Sacrifice is a word that is easy to say but difficult to do in real life. Worse, some people think they are doing a great act of sacrifice for others but in actual fact, their actions are just a reflection of their foolish assumptions and thoughts that brings little to no benefits.
In this benefits of sacrifice sermon, we discuss the act of sacrifice, what to expect from the act, and how you can go about performing the art of sacrifice in order to reap the benefits of sacrifice.
What Is Sacrifice About in Life?
You may think you understand the meaning of sacrifice but in truth, most people including Buddhist laities often misunderstand what the act of sacrifice constitutes.
Sacrificing is an act of selfless action needed to rectify any trying situation, for example, rescuing a drowning person or helping people trapped in a house fire to escape. Sacrificing our time is indispensable when we are treading on our path of training or spiritual cultivation. As long as one’s objective is to accrue merits, then one must need to spare some effort and time for sacrifice in performing good actions or deeds rendering to needy or helpless people.
Nothing in this world could achieve anything successfully without performing any sacrifices in sparing our time and effort to pursue our dreams or career or even position. Many great leaders or spiritual masters spend years of hardships and sufferings in their sacrifices of time and effort and even money to build their renowned leadership and wisdom. And many of them have to forgo their private lives in attending to the needs of those misfortunate people and showering their sacrifices in reducing the suffering of this pitiful group.
Today, these outstanding people shine before their exemplary works all over the regions, for sacrificing their services to people is the beacon of their generous recognition.
The Need to Forgo Personal Pleasures When It Comes to Sacrifice
Great scholars and outstanding students always spend long hours in their studies and researches while sacrificing their recreational activities and pleasurable time in obtaining more information and knowledge. Without any strong willpower to perform sacrifices to materialise one’s dreams, then one will easily give up the effort halfway over the temptations to enjoy one’s own favorite pastimes and leisurely activities.
From these observations, what you need to truly understand is that, while others are having their happy time and recreational funs, you on the other hand will need to forgo all these fun and enjoyable schedules to achieve your inspirational aim of success in life.
Great engineers and innovators are another example of people who have spent years of forgoing their romantic encounters and blissful social interactions in pursuing their perfection of engineering knowledge. Many of them have to bear the untold miseries and painful experiences of attending to any unexpected breakdowns of machineries operation at their work places.
These devoted personnel sacrificing all their time towards the efficient running of their company’s productions earn them the trust and confidence of the management as the benefits of self sacrifice. Eventually, these are the people who will become the jewels of the company’s workforce. Such talented and sacrificing engineers will forever be in great demand from all over the regions due to their sacrificing dedication towards their job.
What to Expect of Sacrifice in Terms of Spiritual Cultivations
In the field of our spiritual cultivations, every cultivator must possess the ability to sacrifice their energy, time and effort or even forgoing their incomes in order to harvest their zeal of a successful training as the benefit of a sacrifice. Logically speaking, one cannot achieve anything by merely accommodating one’s convenient time and carefree attitude.
Instead, one has to forgo all kind of leisure outings and social interactions in order to fulfil the aspiration of a proper training schedules, such as correct time to perform incantations of sutras and mantras, listening to the golden Dhammas and lastly to constantly practice contemplations and meditations. All these observations require proper time and conditions only when one has all the zeal of sacrifices in phasing out hectic schedules of working time.
As a true Buddhist, one must always be ready to spur our sacrifices for others in order to practice the Art of Giving and the three golden of virtues shining into our mind, heart and body. When one has to perform sacrifices, a person with great sincerity will never hesitate to even give up one’s own life to save someone from danger or perilous state. This is the reflection of one earning the power of compassion, loving kindness and magnanimous heart, which will continue to expand the benefits of the sacrificial actions, including uplifting one’s cultivation status as well as accruing more merits in the process.
Unfortunately, many Buddhists do not possess the ability to sacrifice for others due to their wrong ways of brought up that tend to inherit selfishness. Many laities are living in their own comfort zone and enjoy everything that comes their way without the need for sacrificing on their part, and this hardens their character of selfish attitude.
Without learning the Art of Sacrificing, one has also lost the Art of Giving.
Without the Art of Giving, one will forever lack the essence of gratitude in life.
Without imbibing the Art of Gratitude, then one will always lacks empathy and stay carefree in life, both of which are detrimental to our spiritual cultivation.
How to Start Practising The Art of Sacrifice for Good
You may wonder, is there a way to start practising the art of sacrifice? One great reminder is that, no one in this world could practice sacrifices to others when one is full of selfishness. Many people imbibe the attitude of selfishness due to their unconscious behaviour of being over calculative and adopting a miserly outlook.
How to counter the selfish act then? It is by sacrificing ourselves in practising the Ten Meritorious Deeds, we will automatically destroy our selfishness and start being benevolent towards others. These Ten Meritorious Deeds include the constant practice of:
- doing charitable works,
- elevation of our moral characters,
- respect and obedient to law and order
- fostering good manners towards others
When practising the Ten Meritorious Deeds, this way will require our act of sacrificing towards others through our tolerance, patience and endurance facing the exposure of people with ill manners, gossiping, slandering and instigations. And it is through this act of sacrificing that will enhance the polishing of our Bodhi seed, which will generate our mind with intuition and finally wisdom. This is actually one of the most important benefits and advantages in sacrificing for others.
Another important aspect in our life is that if we want to make changes to improve our life for the better development of our career and cultivation, then we must also initiate sacrifices.
Remember, changes need sacrifices and furthermore, such an action takes time. If we are unwilling to sacrifice anything, then nothing is going to improve and everything will just remain stagnant.
For any Buddhist who wishes to advance their training and cultivation, then one needs to change their bad habits to good ones and refrain from committing vices and immoral actions. For all these to take places, one must adhere to good discipline and this discipline must come from sacrifices to make things refined and wholesome in actions.
It is no longer surprising today that many Buddhists do not possess good discipline in their character and this is due to the lack of ability to make changes in their behaviour. After all, changes in our bad behaviour to a good one need sacrifices.
These sacrifices come from our awareness of disciplining ourselves through all our painful experiences and sorrowful exposures. Only then, every Buddhist will shine in their character, emanating the golden rays of both discipline and the willingness to sacrifice for the better.