An article featuring “Opting for a Simple Life”, written by Stories Christina Chin in TheStar on 30 Dec 2012, first appeared in the link below:
Section of the article, relevant to Luang Por Dhammavuddho, has been extracted here:
Vihara Buddha Gotama abbot Ven Dhammavuddho (Mahathera), 65, had just been promoted by the Public Works Department when he decided to renounce all worldly possessions.
The Universiti Malaya engineering graduate worked in the civil service for 12 years until he had saved up enough to make sure that his parents had a home to live in and were taken care of.
“I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to be a monk. I stumbled upon Buddhism at age 29, and it was like a jigsaw puzzle coming together. I knew then that I wanted to be a monk but it was only six years later that I fulfilled my life’s purpose because it was frightening to think that I would have to give up not just everything I own but also all worldly pleasures I was used to as a bachelor,” he says.
Though he was the youngest of eight siblings, Ven Dhammavuddho was the first to graduate. Understandably, his parents had great expectations and he was especially close to his mother.
“When I told my mother of my intention to be a monk, she told me to wait until her death. My father was shocked his eyes were red as tears welled up. He could not understand why someone with a bright future would just give it all up,” he recalls.
He admits it wasn’t easy. One day you are somebody holding a respected post, and the next you are a nobody relying on the goodwill of others for something as basic as food. But the decision is one that he is now at peace with.
“I don’t see giving up my engineering job to be a monk as a sacrifice at all especially when I see friends my age still struggling to discover the meaning of life.”
“As an engineer, I was contented in a worldly sense but inside, I was still searching. Now I’ve found my purpose in life,” he shares.
In 1998, he founded a 6ha forest monastery in Temoh, Perak. He notes that these days, dharma talks and meditation sessions are seeing younger attendees.
“More youngsters are seeking answers as opposed to a mainly older crowd previously. But listening is one thing, letting go is another.”
“Ultimately, regardless of which religion you embrace, it’s about striking a balance between worldly duties and spiritual pursuits.”
“Be careful that you are not too caught up in the rat race until you are too busy to ask yourself what’s important in life,” the abbot who has written several books advises.
He warns of the danger of leading a “careless life” as worldly things are fleeting and in the end, it’s the wealth inside that matters.
“Most of us live for ourselves but life’s greatest joy can only come from acts that benefit others”.