Recently I have watched a film produced by Wade Davis, an anthropological who made a spiritual journey to Nepal, seeking solace to calm his hectic mind. The resulting documentary Light at the Edge of the world is one of the most accessible and vibrant portraits of the essence of Buddhism I have ever seen. As he says in the film, "There’s something about the inherent tolerance of Buddhism that is inherently attractive. It’s totally non-judgmental. There’s no notion of sin, there’s no notion of good and evil, there’s only ignorance and suffering. And this is the most important thing, it places all emphasis on compassion; you do not embrace negativity. Buddhism asks the fundamental question: What is life and what is the point of existence?”
The dharma (Path), is a perfectly sound approach to achieving liberation from our the woes and frustrations, that beset us daily, but and here is the crux, we cannot ever hope to achieve such freedom from worries unless we forget all about our own personal desires, and instead, dedicate ourselves to the opening up our compassionate heart first, our real nature, our bodhi mind.
Only by opening ourselves to the sufferings of other beings can realisation dawn within us. That is why Buddhists place so much emphasis upon compassion. This is a religion that does not demand some act of blind faith. But says, here is a path, a set of practices that you can do, which has 2,500 years documented and empirical, scientific evidence, to back it. If you follow these practices, you will achieve a transformation of the human heart and gain a lasting serenity.
Everyone has the potential for inner transformation of the mind. We all have our own perfect jewel, buried deep in the earth. All we need are the tools to find it. The dharma is designed to remove everything that obscures our own Buddha nature.
As one of the Lamas said in the documentary, "We spend some 15 years going through education, maybe too, a number of years to train for a professional career. We spend a great amount of time, jogging, or at the gym to get healthy, then spend more time on our appearance, hair, clothes and make up. Now, why don't we spend a few moments each day to see how our mind works? Which, in the end determines our quality of life."
May all beings have happiness.