Monday, July 11, 2016

What is life and death as per Buddhism?

What is life and death as per Buddhism?
As per Buddhism, the sequence of life and its death is a process of transformation from one stage to another.  Buddha said that all of us would pass away eventually as a part of the natural process of birth, old age, and death.  As per the creed of the Buddhism, and the mythological stories related therein once a seeker inquired from a Zen Master, “What is going to happen after death?”  The Zen Master replied, “I have no idea, rather I don’t know.”  The seeker got surprised because Zen Master is mostly the people who possess enlighten the soul.  Seeing the seeker’s surprising face, the Zen Master further said, “I am not the dead master.”
Life is enjoyable, but one has to enjoy within the ambit of the moral code of conduct.  God has created this beautiful world to spread love and establish the brotherhood; one must help others in their distress and receive God’s light which is the blessings of Him.  In the same way, death is also enjoyable, provided we live our lives as per the God’s wishes.  Death is a matter of experience.  One can have the feeling while dying, but once the death happens then, that experience cannot be shared with anyone. Either, it is a matter of bliss or gloomy.  How we lead our lives, how we had given shape to our lives during our living and serve the fellow beings, all these facts matter much what type of death we have to face.  Some people die peacefully in the midst of sleep for a sudden health problem, for example, due to heart failure. Some other faces so much, so difficulties for various socioeconomic constraints that they pray to God to take away their lives, and a few are so disturbed because of their chronic disease that ultimately they commit suicide.
To understand this conceptual subject, let us find out what is death?  To simplify, when the life ends means one is dead. It is the cessation of life.  At the same time, it is not so easy to answer what life is? Life is like a flow of the river.  If you want to maintain cleanliness, you can do, means you can lead a balanced life full of fun and frolic and also pain and sufferings.  But if you pollute the river with dirt, and you want to waste the precious moment of your life through engagement of frivolous and wasteful deeds and gossip, then you will be responsible for bringing a disastrous to your life. You have to consider the fact of life as the transient. It is a static curve which starts with your birth, and then you grow and reach boyhood, after that, adulthood and finally, old age grapples.  At that stage of life, you may remain fit depending on your lifestyle. Or you may be afflicted with many diseases which may even cause your death.  Even you are fit at old age, at some point in time; your life will end, means you will die.  Buddha calls this as ‘Suchness of life.’  As per Buddhism, death is not the end of life. In fact, Buddhists believe that death is the end of the physical body.  Why do we fear death?  As long as you are greedy for name, fame, wealth, various types of assets, you will always be under anxiety whether you can receive these, accumulate and then utilize the same. The reason for the tension is that you are not able to fulfill your desires.  The reason of fear is how quickly you can achieve the said milestone, and if you able to get how to manage, and how to keep the same under possession?  The fear of death comes from the fear ceasing to exist and losing one’s identity with all types of said material comforts. Since we are so accustomed in being recognized based on our name, fame, and wealth in the societies, we are worried under the pretension that any moment we may lose all the said comforts.

Krishna propounds in Gita in a more philosophical style of professing that there is no death. Only forms change because no one dies.  As per Him, this eternal truth is presented in Gita.  Life is a process of continuous activities, and so death takes place millions of times in the elaborate and colorful journey of an eternal life.  Death is just incidental.  It happens in between.  When we lose some of our beloved members, quite naturally, we become very aggrieved.  Gradually, we learn to sedate and continue to live without him/her. 

Though we miss them, and occasionally we remember them, we pray to Almighty to keep their souls in peace. But ultimately, death is a painful event.  The question is, can we avoid death?  No, you can only increase your longevity, but it is impossible to bypass death.  As stated above, when someone is much near and dear to you, and if he dies, you will be morose, but the greater the element of sadness of grief and personal loss, the more one tends to feel sorrow for one.
As per Mahayana tradition, it is known as ‘death awareness.’ This tradition is used to arouse fundamental interest in compassion. It helps people to comprehend the impermanence of life.  The said knowledge increases our courage and helps us to fight against the concept of death.  No sooner, you start fearing death; it is but natural that you have not understood the phenomenon of mortality in right perspective.  If you are in a position to view death from Buddha’s point of view, you can ascertain the fact that it is fundamentally faithful to support others when they are on the death bed.  At that time, if you comfort them and impart consolation to them, there are many active reactionary forces ahead in your life. You must know that the life is impermanent, and everything is in transient though life is the long continuum.  With these thoughts, you may lead a life of non-attachment.  Then, the dying person can do “bid adieu,” with a lovable face to all his friends, peers, and superior colleagues.  Seeing the miracle demeanor of the deceased person, you may question what is the beginning point?  Most of the people will believe that time has come and one who is going, let him go and we should pray for his soul is in peace. But that sentiment is not correct.  During the time of death, we must provide enough support to the person so that he can come out from the fear of death and accept the same with courage. As per Buddhism and the teachings of Buddha, “The time of death is a great opportunity for transformation for any sentient being that is aware while dying.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Words are mightier than weapon

