Buddha was not the only one who understood the relationship between suffering and nirvana. Jorge Luis Borges once said the most important task of a human being's life was to learn how to transmute pain into compassion. Perhaps every human being, even if unconsciously, spends her/his life doing what Buddha did with his. As everyone knows, it is not an easy journey, but it is vital humanity takes it successfully. For millennia, however, humanity has, for the vast majority of time, failed to make spiritual progress. For example, for the past 3,400 years of recored history, most scholars have found that only 200 of those years could be deemed peaceful; the rest were fraught with wars after wars after wars. Buddha, Borges, and most of the rest of us wish there were continual Peace on Earth, but sadly we see that sanguine phrase only a couple of weeks a year on Christmas cards.
Copyright 2020 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.