May I be free of suffering; may I be at peace. May you be free of suffering; may you be at peace. May all beings be free of suffering; may all beings be at peace.
– Gautam Buddha
Human beings, through eons of biological evolution arose as a creation of Nature which is set apart from other living beings. This difference at times caught us in a state of bewilderment. Our ability to think, imagine and analyse contributed to this fundamental difference. We would had drifted like unmanned ship in the sea of life, without a clear understanding about our existence. This very understanding about the nature of the creation, the underlying logic behind the convoluted mesh of our world, the mysterious existence of our mind, the reason for the omnipresent suffering of all living beings and the way to bring an end to this suffering; the root cause of all our problems and the solution to these problems obtained clarity for the first time ever through the unique teachings of Gautam Buddha, one of the greatest minds of all times. The noble truth and teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha enriched not only the mankind but the entire existence. Gautam Buddha was the first human being who ever advocated the practice of compassion towards all sentient beings, love and kindness for all living beings. According to Buddha’s doctrine all sentient beings including those in the animal realm, possess Buddha nature and therefore can attain enlightenment. Concern for animals is attested back to the very beginning of Buddhist history. Gautam Buddha’s teachings taught the human world for the first time to give respect to animals and other living beings. His dharma of kindness and non-violence re-iterated the essence of true love, love based on compassion. This compassion encompasses all sentient beings caught in the web of life. His teachings taught the world that the path towards peace is not through prayers and offerings, the path towards peace is through practice of compassion and kindness. We ourselves have to walk the path and bring an end to our sufferings. Our prayers alone cannot bring any change, the change must arise in our thoughts, peace is to be achieved through our own actions. The disparities of our world are nothing but the projections of our mind, illusions created by our ignorance. Throughout his lifetime, Gautam Buddha showed his followers as well his adversaries the significance of practicing forgiveness and non-violence through his teachings and actions. The enigma called ‘mind’ was translated for first time to our world through his words; an in-depth understanding of this rather mysterious phenomenon called ‘mind’ was introduced to the Eastern world by Gautam Buddha. Later, the great universities of ancient India like Nalanda, Taksashila and Vikramshila earned its due recognition the world over as renowned seats of knowledge, where the most sophisticated knowledge about ‘mind’ apart from many other subjects was researched and its practice got propagated to other countries outside India in due course of time. The Indian civilization reached its zenith in creativity; be it music, art, dance, literature, architecture under the rule of this dharma of Gautam Buddha. India witnessed its glory under the umbrella of wisdom and knowledge of Buddha Dharma.
Now, after more than 2000 years from the birth and parinirvana of Shakyamuni Gautam Buddha, the world is still throng with sufferings, generations of mankind have flown from one shore to the next in utter confusion created by their own minds. India, the once holy land of the Gurus has lost connection with its past tradition of wisdom and knowledge. This is undeniably the greatest tragedy which India ever experienced in terms of intellectual and spiritual growth of the country. The country where universities like Nalanda and Takshila flourished, where people from all over the world aggregated to gather knowledge seems to have lost its direction. The heart of Buddha Dharma lies in India. The people of India cannot continue to languish in the darkness of ignorance, this holy land of dharma must rise from its slumber. Now, the time have come for India to take the reign in this regard. This can never happen till India accepts the truth about its past, till every Indian is not re-taught that the ruins of Nalanda are of greater significance than the glorified monuments of some tyrannical dynasties. The modern scientific world finally has taken note of the exotic eastern wisdom practiced in the form of Buddhism; the dharma of ancient India is arising as the only hope for humankind. While the West tries to warm up to the Eastern tradition of compassion, India must wake up to the rich repository of treasure in the form of ancient knowledge and practices which collected dust over years of misuse. India must not waste anymore time in bringing this tradition of Buddha Dharma to the forefront to rescue the country from the prevailing quagmire. Gautam Buddha taught us all through his teachings thousands of years ago that material comfort shouldn’t be confused with happiness, material comforts could never bring us peace of mind. Buddha dharma warned us to guard our mind against the confusing projections leading to greed, lust, jealousy and pride. This ancient Indian tradition inculcated kindness amongst us, we learned to care for other living beings, we learned to share our fortunes with the needy, we learned to be good human beings. This dharma of compassion taught us to be resilient, to be the light unto ourselves. We Indians have carried this legacy of compassion and peace, hence we ought to take responsibility for all our actions. The world is looking eastward towards us for answers to their confusions, we need to find them, we must bolster ourselves to not disappoint humanity. Let’s rise as a nation, lets rise as people, lets rise as individuals through this path of compassion, peace and non-violence. Let’s rise through the path of truth, through the conscious practice of Buddha dharma.
The day of birth, enlightenment and parinirvana of Shakyamuni Gautam Buddha is of great significance for the entire world. Every year this day is celebrated across different countries over the world in different names viz, Buddha Purnima, Buddha Jayanti, Vaisak day, Saga-Dawa duchen, Hanamatsuri, Buddha Day and so on. This day commemorating the birth, nirvana and parinirvana of Tathagata Gautam Buddha is meant to be an occasion for sincere vision by entire mankind. I believe this significant day should be purposefully celebrated universally, irrespective of caste, creed, nationality and religion. Everyone must celebrate this day by understanding the essence of Buddha Dharma and by bringing a conscious change in their actions. Let this celebration be not left to prayers alone, let the wholesome actions of dharma be an integral part of it. This annual celebration of birth, nirvana and parinirvana of Gautam Buddha can be a meaningful day for entire humankind to make a thoughtful insight into their actions and make the possible amends wherever necessary. Let the merits of our compassionate actions, our benevolence be shared by all living beings. Let us be the reason to lessen the sufferings of all sentient beings. Let us build a more compassionate, a more resilient world.
Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu