Life of Blessings
The Higher Blessings
To have reverence
To have patience
The focus in life should now be away from the mundane and material. Spiritual ideals have become more important. The Higher Blessings are the final stages of preparation for embarking on the Path to Nibbana.
We can show reverence
to the Triple Gem of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha by reflecting on their
sublime qualities. Having
reverence for elders, monks and spiritual teachers allows for our continued
learning and guidance. We
can show our reverence by respectful behaviour and careful attendance
to them. In addition, showing
reverence to the Buddha helps to put us in a good state of mind to learn
and practice the Dhamma. Practicing reverence also increases our humility and gratitude.
Some who have succeeded in making good progress may start to believe that they already know everything and are better than everyone else. If this happens, it becomes difficult to maintain the right attitude and an open mind to learn from others and accept deeper teachings. Here the Buddha reminds us that pride and conceit are two of the biggest obstacles to sustained spiritual development. It is therefore a great blessing to always remain humble.
Different people have different requirements in life and being content does not mean that we should not work hard or strive to improve ourselves. While material things are necessary for survival and comfort, the key is knowing when one has enough. There are many with immense fortunes who are unhappy because they think they still do not have enough wealth. The wise realize that the constant desire to fulfil material cravings is like drinking salt water to satisfy thirst, and this inevitably leads to dissatisfaction, frustration and suffering. To have found our own level of contentment is to have found true peace of mind. Contentment is the greatest wealth.
It is said that in this
world, there are few who will go out of their way to help another. Even fewer still are those who are grateful for the help given
to them. Gratitude is usually
accompanied by thanks and appreciation, and also by the desire to return
any favours done. All this
leads to reciprocal kindness and goodwill, and brings even more blessings
in the future too.
Any time is the right time
to read or listen to the Dhamma.
However, a good time would be when we are troubled, upset or in
doubt. This brings calm, assurance and confidence when we need it
the most. Not everyone has
the opportunity or the means to be able to hear and learn the Dhamma. We should try to always be in touch with it and not let this
great blessing go to waste.
It is said that patience is the highest virtue, and it is certainly one of the most difficult qualities to attain. We will always be subject to changing conditions and the vagaries of the people around us. Most of these things are beyond our control and if we allow ourselves to be overly affected by them, we will suffer unnecessary stress, unhappiness and anger. We also need to be patient with ourselves when we make mistakes or slip back on the spiritual path, and to keep on trying our best. Patience is a great blessing as it leads to forbearance, forgiveness and tolerance. It allows us to be calm and serene, and to maintain a cool head and a clear mind in any situation.
Many people find it very difficult to listen to advice, much less accept criticism or have their faults and mistakes pointed out to them. However, we cannot acquire deeper knowledge and make true progress if pride and stubbornness stand in our way. Openness, acceptance and humility when corrected are necessary because we are not perfect and always have more to learn from others.
Meeting such people gives us the opportunity to learn from them and to derive encouragement and inspiration from their wisdom and serenity. It also reminds us that there is more to this world than just the sensual and material, and shows us that there are many who are already well on the spiritual path.
Being with such people should motivate us to practice the Four Brahmaviharas, also known as the Four Heavenly Abodes because cultivating these noble qualities will bring our minds to a spiritual and heavenly state.
further support the blessing of hearing and learning the Dhamma is to
discuss and talk about it. By doing so, we have the blessing of associating with
spiritual friends who are on the same path as ourselves.
We also have the opportunity to share what we have learned with
others and continue to increase our knowledge and understanding of the
Buddha’s teachings. In this
way, we are frequently in touch with the Dhamma and this is the factor
that leads directly to the Supreme Blessings.