21 September 2006


Hmm, been off the air for a while. Quite a few things happened: the first female space tourist (an Iranian), a coup in Bangkok and Hugo Chavez's speech at the UN. But none of them was sufficiently motivating to make me log in here and pen my thoughts.

Today I'll talk about something different. It'll be a shift from the outer world to the inner; from current affairs to philosophy.

Buddha's rationality has always been appealing to any seeker. Less appealing is his pessimism. The very first of the Chatur Arya Satya (Four Noble Truths) says,"Life is full of suffering" (Dukha). This is how it is commonly quoted. And this is how I remember it from our school text books. Needless to say, this is enough to turn off everybody except the die-hard pessimist. For a long time, this one line stopped me from a deeper study of Buddhism. Recently I have changed my view. It is better to rephrase the statement as "Suffering is a part of life". (If you don't like the word 'suffering', you can replace it with 'pain' or 'sorrow') Even a die-hard optimist will not disagree with this. Once we make this modification, we can continue our study of Buddhism.

[I know, this is not an earth-shattering breakthrough. It is quite trite. But it makes a huge difference to me.]

I don't have any books on Buddhism right now. I am reading the chapter on the same in Radhakrishnan's 'Indian Philosophy' (Vol 1). Like the rest of the book, it is atrociously written and I'm not sure how much longer I can go on.

Everybody knows about the Chatur Arya Satya and the Arya Ashtanga Marga (Noble Eightfold Path). These were drilled into us in our school text books. Less well known, but equally important, is the Trilakshana (Three Marks of Existence). These are Dukha, Anitya and Anatma (or discontent, impermanence and non-self). Just for the record, I agree with the first two, not with the third. A related concept, Pratitya Samutpada (Dependance Origination), is also interesting. I came across these basic things only now - which shows how little I know and how much I need to learn.

I wanted to write about the Upanishads too. But I think I'll do that later...

1 comment:

Rohith said...

Wow, Dheera - good to see u starting to blog, though the subjects seems to be more global and nothing personal. Keep them coming...