In life, too many things are taken for granted. We take for granted the most valuable things in our life; the love from our families and friends, the roof over our heads, and even the air we breathe. Unfortunately, most people dont appreciate what they have until its gone. So many people have become victims of depression, aggression, loneliness and selfishness. All around the world, especially in America, people are suffering. Thanks to the nightly news we are constantly reminded of all the insanity and corruption that surrounds us. Kids killing classmates and teachers at school, husbands beating their wife and kids, famous role models to millions convicted of drug charges and murder, mothers neglecting her children, and we even sometimes hear about mothers leaving her new born in a field or dumpster.If we could only appreciate what we have and start loving and caring for one another then we can start enjoying life completely happy.Dharma, the teaching of Buddhism, is just that. The Dharma is a living knowledge that is neither a collection of discourses, nor just a system of belief. It is a way of living in peace and happiness. Tan Chade Meng, who teaches Vipassana Meditation, refers to Dharma as, The code to life. I prefer to say The Key to Happiness. In this essay, I plan to show the many advantages of Buddhism and how these views differ from Christianity.
Throughout history people have wondered about the universe in which we live in and have looked for a purpose of our existence. Many Western philosophers believe that an individual is a separate entity from every other individual and nature. In the Buddhist belief however, there is no separation between you and any other person or animal. This is where the idea of no soul or no self came from. Buddhist drops all pride because we live on others. Because we are all connected to each other, by helping another you help yourself and by hurting others you hurt yourself. The goal of living and dying is to eventually be enlightened by seeing the world as it actually is instead of the illusion that we see with our senses. This state of enlightenment is known as Nirvana. To reach Nirvana it is necessary to give up all attachments to the things of this world, see the interconnectedness of everything, and have a clear empty mind so that you can see things the way they truly are.You must not cling on to anything because there is not anything solid enough. Everything is changing therefore nothing lasts. In the Western world we are very attached to our possessions, to the people that we care about, and especially to ourselves. Our attachments and desires cause our pain and suffering. Buddhism refers to the Four Noble Truths; first, there is suffering, you are the cause of your own suffering, there is a cure for the suffering, and the cure is the Eight-Fold Path.
To be able to sacrifice everything, except the necessities, shows that you truly understand that there is more than just this life and you will break your attachments. For people like us, who are so fond of our lives and possessions, sacrifice seems almost impossible. However, sacrifice is easy if you know that your life is not permanent but only a small part of a chain of births and deaths.Also, it is almost impossible for us to imagine having no attachments to our lives or our bodies because in the Western belief that is our self and we are born and grow up with very strong self-preservation instincts. Buddhists on the other hand, believe that we need to recognize the true nature of the living world, and do not be anxious because separation cannot possibly be avoided. This attachment to our present lives and bodies will help us to ease our suffering and see the world, as it truly is, The Ultimate Reality.
Another of the beliefs in Buddhism is the system of births and deaths called Samsara. A person is born and reborn until that person reaches enlightenment. Death is not an ending but just a new beginning. Time has no importance and is just an illusion like the world is. The Buddhist image of reality is everything simultaneously together without divisions such as time and space. These divisions such as time, space, past lives, and everything else around us are simply illusions.Losing our attachment to the things of this world and our connection with everything else in the universe go hand in hand towards seeing things the way they truly are and becoming enlightened. Even after we lose attachment to this world and we become aware of our interconnected role in the universe we cannot become enlightened unless we have clarity of mind. To become enlightened is to be aware of your true nature, but that is impossible to do by thinking about it since our true nature is beyond our conscious experience. Buddhists practice meditation, to achieve a calm, empty state of mind. Actually, emptiness of mind is not even a state of mind, but the original essence of the mind. Practicing meditation helps one to understand that they are fully responsible for how they feel or react. In other words, to say he makes me angry would be your problem, simply for the fact that you allowed yourself to get angry. It is your problem because you determine what makes you angry. Not everyone in the same situation would be angry. Since this world is a world of illusions, then by thinking about the things of this world we are thinking delusions. But when you realize that these clouded thoughts are just delusions, they will drift away and you will be with a pure and calm mind.
This is the enlightened mind. By realizing that you are in a world of illusions and that you are thinking in delusions is when you become enlightened. By clearing your mind you can expect every moment to be a moment of enlightenment experience. The goal of Buddhism is not to lead a good life, although that should come along as well, but to see things as they actually are and to reach Nirvana. Once enlightened, you will have mastered the Eight-fold Path with the right: views, intentions, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.
The ideas of god vary from religion to religion and from culture to culture. As you can see Buddhism is quite different from Christianity. However, one aspect that these two religions have in common is that you must look within yourself for strength in your daily life and your eternal life. However, the major advantage that Buddhism has over Christianity is that Nirvana can be reached when alive, whereas a Christian focuses on the after life in heaven neglecting our lives in the present. Also, because Christianity offers a positive reward for good behavior, people are only acting good out of their own selfishness. If we were constantly appreciative of what we have, we will become much happier. The most important lesson from Buddhism is that everyone is responsible for their life and how they feel. If only we could work on our reactions, we would stop feeling all the pain and suffering. Buddhism is a religion that focus on creating a spiritual life that will somehow allow us to be masters of our lives and eventually be free from all the pain and sorrow.