What is Buddhism or what Buddha taught to this world
Buddhism in the strictest sense of the word, cannot be called a religion, for if by religion is meant ’action or conduct indicating belief in, reverence for, and desire to please, a divine ruling power ; the exercise or practice of rites or observances implying this….; recognition on the part of man of some higher unseen power as having control of his destiny, and as being entitled to obedience, reverence and worship.
Then , Buddhism is not certainly such a religion. Then what is Buddhism?
Buddhism is a ‘way of life’. It is a way of moral, spiritual and intellectual training leading to complete freedom of mind.
One of the noteworthy characteristics that distinguishes the Buddha from all other religious teachers is that , he was a human being with no connection whatsoever with a God or any other “Supernatural “ Being.
He was neither a God nor an Incarnation of God, nor any mythological figure. But he was an extraordinary man.
It was Buddha, who for the first time in the world’s history taught that deliverance could be attained independently of an external agency, that deliverance from suffering must be wrought and fashioned by each one for himself upon the anvil of his own actions.
Through personal experience, he understood the supremacy of man, and the found the concept of a ‘Supernatural’ being who rules over the destinies of beings below, is a mere illusion.
The Buddha never claimed to be a savior who tried to save ‘souls’ by means of a revealed religion.Through his own experience and understanding, he proved that infinite possibilities are latent in man and that it must be man’s endeavour to develop and unfold these possibilities.He proved by his own experience that enlightenment and deliverance lie absolutely and entirely in man’s hand.
Being an exponent of the strenuous life by percept and example, the Buddha encouraged his disciples to cultivate self-reliance, thus: ”You are your own refuge, who else could refuge be?” None can grant deliverance to another who merely begs for it. Others may lend us a helping hand indirectly; but nevertheless the highest freedom is attained only through self-realization self-awakening to Truth. Self-realization can come only to one who is free to think out his /her own problems without let or hindrance.
Each individual should make the appropriate effort and break the shackles that have kept him in bondage, winning freedom from the shackles of existence by perseverance , self-exertion and insight and not through prayers and petitions to a Supreme Being.
The Buddha warns his disciples against shifting the burden to an external agency, a savior, a God or Brahma. The Truth is to be self-realized.
Another distinguishing characteristic is that the Buddha never preserved his supreme knowledge for himself alone. Perfect enlightenment , the discovery and realization of the Four Noble Truths is not the prerogative of a single being chosen by Divine Providence.
Buddha disaaproved the secrecy in teaching the Dhamma. He said ‘Secrecy is the Hall mark of a false doctrine’. He declared the Dhamma freely and equally to all. He kept nothing back, and never wished to extract from his disciples blind faith in him and his teaching. He insisted and encouraged on discriminative examination and intelligent enquiry of the Dhamma.
He said “ As the wise test gold by burning, by cutting it and rubbing it, so are you to accept my words after examining them and not merely out of regard for me”
Buddhism is free from compulsion and coercion and does not demand of the follower blind faith. Buddhism , from beginning to end, is open to all those who have eyes to see and mind to understand. Buddha’s sole intention was to make clear to others that seeing things as they are is not the result of mere belief in, and fear of, some external power, either human, super-human or even infr-human. In the understanding of things, belief and fear do not play any role in Buddhist thought.
The truth of the Dhamma can be grasped only through insight, never through blind faith, or through fear of some unknown or known being.
The history of religions reveals that , it is fear in man, enmeshed in ignorance, which creates the idea of an omnipotent external agency; and once that idea is created, men move in awe of the child of their own fear and work untold harm to themselves, and , at times , to others, too.
Buddha discouraged blind belief, and fear of the omnipotent as unsuitable approaches for understanding the truth, and also denounced adherence to rites and rituals, which do not tend to purify a man, and do not make a man holy and noble.
The Buddha has proclaimed a path, free from all superstition and cruelty i.e., he made it impossible for his followers to behave in any way detrimental to the welfare of living beings, by outlawing all oppression, spoliation and plunder.
In Buddhist thought, there is no awareness or conviction of the existence of a creator of any form who rewards and punishes the good and ill deeds of the creatures of his creation.
For the Buddha, the entire teaching is just the understanding of the unsatisfactory nature of all phenomenal existence and the cultivation of the path leading away from this unsatisfactoriness.
The Buddha was a practical teacher, His sole aim was to explain in all its detail the problem of Dukkha, suffering, the universal fact of life, to make people feel its full force, and to convince them to come out of it.