The Anaka Drum
Thoughts Q & A Kalama Hermitage Books

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The Anaka Drum

This is one of the Suttas (Buddhist Texts) worth reading daily and hanging on the wall.

The Buddha taught us that long ago there was a tribal group called Dasaraha. Similar to the Chàm, the Đai Việt and The Văn Lang people of Ancient Vietnam who had their Ngọc Lữ and Đông Sơn drums, the Dasaraha people also had a drum called ANAKA which was used to summon people in the village. When they heard the drum beats they gathered together. The Buddha said that with time this drum became older and had many damages. The drum’s pegs were replaced with new pegs and the leather parts were mended with newer ones. So over a long time this drum was no longer in its original condition but people still called it by the old name “ANAKA”.

The Buddha forewarned us that one day his disciples from around the world would no longer take interest in his original teachings and they would add to these Suttas a mixture of their own literature, poetry and journals. People still call it Dhamma (Buddha’s teachings) but sadly it’s just in name! Like the story of ANAKA drum, its name was still there but itself no longer existed. There will be a day when people think what they listen to is Dhamma Talks but the content of those talks will no longer be what Buddha had taught. There was a saying from Mahayana: "Depending on the scriptures literally, word by word, is abusing the Buddha. But missing one word from the scriptures is also the wrong way.". What a calamity for the future generations when they are unable to distinguish between the truth and the untruth, they would call a person wearing a yellow robe and having a shaved head “Master “(Venerable). It would be a misfortune if people blindly follow their Buddhist faith that way: they would either waste a lifetime following wrongful practice or become bitter if they find out that their “Master” isn’t a genuine monk. Once they are disappointed they would generalize all monks are bad and would abandon their faith in Buddhism. Quitting the Buddhist faith due to distrusting a monk is like refusing to take medicines just because one thinks his doctor is bad.

This Sutta is very meaningful. When I finish explaining it, you all should silently read it again. The Buddha Himself had said that there would be one day people no longer listen to his teachings, instead they would prefer listening to other poetry, literature .. and disregard His WORDS completely.

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