What we visualize when we hear about Lord Buddha? A compassionate human being. A person with no fear, joy, greed, animosity, hatred, and jealousy. A respectful and selfless soul who lived his whole life serving others through his teachings. What’s so unique about the Lord Buddha that made the people worship him from across the globe? His disciple, the holy monks from globalized caste, culture, and creed who paid tribute and respect to him is still following the path of Buddha, his noble teachings that had led mankind to the path of liberation.
Those are the difficult words that are described in the first paragraph. Let’s explain in general what’s Buddha’s teaching is all about in his own word. During the time of Buddha, once there was an old woman who saw him passing by. She had heard a lot about Buddha, his teachings, and so on. But she just wants to listen to what’s his path is all about. So she asked, “Dear humble being, can you summarize your perspectives of teaching in simple words.” Tathagata said –“Not to do evil, to cultivate merits, to purify one’s mind, this is the teaching of Buddha.” This was quite a simple and satisfying one.
What’s so unique about Buddha is that he never insisted on any of his followers to blindly believe his doctrine of philosophy. He developed his ideas to get relief from suffering in the human world through his experience at a deep level. Initially, he went to different Gurus and experts in search of peace, in search of how to get relief from the pain and suffering that human life encounters. Human life is a mysterious one. Once in life, we entangle different circumstances. Happiness, sorrow, grief, pain, joy, anger, and different moments that human beings are destined. But he could not find it how that happens. Since those religious Gurus of that time had not experienced either how to get out of that human reality of miserable life. So he went to the jungle and meditate harshly giving pain to his body for six years. If you believe in Buddhism, you can see the picture of Prince Siddhartha meditating torturing his body for the shake of human civilization.
He directed his followers and monks to have faith in anything not just by hearing other’s advice, perspectives of others but by experiencing through within yourselves. His words were simple. He always said if you don’t believe it, do not follow it. Have trust with it, try to explore with your level of knowledge and understandings. He never believed in superstitions. Those were the times where people blindly believe anything if their ancestors believe it so. If something good or bad is continuously followed by generation, it was the trend of people to automatically follow it. But in those ancient times, he was the one who was against it. Such a revolutionary being who initiated to break those false concepts.
The most precious assets of Buddhism are transcribed in the form of “TRIPITAKA”. It is the collection of Buddha’s word and advice in the PALI language. The ancient language of those times. The TRIPITAKA is the collection of Buddha’s doctrine of philosophy that he delivered through his life for 45 years. The PITAKA is divided into “SUTRA”, “VINAYA” and “AVIDHAMMA”. SUTTA PITAKA is the collection of the simple and short version of knowledge in the forms of poems and chanting developed to make the people easy to understand, mesmerize it, and apply in real life. VINAYA PITAKA talks about the rules and regulations for the monks as well as the human beings that need to be followed to live a peaceful and successful life. The ordinance for the monks is the strict ones consisting of 227 rules for fully ordained monks (bhikkhus) and 311 for nuns (bhikkhunis). Finally, “AVIDHAMMA PITAKA” talks about the mind and its formation and their linkage to the good and bad karmas. He taught this doctrine of Abhidhamma to his mother who was born in Tavatimsa Loka (one of the heaven) as a Devaputra after demise as a Mayadevi, the queen of Kaplivastu just after seven days giving birth to Siddhartha Gautama. These three PITAKAS are the precious ornaments of Buddhism which are sacredly preserved and protected with great dignity and pride and worshipped all over the world.
One of the most convincing facts that Lord Buddha taught was he looks at every human being with the same level of compassion. There was no sense of discrimination. The rich and poor used to be equal. They were taught the same DHAMMA. He had deep love and affection towards all human beings. He wanted everyone to understand his doctrine of philosophy and walk in the path which he initiated. He never curses or blames someone who is against him, who tries to defame him and insult him. Instead, he had a deep level of compassion and desire that those people do not face the consequences of the bad karma they had done. If you have been through his teaching of the path of purification, you will never find the traces of hatred, greed, and animosity and the environment of cursing somebody for the bad things they had done. Buddha always said, “Everyone is the part of their KARMA. It’s the karmic connection that directs the individual. They should always plant the good seed of deeds from the beginning so that the fruits that give will also be the tastier one.” There is one popular story related to how humble and the polite person he was.
