By Ashin Canda Dika
In its real meaning, sharing is a charming word which brings the meaning of freedom, nobility, adoration and beauty. The moment we hear, see or recite the word, sharing “မွ်ေဝၿခင္း” we are relieved of all our tension and stress, feeling greatly rejoiced and peaceful in our minds and bodies.
A skilled masseur can reduce the aching pains or stiffened parts of the body by rubbing or pressing with the hands, as needed. By doing so, stiffened muscles are becoming loose and the person who receives massage get a relaxed feeling of relieving pain and stress due to the process of sharing.
On account of sharing we contribute, we tend to be relaxed and possess calmness. Depending upon the circumstances, excitement and happiness give us a good temperament and mood. If our minds are centered to our personal benefits only, in everywhere, our minds will be stiffened with ego and stress. It is kind of tension to always ponder and perform for our possession, use and enjoyment. Tensions may be attributed to affection, disappointment, pride, jealousy, greed, anger and envy.
Only sharing can alleviate our mental tensions. If we fulfill the needs of others—regardless of much or less at our utmost, destructive elements—dissatisfaction and disappointment will clear, thus simultaneously constructive elements—considerations for others and astuteness of necessities will become full. At that time, all our tension will completely be lessened and we will gain mental strength.
It was in Monywa, in 2009 when a part of a crane dropped off from the height and hurt the tendon of my right knee. The wound was sutured with many stiches, staying in plaster cast for a fortnight. When the plaster of Paris was removed, I could no longer to manage to bend my right knee. Due to living for two weeks straight, I had to live with my right knee un-bended, muscles became stiffened. Only when I practiced for nearly 20 days with the use of the machines, my knee returned to its normal stage.
If we bend our fingers through, in other word, if we clench our fists without undoing them again, muscles become stiff and we cannot unfasten our fingers. If we force ourselves to fasten, it will greatly hurt us. Only if we frequently bend or undo our fingers, can we move our fingers as normal, without pain.
It is like clenching our fists to keep or grasp our possessions, ranks and authority, intellects, techniques and knowledge we acquire through our own efforts, for our own sake only. Without sharing to others apart from our own family and our community, our minds and feelings will be stiffened, failing to manage to un-bend our fingers. If it came to helping in the interest of others, it would hurt our feelings.
It means that we need not bend or stretch our fingers constantly, and we are required to do depending upon situations. That is to say, we are to do by adjusting between self and philanthropy.
To fulfill our possession of property and intellect, qualifications up to the stage of fullness is in fact like clenching our fists, that is, doing for ourselves, or vice versa. Had we performed for ourselves and others depending upon time and situations, our minds will be relaxed, free and calm.
As a boy, I had ever heard a lyric, “Will you clench your fist or will you open your hand— you can choose either of them—လက္သီးဆုပ္မလား လက္ဝါးၿဖန္ ့မလား
ၾကိဳက္တာကို ေရြးစမ္းကိုယ့္လူ.To be relaxed and blessed with happiness, we need to clench our fists or unfasten them depending upon situations. Only if we have, we can perform philanthropic deeds and we can share ours to others.
We never mean that we must give or share only if we have plenty. We can share some or part of what we have. Willingness to share is of importance.
Long ago, there used to be a culture of a handful of rice donation. Whenever rice was cooked, a handful of rice out of a daily ration was set aside and when accumulated rice amounted to much, they were donated. It is a noble deed of sharing as donation was done during difficult times.
Today’s sharing at Thaton is the one done by students who received scholarship awards from Shwe Parami Education Foundation by accumulating K 1000 per month to share school uniforms to their fellow students. It is not done out of abundance. Though being insufficient, they tried their best to accomplish such a donation, by reducing their monthly expenditure. It is more marvelous than the donation out of abundance. Boomerang effect will be great surely though it was not expected.
In the opening address, Mahn Win Khaing Than, Patron of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and Speaker of Amyotha Hluttaw said, “Sharing can get rid of the vicious circle, “Donation is not performed out of poverty and failure to donate begets poverty.” It was quite right in saying so.
As a matter of fact, sharing is the Spirit of Buddha-to-be. At the time of thousands of eons ago, townspeople of Rammarwadi were reparing the road because Depinkara Buddha would reach. Buddha-to-be Sumeda hermit was granted the worst part of the road for repairing. Though the Hermit could manage to repair the road in a moment through His Power, He repaired it as done by others, by exerting much effort as He wished to give physical contribution. Just prior to the completion of road repair, the Godama Buddha arrived. So He lay down on the unfinished part of the road for Godama Buddha to go past through His back. On seeing the Buddha’s face, He made a solemn pray to become the Buddhahood so that He can lead beings to the way to liberate from circles of life. Though He can gain Nivirna in a moment for His own sake only, He made a solemn pray to become Buddhahood to save uncountable amounts of being, by fulfilling paramis for many and many eons. After becoming the Enlightened Buddhahood, He preached sermons throughout 45 years, with the spirit of sharing.
When making a vow to become Buddhahood, Dipankara Buddha did not pass over Sumeda hermit’s back, with the hermit on right side spreading flowers on Sumeda’s back, as did by follower Arahattha monks while paying respect by spreading flowers.
