:
BUDDHA'S
GOSPEL OF THE GOOD LIFE


in Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's own words



Compiled by Rameesh & Ananda Kasturi


Offered with lots of love and happiness at the Lotus feet of our beloved Swami,
on the occassion of Buddhapoornima on 30.05.1999



    Contents

I. CHILDHOOD
II. BUDDHA'S TEACHINGS
III. UNDER THE BODHI TREE
IV. THE NOBLE TRUTH TAUGHT BY BUDDHA
V. LAST MOMENTS OF THE ENLIGHTENED ONE
VI. THE DHAMMAPADA, THE VEDAS AND SATHYA SAI BABA
VII. THE BRAHMIN - A POEM
VIII. THE FIVE HUMAN VALUES
IX. SATHYA SAI ABOUT SATHYA SAI AND 'SANATHANA DHARMA'
X. USEFUL INFORMATIONS
XI. BIBLIOGRAPHY
XII. INDEX OF QUOTATIONS


I. CHILDHOOD

About 560 B.C. prince Siddhartha, who later came to be known as Buddha Gautama was born. His birthplace is near the city Bhinla in Nepal, and was at that time called Kapilavastu.

"Buddha's mother Mayadevi passed away nine days after his birth. After the death of his mother, he was looked after by his step-mother Gautami. She fostered Buddha with boundless love. To perpetuate the name of his fostermother for the love she bestowed on him, he was called Gautama." 1

S.S.B.

His father, the king, tried to protect Siddhartha from all kinds of unpleasant views, thoughts and happenings and the prince grew up in beautiful palaces, surroundedwith all comforts and pleasures.

According to the kings order no one was allowed to mention sufferings, pain, decay or death in the presence of the young prince. His was a life of never ending merriment, playfulness and joy. He didn't know that there was misery in life in the form of death, sickness, old age etc.

As a young man he got married to princess Yashodhara and lived with her in regal splendour, still fully protected from the outside world. But from the core of his being a dissatisfaction arose. Then, while travelling he came face to face with an old tottering man, a sick man tossing around in pain and a dead body carried to the funeral.

Prince Siddhartha's conscious was stirred and he became aware that there is more to life than just merriment and pleasure. His quest for a deeper meaning in life was prompted by the sights of pain, death and decay. The fully protected life in a palatial residence seemed now shallow and empty to him.

Then, on another occasion Prince Siddhartha met an Ascetic, standing quietly at the roadside. The holy man was filled with peace and tranquillity. His radiance of divine peace had a lasting impact on the prince's mind and he deepened his quest about the true meaning of life and death.

Time passed, his son was born but Prince Siddhartha couldn't resist the inner call anymore. He had to renounce family life and the world, his palaces and his royal lifestyle. The yearning for the secret knowledge and the highest Truth was beckoning him.


II. BUDDHA'S TEACHINGS

"Buddha said: "When I left the palace, my father (the king) was told that I was doing a great wrong in renouncing the family. My parents, kinsmen and others tried to put pressure on me to return to the ties of family life. These wrong efforts on their side made me more determined to pursue the spiritual path. In the quest for spiritual peace several ordeals have to be overcome. Today I have found the Truth about life. What is it? The sanctification of the five senses is the way to Truth. If the senses are polluted, of what avail are spiritual exercises? When the water in a tank is polluted, all taps will only give polluted water. Your heart is the tank. When it is filled with good thoughts and feelings, all that comes out of the senses - your speech, your vision, your actions - will be pure." 2

S.S.B.

"Buddha undertook various enquiries to discover the Divine and came to the conclusion that only through mastery over his senses he can achieve Divinity. Hence, Buddha declared that the first requisite is Samyag-darsanam (Having the right vision). The implication of this statement is that, having been bestowed with the great gift of eyes, man should use them for seeing sacred objects and holy beings. What one sees influences the feelings in the heart. The state of the heart determines the nature of one's thoughts. The thoughts influence one's speech and one's life. This was the first lesson Buddha taught." 3

S.S.B.

