I understand that is the concept but the reality is on so many occassions not the case, the Buddha abandoned his family.
[SIZE="3"]That isn't automatically bad, or good. It depends on why he left, what his wife thought of it. At the time marriages were arranged (and still are in places), which likely explains why he was married at 16. And where he grew up, it was considered a noble thing to do to seek enlightenment. The tradition holds that he left his wife and son well off, so it wasn't like he allowed them to starve. Later his wife joined him in the monastic life (as did his son), the first nun in fact, for which the Buddha established a special order for women.[/SIZE]
Retiring from life to attain is in my opinion not the purpose of life.Its like the man who never sinned because he avoided the temptations of life by seclusion, is he a saint or just a blank piece of paper with no story?
[SIZE="3"]Ahhh, well if you only study the monastic tradition topically, you won't understand why men and women have submitted to it. And who knows what the purpose of life is, do you?
Remember, I've not been talking about anything but how the Four Noble Truths apply to the pursuit of enlightenment, and in general the inner view of the Buddha's or Jesus' teaching versus the more "outer" view most people take.
Not all people who enter monastic life work hard at realization, just like all people who, say, wear a police uniform are devoted to upholding the law. The behaviors and appearance of a person doesn't decide if he is sincerely participating in his chosen path.
But for those who become monastics out of a desire to attain enlightenment, and who genuinely work at it, their reason is not to avoid "sin." The reason is to narrow the focus to practicing (similar to how spring training teams isolate themselves). Besides, a great many people (especially these days) practice as "householders," which means they work, support families, vote, etc. but also are strongly committed to daily practice.
However, I find it strange that in a world full of warmongers, politicians, rich and ambitious people doing anything to get ahead, criminals ripping off fellow human beings, and ordinary people living and dying with out a clue what life was all about . . . somebody always singles out the very relative few who decide to withdraw from the insanity to work at a sincere practice. Why not single out the many millions of selfish, destructive people active IN the world? If you ask me, instead of leading people, as some of the most evil people have, they'd be better off in a monastery where they can't hurt so many.
Is there only one way to enlightenment ? We all know that life is transient and joy is always flavoured with sorrow but we have to believe in more than just flesh and blood to even attempt a higher attainment.It is no good attending church when you are an atheist.
[SIZE="3"]Okay, but let's stay on track. Remember we are talking about the conscious experience the Buddha taught. You can call anything you want "enlightenment," from getting a Ph.D to becoming a "clear" in Scientology. But if we are specifically talking about what the Buddha had attained, then things narrow considerably.
All efforts I know of (and I've studied it extensively) revolve around turning inward and "merging" with something that is already at peace inside. Now the various disciplines people use to help them stay on track in that practice are many, from yogic and Zen-like to devotional and God-centered. But at the core is always a practice of that merging experience.[/SIZE]
Do i have to believe in a soul or a higher purpose before i believe in attempting nirvana.
[SIZE="3"]Nope. In fact, in my experience it is really better to believe nothing because "beliefs" just get in the way. ( I must remind you again, that I am trying to represent what the Buddha taught, not what I think you should believe or do.)
In my opinion, belief not supported by experience always gets in the way. If you want to practice turning inward, but you have never experienced a soul or God or nirvana, then why should you believe anything about them?
It's like me teaching an alien to cook minestrone soup, but he doesn't know about heat or soup or pans or spoons or garlic, etc. Why should I tell him before he ever works with those aspects of soup making he must believe
in minestrone soup when all I have to do is give him everything and instruction on how to use them? If it all that results in the soup, there is the proof and he can believe because he sees and tastes and smells with his own senses.
Likewise, someone like the Buddha doesn't require belief at all, just understanding of what he is trying to teach and an openness to learn. In fact, the Buddhas was famous for refusing to talk about if there is a God, for example, saying that "it isn't profitable to practice." In other words, experience for yourself and know for yourself, leave "belief" out of it.[/SIZE]