The Six Concords in Buddhism
By Dharma Master Huyen-Vi Ph.D. Nalanda Pali Institute
-Continued from issue 35
3. Concord of the Mind. 6 The Yogavacara School says: "Mind is the most important factor. It is the forerunner of all the dharmas. It is the first cause of both good and bad actions.7 Whether a family or a group of nations, every member should guard his mind and thoughts. If the mind is good, the body and the tongue can easily be controlled. On the contrary, if the mind is bad, the body and the tongue will never be controlled Sometimes we try very hard to control men who hate one another, and sometimes we live in harmony out of fear of powerful persons, but this harmony is not genuine, and is like a brightly painted surface on rotten wood. Once the hatred inside becomes strong enough, it will express itself first through spoken words and then with blows, like the rot in the wood, which becomes visible once the paint on its surface cracks.
The Buddha, clearly understanding this, taught men to cultivate the concord of mind in order that they might live together happily. To cultivate a harmonious mind, we must practice the dharmas of sympathy and equanimity; that is, we must throw away ill will and hatred. In such a way our minds become calm and serene, and our thoughts become clear and decisive. We must try to plant the seeds of sympathy and equanimity.
4. The Concord of Morality. 8 In a society that is peaceful and ordered, morality and good conduct always reign. In Buddhism, each man is responsible for following the precepts. The laity keep the five precepts (Pancasila); the Sramanera, ten precepts (Dasasila); the Bhiksu, two hundred and fifty precepts (250-sila); and the Bhiksuni, three hundred and forty-eight precepts (348 sila). 9
Bhiksus should keep the Bhiksu precepts and not be confused in keeping this precept or giving up that, because if a lack of discipline exists in any society, it will be destroyed. The Buddha exhorts rightly, "When a Buddhist lives with another Buddhist, both of them must keep the same precepts, each taking care of the other according to his own position."
Broadly speaking, a Buddhist family, a society, or a nation must always observe rules which act as its guiding force. In a school, if the students do not observe the regulations of the school, if they enter or leave whenever they want, and if they study and play according to their fancy, then the school will not run smoothly. If in a young Buddhist association, the members act privately without observing its disciples and without following the guidance of the leaders, this young Buddhist association will come to an end. In a society, if the members are not disciplined and are divided into many groups, if they thing that because they are great the observance of the precepts is beneath them and is unnecessary, if they think that because they are rich there is no need to observe the discipline with respect to the poor, and lastly, if they think that because they are scholars there is no need to follow rules with ignorant people, then this society is bound to die out.
In conclusion, if people belonging to any group, whether secular or religious, never practice the rules or follow a common plan, they cannot live with one another happily. Therefore, it is advisedly expedient to observe the rules of discipline of the particular group, with which one lives, and try to live in peace and harmony.
5. The Concord of Knowledge.
10 When a man
understands something or makes a discovery it is his duty to explain it to those
with whom he lives. Thus, the frontiers of knowledge expand, and people progress
and find it less difficult to live together. If we do not explain our
discoveries to others, we are not only selfish but we become an obstacle in the
path of sympathetic feeling towards others. Selfishness is the root cause of
separation, disunity and hatred. When everyone sees and thinks differently from
everyone else, doubt and trouble in society result.
6. The Concord in the Distribution of Sustenance.
11 In a Buddhist temple food and other requisites must be equally divided
and used equally, and in no case may they be enjoyed privately. While we are
living together, if requisites are offered to us, such
as food, medicine, cloth
and so on, we must give them in equal share to all members; that is, all members
must obtain their portion
The many different levels of civilization in the world are derived from a lack
of concord in the distribution of sustenance. The rich possess too much and the
poor possess too little. Some enjoy vast lands and some do not have even a hut
for shelter. In such circumstances it is impossible to attain peace. The poor
oppose the rich and the poor nations dispute with the rich ones. It is not good.
If humanity understands that riches in the world are like dewdrops upon the tops of flowers, that fame is like foam on the river. The difference between the poor and the rich will be bridged and human beings will begin to think in terms of peace.
With an altruistic and compassionate spirit and with wisdom, which knows the impermanence of the world, the Buddha exhorts, ˇ§Having profits and abilities, we should share with one another. We should equally benefit others from what one we possess.ˇ¨ Peace-loving people will follow this advice.
In order to have a brief idea of the Six Concords, pay heed to the following essentials of the teachings of the Buddha:
(1) Let us live harmoniously; let us help each other and let us not crush one another.
(2) Let us speak with each other gently and kindly. While discussing problems, we must try to discuss them with amity and peace.
(3) Let us think for the good of all. Let us cultivate the virtues of sympathy and forgiveness. Let us not hate one another.
(4) Let us observe the same precepts; let us be guided by them. Without regulations no society can last.
(5) Let us share our knowledge with one another. Our ideas must be given to our neighbors. The more advanced must take the duty of guiding the backwards on the way to enlightenment.
(6) Let us share all profits and abilities with others equally. Let everyone be happy and content.
The Six Concords, if actually followed, will cause each family to be happy. The country will be prosperous strong and peaceful and the world will become blessed.
When Buddhists observe them, they are on the path leading to emancipation. Emancipation can be achieved, and Nirvana will not remain a dream.
May you be well and happy. -End
6 Samaggimanokamma, i he tung yuen.
7 Kung wei shou, tsui wei hsien.
8 Silasamaggi. chieh he tung hsiu.
9 This should be understood in the light of the Mahayana Buddhism.
10 Ditthisamaggi, chien he tung chieh.
11 Labhasamaggi, li he tung chun.