I am hearten, and pleasantly surprised to see there are so many blogs on Buddhism on the net. And mostly by westerners too.
Buddhism is pragmatic and easy to understand. It is a universal teaching about Life which can be understood by All people. It is a teaching not just for the monks or for the Buddhists but for anyone who cares to ‘listen’, or who wants to know more about Life. Which is why some people consider Buddhism a philosophy rather than a religion.
The following are excerpts from Buddhist text and publications.
The Enlightened One was moved to pity
i) because He saw Mankind drowning in the Great Sea of Birth, Death and Sorrow, and longed to save them.
ii) because He saw them doing evil with hand, heart, tongue and many times receiving the bitter fruits, yet were yielding to their desires.
iii) because He saw them afraid of birth, old age and death.
The Buddha does not attempt to solve all the ethical and philosophical problems that perplex mankind. He is chiefly concerned with one practical and specific problem; that of Suffering and its destruction. All side issues are completely ignored.
The Buddha teaches that no amount of factual knowledge will ultimately free man from the pain of existence. He must strive alone and diligently until he arrives at a true understanding of his own nature and of the changeable nature of the cosmos. To be truly free a man must seek to tame his mind, to destroy his craving for sensual pleasure.
The man who has conquered self-love is, according to the Buddha, the highest being in the universe. The conquest can be best be acquired by living the homeless life but even those who remain in their homes and follow their normal callings can still live the unworldly life; by practicing generosity, by following the principles of righteousness and justice, by abstaining from unworthy desires and by observing an elementary morality. The minimum required of a good man, a good citizen, is that he should abstain from taking life, from theft, from unchastity, from lying and from intoxicants, covetousness, malevolence, ill-temper, sloth and torpor of body and mind, fretfulness and irritability, doubt and perplexity - these the Buddha declares are hindrances to spiritual progress.
Detachment is one of the most important factors for the attainment of Enlightenment. The attainment of enlightenment is by way of non-attachment. Most of life's troubles are caused by attachment. We get angry; we worry; we become greedy and complain bitterly. All these causes of unhappiness, tension, stubbornness, and sadness are due to attachment. When we investigate any trouble or worry we have, the main cause is always attachment. Thus a person should maintain an attitude of detachment from worldly pleasures rather than being selfishly attached to them.
Worldly pleasures and bad experiences are so transitory – knowing their transitory nature, their relative nature, their conventional nature, makes you free.
One of the best ways to overcome possessive-attachment to loved ones is to reflect on impermanence. Everything changes, nothing lasts. One day death will separate us from the people we love. Separation could occur even before that if one of us is posted overseas or if we quarrel and come to hate each other. The more attached we are the more pain and stress we will suffer at this separation. Therefore it is wise to give up attachment. But that doesn’t mean giving up love! We can love people without being attached to them by living with the awareness of our inevitable separation. We can love and care for them now and at the same time be ready to say goodbye to them when the time comes.