dharma, artha, kama and moksha

dharma, artha, kama and moksha

Relatively speaking it is true that Buddhist philosophy or Buddhadharma originated from India. And there is something quite interesting about the way the Indian approach to life and specially something to do with the human endeavor. There is a system called dharma, artha, kama and moksha. And this always fascinated me a lot. Dharma, not in the sense of the holy dharma but some kind of a structure or moral structure to accomplish the moksha, the liberation. Now there is also the artha, which talks about leadership, management, warfare, economy. And then there is a kama which is enjoying, partying, making merry. Basically having the full worldly pleasure or whatever. Now of course Buddhism would, as we all know, Buddhism does concentrate more on the moksha and everything that is related to Buddhism is sort of originated, derived or influenced by the path to the moksha. The reason why I am mentioning this four as I was saying to me this is very interesting because – and this system I feel is very Indian way of thinking. As part of the human endeavor I think within this system the Indian thinkers have stated many times that there is the dharma, a system, it could be moral, it could be logic, it could be anything that is rational. And then there is artha which is something to do with the common sense I guess. And then there is the kama. Now I believe that many other philosophical system maybe lacks the moksha, the last, the liberation bit. And this is quite important because what it means is that – let’s say, since we all use mobile phone let’s use the mobile phone as an example. Mobile phone is important, now specially for dharma, for artha and for kama of course. Because without the mobile phone you can’t have a pleasure, you can’t book a restaurant. You can’t do anything almost. And then without a mobile phone you can’t have a proper management let’s say. And then there is of course some kind of a system related to the mobile phone. Prepaid or postpaid or long distance or short distance or a certain package and all that. But the most special is the moksha. I think – this is of course my own interpretation – when we talk about the moksha, at the end of the day the Indian thinkings are saying, that at the end of day actually mobile phone is an illusion. And this actually makes the whole system very painless. If you really adopt, if you sort of really put this into practice I think the world always forgets the last, the moksha bit. We think that the mobile phone is the ultimate, it has to work, it will work, it works with everyone. And then of course there is a complaint, there is disappointment, there is fights, there is disharmony and all that. And all because we forget the moksha. I am telling you this because if you look at the Indian thinking of any philosophical system – I haven’t read much but let’s say Hinduism, Jainism and of course Buddhism. You will feel, they always give you a path – let’s say in Buddhism, there is a path which consist of certain rules and regulations. You have shave your hair, you have to eat nettle soup. You have to only sit on the cushion. You can’t really sit on a – I don’t know, all this kind of rules and regulations made for different kinds of people. But then at the end of the path they always tell you the path is an illusion. That you are not supposed to be attached to the path. I am sure whether you know this, it is really important that we Buddhist know that Buddha was not a Buddhist. Buddhism is a path, the path of the Buddhadharma is like a placebo, it is actually created for specific problem to a specific people. And one is not supposed to attach to the path as the goal. Path even in the highest Buddhist philosophy such as the Mahamudra or the Mahasandhi, we hear examples such as when you sharpen the knife what do you need? You need a whetstone. And then you have the knife. And then you rub these two together. When you rub whetstone and the knife, what is really happening there? Two kind of exhaustion are happening simultaneously. Whetstone is getting exhausted. At the same time the iron, the metal is also getting exhausted. This two exhaustion is actually referred as sharp knife. And suddenly there is actually a non concrete achievement called sharp knife which is not other than exhaustion of the stone and exhaustion of a metal. Now this is a really important thinking to make the path a path simply speaking.

Buddhism beyond boundaries and time, Nepal 2007