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When the Buddha visited Alawaka, the Yakka warrior commander, at his abode, the Buddha
had to encounter many threats, challenges. When Alawaka failed to achieve his goals through
his futile threats and challenges, he asked thirteen questions from the Buddha. One of the
questions was, asma loka param lokam, katham pecca na yowati which means what
should a noble person do in order to be free from sorrow afterlife ?. The Buddhas answer to
this question reflects a practical, effective approach to be free from sorrow even in the present
In order to ensure a sorrow-free afterlife, one needs to adapt ones present life in such a way
that sorrow would no longer bother ones existence. This is one of the most important aspects in
Buddhist philosophy. The Buddhas emphasis was mostly on dealing with the sorrowful
situations associated with the present life of individuals. One who leads a peaceful, happy life in
this life based on the Buddhist teachings would be privileged to have a similar wholesome
afterlife. Afterlife would also be fortified by the wholesome, sorrow-free practices one is
accustomed to perform in this life.
Buddhism has listed a fourfold course action to eliminate sorrow. Those are saccam (truth),
dhammam (righteousness), dhiti (courage), and cago (letting go). If this is the course of action
to be pursued to eliminate sorrow, the opposite course of action should be liable to bring about
sorrow; i.e. untruth, unrighteousness, non -perseverance and non-letting go.
We are compelled to lead lives filled with sorrow most of the time. We need to reflect on the
causes of sorrow in terms of this fourfold course of action. We need to investigate how far these
fourfold factors come into play when we encounter instances which cause us sorrow. After
investigation, we need to experience the whole process by ourselves (paccattam vedi tabbo).
This should be a direct, personal experience of ones mental phenomena. This state cannot be
experienced by any individual through studying manuals or memorising teachings contained in
manuals. Lets take an example to illustrate this point.
Lets assume that someone has a very close friend who has totally won your heart. He is a very
honest, trustworthy individual. One day, this close friend grabs a valuable item in your
possession and leave you for good. This incident would definitely cause a great deal of sorrow

in you. These types of incidents are commonplace in the society. When we closely observe this
incident, we should be able to discern how the above mentioned fourfold factors led to cause
sorrow in this individual.
This particular individual placed high level of trust in his close friend. However, this friend is an
ordinary individual similar to other individuals in the society who possess wholesome,
unwholesome qualities; who are subject to wrongdoing. In these circumstances, trusting an
individual to be very honest and free from wrongdoing is analogues to leading a life associated
with untruth or falsehood. Therefore, this individual did not have the factor of saccam (truth)
with regard his relationship with his friend, instead he associated with the opposite factor of
The second factor that was responsible for causing sorrow in this case was the absence of
dhamma. When the close friend left him, his mind was engulfed with sorrow. His mind bore
sorrowful dhamma at the loss of his valuables and the friend. His mind was mostly preoccupied
with this loss. However, this individual was unable to perceive this sorrowful state in his mind.
Had he shifted his attention away from the thoughts of loss to his mind, he could have have
avoided the experience of sorrow at that very moment. Non- awareness of this tact led him to
experience sorrow constantly.
Thirdly, the factor that aggravated his sorrow was the absence of courage (dhiti). He was unable
to bear the mental pain and the loss of valuables which intensified his sorrow further. When a
person possesses the quality of courage, he is not bothered by any kind of loss. He would be
able to exercise restraint over his mind in the presence of any loss.
The fourth factor which contributed to the sorrowful mental state was the inability to let go
(cago). In this case, he was unable to let go of the mental pain resulting from the loss of
valuables and his friend, the loss of honour and feelings of conceit (mana) due to this incident. If
a person is prepared to let go of any gain, honour and conceit when dealing with the external
world, sorrow would not be aggravated in the presence of negative outcome of any dealing.
Inability to let go (caga) would aggravate the degree of sorrow and it would lead to hatred and
dangerous situations.
This story illustrates how the lack of factors such as saccam (truth), dhammam (righteousness),
dhiti (courage), and cago (letting go) in respect of one incident in life would create sorrow,
intensify sorrow and ultimately lead to hatred and dangerous situations. How many similar
situations we encounter in our daily life? We can witness numerous similar incidents in our daily
life and how these incidents cause us sorrow at all times. Some go the extent of consuming
alcohol, committing suicide by various means when they cannot bear the mental pain any longer
and when they cannot let go of these pains, resulting from sorrowful day to day affairs.
Therefore, we need to constantly contemplate the presence of these four factors in our mind in
order to prevent sorrow from arising.

Now we need to find out the Buddhas answer to sorrow-free life in a sorrow-ridden world. The
Buddhas admonition was saccam, dhammo dhiti cago sa ve pecca na socati. One who
lives by the principles of truth, dhamma, courage and letting go would not grieve at all. We
should attempt to lead a life associated with these four principles and experience a sorrow-free,
peaceful existence.
We need to familiarize ourselves to find out the truth (sacca) associated with trivial matters in
our day to day life. This practice would enable an individual to ascertain the truth in significant
matters as well.
The act of ascertaining the truth is categorized into two parts, i.e; mundane truth and
supramundane truth. Ascertaining the truth in matters superficially is known as mundane truth.
This would lead to the supramundane ultimately. The ultimate meaning of samma dhitti (right
view) is ascertaining the supramundane truth.
What involves in the category of supramundane truth? It is the understanding that everything
existing in the world is subject to anicca (impermenance), dukkha (subject to constant change)
and anatta (absence of a self). The common meaning given to the term dukkha is suffering or
unsatisfactoriness. The ultimate, functional meaning of dukkha is that everything is subject to a
process of constant transformation followed by decay. When we the life cycle of a leaf, we can
understand how the law of dukkha influences the different stages of a leaf. A leaf begins to grow
as a bud. A bud gradually becomes a leaf. After some time, the leaf changes its colour due to
lack of nutrients. Then the leaf becomes brittle and begins to dry. Eventually, the dried leaf falls
off the tree. This is the nature of dukkha self transforming to a different state by changing the
original state evident in every animate and inanimate thing in the world.
One who comprehends the supramundane truth in everything based on anicca, dukkha and
anatta could definitely attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana. His mind would no longer be in a
state of burning. His mind is totally relieved of burning and heat.
We, now, realize the importance of leading a life based on the principles of sacca, dhamma,
dhiti and caga in order to achieve mental peace at all times.
Alawaka, who had all his questions answered to the entire satisfaction, attained the fruit of
sotapanna (stream entry).