What Buddhism require of man? A Chinese scholar once asked a monk what constituted the essence of Buddhism and the sage replied:
To do good, not to do evil
To purify mind,
This is the teaching of all the Buddha’s.
Naturally this scholar had expected a much more ‘profound’ answer, something deep and abstruse, and he remarked that even a child of three could understand that. But the sage replied that while a child of three could understand it, a man of eighty could not practice it !
The Buddha has similarly cautioned his attendant disciple , Ananda not to regard seemingly simple teachings as something easy to follow.
This is the essence of Buddhism- Man is required to follow startlingly ‘simple’ precepts in his search for emancipation, but the practice of these can be extremely difficult.
To begin with:
-he must not take the life of any living creature knowingly;
– he must not take anything not given
-he must refrain from lying and harsh frivolous speech;
-he must guard against sexual misdemeanor;
-he must no take anything (like drugs and liquor) which causes him to lose his mindfulness.
These are important Buddhist principles to observe.
These principles are not meant for expression but to be simply put into practice with understanding. The central problem of the spiritual life is one of active, practical application, not a matter of intellectual knowledge.
The ultimate aim of man in Buddhism is to break finally and irrevocably the bonds that bind him to constant rebirth in the repeated birth- and- death cycle of samsara. He is destined to be subjected to an endless round of rebirths because in his ignorance, man conceives of an enduring entity called on ‘ego’ or ‘self’.
Taking the illusion of an ego for real he develops selfish desires. Man is thus endlessly struggling to satisfy his cravings but he is never satisfied. It is like scratching a sore to find temporary relief, only to discover that in doing so the itch has increased because the sore has been aggravated.