For most of my life, Wesak Day was just another holiday; a day to wake up late and do nothing much. I only knew it was to celebrate the Buddha’s Enlightenment, but didn’t know much more than that. My ignorance and atheist vibes were thick. It wasn’t until I came across the teachings of the Buddha in my 40s, that I was inexplicably drawn to the ‘common-sense’ of the Dhamma.
Many friends have similarly shared that their first impression in learning Buddhism was feeling that Dhamma is just ‘so right’ because it defines clearly and deeply the virtues we thought we knew! The invitation to investigate was the carrot, because ‘investigation’ is unheard of in other faiths. My curiosity and admiration for Buddhism arose at the same time. When I tested the ‘theories’ of reducing anger, jealousy and greed through understanding its causes, it actually worked… even if just at the lowest levels.
For example, my mind no longer gets angry with reckless drivers but radiates them thoughts of kindness and wishing them to be safe instead! Cravings for more (usually redundant) luxurious possessions and travelling for thrills also ebbed. What a relief to be free from these shackles which I knew brought no lasting happiness. Letting go of pettiness and unproductive grudges gave me space to discover the truths about life, a whole new world to me.
But it wasn’t until I learned that the Buddha taught the way to total liberation from these defilements AND that we had the potential to achieve it, that I felt the highest reverence and deepest gratitude for our Enlightened Teacher. From then on, I knew this was the path that bears fruit. I am thankful to have developed a confidence in the way of life that encompasses contentment, true joy and peace. The journey ahead to ‘unshakable peace’ is long. May all who are intent on travelling there be successful in their aspirations to associate with the wise until the end.
An article by a devotee who wishes to remain nameless.