Nature As Source of Culture - 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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Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Nature As Source of Culture

Culture is the achievement of human beings. They have been making use of intelligence, strengths, and time improving natures to be materials and synthesizing the natural phenomena system in order to establish scientific, religious theories and various customs in their own historical society. After cultures were prepared and through these cultures, we are able to evaluate behaviours, security, social order, development and management of each society.

 Material Culture

Material Culture is the objective reality which human society has been transforming natures to prepare many means to be used such as machines, domiciles, foods, clothes, medicines, and equipment. Accordingly the material cultures are the factor to make a remark on the standard of living in the society, whether it is developed or undeveloped.

Spiritual Culture

Spiritual culture refers to intellectual works, in which natural phenomena were discovered and then composed of a system of ideas or theories. The systems include philosophy, literature, religions, arts, morality, laws, education and so forth. According to the revelation of the spiritual culture, the level of abilities and knowledge of each society may be weighed up and these abilities are the important potentials of all fields of social development. This confirms that culture has a close relationship with the verandas of economic, policy, and modes of social administration.

Foremost, culture comes out from the people’s needs, which happen and closely involve with surrounding natures. Nature, therefore, is the subject considered as objective of human beings’ general culture formation.

According to the Philosophy dictionary, nature is defined as the dimension of the whole surrounding world, bringing to light as mode of being and many kinds of phenomenon. Its state of phenomenon and mode of being is infinite, so we can not limit any certainty and regularity. Such a condition is ordinary to the nature; if people could not know how to improve, the favour of nature might not be certain and regular to the need and supplication of human beings.

Although the nature is not certain and regular, it does not mean that the natures could not help to solve nor fulfill the suggestion of human beings. Here, people of ancient age when technological science not yet improved had decided to pray nature automatically to get to the bottom of problem, to relieve tense situation and the as for necessities as far as creating a range of believes by sacrificing nature successively.

Since the nature is uncertain and irregular, whether we struggle to pray, it is however still uncertain and irregular. Meanwhile, people also tried to find ways to improve the nature more certain and permanent than the previous one in order to possibly settle their daily needs.

Such causes make scientific technologies from generation to generation more progressive and at the present day they reach to the top. Then the culture of nature-invoking tradition was deteriorative following the levels of science development.

The positive results of science cultivate people much more boasting and pride in their achievements because scientific tools are more modern and more abundant. Their ambition is vaster and still expanded everlastingly. At last it can get to the unlimited competition; afterward the balance of natural ecological system would be ruined. Whilst organic substances of the ecological system are generally destroyed, different natural phenomena will unpredictably happen. As for social morality would also be lost little by little depending on the speed of greed because human beings understand only that pleasure object, i.e. material, is the cause of happiness and peace.

Two true peaces which people need÷

1.     Kāyika-sukha: Corporal peace

2.     Cetasika-sukha: Mental peace

Kāyika-sukha refers to the peace coming from good health as well as having pleasure object to support the real needs, and consequently life and body gain peace. The Buddha said that by oneself is merit done through Right Livelihood with non-violence and the knowledge of moderation in living including eating and so on (Bhojane mattaññutā). This is a cause of very long duration happiness and peace. We who are defilers only know that we will have happiness and peace if we have surplus of pleasure objects. The Buddha also said pleasure object is the cause of corporal peace which is merely material peace (Sāmisa-sukha). But he who is with greed and firm attachment (in pleasure object) doesn’t understand the cause of change and the ruin of pleasure object. Thus when the pleasure object is destroyed and changed, he begins to be sad and so much suffering. The Buddha enlightened that the corporal peace always changes, depending on either our physical body or the pleasure object changes. So he compared material peace or corporal peace less than mental peace (Cetasika-sukha). But if there is an accomplishment with meritorious action in earning and good living, only then will it be a condition of the long-lasting corporal peace.

Cetasika-sukha: the scientists do not take care to study about mental peace (Cetasika-sukha) like the Buddha. Mental peace is the peace coming from calm and neutral mind. It is well-balanced mind and not excite and enthusiastic about gain nor remorseful for loss. It is acquired according to the highest wisdom in impermanence of pleasure object. No matter whether our pleasure object or body is changing, mental peace may not be changed according to the changing of nature of the pleasure object. This is to confirm that the Buddha is watchful on these two peaces.

Scientists have eliminated cultures of invoking and soliciting for nature, but they perform karma (actions) by making nature into various achievements in order to give humanity happiness and peace. Even as the Buddha had also advised his disciples not to solicit the nature. He said that either corporal, mental suffering or happiness depends on whatever action has done by ourselves (Kammassako), no the outside done for us. The process of natures which was invoked and solicited such as water, earth, fire, wind, moon, sun, rain, thunder, lightning, demon, guardian spirit, evil spirits, deity, Indra, Brahma, and so forth is the nature in the world and individually functions according to the ordinary of conditioned beings.

In conclusion, the scientists and Buddha share the same opinion on karma (actions) because the meaning of self-action (Kammassako) does not depend upon praying, reciting, or invoking the outside nature, but refers to the action truly done by human being himself.

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