Now that’s a loaded question.
To many people, it isn’t. To some, Buddhism is a curiosity but nothing more. To others, Buddhism is already a way of life. If you already understand and follow the Buddha’s teachings, move along. You are one of the fortunate ones.
But to you, dear reader, the answer awaits!
Buddhism is important because of what it is not.
Think about that. The important things in lives announce themselves. They are agendas, answers, events, people, beliefs—things that insist upon their own importance.
Buddhism is no such thing.
Buddhism is the quiet amidst the noise.
This is the age of self. The age of instant gratification. The age of money. The age of property. The age of the fear of death. The age of easy, accessible answers.
Think of how the pursuit of money and property guides the stream of history. People across the world are forced into lives of ceaseless productivity and acquisition, leading them to find solace anywhere else they can, just to take their minds off of the endless horizon of obligation. Solace is easier to find now, more than ever, but harder to hold onto.
Buddhism says, “No obligation.”
Think of the importance we attach to our lives and experiences. We think of our lives as a through-line with a clear beginning, middle, and end. We think that the boy or girl who was born must achieve certain milestones and experiences. Think of how hard it is for the person who is striving in vain to embody the “narrative” of their life.
Buddhism says, “No narrative.”
Think of the problems caused by striving. One person achieving gain for themselves is bad enough. But thousands, millions, of people amassing wealth at the expense of others is a tragedy.
Buddhism says, “No gain.”
Buddhism can be defined by what it is not almost as easily as it can be defined by what it is. That is what makes it so important.
It is a non-answer in the age of too many answers.