The world of Buddhism is vast and wide. It is said that there are 84,000 approach or method for enlightenment. This is due to the diversities of individual conditions and situations. Each one of us is unique in our own individual way.
What appeals to one may not appeal to another.
For example, speaking about human suffering is a waste of time if the audience is having the time of their life. Just try expounding the [Truth of suffering] to someone who is having fun in a club. Pointless.
Thus, the Buddha explains the Dharma in different manner to suit his audience. Patiently and compassionately, guiding them to see the Ultimate Truth.
For a beginner, this all sounds very poetic but may not be much help. You may still wonder, so how do I pick the correct path out of the 84,000?
Do not be discouraged by such bewilderment. In fact that inquiring mind is your 1st step into the world of the Buddha. This is because, to find your answer, you need to know yourself. That is the 1st step in self discovery, isn’t it?
A student in a Havard Buddhist course confided recently that she had just started Buddhism. She happened to encounter the Sakyapa Buddhism (A Tibetan form of Buddhist practice) but she is not sure if it suits her.
There is no hard and fast rule in entering the Gate of Buddhism.
For someone who is trying to get away from rituals and ceremonies of her previous religion, the Theravada scriptures that discourages rituals and magic spell sounds more modern and sensible.
On the other hand, there are people who are attracted to Buddhism through its vibrant ceremonies or rituals, or through practice of mysticism or even through martial arts!
But at the beginning, do not be afraid to take the leap and try something that appeals to you. Practicing Buddha Dharma should be a joy. That is why our compassionate Buddha package it in 84,000 different wrappings!
What if I wasted my time by picking the wrong practice?
The answer is, do not worry! Buddha Dharma is the medicine that cures our defilement. The various forms of presentation are just wrappings. As long as we practice what is being taught, we are beginning our own journey towards self healing and enlightenment. There is no error in Buddha Dharma.
However, the Buddha did gave us a tip. (check out the Kalama Sutta)
It is important to note that Buddha Dharma is about healing our mind from habitual craving, aversion and wrong views.
If you ever encounter any type of “Buddhism” that creates more craving and desire in you, or cause you to have extremist views, or make you very judgemental and full of ill will. All the negative traits that is opposite the definition of Enlightenment starts to become stronger, then perhaps something is going wrong.
Last but not least, be wary of fakes and charlatans. Religion is a lucrative business and many people with bad intention wants to get a slice of the cake.
Not everyone with a shaven head in saffron robe is a saint. Likewise, for well packaged lay person who sounds awfully knowledgeable.
Buddha taught us to be inquisitive, never be afraid to ask questions. Many of his scriptures started off with someone asking Buddha questions. His logical analysis and good advice is what won their heart most of the time.
For beginners, never lose sight of common sense and logic. You need that to bring you through the spiritual adventure.
As the saying goes. Ehi Passiko!
Come check it out for yourself!