The word Buddhism came from “Budhi” which means “to awaken.” It is a religion of approx 300 million people across the globe. To many, Buddhism is not a religion, it is more of a way of life or philosophy. It can be summed up as:
- To lead a moral life
- To develop understanding and wisdom
- To be mindful and aware of thoughts as well as actions
According to Buddhism, life is full of sufferings which is the universal truth. Another truth is that there is nothing permanent in life. So what’s the point of living when we know life is full of suffering and everything is temporary.
Since the beginning of this universe, human beings have wondered if there is more to do in life than just mere survival, if life is an accident of nature or if there’s a major purpose of being alive. A number of studies have been occurring on this topic since ages. As per Eastern theories, the purpose of life is to attain perfection and unite with God after dealing with different pains and challenges in this manifested universe.
Buddhism: The Purpose of Life
What is the purpose of this life? It’s an essential question everyone needs to think about. After birth, a person ages rapidly and then dies. Between these two stages, he struggles for working, earning, eating, and grooming throughout his lifetime. Is this the actual meaning of life in Buddhism?
As per Buddhism, the main objective of life is to remove sufferings from life. The Buddha said that human beings suffer because they continually strive for things which don’t offer lasting happiness. They desperately try to uphold things like family, friends, money, and other materialistic things that don’t last forever and result in sorrow.
From this, Buddha did not mean that all these things don’t give joy, but he just wanted to point out that none of them is eternal and emotional attachment to these things only causes suffering. His teachings were all about this problem and its solution.
In Buddhism, the main motive of Buddhism teachings is to help people recognize the impermanence of these materialistic things and keep themselves away from attachment to anything. This can reduce suffering in an individual’s life and finally lead him to the end of the rebirth cycle. Recognizing the instability of things such as family, friends, money, and other assets and moving towards enlightenment is the ultimate goal of Buddhism.
Detachment, A Way to Nirvana
Nirvana is a state of mind in which nothing can disturb the peacefulness of a person. In Buddhism, it is believed that the things that can be considered really essential are those which can stay with a human even after his death, e.g., lessons learned, ability to control the body through the mind, compassion, and more. All other things like material possessions should never be given much attention as they will be of no use afterlife.
Detachment from these temporary things means a person is living a happy and peaceful life. The same can be applied to negative emotions including resentment, anger, and jealousy.
As per the law of karma, every thought, action, word, or emotion produces a result that will require to be confronted. Thus, cultivating negative feelings will push an individual back to the rebirth cycle where he will be punished for his actions and behavior. Being detached from emotions that cause anger and sadness, one person will also be closer to nirvana. This is when an individual reached the human ideal and leaves the cycle of rebirth.
Live kindly and compassionately. Observe the reality of impermanence, non-self, and suffering. Keep doing good deeds without any expectations. Be happy and peaceful. Attain enlightenment. This is the actual purpose of life in Buddhism.