Rabu, 03 September 2008

Buddha made no new discovery of his religion, only Practical Religion

Buddha was born on the border of Nepal about 620 B.C. and died about 543 B.C. at Kusinagara in Oudh.

Buddhism was founded by Gautama Sakya Muni, the rebel child of Hinduism. It sprang up directly from Hinduism. Buddha never thought of founding a new religion. He made no new discovery. He was proclaiming only the ancient and pure form of religion which had prevailed among the Hindus.

The pure and noble religion of the Vedas and the Upanishads had degenerated into dead forms, unmeaning rites and ceremonies. The Brahmins claimed honour merely by their birth. They neglected the study of the Vedas and the practice of virtue. The Brahmins were treated with undue leniency, and the Sudras (the servant class) with undue severity. In order that flesh-eating might have the sanction religion, animals were slaughtered and sacrificed in Yajnas (ceremony where sacrifice is offered). Such was the state of society at the time when Buddha appeared. His tender and loving heart could not bear the shedding of so much innocent blood in the sacred name religion. Buddha declared that merit, and not birth, determined the position of a man in society. The persecuted Sudras joined him in large numbers and he unconsciously became the founder of a new faith.

Buddhism is the religion of earnest, undaunted effort. Buddha demands from you faith in your own Self, in your own latent forces. Without this faith, nothing can be achieved. The first words of Buddha, after his Enlightenment, were: "Wide open are the gates of Immortality. Ye that ears to hear, release your faith."

Buddha came to the world to show the path of righteousness, to destroy the path of error, and to break down sorrow. Buddhism is not agnosticism or atheism. Buddha did not deny God. He only said: "Do not bother about questions like 'Is there God?', 'Do I exist?', 'Is the world real or not?'. Do not waste your time and energy in useless discussions. Become a practical religious man. Purify your heart. Control the mind. Lead a virtuous life. You will attain Nirvana or emancipation or eternal bliss."

To accuse Buddha as an atheist or agnostic is simply foolish. Buddha found no use in metaphysical wrangling. He declined to enter into metaphysics. Is there God or no God? Is life eternal or non-eternal? These questions were set aside as not requiring an answer for the attainment of Nirvana. The immediate great problem for Buddha was suffering and annihilation of suffering. He asked his followers not to bother about transcendental questions. He set aside all those things which did not help towards the attainment of the goal. He thought it wise to give his followers a way, and not a creed. He thought that speculation about the nature of the ultimate reality was an unnecessary drag on the path of truth and spiritual attainment. The vital and fundamental thing is not to discuss about the ultimate, but to tread the path which takes man out of the world of pain and suffering into supreme abode of eternal bliss and immortality. The nature of the ultimate truth is beyond the reach of mind and speech. If Buddha refused to define the nature of the Absolute, or if he contended himself with negative definitions, it is only to show that the Absolute or the Ultimate is above all definitions.


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The Three Universal Truths

One day, the Buddha sat down in the shade of a tree and noticed how beautiful the countryside was. Flowers were blooming and trees were putting on bright new leaves, but among all this beauty, he saw much unhappiness. A farmer beat his ox in the field. A bird pecked at an earthworm, and then an eagle swooped down on the bird. Deeply troubled, he asked, "Why does the farmer beat his ox? Why must one creature eat another to live?"

During his enlightenment, the Buddha found the answer to these questions. He discovered three great truths. He explained these truths in a simple way so that everyone could understand them.

1. Nothing is lost in the universe

The first truth is that nothing is lost in the universe. Matter turns into energy, energy turns into matter. A dead leaf turns into soil. A seed sprouts and becomes a new plant. Old solar systems disintegrate and turn into cosmic rays. We are born of our parents, our children are born of us.

We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, as the rain that falls. We consist of that which is around us, we are the same as everything. If we destroy something around us, we destroy ourselves. If we cheat another, we cheat ourselves. Understanding this truth, the Buddha and his disciples never killed any animal.

2. Everything Changes

The second universal truth of the Buddha is that everything is continuously changing. Life is like a river flowing on and on, ever-changing. Sometimes it flows slowly and sometimes swiftly. It is smooth and gentle in some places, but later on snags and rocks crop up out of nowhere. As soon as we think we are safe, something unexpected happens.