In the time of Buddha, people from other religions were in a mission to defame him since everyone was following Buddhism as it teaches the people the art of living life. The popular religious Gurus were in the verse of losing jobs. They had nowhere to go. It was a matter of their pride and glory. So they planned to prepare a pregnant lady and insult Buddha that he is the father of the child. It was planned to be announced in the big ceremony. The lady was also prepared well. Those people believed that blaming him, Buddha will lose his self-esteem and finally, they will banish him out of the country. The artificially made pregnant woman pointed out that instead of advising the people, you should be also responsible for this child who is inside my womb. He blames Buddha for his irresponsibility. The whole crowd was like dumb. Pointing out Buddha and insulting him, he did not generate traces of bad feeling towards that lady who tried to defame him. Instead, he generated infinite compassion and love towards her and thought that she could not bear the consequences of her such shameful act. Buddha politely called her, “Dear Daughter, only you and I know the reality about your interpretations.” That word made the lady nervous and the artificial makeup being pregnant just broke. It was such a stupid act. The Buddha’s popularity rather gained a new height.
The essence of Buddha’s teaching is all about the four noble truths and eight noble paths. The noble truths consisted of the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. Similarly, the eightfold path constitutes of right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and the right Samadhi. This path is one of the principal teachings of Theravada Buddhism, which directs anyone to the verse of enlightenment, the world behind the physical sufferings. The base of Buddhism depends on the five precepts which include not to kill, not to lie, not to steal, refrain from the sexual misconduct and intoxicants that cloud the mind, i.e. drugs or alcohol.
So what we can do to follow the path of Buddha. Those words are vague ones. One of the valuable assets of Buddhism is Anapana Sati that is useful to all human beings. To concentrate in the inhale and exhale of breathing delivering oneself in the meditating posture closing your mouth, taking breath through the help of nostrils, and just calmly concentrating in the inhale and exhale of breath. Yes, its reality that the mind wonders but without any disappointment, enabling the mind to concentrate on the work that is being done. Without being tensed or frustrated, the habitual tendencies of the mind are just to roam either in the past or future realities. The strategy behind this meditation technique is that it teaches us to live in the present moments. During the time of meditation, the present reality is just the inhale or the exhale of breathing. But it’s not easy as it is thought. Though this meditation seems to be simple one might feel many hindrances as the mind just goes out of the present reality. It will direct us to tame the mind and live at the present. Just like that Lord Buddha, when he was Prince Siddhartha, at the age of five, he learned to do this meditation looking at the constant breathing that comes naturally. It happened when King Suddhodhana of Kaplivastu who was busy at Rice plantation ceremony that occurred once a year with huge crowd followings.
Lord Buddha always gave a priority to the meditation. Meditation to liberate oneself to come out from pain, miseries, sorrow, and grief. He talked about Vipassana, the path to look oneself through the eyes of wisdom. He always said those who awaken themselves through the path of meditation is the trusted disciple of mine. The reason behind giving such an emphasis on meditation was because it stands only the way that directs to the path of liberation. Without knowing oneself, all other steps are not effective. The words of advice, knowledge are beneficial to the surface level but to purify the deep impurities of the mind, one should meditate continuously making it the daily routine. His meditation technique focused on how to concentrate on the internal world rather than wasting time in the external environment.
Buddha Purnima is the auspicious occasion where Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini, got enlightenment in Bodhgaya, and finally attained Mahaparinirwan in Kushinagar, India. All the trio incidents fall on the day of Baisakh Purnima which is also called Buddha Jayanti. It is the power of enlightening one that after 2500 years also, this day is celebrated with the same energy and joy. We all know Buddha was born in Nepal. It is a proud moment for us. Being the citizen of the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, it is a necessity as well as responsibility for Nepalese to walk and get inspired by the teaching of the Buddha. To follow it in practical and daily life and make it habit to walk in the path of the teaching of Tathagata the Buddha and live a prosperous and peaceful life which everyone is searching for.
Let’s pay homage and tribute to Lord Buddha with great pride and glory.