Plan BIG & SMALL
We said “Good Bye” to a yet another year as we say hello to usher in another year. What do we normally do at the beginning of a new year? On the 1st of January some of us make milk r ice, some go to temple. We like to believe that this is a new year, a new beginning, a chance to start again.
Then, if you are a person like me, you will plan for the year ahead. How do we plan? We target one or two big events for the year such as ‘building a house’, ‘going abroad for vacation:’ changing the current job’ or ‘marry etc.
Thereafter, we do a detail plan for the months. Then we do the weekly plans, which are even more detailed. These small and descriptive weekly and monthly plans should head towards the year’s big plan. Let me take an example; let’s say your big plan for the year is ‘Getting Married’. That is one big plan.
Anyone got married recently, would know exactly what I am talking about. Now, to achieve your year’s plan you schedule months. The plan for January; set a date for the wedding. Calculate your budget. Book a hotel. To make January’s plan a success, you plan the weeks of January.
1st week – both parents meet to fix a date for the wedding. Let’s say it’s in August.
2nd week – check prices from different hotels and short list them according to your budget.
3rd week – check menus of chosen hotels and speak with the hotel managers.
4th week – discuss with your elders and make the reservation.
Likewise, to have a beautiful wedding in August, you need to plan your months and weeks. Then without stress (or with minimum stress with this example) you will be able to achieve your year’s big plan.
So, make a BIG plan for this New Year like “Going to India to Worship the Sacred Places of the Compassionate Buddha”. That is a huge plan. Now to make it a reality, you need to plan your months, weeks and days.
In January – Check the weather in India and set a date for your noble trip. Then, decide with whom you are going.
1st week of January – learn about India, know where you are going.
2nd week – review your budget, see how much you can spend, how much you need to save.
3rd week– learn about pilgrim organizers, talk with those who have gone to India.
4th week – decide your date and with whom you are going, let’s say you are going in September.
From February you have eight more months till your big day. Therefore, use that time to learn about those sacred places. Learn about one or two places every month. Learn why they are important. You can listen to Dhamma (discourses) related to those sacred places. And also, you can read suttas-discourses and try to memorize the important things happened. Get yourself ready for the pilgrim. Don’t go without knowing, hoping someone else will teach you. When you know the significance of those sacred places, you can worship with your whole heart. Then your journey becomes meaningful and worth every cent and every sweat.
Every evening after worshiping the Noble Triple Gem, (or in the morning) think about your pilgrim and “just be happy”. Think that you are going to see and worship; Lumbini-where the Prince Siddhartha was born; Buddhagaya – the sacred place where Sramana Siddhartha defeated the forces of ‘mara’ and became the Unsurpassed Buddha; Jethawanarama – place where the Buddha and the Maha Sangha lived for many long years.
You can touch the soil of these most sacred places, you can worship as much as you want. To make your big plan a success you need work monthly, weekly, and daily.
Another Big plan for the year can be “I will teach ‘Paticca Samuppadaya -Dependent Origination’ this year”. How can you plan your months to achieve this? Paticca-Samuppadaya has 12 segments. May be you can learn about one or two sections a month. But first listen to complete discourses on Paticca Samuppadaya to get a basic idea. Plan that for January. Then in February learn about “ageing and death – jara-marana” and the entire mass of Dukkha.
First we need to collect discourses on Paticca Samuppadaya. ‘Pancha Bhaya Wera Sutta’, ‘Nalakalapa Sutta’, ‘Loka Sutta’, ‘Maha Nidhana Sutta’ are some of the suttas on Paticca Samuppadaya. Select one for one week.Then follow the steps that lead to realization; Sutha – Listen to the sutta with full attention. Dhatha -Try to remember what the sutta. Wachasa Parichita – Practice using words in the sutta. Manasanupekkhitha Con template the meaning by applying it to yourself. Ditthiya Suppatividdha – The realization. It is the result of the above 4 k actions.
Let’s say you selected – ‘Nalakalapa Sutta’ for the 1st week of January. How do you adhere to the above steps?
• First listen carefully to the sutra, and try to remember as much as possible.
• Write down what you remember of the sutra you listened.
• Listen to the sutra again. Write down the pali sentences with meaning.
• Practice the sutta using words, in your mother tongue and pali both.
• Contemplate the meaning by applying it to yourself.
Follow the steps again and again until you understand at least a little bit. Don’t try to do everything in on a single day. Make a weekly plan that suits you.
You will need about minimum of 2 hours every day to achieve this. However, you must not stop your other activities such as meditating, worshiping and learning about other Dhamma factors. In the same way that you do not stop your daily work when planning the wedding.
Mass of Dukka
In February learn about ‘Jars Marana and the entire mass of Dukkha’. In March you can plan to learn about ‘Jati – birth’ and also ‘Bhavaya – Formation of kamma results’. Likewise, to make your big plan a success, you need to work every week, every day according to your small plan. But remember not to be hard on yourself when learning Dhamma. Be gentle on yourself and be strong on your determination.
However, planning and achieving worldly things like weddings, vacations are rather easy than achieving success in Dhamma. You might start with great enthusiasm, but you might forget or lose the energy in few days or weeks, Or you might get so busy with other work that seems so important. Know this as a fact. It happens to almost everyone.
Therefore, have a discipline, keep the energy, talk to friends who encourage you in Dhamma, do whatever is best to achieve your weekly plan. By the end of the year you will accumulate a vast knowledge of Dhamma and an incalculable amount of merits towards your path to Nirvana.
So, think what you want to achieve this year. Make a Big plan suitable for you. Discipline yourself, keep the enthusiasm and follow your small plans silently. Because what you achieve in Dhamma is much more important to yourself.