How do we feel about Buddhadharma
Nakagawa Kakei, Sensei
It was about 2500 years ago that Gautama
Siddahrhta attained enlightenment and became Buddha. Thereafter, Gautama Siddhartha
became known as Sakya-muni, the sage from Sakya clan. In the present day, we call
him as Sakya -muni Buddha' or Gautama Buddha'.
Buddha is the one who has awakened
to the truth. Enlightenment means that the one who; because of his/her ignorance
used to view the world and his/her life mistakenly and, because of this, often
chose a wrong way of life, awakens to the real state of the world and his/her
life. It is to restore the genuine self by coming to possess a true view of the
world and one's life. Having attained enlightenment through his deep insight,
Sakya-muni Buddha ascertained that living in an enlightened state is the only
way for human beings to live in true happiness. He taught about the true nature
of life and led all other people to attain Buddhahood. In this way, Buddhism is
a teaching which ultimately leads one to become a Buddha himself.
at our life, we wish to always be young and to always live a happy life. In order
to accomplish this end, we try to take good care of ourselves, to save money,
to have our children study hard, and to persevere in our efforts for a stable
future. We sometimes imagine that our convenient situation surely continue forever,
ignoring the truth of impermanence of this world. We, however, are often disappointed
by unexpected happenings and circumstances. Even though we all wish for peace
without exception, conflicts never cease. Even in the ordinary family, where harmony
is to be expected, there is often hostility. At the same time. we are walking
on a one way path towards old age, sickness and, without exception, we will all
have to sink into the abyss of death in the end. Not being eager to accept such
unpleasant realities of life, we try to divert our eyes from it as much as possible
or in unconscious level. As a result we consume our un-repeatable precious life
in vain without seriously thinking about its meaning. When young Gautama Siddharhta
recognized these realities of life, he abandoned his position as the crown prince
of the Sakya Kingdom to seek the solution to these problems. He came to the conclusion
that: since he could never be free from the fundamental sufferings of old age,
sickness and death, no matter how much he sought immediate pleasures, he could
never be happy after all.
Then, what do we do, when we are confronted by the
unstable realities of life? Some people pray to gods to protect them from various
disasters. Some give up on the present life and beg gods to bring them to a heaven
which is filled with joy. Many religions teach that such ways are the solutions
to life's problems. There were many of religious masters who expounded various
methods to get rid of suffering in the times of Sakya-muni Buddha. At first young
Gautama Siddharhta studied and practiced some of their teachings. But finding
that these teachings did not contain the proper method to solve the problem of
suffering, he left and began to find the fundamental way of solving the problem
of suffering by himself.
When we are faced with successive unhappiness in
everyday life, we seek to avoid dealing with the reality. We often pray to gods
to protect us from unhappiness. Sakya-muni Buddha never assumed such an attitude.
He averted his eyes from the reality because the reality placed the dependence
for the solution of our problems onto others. Instead of attributing the cause
of suffering to some outward form of existence, he penetrated reality for himself;
searched for the cause of suffering, and decided to thoroughly eradicate the cause
In general, religion judges whether something is true or not based
upon religious authority, like the words of god. To follow such truth is generally
regarded as faith. During the time of Sakya-muni Buddha, such a religious authority
existed (which was known as Brahmanism, present Hinduism's former figure). Nevertheless,
he never depended upon this authority or entrusted himself to a god's will. He
faced up to the reality of suffering and discerned the nature of suffering. After
serenely observing the cause of suffering and the way of deliverance from it,
he discovered the answer at last. This attitude of forcing oneself to face a matter
squarely, which is often called to observe a matter squarely or to see the reality
as it is, consistently provided the foundation for Sakya-muni Buddha's speculation.
Not only is this a fundamental Buddhist way of thinking, but also it should
be noted that this attitude distinguishes Buddha-dharma from other religions which
talk of the revelation of the truth by a god or supreme being.
Buddha was in his deep meditation, observed what all sorts of being in the phenomenal
world should be in the state of inter-connectedness, by the workings of his perfected
Up to that time, it had been thought that the "matter"
appeared and the "matter" disappeared. But Sakya -muni Buddha discovered
the fact that the "matter" which was perceived as the subject of appearance
and disappearance, had not been confirmed its peculiar substance. In a word, the
real nature of our external environment cannot be gathered by our perceptive abilities
because of its actual incessant fluctuation in a condition of non-stagnant "time".
Then, the views which something stand-still extent "matter" changes
its form moment by moment is totally wrong. Eventually, the true reality of the
transient form has no individuality of the substance and exists on the stage of
Sakya-muni Buddha grasped such a true reality of each
existences, since then he never recognized the phenomenal world through the workings
of the substantial concept which is formed by the perceptive stand-still aspects
like us the ordinary people, and he gained the wisdom of non-discrimination which
never works with attaching to anything substantial. After he reached that state,
the "ignorance"-the root of all attachments was interrupted and he was
totally liberated from all sufferings. Ever since, he had lived for the only purpose
to make the people who are suffered by the "ignorance" to liberate.
We call such a state of his mind as a "Great Compassion".
result of observing the matter squarely, Sakya -muni Buddha realized many significant
truths which people in his time could not realized.
(1) Suffering does not
come to us from some higher being outside of ourselves. Our own ego-centric mind,
full of self attachment and blind passion, creates the suffering that we are bothered
(2) Our ego-centric mind arises from our ignorance of the way things are
and from a misunderstanding of true reality.
Regarding the first phrase, we
usually see the cause of suffering in something outside of us, such as lack of
money or shortage of things. Here we presuppose that if the outside conditions
were changed, we would be happy. On the contrary, Sakya -muni Buddha located the
cause of suffering as inside of ourselves: in other words, he comprehended that
our mind creates both suffering and pleasure.
What does it mean that our mind
creates both suffering and pleasure'? We see things through our eyes, we hear
sound with our ears, and thereby perceive what things are. After that we judge
whether these things are pleasing or disturbing. Although we suppose that we see,
hear, and perceive things correctly, can it really be so? We often say that since
I did not pay attention to it. I overlooked it' or it did not reach my ears because
I was angry at something else.' Even if we suppose that we perceive something
correctly, its appearance is subject to change according to our mental state.
The nature of our thought, however, is deeply rooted in an ego-centric mind
which always indulges in wishful thinking about ourselves and our surroundings.
It is this mind that is always greedy to gain wishful things and to reject un-desirous
things. It is this mind that fails to recognize the facts truthfully, regards
other's criticisms as faults, and is blind to reason. When we admit that our view
of the world is based on such a mind, we see that our picture of the world is
already distorted. Yet, we firmly convince ourselves that we see things properly.
If not only one person but also other people perceive the world in such a distorted
fashion; continually judging what is good or bad based on one's personal wishes,
and insisting on a perceived infallibility of one's own judgment, it is certain
that conflicts will arise among them.
In this sense, what we perceive as suffering
does not really have a substance; we are actually terrified of things that we
ourselves have created. Sometimes though we do not even notice that we are troubled
by such nightmares, and we remain in darkness. This is the state of our existence.
That is why we are called a deluded person or a sentient being. Sakya -muni Buddha
made clear that our suffering and illusion are derived from evil passions present
in our minds.