"Buddha wandered all over the country in search of spiritual peace and liberation. After many years of enquiry he came to the conclusion that the secret of spiritual wisdom was not to be attained from scholars or by study. He realised that spiritual understanding could only come by mastering the senses. From developing sacred vision, man has to proceed to Samyag-vachanam (Sacred Speech).

Buddha declared that only sacred thoughts can lead to sacred speech and that the tongue should not be used recklessly to utter whatever one thinks. The tongue has been given to speak the Truth, to expatiate on what is sacred and pure. The tongue has not been given to man to pamper the palate with delicious sweets. It is not given for talking as one likes. It is not to be used for causing displeasure to others. Nor is it to be used for indulging in falsehood.
The tongue has been given to man to speak the Truth, to be sweet to others, to praise the Divine and enjoy the bliss derived from such sacred speech." 4

S.S.B.
"Never speak harsh words;
Let not bitter words
Escape thy lips any time;
Keep them far away."
Yajur Veda, 5.8

"Buddha emphasised goodness in action (Samyag-Karma). The mark of good action is harmony in thought, word and deed.

He also declared that good action is conducive to good spiritual progress, which is called Samyag-Saadhana. Good deeds constitute genuine spirituality. When spiritual striving of this nature has been completed, Samyag-Jivanam (leading a pure life) is achieved.

This is how the five organs of perception, the Panchendriyas, should be used to reach the supreme goal of life.

Good vision, good thoughts, good speech, good deeds and good spiritual endeavour are the pre-requisites for a good life, which is called Samyag-Jivanam." 6

S.S.B.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba explains to His devotees:
"In spite of many efforts and spiritual Sadhana, one is not able to attain realisation of divinity because the vision is not good. Buddha investigated into this very deeply and found out in the end that the mind is the stumbling block for progress towards realisation. He became 'Amanaska', that is, he eliminated the obstacles of the mind and attained Nirvana or Liberation. He realised the Atma. How to get rid of this mind? You can do this only by directing your attention to the intellect and start discriminating as to what is eternal and what is ephemeral." 7
S.S.B.
In the same speech Sri Sathya Sai Baba said:
"You should be hollow inside, that is beyond feelings and desires. You have to proceed beyond the mind. Buddha contemplated for six years before he could achieve this: 'Buddhigrahyam Atheendriyam'. He went beyond the body, mind and intellect to realise the Atma." 8
S.S.B.
and on another occasion He explained:
"When you ignore the body and the mind, you will understand your true nature, the Atmic Principle in you. When you have realised this basic truth, you can carry on all your daily activities and do your duties in a spirit of edication." 9
S.S.B.

III. UNDER THE BODHI TREE

"For 26 years Buddha sought the realisation of the Self by studying scriptures, meeting sages and saints and listening to their teachings. He found that by these means he could not experience Reality. He understood that the knowledge of the Self has to be gained through an inward search. He stopped the outward quest and gradually experienced knowledge of the Self from within." 10

S.S.B.


"Be unto yourself a Lamp and a Light. Applying diligence, work out your own salvation." 11

BUDDHA


"It is a mark of ignorance to expect that another person will give you happiness. Buddha felt sad that people should be subject to such ignorance. He practised many spiritual exercises and came to a conclusion. He decided to go to Gaya and experience bliss in his own ways." 12

S.S.B.


Gautama Buddha chose to sit in one place, meditating in his heart on God. During that time many evil forces, symbolic for the desires and lower aspirations of his personality, had to be conquered by him. After seven weeks sitting under a tree he attained Enlightenment on the fullmoon day of May 544 B.C.
That tree was later called Bodhinada, meaning: 'the Seat of Intelligence.'

"He found the source of bliss within himself and realised it could not be found outside. Every person's heart is the dwelling place of God." 13

S.S.B.