Once dinosaurs, mammoths, and saber-toothed tigers roamed this earth. They all died out, yet this was not the end of life. Other life forms like smaller mammals appeared, and eventually humans, too. Now we can even see the Earth from space and understand the changes that have taken place on this planet. Our ideas about life also change. People once believed that the world was flat, but now we know that it is round.

3. Law of Cause and Effect

The third universal truth explained by the Buddha is that there is continuous changes due to the law of cause and effect. This is the same law of cause and effect found in every modern science textbook. In this way, science and Buddhism are alike.

The law of cause and effect is known as karma. Nothing ever happens to us unless we deserves it. We receive exactly what we earn, whether it is good or bad. We are the way we are now due to the things we have done in the past. Our thoughts and actions determine the kind of life we can have. If we do good things, in the future good things will happen to us. If we do bad things, in the future bad things will happen to us. Every moment we create new karma by what we say, do, and think. If we understand this, we do not need to fear karma. It becomes our friend. It teaches us to create a bright future.

The Buddha said,

"The kind of seed sown
will produce that kind of fruit.
Those who do good will reap good results.
Those who do evil will reap evil results.
If you carefully plant a good seed,
You will joyfully gather good fruit."

...When a Buddha leaves behind his mind along with the body, it is one gigantic "human accomplishment". Known or unknown to the rest of the world, such an accomplishment changes the course of human history. Humanity is drawn closer to Existence. Those who are receptive and have already done their "homework" can easily feel it. Their consciousness experiences a "quantum-leap". They began to vibrate on a different scale. "Death" of a Buddha is a blessing to humanity. The Awakened Ones not only blessed our world with their appearance called "birth" by us, but also by their disappearance, thought of as "death" by us.

Soul Quest, Anand Krishna

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Buddha's approach is negative.

Buddha's approach is negative. The negative mind, the negative thinking, does not start with any conclusion. It drops all conclusions, it simply gets rid of all beliefs, all scriptures, all doctrines, all creeds. It says 'This is not my experience, so I cannot claim truth for it. Why should I carry it? This is all junk.' Negative thinking means that you drop all the conclusions that you have taken for granted from others. A point comes when nothing is left in your mind, because all is borrowed.

Just look inside. All that you think of as your knowledge is borrowed knowledge, and how can the borrowed be knowledge? It is information. You are just repeating it; you are being mechanical in repeating it. Negative thinking begins with no conclusion, with no belief, with no thought.

Drop all belief, drop all thoughts.


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Buddha is not a person, it is a state of Ultimate Being

Buddha means one who is enlightened, and prem means love -- love for the enlightened one, or love for enlightenment.

Buddha is not a person -- mm? it is a state of ultimate being. There have been many buddhas, and everybody is potentially a buddha. The word itself means tremendously awakened, absolutely alert... one whose consciousness has completely disappeared, who is just pure consciousness. You can look through and through and there is no darkness in it... not even lingering somewhere in the comers.

He has no basement to his being. Nothing is repressed; he holds back nothing. His trust with existence is one hundred percent. Doubts have disappeared... darkness has disappeared. He has come home. That is the meaning of buddha.

Each individual has to become himself. That's how you will become a buddha -- not by following and imitating a buddha. If you imitate a buddha or a christ, you will be an imitation. So this may look paradoxical but it is a very basic point to be understood. If one really wants to be a buddha he has not to follow any buddha, not to imitate anybody -- he has not to become a carbon copy.

The zen masters are known to have said that if you meet the Buddha on the way, kill him immediately! They worship the Buddha every day morning, evening -- and they pray. And they say if while meditating the Buddha image arises in you, take a sword and cut it immediately. Then and there be finished with it... otherwise this fellow is dangerous.

Never be imitative if you want one day to become an offering to god. Always try to listen to your own heart.

Mm? just like a gardener: he helps the rosebush to be a rosebush, and he helps the lotus to be a lotus. He does not try to make the lotus become a rosebush. Neither does he try to make the rosebush a lotus. He protects. He waters... he gives the manure.

