Specific Items of Consult

Out of Fire Trench

Update: 04/08/2015
Ask: What is “freedom” in Buddhism?

Out of Fire Trench


On the one hand, from the nonreligious point of view, “freedom” has a relative and multi-level meaning. For example, at the individual level, a person who has got married often complains about being cramped and tied by the responsibility, duty with their family. At the country level, freedom will be demonstrated by the invasion and domination of other countries. These two examples have just shown the freedom from its literal meaning.

On the other hand, from the Buddhist perspective, “freedom” has an absolute and deep meaning. Reviewing from shallow to deep, in daily life, human beings are bound up in by the materials world such as house, care, property, children etc. In addition, they lose their liberty by the physical needs such as food, clothes, accommodation and other need like making up, taking good care for the body which will keep them busy all day long. Moreover, they also lose their independence by worrying about their daily business. Therefore, during the day there is no peace of mind.

In Sutra’s paragraph, Sariputra said to Kuveras: “there are two buffaloes,  black one and white one, which are ploughing field. They are not tied together but I it seems to have an attachment of yoke between them”.

 From that point, we all recognize that it is not because of the physical tie between our eyes and flowers, or money or 4-5 story house lined with marble but greed. Avarice and desire are like a string fastened around those buffalo’s necks which are binding them up. Specifically, one person is attracted by an expensive phone which is because of the inner desire for possessing it. Before he can own it, he can’t eat and sleep longing for it. After having it, he can’t eat and sleep as well due to concern for loss and further requirement. When it is damaged or lost, he keeps lack of eating and sleeping owing to regret.

Thus, from the beginning to the end there are just bond and misery. If he didn’t see and want that phone, he could be sad and worried. It is the greed that made him  want to become attached and tied to things then losing his freedom. We should often contemplate ourselves and consider about the truth to fully comprehend it.

 The more avarice people have, the more they suffer. There is still sorrow if the desire is existing. When we decrease our greed, the tie become looser. Furthermore, all the depression will disappear when we have no desire. If we want to have freedom, we have to aware that everything is fake, untrue. In addition, we should inhale saying Amitabha and exhale saying Buddha with the thought of this temporary life. That is the way to unfasten the ties. As a result, we will have freedom in the present moment.

Translated into English by Thai Nhuoc Don.

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