Live by Buddhism, starting the journey
For a person to live by Buddhism, he or she has to establish the principles and precepts embodied in the Sublime Teachings of the Buddha in daily life. What this simply means is that we need to inculcate and progressively internalize the practice and practical application of the Noble Teachings of the Buddha in real life. We need to therefore strengthen our shraddha (confidence or faith-based on understanding as opposed to blind faith) to think, breathe and follow the time-tested moral, ethical and spiritual framework that the Buddha had taught us for living skillfully. Only in this way can we expect to realize happiness, well-being, success, and peace here and now in this life. This positive and proactive approach to skillful living is based on the Buddha’s maxim that a single day of practice of the Dhamma is more valuable than a hundred years of its theoretical study or memorization. A number of other sutras can be readily cited wherein the Enlightened One underlined this fundamental principle. His injunction, “ He who practices the Dhamma sees me. He who sees me practices the Dhamma,” aptly sums up his stress on the practice and practical application of his time-honored Teachings.
We need to recognize and appreciate the fact that the Buddha did not unravel the Dhamma merely for us to accumulate knowledge or to gratify our intellectual appetite by becoming erudite in the scriptures to the point of being able to quote them chapter and verse. Likewise, the ability to recite all the sutras and gathas (verses or poems) by heart would amount to nothing much as compared to living the Buddha’s Teachings in our daily life. In addition, we need to be mindful that the Dhamma or Doctrine is of timeless relevance and is not intended for theorizing or for speculative reasoning or intellectual debate. The Buddha was clearly not interested in encouraging us to just acquire and store knowledge of his Teachings. He never gave priority to a person’s mere intellectual capacity or ability to memorize and regurgitate his Teachings. On the contrary, he placed a singular emphasis on the application of the Dhamma to daily living. The Buddha’s underlying stress to us to practice the Dhamma should therefore continue to remain the singular thrust of his teaching on how to live skillfully in this ever-changing world.