Buddhism's  Message  to  You   -  No. 2


What took place in the life of Siddhartha in becoming the Buddha is the possible transition in the life of every mortal, in the passage from the state of the mundane, i.e. the common life style in the world, to the transcendental state in Nirvana. It is in this sense that we use the word divine here. Nirvana implies a total absence of all that is distasteful in life in the world which is termed dukkha. Dukkha results from man's dissatisfaction with and his inability to adjust himself to the ever-present changing nature of the world he lives in. This is Buddhism's primary observation about the world, that it is costantly subject to the law of change.

This changing nature of the world or anicca [Skt. anitya] constanty leads man to a state of conflict, of conflicts unresolved : of possession and non-possession [as well as dispossession], of gain and loss, of love and hate, of success and failure etc. In his inability and incompetence to resolve them, man constantly plunges himself into this self-generated misery called dukkha. Man generates it out of his own reaction to the world. It is not that the world thrusts it upon man. This state of misery or unsatisfactoriness does not exist in the world by itself. The Buddha knew that this realistic view of the world would not be readily acceptable to those who revel therein. It is that they deliberately turn their back upon it. For they are invariably inclined to grab and grasp [Âlaya-râmâ kho panâyam pajâ âlaya-ratâ âlaya-sammuditâ. M.N. I.167]

In Buddhist terminology, the pursuit of the goal of Nirvana is the moving away from or nissarana of humans in the mundane plane [lokiya] towards transcendence and consequent immortality in lokuttara. It is a total transformation achieved here and now [ditth ' eva dhamme], in this very plane of existence. One does not look up to death for the consummation of its bliss. It is in every sense liberation in this very life or jîvan mukti.

In Buddhist teachings, no single agent with divine power is conceded the credit of creating a perfect or imperfect world for man. Buddhism's primary interest is in the world which is man himself. Such a world exists with man and within man, in his own fathom-long body  [byâma-matte kalebare]. In it birth, decay and death prevail [Jâyati ca jîyati ca mîyati ca]. Therefore it is indeed in a state of severe stress and strain [Kiccham vatâ ' yam loko âpanno. D.N.II.30; S.N.II.5]. Its correction also lies in his own hands.[Api câ' ham âvuso imasmim byâmamatte kalebare samanake saviññânake lokañ ' c ' âham paññâpemi loka-samudayañ ca loka-nirodhañ ca loka-nirodhagâmani-patipadan ' ti. A.N.II.50]. One cannot create and let yet another pay for the the defects and sins of creation.

Man's salvation lies totally in his being able to step out of the world. Nothing short of it brings about his release [Na ca appatvâ lokantam dukkhâ atthi pamocanam. loc.cit.].Thus Nirvana is the highest achievement of world transcending and it is man alone who can bring it about. It is literally 'world conquest'. None bestows it on him. It is achieved in this world itself, while being within this self same human frame. It is the triumph of mind culture which culminates in the acquisition of highest wisdom needed for this purpose.

For you to dwell upon

002.  Constant  brooding over misdeeds  done by others unto oneself only leads to intensification  of  anger  and  enmity within.  Clear the  mind of  such  thoughts of abuse or  assaults  suffered,  and  you  shall  forthwith  enjoy  peace and  harmony within  your  own  self.[Dhammapada vv. 3 & 4]