"All the forms in which God is worshipped are products of the human imagination. The proper way to experience God is to feel with all your inner being that you are Divine itself. That experience will make you feel the presence of the Divine in all beings and in all things." 14

S.S.B.


"Buddha relied entirely on his own inner quest to experience his Reality as he found that scriptural texts and preceptors were of no use." 15

S.S.B.


"Buddha declared:
    Buddham Saranam Gachchami - I beseech the blessings of the Enlightened One.
    Sangham Saranam Gachchami - I beseech the company of the virtuous.
    Dharmam Saranam Gachchami - I beseech the guidance of righteous acts.

Through his Enlightenment, he discovered the importance of Righteousness (Dharma) and wanted to make it the basis of society. Buddha realised that self-realisation cannot be attained through penance or prayers or austerities. At the outset, Buddha emphasised the importance of developing good vision (Samyag Drishti), which leads to good thoughts, speech and actions." 16

S.S.B.

IV. THE NOBLE TRUTH TAUGHT BY BUDDHA

"The Buddha informed his ascetic friends of the Noble Truths which run as follows:

The Noble Truths are:
"This is the noble Truth of pain: birth is suffering, old age is suffering, disease is suffering; death is suffering, sorrows, lamentation, dejection and despair are suffering. Contact with unpleasant thing is suffering; notgetting what one craves is suffering. In brief the five groups of clinging are suffering.

"Now this is the Noble Truth ofthe cause of suffering:
Verily it is this thirst, the craving for existence and enjoyment which leads to renewed rebirths, seeking satisfaction; now in this way now in another. It is the craving for gratification of the passions, the craving for existence in the present life or hereafter, or the craving for annihilation.

"Now this is the Noble Truth which leads to the cessation of suffering; verily it is this noble Eight-fold Path:

    right View,
        right Aspiration,
            right Speech,
                right Action,
                    right Livelihood,
                        right Effort,
                            right Mindfulness,
                                right Concentration."

These few sentences are the foundation of the Buddhist religion and philosophy." 17


V. LAST MOMENTS OF THE ENLIGHTENED ONE

"Buddha summoned his step-brother Ananda to impart to him his final message. Ananda was the son of Gautami (Buddha's step-mother). Placing his palm on the head of the younger brother, Buddha said: "My dear child! I came to the world to teach the Truth. If anyone asks, 'Where is God?' the answer is: 'He is everywhere'. Truth is God. Speak the Truth. Do not harm anyone. Recognise that the highest Dharma is non-violence (Ahimsa).

The supreme duty is refraining from causing harm to anyone. This truth is proclaimed in the scriptures in the exhortation: "Speak the Truth. Speak what is pleasing (Sathyam bruyaath; priyam bruyaath;) Thus, pleasing speech is declared as a supreme duty."18

S.S.B.


"The time of leaving his body was approaching and Buddha noticed that his step-brother Ananda was shedding tears. He beckoned Ananda and told him: "Even till today, the world is not recognising the Reality. There are thousands who experience sorrow at the sight of dying persons. But they make no effort to find out what experience is in store for the dead. I know the Truth about it. I am merging in that Truth. To shed tears at this prospect is not justified. It seems to me that you are grieving over the exhalted state that is impending for me. No human being should shed tears over the moment of death of any person."19

S.S.B.


"Buddha declared: I'm not dying. Nor are you living. All have to give up this body. Therefore you must not shed tears." 20

S.S.B.


"Tears are associated with the Divine and should be shed only for the sake of the Divine and not for trivial matters. Shed tears of joy. Grief is not a proper state for man. Hence no tears of sorrow should be shed." 21

S.S.B.
The Enlightened One
gave this last loving instruction to his disciples:
"Brethren, I exhort you; all component things are transient.
With diligence, work out your own salvation." 22
BUDDHA

"Before his passing, Buddha taught his step-brother the transience of worldly pleasures and the meaningless-ness of a purely mundane existence.

