Facts a sermon for virtue must contain

Facts a sermon for virtue must contain
Quitting from five precepts or ten sins for a certain period of time is not virtue. It is only an abide by precepts. Virtue is the restraint. Quitting from things and actions which make harm to self and world with understanding and make a restraint is virtue. If a hunter who killing animals has abided by precepts avoid killing animals in that day is an asceticism not a virtue. But someone aware of killing animals because of unlike to hurt and believe it is a bad practice. That is called virtue but he has no asceticism. But attending to asceticism helps to preserve the virtue. If someone attended to asceticism in the past life, it helps to enter to path and fruitition in this life. 

When hearing sermons with complacency on the four types of people in the religious order we could be able to attend to restraint. We should hear with complacency when the Bhikku sermonize in consecutive style. The sermon is effective if you start it on consecutive stories. When starting the sermon from an alms story, current traditional style is abide the precepts and start. But Lord Buddha in his sermons starts with "Listen this and carefully cogitate this. Listen Dhamma, digest to mind and act on it." like advise. Let's see what is this hidden style. 

The first part of the sermon is alms story. Today mostly in sermons eulogize the alms. It is true the alms is a good thing. It is good to know the returns of the alms. But describing how we receive more comfort and assets as a result of alms may bend the minds of the lay listeners to those assets and comfort. Therefore more suitable is to describe to abandon the assets and comfort. Then it will help to fulfil the alms story with bending to the religious order. Alms is abandoning the things gathered. While we are gathering, greed, malice like phenomena will surround us. Greed and malice are like fire flames. They hurt us. When we abandon the gathered things, that fire will extinguish.

The second story is virtue story. Traditional description of the results of virtue is the comfort gathering. They sermonize about the divine and human comfort appear as a result of virtue. The lay people with suffering every time with anger and animosity always with incendiary minds. Therefore a story which can ease that, is more good. It is good to sermonize stories about actions come from body, language and mind which are with full of loving kindness.

The third story is about the heaven. Normally when sermonizing about the comfort of divine, minds of listeners can be bend to the sensual pleasure. When sermonizing about divine touch to the people who hardly attached to the sensual pleasure, it must be done very carefully. It is better to describe about the help which can get from those divine status to the religious order.

Fourth is the story about the fruitition. Quitting from lust, malice and delusion is the path of Nibbana. Therefore when someone get the start of those he will finely understand about it and bend to the Nibbana. In the stories of fruitition, you must include not only the good returns but also bad. If someone born in a good status one day it will decay with decaying collected merits. Therefore not any good or bad return is permanent. Those are places with nothing at all. Therefore those is not good places to stay. Let the listeners understand that phenomena. Let them understand all those are illusions. Let them understand like following. "Even your rebirth is powerful with pre-done merits, those merits will dissolve one day. After that you will again come to suffering. Therefore all those are illusions which helps creatures to go through cycle of rebirth. Without all those merits and sins, no suffer at all." Then listeners will see this cycle of rebirth is non-meaning and suffering, and their minds may bend to Nibbana.

The last part of the sermon is the story of extinquishment. In general sermons while wishing the extinquishment, ordinary listeners who have no such experience, may feel that extinquishment is a real world thing. Therefore make them understand that the extinction of suffering cycle of rebirth, quitting from the covetousness is the extinquishment. For that they have to understand and act according to noble eight fold path. "Every arising phenomena will subject to extinction". This is very simple as we saying it. But it is not a simple thing. No anyone can proffer this before the Lord Buddha. After extinct of one Buddha's religious order while begin a new one, this idea is hidden. This idea can be understand by very little amount of creatures in the entire universe. If it describes by an example, when thinking whole creatures of the universe are equal to the entire soil of the earth, the creatures who understand that idea is equal to a soil taken on to a nail.

The people who hearing, memorizing Dhamma and acting according to it are able to become stream-enterers. To understand that truth the concentration is very important.

Translated from writings of Ven. Waharaka Abayaratanalankara Thero
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