This modern world teaches happiness as having the ability to own material comforts. In advanced economy and first-world countries, their citizens have better healthcare, easier public transportation, ease of communication, clean drinking water, and more entertainment.
Buddhism acknowledges that all these material comforts make our life better.
Unfortunately, the message did not stop there. Basic happiness is not enough to show your success. The “modern” world says that our success is measured by the number of luxurious items we own. A ten-dollar watch is not enough, you need to own an expensive watch. A simple apartment isn’t good enough, you need to stay in a designer condominium. If you own an iPhone, it has to be the latest model and it must be “pro”.
When we look at the above situations, it is obvious to me that something is missing. Due to that missing “something”, life becomes unbearable for many people. That “something”, is the message of wisdom.
If we think about it carefully, our modern world is encouraging us to crave. The commercials, the social media etc, they show us a “better” world. We have “better” Smart Phone, “better” vacations, “better” clothings. Right? People want to “share” their latest sensual pleasure.
“Oh, finally got to travel after sooo long, #blessed” Then you see your friend or someone you know showing herself in a business class seat going on vacation? In the olden days, we were taught not to boast?
But today, we are encouraged to “share”.
All this creates stress for modern people.
The world is celebrating material luxuries as success. Therefore, we need to fight for them, we need to “improve” our life. So we “strive” to buy the “best”. We desire the latest smartphone, have the most luxurious vacation, dine at the best “Michelin” restaurant, etc.
So what is the missing wisdom? No one in the modern world is telling us, “Contentment is happiness. It is a virtue to be contented.” No one is saying what Buddha said. “Craving causes suffering!”
When we only hear a one-sided message, we get caught in a crazy world that is promoted by the merchants. We forget how to stop or take a break. Because of that, life can become extremely painful and unbearable.
Learning Buddhism gives us the opportunity to hear alternative views. The precious message of Buddha provides us the wisdom to step out from all of that “craziness”. This is very important when the stress of competition becomes too painful and unbearable. We will have that wisdom to “step out” with our heads held up high, And that is very important today.
Buddhism offers sanity and wisdom.