He gives his love and warmth. He surrounds the rosebush with all the care that he can, just to help it to become itself.


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The last words of Gautama The Buddha

Be a lamp unto yourself. those are the last words of Gautama the Buddha but they contain the whole message of all the masters. Be a lamp unto yourself' Don't search for light anywhere else; the light is already there, the fire is already there. Just probe a little deeper into your being, enquire. Maybe much ash has gathered around the fire... just t?robe deep inside, and you will find the spark again. And once you have found a single spark inside yourself, you will become a flame soon, you will be a fire -- a fire that purifies, a fire that transforms, a fire that gives you a new birth and a new being.

It is because of this that Martin Heidegger uses the word 'releasement' instead of 'enlightenment'. His word is beautiful. It is a releasement: something is already there, it has only to be released. Just like the seed sprouting, becoming a big tree, and then comes the spring... and there is great joy, and the tree bursts forth into thousands of flowers. But they were all hidden in the seed, the small seed. The seed has been carrying the blueprint for all that: the colour, the shape, the fragrance -- all was hidden in the seed. The tree is not anything new. The seed was unmanifest; the tree is its manifestation. It is a releasement.

I like Heidegger's word, it is beautiful. It is a releasement: enlightenment is a releasement.

You are already that. You have never been other than that. Remember, remind yourself, shake yourself into awareness. Use all the opportunities of life as triggering points, as occasions, so that you can become alert and aware of who you are.

These words of one of the great Greek mystics, Plotinus, will be of help. 'You do not really go away from It, for It is there; you do not "go" anywhere but remain present to It, yet you turn your back on It.' Or as Raman Maharshi used to say 'Enlightenment is simply to admit that you are already enlightened.'

Just to admit... Yes, Raman is stating the simple fact: it is only admitting.

You are enlightened; you consist of it. You are made of light; light is the stuff' that you are made of. Then why can't you admit it? Why can't you recognize it? And rather than recognizing it, you do a thousand and one other things: you search for God, you go to the Himalayas, you move to the monasteries, you torture yourselves, you become masochists in the name of religion, you destroy yourselves, you slowly slowly commit suicide. You do everything, but just a simple thing you never do: you don't admit. Why can't you admit it? And nothing is being taken away from you. In recognizing the fact, all is gained, nothing is lost. But you have become too attached to your chains, you have become too attached to your misery -- you have started thinking that this is you.

It is like an emperor who has fallen asleep and dreams that he has become a beggar. And in his dream he has a begging bowl and rotten rags, and somebody is trying to snatch the begging bowl from him. And he will fight, he will fight to the very bitter end. It is a question of life and death -- somebody trying to snatch his begging bowl? He will give a great fight; he is not going to give it easily -- that's all that he has.

That's what has happened. Misery is all that you have. You cannot admit that you are enlightened because then you will not be able to afford misery any more. So, many times you come to the brink, many times the recognition is very close by -- you see the point -- but you withdraw, you immediately start getting as far away from it as possible.

You withdraw, you turn back. You have become too attached to your misery: that looks as if that is your kingdom.

This is my observation: listening to thousands of sannyasins, one thing seems to be absolutely certain: that nobody wants to renounce his misery. People are even ready to renounce their little bits of happiness; they are ready. This is strange, but this is how it is. If I say to them 'Renounce your wife, renounce your children, renounce your home' they are ready, they say 'We are ready to go with you, Osho, wherever you say. We can renounce.' But if I say 'Renounce your misery, renounce your chains' then immediately I see that they cannot gather that much courage. They cling to it, they will fight for it.

Raman is simply saying that all that is needed for enlightenment is to admit that you are enlightened. Just think of it. Just for a moment meditate over it. Can you admit that you are enlightened? And immediately you will see that it is difficult, because if you admit that you are enlightened then there will be trouble. And the trouble will be: you cannot be angry, and you cannot be sad, and you cannot fight with your wife or with your husband, and you cannot be possessive. All is lost, and that has been your whole life. Now, this is too much, you will say 'How can one become enlightened so suddenly? First I will have to practise.' That is only a way of postponing.


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