The true art of living
The art of living is a means to get one nearer the truth - the ultimate goal.india Updated: May 09, 2006 12:30 IST
Buddhism shows one the art of dying as much as the art of living. In fact, the two are inseparable. For, as someone had said, the art of living, if taken care of properly, is nothing but the art of dying.
The art of living is a means to get one nearer the truth - the ultimate goal. One can take any route, and there are many. Meditation is one of them. And, there are hundreds of ways of doing meditation. For me, meditation is getting lost in the bliss of enjoying vegetarian food, the ec stasy in campaigning against non-vegetarianism and working hard to save others’ lives. Vegetarianism is a means to tame ag gressive minds that compel us to commit sinful acts.
The Buddha had taken the meditation route for his ultimate realisation. According to him, meditation has three stages: to bring your mind into a state of tranquility, to use it as a means to an end – enlightenment; and then to help others achieve their ultimate goal. Buddhist experts call these stages “good in the beginning”, “good in the middle” and “good at the end”.
Sogyal Rinpoche, an authority on spiritual classics, says that the “good in the beginning” springs from the awareness that all men fundamentally have the Buddha-like nature as their innermost essence that has the potential to make them realise freedom from ignorance and suffering.
“Good in the middle” is a state of mind when we have the awareness that life and everything else is essentially illusory and “empty”. And, “good at the end” is taking the second stage a step further and working towards the enlightenment of all. Meditation is thus a vehicle for realising the truth that the right to live entails the duty to let others too live. And to truly practice the art of living and dying, one has to be more humane and considerate. Only then would we have served the purpose of life. The Buddha says the art of dying can be made enjoyable by cultivating the virtues of compassion and understanding.