The Buddha As The Ultimate Revolutionary

Transform yourself inside out,
first in your thought,
then in speech and action.

Stonepeace | Books

Today, many people think that Buddhists are running away from reality. But this is a deep misunderstanding. The Buddha left the world of material pleasures, walked the path of spiritual practice, and became a Buddha not only to end his own suffering, but also to liberate other oppressed sentient beings. If we come to know Sakyamuni Buddha’s struggle in this world, we will see that he was a great and compassionate revolutionary. The Buddha revolted against the strict caste system, deceitful religions that sought only power, and the endless cycle of birth and death perpetuated by our sense of “self.”

The world has been host to many revolutionaries, but the spirit of these revolutionaries is vastly different from that of the Buddha. The typical revolutionary, despite declaring that he wishes to benefit the people, generally does not deliver happiness. His revolution is driven by his hatred for this enemies and his methods are cruel. The Buddha’s revolution, however, relies upon kindness and compassion of the heart to protect and transform others. It is a revolution without violence or bloodshed, and in this sense is truly revolutionary. Typically, revolutionaries focus on themselves first, and only after, consider others. Concerned with their own oppression and unhappiness, they rise up and overthrow injustice, only then affecting the plight of others, and only later moved onto himself.

Before he became the Buddha, he lived in luxury as a prince, leading a life that had no need for change. But as he witnessed the hardships of others, he felt it necessary to cast off the vanity of the princely life in order to restore fairness and justice. Knowing that all sentient beings are inherently equal, he strove to put right what was wrong. The typical revolutionary rebels against external things, not what is inside him. It is only the Buddha’s revolution which recognizes the selfish ego we all have, and the afflictions and ignorance that lead to the cycle of birth and death that we all undergo. The Buddha rebelled against the five desires of wealth, sex, fame, food and drink, and sleep, and gave up all impurities to live simply and gain liberation. This is truly revolutionary.

The Biography Of Sakyamuni Buddha
Master Hsing Yun

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