|Life of Gautama Buddha
Paper cutting art
Devasthanakala Paper cutting art
|Gitagovinda in Devasthanakala
Paper cutting art
|Mahabharat in Devasthanakala Paper cutting art||Durga in Devasthanakala Paper cutting art||Krishna
Devasthanakala Paper cutting art
Paper cutting art
Life of Gautama Buddha in Devasthanakala Paper cutting art
Human beings, even in the paleolithic times, were aware of spiritual evolution.
His queries about the basic force of creation are evident in his art and burial rites.
The burial rites prove his faith in life beyond apparent death.
All the shamanistic rites of primitive societies aimed at penetrating the world of the unseen, the world from the metaphysical viewpoint, and to find a way to elevate the cousciousness to gain greater power in the world of the unseen.
The less understood laws of nature were unravelled at least by some enlightened ones and propagated through ancient scriptures, though often in a cryptic manner, in many different places of the world.
The rites of the scriptures in India, whether shamanistic or Vedic, definitely show the path to spiritual elevation and even to salvation.
Yet, these paths are often difficult to understand by an ordinary person who may not go deep into the inner meaning of the cryptic presentations and the overloading of rites and rituals often overshadowed the real inner implications.
In the process of following the rites, and rituals, the true aim of spiritual exercises was often lost and the people following spiritual discipline were apt to be lured into the way to attain certain "super natural" powers, rather than liberation.
Just the attainment of certain supernatural powers do not necessarily lead to spiritual liberation and salvation, so "proper" spiritual guidance is necessary to reach a greater level of spiritual evolution.
Buddha understood this and sought out a way that would enable even an ordinary person to follow a day to day routine that would help that person to lead a purer life and to elevate the level of consciousness leading to spiritual evolution in a positive way.
The way of "Dhamma", the way that elivates the conscious being through his deeds and the effects of his deeds.
Buddha clearly stated "positive deeds bring positive results, and negative deeds cause negative results".
Buddha was not the first person to understand this basic truth, as this basic truth has been understood and revealed in other scriptures by other enlightened people too.
The enlightened ones are Buddhas who come to the world to cast light in the darkness of ignorance causing sorrow and distress in the world.
Gautama Samyaka Sambodhi was a very powerful teacher who illuminated the world with his knowledge for those who would pay heed to his words.
Unlike cryptic scriptures that use analogies and symbolic ways to disperse truth, limiting the spread of the truth only to those who understand those symbols and can analyze the analogies, the words of Buddha were clear, easily understandable and very practical.
Buddhas message was ment to be universal, and with this view in mind, he used Pali, instead of Sanskrit, to spread his words, as Pali was likely to be much more easily understood by the common people.
Buddhas gospel is not overloaded with rituals and rites, but are straightforward instructions to a better life by being a better human being.
The basic philosophy, that you can liberate your own soul through your own deeds (Karma) as you are responsible for your own actions is easy to comprehend.
Those who think that just religious beliefs and the rites and rituals that go with the religious faiths, would necessarily be enough to give them spiritual enlightenment are absolutely wrong.
If you are not a considerate, understanding and honest person, no religious belief or ceremony is going to help you in your spiritual evolution.
A kind, considerate and honest person does not need the props of religions beliefs and ceremonies.
Religious beliefs, I have observed very often make people narrow minded and constricted communal attitudes are created. These communal attitudes divide the society and create severe problems.
For me, the way shown by Gautama Samyaka Sambodhi is a path to spiritual liberation, and not an "ism" or religious constriction.
It is a universal way, suitable for every age. Even if any one never hears of Buddha and his teachings, but is a really kind and considerate person and tries in sincere way to reduce his or her negative feelings and to develop his or her positive attitude with honesty and a sense of responsibility, that person is advancing spiritually in a true manner.
In a society, where the atmosphere has been vitiated by wide spread corruption and demoralization, people are pressurized by negative values.
Yet, the individuals who can maintain their honesty and control their negative feelings effectively, with thoughtful positive actions, are able to develop spiritually.
Why is spiritual development important? Why do should we give importance to spiritual evolution?
Material life, with short lived phases of pleasures and sorrows is transitory. The soul, the consciousness in you is not transitory like the physical body. The soul moves on from one phase of birth to death to another, influenced by the results of the actions inacted with the physical body.
In the world in modern times of 21st century, those who are stepped in crude materialistic values that evaluate life in the terms of physical gain or loss often say "we dont believe in soul or its eternal journey. We dont believe in the different phases of the journey through incarnations."
When Buddha lived in India two and half millenniums ago, he preached in a society that firmly believed in soul and reincarnation. So it was much easier for him to teach the way to liberation through spiritual development.
In societies with modern materialistic values, where ignorance about the laws of Karma has caused wide spread unscrupulous and selfish values, the teachings of Gautama Samyaka Sambodhi, that are based on the laws of Karma, and reincarnation, may be difficult for many to accept.
Scepticism born out of materialistic values make many people demand short term or immediate proofs in their limited and biased level of understanding.
So, whatever such people fail to understand in their level of understanding they discard.
The apparent level of understanding of a person who is not spiritually developed may not be very high, so the greatest truths of eternity, may not ne comprehensible easily to such a person.
