In the First teaching of Buddha, He taught a common truth.
Existence is marked by suffering or suffering is a characteristic of existence.
Suffering is there all the time but non would face it squarely. Therefore, Buddha’s message resounded in all of us regardless of whether you like it or not.
More importantly for me, this “simple” message brings everyone together. It does not matter what your race is or whether your eyes are blue or black. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, a powerful dictator or a beggar in the street, Mankind shares a common experience, and that is suffering.
We suffer when we get sick or grow old, and we suffer when we die.
We suffer when we encounter awful situations or when we do not get what we desire.
Keeping ourselves alive is stressful too because we need to find food, water, clothing, and lodging.
Besides physical pains, there are mental anguishes too.
While happiness may elude some unfortunate ones throughout their life, suffering is common to us all once we are born.
Therefore, shouldn’t we treat each other better? Aren’t we riding the same boat?
For someone like me, who was born into a poor family, this message made me realised that my richer classmates are also suffering. Suffering is not reserved for poor people. Everyone has mental turmoil, confusion, envy, hate, disappointment, longing for something, etc. In a strange way, that offers some solace to my troubled younger self.
More importantly, Buddha revealed that suffering can be ended. This message is one of hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone can experience the permanent cessation of suffering, just like Buddha.
That equality and inclusivity to share in the ultimate glory and happiness (aka Nirvana), are what attracted me to Buddhism. In that state of Ultimate Happiness (Nirvana); everyone is EQUALLY HAPPY. There is no, “I am better than you” or “He is happier than me” There is no master and servant relationship, nor teacher and student. Nirvana is the same. If there is something that represents Ultimate Goodness or Wholesomeness, then this should be it! The message of Nirvana is all-embracing and inclusive. There is no more unfairness, no more suffering.
The above covered 2 out of the 4 Noble Truths taught by Buddha. I’ll share the other 2 in the subsequent posts.
May all be well and happy.