Meditation for BeginnersThe Origin of the Singalovada Suttait is easy and possible to train them to be good and virtuous.Once upon a time, there was young man named Singala who was extremely arrogant. Singala did not listen to his parents’ advice despite the fact they were already enlightened beings-thus he had no idea of right or wrong.In desperation, Simgala’s father gave his son a short teaching while on his deathbed. “Son! Promise me just one thing before I die-make sure you pay respect to the six directions each day.” The father requested this because he predicted that one day in the future Lord Buddha or some enlightened one [arahant] would see his son paying respect to the different directions and deliver a teaching to allow him to know the real meaning of this practice.Some time later, when the Lord Buddha was on almsround in Rajagaha, he saw Singala paying respect to the six directions: North, South, East, West, above and below.He explained further that he rose early every morning to perform the ritual.The Lord Buddha first asked Singala the reason why he had to pay respect to different directions. Singala replied that it was out of respect for his father’s dying wish. He explained further that he rose early every morning to perform the ritual. Hence, the Lord Buddha said to him, “According to the discipline of the enlightened ones, we have a more fruitful way of paying respect to the Six Directions.” Singala then asked the Lord Buddha to deliver his teaching on the enlightened one’s disciplines. The Lord Buddha delivered his discourse on ‘guidance on training virtuous people, ‘so that all mankind will have principals for further practice that would extend peace in this world. The discourse explained the training process for children from birth onwards. It is easy to train the new born babies because their minds are still neutral. They do not have both good or bad habits. So, it is easy and possible to train them to be good and virtuous. Training will help improve the bad ones while encouraging the good ones as well.
Training will help improve the bad ones while encouraging the good ones as well.Initial observations from this tale:1. Singala’s reason for showing respect to directions shows that he wished to be a good perspn even though he used to be arrogant and obstinate. However, he did not know how he could realize his wish. Even robbers wish to be virtuous, but due to the limits of their wisdom, a career as robbers is the best thing they can think of !2. We surmise that the father’s request for Singala to show respect to the six directions was possibly because he had heard this teaching from the Lord Buddha before. The story also shows that people in the ancient days had the tradition of paying respect to earth deities. It could be the root of the belief that worshipping nature will help protect them from natural disasters and bring them prosperity in return. This is also the origin of the belief that God is Nature.3. One principal of learning basic virtues for children is to remember what their parents have taught them. At first it can lead to nothing more than faith. Later, however, the children will look for reasons through questioning, to bolster their faith.4. Singala showed respect to different directions and requested the Lord Buddha to deliver his teaching could mean that he was facing the following troubles:4.1 Loneliness due to the fact that his parents already passed away;4.2 Problems from running business and managing the inheritance received from his late parents;5. The reason why the Lord Buddha delivered his teachings could be viewed as the followings:5.1 He foresaw that Singala paid respect to directions because he had unsolvable troubles. And he did it because Singala’s parents were his disciples who attained the basic level of enlightenment. In addition, it was his great compassion upon all beings. So, he delivered his great compassion upon all beings. So, he delivered his discourse on ‘ the guidance on training virtuous people’ to be followed by all mankind.5.2 He foresaw that the order of Singala’s father was the background knowledge that he could use to develop a new discourse by replacing the old beliefs with his knowledge.6. As the Lord Buddha said that according to the disciplines of the enlightened ones, showing respect to the six directions is fruitless. It means that the enlightened ones do not achieve prosperity through superstitious rituals but they make progress by cultivation themselves according to the proven disciplines.
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The Origin of the Singalovada Sutta
Once upon a time, there was young man named Singala who was extremely arrogant. Singala did not listen to his parents’ advice despite the fact they were already enlightened beings-thus he had no idea of right or wrong.Dhamma Articles > Meditation Articles and Techniques > Meditation for Beginners
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