Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Seven Sūtras of the Dīgha Nikāya

By: Gabriela Montiel Fuentes (undergraduate FIGRI student, the World in English elective)

Bogota can be considered as a stressful city even for those who were born here, the daily living is full of conflicts between citizens, both on public transport and in the streets, and there is not a single corner of the city that does not suffer from the evil of the intolerance and despair. Thinking about this I bought a book about Nirvana which speaks of the Buddhist peace and how to achieve the way of absolute peace even in the midst of daily conflict life of a city like this, here is what I learned about Buddhism and the importance of being in a superior essence.

Throughout his teaching Buddha developed varying degrees of meditation, which becomes the ideal way to achieve Nirvana, also understood as a State of lighting that gives the liberation of earthly and worldly ties that oppress man in the duality of body and soul. The stages that the man must be overcome if it wants to achieve this higher State of consciousness are, firstly, small moral discipline, i.e. overcome by the man of violence to their peers and other creatures that inhabit the world. Secondly, the median discipline morality, which consists of overcoming the frivolities and superficial distractions offered by the world like the drink, gambling, and other worldly pleasures. Finally, the great moral discipline which means that man must be beyond all banal religious superstition (Dragonetti & Tola, 2010).

The first stage of meditation is the detachment to the banalities of earthly as superstition, pain, disease, frivolity, war and violence. Then in the second phase of meditation man reaches the full unification of the mind through concentration to continue to the third stage of meditation which involves the disappearance of joy, understood as an attachment or conditioning, which allows man to live "indifferent, attentive and self-conscious". Finally, the man can reach the fourth phase of the meditation, i.e. the mind pure, accompanied by the abandonment of the happiness and suffering, which has reached completely intuitive knowledge that gives you access to nirvana.

For Buddha, any man can meet with these four stages of meditation and can achieve divinity, which is not unique to the gods, but they can be allowed to man through the discipline and the release of all physical and mental conditioning. Likewise, it is essential to stress the importance within the doctrine of the control of the senses, of the abandonment of obstacles, of satisfaction, mental and extraordinary powers; ear knowledge divine, of the thoughts of others, past existences, divine eye and the destruction of impurities (Dragonetti & Tola, 2010).

This current encourages the cultivation of virtues, focusing on discipline, knowledge, and benevolence; focusing on the individual in order to find the liberation of desire, through detachment and progressive meditation towards abstraction. Buddhist ethics is basically based on the principles of no damage and moderation, i.e. not repress or not cling to anything. Practitioners of Buddhism should, thus, determine its act through the evaluation of if a fact or if any action could have a harmful or detrimental consequence to oneself or to others, i.e., they should avoid all actions likely to cause suffering or remorse because of the effort. Buddhist ethics is based, then, in five precepts: not to take anyone's life, not take what not belongs to me, not having a harmful sexual behavior, not telling lies and not consume intoxicants (Dragonetti & Tola, 2010).

At first glance, Buddhism seems difficult to practice, but I realized that it is only about live harmoniously with myself and those around me without doing harm to anyone, and I think that it is something we all can do. Buddhism goes beyond simple yoga poses and nor is to believe in gods, is simply a lifestyle choice Pacific and healthy. I recommend to all the inhabitants of this city, learn about Buddha and nirvana because I believe that it is indeed useful to learn how to respect others.

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