July 27 () : Dhammapada verses 7 & 8 of Chapter 1 deal with temptations and self-control.
When we live like trees, we are moved by even small breeze or disturbance. We bow to winds of change. Get uprooted when depression causes cyclonic storms. Even animals like elephants can pull down our branches.
It happens because we have not realised who we are, because our thoughts are impure, because we argue with others and for our own faults we suffer. What makes us to live and suffer in this condition? When are we going to achieve our goals if we are always immersed in day-to-day routines and the related problems? In other words, is there any goal we have set and are we making progress towards success?
Dhammapada identifies an evil, the so-called tempter which blocks our success without our knowledge.
We can have our tasty food. No problem. Nothing is wrong in taking healthy foods. But, there should be some moderation on what to eat and what not to eat. In this era of consumerism, we are tempted by advertisements of varieties of foods from various countries. There are deals and discounts for unlimited buffet. From the status of basic need, the food has raised to a symbol of high lifestyle. While large sections of people are fighting for food security, another section of people eat more than what is required by their own body. This tempting of tongue brings disease and downfall.
Another tempter arises from our inertia. The laziness, keeping oneself idle with no spirit or sense of higher thoughts make us effortless and we fall by our own emptiness.If we do not have any great purpose and do not get involved in extraordinary works, we will be felled by the tempter. If our mind is not preoccupied with right thoughts, the vacuum will definitely be occupied by the evil.
We need to exercise self-control in all our senses right from tongue to skin and channelize our energy on our efforts towards goals. This is not about conquering the senses but subduing.
When we achieve a higher goal, it gives more pleasure than the satisfaction from food or fragrance or music or holiday travel or sex.
When we look for success and concentrate on it with self-control, we will defeat the tempter of evil at the same time we will enjoy a true and lasting pleasure.
Self-control strengthens our body and mind. We become a mountain which stands still in a breeze or a wind or a cyclone. There is enough space in a mountain for many trees.
Dhammapada verse 7 & 8 of Chapter 1:
He who lives looking for pleasures only, his senses uncontrolled, immoderate in his food, idle, and weak, Mara (the tempter) will certainly overthrow him, as the wind throws down a weak tree.
He who lives without looking for pleasures, his senses well controlled, moderate in his food, faithful and strong, him Mara will certainly not overthrow, any more than the wind throws down a rocky mountain.