The Buddha1Buddham saranam gacchami
Dhammam saranam gacchami
Sangham saranam gacchami
When I go to the Buddha for refuge, he blesses me.
When I go to the inner Law for refuge, he illumines me.
When I go to the Order for refuge, he utilises me.
Siddhartha did. He flew from his household life into the state of homelessness. The Supreme did. He placed the Buddha in the adoring heart of humanity, in the lap of universal Love. Temptation Siddhartha saw and shunned; austerity he felt and lived; the Middle Path he realised and offered. The Omnipotent did two things through Siddhartha. He revealed the ideal of perfection in a human being. He revealed His Enlightenment and Compassion in a divine being. The Buddha cast aside caste. The fallen learned from him the value of self-respect. The unbending learned from him the necessity of humility.
Nirvana is a miraculous power. Negatively, it pleases the souls who want extinction. Positively, it pleases the souls who long for the ultimate and transcendental Bliss. The Buddha stood not against the Hindu religion. He stood against the perversions and corruptions of Hinduism. He was never ashamed of the Hindu religion, but he was utterly ashamed of some of its ways and methods.
The Buddha had Divinity in its fullest measure. With His Heart, the Unfathomable came to the Buddha; with His Mind, the Unknowable came to the Buddha; with His Bliss, the Transcendental came to the Buddha. Hinduism is the tree; Buddhism is its largest branch. The son discovered that his mother was not perfect, so he decided to live alone.
Buddhism gave birth to two schools of thought: Hinayana and Mahayana. Hinayana depends on self-reliance. Mahayana depends on Grace. Hinayana longs for individual salvation. Mahayana longs for collective salvation. Hinayana feels that the monks alone are entitled to pray for the ultimate Truth. Mahayana feels that not only monks but also laymen are entitled to pray for the ultimate Truth.
Meditation gives enlightenment, feels a Hinayanist. Meditation, prayer and invocation — all these give enlightenment, feels a Mahayanist. A Hinayanist sits at the feet of Buddha’s teachings, following the advice that one must work out one’s own salvation. A Mahayanist sits at the feet of Buddha’s earthly personality, following the advice that one should not cross the Gate of Transcendental Bliss until each and every soul has been liberated.
True, Buddhism is no longer alive in the land of its birth, but Mother India is abundantly proud of her spiritual prince, and she ever cherishes her world-illumining teacher. Her fondest feeling is: My Buddha is a rebel child. My Buddha is a great contributor. My Buddha is a great reformer.
[^19]: 19. Dag Hammarskjöld Lecture Series, Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, 21 April 1976.
RD 19. Dag Hammarskjold Lecture Series, Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium, 21 April 1976.↩