Tuesday, 11 August 2015

"There Is No Liberation for One Without Saṃvega.”

The Buddha on the left side is the one that Saya Thet Gyi was sitting towards when he saw the inscription bearing his daughter's name. This inscription can still be seen today

As U Po Thet (as he was known then before his more common name of Saya Thet Gyi) progressed in meditation after returning back to his native village of Pyaw Bwe Gyi, a series of significant events happened. At one point, while meditating in front of one of the large Buddha statues inside the tazaung, he happened to open in his eyes and saw before him the inscription on one of the statues, in which donor names were listed. His eyes happened to alight upon the name of his departed daughter, and he suddenly found himself overcome by tears. The exact inscription reads: “Father U Thein, Mother Ma Thuzar, Ko Po Thet, Ma Hmyin, Daughter Ma Hla Nyunt, we donate and share our merits.” A date is given according to the Myanmar Era, which translates as November 22, 1907 in the Western calendar. Such donor inscriptions were, and continue to be, customary for Burmese Buddhists.

Seeing her name brought back the acute grief that had been the initial catalyst for him leaving home so many years prior. Feeling this same sharp pain yet again, he became disappointed, feeling that even after all his years of practice, his heart was still afflicted and he was still burdened by this debilitating pain, causing him to redouble his efforts towards full liberation. Seeing his daughter’s name again brought about the realization of saṃvega, which Jotika Khur-Yearn describes as “literally [meaning to be] stirred, moved, and inspired by awe. It is the ‘spiritual shock’ that prompts people to seek a way out of saṃsāra… The Buddha has said that there is no liberation for one without saṃvega.” And one of the eight objects of saṃvega is “the misery caused by saṃsāra in the past, present & future stages,” of which this reminder of his daughter’s death most certainly was.