What is the purpose of our life? Why are we born as humans?
Has it ever crossed your mind as to the real purpose of existence as a human? Have you ever had time to think of the probability of being born as a human? Well, the Supreme Buddha has revealed that the chances of obtaining a human life are infinitely small, explaining with a unique simile of a yoke.
Till around the early 1900 vast majority of farmers used buffalos and horses to prepare the lands and paddy fields. A yoke is a piece of farm equipment, usually a wooden beam which fits around the necks of a pair of animals especially oxen, harnessed together to balance a load equally on both sides and attached to the plough or cart that they are to pull. This yoke has a hole in the middle to attach the plough mechanism. Because of the hole in the middle, the yoke will break into two halves from the weaker point of the centre after it has been used for a while. Once it breaks, farmers throw the two parts away into the paddy fields. When it rains, the two pieces are washed off, start floating in different directions, and get into nearby canals. Then its journey begins to rivers and the final destination of the ocean. Imagine a possibility of these two parts coming together in the ocean, and precisely in position to create the complete hole again, and a turtle with only a single eye vision, who would surface from the seabed every 100 years precisely at the same time, being able to see the sky through this hole. Would you ever think it could happen? It is practically impossible. This is the example Supreme Lord Buddha chose to show the scarce opportunity of being born as a human being.
Fact-checking this ancient story and simile on the likelihood of human existence, the figure that scientific research has come up with as the probability of human existence is 1 in 102,685,000:: one in ten to the power of two million, six hundred and eighty-five thousand!
Ironically, a child who has come into existence with such infinite probability, does not know the value of their rare human life. Nor do they know the “purpose” of their precious human existence.
Our first goal
Being a parent is an immense responsibility, (hectic task but) an excellent opportunity to provide children with the best start to their life of being exalted, profound people. Buddhism is an absolute pacifist philosophy. It would instill kindness, patience, generosity, compassion, gratitude, respect, the virtue of moral restraint and order, and other important wholesome qualities in your children.
Having a foundation in the teachings of Buddhism (Buddhism is not a religion though it is commonly considered as). It’s a philosophy anyone can understand and practice regardless of your faith or religious beliefs. Buddhism teaches the Truth about our existence, and its practice is a must to have a fulfilling life and is the most incredible gift parents can offer their children. And unfortunately, it’s something many adults of today’s world have missed out themselves on growing up.
A human possesses a midstream that is capable of being directed towards the quest of Nibbana. Therefore, this window of an opportunity is not to be missed by us or our dearly beloved children. On the contrary, they deserve to be guided in at least attaining the ‘Stream Entrant’ stage. This is the first stage of Enlightenment which is the beginning of, ending this infinite Sansaric cycle; shutting the gates to all the lower realms for good, and is destined to full Enlightenment, and thus considered to have entered the “stream” flowing inexorably to Nibbana, the ultimate Bliss.
Furthermore, Supreme Buddha has explicated that out of the entire human population, only a very few would accomplish this mission, using a simile comparing the volume of the great Earth to the amount of soil on a fingernail., where the soil on the fingernail denoting the human population who would comprehend the Dhamma and follow the path to Nibbana
“Few men reach the other shore (Nibbana); most among humanity scurry on this hither shore. But those who practise according to the well-expounded Dhamma will cross to the further shore (Nibbana), having transcended the realm of Death’s dominion ( sansara), arduous as it is to cross.” – The Dhammapada.
How can your children benefit from Buddhism?
Are you one of those parents who judge success in life merely through wealth and material possessions and compel your children only to pursue extrinsic goals & achieve materialistic success, which will terminate with their existent life? Or are you smarter? It’s time to rethink the meaning of life.
Children are often deluded by the wrong views and ideologies they acquire from society as the world being pleasurable, joyful and essenceful. Society often directs children to excel in education, sports, and pursue lucrative careers as society highly appraises worldly accomplishments. Because of external validation for extrinsic aspirations, elevated competitiveness can be observed even in very young children of present-day and age. They are compelled to live, learn and work in an increasingly complex, digitally connected, fast-paced world.
Life is busy for our children, and the challenges they face today are radically different from any faced by generations before. The world is caught up in a rat race that has no finish line. So, what have these unbalanced lifestyles resulted in?
Well, the mental health statistics speak for themselves. Something needs to change.
- 45% of Australian adults will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.
- 1 in 5 Australians suffer from a mental illness in any one given year.
- 75% of mental illness has its onset before age 24.
