Last Updated : 2019-08-17 16:21:00

A WAY TO LIVE AND A WAY TO DIE

18 May 2019 12:02 am - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Buddha discovered the fundamental disease affecting us, the unsatisfactory nature of all phenomenal existence 

The cause of all suffering according to the Buddha was the craving for worldly things. This craving is often deep, unending and insatiable

In Buddhism there is no creator-god who rewards or punishes us. ‘Look not for refuge to anyone but oneself. I am only your teacher

 

 

What is Buddhism? Is it a religion or a philosophy?A true Buddhist would accept the basic Buddhist analysis of life as one that accommodates the teachings of the Buddha. It involves no dogmatism, no form of worship. One could say it is a code of morality, a way of life as it were.   


The Buddha with his infinite wisdom discovered the fundamental disease affecting all men and women, the unsatisfactory nature of all phenomenal existence. It was he who raised the veil and showed us the world as it is, the unending suffering and pain all men are heir to.   


In Buddhism there is no creator-god who rewards or punishes us. ‘Look not for refuge to anyone but oneself. I am only your teacher,’ the Buddha said. These words give us the satisfaction of knowing that in our own hands lie the power to mould our future lives. We and we alone are the creators of our destiny. Did not Shakespeare himself say, ‘Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, which we ascribe to heaven.’ No prayers, no entreaties to heaven, no priest’s absolution, no rites and rituals can liberate us from the entanglements of human life. As we sow, we reap. That is the karmic theory. So it seems imperative that we find a method of escape from this unending chain of suffering called Sansara. It was the Buddha who said that there is a solution, a cure to this problem. He prescribed the four Noble Truths and the Eight-fold Path that leads to a place free of distress and danger - Nibbana.   


What is Nibbana and what is its ultimate purpose? The answer to this world-old question is contained in a word for which there is no English correlation.   
“If any teach Nirvana is to cease,   
Say unto such they lie,   
If any say Nibbana is to live,   
Say unto such they err.”   


Such is Edwin Arnold’s admonition.   

There are the three great instruments of Dhana, Sila and Bhavana. Sila or more aptly   
called discipline regulates our words and deeds. It is the foot-rule that marks out a straight line to a life of virtue. Meditation is the compass that helps dispel all vanity, pride and selfishness and helps fill our minds with metta or universal love. No easy task. It requires resolve and great dedication.   

 

All the desires by  which we are cursed leads to misery; if not gratified, alike to misery: if gratified, to the  misery of extreme satiety


‘Ananda. They who are correct in living according to the Dhamma are the ones who will reach their goal,’ the Buddha said.   


We see people’s lives riddled with lust, greed and revenge Usually it is the ‘I’ and the ‘mine,’ the foremost factors in our lives, that bring on these defilement of the mind. It springs and flourished on the soil of selfish desire, passions and delusion...   


The cause of all suffering according to the Buddha was the craving for worldly things. This craving is often deep, unending and insatiable. Dazzled by life’s deceptive show, its allure, we are drawn to everything that brings us joy and satisfaction. Good food, fine clothes, fame that gives weight to one’s slightest word, are they not good things? Of course they are.   
Yet one must think about its impermanence, its illusionary nature. Blinded by these false   delights we cling to them, not realizing their emptiness, their hollowness. Spencer, a renowned philosopher, impressed by the transiency of the world wisely said,   
‘The one thing permanent is the reality hidden under ever-changing things.’   

 

The one thing permanent is the reality hidden under ever-changing things

 

Macaulay, another great English writer voiced his sentiments thus: ‘All the desires by   which we are cursed leads to misery; if not gratified, alike to misery: if gratified, to the  misery of extreme satiety.”   


The lesson to be learned is not to ossify the heart ill it cannot feel, but to transfer desire to a higher plane of being, a loftier one.   
The key word that should dominate our minds is detachment. Do not cling to worldly things. ‘LET GO’ the Buddha said over and-over again .So weed out the noxious weeds of   greed and avarice. Do not let it blur your vision and block your path to deliverance. .   


The Buddha extolled us to practise virtues like generosity, compassion and kindness to all   
living things. We must shun evil thoughts like anger, hatred and revenge. These defilements   
only corrode the mind and heart and bring on unending misery. Wounding and killing others is a heinous crime.   


“Kill not for pity’s sake the meanest thing,   
Give freely and receive and take from none   
By greed or force, or fraud what is not yours.”


Always there will be a retributory justice. Punishment for evil acts will be pitiless and will go beyond the penalties of courts and jails. Giving should not be tainted by any idea of favour or return. It must flow from a heart full of sympathy and love for all living beings.   


Then comes death, the end of life. All sentient beings are doomed to die. This is true not just for one man, one family, one city, but for the whole world. Some live in abject fear of death but face it we must. It is only an incident in life, a mere incident of being.   

 

Yet one must think about its impermanence, its illusionary nature. Blinded by these false  delights we cling to them, not realizing their emptiness, their hollowness

 

Parting from loved ones is inevitable. One must restrain one’s tears knowing how fragile, how uncertain life is. Wailing, lamentations bring no comfort. Let those who grieve meditate on the teachings of the Buddha, seek solace from his doctrine. ‘I teach my disciples but one thing - sorrow and the deliverance from sorrow.” So said the Buddha.   


It is after a mighty struggle each one of us has acquired the human form. Endeavour to   tread the spiritual path and so break the bonds that tie us to this world, a world filled with  pain and misery and anguish. Strive to save oneself from all of it and so reach that blissful state 
called Nibbana.   


“Walk ye-as princes who follow the way of right living,” extolled the Buddha.   


“Be like unto brethren; one in love,one in holiness and one in zeal for doing good.”   


This is the only way to live and also the only way to die.   

 

  Comments - 4

  • Zulkifli Nazim Saturday, 18 May 2019 10:32 AM

    Brilliant. What guidance !!

    HLM Saturday, 18 May 2019 02:51 PM

    Beautiful Thoughts , Thanks

    Bhanukka Wednesday, 22 May 2019 12:13 PM

    If this guidance is even remotely true, there are going to be a few million extra cockroaches in Sri Lanka in the next life.

    Gunatunga de Silva Friday, 24 May 2019 03:19 PM

    Have I to die to be Enlightened// Am I Already in that state If Iam free of greed , free of anger, free of folly. Iam yet in this world, much alive.


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