The Sekha pathway
Ven. Buluwala Rathanasiri
In this month of Poson it is better to think of the way
showed by the Buddha towards Nibbana. When Poson arrives
we feel and see its light all over Sri Lanka.
Adults organise dansala to practice the giving of alms
as Bodhisathva when he performed his Dana Paramitha.
The Buddha wished his followers not only to honour him
by offering flowers and erecting pandals but also to
practice his pathway to Nibbana. In addition to that the
Buddha wanted his pupils to be educated in his doctrine.
The Buddha advised and guided his followers to practice
science (vijja) and earana (behaviour). In the Sekha
Sutta in Majjhima Nikaya the Buddha has described it as
a developing science and behaviour towards Nibbana.
When the Buddha lived in Nigrodharamaya He preached this
Sutta to Ven. Ananda because the Buddha had not been
well since that time.
The Buddha’s Sakya relatives including King Mahanama
built a hall named Sathtaghara Sala for the welfare
activities in their city called Kapilawasthu. King
Mahanama and his companions went to Nigrodaramaya to
invite the Buddha for alms and to declare open the hall
for the public. The Buddha accepted their invitation and
went to Sathtagara Sala with his disciples. They had
prepared seats when te Buddha and the Mahasangha arrived
at the Sathtagara Sala.
After having alms the Buddha wanted to preach them the
Sekha Pathway in the sermon. But the Buddha felt uneasy
and wanted to relax, for a while. So, the Buddha asked
Ven. Ananda to explain them Sekha Pathway towards
Nibbana. Then Ven. Ananda addressed King Mahanama and
preached them the Sekha Pathway.
The first step of the Sekha Pathway is to develop
normalcy (Sila). Sekha means pupil. He is the pupil for
attaining Nibbana. Then the pupil goes to the second
step, the controlling of the senses. When the pupil gets
objects through his faculties he has to think of its
features and soon to understand whether they lead the
person into unwholesome way towards hell.
The third step is known as Bhojanamhi Mathtannuthata
which means having the balanced diet and understanding
the purpose of having food. The pupil must understand
that he takes food not to enjoy or to annoy others but
to survive life to practise the way towards Nibbana. The
fourth step is called Jagariyanuyoga”.
The pupil breaks rest until midnight to cease
unwholesome feelings. Specially five hindrances moving
gently on foot, having meditation and so on. Then in the
next step he develops in his mind with sevenfold
wholesome feelings the pupils develops faith in the
Buddha understanding his seven characteristics. The
pupil has to develop shame and fear to commit
unwholesome deeds and to develop his knowledge by
hearing and reading. Then the pupil attempts to form his
mindfulness. Then he develops his upekkha (equanimity).
After developing the seven wholesome mental factors he
can develop his four Jhanas, the contemplation of mind.
In this Sekha Pathway from sila to Four Jhanas comes
under Carana (behaviour) because these steps develop the
pupil’s behaviour which suits to be an Arahant. After
developing Carana the pupil will understand Vijja
(Science). He develops his epitomes and knows about his
former births, rebirth and the knowledge of abolishing
all the blemishes and to attain Nibbana being an
arahant, the well balanced person in the world.