- 9 Australians die every day by suicide. Over 65,000 Australians make a suicide attempt each year.
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44.
- 43% of people aged 14 and over in Australia had illicitly used a drug at some point in their lifetime
We believe we can reverse these statistics.
The modern-day advancements, developments and materialistic accomplishments that have been acquired and accumulated have not contributed towards improving quality of life.
Also, it is often observed children being disrespectful & ungrateful towards parents, teachers, elders, and the world. People have become self-centred, disconnected, envious, vindictive, treacherous and tormented by paranoia and insecurity. The media increasingly reports homicides, serial killings, cold-blooded massacres with weapons, sexual assaults, financial crimes, web crimes .. and the list goes on….
Why we should introduce this world’s most phenomenal philosophy to our loved ones?
Parents have the obligatory responsibility to guide their children towards the correct path, profoundly affecting their precious human lives.
Therefore, it is of paramount importance that children are shielded from inappropriate, detestable, ignoble company and raised in a spiritual environment from the earliest stages of life, implanting the seeds of Dhamma in their blossoming minds.
The ancient teachings of Buddhism offer essential guidance to modern life, which modern secular education has failed to address. Buddhism is not about learning strange beliefs, nor does it aim at getting to the heavens. (As mentioned before) Buddhism is not a religion; it’s a philosophy to be comprehended and mastered through wisdom to “Awaken”.
Could it be possible for a primary school child to understand the concepts of Buddhism
In the era of the Supreme Buddha, seven-year-old children attained Arahanthood, the highest level of Enlightenment (Ultimate bliss of Nibbana).
In an era where the world is inspired to push boundaries of intellectual competence, materialistic achievements & sensual pleasures, it is absolutely crucial that the children and youth of today are provided correct guidance and support for the welfare, happiness and sanity of themselves and others so that they don’t rummage around looking for happiness in all the wrong places and discover what is genuinely satiating.
Thus, it is the foremost responsibility of the parents to encourage their children and lead by example. This will provide the environment for the young ones to grasp the doctrine of the Supreme Buddha to achieve greater heights in their spiritual journey, understand who they are, why they exist, their real “purpose” of life, and break free from suffering for good.
How MON can help your kids
The Ministry of Nirvana (MON) offers programs with practical strategies and guidance for improving quality of life right now, and to embark on the complete path of inner transformation that Supreme Buddha expounded.
The Children’s Dhamma programs aim to introduce age-appropriate Buddhist concepts and provide training in its application to their everyday lives. The programs use creative and varied methods, including hands-on art and craft activities, so that the children are engaged and excited about learning and practicing the path.
Join the programs
Classes are held for children aged six and above fortnightly on Fridays at 7.30 pm in English and weekly on Sundays at 6.00 pm in Sinhalese (for Sri Lankans) via online platforms. The greatest testimony to the Supreme Buddha’s incredible compassion is His priceless gift to humanity; the Dhamma, which can liberate all beings from suffering and bring about eternal happiness and inner peace. The Supreme Buddha had elucidated that the gift of Dhamma excels all other gifts. Hence, these classes are offered free of charge.
What we teach and how
The classes feature simple Buddhist teachings that revolve around children’s everyday experiences in an interactive environment. They are designed to help children understand cause and effect and see things in a perspective of kindness and compassion that gradually makes them calmer, happier, and insightful. And the clear, insightful mind develops wisdom that perceives the Noble Truths. The mind that has “seen” the Truth would see through the veils of ignorance, see through the slavery to pleasurable desires through the senseless nonsensical senses, unravelling the core of suffering and extinguishing the fires; the fires of desire, fires of hatred and fires of delusion that has been created within the mind for good and be liberated from the shackles of Sansara and the need for rebirth.
Why it is so important?
The Supreme Buddha elucidated, “you have obtained this infinitely rare human state, at a time when a Supreme Buddha, a Perfectly Enlightened One, has arisen in the world; the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by the Supreme Buddha shines in the world.”
“Therefore, an exertion should be made to understand: This is the Noble Truth of suffering. This is the Noble Truth of origin of suffering. This is the Noble Truth of cessation of suffering; This is the Noble Truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering.” and attain Nibbana, the highest state of ultimate unconditioned happiness and peace, the Supreme bliss.
This is the purpose of our infinitely rare human life.
And this is what the mission of the Ministry of Nirvana all about.
May you all realize the Four Noble Truths and attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana, the unshakable emancipation through Supreme Enlightenment!