What does being Buddhist Mean to Me?
I have been a practitioner of Buddhism since 1992 and have been a student of the New Kadampa Tradition since 2008.
“Buddhism is the practice of Buddha’s teachings, also called Dharma, which means protection. By practicing Buddha’s teachings, living beings are permanently protected from suffering.” Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Modern Buddhism.
I can say that without Buddhism, specifically Buddhist meditation classes my life would be quite meaningless. I have enjoyed good conditions in this life right from my childhood, conditions so much better than many people in the world. Yet despite these good conditions, I still felt that there had to be more to life.
If you think about it what we all want is to be happy so we go through life chasing something or someone that we think will make us happy, but we always end up with a feeling of disappointment. Something’s not quite right, or it could have been better. The perfect partner seems elusive, and even if we find them, we know that it will end as one of us will die and the one who remains will feel a huge sense of loss. The more we cling to things we think will make us happy, the greater will be our sense of loss when it is taken away from us. But unless we have another way of thinking we will always be chasing the rainbow but never quite reaching it.
I had so many questions, with few answers until I met Buddha’s teachings. Seeing this futility, I looked around for something that would give me answers and I found it in Buddhism, specifically the New Kadampa Tradition. Buddha’s teachings answered all the questions I yearned to have answers to:
- Why do bad things happen to me?
- What will happen when I die?
- How can I prepare for my next life?
- How do I overcome all the negative emotions I feel?
“There is no benefit in denying the sufferings of future lives; when they actually descend upon me it will be too late to protect myself from them. Therefore, I definitely need to prepare for protection now.” Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, How To Transform Your Life.
Given the one thing in life which we know will happen is our death, you would think people would spend a lot of time preparing for that moment, yet most people just stay in denial of it and hope it never comes. We go to people’s funerals but think death will never happen to us. Buddha’s teachings give me the real meaning of human life and how to prepare for our death and what is on the other side of death. Not only this but it teaches us how to behave towards others: always to have compassion for them no matter how deluded their behaviour is.
So, if you are looking for meaning in your life then give Buddhism and The New Kadampa Tradition a try, I guarantee you will find peace of mind if you do
Buddhist practitioner of 20 years
Branch Teacher & Teacher Training Program Student (TTP)
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