From Darkness to Light: Dhamma Reflections for the Winter Solstice


 From Darkness to Light

Dhamma Reflections for the Winter Solstice

 
In the years before the Common Era, before the Buddha's great Awakening,
and long before the birth of Christ, people prayed:  
 
 
 

Lead me from the unreal to the Real

from darkness to Light

from death to Immortality

- Upanishads

 
 

 
 
...and then the Bodhisattva was born into this world, and rediscovering the Way of ancient Buddhas, also became an Enlightened One.
 
Thus, in regards to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, penetration, and light.

-The Buddha,

Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

 
In the Buddha's Words in his "Bringer of Light" chapter Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi translates:
 
...There is one person who arises in the world for the welfare of the multitude, for the happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the good, welfare, and happiness of devas and humans.  Who is that one person?  It is the Tathagatha, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One.  This is that one person. 
 
...The manifestation of one person is the manifestation of great vision, of great light, of great radiance; it is the manifestation of the six things unsurpassed; the realization of the four analytical knowledges; the penetration of the various elements, of the diversity of elements; it is the realization of the fruit of knowledge and liberation; the realization of the fruits of steam entry, once returning, non-returning, and arahantship.  Who is that one person?  It is the Tathagatha, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One.  This is that one person.

-The Buddha,

Anguttara Nikaya, Ones

 
On Darkness and its End the Buddha taught:
 
There is, monks, an inter-cosmic1 void, an unrestrained darkness, a pitch-black darkness, where even the light of the sun & moon — so mighty, so powerful — doesn't reach.
 
When this was said, one of the monks said to the Blessed One, "Wow, what a great darkness! What a really great darkness! Is there any darkness greater & more frightening than that?
 
There is, monk, a darkness greater & more frightening than that.
 
And which darkness, lord, is greater & more frightening than that?
 
Any priests or contemplatives who do not know, as it actually is present, that 'This is suffering' 'This is the origin of suffering' 'This is the cessation of suffering' and 'This is the Way leading to the cessation of suffering'...

 

Andhakara Sutta, SN 56.46 

 
On the Dark and Light destinations of persons he taught:
 
"There are these four types of people to be found existing in the world. Which four? One in darkness who is headed for darkness, one in darkness who is headed for light, one in light who is headed for 
darkness, and one in light who is headed for light...

Tamonata Sutta, AN 4.85 

& the Puggalo Sutta

 
 
And then, on this Mind: 
its Luminosity and its Freedom the Blessed One taught:
 
"Luminous, monks, is the mind.
And it is defiled by incoming defilements." 
 
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. 
And it is freed from incoming defilements." 
 
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind." 
 
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind." 

                                                                                Pabbasara Sutta, AN I, 49-52

 

 

And finally, from the Therigatha,

Enlightenment Verses of the Buddha's Great Women Disciples:

 

   ...

   Be filled with all good things,

   like the moon on the fifteenth day,

   Completely, perfectly

   full of wisdom

   Tear open

   the massive dark.

                          -Punna Theri

 

   The Buddha taught me the unshakable Way,

   ordinary people don't practice it,

   there is nothing to which you can compare it,

 

   When i heard his words

   I lived in the joy of the teaching.

 

   ...

   The great dark is torn apart,

   and Death,

   you too, are destroyed.

                                                                  -Sisupacala Theri

 

       May you be filled with all good things

       May you live in the joy of the teaching

 

       May you walk the Path

           from the unreal to the Real

           from darkness to Light

     and from death to the Deathless, Nibbana