Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Understanding Buddha from a layman's point of view

Photo of His Eminence Garab Rinpoche narrating the story of Lord Buddha. Image courtesy: Facebook timeline of Dorji Phuntsho.

As Buddhists, the first and foremost thing we should know is that Lord Buddha is not God. He was never a superhuman like those Gods worshiped by other religious communities across the world. He neither created life on Earth, nor did he have any role in the creation of natural phenomena around us. He never claimed to have created this universe. He was just a researcher who found answers to worldly suffering and showed us the path to enlightenment. This was the key message His Eminence Garab Rinpoche conveyed during the observation of the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha at Kuensel Phodrang in Thimphu on 17th June 2019. Taking advantage of the huge presence of young people at the event as well as considering the underlying significance of the auspicious day, Rinpoche briefly shared the biography of Lord Buddha especially to help young people understand who he was and how did he attain enlightenment.

Lord Buddha was born Siddharta Gautama in a royal family in Lumbini, Nepal almost 3 millennia ago. Right from his early childhood, he was exceptionally intelligent, smart and compassionate. He had the heart to love everybody and everything around him. Despite the relentless effort of his father to keep him away from the world of suffering and pain, his unexpected encounter with a sick, old and dead person at the age of 29 changed his life forever. For the first time in his life, he was confronted with impermanence and suffering. He was very sad to realize that sickness, old age and death would come to everybody he loved and there was nothing he could do to rescue them. He realized that he had to find answers to such sufferings for the good of all sentient beings. Soon he decided to leave his royal responsibilities and set out alone into the forest on a spiritual pursuit to understand and find permanent solutions to the worldly sufferings and pain.

For the next six years, Buddha met several great meditation teachers and mastered their techniques. However, he always realized that he was shown only the potential of mind, not the mind itself. Finally, he decided to remain in meditation under a Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, India until he could realize the true nature of mind. After several days of cutting through the subtle obstacles of mind, he eventually attained full enlightenment on a full-moon morning in May, 15th day of the 4th month of the lunar calendar. At the moment of enlightenment, all confusions, mixed feelings and conflicting ideas melted into one radiant state of intuitive bliss. He realized the true nature of his own mind. He became timeless and learned to live in the present. This pervading self-realization made him Buddha, the awakened one. Based on his spiritual experiences and wisdom, he founded Buddhism.

After attaining enlightenment, Buddha travelled across northern India, teaching and sharing his spiritual wisdom for the rest of his life. He always encouraged his disciples to question his teachings and validate them through their own experience. This non-dogmatic attitude still forms the core foundation of Buddhism today. He taught us how we can become like him if we follow and practice his teachings. He did not create Heaven or Hell. In fact, we are the ones who have created them. We are fully responsible for who we are today. It is our thoughts and actions that decide our future. This is the main reason why Buddhism believes in godliness, not God. We all have Buddha Nature in us. If we practice Dharma and get rid of all the disturbing emotions, we can definitely attain Buddhahood in life.

No comments:

Post a Comment