Is Buddhism Pessimism or Realism? - Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature


Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature

The teachings of the Buddha are aimed solely at liberating sentient beings from suffering. The Basic Teachings of Buddha which are core to Buddhism are: The Three Universal Truths; The Four Noble Truths; and The Noble Eightfold Path.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Is Buddhism Pessimism or Realism?

Because of the statement “all existences are nothing but suffering”, some people misunderstood and would like to designate Buddhism as “pessimism”. Pessimism is the belief that the evil is more powerful than the good and the evil will always triumph over the good.
In reality, Buddhism is neither “pessimism” nor “optimism” but “realism”, because it takes a realistic view of life and of the world. It looks at all things objectively. It tells you exactly and correctly what you are and what the world around you is. Then it shows you the way to attain freedom, tranquility, peace, and happiness.

The Four Noble Truths taught by the Buddha in the first sermon express all facets of life. In the first Noble Truth, he explained that life is suffering (Dukkha Sacca). Actually, to live with the life you are more or less suffering. It is impossible to live without experiencing some kinds of suffering. We have to endure physical suffering like sickness, injury, old age and eventually death and we have to endure psychological suffering like loneliness, fear, disappointment, anger, etc. The Buddha also showed correctly and profoundly what is the cause of suffering (Samudaya Sacca), the Path leading to the cessation of suffering (Magga Sacca). He is wise, benevolent and compassionate. He really wants all beings to be free from suffering.
The Buddhists, who understand the true nature of life and of the world, accept the really worst condition of life, and therefore, they are not frightened and shaken by the normal vicissitudes of life. They can serenely and calmly solve the problems of life and live happily without any worry and anxiety. The Noble persons who have fully understood the Four Noble Truths are the highest persons in the world. Through the Eightfold Noble Path, they attain real happiness – Nibbāna – free from all kinds of suffering sooner or later.

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