Translated by Chantaporn Gomutputra
Edited by June Gibb
Attahi attano nadho, we are our own refuge is the central theme of Buddhist teaching. The Buddha teaches us to rely only on ourselves because we are the creator of good and evil, and the one who will reap their corresponding results of happiness and pain. The creating mechanism of good and evil, joy and sorrow, heaven and hell are inside our mind. Mind is the principal architect. The Buddha therefore concludes that the mind is the chief, the forerunner of all things. It is both a doer and a receiver of its own actions. The mind is the master who gives order to his servant, the body, to do and say things.
There are three kinds of actions or kamma namely physical, verbal and mental. When we do good kamma, happiness, progress and heaven will be the results that follow. On the other hand when we do evil kamma, then pain, worry, anxiety and degradation will follow. After death, the mind will go to one of the four states of deprivation (apaya-bhumi) such as hell for example. Therefore, the Buddha insists that we must rely only on ourselves. We shouldn’t wait for someone else to create happiness and prosperity, heaven and nibbana for us. We must do it ourselves. To pray to Buddha images or to ask monks for blessings of success and prosperity is not the Dhamma teaching of the Buddha because he can only point the way to peace, happiness, and prosperity, and the way to suffering and deterioration. His teaching can be summarized as follows: avoid doing evil, do good and cleanse the mind of all impurities.
Doing good kamma or making merits such as giving to charity is like depositing money in a bank. The more we deposit the more money we will have accumulated. The interest will also increase and soon we will be rich. On the other hand, doing evil kamma is like borrowing money from the bank in which we would have to pay back the loan plus the interest as well. It can become a heavy burden to bear. People in debt are always anxious and worried, unlike those who have money in the bank, who are always smiling because their money keeps growing all the time. It is the same with making merits. It gives us peace of mind; make us feel happy and content. But when we do bad kamma, our mind would be set on fire. We become worried and restless. This we can see because it’s happening in our mind instantaneously, here and now, not in the next life. Therefore, if we want to be happy and prosperous, to sleep well and suffer no pain, then we must do only good kamma and avoid doing bad kamma.