Why study Buddhism?
Buddhism ponders the question: “Why do I suffer”, and “is this all there is?”
Buddhism is not a savior religion, in which accepting the divinity of ‘some being’ or person will deliver you from suffering. Buddhism teaches a path in which ones mind is ‘illuminated’ (Seen for themselves) to the nature of suffering and how to end that suffering – Ehipassiko
Those that call themselves ‘Buddhist’ study the writings of The Buddha in what we typically consider the Buddhist Canon.
Due to geography, the Buddhist canon has evolved in to three distinct collections:
The pali Canon (Thervadan)
The Mahayana Canon (Chinese Ch’an and Japanese Zen)
the Vajrayana Canon (Tibetan Bon and Padmasambhava)
The religious nature of Buddhism is in the realization that there are higher beings or essences in the cosmos that have achieved great states of realization of the fundamental nature of this existence, and that calling upon the Great Begins (Mahasattvas and Bodhisattvas) can aid us with: insightful wisdom, supernatural powers, phenomenal occurrences and healing of injuries and illnesses.
The ultimate goal of the Buddhist disciple (those who study the teaching in the canonical writings) is to develop the mind and awaken to higher levels of understanding and transcendence. The ultimate goal of the Buddhist disciple is to depart from the realm of suffering in which we are born into these bodies and condition in which only suffering exist (hell).
Buddhas teachings are for all people, unlike other religions in which only ‘Chosen people‘ will be eternal and all others annihilated.
Buddhist studies for Westerners is not about adopting any Asian culturalisms, or becoming a ‘freak show’ by wearing of robes, shaving one’s head, and chanting in long-dead languages that nobody speaks in. There are ample number of good translations of the Buddha’s teachings in which you can learn and not need to change your appearance, your cultural customs, or where you reside. Buddhism is not asking you to travel to ‘dusty countries’ as in making pilgrimages or to sit at the feet of holy men and women.
The study of Buddhism offers you a ‘way out’ of the existence of suffering through ‘mind-awakening’ in where your first awakening, you will be shocked to know the truth of where you are at now, and that truth will absolutely compel you to find the way out.
One thought on “Why study Buddhism?”
And the Truth is that Buddhadharma does not end the phenomenon of aging, suffering and death. What use would it be to those alive if it did? Instead, the practice of Buddhism opens the portal of using aging, suffering and death to transcend aging, suffering and death without changing or eradicating its existence. This is The Buddha’s Teaching. The Buddha, like us, experienced aging, suffering and death, first in seeing others afflicted, then suffering affliction himself along a human timeline. His Realization was not formed from the comfort zone of royalty he was born into and rejected. We are born into this living realm called Samsara and due to the nature of these vexing properties of life we, like The Buddha, seek a path to go beyond the nature of Samsara. In other words we transcend it. In transcending what life throws at us, we realize that our True Nature is no different than that of The Universe. In some circles, The Universe is called “God”. This is not the god found in holy books or established religious franchises. This God is the realization of Sunyatta or the “Empty” Nature of Existence. Here our small self dissolves when True Self is Realized. When True Self is Realized it is called Great Self. When this Great Self is Realized, it is No Self beyond opposites, time and space.