One has to accept the hypothesis about the laws of Karma and results in context to the continuity of the journey of the soul, to understand the importance of the teachings of Tathagata Gautama Buddha.
People with materialistic and narrow selfish values are apt to think of the teachings of Gautama Buddha as "unscientific" and unnecessary.
They would rather lead lives in search of physical pleasure and financial "security".
Physical pleasure is transitory and continuous efforts to boost up financial security can never avoid old age, disease and death.
Other sorrows too are inevitable. The rush for success in terms of gain and loss is an illusion and success that is limited to material plane generally leads to negative emotions like money minded arrogance and egocentric attitude.
Controlling oneself means curbing the desires and to keep a tight rein on the emotions. This seems hard indeed for people used to materialistic and consumerist values. A basic change of values seems too great a sacrifice for them, moreover these people are so immersed in illusions, that they think it absolutely unnecessary to open their eyes to greater truths of life by removing their biased ignorance.
Such people not only suffer themselves, but they make the world suffer too.
To make Buddhas way comprehensible to modern people I have started writing these articles.
I have avoided pedantic discussions and the elaboration of the sutras. Yet, without mentioning the sutras I have tried to simplify the ancient wisdom to the level of understanding of common modern human beings with materialistic values.
One does not have to be a Buddhist, or accept Buddhism to understand the value of the relevance of the ancient words of wisdom in our lives today.
I am not a "Buddhist" myself, and I consider spiritualist attitude better than any religion bound in communal constraints.
Even if you dont want to believe in reincarnation and the theory of "Karma" based on the principle that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, you can still try to follow the teachings about selfcontrol in a wise manner that allows one to live properly without the wasteful illusions (the practice middle path) and try to go out of your way to be kind to other beings in a thoughtful manner (the practice of "metta" and "Karuna", fraternity and compassion.)
In this article I have written practical methods which would allow you great benefits if you adopt them in your life.
Spiritual development through the cultivation of the feeling of satisfaction and a sense of peace within, is important.
When you want to reach a certain mental state, you have to make the attempt consciously and in a regular manner.
Otherwise it would be difficult if not impossible to bring about psychic development that leads to spiritual evolution.
In this world people want to be happy, yet with money and wealth even, happiness can not be found. Moments of pleasure come and go, but the moments of physical or mental pleasure are neither a continuous flow nor a sense of true peace.
People cry, "how can we be happy, there are so many problems."
So much tension about such difficult situations?
In life we cannot avoid many difficult and problematic situations. Some problems can be solved, others remain causing difficulties. So many problems and obstacles crop up in unexpected way, that, it is easy to feel disturbed every day, - if we allow ourselves to be disturbed.
If you cultivate a feeling of satisfaction you will not go on hankering after things and situations that can not be obtained or gained.
By giving less importance to your ego, you can try to adopt a new view point of life. When you give less importance to your ego, you start expanding your psychic world as you start thinking of other peoples needs too.
Narrow ego is one of the causes of spite and when you try to dispel selfishness and spite from you heart by sharing what you can share, with other beings, without being puffed up with "a special pride", you would feel a sense of peace.
Regular and conscious practice of being kind to others would expand your world and impart a sense of inner peace even if you have personal problems.
Learn to be at peace with yourself. If you learn to be at peace with yourself, you will attain a sene of calmness within yourself that would be much greater that just satisfaction or happiness.
Remember, you are feeling, enjoying or suffering with your senses and body, but there is a "greater you" that go beyond the body and the crude senses.
You can sincerely try to solve the problems, but some of them may be impossible to solve.
Some troubles remain though we may try to remove them. Make your best efforts to solve the problems, and to remove the troubles, but try not to feel frustrated even if you fail to remove the problems after your best efforts.
Dont compare yourself to others, as others have different perameters and situations.
Try to understand the importance of your own efforts. Understand that you work within your own personal limitations, and comparing yourself with others will only lead to undue stress.
If others do not accept you as you are, dont worry. Be yourself without putting on false airs.
Be brave enough to accept life on your own terms, firmly and with calm strength in spite of the odds against you.
Now, how to achieve this state of the mind.
There are exercises -
Practice self control through speech. Cutout unnecessary idle talk. Avoid emotionally
charged talk. Practice control of emotions through speech.
Control your thoughts. Try to analyze your thinking pattern in a conscious way.
(c) When eating, know how much is enough. Dont take unnecessary junk food. Dont use unnecessary cosmetics just because some advertisement seems attractive. Learn to understand what is really good for you.
Practice compassion on a regular basis. You will find plenty of occasions when you can be
kind and considerate to others.
Understand that this world is impermanent. Old age, disease and death are natural. Losses
are normal. Dont panic at times when you feel that the situation is slipping out of
honest, with the world and with yourself. Never accept this logic "that many other
people are dishonest and are "doing well", so why should I not be dishonest
Dispel greed and your unnecessary desires will decrease considerably.
Learn to see the positive aspects of life. Ofcourse you have problems but you have some
good things too in life.
Remember unless you are honest and sincere you can not reach a better stage in spiritual
by Prabal Pramanik ©
Paper cutting design by Prabal Pramanik ©
A colourful illustrated book titled "LIGHT THROUGH THE LEAVES" with all these Devasthankala pictures and informative text has been published by M/s Orient Book Company. The book was released at a function organized by Mahabodhi Society of India.
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