The spoken words are mightier than the weapon. You can ascertain this fact from your life also. We utter many words daily to our family members, friends, office colleagues, and acquaintances. Have we ever thought the power behind these words? Or do we take enough measures and analytical views before uttering words?  Have we ever recognized the fact that words once were spoken and if it hurts or not producing the exact effect as desired what could be the consequences?  There are many people exist in our societies which speak impromptu, and when they realize that their words backfire, they apologize or say ‘sorry,’ as if, they can use words as dim fit to be. It is like that you speak any words creating conflicts and then escape saying the above. Contrarily when you hear the words spoken by religious preachers, sages, prophets and spiritual masters we get enlightened, and their words act as a magic to purify our minds.  Though the effect may be ephemeral, yet the intensity is very high. Their magical words make us choose the right path, and propel us in the right direction so that we follow the course of ideal living.  The words uttered by these great souls have an electrifying effect, which removes our impurities and unwanted thoughts. Further, we will be inspired not to use words which hurt others.  We all are aware of the wisdom of this truth of the power of words, but in our real lives, we fail to comply with its essentials. Instead of using words with a correct melody, we prefer to follow the path of destruction by using all wrong and improper words.  Sometimes, our offensive and abusing words jeopardize the relationship so badly that we lose business dealings, trust, friendship and even cordial relationship with the spouses.  The bad words cause restlessness and anxiety.
People who are seekers of truth don’t indulge these negative tendencies of uttering odd words.  They are far above the narrow mindedness and they always focus on self-development and self-reform.  They have no time to insult others using derogatory words.  They always create a pleasant environment influencing others, and they distribute positive thoughts through their noble deeds and vocabulary.  Words are critical provided you act with love, faith, devotion and feeling for others opinion and thoughts.  That is why, you can identify the saints, sages, and spiritual masters very easily even in the crowd. They motivate people throwing words of spirits and motivation. Further, their actions are louder than words.  Their words in themselves are adding additional moral values.   For example, if you talk about humility, you need to practice the same. If we don’t show love to others, mere talking of loving nature is not sufficient. If we talk about lightheartedness, we have to show the same in reality.  People will listen to your words, but they can easily understand your intention.  If you say and you don’t do, you will be exposed soon. We must, therefore, have a watch on our words and exercise control.  Through the lives of saints and sages, God provides us the direction how to lead a moral life. A stable life has no place to blame others.  If you fail to achieve something, no one is responsible for the same.  As human beings, there is a tendency not to accept responsibility, but to accuse others.  If you like to become an established personality, you need to stop this accusation and using slanderous words. You need to ascertain the truth and remain steadfast in your goal. Many poets profess through their compositions that odd words spoken might have far-reaching consequences causing sufferings lasting for centuries.  It is like a small stone thrown into a quiet pond, the ripples of which reach far and wide.  A word can redeem, a word can hinder.  But if you minutely observe the words of spiritual-minded people, and follow the same in your daily life, your status may not go upward immediately, but you can rest assure that the same will not be lowered.  You can judge your real worth, not through your education, high profile in professional life or monetary power.  The real recognition come through your humility, selflessness and using kind words.  The humblest is the greatest virtue, and one needs to practice the same to become an ideal person. Then, he will get the blessings of divine love, which will help him to leave ego automatically.  He detaches from the importance of “I” and gives value to “we.” 
If you close your eyes, for a while, it looks to be dark until the time you open, but during this period, the sun does not lose its light. Similarly, your eye’s consciousness needs to be illuminated so that the same can radiate sun’s light even in your dark time.  Both your inner eyes and outer eyes need to be enlightened. What does it mean?  Your inner vision should yield outwardly.  You have to translate your good intentions into good deeds and words. The word has a powerful equation, and we all have to understand the same. So, if you use sweet, smooth, friendly and lovable words, you will always remain happy and make others joyous.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The art of forgiveness