Puthujana’s sharing spirits was paid respect by Buddha and Arahtta monks as paying respect to sharing spirit. By seeing this, it is evident that sharing spirit is of great importance.
On such a ceremony, where students who won scholarship award presented by the Shwe Parami Education Foundation shared their fellow students with school uniforms, stationeries, story books and bicycles, Mahn Win Khaing Than, one of the highest State Leaders condescended to attend. This event reminds me of Dipankara Buddha and follower Arahttas monks. Who dare deny that those who give sharing and the ones who receive sharing here will belong to the group of virtuous persons and future’s leaders-to-be?
Donation can be made by presenting a representative representing students in Thaton at Shwe Parami Foundation in Yangon after purchasing school uniforms and books with the monthly saving at K 1000 per month. But it cost too much to have held the ceremony. Some may think that such a ceremony is more than necessary. In fact it is designed to indoctrinate the sharing spirit in students, that is, to broaden scope of loving-kindness that would like to perform well-beings of the whole populace.
Wholesome deed that supports to brighten the original good deed is called “Parivara Dana” / supporting wholesome deed. It is more beneficial than normal deed. I want you to be pleased with the thought that this is a worthwhile effort. You can assess as to whether it is worthwhile or not, from the speech of Mon State Chief Minister Dr Aye Zan, “It became incumbent upon me to hold such sharing ceremonies in 10 townships in Mon State. I made a solemn promise to implement my pledge for needy students.”
Ceremony is the one held occasionally. Sharing can be done without holding ceremony. Those needed ahead of us are required to be shared. Sharing made with loving kindness is noble and grand regardless of voluminous amounts or not.
Here, I would like to share an event of sharing without a ceremony which took place in the hospital of Thaton some 30 years ago. In 1990, in the hospital, a newly appointed medical doctor who earned K 1200 as a salary was serving when a 5-year-aged patient with 15 lb body weight, same to that of 8-month child was hospitalized. The TB patient child was in critical condition with high temperature for 4 months. After finding out the cause of the disease—malnutrition, the doctor fed the child with an egg a day, which cost K 1.25 a piece for 20 days. To do so, he had to live on his meager amount of salary frugally because he had no extra income for not running a private clinic (GP). The then hospitals had no funds for feeding patients with meat. After 20 days later, the patient nicknamed Maung Thon Nya/ Mr Zero gained weight and he was discharged from the hospital. In case, the poor Mr Zero was neglected in the hope that he was a terminal patient, he would have died of malnutrition in the hospital. Out of the four cardinal virtues—Metta, Karuna, Mudita and Upekkha in these orders, we cannot jump to the last—Upekkha. Share loving-kindness based on Karuna/ sympathy. Share loving-kindness based on Mudita/ rejoicing at somebody’s success or properties, without any hints of jealousy. Only at the last time, we must neglect on the assumption that the person in question is doomed to such a fate. Even at this stage, sharing loving-kindness by neglecting regardless of good or ill treatment towards us is called sharing loving kindness based on Upekkha/ detachment.
On the day when Maung Thon Nya was discharged from the hospital, in the front basket of the old bike used by the doctor for commuting, someone was found to have put a brown bag containing 20 eggs. The sharing was made by someone who witnessed the doctor’s meritorious deeds. The doctor placed the eggs in the refrigerator of the hospital for the patient like Maung Thon Nya.
The then doctor was none other than Professor Dr Ye Myint Kyaw, the specialist pediatrician-cum-double prize winner of national literature who compiled medical articles and aesthetic literature under the pseudonym of Dr Ye. The story is included in his short story titled, “Dare you vie for?” It is a good story which revitalizes the spirit of sharing.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the State Counselor, gave instructions on sharing program to subsidize school uniforms and stationaries to needy basic education school children at the very advent when the incumbent government took office. Accordingly, students from Shwe Parami Education Foundation started to accumulate K 1000 each every month, amounting to much after one year. This is the great marvel of collective forces.
I hereby express my thanks to Daw Mar Mar Khaing, Pyithu Hluttaw representative, Thaton constituency, Dr Zaw Lin Htut, Amyotha Hluttaw representative, Dr Wunna Aung Thu, secretary of NLD, Thaton township, Thaton NLD ward and village-tract leaders and village administrators for their helps to choose needy students.
Our people’s leader will be laying down instructions and decisions that will be beneficial for the people. It is necessary for all of us to remember every instruction and decision she laid down and to implement these. Provided that the whole populace will follow the leadership of such a leader we unprecedentedly came to possess, a good nation with a good system will emerge very promptly.
Every individual has their respective school, township and village each. Even if we cannot share in very far places, if we do sharing on small scale in our respective locations, the whole nation will develop remarkably, for sure.
May all serve in the interest of the people by sharing!
May all build up the new nation by sharing!
May all have the acquired virtues in doing wholesome deeds by sharing!
With the spirit of sharing,
Ashin Canda Dika (Shwe Paramitawya)
[Excerpt from the sermon preached at Suvana Bhonmi Sasana Bimman, Thaton on 6th August, 2017 at the sharing ceremony]
Translated by Khin Maung Oo (Tada-U)