A Buddhist Guide to Sufferings and How We Can Overcome it?
India is a land of spiritual ethos and moral vibrations. It is country where a great man like Buddha was born who earned greatness not through his birth in a royal family but by his enlightenment about the real world. As a sensitive observer of human misery, disease, suffering and death he decided to console the ailing humanity and show a simplistic path as a remedy of all kinds of grieves and ill-being.
“Pain is unavoidable, but suffering is discretionary” says Buddhist teachings. For many years, the reason behind sufferings, sorrows, pain and happiness remained hidden. But, with the great spiritual gurus came amazing discoveries that overwhelmed the entire world. Buddhism is located in the heart of the world. According to Buddhism, human existence is the main reason behind suffering. He taught the path of compassion and love. Dissimilar to other religions, Buddhism preaches flexibility and secular offshoot.
Buddhism gradually consolidated through monasteries that taught about the religious beliefs which are more inclined to spirituality tends to be abstract in their advocacy of other world. Instead of giving importance to scholarly attributes, mystical practices and ritualism, Buddhism emphasises on control of senses and adherence of the moral path. His principles of morality had a purifying effect not only on an individual but on the entire social and religious belief of the society which could be regenerated, remodel and recasting a more judicious and inclusive way.
It virtually engulfed the masses lit new fire of real truth (four noble truths and thus became the living philosophy of the people not only in India but also in other parts of the world). Due to its intrinsic strength, Buddhism spread out to south East Asia, china, Ceylon and Afghanistan. Buddhism due to its pragmatic approach won followers in large numbers. It is the first world religion which crossed the borders of the country of its birth, much before Christianity and Islam.
The pragmatic philosophies of Buddhism not only disciplined and trade the inner self of the followers, but it also invited scholars and travellers from far off lands to become adept in its educational attributes. The visits of Fade-in, huangtsang and It-sing to learn more about Buddhism not only glorify the Buddhist universities of nalanda, vikramshila, odantapuri and jagdala of Bihar and Bengal as international centers of learning but also highlights the relevance of Buddhism not only as a religion but as way of life.
The monasteries or the sanghas were not only places of Buddhist monks but centers of learning for the curious and refuge for the destitute. His philosophy was free from dogma, spiritual thrust and ritualism; rather it was an organised revolutionary code of human ethics conduct and culture. Buddha laid great emphasis on purity of inner-self, discipline and master minding of the lowly and animal like instinct with a view to achieve the ultimate bliss which is called nirvana. Without structuring himself as incarnation or a spiritual lord, he as a mentor and guide emphasises that anybody who is truthful and follows the right path can attain enlightenment that is become a Buddha himself.
Buddhism not only contributed to religions and society its cultural contribution is even greater. Buddhism contributed heavily to Chinese architecture and sculpture. Buddhism sacred texts were the first works committed to writing in India. Abroad also sir Edwin Arnolds famous poem on the Buddha; THE LIGHT OF ASIA (1879) have increased the knowledge of Indian religion and philosophy globally. The theravad Buddhism apart from south-east Asian mainland could be seen in Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, through the saffron robed monks.
Where on one hand major religions of the world are a set of beliefs which deal in super natural powers and observation of special rituals attach to worship of god Buddhism remains silent on this aspect and guided its followers towards the ultimate goal (nirvana) that is attainment of eternal joy (bliss).
After years of meditation and contemplation he realized that the ultimate source of joy was neither pursuit for material accomplishment nor escapism or denial of duties. His philosophy advocated doing the right thing in a right way. His concept of nirvana reaffirms the upnishadic moksha and karma theory of salvation. But what made Buddhism special was that renouncement of the worldly duties was not required for the attainment of nirvana. A person could attain nirvana as a living being and could yet fulfill his worldly duties. Thus the goal being the same the path suggested was easier to treat by men of average intelligence. Buddha concluded from his own experience that one should neither indulge too much in the pleasures of life nor torture oneself too much. These are extremes and do not bring happiness and should therefore be avoided.
In matters of everyday social ethics apart the social teachings, Buddhism concentrated upon two vitally important issues; caste and means of livelihood. Buddha rejected the system of hereditary caste. A man`s position in society, he maintained is determined not by birth (jaati) but by worth by conduct (aachran) and by character that is charistra rather than by descent. Brahminical pretensions to hereditary holiness were therefore dismissed with ridicule. 3 Buddha refused to concede that a man`s professional conduct is governed by one set of standards and his private life by another. He want so far indeed as to prohibit unethical occupations such as those of the butcher, the dealer in poisons and the weapon maker as to make right means of livelihood (samyakajiva) the fifth of the eightfold path.
Buddha therefore his preaching provided a new dimensions the urge for social equality. Buddhism is definitely a religion seemingly fighting for the privileges of the powerful emerging urban group which was denied any social recognition and prestige in a society dominated by the orthodox brahminical values. In the post Vedic period use of punch marked coins, specialisation of crafts, increase in trading activities, rise of Gahapatis as moneyed head from a Vedic householder and rise of new social classes led to conflict between the Vedic religious practices and the aspirations of the rising social groups.