What Buddhists Must Know
ISBN 978 1105 1156 04
Do you know where you are going?
Buddhism does not forbid us to believe some things and compel us to accept others. It is a rational philosophy, a comprehensive and realistic ethical code, a penetrative psychology, and effective methods of training and meditation. However, the minds and hearts must be matured enough to appreciate the Buddhist messages.
For a Buddhist, life is not a dream. A Buddhist does not one day suddenly wake up and live happily forever with an almighty god. The killing, cheating, swindling etc he sees daily are real and beyond the power of all the gods to change them.
Where are you coming from? The dogmatists will be groping in the dark and will not understand until they know what dogmma is and how they acquired it, in the past. The almighty god idea stiples human liberty to investigate, to analyse, to scrutinise and to see what is beyond the naked eyes. It has been taught all over the world every day that life is not real, that it is a dream, and thus all the sufferings we see are only dreams. When the person wakes up, he will be with his almighty god and forever live in bliss. So why care about a physical body being crushed by two vehicles simultanously? When she wakes up she will surely enjoy a blissful life with the almighty god up there. Isn't that better?
The meaning of the word soul during the Buddha’s time, was something created by the almighty god and that this soul would last forever if he or she believes in the almighty god. Otherwise, that non-believer would be annihilated after spending his or her time in hell. How could this soul exist if that almighty god does not exist? The Buddha did not agree to this soul theory but He had to ignore what others want to believe. He simply told the truth, there was no soul. If you ask what that thing is that attains Nibbana, the answer is that thing is a Buddha or Arahant. A Buddha or an Arahant is a perfect person in thought, word and deed. A person needs the physical body to attain Buddhahood or Arahanthood, just like the mango needs the tree to appear.
Buddhism promotes rational faith against the superstitions of religions, and it does not use fear to coerce anyone to believe it. It shows the way to freedom, to avoid religious hypocrisy and dictatorship. It does not need to give new interpretations to its teaching because scientific discoveries never contradict the teachings of the Buddha.
When the Buddha said there was an unborn, the message was loud and clear. Yet people came to Him and asked if the Buddha exist after death. Perhaps there were thinking that for a thing to exist, it must be born. Therefore the unborn mentioned by the Buddha does not count according to their culture. The unborn does not exist at all. So by their standard, Buddhism teaches annihilationism. They really believe a person will give up a powerful and rich kingdom, a young and beautiful wife and a lovely son for annihilationism.
Some questioners were sincere. Others asked questions with evil or contemptuous motives. Only when the listener was truthful and sincere in his or her search for truth would the Buddha be willing to answer the questions raised.
To sum up what Buddhism is, it is best to quote and mention what Sariputra did when he prepared a group of monks who were leaving for foreign lands to propagate Buddhism. He prepared the monks to answer two questions:
What does your teacher teach?
Why does he teach that?
Sariputra’s recommended answers were: The teacher teaches the subduing of passions and desires. After stating the benefits of subduing passions and desires, the monks should then go on to teach the desirability of abandoning unskillful qualities and developing skillful ones. The method was and still is the best way to present the Dhamma to intelligent newcomers.
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About the Author
Teachers' College Graduate, with Associate Degree in Specialized Technology.
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