Public television is airing a two hour documentary on the Buddha that is highly recommended for anyone interested in joy, enlightenment, the end of suffering and truth realization. It is beautifully produced with delightful graphics that enhance the story. The interviews are insightful and convey a non-religious view on the life of the Buddha and hence on Buddhism.
The moment of Buddha’s “enlightenment” is of particular interest and insight. After many years of studying suffering – by engaging in suffering himself through deprivation and austerity, Guatama, barely sustained from death, recalled a moment of joy from his childhood where the creative principle of life was delightfully revealed through play. At the moment he recalled this essential joy, a young girl offered him some simple food out of spontaneous compassion. This was a glimpse of awakened life for him. He abandoned austerity and deprivation and committed himself to becoming at-one with the reality he had just seen. Within hours his realization was complete.
Joy is the essence of what is real. Suffering is what clouds the joy that can neither be created nor destroyed. Suffering needs to be understood for what it is – but to dwell on it, to invoke it as a tool or method of healing or enlightenment will never work. “The only purpose of suffering is to wake-up from it,” as Dr. Hora said.