We will colonise other planets in the coming century. A new start, but how do we ensure that it is a better start? I feel we should start with religion. Religion has come to be one of the loci that defines our species. We have seen what it can do to us, what it is doing. Hence, choosing the right path is central to creating a better future. The right path. That’s what the Buddha talked about too.
The thoughts that materialised to Siddhartha Gautama Buddha under the Bodhi tree might seem obvious, but are revolutionary even by modern standards.
The nature of the human condition is suffering. And suffering is caused by desire, by attachment, by covetousness. Free yourself from those desires and you can become a liberated human being (but it can only come from within).
He preached ethical action. He talked of heaven on Earth, and nirvana in life (not after death). He preached a religion without a God, for belief in God is a form of attachment too. He simply pointed out that the reigns to your happiness lies with you, your state of mind.
Buddhist sermons were given in the common language. Buddhism not only preached equality, but was preached equally too. You no longer had ‘people who were chosen by God’, but people who chose to lead the ‘right path’. Talk about a good ideology!
But, like all things human, Buddhism has transformed into something that it originally wasn’t. The Buddha would not have liked his idols all around the place. And considering he was a non-vegetarian himself, the whole vegetarian thing came in later too.
I would like to think that someday we will, as a species, practice Buddha’s Eightfold path. A time when we won’t need the threats of an omnipresent being(s) to keep our actions in check.