Sunday Observer Online


News Bar »

News: Biggest trade fair in Jaffna after seven years ...           Political: Tamil political parties pledge support to EPC ...          Finanacial News: Millionaires are the biggest loan defaulters in Lanka ...          Sports: ‘Loku’ thinks best chances of playing lie in limited-over cricket ...

DateLine Sunday, 18 May 2008





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

What are Paramitas?

In Buddhism discussion of the Dhamma has been considered a vital part of the study and understanding of the Dhamma.

However this is rarely done today. In instances where most Buddhists congregate, such as temples on poya days, they idle away the time. If the excess time had been used for discussions based on the Dhamma, it would not only make up for the excess time, it would also benefit the upasaka (lay adh erent) by expanding their knowledge in the Dhamma. Dhamma Discussion is solely for the benefit of our readers.

Any questions our readers may have regarding the Dhamma may be addressed to Dhamma Discussion, Sunday Observer, Lake House, 35, D.R. Wijewardhana Mawatha, Colombo 10 or [email protected] with ‘Dhamma Discussion’ as the subject line so that your questions can be directed to the appropriate individuals.

Q: By worshipping Gods and deities and performing devil dances does one’s faith in ti-sarana (the threefold refuge) get blemished?

A: When one lacks proper knowledge of the Triple Gem, doubts it upholds false opinions of them, ones faith in the threefold refuge gets blemished. Consequently such people’s faith can acquire little merit. A clear and unblemished vision of the Threefold Refuge brings forth great advantages and consequences.

Most Buddhists worship Gods such as Vishnu and Katharagama, seeking blessings from them. Although some claim that this will cause the faith in the Threefold Refuge to be soiled, this is not so. When asking for something that you yourself cannot obtain, from someone whose capable of providing it, it is permitted to worship or make offerings accordingly.

Most Buddhists, when they require something from the Gods, worship and make offerings for them. It is like worshipping Lords and Kings, it does not blemish ones faith in the threefold Refuge. Even people with unwavering faith in the Threefold Refuge, worship Lords and Kings. There for worshipping Gods and deities for the same purpose will not damage ones faith.

However ones faith in the Threefold Refuge will definitely be subject to defilement if one worships the Gods and deities, as non Buddhists would, exhausting them above the Triple Gem.

Q: What are Paramitas, do all merits we acquire fall under Paramitas.

A: The classification of the enlightenment is three folds. Samma-sambodhi, pacceka-bodhi and savaka-bodhi.

The enlightenment that is the cause of the omniscience and all other powers of the Buddha is referred to as Samma-sambodhi or Maha-bodhi, the enlightenment of the independently enlightened one is referred to as pacceka-bodhi and the enlightenment of the noble disciple is referred to as savaka-bodhi. Any merit acquired in the aspiration of attaining one of the above threefold or nibbhana is termed as parami or paramita.

Most engage in meritorious deeds in order to obtain worldly or heavenly benefits. These merits, in truth acquired through craving itself, are only capable of providing one with material and worldly benefits and is incapable of assisting one in attaining nibbhana. Such merits, which in fact extends the samsara, do not fall under paramita.

Some people engage in meritorious deeds craving fame and commendations. Such deeds are incapable of providing one with material or worldly benefits let alone nibbhana. These also do not fall under paramita.

Some in hope of exhibiting their prestige, capabilities, virtue and wealth engage in meritorious deeds. Some others in order to supersede others gives alms, observes sil with more zeal than others, builds bigger temples and Vihara than others. These merits also, born out of arrogance, do not fall under paramita.

Some others give alms and observe sil without considering the significance of meditation, with the deluded opinion that these activities alone are enough to attain Visuddhi (Purity). These deeds which are devoid of the right insight do not fall under paramita.

Some others engage in meritorious deeds in hope of obtaining worldly benefits as well as attaining nibbhana. The question arises whether these merits fall under Paramita. Because the person did aspire nibbhana therefore there is no reason that it should not fall under paramita. But since the merits acquired are also blemished by craving, it will take much longer, for that merit assist the person in attaining nibbhana.

Q: What are the types of lay adherents (upasaka)?

A: There are two types of lay adherents - upasaka chandala and upasaka ratna. Upasaka chandala has five defining characteristics according to the Buddhism.

1. Possesses no saddha - faith and confidence

2. Possesses no sila - morality or virtue

3. Upholds the belief that things one see and hear indicate good or bad omens

4. Upholds the belief that things one see and hear indicate good or bad omens while also disregarding karma.

5. Seeks persons outside of the sasana to give alms to in order to acquire merits and hold them in higher regard than the sangha

Upasaka ratna is the complete opposite of upasaka chandala. There are five characteristics that define upasaka ratna.

1. Possesses saddha - faith and confidence

2. Possesses sila - morality or virtue

3. Do not upholds the belief that things one see and hear indicate good or bad omens

4. Are not superstitious and has a high regard and faith karma.

5. Gives alms first and foremost to the Sasana. Do not seek persons outside of the sasana to give alms to.

Q: What are the virtues of the upasaka (lay adherent)?

A: This has been preached by most Ven. Nagasena Thera to King Milindu. Upasaka of the Buddha sasana must....

1. As the sangha, have the utmost highest regard for the dhamma.

2. Have the yearning to give.

3. Sense the deterioration of the sasana and work towards its upliftment

4. Not be superstitious and possess the right insight

5. Not consider any one, apart from the Buddha, as ones teacher, even for the sake of ones life 6. Be conscious of what one speaks and do 7. Embrace peace 8. Not be envious 9. Not be in the sasana in order to delude others 10. Seek refuge of the Threefold refuge of the Buddha, dhamma and sangha.

Sources: Pohoya Dinaya, Most Ven. Rerukane Chandrawimala Thera, 2005

Bauddhayage Athpotha, Most Ven. Rerukane Chandrawimala Thera, 2005

Paramitha Prakaranaya, Most Ven. Rerukane Chandrawimala Thera, 2005.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas

| News | Editorial | Financial | Features | Political | Security | Spectrum | Impact | Sports | World | Plus | Magazine | Junior | Letters | Obituaries |


Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2007 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor