Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reunion With Blessing

Reunion With A Blessing

I’m very glad to have the opportunity of telling the story of my reunion with someone who is a blessing to me, a reunion with Sayadaw U Chekinda, himself. I had been informed that Sayadaw had arrived in Perth. Then I assured myself that this is a rare opportunity to meet with and receive some blessing from him. I would like to thank Cherry a lot, for pushing me to attend the Dhamma-talk of Sayadaw.

Three years and 6 months of my present life I spent in Myanmar when I was studying at the International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University in Yangon. Almost everyday, Sayadaw and I used to see each other in the hostel or in classroom. Still I remember, some teachers and their classes were not very popular with everyone but in Sayadaw’s classes, we never had chance to fall a sleep. He was so very charismatic and attentive in class.

There are so many qualities and qualifications that I could not mention them all for Sayadaw U Chekinda. What always impressed and inspired us (all the foreign students) including me, was his openness, friendliness, and non-judgemental attitudes. He was the lecturer to the Patipatti department and he used to take the Vipassana Meditation Unit, and sometimes Abhidhamma as well.

He was also the warden of the Foreign Students Hostels. Sometimes, some students used to go to him with some complaints, or some requests, or want some advice, or to ask some question, he rarely disappointed anyone in their expectations, even though he was super busy. I remember one time especially, when I was sick, he asked his personal doctor to come and see me.

It is always a pleasure to remember and mention his qualities. He is handsome, of course, (Tappey deh), and charming for sure, very easy going, very friendly, definitely non-judgemental, always kind and generous, devoted and dedicated in his life, for his religion and his people. He is a good practicing Buddhist Practitioner, truly educated, and mindful. Over all he is a true human.

I remember sometimes he took me to his Dhammatalk (Tayaho Bue). Thousands of people came to listen his talks and teachings. He likes telling jokes and giving many parables during his teaching. He is very much focused on his topic.

One incident with him that I mention sometimes when I give a talk or teaching, during our final year exams we asked him what sort of question he prepared for our test paper. He said, there will be one question like; “ Is Vipassana meditation difficult to practice?” he further said, if we answer either Yes or No, both are a correct answer, and we will get 5 marks for that. If we could further explain why it is Yes or No, then we will get a total of 20 marks. That kind of clever he is!

Five years later I saw him sitting in Dhammaloka, I felt so happy that he recognized me. He was looking at me with lots of curiosity. I asked him, “Sayadaw Phaya, mam’mi da la (can you recognize me).” He replied, “Mam’mi ba deh” Yes, I remember you.

Burmese is the 4th language that I speak, and my proficiency score could be 75%. I enjoyed his talk last night that he gave in the Burmese language. His talk was very contemporary, beneficial, and comprehensible.

He was giving some teaching from Mangala Sutta. It’s a very common teaching but a super guideline for daily life. To be honest, what I felt was that along with his teaching he also showed his concerns about the small Burmese Buddhist community here. As he directly asked the audience, “ Ba phi lo le di ma la ne deh?” (Why did you come to live here?), when you were living in a country where the people practice the Dhamma in the right way, patirupadesavasa. This is mentioned in the Mangala Sutta as a matter of fact. Living in a country where people are practicing Dhamma, righteously is a blessing.

We know this question and answer both are very complicated and difficult for this materialistic society and its people. What I comprehended is what he was saying no matter where or how you are living, live within Dhamma, practice in Dhamma. He reminded them that they have a wonderful tradition and have the pure teachings of the Buddha. He also warned that the present and future generation of the Burmese community here is missing some essential qualities. And I’m totally in agreement with that. I have been living here for about two years, and I have been a victim of this sort of incident.

I love Burmese people, and I love their culture. I am in much debt to Burma, and I do whatever I can to repay this debt.

I say thanks to those people who invited Sayadaw U Chekinda to Perth and took care of him. They shall be very fortunate to have him with them. I’m very fortune to be reunited with him, my teacher, my blessing. I believe in Samsara. And all of us will be reuniting with each other unless we attain Nibbana.

With Metta-

Praggananda Sraman
(U Pannananda)