How should I answer the question,"why we were born", so that person who is unfamiliar with Buddhist’s principles can understand it easily?

Someone who is unfamiliar with Buddhist’s principles asked me the reason for why we were born. How should I answer this question so that he can understand it easily? https://dmc.tv/a3476

Dhamma Articles > Question and Answer for Life
[ Sep 23rd, 2004 ] - [ read : 13271 ]
 
Question:
Venerable Luang Phaw, Sir, someone who is unfamiliar with Buddhist’s principles asked me the reason for why we were born.  How should I answer this question so that he can understand it easily?
  

Answer
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku  

Why were we born?   If you give the answer, to the person who asked the question, that the ultimate purpose of birth, in accordance to Buddhist Teaching, is to pursue the purification of the mind in order to attain Nirvana, he who is already unfamiliar with the Teachings will just say ‘thank you’ and ‘goodbye’ to you after hearing this answer.

 
Buddhist lay individuals like to answer in this manner when they are asked that question.

 
Today, I will give you an answer which is easy to understand.  Indeed, the true purpose of birth for all human beings can be categorized into three levels:

1.  One’s life objective at the primary or ground level.

2.  One’s life objective at the secondary or sky level.

3.  Ones’ life objective at the tertiary or above the sky level.

For people who seldom visit the temple, it is vital that we advise them to realize the true purpose of the present life first: to be responsible for themselves and be able to stand firmly on their own.

In another words, they must first be able to secure their financial status and support themselves with a stable income earned from work in accordance to the right livelihood.  They must not allow themselves to be a burden to society.

When you meet anyone who does not have financial stability, you must help them realize that the aim of life, minimally, is to establish oneself financially.

Once they are aligned with that accomplishment, advise them that the second goal of life is not merely to make a living and accumulate wealth.  This is because success in a career is only elementary.  It is not enough.  That kind of success can be compared to the success equivalent to kindergarten or primary school students.

 
The more advanced achievement is how we are able to secure heaven as our after life destination, because there is continuity of life after death. Heaven and hell exist.  So, after having secured their wealth, they must prepare their way to a blissful place after their final departure from this life.

 
It is not easy to convince anyone to believe in the concept of accumulating merit as a way to prepare for heaven and as prevention from a rebirth in hell, especially if they remain in a financial crisis and lives a life from hand to mouth.  However, you should still encourage them to first be financially stable.  Later, when they are able to establish themselves financially, explain the truth of the next existence to them.

 
When you see them begin to demonstrate more interest on the subject, you can broaden their understanding on how they can avoid the unwholesome rebirth and set themselves on the path to heaven.

 
Lord Buddha said one can avoid unwholesome rebirth by purifying one’s mind.  If one’s mind is clouded, the door of hell opens for them.  But, if one’s mind is bright and purified, heaven awaits them.

Then find the right time, after they have overcome their earning troubles, to expand the issue in more detail on how one can prevent rebirth in the hell realm by living a life in accordance to the following principles:

1)   Faith in Lord Buddha’s doctrines.  One should frequently listen to the Buddha’s Teachings given by monks, as you are doing now. And, persuade them to do the same

2)  Precepts.  If one does not have self-discipline, one is prone to commit unwholesome deeds inadvertently.  So one should observe the five precepts earnestly on a regular basis.  You may suggest for them to observe one precept at a time.  Eventually they will be able to maintain all five precepts.

3)  Giving.  We have busied ourselves with earning a living and have obtained various kinds of benefits from the world since birth.  We need to offer our gratitude to the world by means of giving back when the opportunity arises.  So advise them to give to charity or alms-giving to monks, starting with a small amount and gradually increasing to a greater quantity.

When they have developed a level of faith in Buddhism and maintained the precepts, as well as performed generosity, advise them to pay a visit to the temple, to learn meditation, in order to accumulate spiritual wisdom.  If they can practice meditation continuously, their wisdom will increase.

 Once they have financial stability and a steadfast faith in Lord Buddha’s Teachings, it is time to explain to them the final and ultimate goal of life: the attainment of Nirvana.  Avoid advising every single person you meet to lead a life towards enlightenment, for you will surely gain nothing but disappointment.

Determine the circumstances properly and gradually nurture other people’s minds with appropriate spiritual advice, in the same way that parents nourish a child with every drop of milk and nutrient.  Approaching it in this manner will not be too difficult and will guide them to accept the ultimate goal of their lives.


http://goo.gl/8w8Xm


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