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Category Name - Environment, Leaders Speak7 May, 2020Back

What if Buddha Lived to See Today?

By Vineet Mittal, Chairman, Avaada Group

What if Buddha Lived to See Today?

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you.” – Lord Buddha

Lord Buddha is said to have found the answers to the most daunting questions pertaining to human existence. His quest started at the age of 29 and ended at 35 with enlightenment.

Post his enlightenment, Buddha spread his wisdom to his disciples & followers on many subjects related to misery, suffering, restlessness & eluding peace in human life. And, these pestilent problems still plague the modern society, and man does not know an escape from them. This includes not just the personal well-being, but also the preservation of the environment that interacts in complex ways with us. This is explained in Paticca Samuppada or ‘Dependent Origination.’

For Lord Buddha, purity of the mind & purity of the environment one lives in, were crucial to attain enlightenment.

Lord Buddha, if he lived today, would have followed the same principled path to help all of us.

His enlightened aura, the grace of his words, the shower of his knowledge and his pious preaching would have had a far grandeur effect on our society. He would have been the supreme sermon on earth, guiding us in the right direction through his halo.

He would have worked for the exaltation of both, the man & the nature he dwells in. 

The wisdom discovered by Lord Buddha after enlightenment

Buddha gave the foundation of peace for all of us. He compelled us to comprehend the reality as it comes. His wisdom begins with;

The Four Noble Truths

  1. Dukkha: Suffering exists: Life is suffering. Suffering is real and almost universal. Suffering has many causes: loss, sickness, pain, failure, and the impermanence of pleasure.
  2. Samudaya: There is a cause of suffering. Suffering is due to attachment. It is the desire to have and control things. It can take many forms: craving of sensual pleasures; the desire for fame; the desire to avoid unpleasant sensations, like fear, anger or jealousy.
  3. Nirodha: There is an end to suffering. Attachment can be overcome. Suffering ceases with the final liberation of Nirvana. The mind experiences complete freedom, liberation and non-attachment. It lets go of any desire or craving.
  4. Magga: In order to end suffering, you must follow the Eightfold Path. There is a path for accomplishing this.

Lord Buddha also gave the Three Universal Truths;

  1. Nothing is lost in the Universe: Everything that exists is a part of an endless cosmic cycle. Everything flows through time and seems to change. Life & death, are thus, just repetitive cycles. 
  2. Everything Changes: Change is the only constant in the Universe.
  3. The Law of Cause and Effect: the law of karma says -for every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful.

His wisdom gave his followers a new way to see the life & reality around them. “You are what you are becoming,” Buddha preached.

What would he say to us today?

Seeing the fast pace of life, restlessness, anxiety, pain & suffering that humans experience today, Buddha would recite his noble practices as a remedy to our toxic lifestyle- Sila (Virtue, Good Conduct & Morality), Samadhi (Self-development & meditation lead to wisdom) & Prajna (That wisdom will emerge for a calm & pure mind).

He would also recite to us the teachings of Adhammika Sutta that says- ‘Being a member of the environment the actions of man’s imprudent behavior damages the environment.’ Man is subject to his Karma, good and bad. Thus, his misdeeds can be punished via nature. Living a righteous life and maintaining a pristine environment would have been his lessons for us.

“In the end, only three things matter: How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” The essence of all his teachings rests in those words.

After all, Lord Buddha’s eternal presence remains with us in the form of his legend & words. Maybe he is all around us, waiting for us to wake up…

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A social entrepreneur, pioneer and evangelist of sustainable development Vineet has been a vanguard of the clean energy transition in emerging economies across Asia and Africa. His passion for sustainability originates from the ancient Indian Vedic philosophy of ‘Mata bhoomi putro aham prithiwaya” - The Earth is to be protected like a mother and nurtured for future generations.

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