In a previous posts we discussed about the practice of morality in Buddhism and how such practices would ultimately lead to peace, tranquility, concentration and ultimately wisdom.
The practice of morality or ethics is also classified as Human-God Vehicle. In another word, such practices causes one to rebirth as human or god. There is nothing wrong with such practice and it is the basic level of Buddhism.
We do not talk about non-self but we focus on being a good person. The idea of “not coming back” or cessation of rebirth frighten us. We just cannot deal with it yet.
Instead, we empathize daily compassion and loving-kindness. We learn to be happy when we see others doing better than us. We learn to treat everyone equally and fairly.
Many religion also falls into this category of spiritual practice.
As a beginner to Buddhism, such practice is most relatable and we shouldn’t feel like we are bad practitioners. Before we aspire to be spiritually “higher”, we have to examine ourselves and ask, “Am I even a good human being?”
In this practice, we focus on bettering our “external affairs”. We try to behave properly and not cause distress to others. For example, when we visit another country or society, we try to observe their etiquette and be a good guest. We talk politely and be a considerate person.
When we associate with fellow practitioners, we also observe particular set of etiquette. Such practice promote awareness and mindfulness at a relatable level. For example, in Thai Buddhism, we learn to sit on the floor and be mindful never to “tower” over any monks or nuns. Some would even “walk” on their knees when approaching a seated monk. In Mahayana Buddhism, we learn to “sit like a bell” and “walk like the wind”. We learn how to clean our bowl with a piece of pickled radish after meal. In Vajrayana, we learn various ritualistic observations.
More importantly, we observe the precepts. When we observe the five precepts properly, we are assured of rebirth as a human. In this manner, we will not fall into the lower realm of existences (namely, hell, ghost or animal).
If we help others and engage in charitable good deeds, we will be reborn in heaven as gods. For example, the Buddhist scriptures narrated how the King of Gods spent his entire life doing social service when he was still a human being.
Therefore, practicing Buddhism need not be complicated.
Before we even start talking about non-self etc, we can start being a good person first.
May all be well and happy