Religion, as is ordinarily understood, binds one to such untenable
beliefs as a Supreme Creator, immortal soul, eternal heavens and
hells. The Buddha Dhamma is free from such beliefs, dogmas, superstitions,
and speculative theories. Hence, it cannot strictly be called a
religion. The Dhamma is essentially the teaching of cause and effect
(Hetu phala vada). It is a way of thought and action founded on
a clear and comprehensive understanding of life, and that way of
thought and action, can, in comparison with other practical teachings,
be justly named the most rational doctrine of the good life.
The salient feature of the good life according to the Dhamma, is
rightful thinking; (yonisomanasikara) its manifestation is tranquillity
and equanimity; and its proximate cause is the awareness of the
world as suffering. One, attempting to live this good life, begins
by getting right instruction. One opens one's mind to the light
of Right Understanding (Sammaditthi) born of patient study, precise
knowledge, intellectual honesty and moral courage and then acts
free of the tarnish of self and desire, because one sees that the
so-called 'I " is a delusion.
The pure Buddhist is firmly established in selflessness. He gives
but expects nothing in return, not even the good will of the recipient.
He loves and encourages others, not with the hope of subjugating
them. He gives (caga) primarily to eradicate his latent greed. His
lovingkindness (metta) is meant for the extinguishing of the fire
of his latent hatred.
He who treats the path of the Buddha's good life cannot help being
tolerant to others. He thinks: Only patience belongs to my burden
of duty; not impatience. He sees no cause for any attachment since
all is void of an ego or soul, self or any other abiding entity
(atta suffa). He becomes like a broken gong. Strife, discord, contention-he
abbors, and it becomes impossible for him to attack or criticize.
In this way, the good man fades out of life, because he has just
that possibility of ceasing from it as its redeeming feature.
If the Dhamma is rational, scientific, and practical as a way of
life, and is the most excellent form of the good life yet discovered
by any mind, then it is all that because it is the teaching of final,
complete, and irrevocable renunciation of suffering through the
eradication of all forms of attachment and consciousness and the
total effacement of the" I " delusion which is the fount
of all ill.