Freedom From A Spiritual Perspective

Ven. Vinayarakkhita Thero

Published in Issue III, September 2013

Just as there is only one taste in the ocean-the taste of salt-so in Dhamma there is only one taste. The Taste of Freedom – Buddha.

In modern world everyone seems to be speaking of political freedom and economic freedom but hardly do we find people speaking of freedom from wrong beliefs and practices that cause much harm at individual level and social level as well. Spirituality is the spirit to know reality, to know actuality and not a belief system as normally understood by common people.

Being free means to avoid false notions that, cause physical or spiritual paralysis among the humans. It is to free oneself from negative discriminations in the name of caste, colour, race, region or religion and instead follow the universal truth, universal brotherhood, rationality and scientific temper to become a complete human being. Freedom with the sense of morality is true freedom because where there is sense morality there is sense of responsibility and where there is sense of responsibility there is equality. This in turn develops a sense of share and care, making things fair. Just having Freedom does not mean one is having happiness but one who is happy has real freedom. Our nation got freedom but are our people happy? Once a man asked Buddha “I want happiness”. Buddha said remove “I” that is Ego, and then remove “want” that is Greed. See now, you are left with only Happiness which in turn is real freedom.  In one sense we can say that free from doom is freedom. Buddha described Dhamma as the practice of Freedom. In Buddhism, Dhamma is a discipline that leads to Freedom. Many may think that discipline and freedom are opposite things. But they’re not! It takes more discipline to live free and prosper than to follow.

The work to gain freedom is to work on shifting your thoughts to ones that are more loving and compassionate. Every time you think something negative about yourself and others, replace it with a positive. Focus on doing good things and give attention to it. Eventually you will start feeling good because of the acts that are free from greed, hatred and delusion. Doing so allows you to have the freedom.

The enlightened ones know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind from defilements of greed, hatred and delusion.

The sudden eruption of violence is not uncommon at family, country and global levels. For instance, the recent sudden threatening bomb blasts at Buddhagaya where Buddha got enlightened has caused great concern all over the world. What kind of an expression was this? A Buddhist would consider such acts of violence as expressions of ignorance and lack of wisdom. All attachments to material and immaterial things lead to a negation of individual mental liberty. Further, Ego is the root cause for all superiority complexes in the name of caste, class, region and religion and thereby takes away the freedom of individual and society.

The Buddha observed that when we give up our Ego both our mind and our body get liberated and this experience he termed it as “Anatta” (Egolessness) which is the ultimate freedom. So Let Go Ego! Go Go Ego!! No More Ego!!!



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