Buddhist Misunderstandings (1)

Do you really know Buddhism? Some Buddhists claim that they are following the exact teachings of the Buddha. However, along with the course of Buddhist history, a variety of outside factors have influenced Buddhist teachings. Buddhism in a specific region has been impacted by cultural, political as well as moral factors.

One tends to misunderstand Buddhism without knowing the origin of Buddhism. What is common is that some Buddhist practitioners are superficially following their cultural rituals rather than the original Buddhist teachings. In this sense, here we come up with some one of the common misunderstandings of Buddhism.

  • Life is Suffering
  • The Buddha taught us: Life is suffering. Life is accompanied by such inevitable physical and mental pains as sickness, sadness, disappointment, dissatisfaction, delusion, fear, rejection, failure, cheating, loss as well as death. As such, in some people’s eyes, life is meaningless and hopeless. As a matter of fact, it is a myth that life is negative. One should take an optimistic view on this matter.

    The first myth that one easily forms it that ”all life is suffering.” It is true that we will encounter worry, dislike, pain and other negative things, there is still happiness along with life. We should look at things from the perspective of the theory of ”Everything has two sides”. Those inevitable pains do bring one a tons of sufferings, but the endeavor to get out of the sufferings makes one much stronger and confident to deal with it next time.

    What does the Buddha mean by saying ”life is suffering” ? Life is suffering because life is real and ever-changing. Nothing in life is permanent. The pursuit of health, wealth, fame and other good can’t last forever. At a moment you become rich, but the changeable reality will turn it into poverty next moment. Life is as instant as a breeze in the wind and a drop of water in the sea. Happiness comes and goes, then suffering arises.

    Since life is suffering, we should be aware of the dissatisfaction and imperfection of life. Rather than showing a negative and pessimistic attitude towards life, we should adopt a lifestyle of positiveness and encourage. The realization of the imperfect nature of life encourages us to end the suffering of life by pursuing the noble Buddhahood– a permanent and perfect life.

    Knowing ”life is suffering” is only a reality, but we should see through this reality and get to know the cause of the suffering and how to achieve the cessation of suffering.

    What the Buddha really wants to teach us is that: Don’t be upset when you are poor, sick, betrayed, disappointed, unsuccessful, cheated, rejected and dying, since life is ever-changing, and things are going to turn around; Be mindful when you are happy, health, rich, successful, famous and satisfied, since life is impermanent.

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