An Ideal Human Being Is A Noble Human Being Like The Buddha
A man should aim at becoming a Buddha.
The great questions
“Is there a way of living that is noble and another that is base, or are all ways of living merely futile?
If there is a way of living that is noble, in what does it consist, and how shall we achieve it?”-Bertrand Russel
The questions are profound and incisive.
The right answer to the questions?
A noble human being is a complete man; he is an ideal man, and he lives a good life.
People should follow him to transform themselves into noble human beings at least to the minimum essential extent possible for them. They should have spiritual and social goals such as, for example, the Buddha or Basava, the Indian spiritual teachers achieved. It is evident to all that all can’t become complete Buddhas or Basavas; they can attain the essential characteristics of such ideal gurus who lived and died on this planet and left behind them a hoary, venerable, and perennial legacy of their world view.
The noble way of living is multifaceted and the noble man should be-
1. Humble. He must be humble and responsible for all his activities, right or wrong. He should self-correct and become right- and remain humble.
2. Compassionate. He should be compassionate to all living beings. The compassion he should breathe.
In his Vachanas(spiritual prose poems), Basava or Basavanna(elder brother Basava as he is reverentially called in Kannada, the official language of Karnataka State, India) says:
“Who is this
who is this-
do not let them feel like this.
He is ours,
he is ours
let them feel like this,
Koodalasangamadeva let me be known
as the vassal of your house. -Guru Basava/64”
Every human being is ‘mine’ irrespective of his religion or non-religion, race, nationality, language, gender, culture, etc.
Sinning or commission of an offense isn’t incorrigible. He can repent for his sins or offenses by improving himself. His conscience, social law, and ethics help him to correct himself. Hell he need not fear; hell doesn’t exist. He can redeem himself on this planet by becoming a good man.
In Dhammapada, the Buddha says: “Good it is to see the Noble Ones; to live with them is ever blissful….” (Verse No.206)
“He is not noble who injures living beings. He is called noble because he is harmless towards all living beings.” (Verse No.270)
Non-violence is one of the basic principles of Buddhist philosophy, like Mahatma Gandhi’s and Basavanna’s, that applies to all human beings, believers or unbelievers.
3. Wise. He should have common sense and know what is right for himself and others and act accordingly. A wise man is rational, confident, and mature, and takes the right action at the right time.
4. Honest. He should be honest in all his interactions with others that are bound by unbreakable commitments. For example, he should keep his word given to others and repay his debt in time.
5. Independent. He should take his own decisions without being fully influenced by others’ advice. He should apply rationality and prior experience to his decisions.
6. Unselfish. He should set limits to his self-interest so that others’ interest is not harmed by him. Broadly, he should extend material and other services to his fellowmen. He should take into equal account not only his self-interest but also social interest in which he has a natural part.
Basavanna gives an example of revolting extreme avarice:
“ When a whore is with a child
Takes on a customer for money,
Neither child nor lecher
Will get enough of her.
She will go pat the child once,
Then go lie with the man once,
Neither here nor there.
Love of money is relentless,
7. Courageous. If he has developed the above traits, he automatically turns courageous to surmount obstacles in his path. A courageous man is confident.
“ Would a dog bite
who rides the elephant?”-Basavanna
8. Inspiring. A noble man inspires his followers and others. He, therefore, deserves the title of an enlightener or guru. People follow him with loyalty and love. The guru ennobles us by his personal example: The guru practices what he says.
In short, the path to starting and completing man’s noble life journey is the way of dedicated implementation of the ten humanist commitments.
The opposite of the noble way of life is base.
Humans have succeeded in putting an end to their occasional base behavior and have been back on the right life track time and again despite the hate, violence, and despair constantly surrounding them in this world. They proudly stand invincible and erect subjugating the past incidents of baseness. They have an indomitable spirit and look forward to the future with robust optimism.
Let us remember Bertrand Russell’s vision and be led by it:
“I have lived in the pursuit of a vision, both personal and social. Personal: to care for what is noble, for what is beautiful, for what is gentle; to allow moments of insight to give wisdom at more mundane times. Social: to see in imagination the society that is to be created, where individuals grow freely, and where hate and greed and envy die because there is nothing to nourish them. These things I believe, and the world, for all its horrors, has left me unshaken.” Unshaken. So true!
During the long human history, human beings have survived many horrific calamities, natural or man-made, and proved that they can live a not futile but fruitful and positive life.
Life is a unique gift of nature to us. Unless we make our living meaningful and fruitful, it will be futile. We have to live a noble life.
Yes. This is the right answer to the philosopher’s questions.
I turn to the Buddha again for inspiration.
The Buddha inspires us with his enlightening words:
“ Therefore, follow the Noble One who is steadfast, wise, learned, dutiful, and devout. One should follow such a man, who is truly good and discerning, even as the moon follows the path of the stars.” (Verse No.208)
“….truly good and discerning” man, a noble man! It is pivotally incumbent upon you and me to live a noble life. It is possible for me and you to do it.