The session started with a short Puja before Venerable Bodhi presented us with her continuation of the topic she spoke on during Vesak at Orchard, Buddhist Youths-Superheroes.
The crux of the session was to let us understand that we have to take the initiative to make changes instead of passively accepting facts. Instead of complaining how pressurizing or stressful the society is, we ought to take the initiative to change the society because we make up the society; we can start of by ridding ourselves of Greed, Anger and Delusion.
Venerable also brought to us the analogy of painting our own lives, to fill our lives with colours; to help ourselves and not wait for someone to come and help us. To illustrate this, she used Cyclone Nargis as an example. It was said that the people in Rangoon were dismayed at the actions of the governments but they found strength in what the monks taught them- Don’t be angry, stay calm and tide over your own bad Karma.
The idea of superheroes was then introduced at this point. They are known to be people who can react of respond to situations in a surprising manner:
When met with anger, they react with calmness;
when encountered with greed they respond with generosity;
when faced with ignorance they act with understanding.
They are people who stand out from the rest when faced with crisis and when others are experiencing unrest.
It is untrue that Buddhists do not experience sadness; they are just able to find their motivation and move on quickly. Thus, they are not above sadness, but able to let go of these negative emotions and move on faster than others do. The key to this is to acknowledge that we all have weaknesses and identify Greed, Anger and Delusion when they surface in any form.
She then taught us, to make bring about positive impacts, we have to learn ourselves and that to learn is to change. To change, we have to be mindful of our own actions and emotions such that we are aware of our own weaknesses before we proceed to tackling them.
We also learnt that Buddha helps us by allowing us to be aware of the presence of Greed, Anger and Delusion such that we can detect them and make a positive change. To facilitate the process of learning, Venerable has also encouraged us to find a learning point that is, in her words, sustainably actionable, from every Dharma talk that we attend. (ie we can practice what we learn consistently) It was also taught that we have to diligently practise because Greed, Anger and Delusion come from within us.
A further step Buddhists take is to make the change can be seen in the latter-
We accept our weaknesses, what life is and be happy.
We accept our weaknesses, what life is and put in effort to get rid of these defilements.
Therefore, a Buddhist Youth need not be of a young age of appearance but bears the spirit of youthfulness in him, i.e, to be always seeking for new things, truth and motivation to make a better change so as to rid himself and others of Greed, Anger and Delusion.
The session was then ended with an aspiration of herself that Venerable Bodhi shared with us, urging us to make this aspiration along with her:
We aspire for ourselves to be peaceful within ourselves by ridding Greed, Anger and Delusion, in turn inspiring others.