How to Understand People

Some people come to hasty conclusions about others. Depending on their first impression or little knowledge, people tend to evaluate their neighbors, coworkers, guests, etc. The following episode offers a valuable lesson to those people:

The Buddha was residing in a certain building in the city of Savatthi.  One evening he stood up from meditation practice and walked toward the outer door.  There he sat on the seat prepared for him.

Shortly afterward, King Kosala approached the Buddha, greeted him, and sat down by the side. The relationship between the Buddha and the king was a very cordial one. The cheerful king always admired the Buddha’s guidance, as well as his friendship. This time, too, he was about to begin a pleasant and meaningful conversation with the Buddha.

However, a scene on the road just in front of the building seemingly distracted the king momentarily. Several ascetics of different spiritual traditions were walking along the road together, and they were about to pass that building. The ascetics looked well disciplined. Wearing robes, they walked slowly and mindfully.

As the ascetics passed the building, King Kosala immediately stood up and greeted the thirty-five holy persons by saying, “King Kosala shows his respect to you, sirs.” After the ascetics left, the king turned toward the Buddha and said, “Sir, those ascetics have either attained enlightenment or are following the correct path toward enlightenment.”

The Buddha replied that King Kosala’s conclusion might be wrong.  “You live a secular life with attention to sensory satisfaction,” the Buddha said.  “People of your nature may not be able to identify those who have attained enlightenment or those who are striving to attain it.”  He explained that the following three-step process would allow one to find out others’ virtues, purity, mental strength, and wisdom:

1. Long association with people
2. Observation of their behavior
3. Reflection upon and rational evaluation of their behavior.

“What a great wisdom!” the king exclaimed after listening to the Buddha. “Those ascetics, in fact, are my secret agents. They are returning from a mission that I have assigned to them.”

Samyutta Nikaya 1: 3. 11; The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: 173-174

Vihara News

Reminder: Vihara Requests Your Donations to Support Flood-Affected Families in Our Community
Among the flood-affected people in The Vihara community, there are a few families and individuals who have recently moved to the United States and have just begun to settle in. We have so far identified 5 such families. They deserve our urgent attention.

Of course, thousands of people were affected by the flood, and some of you also went through difficult time. We believe that helping the Vihara members who need help is one of the most acceptable ways to provide flood relief at this time.

Please write your check to: Houston Buddhist Vihara and mail it to:

Houston Buddhist Vihara
8727 Radio Rd.
Houston, TX 77075.

Please write “Flood donation” in the memo and send in your donation before Sept. 15.
The Vihara will distribute your cash donations among the selected families and persons before Sept. 20.

Appreciate your support at this needy time.

Vihara programs This Weekend
Here is a brief summary of Vihara programs this weekend:

1. Monthly Sila (Poya) program:  Saturday, Sept. 9 from 7:00 am:

This program will be conducted both in English and Sinnala. The participants will observe The Eight Precepts and will participate in meditation and discussion sessions. Your breakfast and lunch will be served by Vihara members.

2. Abhidhamma class:  Saturday, Sept. 9 rom 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm.):

This Saturday is the first day of class. Interested persons should RSVP by emailing Ven. Upananda Nayaka Thero
The class is held in English.

3. Weekly Dhamma Deshana in Sinhala: Saturday, Sept. 9 from 7:00 pm.

Dhamma Deshana  will be given by Ven. Karamidule Sirirathana Thero and sponsored by Amith and Rathnamali Munasinghe family. Your dinner will be served by the same family at 8:00 p.m.

4. Sunday school for children: Sunday, Sept. 10 from 8:30 am.

Dhamma, Sinhala, music, and dance classes begin immediately after the Puja at 8:30 am.