Struggling with Meaninglessness

searching meaning in meaninglessness

Buddhism Philosophy

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Human get miserable when we cannot control things.  We agonize when our dreams do not come true. We get upset when we do not get the things we want.

The truth is, we can not fully control our life for there are simply too many factors not in our control. However, we can control what we expect from life. Man knows no objectivity, only from the difference between what is, and how he expected things to be.

Buddha says that life by default, is an endless strings of problems. Once a problem is overcame, another problem will spring into existence. Problems never cease to exist due to two reasons.

1. The expectations we have on ourselves and the environment around us.

2 The continuous desire to control and manipulate things around us.

For these reasons, we consistently suffer both physically and mentally. Hence, Life Is Suffering. Problems are problematic because we choose to see them as problems. As long as one controls his expectations, he will never experience misery no matter how miserable his life for others may looks like.  (Do not take the word suffering too literally. It is just a metaphorically way of saying that we are trapped in a reality which is not in accordance with the Nature.). Therefore Buddhism strives on contentment.

This is very true as i sometimes wonder why my friends get upset over a matter which i would have normally brush off as something of no-big-deal. It is because when you look at a matter, you can view it from different angles and perspective, hence giving yourself different interpretation from other people. It is just something like – is the glass half full or half empty? Both views are correct, but you are using different mind set to view the matter.

Same goes for Money. How do you view money? Some people view money as a measure of their success or how great their achievement is. Some people view money as a basic necessity and does not need it to bring satisfaction. Some people needs money to fulfill their endless demand of high end purchases. There is no right or wrong, just different mind set perceiving the matter.

Therefore, Buddhism philosophy is more about achieving realization by attaining the right mind set which go accordance to the Nature. So, how do you know whether the path you have chosen is right or wrong? Buddha once observed that human being usually behaved in either one of the two extreme end. Buddha said that the wise is the one who could see the picture of both end and chose to stay in between. He called it The Middle Way.

When it comes to morality’s Right or Wrong, there are also usually two groups of extreme end people. The first group is a group of highly influential people who spread the idea of morality and impose the reality of ‘What is Right and What is Wrong’ to the common people. And another group of people are basically ignorant people who do not know what to believe in and are mentally (subconsciously) ready to be manipulated by the influential group. Hence, we have religions, where a group of common people come together and irrationally believing that there’s an invisible man in the sky and at the same time, being controlled by the fear of condemnation and devils. Religion claimed that humanity is worthless without morality, and therefore religion is essential.

The core belief of Buddhism, as we know is to be One with Self and Nature. In Buddhism world, there are no Gods, no devils, no miracle, no magic, and perhaps more importantly, no irrational beliefs. When you misstep the path, the nature does not judge or get disappointed with you. You have only failed yourself for not being in harmony with Nature. There is no divine being who will punish you for your disobedience. You will have to discover the big picture yourself and seek The Way. Buddhism takes a more introverted approach and emphasize highly on self-examined and self-exploration thoughts. Buddhism guides you but do not insist to you What is Right and What is Wrong because there is no right or wrong in Nature, only different perception of reality within us. It is just like i can never force a person to like reading science books and insist it as the Truth – rather, i can only give my opinion and ultimately, the person has to discover the joy of reading science book himself/herself in order to truly appreciate what science can bring to humanity. That’s exactly the Buddhism Way – self-realization. 

Reincarnation

Buddhism do not believe in reincarnation in the sense of resurrection. Again, reincarnation is a pretty metaphorical way of Buddha explaining how the Nature works. After we die, we neither phase out nor we will get resurrected. Remember the Middle Way? We are always in between of everything.

Suppose that i die and my body is laying on a field. Overtime, my body will rot and fertilize the grass, becoming its source of energy and other animals who feed on my dead body. In some sense, i play a part in nurturing these lives. Then a cow graze the grass, and in turn, the grass which was nurtured by my body, now nurture the cow. When the cow was eaten by another human being, i played a role in nurturing this eco-system which will nurture other people.

Hence, Buddha said the Nature is tangled in a big web of relationships between different entity. And it is a big cycle which will keep going on and on and on. In some sense, the Nature keeps ‘reincarnating’ itself and i will play a part of it even after my death.

Karma

What goes around, comes around. Karma is sort of a philosophical science idea created by Buddha to gauge human’s intention. Every time a person acts, he/she will release an amount of intention. Since the Nature is tangled in a big web of relationship, no action is independent on its own – that means, every action has a returning consequences.

The main idea of Karma here is to take responsible and become One with yourself. Many times when problems occur, we are quick to blame other people or other factors and examine ourselves last. As i have mentioned before, Buddha believes that we are responsible for ourselves and for our thoughts. It is a way for Buddhist to think about before unleashing their intentions.

Remarkable Buddha’s quotes

  • All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.
  • All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.
  • Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
  • Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.
  • Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.
  • Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
  • In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.
  • In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

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PS: To understand more clearly what Nature is all about (from a comedic point of view), i recommend you George Carlin’s video below. George is truly an intellectual comedian who i really admire.

PPS: If you like George Carlin, i strongly recommend another video from him over YouTube – Religion Is Bullshit

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Written by elan85

July 15, 2008 at 6:35 am

Posted in Philosophy

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