Our Lord Buddha Gotama had passed away more than 2,519 years ago but as long as His Dhamma (Teachings) lives He lives.
As Buddhists, we should sometime ask ourselves - How much have we learnt and practised the Dhamma taught by Our Lord Buddha? There may be a few of us who are fortunate to have attended certain temples or centres where Buddhism is properly taught and expounded with the hope that if not all but at least a few of us with dusts in our eyes could see the True Light of the Dhamma.
Some of us may, not wish or feel happy to be bound by rules and regulations of temples, societies and associations, and have refrained from getting ourselves involved with them and thus being deprived of the opportunity in the learning and practising of the Dhamma propagated through such temples, societies and associations. But, whatever book knowledge we may possess, it may not be enough for us to understand Buddhism, as Buddhism could not possibly be understood only through theory without practice, as practice makes us perfect.
Our Lord Buddha preached and taught His Dhamma for forty-five years, from His attainment of Nibbana (Enlightenment) till His Parinibbana (Passing Away). How then can we expect to learn, practise and understand the Dhamma in a day or two, or by just reading a book or a few books, without proper guidance, training and associating with wise and understanding Buddhists. What we claim to know of Buddhism are just like a handful of leaves in our palms and what we have not learnt are like the leaves on the trees in the forest.
Out of "The Life of Our Lord Buddha Gotama" we could try to follow, adopt and practise His way of life and compassionate feelings towards His fellowmen and fellow- beings, and also try to learn and practise His Dhamma in order to be Happy, Healthy and Wise and enjoy the Eternal Bliss (Nibbana).
Buddhism does not compel us to believe in Blind Faith but encourages us to investigate into each and every teaching of Our Lord Buddha and to accept whatever is acceptable and to cast away whatever is thought unacceptable.
There is no compulsory conversion to become Buddhists and no commandments for us to obey. We are not bound but have our own choice and freedom in attending temples for devotional activities and as for the observation of Precepts we are at liberty to do so according to our individual desire, capability and capacity. We are also free to attend and participate in the activities of other religious denominations and also to listen to their doctrines, provided they do not object or restrict us.
We should not be contented just being labelled Buddhists but try to become virtuous and understanding Buddhists, that is by attending Sunday Schools or Dhamma Classes anywhere, if we wish to learn and practise the Dhamma, so as to perfect ourselves until we realise the Final Bliss of Nibbana (Enlightenment).
There may be many types of Buddhists but Buddhism is one. Seekers of the Truth should not have discrimination of sects, creed, colour or race or whatsoever. The Buddha Nature is in every one of us and any one can gain enlightenment either here or hereafter, it all depends on how we learn, practise and understand the Dhamma.
Don't wait as it is never too late. Start rightaway if you have not already started to learn and practise the Buddha Way.
May All Beings Be Well and Happy (SABBE SATTA SUKHITA HONTU).
With Loving Kindness (Metta).