Buddhism is a philosophical religion and even though many people may not be officially Buddhists; they practice these beliefs regardless. The teachings of Buddhism allow the people to connect with themselves and gain an understanding of their existence. It is through this understanding that they can understand the world around them. The basic tenets of Buddhism are the “four noble truths”. The first truth is Dukkha which means human suffering, the cause of suffering is Trishna which are attachments and cravings. The moment suffering starts to ease, that moment is called Nirvana and the path that leads to Nirvana is known as the Eightfold Path.
Siddhartha Gautama was a prince who was very disturbed by the way the royal family lived and the state of his citizens. He saw the suffering of his people and did not understand why the royal family did nothing to ease their suffering. He lived in depression until he decided to leave the palace. He found a tree far from the city and meditated under it for forty days and forty nights without eating or drinking anything. On the last day, he saw a pure white light and he returned from this light enlightened. He taught his followers to live a simple life, let go of toxic attachments that were the cause of their suffering and achieve Nirvana. These teachings now help many to simplify their lives in a world where everything is a fad and consumerism is at its peak. Everyone lacks patience and has false expectations of the people around them. This has caused an increase in toxic relationships that are shallow and destructive. Social media is also messing up with everyone’s perception of realistic relationships and they aim to be the next big social media couple. It is even affecting families with family channels forcing their family members to do activities that are horrible for their mental health.
In such a world where every relationship is displayed as picture-perfect, it is no surprise that these relationships fizzle out like fireworks at the end of the day. The author’s belief that Buddhist teachings are more relevant today is correct as through letting go of these shallow and toxic attachments, can we truly develop a meaningful bond (Barret, 2017). Strong relationships are much more than “fairytale happy endings” as these require understanding, loyalty and care. In a world where people believe more in their individuality, there is always going to be selfishness and that does not work in any relationship. Relationships sometimes require understanding and compromise to become stronger over time. The sentiment that people display that “It is either my way or the highway”, is a very dangerous and toxic notion. No one can like to be with people who always try to make things go their way.
Buddhist beliefs can help us create healthy and strong bonds with our family, friends and significant others by preventing toxic attachments. When we understand someone we realize what is good for them. For instance; a person has a pet fish that the love deeply; in a toxic attachment, the person will take the fish out of the water to hold it and show it “love” but it will kill the fish as it cannot breathe without water. However; in a healthy relationship, the owner will know that keeping the fish in clean water is the best thing for it and making sure that it always has clean water is the way to show the fish affection. Healthy love is not what you want but what is right and Buddhist values teach us that. The world is rapidly filling up with shallow endeavors and no one has peace of mind so by letting go of these attachments can we have meaningful relationships.
Barret, L. F. (2017). Does Buddhist detachment allow for a healthier togetherness? | Aeon Essays. Aeon. https://aeon.co/essays/does-buddhist-detachment-allow-for-a-healthier-togetherness