Cultivating Buddhism Worldwide

By Charanjit Singh Arora

Elderly Man Wearing Yellow TurbanLoyalty to guru, organisation or principles

1.Buddhism states that there are three stages of growth for a devotee:

(a)First Stage. A devotee meets a holy person/saint, and accepts him as a guru, who introduces the devotee to basics of a religion. The devotee is loyal to the guru.

(b)Second Stage. The devotee is respectful to the guru, but the devotee upgrades the loyalty to the religious sect, because the organisation is greater than an individual.

(c) Third Stage. The devotee is at the highest pedestal that is his loyalty is to the ethical principles of life, which are similar in all religions. The Godly principles are: kindness, forgiveness, humility, selflessness…

2. The modern gurus act like corporate business men. They prefer richer clients. It started with Rajneesh, an intellectual, god-man, who advocated unrestrained sensual pleasures, as the remedy of all social ills. Now in India, a billionaire Hindu saint, who speaks more on ‘manhood’ than on spiritual issues is languishing in prison for last six months, undergoing trial. There are gurus, who are slaves to sensual pleasures, but they are good at spiritual discourses, to captivate semi-literate audience.

3. Militants too are devotees, but they never reach the third stage. In Islam, its religious book Koran motivates its followers to interact with non-believers and explain the salient features of Islam. It does not ask its followers to forcibly convert them, by tempting/threatening them directly or indirectly with rewards or punishment. They fail to understand that same God is the provider to humanity irrespective of their religion. They believe in divisive politics and interpret Koran, as it suits them. The militant devotees believe in violence and revenge, and they ignore Godly traits, such as, kindness, tolerance and forgiveness.

Sufferings are inevitable

4. Grief/sufferings are omnipresent in humanity. Why do we feel sad? If we understand its cause, we can handle the effect, the suffering or grief in a better way. Buddhism identifies three types of sufferings:

(a)Conventional Sufferings. We consider sufferings as follows: old age, disease, death, loss of what we love, failure to succeed in life, and failed expectations from relations and friends.

(b)Change in Life Style. We all, are habitual to a way of living and we don’t like to change.The scenario often changes and we are unable to live as per our accustomed habits. A person used to live in riches, will be sad if he has to adjust his life style, due to loss in business. A vegetarian will find the life miserable, if he/she has to live in a non-vegetarian community. A young man fears getting old and losing virility. He wants to delay ageing. He should gracefully accept, whatever God has designed. We would be happier if we accept the changes in our life-style and health, gratefully to God.

(c) Ups and Downs in Life. The life style, business success, social status and honor in society are transitional by nature. They are never permanent. Impermanence is the law of nature. There are ups and downs in life, similar to water waves in the sea. Only God is the permanent truth. A serving bureaucrat retires and loses importance in society. A film star who is a craze for fans today, will be a non-entity one or two decades later. An ex-President and film star of a country suffers from dementia. He is a non-entity for years, till he dies. If we accept that we all are perishable, and that we are not permanent residents in the world, we develop Godly traits, humility and selflessness. This will add harmony in our lives, in spite of ups and downs.

The solution

5. The antidotes of sufferings are: Abandon the attachment to relations. Free yourself from sensual desires. Live a pious life. Don’t play divisive politics based on religion, language, and patriotism. Be a human being.