Ignorance means not knowing or understanding the true nature of our existence. The path to inner peace is simply a how-to for eliminating our ignorance. The longer you’ve been in this dream, the more difficult it will be for you to wake up.
It’s ironic but human being are clever enough to land on the moon and discover amazing things in the universe, yet most of us haven’t looked into how our own minds work. We have yet to learn how our minds can be developed to see the truth and reality of life and experiences.
We humans are still wrapped in ignorance. We are still in the dark ages in a way. We don’t know who we really are and as a result, we misinterpret everything and act according to our dream world or imagination. Is it not possible the most of our civilization is built on this dream? We need a better understanding of our life.
The worldly happiness provided by wealth, luxury and respectable positions in life which most people seek is an illusion because it is impermanent (See Impermanence). It’s no surprise that the sale of sleeping pills, anxiety and depression prescriptions, admissions to mental hospitals and suicide rates have increased with the rise material gain.
It should be clear by now that we have to go beyond worldly, material pleasure to seek inner peace or ultimate happiness. If people are tired of doing the same thing and getting the same result, then people must make an effort to overcome ignorance and to find inner peace. Humans can wake up from the dream that is created by their own ignorance and become fully awakened. Otherwise, your strong attachments to possessions will continue to enslave you to greed.
We seek to conquer the universe for material ends yet the accumulation of property and wealth doesn’t bring sustained happiness. There are many rich people in the world that are suffering – their money cannot buy a solution to their problems. Yet some of the poorest people who have learned to have contentment enjoy their lives far more than the richest people. It is true that one who is content is a rich person.
What is the goal of life? The aim in life varies among individuals. An artist may aim to pain masterpieces that will live long after he is gone. A scientist may want to discover a new formula, theory or invent a new machine. A politician may want to become a prime minister or a president. A young executive may aim to be CEO or president of a major company.
However, when you ask the artist, scientist, politician and young executive why they have such aims, they will reply that these achieves will give them a purpose in life and make them happy.
But will these achievements bring lasting inner peace and lasting ultimate happiness? Everyone aims for the same goal yet they all suffer in the process.
Even if the artist, scientist, politician and young executive are ‘successful’ in getting these things, they suffer as well because they then fear losing what they have gained. Or their desires have now increased for more wealth, higher position, more power, or greater pleasure. Their desires can never be completely satisfied.
This is why an understanding of life and the path to inner peace is important – so that we don’t waste all of our time living in a dream and trying for the impossible. The Buddha’s teachings are simple and meaningful: we can end our ignorance by abstaining from evil, cultivating good and purifying our mind by eliminating greed and anger.
The teachings are not a quick fix but rather a life-long process that can allow us to reach our full potential that otherwise remains trapped within our mind by ignorance and greed.