Buddha told him that he should not worry about what happens to the body which is perishable and full of infirmities. He exhorted Ananda not to bother about the body or the mind, but to lead a life based on the dictates of the conscience. Giving this advice, Buddha breathed his last." 23

S.S.B.

VI. THE DHAMMAPADA, THE VEDAS AND SATHYA SAI BABA


"Many high-souled spiritual leaders like Buddha
have shown mankind the path
they should follow
for reaching the highest goal of life." 24
S.S.B.

In this chapter we have collected some of Gautama Buddha's teachings, which have been recorded in THE DHAMMAPADA. The whole of Buddha's teachings are known as 'Tipitaka' (three baskets) and the Dhammapada, which literally means 'The way of Righteousness', is part of it. It is the most popular book and could be compared with the 'Bhagavad Geeta' of the Hindus. The Dhammapada contains 423 verses through which the Buddha preached Dhamma (Dharma, Righteousness) to the people. The chosen verses are from the opening chapter.

We also have taken some quotations from the Holy Vedas as well as from Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to show the unity in the teachings of different religious paths.

1.

"Our life is shaped by our mind.
We become what we think.
Suffering follows an evil thought
as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it.

Our life is shaped by our mind.
We become what we think.
Joy follows a pure thought
like a shadow that never leaves." 25

DHAMMAPADA

"Purity in thought, word and deed are the requisite for experiencing the Divine. This triple purity is considered as the essence of humanness. Buddha recognised this truth and experienced bliss." 26

S.S.B.
"Teach us, o all-wise Lord,
The Lord of Creation,
To purify our vision to behold Truth."
Yajur Veda, 4.4

2.

"He was angry with me, he attacked me,
he defeated me, he robbed me" -
Those who dwell on such thoughts will never
be free from hatred.

"He was angry with me, he attacked me,
he defeated me, he robbed me" -
Those who do not dwell on such thoughts
will surely become free from hatred." 27

DHAMMAPADA

"It is vital to fill the mind with Love and expel the six enemies residing in it. Every part of the body should be filled with Divine Love. That is the way to divinise man. Convert anger into Love. Turn hatred into Love. To effect this change what is needed is a change of heart - filling it with Love. When the heart is filled with Love, the whole world becomes loveable." 28

S.S.B.
"Perfect am I
Perfect is my mind
Perfect are mine eyes
Perfect are my ears
Perfect is my breath
Perfect my entire being
At peace with myself am I."
Atharva Veda 19.51.1

3.

"For hatred can never put an end to hatred;
Love alone can.
This is an unalterable law.
People forget that their lives will end soon.
For those who remember, quarrels come to an end." 29
DHAMMAPADA

 
"Ye enlightened men,
Uplift once more
The fallen and the degraded
The lowly and the lorn.
Ye illustrious men,
Uplift him who has sinned
Help him to begin life anew."
Rig Veda 10.137.1

"Where there is Love, there is no room for hatred. Do not be envious of anyone. When this evil quality appears, Love takes to flight. A pure heart is the abode of Love. Where there is Purity, there is Unity. Unity leads to Divinity." 30

S.S.B.
"Those who are selfish suffer here and hereafter;
They suffer in both worlds from the results
of their own actions.
But those who are selfless rejoice here and rejoice hereafter;
They rejoice in both worlds from the results
of their own actions." 31
DHAMMAPADA

 
"May we ever unswervingly follow the path of duty
as do the sun and the moon.
May we always serve humanity without demanding
the price of our service.
May we ever be benevolent, kind, self-sacrificing,
detached and adjustable.
May we surrender all and serve humanity like
the sun and the moon."
Rig Veda, 5.51.15

 
"'See no evil; see what is good
Hear no evil; hear what is good
Speak no evil; speak what is good
Think no evil; think what is good
Do no evil; do what is good
This is the way to God.'
This is the essence of Buddha's teachings." 32
S.S.B.

