SECULAR HUMANISM IS THE RIGHT PATH TO FOLLOW

BISWANATH BHATTACHARYA

May 5, 2022, 08:33:17   

SECULAR HUMANISM IS THE RIGHT PATH TO FOLLOW

“East is East and West is West, and the twain shall never meet...”
If Rudyard Kipling were reborn today's, he would marvel at the cross-fertilization that has taken place between Eastern and Western philosophies and cultures.
Fundamental to Western culture is the belief that the individual comes before society, in polar opposition to Eastern culture, which focuses on the society and the role of the individual within that society.
Culture and religion are intertwined. Much of Western philosophy was strongly influenced by religion. Eastern philosophy makes less of an attempt to control society, but recognizes that we are all part of one reality.
Buddhism has great appeal in the West. It enables people to set up their own worldview or private religion, without the dogma and constraints of Christianity.
Buddhism is more tolerant than Christianity. There is a body of teaching...
Buddhism stresses on Four Truths and the Eightfold Path. 
The First Truth: Life is suffering: Birth is suffering, ageing is suffering, illness is suffering, worry, misery, pain, distress, and despair are suffering; not attaining one’s desires is suffering.
The Second Truth concerns the origin of suffering. Suffering and indeed all existence have their origin in desire and ignorance. It is that desire (Tanja) which results in rebirth, that desire bound up with longing and greed, which indulges itself now here, now there; the desire of the senses; the desire to be, the desire to destroy oneself.
The Third Truth is that suffering must be totally extinguished. This means being freed from the endless cycle of rebirth (samsara) and entering the blessed state of Nirvana.
The Fourth Truth indicated the way to the removal of suffering by means of the Eightfold Noble Path, which personifies Gautam's basic teaching on Buddhist lifestyle.
The steps of the Noble Eightfold Path are Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.
The Buddha began and ended his teaching career with a discussion of the Eightfold Path: guidelines for living ethically, training the mind, and cultivating wisdom that brings an end to the causes of suffering. He spoke of the Path in his first discourse immediately after his awakening and in his final deathbed teaching 45 years later. 
The Eightfold Path is the fourth noble truth, the way to awakening.
The Buddha is often described as a great physician or healer, and the Eightfold Path (also called the Noble Eightfold Path (“noble” because following it can make us enlightened people, like the Buddha) can be viewed as his prescription for relief from the disease of suffering. The Eight Steps are a course of treatment that can lead us to health and well-being; we avoid the extremes of self-indulgence on the one hand and total self-denial on the other. For this reason, the Buddha called the Path “the middle way.” 
The eight steps are:
1. Right view 
2. Right intention 
3. Right speech 
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
6. Right effort 
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration
The path begins with right view, also called right understanding. We need to see clearly where we are headed before we begin. Right intention means the resolve to follow this path. Right speech and right action refer to what we say and do—to not harming other people or ourselves with our words and behavior. Right livelihood refers to how we live day to day, making sure our habits and our work don’t cause harm to ourselves and others. 
Right effort refers to focusing our energy on the task at hand. Right mindfulness means awareness of the mind and body with discernment. With mindfulness, we might pause and consider whether what we are doing is harmful to ourselves or others. Finally, right concentration refers to dedicated practice, whether it is meditation or chanting. In other words, once we have directed our minds and lives toward awakening, we can proceed. Though the Eightfold Path is always listed in this order, this order is not mandatory and so, practitioners do not need to compulsorily follow this order.
The eight steps can be divided into three areas for training: ethical conduct (sila), concentration (samadhi), and wisdom (prajna.) Right speech, right action, and right livelihood concern ethical conduct. Right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration relate to the practice of concentration. Right view and right intention are related to the development of wisdom. 
The eightfold path may not always be easy to follow, but we make the effort because we believe it will lead us out of suffering,  Buddhists don’t believe in a god.
Perhaps one of the most interesting facts about Buddhism. There is no god to follow, and there is none to worship. A Buddha is a person who’s achieved enlightenment and if you would like to consider it so, that enlightenment is the Divinity.
Many people think that Buddha is one specific person, and while that is true in very general discourse, it is a misinterpretation. Anyone can be a Buddha—it is merely the name for a person who has reached Nirvana, the state of Enlightenment. 
Other religions are also broadly based on humanity. Humanity’s problems arose from practices that are not derived from the essence of any religion, but actually run counter to the preaching of all religions. The atrocities committed by Sri Lankan Buddhists upon the Tamils and the Rakhain Buddhists of Burma upon the Rohingyas are classic examples of tragic departure from the lessons of AHIMSHYA vouched by the true practitioners.
Therefore, I conclude: Secular Humanism is the right path to follow. 
   (Tripurainfo)