In our endeavor to lead others toward Buddhism. it may not be interesting or easy for them to accept Buddhism only from an idealist perspective, which is to become a Buddha.
However, if we talk about the goal of learning Buddhism from a pragmatic point of view, that Buddhism could provide a means to free oneself from suffering and attain happiness, it would be widely popular and many would come running for guidance. To be able to free oneself from suffering and attain happiness is a personal wish that many would readily want to come true.
Buddhism teaches that in order to free oneself from suffering and attain happiness, we have look at our issues from their roots deep in out heart. It is unfortunate that many interpret the teaching "to free oneself from suffering and attain happiness" in Buddhism as a means to escape in death problems of this world and attain happiness in the next. This misconception makes us dislike the world we are living in, as well as makes us feel life is not worth living. This not only misinterpreted Buddhism as learning towards pessimism, it also disregarded the goal of Buddhism. which is to help us conquer our inner sufferings and find immediate happiness in this life.
In the process of learning Buddhism and the cultivation in way of life, it is not enough to emphasize on rituals or participation in prayers and supplication. Because without contemplating, searching, understanding and experiencing, we will continue to let greed, anger. arrogance. and jealousy filled our heart and dominate our way of life. We would be a long way from comprehension, deliverance, and freedom and ease if we continue to be controlled by greediness and anger.
Confusion, restrain, and suffering are issues of feelings and emotions. They are signals from the heart. In order to resolve and give them up, we should begin with cultivation of the heart. Introspection in quietude is the way to cultivation of the heart.
During the initial stage of meditation. many would become afraid when their state of consciousness experiences confusion and complexity. This mental state did not arise out of meditation. it in fact exists all the time and has only been observed because we are in meditation. It is crucial that we must continue to remain calm under these circumstances, and search deeper into the source and nature of these sentiments. From further exploration we would discover the high volatility of these sentiments, which come and go without trace, evasive and transient, and process no solid properties. At last we would realize that the so-called feelings of joy, anger, sadness, happiness, hatred. and desire arc disillusion that drift fleetingly in and out of our heart. It can be compared to the phenomena of wave, billow, froth, and bubble etc. That arises when different levels of wind force sweeps over the sea. None of these features are original properties of water.
When we understand the impermanent nature of these sentiments, we would then realize they are merely passerbies in our heart. Hence they are not the true nature of our heart; they do not represent the real "me", and therefore should be left alone. Once we allow these disillusions to lead us, then problems such as selfishness, possessiveness, fear, and sadness would surface one after the other. To deal with these sentiments, we do not have to do anything special to stop them, nor do we have to accept or be led by them; this is the best way to let go of our obstinacy with these feelings.
The so-called "delusion" is a sentiment of being controlled by illusion. They predominantly take over our heart, tie us down with our greed and anger, and hinder our potential for growth. Hence our outlook to life becomes confused and frustrated. If we continue to focus on searching deeper into the true nature of these feelings, we could wake up and free our "differentiation self" from the dream-like illusions. Our "authentic self’ would experience a brand new sense of boundless freedom and ease, as if we have entered into a spatial dimension, and know the true meaning of deliverance.
Deliverance is not cessation because where there is thinking there is life. [)eliverancc means expanding our inner spiritual realm in order to develop the limitless inner potential of self. In obstinacy, greed and anger would bind us. In comprehension. our kindness, compassion, happiness. and generosity would know no end. We would look at the world we live in and the human race in a different light. An awakened heart working hand in hand with our vitality to life would lead us to a more meaningful living. Although it may take a while before we could clear away the entire self-imposed obstacle to a bigger heart, it nevertheless would open our heart and narrow the chasm of misunderstanding. It could be manifested in our way of life; in our care for others and in lending help to those in need; in sharing the joy of other’s happiness; in forgiving and showing sympathy for other’s mistakes; in not cmbarrassing others and not bearing grudge against others; in not being aarrogant or putting others down; in not feeling sad, angered, or defeated. The more we open our heart, the wider our perspective to life would be. Our heart is like a big burning cauldron that melts away all the obstinacy that used to plague us. This is the true meaning of’ freedom and ease.
Our way of life if guided by a different condition of the heart would not only bring about different effect and consequence, but would also make us look at suffering and happiness in a different light. Buddhism teaches us to cultivate our heart, which is essentially to direct our way of life inward to the goal of freeing ourselves from suffering and attaining happiness.