 
"As rain seeps through an ill-thatched hut, passion will seep through an untrained mind.

As rain cannot seep through a well-thatched hut, passion cannot seep through a well-trained mind." 33

DHAMMAPADA

"After getting enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree in Gaya, Buddha embarked upon his mission of preaching. Once, two of his disciples were accompanying him. Buddha noticed that they were looking at some women who were bringing water from a river. Buddha chided them for their misconduct and expelled them from the Sangha. He said that while walking on the road the eyes should be concentrated on the road in front and not go astray." 34

S.S.B.
"Thy mind goes far away
To heaven and earth,
Call it back to thyself,
So that it may remain
Under thy control."
Rig Veda, 10.


VII. THE BRAHMIN - A POEM

The concluding chapter of THE DHAMMAPADA is called the Brahmin. Literally it means 'one who is worthy of knowing God or Brahman'.

"Cross the river bravely,
Conquer all your passions,
Go beyond your likes and dislikes
And all fetters will fall away.

Who is a true brahmin?
Him I call a brahmin
Who has neither likes nor dislikes,
And is free from the chains of fear.

Who is a true brahmin?
Him I call a brahmin
Who has trained his mind to be still
And reached the supreme goal of life.

The sun shines in the day;
In the night, the moon;
The warrior shines in battle;
In meditation, the brahmin.
But day and night the Buddha shines
In radiance of love for all.

Him I call a brahmin
Who is never angry,
Never causes harm to others
Even when he is harmed by them.

Him I call a brahmin
Who does not hurt others
With unkind acts, words, or thoughts.
His body and mind obey him.

Him I call a brahmin
Who walks in the footsteps
Of the Buddha. Light your torch too
From the fire of his sacrifice.

Not matted hair nor birth
Makes a man a brahmin,
But the truth and love for all life
With which his heart is full.

Not riches nor high caste
Makes a man a brahmin.
Free yourself from selfish desires
And you will become a brahmin.

Him I call a brahmin
Who fears not jail nor death.
He has the power of love
No army can defeat.

Him I call a brahmin
Ever true, ever kind.
He never asks what life can give,
But "What can I give life?"

Him I call a brahmin
Who has risen above
The duality of this world,
Free from sorrow and free from sin.

Wanting nothing at all,
Doubting nothing at all,
Master of his body and mind,
He has gone beyond time and death.

Him I call a brahmin
Who is free from bondage
To human beings and nature,
The hero who has conquered the world.

Him I call a brahmin,
Free from I, me, and mine,
Who knows the rise and fall of life.
He will not fall asleep again.

Him I call a brahmin
Whose way no one can know.
He lives free from past and future;
He lives free from decay and death.

Possessing nothing, desiring nothing
For his own pleasure, his own profit,
He has become a force for good,
Working for the freedom of all.

He has reached the end of the way;
He has crossed the river of life.
All that he had to do is done;
He has become one with all life."35

DHAMMAPADA


VIII. THE FIVE HUMAN VALUES

NON-VIOLENCE (AHIMSA):

"Let him not cause to be destroyed, or destroy any life whatsoever, or sanction the acts of those who destroy. Let him refrain from hurting the smallest creature, both those who are strong and those that tremble in this world."36

BUDDHA

"If you conquer your enemy by force, you increase his enmity. Conquer by love, and no sorrow will result."37

BUDDHA

"Let anger be overcome by love, evil by good. Let the greedy be overcome by generosity, the liar by truth."38

BUDDHA

"Should anyone insult you...should beat you with his fist or hurl clods of earth at you, or whip you, or deal you a blow with a sword - set aside all worldly desires, all worfdly considerations and train yourself thus: "My heart shall remain steadfast. I shall not utter one word, I shall remain compassionate of others. I shall not entertain resentment. I shall practise kindness."39

