Holy Relics

Holy Relics
From ‘A Lifetime’s Sasana’ by The Venerable Ghosita
Oct 2002 edition, pp. 477-479
Translated by Jenny Ko Gyi
Dhamma talk delivered on 9-8-1961
Now that (you have a very rare opportunity) to be in the time of the sasana, when you have a good teacher, when you have this
rare chance to be human, do not (take things) lightly.
Do not make (the number of bones) grow (due to recurrent existences). Try so that bones become holy relics. Bones, blood,
becoming holy relics do not happen at birth.
Then dhamma is practised, following the course of dhamma, relics are formed.
There are two types (of living) – asevanaca balanam, and panditananca sevana – do not be in the company of fools, be with the
Living with fools, (you also) become fools, live like fools, die like fools. Being with the wise, (you also) become the wise, live
like the wise, die like the wise.
When fools die, it is fools’ death, when the wise die, it is the wise men’s death; different kinds of death.
With fools’ death, the corpses go rotten. With the wise men’s death, holy relics are formed. The one in which the corpse decays
is a fool’s death, the one in which relics are formed is a wise man’s death.
All that you have covered up your life through is revealed at death. Throughout your life, you covered (your body) with clothes,
(maintained it) with food, with make ups. When you die, without leaving behind holy relics, (the body) decays, gives foul smell,
then is buried. This is the work of bala (fools).
When you are with wise people, there is development of saccanulomika nana, arising and passing away (of mind and matter/five
aggregates) is contemplated, there is boredom with arising and passing away (of mind and matter), there is realization of end of
arising and passing away. If the end (or cessation of) arising and passing away of (mind-matter) is realized for the fourth time,
then at death, holy relics are formed.
This is the work of pandita (the wise), of sammaditthi (right view). For individuals who (practice) panditananca sevana, holy
relics are formed.
It becomes pujaca pujaneyyanam – formation of holy relics that are worth paying homage to. Etam mangala muttamam – it
becomes auspicious.
Dhamma talk delivered on 24-3-1961
Iti vuttam mahesina – it is said in Itivutta Pali. In a kappa (world cycle), if a being’s bones {in the sequence of existences of this
(conventionally called) individual} do not disappear, and if these bones (that result from the sequence of existences of a being)
are piled, it will be as high as Mount Vepulla.
Compared to what we can see, it might be as high as the Mandalay Hill, and Sagaing Hill.
Why is it this high?
This is because of avijja and tanha (ignorance and craving). The Buddha says, ‘Avijjanivaranam tanhasamyojananamsandhavatam
Ignorance and craving are two main causes because of which (beings) go on and on in the samsara (cycle of death and rebirth).
As long as these two are not got rid of, the pile of bones keep growing (higher). Ignorance and craving make the pile of bones
grow. There are also kammic deeds under ignorance and craving.
So long as ignorance and craving are not got rid of, it will be growth of (pile of) bones. Let us bring an end to growth of bones.
Do not desire to become any kind of bone. Try to make it so that relics are formed. If you practice to attain four magga (the pathleading to the cessation of suffering), holy relics will be formed.
After formation of relics, there will be no more bones of any kind (no new existence). Development of bones comes to an end.
Kamma is also left behind. It produces results no more.
To bring an end to growth of (pile of) bones, what is to be done? Make avijja (ignorance) become vijja (knowledge). Tanha
(craving/greed) is to become alobha (non-greed).
Then ignorance and craving will cease. Growth of bones will not take place.
What is to be done for ignorance and craving to cease? Contemplate khandha (mind-matter/aggregates) with knowledge/wisdom.
How many khandha are there?
There are five, venerable sir.
In brief?
There are two, venerable sir.
Yes, those two mind matter, five aggregates keep arising and passing away, they keep changing.
In this state of constant changing (state of flux), in arising and passing away, look for man, woman, beings. They cannot be
found, like music cannot be found in the hollow of a harp.
What noble truth is this arising and passing away?
It is the noble truth of suffering, venerable sir.
This was not known before. Only now it is known when concentration is developed. Then ignorance becomes knowledge.
Knowing that it is only arising and passing away, that it keeps changing and decaying, there will be no craving/desire
/attachment. Not desiring is alobha, also called viraga. Viraga is magga (the path). Viragoti maggo. Greed becomes non-greed.
Then ignorance and craving cease. There will be no development of the pile of bones. Instead, bones become holy relics.
Formation of holy relics is the work of dhamma. At birth, there was no difference (from bones of other individuals). It was the
same bone as the others’.
Practising to attain the four path-wisdom (magga), arahantship is attained. With attainment of arahantship (the fourth and final
stage of liberation from suffering) holy relics are formed.


Post a Comment