In today’s materialistic society, we live busy lives with little thought to our existence. It’s a fact that we want to do plethora of things but we are unable to do everything that we desire. To rebut this fact, some say, we only do those things which we really want to do. To this rebuttal, one can also say that I am unable to do even those things which I ‘really’ want to do. How mind-boggling! The moot question here is how can one become ‘able’ to do things one wants to do?
After a hectic day at office, I decided to go home and read my favourite book which I have been really wanting to complete since a month now. I reached home and my mom offered my favourite dish for dinner, so I started eating as hunger for food was the most powerful desire at that moment. While I was having my dinner, my best friend called and so I returned her call after dinner. We were talking for a while and she told me about a movie being played on a TV channel. I wanted to watch this movie since very long and so I immediately hung-up and was glued to TV for next two hours. After the movie got over, I was satisfied that finally I could watch it and was heading to sleep. But that satisfaction was short lived as my eyes fell on my favourite book which I had decided to read after reaching home. It made me more dissatisfied as the book I have been wanting to read is unread since a month plus one more day now.
The main reason for not being able to do something is distraction or desires which are more powerful at that point in time. The idea of philosophy, love of wisdom, is not to give up the worldly desires and head to forest, but to live the values we know in this world. It is easy to believe in something but the challenge is to follow these values in difficult situations, to guide our own concentration and to bring more focus and depth in our lives.
So the answer to the moot question lies in the Four Noble Truths which comprise the essence of Buddha’s teachings:
- Dukkha – ‘Life has inevitable suffering’ – Since we are bound to be attached, we are bound to suffer.
- Samudaya – ‘There is a cause to our suffering’ – The need to live, to desire, to attach, to survive, which is embedded in us and it is the cause to our suffering.
- Nirodha – ‘There is an end to suffering’ – To understand the essential and to remove the unessential, like ego, illusion of separation.
- Maga – ‘The end to suffering is contained in the eight fold path’ – Right views, right aims, right speech, right action, right living, right effort, right attention and right concentration.
Happy Buddha Purnima!