Nepal is the melting pot of Hinduism and Buddhism. Hinduism developed in Nepal and Buddhism evolved in Nepal. Hinduism as well as Buddhism emphasize in Awakening. What is Awakening exactly?
What is Awakening?
Awakening means becoming aware about the true nature of the self and understanding the nature of the world. Awakening can happen at any moment; it can happen now, or not even in two years. The moment when you understand the ephemeral nature of the world, the moment you become aware about the illusory nature of the world, suddenly you are awake.
Siddhartha left his home when he was 29 years old. At the age of 40, Siddhartha became the Buddha. He meditated for 11 years, he tried various techniques, he even indoctrinated into Jainism. However, he became awake in the evening when a poor village woman named Sujata fed him rice pudding. Awakening came to Siddhartha suddenly. When Siddhartha was awake, he understood the transient nature of the world, he understood about the sorrow that the self has to go through.
Awakening does not happen automatically, you need to work on it. The Buddha worked on it. There are various causes that can awaken a person, for example: his/her faith in goodness, optimism, hope, finding meaning in life etc.
You can hold on life if you have a meaning in life. You can hold on life if you have hope in life. Having meaning means having purpose in life. Having hope means you are positive about your life.
Finding joy is the ultimate aim of human life. Whatever we do, we do it to find pleasure and happiness. We study in a hope that we will find a good job some day and become happy. We fall in relationship because we expect some day we will live happily ever after.
Happiness is a state of mind. You can be happy even if you don’t have anything, and you remain unhappy even if you have everything you desire. You must be happy with what you have in life, not with the things you desire. Happiness is a feeling, an emotion. Sometimes it can also be a transient thing because what made you happy in the past could now make you unhappy.
Live in present is one of my favorite one-liners from the Buddha. Since we cannot go back to the past or move forward to the future, the only way we can live a life is by living in present. Living in present means becoming aware of your living, that the moment you are living is transient.
According to Buddhism, human beings are made up of mind and matter. Mind implies your consciousness and matter is the physical entity. In Hinduism, human body is made up of consciousness, physical body and soul. Both of these belief systems say we are more than the body.
Past is history, however, we cannot simply ignore the past. We are the byproducts of the past. We are here because of the past. Thus, you cannot run away from out past. We need to analyze our past so that we can move forward in future. You have to analyze Past is gone, it will never come back, future is far away, you will never reach future, you live in the present your past does not mean, you will have to live in the past. You must let go your past.
The Buddhist Philosophy of Awareness
Even though the Buddhist theologies explain about numerous Buddhas, only Gautama Buddha is the historical Buddha. Gautama Buddha, who was named Siddhartha Gautama, was born as a prince in a small town called Lumbini, Nepal, about 26 hundred years ago. The Gautama Buddha is the founder of Buddhism. Buddhism is not just a religion; it is also a philosophy, a way of life.
The main thesis of Buddhism is the awareness of a person. The Buddha emphasized that until a person reaches the state of awareness, he will continue to be chained in the cycle of birth and birth. The world where we live is Samsara. Samsara is the place where we take birth, we live, we die, and then again take birth, live and die. This kind of chain of events will continue until the person is in the state of awareness.
What does awareness means exactly? Awareness means you know the essence of your individual existence as well as the roots of the universal existence. Awareness means you know the temporal nature of life and the world. Awareness means you understand pain and pleasure, and other similar dualities are illusory. Awareness means having knowledge of something. Awareness is the state of undifferentiated consciousness.
How is awareness caused? Awareness can be caused by itself, or by knowledge and wisdom that you gain through learning or experience.
You take a deep breath and suddenly realize that you need air to survive. You became aware about the truth of your existence, you need air to live. Your awareness is caused by itself.
You read and find out that your present life is the outcome of the karma you have done in your previous life. Your awareness is caused by knowledge and wisdom you gained through reading.
Awareness is the fundamental characteristic that is endemic to human beings only. The basic difference between a human being and animal is the knowledge and wisdom. Animals too, have some knowledge, which they use as the means of survival, but their knowledge is in primitive stage. Thus, animals cannot reach the state of awareness, where as human beings can. In Buddhism, people who do not try to become aware are often compared with animals.
How Awareness is Gained? One of the ways to gain awareness is through knowledge and wisdom. There are four fundamental means to acquire knowledge and wisdom at the disposal of human beings. They are: Perception, the idea gained through direct experience; Inference, an idea concluded through the analysis of things and events by using senses; Recognition of likeness, identifying a certain thing through the attributes of other things; and Testimony, the accepted understanding through the conclusion of other people’s perception.
How to become aware? When you have knowledge and wisdom, you become aware, your sense of awareness increases. When you are aware, you know the reason of creation and destruction, you know the motive behind life and death, you know why you are here, where you come from, where you go.
When you are aware about your being, you become conscious about your existence. You know what you can do and what you cannot do. You may not admit you inability and failures in public, but when you are alone you scold yourself and say, “You don’t have skills to do this, you failed with this job.”
When you are aware, your dissatisfaction vanishes, your frustrations will go off, your desires, wants and wishes will dissolve. You will live a happy life.