When the Buddha was meditating to gain Enlightenment, no gods came to reveal any hidden secrets of
spiritual power. No one gave Him any religious laws to teach. He said, I never had any teacher or divinity to teach me or
tell me how to gain Enlightenment. I achieved supreme Wisdom by my own effort, energy, knowledge and purity. Likewise, we
can attain this highest goal through perseverance in perfecting ourselves.
(No Blind Faith)
did not promise heavenly bliss or reward to those who called themselves His followers. Nor did He promise salvation to those
who had faith in Him. To Him, religion is not a bargain but a noble way of life to gain Enlightenment and salvation for oneself
and others. He did not want followers who believed Him blindly; He wishes us to think and understand for ourselves.
Buddha urges all to come forth to discover more about Buddhism and not simply believe in it. He advised choosing a proper
religion by considering and investigating it in various ways, without accepting anything through emotion or blind faith. This
is why Buddhism is sometimes called the religion of analysis. In it is the scientific logical analysis of Mind and matter
which modern thinkers appreciate. Even today, Buddhists are encouraged to have the attitude of a healthy skeptic, even towards
the Buddhist scriptures!
(Why is there so much Suffering in Buddhism?)
The use of the word suffering
in Buddhism can be misleading. When we hear the Buddha say Life is suffering, we wonder what He is saying, as most of us dont
experience extreme misery most of the time.
The actual word used by the Buddha is dukkha which means that things
arent completely right in our lives- there are many unsatisfactory conditions in our existence; something always seems amiss.
Suffering used in Buddhism thus refers to all kinds of dissatisfactions big and small.
(What about Happiness?)
To live is to experience a greater or lesser degree of dissatisfaction. The Buddha never denied that there is joy
and happiness in life. But the nagging problem of dissatisfaction is always around, while happiness is always swiftly fleeting
by. This is the only problem in our lives. But it is the BIGGEST problem as it encompasses all problems we face. The Buddha
is only drawing our attention to the fact that suffering is an inevitable part of life, that it is a problem that all experience,
and wish to avoid, and that it can be overcome with the attainment of Nirvana (True Happiness).
(Why Take Refuge?)
If we observe the world carefully, we will notice much pain, suffering and frustration experienced by all. We will
look for a way to end these distressing conditions just as a traveller caught in a storm seeks shelter. If he finds shelter
in a strong and safe building, he will call out to the others struggling in the storm to join him in his refuge. Similarly,
one chooses to become a Buddhist when he understands who the Buddha is and how the Triple Gem can provide him the way to end
suffering. Out of Compassion, he also encourage others to take the same refuge.
The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha
are called the Triple Gem because they represent qualities excellent and precious like a gem. Once we recognise these unique
qualities after careful consideration, and are confident that the Triple Gem can lead us towards True Happiness and Enlightenment,
we take refuge in it. Therefore, it is not out of mere faith, but with an open-minded attitude and inquiring spirit that we
begin practising the Buddhas Teaching.
(You Can Save Yourself!)
No one can save us- except our own
self! This is a wonderful message that the Buddha
gives us. The Buddha says, By oneself is evil done; by oneself is one
made impure. By oneself only is evil stopped; by oneself is one made pure. Purity and impurity depend on oneself. No one can
purify another. (Dhammapada verse 165)
Furthermore, the Buddha says that we can become our own master, One is ones
own master. For who else can be ones master? If one is well-controlled, one wins a master who is difficult to find. (Dhammapada
All the while we have been good, says the Buddha- it is because of some Greed, Hatred and Ignorance in
our daily life that only temporarily cloud our Mind, This Mind of ours is pure, but it is dirtied by outside things. (Gradual
In the Buddhas True Teaching, there are no such things as sin, commandments, judgement, eternal heaven
or eternal hell. There is just the pure Buddha Mind for us to attain. All beings are able to become Buddhas! (Ratna-gotra-vibhaga