Buddhism for the Perfection of This Life
By Venerable Master Hsing Yun
After realizing the truth of the universe and the way of human life, Shakyamuni Buddha propagated this realization and established what is known as Buddhism. The distinguishing characteristic of Buddhism is that it is a religion based on the human conditions. The Buddha advocated that human beings can be enlightened to attain Buddhahood. Everything is dependent on the will of the self. With the sufferings of this life, one must strive to better his own conditions. Moreover, a perfect way of solving problems can certainly be discovered. Buddhist teachings can give people a life full of hope.
Buddhism places an emphasis on practical living
1. Shakyamuni Buddha is a sage of the human world
The Buddha is an enlightened one from the human world and not from the heaven. According to the Ekottara-agama: "All Buddhas are born in the world and are not from the deva realms." The Buddha is a human. He is not a god from the heaven, nor is he a messenger from the heaven. Through his own cultivation and attainment of the truth, he began to teach people his experience of spiritual awakening. He was born and raised as a prince in the northern India's kingdom of Kapilavastu. When he was young, he enjoyed the pleasures derived from the five desires and was married. Later due to his observation of people's suffering (dukkha), he determined to find a solution. Therefore, he left home, became a monk (shramana), and finally attained Buddhahood, he showed people that they are capable of doing the same thing. Moreover, the Buddha helps people have hope and confidence in themselves.
2. The Great Renunciation for the benefit and deliverance of mankind
Seeing the sufferings of sentient beings and reflecting on his own sufferings, the Buddha renounced the world. He left his family and kingdom. Due to his great compassion, he sought the truth that could liberate both himself and sentient beings and resolved to abandon all attachments. The Buddha said: "Because of the household, individual is disregarded. Because of the nation, village is disregarded. Because of the self, the world is disregarded." (Ekottara-agama) This is not an escape from reality, but a journey to forget one's possessions in the world and to break the self-ego. When the world is not perceived through self-centered view, then the true understanding of the liberation from the world may be possible.