Through such legendary
incidents Buddhism proclaimed that despite our human limitations,
there is a way to surmount and rise above the narrow confines
of our spiritual outlook and experience. There is more to
us and life than we can ordinarily perceive; we are all potential
According to Buddhism, the fulfillment of our potential depends
on the inner life of the mind and spirit. What we do with
our minds is the key to our destiny. When we come to understand
the nature of our minds and consciousness, completely new
perspectives on reality and human relations open up to us.
Consequently, a central feature of Buddhism has been meditation.
Meditation has taken many forms in its history, though most
popular today is sitting meditation to calm and still the
mind, enabling us to confront the challenges of daily life.
Our attachments and addictions to external things blind us
to our true self. We come into competition and conflict with
others in the pursuit of worldly goods. Advertisements aim
to convince people of the necessity of products. Our acquisitions
define the self. We measure our value by success in our work,
the size of our house, the model of our car, the number of
our shoes or jewelry.
Buddhism teaches that life is marked by three signs: suffering,
impermanence and nonsubstantiality. The first noble truth
is, Life is suffering. Despite our affluence, we suffer from
dissatisfaction, frustration, anxieties. This suffering is
caused by the transiency of life, changes in our health. Our
social and financial situation threatens our identities, leading
to depression and despair. Our suffering results from not
recognizing that the things to which we are attached do not
really have the value we attribute to them.
The birth of the Buddha and his life provide an opportunity
to bring our lives into perspective and reprioritize our values.