Have you seen the omens?

October 2022 edition

Have you seen the omens?

Article summary

This time I will dedicate the editorial to briefly analyze a matter that is very important to the path of Nirvana and its development, which is seen in some practitioners who listen to sermons for liberation with the desire to progress on the path of truth, but are often unable to see it themselves!

Have you heard of the four omens also known as the four sights or signs?  The Omen of an Old Man... The Omen of a Sick Man... The Omen of a Dead Man... The Omen of an Ascetic.  If you are familiar with the life story of Prince Siddhartha, you may have surely heard about these four great omens.  You can read about them more in these pages too!

Many of the practitioners fails to identify the importance of these four great omens.  Practitioners who are dedicated to the path of nibbana and claims that they listen to the deep sunnatha Dhamma, practice satharasatipattana and other meditation method about death & true nature of body, BUT still struggling to accept the fact of being sick or getting old or death.

You should examine your inner intention of practicing Dhamma or doing meritorious activities.  If your intention is to be free from sickness, old age or delaying the death, as it says in the Dhamma “Those who practice Dhamma, protected by the Dhamma ”, that insane, isn’t it!  Because that piece of Dhamma doesn’t mean that at all.

Seeing the four sights or seeing the four great omens means such a deep moment.  You understand the meaning of “omen” right?  We interpret the word omen as, “A sign of an event regarded as a good or evil. Such as "the raven seemed a bird of evil omen".  The four great omens mean like you are witnessing or getting the sign of some default faults of your existence which you can’t actually give a proper solution through the worldly ways.  It’s like noticing some errors which you can’t fix.

When Samma SamBuddha alive, there were many those who become an enlightened one, and achieved the noble stages quickly when listen to the deep Dhamma.  That’s because they have been wise enough to see the four great omens even before they listen to those deep Dhamma teachings of a Samma Sambuddha.  They were in the mind set of being liberated. After seeing the four great omens, their only intention was to be liberated from this exhausting life full of maintenance.  Therefore, they looked for the noble ones who can guide them to liberation.  Luckily, they were in a period of time when a Samma Sambuddha exists, and they were guided correctly to see the true nature of existence where no one else could be able to see it in normal mind set.

So, the true nature of existence which only a Samma SamBuddha can show & guide is clearly not about the normal sickness, getting old or death like basic nature.

This misunderstanding happens, when the practitioners enter to practice Buddhism for various reasons, but NOT the reason of seeing the four great omens.  They misunderstand Buddhism is all about birth, decaying, sickness, death and suffering which we already know.  So, it’s highly important to see your intention to enter to the path of liberation. Because when you are not seeking the truth for right reasons, you always end up with misleading paths which you believed as the Samma Sambuddha’s rare teachings.

Let’s continue this same topic in next month's editorial, too.  So, that you can dig deep in to the four great omens of your life!

Rajitha Viduransi | Kelaniya, Sri Lanka