The Buddha’s Mid-life Crisis
The story of Siddartha begins when he’s about thirty years old. He belongs to the wealthy upper crust, has everything he wants. He’s in the prime of life, good looking and healthy, has 3 country homes, a Ferrari (sorry, a classy steed + chariot), lots of booze, music and dancing, a beautiful wife, an adorable child, a doting dad and caring aunt, yet wakes up every morning feeling miserable.
He feels miserable, hence is suffering, because he feels dissatisfied, unfulfilled, incomplete, frustrated and consequently uncertain of himself.
And he asks himself, like a zillion other people, “What’s happening to me? What’s gone wrong?”
And there you have it! Modern story?
No, it’s the universal story!
So what did go wrong?
Half way through his life, indeed, Siddartha, the logic bio-machine, lost its logic and was crashing. And that’s what his suffering was telling him.
And why did the logic machine lose its logic?
Because it failed to generate a task (i.e. goal). After all, a logic machine is logic because it performs a specific task. If and when the task is complete, its logic if proven. Proof (indeed, perfect self-realization) pays off in a surge of energy, which is initially self-represented as enlightenment, then re-jigged as a surge or rush of happiness, joy and so on. In Buddhist terminology, logic task completion, and experienced as fulfilment, is called samma-sambodhi. Happiness signals logic function completion.
So, how to he get over his albeit early mid-life crisis.
Simple. He became a logic bio-machine again. And he did it by inventing a task to be completed. And the task he invented was to figure out why he was suffering rather than enjoying life when he had everything a young man could possibly want.
Eventually he understood the origin of suffering, namely failure to complete (a logic function, i.e. task). And he figured out at least two solutions (to failure to complete). Firstly, find or invent a task and complete it. The task can be real or imaginary, and any task will do (after all, it’s an open universe*). The pay-off for attainment, meaning task completion, is rapturous joy, followed by peace/nirvana (i.e. @ relative rest status). And secondly, sky dive without a parachute, and achieve parinirvana, i.e. @ absolute rest status.
Having resolved his own problem, namely his personal crisis, by becoming whole and complete via perfect completion of his task, namely finding the solution to his problem (and which was his True Self ≈ atta), he then universalised the entire procedure for the welfare of all those likewise troubled, and Eureka, the Buddha, i.e. the Perfect, Fully Enlightened One, and Buddhism, his universal cure for the suffering/self-punishment endured for non-logic behaviour, was born.
* … The most efficient Buddhist suffering elimination task is to avoid starting any task.** That avoids the ‘failure to complete’ ‘stick’; this is easily done by means of distraction, to wit, by running either the ‘emptiness’ tape or a white or monochrome coloured (for instance, Tibetan purple) noise tape in the head.
** … The minimum task to be performed, and which makes an act logic, is a random collision. In everyday terms: “ Difference makes a (real/true) difference!” Failure to collide with the different is self-punished by suffering.