There are basically five reasons for us to become a Buddha. Upon becoming a Buddha, we can:
|Achieve a complete understanding of life and the universe
|Free our mind from any worldly attachments
|Bring an end to all of the sufferings of our present life
|Break the cycle of birth and death
|Reach the other shore of Enlightenment where there is only eternal joy and serenity
Sufferings of Present Life
Life is short and full of suffering. Birth may be accidental but death is certain. There is no exception to the natural phenomenon that each of us has to go through the stages of birth, old age, illness and death. Most of our life is marked by difficulties, disappointments, desperation, mishaps, accidents, separation, illness, old age and loss. Of course, life has its happy moments. However, due to their impermanence, what they leave behind is always frustration and anxiety. At the end of our brief life span, we have to leave our beloved ones forever. All our accomplishments, awards, college degrees, knowledge, skills, fame, position, power and wealth will be evaporated before our eyes at the moment we die. There is an old saying about dying emptied-handed:
All you have cannot be brought along with you
Only your karma will follow you
The reality spares no body.
Endless Cycle of Birth and Death
According to the Buddha, the cause of our affliction and suffering is craving. We crave wealth, fame, sensual satisfaction and immortality. The manifestations of craving are greed, hatred and foolishness. These three poisons delude our mind so much that they propel us into the cycle of birth and death. According to the law of karma, each of us has to carry one's own burden of evil deeds into one's future life and face the retributions appropriated according to the extent of wickedness. We will be reborn in different realms of existence. Even if we are fortunate enough to be reborn in the realm of humans, we still have to go through the four stages of life along with its inherent sufferings again and again. It is our deluded mind, which is responsible for everything that happens to us, including the endless cycle of birth and death.
By understanding, practicing and mastering the Buddha's teachings, we begin to see the truth of our self and the universe. By putting away the worldly attachments, we are able to get rid of all afflictions. Our life becomes full of joy and serenity. We are no longer driven by the fear of death or grasping at life. By realizing enlightenment, we realize the forces of compassion and wisdom, thus liberating us from the cycle of birth and death.
The Other Shore of Nirvana
The state when we eradicate all our ignorance is called Nirvana. It is a state of complete enlightenment. There is no greed, anger and delusion. There is also no birth, old age, illness and death. There is only eternal serenity and happiness.
Unlocking Wisdom and Compassion
Once we see the truth, our original wisdom and compassion will be completely unlocked. There is no more "self" versus "others" perception because we realize the empty nature of life. Helping all sentient beings to realize enlightenment, therefore, becomes a principal but natural objective for us in the wake of attaining Buddhahood. It is natural because we are no longer influenced by any preconceived discriminating thoughts as to our self and others. Our mind is free from the constraint of artificial conceptions made of images, sounds, odors, tastes, touch and thought. The Buddha said clearly, "When a Buddha-to-be practices giving, it is solely for the purpose of benefiting sentient beings."