JUST ONE TEACHING
By Buddhadasa Bhikkhu
You must know that the Buddha spoke of just one thing and nothing else: dukkha (pain, dissatisfaction) and the quenching of dukkha. The Buddha taught only the disease and the cure of the disease; he didn't talk about anything else. When people asked questions about other matters, the Buddha refused to waste his or their time with such things.
Nowadays, we spend our time studying all kinds of other things. It's a pity how our curiosity is aroused by matters such as: After death, will I be born again? Where will I be reborn? How will it happen? Please don't waste your time on those things. Instead of reading lots of books, take what time you have to focus on dukkha and the complete, utter quenching of dukkha. This is the knowledge to store up, this is the studying to do. Don't bother studying anything else!
The Lord Buddha taught only dukkha and the total cessation of dukkha. He taught that we must study these two things within our bodies. You can only do this while the body is alive. Once the body dies, you don't have to concern yourselves with this problem any more. But now, while there's life, constantly, continuously, and inwardly study dukkha (spiritual disease) and the utter quenching of dukkha (the cure of the spiritual disease).
Throughout this world there is little interest in this matter of dukkha and its end. None of the world's schools pay any attention to it. In the universities, they don't teach or study it. The only thing taught in our schools and universities is cleverness, the storing up of many facts and the ability to perform mental tricks with them. Students graduate with cleverness and some way to make a living. This is what modern education means-- being clever and earning lots of money. Dukkha and the quenching of dukkha are totally ignored. We believe that all education in today's world is incomplete. It is imperfect because the most important subjects are forgotten; a general base of knowledge and the ability to earn a living are not enough. There is a third area of knowledge which the schools and universities don't teach: how to be a human being. Why do they ignore what it takes to be a proper human being, that is, a human being free of dukkha? Because a proper human being ought to have no spiritual disease, modern education will be incomplete and insufficient as long as it fails to cure spiritual disease.
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