One of the most important factors or skills for Enlightenment (True Happiness) is right view or right understanding.
Right view is an English translation of a Buddhist terminology that has very rich multi layered meanings. Instead of right view, it can also be translated as unbias complete perception of situations. In our modern language, getting the full picture.
For a beginner, it is very difficult to have a complete picture of Buddha’s message. This is because our experiences in life will make us interpret the Dharma according to our situation and emotional habit.
Nonetheless, right view is important because it guide us in our spiritual development. Without it, one can end up taking the wrong direction with dire consequences. Just think about fanatics or cult leaders advicing their disciples to commit mass suicide or mass murder.
Have you ever wondered why the same religious scriptures can produce a saint or a devil?
It is therefore important for us to listen to feedback and opinions of Dharma friends and teachers.
The followings are some personal observations.
Truth of Suffering –
The 1st of the four noble truths, isn’t there to make us feel depressive or lousy. It is meant to balance our attitude in living so that we are not overly attached to mundane happiness. The 4 noble Truth is a united teaching and cannot be broken up for practice. This is because the subsequent truth talks about what causes suffering and how to end it. If you look at the full picture, this is a very good self-help guide from Buddha.
In fact, one should feel hopeful because there is a light at the end of the tunnel when practicing the 4 noble truth. If you feel sad and depressive, it is because you are stuck with the 1st truth and failed to look beyond that.
That means you had missed the point and to put it more bluntly, you are messing with your own mind already! So beware.
Buddhism is always a balanced approach.
Law of Karma –
In short, the message of karma is that good deeds will attract positive rewards and bad deeds will cause misfortune in life. There is no divinity playing you like a puppet.
However, some Buddhist might wrongly conclude that everything happening in their life is predetermined by their past karma. Therefore, there is no point in being proactive in life. Such mentality is like believing in predestinated fate.
That is wrong understanding.
Buddha had always exhorted people to do good and strive for Enlightenment. He did not teach predestinated fate.
If you find yourselves becoming lazy and overly passive because you belive your life had been predestined by your past karma, then definitely something is going wrong.
It does not mean we become careless about karma and everything else in life. Some Buddhist may wrongly conclude that nothing truly matters after reading about Emptiness.
Please note that the state or realization of Emptiness is beyond words.
Therefore, whatever philosophical deduction or mental conception we have about emptiness after reading a book; are just like a road sign pointing towards a destination. (aka the finger pointing at the moon) It is not the real “Emptiness”
If you think emptiness means nothing really matters because everything is false, then that is falling into the trap of nihilism. Beware of craziness.
Enlightenment is not a self induced conviction of a philosophical view.
In China, there is an old saying “I’ll be good again after eighteen years”
This mean, one is not afraid of death because after death he will be reborn again; and eighteen years later, he will have a second chance.
The idea of Rebirth may cause people to have an opposite effect of YOLO (you only live once) mentality. It becomes a false sense of security and creates a careless attitude towards life.
Such mentality is flawed and not what the Buddha taught.
This is because there is no guarantee that one will be reborn a human again!
Therefore, we cannot take our present life for granted or live recklessly. Rebirth is not a reset button as potrayed in movies.
It is important to have the right understanding in Buddhism.
I hope you enjoy reading and also enjoy discussing dharma with friends and teachers. That is one good way to learn and navigate the spiritual path.
Remember, a Buddhist on the correct path does not become fanatics and zealots. We also do not act crazy.