Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sil Today

It was the commemoration of the 2600th year since the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. True enough, the day is special, the times are decisive and we as mortals must engage in something which can actually be carried forward to the next lifetime. So, instead of wasting my life doing what common place mortals do (tissue paper, paste & tidbits), I tagged along with my mother to observe sil.

I must be getting old or nearing the D-day so to speak. Although staying put with 7000 others (stats quoted from an organizer) was grueling, it all paid off well eventually. I actually learned a lot, sighed to myself, burned under the sun, was ruthlessly woman-handled and also started hoping and praying I won't turn out to be some of them so called "upasikawo" when I turned 50+.

The sermons: 6 or 5 of them if I counted correctly, all carried one message. We as Buddists are far from where we ought to be. We get to listen to preachings 24 x 7, yet we fail miserably at practicing what is preached for even a fraction of that time. Our brains are not developed (so it should be nearing THE END, according to one sermon), which usually means we do things out of practice & not because we truly understand the deeper meaning. Frankly, it was depressing to hear how the world is going to end, and what plight we mortals would be in when the world ends bla bla. The good news however is, being where we are in this space-time continuum, we already possess what's needed to prevent ourselves from plunging into doom. The bottom line: Time is now.

Although 6 different bhikku's said the same thing in different words, not much seemed to have reached the active segments of people's brains. Sil day meant a whole lot of pushing and shoving, especially when it came to daane times. The 8 precepts, to some extent meant discipline I reckon. Sadly, discipline was one thing many lacked both verbally & physically. Once I was unfortunate enough to sit and bake in the sun, next to some "daayaka sabha activists", having a ball of a time enjoying other people's misery, gossiping about how a baas has done some construction without using iron & how the ven. nayaka thero was going to be upset at the baas and chasing people jumping over shrubs they laboriously grew and watered. Funny thing was the shrub was ok to be jumped over by their friends, and it was detrimental to be jumped over by some stranger. So much for self-discipline!

One actually feels ashamed to be a part of an afternoon sermon. Apart from the fact that almost 60% of the crowd was female, a considerable proportion of that crowd was dozing off or completely out catching Zees right in front of the thero. The effort put in from the reverend's side is commendable, just to keep the ladies looking alive, but why they had to sleep right in front of his face is a question I seem not get!

People are rude. Either that, or they have the urge to establish dominance. Most of the organizing folks seemed to be suffering from some disorder which caused them to haul crowd into all places and shapes they desired. "move or no food", "clear the road", "hurry up" bla bla... was all they could say the whole day. No "please", no respect nothing. One wonders what one must possess to become a dayaka sabha member; obviously a loud mouth and thug-like attitude!

So, it has been 2600 years, since we have been shown the way. No wonder they say we have small and apparently useless brains. 2600 years and still we are groping about in the dark!

Happy Vesak Everybody.

May you all be one step closer next year!

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