BUDDHA

"Ahimsa does not mean merely not injuring a living being. You should not cause hurt even by a word, a look or a gesture. Tolerance, fortitude, equanimity - they help you to be steady in Ahimsa. They will remove all chance of your causing pain to others. This is called 'sahana' (forbearance) or 'kshama' (forgiveness). Assess the worth of whatever others do to you or say about you, and cultivate fortitude and the understanding to appreciate their behaviour and pardon their faults. This capacity is as invaluable as truth, righteousness, wisdom, nonviolence, renunciation, delight and compassion. It is all that one need possess for spiritual advancement." 40

S.S.B.
LOVE (PREMA):

"Let a man love the whole world with unstinted heart."41

BUDDHA

"Harbouring love in his heart for all things in the world, practising virtue for the benefit of others, this man alone knows happiness." 42

BUDDHA

"Should a man live a hundred years and devote the whole of his time in religious offerings to the gods, sacrificing horses, elephants and other things; this will not equal one act of pure love in saving a life." 43

BUDDHA

"When that Prema (Love) is tainted by selfishness, it cannot illumine at all. Self is loveless-ness; Love is selfless-ness. Self gets and forgets; Love gives and forgives. Love can never entertain the idea of revenge, for it sees all others as One-self. When the tongue is hurt by the teeth, do you seek vengeance against the teeth? No, for they both belong to you and are integral parts of your body. So too, when some other person insults you or inflicts pain, allow wisdom to have mastery over you and do not rush to conclusions, always keeping Love as your guide." 44

S.S.B.

PEACE (SHANTHI):

"Peace is found within. Let the Bhikku (Disciple) not seek for it elsewhere. Established in Peace he thinks no more of 'self' and 'not self'." 45

BUDDHA

"If there is righteousness in the heart There will be beauty in the character; If there is beauty in the character There will be harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home There will be order in the nation. When there is order in the nation There will be Peace in the world." 46

S.S.B.

RIGHTEOUSNESS (DHARMA):

"Do not think or say that your own religion is the best. Never speak disparagingly of other religions. Wherein consists religion? It consists in doing the least harm possible, in doing good abundantly, in practising love, compassion, faithfulness and purity, all your life." 47

BUDDHA

"By one's self is evil done. One's self is the cause of suffering. Both purity and impurity belong to one's self; none may purify another." 48

BUDDHA

"What is Dharma? Not the obligations relating to the various vocations. 'Dharma' means harmony in thought, word and deed. People equate charity with Dharma. That is not correct. Dharma calls for sacrificing your bad thoughts, feelings and actions."49

S.S.B.

TRUTH (SATHYA):

"My mission was to teach the truth. Gautama Siddhartha will know death, but Buddha will live, for Buddha is Truth, and Truth is Eternal. He who has faith in the Way and lives Truth is my disciple, and I shall guide him. The truth will spread all over the earth. For a while error will veil the light, but in due course another Buddha will arise, and he will make known the selfsame eternal truth which I have taught."50

BUDDHA

"God does not exist in some distant land. He resides in your own body. One need not search for God in different places. It is an illusion to search for Truth. If one does not recognise himself, how can he recognise God?
Embodiments of Love! Truth has manifested itself in the form of this world. Without Truth, there is no creation. Everything has emanated from Truth. The entire creation has emerged from Truth and merges back into Truth. There is no place devoid of Truth. This is the pure Truth."51

S.S.B.
"The Blessed One sat among His own
Upon the peak of vultures, and ther stood
Before his quiet feet the radiant heavenly king,
And laid before those feet a heavenly bloom
Of a golden hue, praying that he would speak
And in sweet speech make known to them the Law.

