Can one truly appreciate the Buddha’s excellent qualities?


Do we understand what it means to be without clinging to the self? Do we

understand what the qualities of alobha, non-attachment, adosa, non-

aversion or kindness, and amoha or panna really are? The development of

satipatthana will condition such qualities, it will lead to the eradication of all

unwholesomeness. The Buddha himself was endowed with wisdom and

virtue of the  highest degree. When we pay respect to the Buddha we recite

the words: “vijja carana-sampanno”, endowed with wisdom and virtue. Do we

know the meaning of these words? Why do we show reverence in front of a

Buddha statue, at the places where his relics have been enshrined or at the

Bodhi-tree? We pay respect to all his excellent qualities: to his wisdom, his

compassion and his purity. If we do not recollect his excellent qualities while

showing reverence, our action is not very beneficial.

 

 
If one hardly knows whether the citta at this moment is kusala citta or
 
akusala citta can one truly appreciate the Buddha’s excellent qualities?
 
When we begin to understand the difference between kusala and akusala,
 
not in a theoretical way, but in daily life, we appreciate more the value of
 
right understanding of nama and rupa. Right understanding of visible
 
object or of seeing which occurs now, of all realities that appear
 
now, leads to the end of defilements. The Buddha taught the
 
development of right understanding for fortyfive years, out of compassion,
 
he taught for our welfare and happiness. The words we use to honour the
 
Buddha: vijja-carana-sampanno, can become more meaningful when we
 
begin to understand what these qualities are.
 
 
 
Paying respect to the Buddha’s relics is only meaningful if we recollect his
 
excellent qualities. The relics can remind us directly of his excellent qualities
 
because they are what remained of his body, the body of a Buddha
 
endowed with thirtytwo bodily characteristics each one of which was
 
conditioned by kamma. In the “Lakkhanasutta” (Dígha Nikaya, Dialogues of
 
the Buddha III, no. 30) it is explained that the Buddha, during his lives as a
 
Bodhisatta, accumulated manifold virtues and that these conditioned the
 
special bodily features that are the characteristics of a Buddha. We read
 
about his immeasurable generosity, his perfect sila and his boundless
 
loving kindness and compassion towards all living beings. He had no selfish
 
purposes in mind, he always thought of the welfare of others.
 
 

Topic 236