Ashad Purnima (आषाढ पूर्णिमा)
On the auspicious day of Asādha-pūrnimā, Wednesday, 13 July 2022, sharing extract of dhamma letter by Shri SN Goenkaji dated July 15, 1968.
The auspicious day of Asādha-pūrnimā, is as significant as Vaisākha-pūrnimā – the day when the Bodhisattva Siddhartha Goutam was born, the day he became Fully Enlightened and the day of his Mahā-parinirvāna (the passing away).
Similarly, it was on this day of Āsādha-pūrnimā that Bodhisattva entered the womb of Mahāmāyā and the day he renounced life of the householder. What questions come to mind?
- Why is time of conception important?
- What is the relevance of Mind and Body?
- How does cycle of birth and death run?
This is as important as when the child is born. Both mind (soul) and matter (body) are needed for life, and death occurs when these two are separated. Though the lifeless body disintegrates into the four elements, the mind continues. It directly attaches itself to new material form at the moment of conception – when new life begins by the combination of sperm and ovum.
Even though actual birth takes place after about 9 months, new life begins at the moment of conception. This shows the importance of the time of conception over the actual time of birth.
In spite of beliefs of different philosophies, the reality is that mind – matter continuously arises and passes away. It is called sensations. Every moment the cycle of life and death goes on. But yes, if the mind at the moment of death is very pure, then it does not need physical matter to continue.
In such a realm, only the mind aggregates remain. It is a matter, less the state of existence. But in all the other planes of existence – devas, humans, birds, animals and asuras, the physical matter (body) is necessary for existence.
The mind cannot exist or wander around without physical matter. For example, if it takes birth as a form of ghost, it has to instantly connect with subtle physical matter of the ghost realm.
Likewise, beings born in the womb are conceived in the womb. For other beings, the mind attaches immediately to physical matter in a plane of existence depending on the nature of mind at the moment of death.
This physical structure or body could be solid like those of humans, birds and animals, etc., or subtle as those of asuras, ghosts, devas or brahmas. But a physical body is necessary.
The mind cannot keep wandering in these realms without a body. At the moment of death, the mind connects with matter somewhere else. This connection of mind with matter makes a new life.
It is noteworthy that one is ‘born’ three times:
- One, at the moment of conception.
- Two, when being delivered from the womb.
- Three, when one takes spiritual birth with the practice of mindful meditation, by tearing open the veil of ignorance.
Hence, the time of his conception is also important. The Day of the Bodhisattva’s Renunciation, Āsādha-pūrnimā is also of great importance, as on this day Prince Siddhārtha left the householder’s life in search of Enlightenment. It is in this going forth that the seed of enlightenment was sown. All doubts, scepticism vanish when the laws of nature are experienced through practice of mindful meditation.
It is clear that the Buddha saw one’s own mind as the great creator, which keeps taking new life forms depending on deep-rooted conditioning of the mind and keeps flowing in the continuous cycle of birth and death. By attaining enlightenment, he had broken this endless cycle of misery.
The Buddha made clear that the fruits of all our actions do not ripen in just one life; they will ripen in time to give us states of happiness and unhappiness for innumerable births to come.
The truth was made clear that all conditioning of the mind that bring us new lives are by nature changing, are impermanent. They arise and pass away.
If there is misery, then there is a cause of this misery. If there is a cause, then it can be eradicated. If the cause can be eradicated, then there is a way to eradicate it.
For our welfare, and to share this welfare with all beings, we too should practice Mindful Meditation – to come out of all suffering, and experience real peace and happiness. May all beings be liberated!
Reset Your Mind Through Meditation
Let us join together and demystify spiritual aspect of meditation. We meditate and observe our experiences and draw our own conclusions based not on hearsay or faith or belief system but through actual experience arising out of meditation of mindfulness practice.
Online workshop: 06 Aug 2022, 11.30 am BST / 4.00 pm IST, Durartion 90 min. No charges. The event is organised by South Asia Heritage Month 2022, London.