The art of forgiveness

When you involve in a quarrel, a bitter relationship starts, and you or your opponent will find out an opportunity to humiliate each other. Unless it happens, both the parties will not keep quiet. Why is it so?  Because we believe in taking revenge rather than follow the art of forgiveness. Like the art of living, it is also an art. The more you can show forgiveness, the more you will be recognized by all.  In our daily lives, we face some bad experience, which is unavoidable. The two options are there when you meet bad experience. Don’t think much and completely ignore the incident.  If you are not able to bury the bad experience, the intensity of the gloomily and unhappiness will increase. If you prolong the altercations, then you are in a mood to take revenge. On the contrary, if you ignore or show let go attitude, then you follow the art of forgiveness. As per spirituality, showing forgiveness is a better option.
Forgiveness saves you from unwanted distraction, not alluring you to involve in unproductive works and finally saves your precious times. Further, you will be able to ensure not to escalate the issue, which may otherwise develop extraordinary tension. This art is an instant solution to any boisterous situation.  Contrarily, if you resort to the path of taking revenge, the problem will become complicated.  Forgiveness may not give immediate solution sometimes, but you get enough time to think deeply on the issue of quarreling.  During this period, who knows either you or your opponent may understand the situation thoroughly and bury the animosity through discussions?  When this type of situation occurs, mostly people blame others. It is always advisable to examine one’s role in the whole state of affairs.  For example, if you are gloomy, don’t focus on the other party.  It is you, who are responsible for the situation. A famous proverb says, “If you laugh, the whole world will laugh with you, but if you weep, you have to shed tears alone.”  You need to search out for a better option to come out from any impasse.

In our lives, we face two choices.  One is anti-other thinking, and another is pro-self thinking. The anti-other thinking provokes you to the path of animosity. You will be in a mood to argue with others, to oppose any suggestion without analyzing the pros and cons of the issue, like to irritate others and not allowing others to finish their words, and finally, you descend to the brute level.  The pro-self thinking makes you reach a higher realm, where your behavior will be very rational and less aggressive. The art of forgiveness is a full stop because thereafter you have to start afresh. But the attitude to take revenge will bring peril to you; otherwise, you cannot enjoy a quiet life. Further, forgiveness will increase the chance to reduce bitterness, if not eliminated entirely, whereas revenge will escalate the tension in a relationship. Forgiveness makes you think positively uninterruptedly while hate fosters ill feelings and negativities. And the negative thoughts will bring disharmony in your mental pattern. Many people believe that forgiveness is a characteristic trait for a weak person.  It is advisable to take tit-for-tat approach.  But this approach is not a solution to any problematic issue. Forgiveness closes any problem once for all, whereas tit-for-tat attitude aggravates and prolongs it.  Some people think that forgiveness will provide an urge to continue with wrongdoings, but this thinking has no iota of truth.  In the long run, forgiveness always wins the battle. In fact, history has also shown us this proposition.  Psychology shows us that we are born with ego and a conscience.  If you adopt the policy of tit-for-tat, it creates resentment and inflates other person’s ego, whereas if you follow the art of forgiveness, it will activate the other person’s conscience. It is an established hypothesis that in any controversial matter, the conscience always plays a decisive role.  Forgiveness and revenge are two different moral cultures. If you practice the forgiveness policy, you will be instrumental in developing a clean, better and healthy society where positive values flourish and the spirit of brotherhood are evident, and where groups join and turn the nation into a peaceful entity. The outcome of revenge will bring just the opposite.  A hate culture produces bitterness, hatred, jealousy and occasionally anarchy, which is not good for human beings. In this culture, everyone wants to topple others, which creates the growth of a not at all healthy environment. 
We are bound to do something wrong in our lives.  The common proverb “To err is human,” is always to be in our conscience, but that does not mean taking revenge will be the solution to an unresolved issue.  That will develop the tenacity to do mistake after mistake.  Contrarily, when you take the path of forgiving others, you correct the wrongs with rights.  If err is human, forgiveness is more human.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Love, its feeling and bonding