The Blessed One gently received the golden flower
Within his hand, and was wrapped in utter calm,
But spake not a word. And all the assembly mused
What this might mean, and musing, could not understand.
But Mahakasyapa musing, smiled -
He alone, being wise and venerable
Then softly said the Blessed One to him
Who alone knew:
'I hold within my heart the essence of the Law,
The great and wondrous thought that is Nirvana.
This did I give to thee,
Wordless, and wordless hast thou seen and known.'
Thus does the great teaching move from heart to heart
Nor doth it need words for wings." 52

"You will find it deep within yourself. Think it many times; ponder it; it tells you about your true nature; it gives you hope; it gives you new life. It points the way. It proves to you that God is within you, and you are not man. Man is God. It shows you that it is possible for you to realise God, but you and you alone must ponder this work deeply. You will find that you will begin to know what is meant by the statement: "The 'Self' cannot be explained." The mind knows of its existence; The 'Self-God' is within man. You are that Self. All else is illusion of the mind's creation, the mind that creates, preserves and destroys."53

S.S.B.

IX. SATHYA SAI ABOUT SATHYA SAI & SANATHANA DHARMA

"This Sai has come in order to achieve the supreme task of uniting the entire mankind as one family through the bond of brotherhood; of affirming and illumining the inner reality of each being in order to reveal the divine which is the basis on which the entire cosmos rests; and of instructing all to recognise the common Divine Heritage that binds man to man, so that man
can rid himself of the animal and rise to the divine which is his goal!"54

S.S.B.

"'SANATHANA DHARMA' is the very basis of living. It deals with the total personality. It embraces all Faiths and has established worldwide influence. 'Sanathana' means Eternal. Only a 'Dharma' (Code of Righteousness) which can win universal acceptance can be called 'Sanathana'. The religions we know are all derived from a person or prophet who is adored as the ideal. Islam has Mohamed, Christianity has Jesus. Buddhism has the Buddha. But 'Sanathana Dharma' is not derived from or through any person. It is the primal essence of all other faiths. It is the essence of all the messages the prophets proclaimed. It is welcomed by all mankind, for it welcomes all mankind."55

S.S.B.

"Men may have different languages and lifestyles but God is One and He is present everywhere. All religions speak of Him as Love and as attainable through Love. Forms of worshipping God differ, for they are shaped by time and place, but Love is the basic content of all the forms."56

S.S.B.

X. USEFUL INFORMATIONS

NIRVANA: Cessation of suffering is achieved by extinction of the personal self. He explained that by denying the ego, and turning firmly in the direction of Reality, the soul sees clearly the impermanence of the sense-world, and is freed from craving which is the root of sorrow. With extinction of self, the soul passes into the state called NIRVANA. Many understand Nirvana to be the annihilation ofthe soul. This is incorrect.

Nirvana is indefinable. It signifies Absorption in the Divine; the Peace which passeth all understanding; the joyous merging of the soul with ifs Source.

...It is to be recalled that the Holy One said to Dhaniya: "I have passed over to the Nirvana. " How could this be when the Holy One still lived in this world? What is Nirvana? The ignorant have taught, since the departing of the Perfect One, that Nirvana is an extinction of man himself. This is not so. THAT WHICH IS EXTINGUISHED ARE THE CRAVINGS AND PASSIONS IN MAN. When these have been vanquished, hatred and illusion are extinguished forever, and man enters Nirvana whether still in this world or not." 57

BUDDHISM, like Christianity is no longer confined to its original form. Many sub-traditions have been emerged in different countries of the world. Naturally it is shaped and influenced by the culture and traditions of the respective country.
Today Buddhism has grown into two major branches, namely Mahayana Buddhism, (Mahayana means Great Vehicle) which is regarded by its followers as a more progressive form. More than 100 Mi. followers are from China, 50 Mi. from Japan and also from Tibet, Korea and Mongolia. Theravada or Hinayana (which means small vehicle) Buddhism has the preservation of the traditions of the elders as a main subject.
It is to be found in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia etc. Most of the Buddhists are from Asian Countries (320.7 Mi.) with 56% Mahayana, 38% Theravada and 6% Tantrism (Lamaism). 58

'Manorama' Yearbook' 98
In His Discourse on February 5, 1998, the Chinese New Year Celebration in Prasanthi Nilayam, India, Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba mentions:
"Devotees have gathered here from Malaysia, Singapore, Hongkong, Indonesia, Taiwan and Japan. You may have come with many problems and worries. Leave all of them here and return to your places with your hearts filled with bliss. Leave all your bad thoughts and feelings and fill yourselves with the peace and joy of Prasanthi Nilayam.. .Think about God alone. There is nothing more vital than that.
 
