buddhist temple in Europe.

My uncle Mr.Asoka weeraratna purchased this Temple from the relatives of Dr.Dahlka 1950s.From this time the German Dharmaduta Society from Colombo Sri Lanka is administer the temple. Oldest Buddhist institution in Europe, as a National Heritage site. It is also an unique monument for the growing Buddhist cultural ties between Sri Lanka and Germany. Buddha, Dahlke, my uncle, the Buddhist Monks carry one massage. That is what we call Dhamma. The purposes of the Dhamma and Religions should be the same. To stop Bad things, cultivate good things. The question is did it happen? Last 10,000 thousand years, man had some sort of religion based on belief. They did good things but at the same time lot of wars, because of opinion and view took place.

Religious Life in a Secular Society

Material Society is made out of me and you. All of us is the worldly society. Want to improve to have peace. Is that right? The good is done by Human being, the bad is done by Human being. Purpose of the Religions is to get the human being to do good thing. Ask the question did it happen? Answer is Yes and No. When it is yes for good things, then it is alright. But the religious war in our history is showing us that we killed people because of opinion and view. Believing in God and explaining What God is, as what the monks or priest tells us. Not our Owen experiences. What is the Answer? To be mindful of Body and mind in order to know the cause of our bad behaviour. Believing in God or not believing in God is done by the mind. In order to come to know the mind, one has to go through the body. Here we have a system. Sikkhapadam - training and learning to be a good humanbeens - to improve you Virtues. The Big word in Dhamma is Sati. Mindfulness, how the body and mind function. Satipatthana is the only way to Nibbana. Like a psychoanalyst, the Buddha traces suffering to its roots within our minds, to our craving and clinging, and he holds that the cure, the solution to the problem, we have to purify our minds of these defilements, from our greed, hatred, and ignorance, and this requires profound inner honesty. Understand the true nature of the body. We have to see what the body is made of Water, air, earth and warm element. And we have to know and see the said elements are Universal. There for the body is also universal. When we get t know that we are universal, one reason more not to kill, because it is my religion or my opinion. We have to ask us the question which is more important Culture or Universality of our body and mind.

The good thing in the Dhamma is, it can be practised by all people and Dhamma help us to get read of opinion and view to see thing as they are. I have a suggestion to the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung to make a study group, how to remove opinion and view to see things as there in order to stop the root cause for wars. The word Secular means worldly. Most of the good people in the world, like Christ, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln were killed. Why? Because of greed, hatred, and ignorance. We have to use our commonsense to remove the root cause.

Meaning of Dhamma

The Buddha says that the Dhamma, the ultimate truth of things, is directly visible, timeless, calling out to be approached and seen. He says further that it is always available to us, and that the place where it is to be realized is within one self. The ultimate truth, the Dhamma, is not something mysterious and remote, but the truth of our own experience. It can be reached only by understanding our experience, by penetrating it right through to its foundations. This truth, in order to become liberating truth, has to be known directly. It is not enough merely to accept it on faith, to believe it on the authority of books or a teacher, or to think it out through deductions and inferences. It has to be known by insight, grasped and absorbed by a kind of knowing which is also an immediate seeing.
What brings the field of experience into focus and makes it accessible to insight is a mental faculty called in Pali sati, usually translated as "mindfulness." Mindfulness is presence of mind, attentiveness or awareness. Yet the kind of awareness involved in mindfulness differs profoundly from the kind of awareness at work in our usual mode of consciousness. All consciousness involves awareness in the sense of a knowing or experiencing of an object. But with the practice of mindfulness awareness is applied at a special pitch. The mind is deliberately kept at the level of bare attention, a detached observation of what is happening within us and around us in the present moment. In the practice of right mindfulness the mind is trained to remain in the present, open, quiet, and alert, contemplating the present event. All judgements and interpretations have to be suspended, or if they occur, just registered and dropped. The task is simply to note whatever comes up just as it is occurring; riding the changes of events in the way a surfer rides the waves on the sea. The whole process is a way of coming back into the present, of standing in the here and now without slipping away, without getting swept away by the tides of distracting thoughts.


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