WHY LEAD A SPIRITUAL LIFE?
Thursday, April 20, 2006 11:09:44 AM
Once the Buddha addressed his diciples thus: "Monks, it may be that ascetics belonging to other sects will ask you what is the purpose of leading a spiritual life under the Buddha.?"
The monks remained silent.
Then the Buddha himself gave the answer: "You should answer them: it is to understand things that should be fully understood that we lead a spiritual life under the Buddha. So what things should be fully understood? They are the five aggregates of clinging: material form, feeling, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness."
From this incident we can see that the path laid down by the Buddha is essentially a path of understanding. The understanding aimed at is not merely conceptual knowledge or a collection of information. Rather, it is an insight into the true nature of our existence. This understanding brings liberation, the release of the mind from all bonds and fetters and issues in the cessation of suffering (Dukkha).
The Buddha offers us the teachings (Dhamma) as a search light that we can focus on our own experience, in order to understand it in correct perspective. To understand our experience or our existence, involves two steps:
* We have to look into the makeup of our being to see what our existence consists of, we have to take it apart mentally, to see how it works, then put it together again and see how it holds together.
* We have to examine our experience in order to discover its most pervasive features, the universal characteristics of phenomena.
From: The True Nature of Existence - By Bhikkhu Bodhi (slightly edited)