Almost everybody I have ever met can recognize a Buddha statue, but few folks who I have ever associated with understand the meaning of the Buddha. Myself included was one of those folks blessed with such ignorance. When the term Buddha was brought up, all I thought about was the pudgy bellies of myself and fellow offensive lineman on my high school football team. Nirvana! Hey isnt that one of the great rock bands of the early nineties? Right? In this paper, I will explain who the Buddha was and the deep meaning of the message that Prince Guatama preached.
The Buddha defined the Middle Path as a way that leads to insight, which leads to wisdom, which conduces to calm, to knowledge, to the Sambodhi, to Nirvana (76). These words meant that all else was linked to some sort of suffering, that true peace and happiness could only be achieved through your mind and true pain and suffering could be achieved through reality. The Buddha illustrated this idea through his Four Noble Truths.
The first of these is the Noble Truth of Suffering. These sufferings included natural situations of life, including birth, decay, death, presence of objects we hate not to obtain what we want, and finally, mere existence (76). There is a pattern that is developed in this order. Birth is the beginning of reality that has its good as well as bad times. The Buddha appears to focus on the hardships of reality that Prince Guatama knew of in this world. As life would carry onward, the hardships would pile on top of one another, eventually leading to a life of misery.
The second of these four truths is the Cause of suffering. The idea illustrated here is the thirst that consumes everybody. The thirst for pleasure, existence, and prosperity was the threefold that he explained (76). Pleasure being a cause for the fact that it leads to lust, which leads back to birth. Existence, like the last paragraph, is mere suffering. Prosperity, trying to achieve what we desire, stepping on other people to get what we want, is a cause of suffering. Releasing yourself from these causes, from all worldly desires, is what Prince Guatama could define as true peace and happiness.
The Third is the Noble Truth of the cessation of suffering. This requires a complete end of every passion leading to the destruction of desire (76-77). This idea is simple, eliminate your thirst for pleasure, existence, and prosperity, and a way to the Middle Path will be revealed.
The final is the Noble Truth of the Path which leads to the cessation of suffering. This is achieved through the Holy Eightfold Path which includes Right Belief, Right Aspiration, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Means of Livelihood, Right Endeavor, Right Memory, and Right Meditation (77). When these eight requirements are met, true enlightenment and Nirvana can finally take place because the Middle Path has been found.
The reading that was required for this project has shown me that this is the only way to true enlightenment because of the pure relaxation of the mind. When this relaxation is achieved, all worldly desires have been extinguished, when all desires are extinguished, what is left to fear? When the mind is cleared of any and all fears the mind can then fully focus on important issues such as life, suffering, and death (76). When this release from the limitations of existence and rebirth has happened, Nirvana has been achieved (76).