.. rtha revealed that he had become the Buddha, and described the pleasure that he had first known as a prince, and the life of severe asceticism that he had practiced. Neither of these was the true path to Nirvana. The true path was the Middle Way, which keeps aloof from both extremes. “To satisfy the necessities of life is not evil,” the Buddha said.
“To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom and keep our mind strong and clear.” Buddha then taught them the Dharma, which consisted of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. The five holy men and others soon joined Buddha, accompanying him everywhere. As more joined, Buddha organized the Sangha, a community of bhikkus (dedicated monks and later nuns). The Sangha preserved the Dharma, and allowed bhikkus to concentrate on the goal of Nirvana. On raining seasons they would settle in Viharas (resting places in cave dwellings) followers who believed in Buddha’s teachings, but could not follow the strict rule of the Sangha, were taught to follow the Five Precepts.
Buddha returned to his birthplace in Kapilavastu, and his father was mortified to see his son begging for food. Buddha kissed his father’s foot and said, “You belong to a noble line of kings. But I belong to the lineage of Buddhas, and thousands of those have lived on alms.”(www.who2.com) King Shuddhadana then remembered the Brahmin’s prophesy and reconciled with his son. Buddha’s wife, son, and cousin (Ananda) later joined the Sangha. When Buddha was about eighty, a blacksmith named Cuanda gave him a meal that caused him to become ill. Buddha forced himself to travel to Kushinagara, and laid down on his right side to rest in a grove of shala trees.
As a crowd of followers gathered, the trees sprouted blossoms and showered them on Buddha. Buddha told Ananda, “I am old and my journey is near its end. My body is like a worn-out cart held together only by the help of leather straps.” Three times, Buddha asked the people if they had any questions, but they all remained silent. Finally Buddha said, “Everything that has been created is subject to decay and death. Everything is transitory.
Work out your own salvation with diligence. After passing through several states of meditation, the Buddha died, reaching Parinirvana (the cessation of perception and sensation). Buddha is not a Supreme God nor the Creator of Universe in Buddhism. Buddha is just an enlightened being. If a person enlightened, the person is Buddha too.
All sentient beings can be Buddha. There are numerous enlightened beings in millions and millions of worlds in millions and millions of years. Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, was the enlightened being in the world of time. Although Buddha is the most supreme being known in all realms, he has no power to control everything. For instance, he is unable to change the principle of cause and effect. In other words, if you commit an evil deed, Buddha cannot save you by “waiving” the effect caused by your evil deed.
Nevertheless, Buddha can advise you how to mitigate the diverse effect, if a person repent of his/hers evil deed.( Snelling, J. p47-55) Buddhism is perhaps the only religion that claims the eventual extinction of itself, and also the sutra. Buddhism and its sutra inevitably abide by the universal truth of impermanence. Whichever exists, it will extinguish, and vice versa. Buddhism is a “vehicle” to carry all beings to the shore of the Sea of Suffering.
When you arrive at the shore, get off the vehicle. Don’t attach to it! Let other beings use it. It is just a “convenient tool” to facilitate all beings to understand and certify the reality of the nature and lives, and liberate themselves. Thus, in view of highest wisdom, all verbal and written Buddhism with names and forms are “not real” By the time of enlightenment, there will be no Buddhism. However, before one is enlightened, one has to study and practice Buddhism wholeheartedly and vigorously, cultivating all merits and virtues.(Buswell, R. p29-46) Buddhism is pragmatic and practical. Buddhism was originated from and established for the sentient beings.
It teaches how to observe and understand and certify the reality of the nature and lives in objective and scientific way. Do practice and don’t just study theories, especially those which are abstract. Some people would like to know about the origin of the universe, finite or not, eternal or not, before they will undertake to practice a religion. It is just like a man who is wounded by an arrow wishes to know who shoots the arrow, what the arrow is made of, and other irrelevant questions before he will have the arrow removed. Buddhism is optimistic and enthusiastic towards life.
It rejects the principle of fate, though it emphasizes karma. The principle of impermanence and the principle of no-self enlighten us that we should not attach and crave to fame and wealth, not benefit ourselves by hurting others. One can enlighten and realize oneself by enlightening and realizing others. Therefore, one has to cultivate and commit oneself in society. Without selfishness, we can really serve the society and people. Without the craving and clinging to personal fame and wealth, we can be really free, comfortable and “rich”.
The principle of Middle Way enlightens us about the interdependent nature of existence, therefore we should not go extreme. Be optimistic! The secret of happiness is not doing things what we like, but liking things what we do. The 3 processes of learning, namely belief/faith, interpretation, practice and certification, are known as The three Ways. The faith to a religion should not be affected by the behavior or performance of an individual in the religion. A group of people is just a miniature of society, having some good guys and some had guys.
All religions and philosophies have their doctrines, values and functions. Within a specific time frame and space, different religions will serve and benefit a particular group of human beings towards kindness and wholesomeness. Amongst the right religions, there is no such religion that is “better” than the others. However, since the wisdom and vision of the founders of the religions are different, there are different levels in their doctrines, different methods of teaching and different goals and objectives. Therefore, the extent of the benefits of the religions is different.(Hinnells, J, 45-68) Bibliography Siddhartha Hesse, herman New York; bantam 1951 Buddhism: Central Asia and China. 1994.
The New Encyclopedia Brittanica. (15th ed). Vol 23. Chicago: Encyclopedia Brittanica Inc. pp.273-274. Buswell, R. (Ed).
1990. Chinese Buddhist apocrypha. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Eliade, M. (Ed).
1987. The Encyclopedia of Religion. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Hinnells, J. (Ed). 1985.
A handbook of living religions. London: Penguin Books. Snelling, J. 1992. The Buddhist handbook: A complete guide to Buddhist teaching and practice. London: Rider.