Love, its feeling and bonding
‘I love you’ is a very simple expression of showing affection.  People address their partners in this small sentence to give an impetus to their relationship. All people from youth to old express their feelings spontaneously through this friendly gesture. But this sentence is overused and undervalued because many a time, the intrinsic meaning behind this expression is missing. For example, before leaving for office, you might have told this sentence to your partner only to find that you two get engaged in a brawl in the evening hours.  How the love of morning evaporates within a period of ten to twelve hours?  The reason is, people like all other things, consider love as a commodity.  If the mind is elated because of any reason, your become enliven, and then you hug your partner and utter these few words. But before expressing your love, you must establish the vital chemical bonding if you like to take the fragrance of this expression. Otherwise, it would be a mere formality.
The subject of the relationship is not that well understood, and that is why morning love becomes evening blaster. In fact, it should not be. You can classify the human relationship as emotional intimacy, and informal and the formal bonding.  It is based on the exchange of thoughts, emotions and feelings and also the difference in opinion.  Today, the people are more aggressive in one hand, and on the contrary, they become more selfish.  Most of us focus our attention first on self-interest and then to their family members and nearer kin.  Because of this mental condition, we get less success in a relationship.  We guard our feelings from others as if it is a big crime.  We keep everything as private for no good reason.  When you are born, have you brought any privacy?  When you die, will you take anything from the world?  Then why you believe in so much protection for a period spanning not more than seventy to eighty years in general.  Because of privacy, we are not able to nurture relationships.  In this fragmented relationship, if you say “I love you,” the result will not be very cohesive for a long time. Both for mental peace and physical attraction, you need to relate to someone absolutely, and you have to trust someone blindly so that he can also trust you in the same way.  You have to do this exercise rigorously to overcome inhibitions imposed by slightest distrust 

Once the outer layers of integration of relationship are exhausted, you have to rely on the inner world to find out its channel to have an affinity either with living or non-living beings.  For example, you love one tree either planted in the outskirt of your house or a nearby garden, and you consider it as your companion. You develop some loving relationship for the tree. It is a secret and lovable relationship.  The tree is not in a position to talk but feel.  From that point of view, the tree becomes your friend and absorbs all your thoughts. Since you become friend mentally; you can share your emotions with that particular tree. You can call it is as emotional love. Sometimes, you share your guilt with your close friend or any near relatives who understand you better than others.  But you may find that you are not getting support what you like to receive. By confessing your fact, you would like to have a mental peace, and this type of love is known as intellectual love. Here, you may not have any urge to say ‘I love you’, but you need other person's moral support.  You need to make a balance between trust and showing your love. Ascertain any particular situation, and then utilize your intelligence and ensure whether the time is suitable to show your liking or trust.
Before that, you must understand that four important chemical bonding induce the love of different types. They are emotional, sexual, intellectual and spiritual bonding. You can assess this on your own.  You cannot show the similar kind of love for your neighbors as you show to your wife, children or parents.  It is not possible.  You love your wife, children or parents because they are your own. You love your parents out of reverence, affection, sense of duty and bonding.  Further, love cannot be conditional.  You or your spouse may bring this type of condition in your loving otherwise sweet relationship, but it will create conflict.  When it comes to children, most of the parents show unconditional love. But in today’s competitive world, parents want that their children should study hard, secure good percentage or even stand first or second, and in turn, they promise to part with costly gifts.  The parents bring condition, which causes the children’s anxiety, and they lose their confidence. The most commonly found aspect in a relationship is romantic love, which people search so that they can fall in love immediately.  How and when you can realize that you are in love?  Though there is no straight cut reply to this question, closing your eyes, focusing your attention on her face, body and mind, if you can equate a sort of a confluence, then you are in love with her. Whether she has the same realization, you have to ascertain the fact from her. Further, whenever you see someone, and if you become elated, there is a possibility that you get attached either romantically or spiritually. Again, it may happen that you are missing someone for long, and become restless, panicky, disturbed and losing your temperament, and you find out him suddenly. In this situation also, you will be developing an affinity. There is no magical or mystical moment of realization of love.  It comes unannounced and grows on you.  Love may originate at first sight, but it requires a considerable time before the bonding takes place and the lovers realize they are in love. There are four chemical bonds, which play a vital role in our growth of this faculty.  They are body chemistry, emotional chemistry, intellectual chemistry and spiritual chemistry.  The conjugal and all others relationships will be more distinct when all these bonding are useful.  But why you fail in love? Because you provide differential treatment to these bonds; some give attention only to the body chemistry. A few give importance to intellectual chemistry and some other may be giving recognition to the spiritual chemistry. We get easily attracted through bonding of body chemistry, but as it happens fast, it distracts equally at the same pace. It is a major factor in the growth of love, but your ignorance or not adherence to the other chemistry will put your love either ineffective or unsuccessful. You need to provide same importance to all the four types of bonding.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Can we not protect the environment?

