Today is a very interesting day, thanks to Ping who suggested we should go to the London Buddhist Vihara to join their celebration on the Vesak Day. This is a quote from their website:
BUDDHA DAY (VESAK) which commemorates the Birth, Enlightenment, and the Parinibbana of the Buddha will be celebrated at the London Buddhist Vihara.
They have a whole day programme but I only attended two of the talks, both of the talks were very interesting, there were:
1. “A Bombarded Earth” by Prof. N.C. Wickramasinghe,
He is a world-renowned authority in the field of astronomy. He was the Professor of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy at Cardiff University of Wales and Director of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology.
There were quite a few points I like in his talk, for example he talked about the new “Earth-like” planet “Corot-exo-1b” has been discovered a few days ago, Comics dusts and the global warming on Mars. It is also interesting to see how the science we discovered nowadays agree with the one described in Buddhism. The second talk was:
2. “Challenge of the Dhamma” by Achan Khemadhammo, O.B.E.,
Spiritual Director of Angulimala, The Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy Organisation The Forest Hermitage, Warwickshire.
It has a been a while since the talk at Imperial College Buddhist Society where we invited Ajahn Khemadhammo to give a talk at Imperial College. In this talk, he talked about challenges, challengers that arises everyday. Emphasis on the importance of the 5 precepts and that we should stand up to the challengers and not try to cover our mistakes and make excuses for ourselves. It is very easy for us to try to justify what we are doing wrong, this we must be careful. About the 5 precepts, the one that many people found very hard would be the 5th one:
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicants which lead to heedlessness.
Surā meraya majja pamādatthānā veramani sikkhāpadam samādiyāmi
Letting us know the importance of this precepts and telling us how he take this precepts when he was still an actor, and people respected him for standing up to challenges for something they believe is correct. Many people would say that for culture or social reason, it’s difficult not to drink and during the Q&A sessions, it was interesting to see many people were trying to get around this precept. For me myself, I would say there is no need to ask someone if it’s correct or not, we know very clear our own intention and our mind. There is no need to find excuses, may it be drinking for the taste or feeling. However this is something for ourselves to decide, it’s surely harder for some people to give up drinking than others, but at the end it depends if we are strong enough. You may not agree with me that drinking is not good, but I’m sure this can be apply to different challenges.
Lastly, I like the way he delivered the message, it’s very simple but very direct. I feel very lucky to have the chance to meet and learn from Masters, a very good reminder, time for us to develop is running less and less very moment. We must treasure our time!
Related: Ajahn Khemadhammo’s post on this event