At the risk of offending millions of people around the world simply because of the headline of this post, I think I should start off with a disclaimer.
I don’t actually think that the Buddha was ‘WRONG’ per se, only that I think he was wrong about life in the times we live in NOW. Much like how people can be misquoted or have their words taken out of context, I believe this is exactly what has happened.
You see it’s like this.
Life is Suffering
One of the key tenets of Buddhism is the belief, according to The Buddha that ‘Life is suffering’.
But look around you, seriously. How is suffering defined? What and Where is there lack? The average household in the Western hemisphere is a luxurious place by many standards.
Oh yes there is poverty, but here again, poverty is very much defined in relative terms. Would you be surprised to learn that one of the key measures of poverty in the UK is whether or not a family has a TV? For many years, we would have fallen in to THAT definition of poverty.
Now, if we take ourselves back almost 2500 years to when the Buddha lived, it may provide a little more context for his thoughts and ideas that ‘Life is suffering’. Healthcare and medicine, in the way we know it, would have been non-existent. Law and the rules governing everyday living would have much been in the hands of the rich, powerful rulers, of whom luckily Siddhartha Gautama was a member.
It speaks volumes of his compassion and benevolence to have been able to realise that his was a fortunate life in comparison with the lives of his average fellow man of the time.
It is logical then to think that his experience outside the palace walls, that brought him in to direct contact and experience with the poor, the maligned and the needy significantly influenced his ideas and philosophies, hence defining that all of Life is Suffering.
It’s perhaps a bit like imagining that if the Buddha were to live in our times and had his first experience of the modern world at rush hour in New York, his conclusion may well be that Life is a Race.
The fact is that in our modern times, Life is Abundant. There is so much around us and for us and when we are able to see beyond what we perceive our immediate lack to be – we will come to realise that we truly live in the Golden Age.
Any perception of shortcoming or lack is purely an illusion of our own wants.
In defining our success in life by material wealth, we invariably continue to compare ourselves with our neighbours and constantly want for more.
Miracles of Modern Life
At the heart of it all, we really do have all that we need, we always will. And if you find that hard to believe then simply look around you at all the miracles of modern life – the Perfect Day come sunshine, rain or snow, the Amazing World around you, whether high-rise buildings or open fields of green, that Roof over you now, the Love of the people around you, when you learn to believe that Life is Abundant, you will see it all around you.
Defining what we know to be true is always held fast in our own visions and perceptions. Like the Buddha in his time, chose to define living as suffering, we too can choose to define life any way we choose. What do you choose to believe in?
Tell us what you think and remember…Have an Amazing Abundant Day!