12th December 2019, Kathmandu
The Buddha expressed his philosophy when he said: “Disciples, I teach only two things, the nature of suffering and the cessation of suffering.”
The Buddha taught the famous “Four Noble Truths” and “Eightfold Path,” which allow people to achieve enlightenment. Enlightenment (nirvana, awakening, realization, satori) is the cessation of suffering, freedom from conditioned existence (samsara). The Buddha taught that nothing is lost in the universe, everything changes and every action has a consequence; things appear because of previous conditions. If one practices the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, then one will no longer be subject to the cycle of existence in samsara.
Only a fool would carry the raft around after he had already reached the other shore of liberation.
To his favorite disciple, Ananda, the Buddha once said (from: Old Path, White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh):
Four Noble Truths
Dukkha – Life is unsatisfactory, disjointed, suffering.
Samudaya – There is a cause of suffering, which is attachment or desire (tanha).
Nirodha – There is a cessation of suffering, which is to eliminate attachment and desire.
Marga – The path that leads out of suffering is called the Noble Eightfold Path.
The Buddha taught that in order to realize enlightenment, man must free himself from his ego, and give up all desires. He taught that by having so many desires (such as wanting pleasure, wealth, happiness, security, success, long life, etc.), man condemns himself to suffering, and will never escape the cycle of rebirths.
Therefore Buddhism believes that suffering is self-created.
The Eight Fold Path (Middle Way path of Buddhism)
- Right Understanding (or Right View, or Right Perspective)
- Right Thought (or Right Intention, or Right Resolve)
Morality – Sila
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
Concentration – Samadhi
- Right Effort (or Right Endeavour)
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
The Triple Jewel
POLITICS AND BUDDHISM
The Buddha came from a warrior caste and was naturally brought into association with kings, princes and ministers. Despite His origin and association, He never resorted to the influence of political power to introduce His teaching, nor allowed His teaching to be misused for gaining political power.
The thrust of the Buddhadharma is not directed to the creation of new political institutions or to establishing political arrangements. Basically, it seeks to approach the problems of society by reforming the individuals constituting that society and by suggesting some general principles, through which the society can be guided towards greater humanism, improved welfare of its members, and more equitable sharing of resources.
The Buddhist approach to political power is the moralization and responsible use of public power. The Buddha preached non-violence and peace as a universal message. He did not approve of violence or the destruction of life, and declared that there is no such thing as a ‘just’ war. He taught: ‘The victor breeds hatred, the defeated lives in misery. He who renounces both victory and defeat is happy and peaceful.’
Buddha spoke about the equality of all human beings and that classes and caste are artificial barriers determined by society. The classification of human beings, according to Buddha, should be based on the quality of their moral conduct. Buddha encouraged the spirit of social cooperation and active participation in society. Since no one was appointed as the successor of Buddha, the members of the order was to be guided by the Dharma and Vinaya, or in short, the rule of law. The Buddha encouraged the spirit of consultation and the democratic process. When serious questions arouse demanding attention, the issues were put before the monks and discussed in a manner similar to the democratic parliamentary system used today. It may come as a surprise to many that these self-governing procedures were practiced in the Buddhist era, 2,500 years ago.