How to lead a life of harmony
By Ven. Getamanne Kusalagnana thera
Human life when compared with other creatures like
celestial beings (Deva) seen and unseen beings, animals
and so on is appreciated. Human life is so appreciated
because of the following three qualities:
(i) Humanities, (ii) The power of retention and (iii)
Humanities are confined to the human beings only. They
are significant for the sustenance of peace and harmony.
The Buddha has taught four types of humanities that are
to be practised by everyone.
They are: Loving kindness (Metta), Compassion (Karuna),
Altruistic joy (Muditha) and Equanimity (Upekkha).
The above four sublime abodes (brahma - vihara) have
been seen as meditative subjects. The stereotype text on
the development of these four sublime abodes (brahma
vihara - bhavana) are often met with in the suttas, is
“There, O monks, the monk with a mind full of loving
kindness pervading first one direction, then a second
one, then a third one, then the fourth one, just so
above, below and all around and everywhere identifying
himself with all, he is pervading the whole world with a
mind full of loving kindness, with mind wide, developed,
unbounded, free from hate and ill will.” Hereafter
follows the same theme with compassion, altruistic joy,
Loving kindness is very significant because it is
concerned with peace and harmony in the social life. We
can see a peaceful society in society of human beings,
but not among animals because human beings respect the
others disregarding caste creed, race, religion or any
other social distinction. According to the teachings of
the Buddha, a human who understands his value should
first develop loving kindness to the self. The one who
protects self respect only can protect the respect of
The pursuit of happiness is not difficult if we have the
right mental attitude. Love is the key to happiness. All
human beings have the potential to give and receive
love. We are potentially storehouses of love.
In the Buddha’s teachings, the spirit of love is more
important than good work. “All good works whatever are
not worth an iota of love which sets free the heart.
Love which sets free the heart comprises good work. It
shines, gives light and radiance.’
Love is one of the greatest instruments of nature. The
powerful force of love is the bond and cement of society
- the spirit and life of the universe. Love is the most
precious thing in the world. No matter how unhappy you
are now or have been in the past, you can still find
happiness in the future. The key to happiness is love,
and you are in possession of that precious key, right
now and always. And remember, love begins with you.
Start the process of extending your love and compassion
to all beings. The inevitable reaction will surely be
that you will receive plenty of love in return. Telling
another person “I love you” can be a risky business
sometimes, but the rewards can be substantial. Love
according to the Buddha, does not mean attachment to a
person or an object through which one desires to satisfy
his or her selfish craving.
Altruistic joy or “muditha” is another one of four
sublime abodes. This means the great quality of happy
observing the “Happiness of others.” It is very clear
that jealousy has never brought anyone towards a
successful life, other than degeneration.
We must ask a question from our heart. Could you happily
transact with anyone in society? Does your heart allow
you to be tolerate to shed tears on success of others?
Then you are really practising “altruistic joy” which
enables you to lead a perfect human life.
“Diso disam yam tam kayra
Veri va pana verinam
Papiyo nam tato kare.”
Whatever charm a foe may do to a foe, or a hater to a
hater, yet an ill-directed mind can do oneself far
The world is like a mirror and if you look at the mirror
with a smiling face, you can see your own beautiful
smiling face. On the other hand if you look at it with a
Long face you will invariably see ugliness. Similarly if
you treat the world kindly the world will also certainly
treat you kindly. Learn to be peaceful with yourself and
the world will also be peaceful with you. ‘Altruistic
Joy’ or muditha is a medicine for the illness of
jealousy. When you are cured with ‘Altruistic Joy’ the
world will be peaceful to you.
Equanimity is conducive to be tolerance any kind of
mental of bodily condition. It is also one of the
perfections fulfilled by the Buddha. Equanimity leads to
protect oneness of humanity which is conducive to
tolerance and also progress of the social life.
The above four sublime abodes can be seen through a
perfect human life. Perfect human life means the
standard of human life which is having perfect sensory
We have six sensory organs, namely eye, ear, nose,
tongue, body and mind. We have the ability to change our
lifestyle after examination of realistic nature
pertaining to our sensory organs.
‘Cakkhuna samvaro sadhu
Sadhu sotena samvaro
Ghanena samvaro sadhu
Sadhu jivhaya samvaro”
“Kayena Samvaro sadhu
Sadhu vacaya samvaro
Sabbattha samvuto bhikkhu
(Dhammapada 360, 361)
“Good is restraint in the eye, good is restraint in the
ear, good is restraint in the nose, good is restraint in
the tongue.” (360)
“Good is restraint in deed, good is restraint in speech.
good is restraint in mind, good is restraint in
everything. The bhikku restraint at all points is freed
from sorrow.” (361)
Five monks each of whom was guarding one of the senses
inquired of the Buddha which sense was the most
difficult to restrain. Instead of answering the question
directly the Buddha related a story from one of their
past births to show that they had come to destruction
because their senses were not guarded, and then he
uttered the above verses.
It is useful to guard all the senses in order to lead a
successive social life. The society becomes very complex
day by day. Due to globalisation and computer
revolution, it is not easy to guard our senses properly.
Yet, it is possible for us to guard our sensory organs,
if we are really honest. As we discuss earlier the four
sublime abodes enable us to lead a perfect human life
while guarding our sensory organs.
The process of practising above four types of humanities
enables to have perfect sensory organs. So that one
becomes healthy in both bodily and mentally. Number of
friends will be increased.
Power of retention
Human beings have the ability to recall (recollect) past
event. This is wonderful. So, that one can formulate his
present life as well as future life. Every human being
is possible to change his style of life after
examination of its realistic nature. Also he can upgrade
his life as well as because of misguidance he can take
measures to de-generate his life deliberately.
Perfect human life means the standard of human life.
Which is having perfect sensory organs. However, the
meaning of perfect sensory organs can be interpreted
through development of higher visions. The process of
practising four sublime abodes (Metta, Karuna, Mudhita,
Upekkha) enables you to have perfect sensory organs.
So that our life is well protected from the danger of
de-generating. No wonder, even the social life will be
wonderful. Through the eye of wisdom one can work out
towards wisdom to realise four noble truths, and finally
to attain Nibbana. This is the great attainment of a
perfect human life.
In the process of self-transformation, a person will no
longer aspire to a divine birth as his ultimate goal in
life. He will then set his goal much higher, and model
himself after the Buddha who has reached the summit of
human perfection and attained the ineffable state we
call Enlightenment or Nibbana. It is here that a man
develops a deep confidence in the Triple Gem and adopts
the Buddha as his spiritual ideal. He will strive to
eradicate greed, develop wisdom and compassion, and to
be liberated from the bounds of Samsara.