Growing old causes heartache
By Galaboda Siri Gnanissara Nayaka Maha Thera (Podihamuduruwo – Gangaramaya)
Mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, beware of growing old! In Myanmar (former Burma) growing old is a reason for respect. The situation in Sri Lanka is totally different. Let me tell you an authentic story.
A gentleman, a driver by profession related as follows: "Venerable Sir, may you get much merit. My grandson is very young and just begun to lisp. He is not of school-going age. But, when he is angry, he calls me "Old Fellow". My only child is my daughter, my wife has passed away. I wondered how my grandson came to call me "you old fellow." It could have been acquired by him either from his mother or his father. I thought of a strategy. When I come home from work, I brought two toffees and gave him one and showed the other. My grandson then threatens me to get the other toffee and would call me "You dirty old fellow." I take delight in that expression because it gives my daughter and son-in-low a sharp pain."
Everyone should understand this situation. Even the state cannot prevent people growing old. If one tried, he can lead a healthy life. The Buddha’s word is "Arogya parama labha" (Health is the greatest benefit.) This was a sacred statement, uttered nearly 2500 years ago. Each one must look after one's self, so that one can attend to one's own task, until one passes away. Today, a situation has arisen when people cannot get their children to take care of them even if they are wealthy and educated.
Homes for the aged have mushroomed. But, how many can afford that? Do they not have the good fortune to get the support of their own children, raised by them? In "Vasala Sutta" (the Discourse on the Outcasts) several causes of downfall are given. One is the neglecting of one's aged parents. Parents amass wealth for their children without taking adequate food, undergoing much suffering. How many of the younger generation appreciate this suffering of parents? You have to look at both sides. It is no use raising children without inculcating in them a sense of virtue, values and responsibilities. All those who bring up children must keep this in mind. It is futile to curse or find fault with others.
The majority of the Tamils never forgets or overlooks their language and their rites, rituals, customs and manners. The Sinhala Buddhists waste a vast amount of money, for weddings, funerals, ceremonies, celebrations etc. The Teachings of the Buddha emphasize that falsehood, deception, pride etc. are negative qualities. The Buddhists are in the majority and should set an example to the other races and communities. What is meant by deference is treating all races, communities and followers of all religions, with equanimity. That is true felicitation. Felicitations held by collecting subscriptions are futile exercises.
Many are the occasions, when the Kings of this country, offered their land to the Venerable Brotherhood of Monks. This gesture enabled the Sacred Brotherhood of Monks to receive the respect and honour of the people of the country. Land, property, wealth etc. were offered to Sacred Monasteries, to enable the monks to perform their duties, without becoming helpless. Where there is contentment, simplicity, humility and a sense of charity, there is no downfall. There will be no lack of followers and admirers. This nation should live in utmost comfort. As one grows older that person should enjoy the assets and comforts with a sense of happiness. Charity should be practised not merely to show others, but with a conscience, truly and honestly.
In Europe e.g. the child is a treasure. Parents need not save for them. They have social security systems, Medicare facilities and Homes for the aged which are like luxury hotels. Since they have a systematic lifestyle they can lead their lives enjoying the assets they possess and be generous.
Today, millions of Rupees are needed to counter the illnesses and diseases that affect us. There is no awareness at all about Insurance Systems and Social Security measures. Even, where parents save for the children they do not have the good fortune to divide those amicably and live happily.
The parents have no way to divide their wealth among the children, while they live. This is due to excessive greed. People in our country today seem to lack the wisdom to understand what should be done and what should not be done.
Parents must clearly realize that the main reason why they do not receive the love and affection of their children is due to their own fault. They must instantly take steps to remedy this situation.
© Copyright 2010 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.