"Try to acquire Divine Love.
Love is God. Live in Love.
The best way to love God is to
Love all, serve all.
All are embodiments of God."59
S.S.B.

With this Divine Guidance of Bhagavan, which is surely useful for all of us, whichever path to God we might have chosen, we close this small booklet. It is a humble offering at His Divine Feet on the occasion of Buddha Poornima on 30.05.1999.


XI. BIBLIOGRAPHY


XII. INDEX OF QUOTATIONS

* SSB means Sri Sathya Sai Baba
* SS means Sanathana Sarathi
* The Quotation of the Vedas are all taken from the book 'The Holy Vedas'and are not mentioned here again

1. SSB, 11.05.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.6
2. SSB, 05.02.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.2
3. SSB, 05.02.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.2
4. SSB, 05.02.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.2
5. Yajur Veda, 5.8
6. SSB, 05.02.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.2
7. SSB, 20.04.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.7
8. SSB, 20.04.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.7
9. SSB, 23.11.1997, SS, Vol.40 No.12
10. SSB, 11.05.1998, SS Vol.41 No.6
11. Your God is my God
12. SSB, 11.05.1998, SS Vol.41 No.6
13. SSB, 11.05.1998, SS Vol.41 No.6
14. SSB, 23.11.1997, SS, Vol.40 No. 12
15. SSB, 11.05.1998, SS Vol.41 No.6
16. SSB, 11.05.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.6
17. Glimpses of World Religions, p.53-54
18. SSB, 05.02.T998.SS, Vol.41 No.2
19. SSB, 11.05.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.6
20. SSB, 25.12.1997, SS, Vol.41 No.1
21. SSB, 11.05.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.6
22. Your God is my God
23, 24. SSB, 05.02.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.2
25,27,29,31,33,35, from Selections from the World's most sacred Literature, by Eknath Easwaran
26. SSB, 11.05.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.6
28. SSB, 25.12.1997.SS.Vol.41 No.1
30. SSB, 25.12.1997, SS.Vol.41 No.1
32. SSB, 11.05.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.6
34. SSB, 05.02.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.2
36-39, 41-43, 45, 47, 48, 50, 52, 57, from 'Your God is my God' by Gladys de Meuter
40. SSB, 17.02.1980
44. SSB, 16.02.1977
46. SSB, Generate God's Peace
49. SSB, 29.03.1998, SS, Vol.41, No.4
51. SSB.23.11 1995
53. SSB, in Dr.John Hislop, My Baba and I, p.246
54. SSB, Vol.41, No.12
55. SSB, 19.11.1980
56. SSB, 25.12.1979
58. Manorama Yearbook
59. SSB, 05.02.1998, SS, Vol.41 No.2
60. SSB, Vol.41, No.12


May the Divine
shower grace upon you;
may your life blossom
the Divine love for all!!


"Be pure in words and deeds and keep impure thoughts away. I am in every one of you and so, I become aware of the slightest wave of thoughts.
When the clothes become dirty, you have to be born again for the cleansing operations. The dhobi beats the clothes on the hard stone and draws over it the hot iron to straighten the folds. So, you too, will have to pass through a terrain of travail in order to become fit to approach God.
See me as a resident in everyone.
Give them all the help you can, all the service they need.
Do not withhold the sweet word, the supporting hand, the assuring smile, the comforting company, the consoling conversation."60
Sri Sathya Sai Baba