Can we not protect the environment?
The protection of the environment is critical.  Depletion of environmental energy is not only harmful to our growth, but also it jeopardizes the uplift of civilization of the world. It is a concern for all of us.  Why? Because we live in it, and we live with it.  There is a significant meaning behind all these edification. In the deep level, if you ponder then you will agree that the environment provides us the means to our livelihood.  We must utilize our traditional wisdom to ensure its protection.  The environment supplies us various kinds of resources to increase our productivity.  We get immense benefits from the environment, for example, we utilize its resources; cultivate and harvest its fruits, remove the rocky path to ease the transportation, cleaning the thorns and muddy grounds to the benefits of people to construct buildings and houses for their shelter and innumerable other advantages.  We can cite all these facts when we analyze the truth “we live from it.”  When we consider “we live in it,” we have to ascertain the reality that it is just not a precondition for human existence and productive activity.  We have to accept the truth that we earn our bread and butter because of environment’s enough blessings on us.  It also plays a pivotal role in our social, cultural and aesthetic fulfillment.  We have a valid reason to accept environment’s contribution because our work life is related to its existence.  Our individual and collective sustenance are dependent on environment.  After grueling working hours, we relax, walk, gossip with our friends, fishing, climbing, swimming, playing, etc. due to its availability and we are lucky to utilize its resources.
We get all these resources to complete our regular activities from ocean, forests, beaches, rivers and mountains.  As per the economic pundits, it is known as recreation value.  We live in the environment means that environment already existed before our arrival.  Further, it will stay for an extended period on the earth.  If we accept their contributions and think to protect this precious asset, we can obtain more and more from the environment.  One has to note that the getting the abundance resources of the environment is a great blessing of God to humanity. We must accept this fundamental issue.  Since we have not created any of the natural resources of the environment; we should express a feeling of awe for them.  The environment has its distinct value, and it does not depend on human beings for its existence.  Of course, it on its own cannot make uplift of social, psychological and spiritual development of human mind, but it plays a supportive role, which one should not ignore at any cost.  If you consider the role of environment that on its own, it cannot do anything, you may be correct on the face of it, but the economists term it as an ‘existence value.'  Many rational thinkers abhor the concept of measuring the value of the environment in materialistic value or terms of satisfaction level because they opine that the environment plays a tremendous role in the backdrop of human beings sustainability.  Further, environment also plays a vital role regarding social meaning, social relation, and commitments, the value of which is not too easy to quantify for measurement purpose.

The values stated above are of intrinsic nature; they don’t have any extrinsic value.  The intrinsic value is closely related to our being.  The human beings have a spiritual bondage with them.  One cannot only judge this relationship by materialistic comforts and its use.  So, it is incompatible with market relations. If anybody wants to assess the above spiritual relationship with market dynamics, it will be an utter failure to evaluate the same. The monks, sages, and the spiritual masters define that environmental pollution and its savage is not due to need, but it is due to greed and our natural and unnatural desire to have more and more from the environment.  As per them, our physical desires are quite understood as when you become hungry; you require food and in the same way, when one is thirsty, he needs water. 
So, these requirements are genuine and must be fulfilled.  But unnatural, artificial and deceit needs are not at all true, and they are the developments of our unwanted desire to satiate our greed for possession.  It goes on unceasingly, and we seldom can control these desires.  Further, a natural desire is fulfilled or satisfied no sooner we get what we desire.  For example, when you drink, your thirst goes off, and so your wish to get water is solved.  Similarly, when you feel cold in the winter, no sooner you get a blanket or a quilt, your shivering gets stopped, and you feel comfortable.  But man's appetite for more money, acquisition of more gold and possession of more movable assets are a never ending game.  This game of possession of extra things leads our lives in disharmony disturbing the ecological balance of the environment.  Why is it so?  The reason our craving for more cars means we need to acquire more lands, to do the environmental clearance and finally to enhance the capacity of production.   In one way, it creates more employment, but on the other hand, the environmental protection gets disarrayed.  The craving goes on without an end because it does not proceed from an inclination implanted by nature. When you show new desire, your mind becomes imbalanced to fulfill your greediness.  You then strive very hard to accomplish this feat employing the right or wrong technique.  You forget that all things are interconnected.  The destruction of one thing leads to the destruction of another thing.  Therefore it is imperative to lead a modern life, but without degrading the beauty of the environment.  The environment is our asset, and we must protect it for our benefit and survival.