People consider Buddha as an embodiment of non-violence. But, it is not fundamentally true. Non-violence is not Buddha’s essential teaching. It is the core teaching of Mahavira. Buddha taught the path of eliminating misery in human life. A person who walks on this path reaches the destination called Nirvana. The attainment of Nirvana naturally results in traits such as non-violence in the seeker.
The one who has cracked the secret of life does not need to practice qualities like non-violence forcefully. All good qualities effortlessly become as natural to him as breathing. Buddha is an embodiment of knowledge and direct realization. He is the one who reached the pinnacle of human evolution. Buddha followed the path that leads to elimination of misery and taught the same to the world.
However, Buddhism left India and migrated to other countries. This is the misfortune of our race. Even in these countries where Buddhism reached, it does not exist in its pure form nowadays. In course of time, the original Buddhism has disappeared after undergoing various transformations. It just exists here and there with names such as Hinayana, Theravada etc.
Therefore, one thing is crystal clear. Common society, as a whole, cannot achieve higher planes of knowledge. Even if people like Buddha explain it clearly, very few dare devils are willing to follow this path. Common men always prefer false preachers, and cannot accept the plain truth as it is. That is why the teachings of great persons are lost over time and the need for new teachings arises from time to time. The reason behind this is the ineligibility of humans. Lack of courage in welcoming change and the inability to put the highest truths into practice are the reasons for this miserable state.
As time passes by, it becomes a rarity to find people who can understand such great teachings, not to speak of practicing them. Labeling Buddha as the ‘embodiment of non-violence’ is also something very similar. One who attains buddhahood naturally becomes an embodiment of non-violence, and it is not something to be mentioned as a special trait. If their knowledge and devotion are real, then a jnani and a bhakta become naturally non-violent people.
Buddha’s basic principle is direct knowledge and the path of elimination of misery. It is the path of Nirvana. The good qualities spoken of so eloquently by all prophets are automatically acquainted by the followers of the path. There is no special need to practice each such quality, individually. It is not the right perspective to consider Buddha merely as a non-violent person ignoring his fundamental teachings of wisdom and cessation of misery.
All rights reserved. This article has been translated by Ranganath D, which was originally posted in teluguyogi.net on May 13, 2009. The content or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the publisher.