"0 Young man, living beings
have Kamma as their
inheritance, matrix, relation and refuge." (Kammassaka, manava,
satta Kammadayada Kammayoni Kammabandu ammapatisarana)
-Majjhima Nikaya iii, 203.
Before I proceed with the subject of buddhist meditation this Essay, I must say that
the word Buddhism to mean the teachings of Lord Buddha is a misnomer.
Much of the misunderstanding and misinterpretations of the Buddha-Dhamma
are due, I believe, to the suffix" ism" added at the end
of the ennobling word Buddha. "Buddhism" is buddhist meditation considered
in certain quarters as yet another theory explanative of the beginning
and creation of the word, of the finitude of the world and such
other "ologies". Or, it may mean yet another materialistic
derivative, such as: Nazism, Fascism and Communism, anyone of which
has its roots in greed, hatred and delusion, the three fires, according
to the Buddha-Dhamma, that consume the entirety of the being buddhist meditation.
The Buddha-Dhamma is primarily concerned with the immediate, insistent
and poignant problem of suffering (Dukkha)
and its end. To the Buddha suffering
meant the endless process of being born, ageing and dying motivated
by selfish Craving the offspring of Ignorance. By its end is meant
the extinction of ignorance by extra-sensory Wisdom, the extinguishing
of the fires of greed, ill-will and delusion and attaining the "coolness"
of Nibbana. Gotama Buddha was actuated by a loving commitment
to show all mankind the way to attain this undying Reality. All
His teachings are directed to this end, and therefore, let them
be called Buddha-Dhamma, sanctified by the liberating Truth they
carry and prescribed by custom and long usage.
What does the word religion mean? Websters Dictionary defines it
as. "the outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition
of the existence of a god or gods, having power over their destinies,
to whom obedience, service and honour are due". The Shorter
Oxford Dictionary defines religion more exhaustively: "Action
or conduct indicating a belief in, reverence for, and desire to
please a divine ruling power; the exercise or practice of rites
or observances implying this. Recognition on the part of man of
some higher unseen power as having control of his destiny, and as
being entitled to obedience, reverence and worship'.
Now, the Buddha-Dhamma does not fall within this definition, and
hence it is not a religion. Moreover, it denied in toto the existence
of a Creator-God (Iswara-Nirmana). It also does not demand blind
and submissive faith to a supernatural being placed over man. It
is free from dogmatism, from rites and ceremonies and from fanaticism.
It exhibits an aversion for metaphysical speculation. It is not
tainted with the fear or wrath of a divine power, nor does it believe
in a vicarious salvation for sinners.
The Buddha-Dhamma is a "Way of life" for free men to think
freely, to act freely and express their ideas freely independent
of a "Supreme Being's" acts of grace and compassion. It
has bestowed upon the human mind its inherent freedom and dignity
to plan out and shape its destiny without the aid of an external
agency. In the world of Dwight Goddard :- "If the worth of
a truly great man consist in raising the worth of all mankind, who
is better entitled to be called truly great than the Blessed One,
who instead of degrading man by placing another over him, has exalted
him to the highest pinnacle of wisdom and love. His figure is the
noblest, the most perfect that man can ever attain."