The paper “ What the Buddha Taught by Rahula Walpula" is an affecting variant of a book review on philosophy. What Buddha taught is an interesting treatise of human life which gives fresh insight into the teaching of Buddha. His teachings are remarkable in their simple truth and propose fundamental principles which ensure happiness for the people. The various proponents of Buddha’ s discourse are based on the intrinsic faith in the goodness of all living entities. The most interesting aspect of Buddha’ s teachings is that they are not constrained by religions or religious principles but cut across national boundaries and cultural and racial divide.
They promote universal values of humanity and motivate people to lead a mutually complementary life. His principles encompass finding the truth and striving towards the attainment of ultimate truth. Personal responsibility and accountability in actions and speech are critical aspects that are promoted for leading a good and happy life. The ‘ spirit of tolerance and understanding’ exhort one towards non-violence (p5). Buddha’ s teaching, therefore, becomes hugely pertinent for people across the world because it exhorts them towards harmony and non-violence.
I found the exposition of four truths in teaching to be quite revealing. Within the first noble truth, the concept of dukkha needs to be viewed from 3 perspectives: as ordinary sufferings; as produced by change; and as conditioned state (p19). It is defined as things that are not permanent and since everything is constantly changing, it is an intrinsic part of life. People get attached to things which are transient and therefore suffer. Neither sadness nor happiness is permanent and therefore if people understand this truth, they can overcome the conflicts of life.
The third aspect is a conditioned state which describes five faculties of man: eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body, including mind, are major elements that produce experiences resulting in dukkha or unhappiness. Hence, if these faculties or sensations are controlled through meditation, people can attain the ultimate truth or a state of happiness. I seriously applaud the underlying principle of Buddha’ s teaching because they help to understand the intransigence of material life and overcome greed, lust, hate, etc. to become really happy.
In short, peace and harmony are advocated as a way of life. Buddha also talks about ‘ cessation of suffering’ through renunciation (p92). People become liberated by detaching themselves from the material greed and emotions. They understand that nothing is permanent and therefore cease to rely on them for their happiness. Contentment and accepting others as they become crucial components of teachings. It teaches one to love fellow-beings and live in harmony. In the contemporary environment of fast-paced life, people lead a conflict-ridden life due to intense competition, rivalry and diversity of ideologies.
I believe that Buddha’ s teachings become pertinent in the current times and need to become the governing principle of living. But perhaps, the most amazing thing about Buddha’ s teachings are its wider implications that bring human beings closer to the divinity and therefore, towards the immortality of the soul that is indestructible. It inculcates selfless service and promotes acceptance of human failings within the wider realm of human interactions. As such, loving others becomes the major motivating factor for promoting humility of character, charitable disposition, and kindness.