Buddhism - A Scientific Experimental Path
Albert Einstein the father of modern science said: If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be BUDDHISM.
The humans who are considered to be the supreme beings on this planet earth have entered into the twenty first century with many astonishing inventions and discoveries to their credit and yet they seem to find no solution to eradicate suffering (dukkha).
All the time we humans have been trying to eliminate or rather suppress the sufferings by engaging ourselves in some or the other pleasure seeking ventures and finally landing in greater problems. Having passed through this futile experiments for finding solutions to the ills of the world, now it is time to conduct the same age old and most effective experiment as conducted and taught by Buddha himself as follows:
A) Aim : To attain peace, happiness & final liberation called Nibbana.
B) Instruments : Mind and Body (Nama-rupa).
C) Procedure : Follow the Noble eight-fold path ie.
1) Right View- To understand and appreciate wholesome deeds, unwholesome deeds and the law of Kamma (actions and it's moral retribution).
2) Right Intention- The intention of renunciation, non-illwill and harmlessness.
3) Right Speech- Abstaining from false speech, malicious speech, harsh speech and idle chatter.
4) Right Action- Abstaining from killing, stealing and sexual misconduct.
5) Right Livelihood- Abstaining from wrong and corrupt means of livelihood.
6) Right Effort- Awakening zeal for abandoning of unwholesome states and arising & sustaining of wholesome states.
7) Right Mindfulness- The four foundations of mindfulness (satipattana) namely contemplation on body, contemplation on feelings, contemplation on mind and contemplation on mind-objects.
8) Right Concentration- Abandoning of five hindrances namely lust, ill-will sloth-torpor, worry-agitation and doubt through jhanas(dyanas).
D) Conclusion: The four noble truths namely
1) There is suffering.
2) There is cause for suffering.
3) There is cessation of suffering.
4) There is path leading to the cessation of suffering.
The above experiment is the need for the attainment of final liberation called Nibbana. Now it is left to the wisdom and scientific temperament of modern humans to make use of the tool and technique given by Buddha to eliminate the sufferings and attain the final liberation called Nibbana.
Though outwardly this noble truth of suffering as taught by Buddha is a poor consolation for the frailties of the faltering heart and seems to be pessimistic.But here in Buddha's teaching truth is not explained in terms of pessimism or optimism but is explained in terms of realism and stresses on workism because without working on the Noble eight-fold path it is not possible to realize truth of suffering and its cessation.
Suffering no doubt is a pain but this very pain in Buddhism is used as an wet stone to sharpen one's wisdom and penetrate the reality to see things as they are and not as we want them to be.
In Mahaahatthipadopama sutta (M.N.28.2 B.P.S.), Buddha says : "Friends, just as the foot print of any living being that walks can be placed within an Elephant's foot print, and so the Elephant's foot print is declared the chief of them because of its great size; so too, all wholesome states can be included in the four noble truths of sufferings".
Therefore in the name of pessimism or any other negative attitude one should not be afraid of suffering and react like an ostrich which buries its head in the sand to avoid challenge faced by it. Such delusions must be eradicated completely and one must be prepared to face the stark realities of life with its sufferings and attempt to follow the Noble eight-fold path.
This Noble eight-fold path inturn is divided into three sections. They are Sila(morality) which includes right speech, right action and right livelihood. Samadhi(mental development or concentration) includes right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. Panya(wisdom) includes right view and right intention.
On one occasion Buddha said that his dhamma(teachings) is like a raft(or ship) which should be used to cross over the ocean of suffering called Sansara and reach the other shore of peace, happiness and liberation called Nibbana.Thus we can say Buddhism is like a ship with
SILA as its mechanism
SAMADHI as its power
PANYA as its captain
NIBBANA as its destination.
Furthur an well known westerner named T.W. Rhys Davids has said as follows:
Buddhists or Non-Buddhists, I have examined every one of the great religious systems of the world and in none of them have I found anything to surpass in beauty and comprehensiveness the Noble eight-fold path of the BUDDHA.
Thus Buddha The Guide to Humanity,
Showed Noble Eight-fold path to suffering humanity.
He said not to be obsessed with materiality,
But to practice the path of spirituality.
This path He said is non other than
Ven. Bhikkhu Vinayarakkhita