Buddha is one of those earliest men in the history of mankind, who taught his fellow humans to be self reliant, and not surrender to entities outside of one’s own mind and heart. He postulated that there is no need of a concept of God for humanity. Human mind is nothing but a collection of psychological propensities. Calmer is the mind, clearer is its vision. His teachings can be easily compared to modern fields of psychology and brain science. Certainly in the Indian society at 500 BC, trying with something so unique and refreshing, is certainly a work of astounding and incredible.
I have couple of articles on Buddha and his philosophy in my other blog, just in case you are interested –
But this article is about something what I believe Buddha went wrong. His philosophy of “Dukha”, although seemingly convincing, is only a partial picture of life. He says suffering is what is real. Eventually each and everything ends with suffering. Suffering is the truth of life, that a man has to understand. Life is either suffering, or suffering in potential. Agreed. But it is not complete formulation of life. Rather, I would say it is an overt simplification of what life really is.
In my opinion, life or for that matter anything, turns out to be a suffering or pleasure, based on where you stop, and decide with a perspective. If I stop at suffering, yes life is suffering. If I hold on, I eventually might end up in a pleasurable and happy state of affairs. If I stop there. Life is happy and pleasurable. Again, if I choose to continue, things might again change.
Life follows a cycle. Or rather it is like a harmonic wave. It has its crests and troughs. It depends where we stop, which determines our state is in a crest of trough. A humble insignificant acorn, turns out to be a gigantic oak tree. And again the gigantic oak tree weathers into dust. Again acorn seeds come up, giving birth to another giant oak tree. It depends on where you stop and say this is what life is. Life is an eternal journey of this harmonic wave of light and dark, love and hate, joy and sorrow, tears and laughter.
Shakespeare too missed the point, when he said, “All is well that ends well”. Do anything really end? Or rather it is all eternal process. In the most intimate relationship there is a seed of separateness. In the remotest of relationship, there is a seed of most intimate moments. The need is only perseverance, and proper nourishment of life. Life will take its shape and form, bringing back what is lost, and then taking away what is received.
After every inhalation, there is an exhalation. After every orgasm, there is a state of listlessness. After every dawn there is a dusk. Behind every shiny cathedral, there is its shadow. But then it all depends where you stand. No side of the coin is the absolute. Buddha missed the point by making suffering as the absolute. Why? Isn’t it just his own perspective, and not the truth?
When a person dies, certainly it is a state of utter sorrow for people who are in love with her. But then, taking that as end of the story is just one side of the whole truth. If on the other hand life is allowed to flow through, not after a very long intermission, people get another person/thing/institution/events in their life that reminds them about that forgone love. It is something like that beautiful eternal link of changing season, passing days, etc, where what goes away, again returns, with the same passion, newness and freshness. Life takes care of the details. But hang on. Don’t mistake me thinking that I am saying that the material world with its people, institutions, mountains, pebbles, oceans are all non-essentials. You have to be aware that its only these so called non-essentials, which enable us to make sense of the invisible essential. Yes, love is eternal. But without a beloved will I ever even know what love is? It is like we need a sugar cube to know what sweetness is all about. That does not mean sugar cube is the beginning and the end. What is essential is sweetness, and not the sugar cube. Same sweetness can be cherished when this sugar cube in discussion is no more. But at the same time, to know what sweetness is we need a sugar cube.
It is easy to see this phenomenon of eternal cycle outside us – in nature and the world out there. But, it is extremely enlightening to experiment with this law of nature with oneself. Say for example you hate someone with intensity you have never known. Wait for 5 years, and you would see the hatred has nullified. If given proper food, that hatred might turn to love. Again when someone is in deep love with someone else. Wait for another 5 years, and if proper nourishment was not provided to the relationship, it becomes a liability. Now, you cannot stop there, saying that is life. Life goes on. From crest to trough and again vice versa. You chose where you want to stand and complete the journey.
Physical scientists saw everything started with the Big Bang. But what was there before that. Or rather where are we heading towards. Isn’t it an eternal process? And is it not that we just come and go, and are blips in the limitless timeline of eternity?
Taking this forward, it is futile to take for granted someone’s love. That love will cease to exist one day. And at the same time it is futile to be mad at someone, with extrme hatred. That too will pass. Unlike teachings of the Buddha it is not that only pleasure passes away. But rather even pain passes away. It is all what state of mind we are in at a point of time. I have seen same job, or the same person appear a daemon, at times, and normal at the other. What I perceive outside, are most of the times just projections of what is there within me at that point of time.
So, it turns out that I and my life is nothing but a breathe-in, and a breathe-out. Here I am born, and there I die. And again here another person is born, and then she dies. Ice melt into water, water evaporate to air, air condense to water, water freezes to ice, and the cycle continues. Life is that eternal cycle which never ends. Its nice to see ourselves part of the story, playing our own part, in continuing unfolding of life.
I am sure Buddha would have thought about this. If he were alive, I would have asked him, why he missed out this point. Or might be he had this point, and that I have failed to understand him. Whatever might be the case, the point is that life is a continuity in time and space. There is no end point. The point is not who is right and who is wrong. Rather it is about connecting dots, and trying to make sense of something unknown.
So it is just ignorance when we say we hate that person. Just change some parameters in his conscience at that time, he will end up loving that person. It is just about the perspective. It is just about the need of the person at that time. If a person is looking for a motherly, unconditional love everywhere, he will hate all who behave like a caring but strict father. This is applicable the other way too. If life’s circumstance and his make up his personality changes in course of his life, he might end up repulsive over an over bearing mother, and would be attracted to a remote and careless father.
When someone appreciates the other, more than the speciality in the other, it is the dynamics within the man who is bestowing the appreciation, that matters. It applies in the same way to the criticism. A remote and cruel person by temperament would like to criticize each and everything he sees, and hears.
So, the blank canvas – the journey of life is eternal. Our mind, heart, intuitions, memory, logic and visions are paint brushes, with which we can create either a fairy or a devil. The power lies in us. Life is just an impersonal cycle going on and on.