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Of Buddha and his quest for truth

india Updated: May 17, 2011 00:33 IST
P P Wangchuk
P P Wangchuk
Hindustan Times
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The more one tries to understand the Buddha, the more one gets to realise the futility of living a meaningless life. A life of ignorance without the consciousness of who we are and what are we here for is a life wasted.

When the Buddha got to realise the truth under the Bodhi Tree, at Bodh Gaya, in present Bihar, his only mission in life thereafter was to spread the consciousness of the basic message that anyone can achieve enlightenment and be free from the sorrows and worries of life.

This kind of thought was radical and in direct conflict with the understanding of human potential as promoted by the religious system of those days.

Hence, the Buddha had to face great challenges from within his own clan as well as from outside.

Those were the days when even the study of the Vedas was not open to all: Only certain castes and some of their male members could study it.

The contention was that only a certain kind of male members were capable of attaining liberation.

The Buddha challenged this illogical discrimination and offered his own dharma to any one willing — high or low, male or female, rich or poor.

This opening of "universal access" brought in a revolution, and it was the logical outcome of the basic truth that the Buddha taught: That the causes of happiness and sufferings lie in the mind of an individual.

So, it was the Buddha who exploded the myth that only a chosen few could be the lucky ones to free themselves from suffering and attain lasting happiness.

It took the Buddha 45 years after his enlightenment to surmount such religious, social and traditional obstacles. His dharma presentation was attuned to accord with the aptitudes and attitudes of his followers.

All through these years, the Buddha's stress was to make one think, reason and act, and discard what is not useful in seeking enlightenment. As a result, the people’s imagination was set on fire and the Buddha’s dharma spread all over.

(Happy Buddha Purnima)