Some have considered The Buddha as negative or somewhat pessimistic. Those who consider Buddha a pessimist because of his concern with suffering have missed the point.
I often have offered the metaphor of The Buddha as a skillful doctor — he may break the bad news of our suffering, but he also prescribes a proactive course of treatment. In this metaphor, the medicine is The Buddha’s teachings of wisdom and compassion known as Dharma, and the nurses that encourage us and show us how to take the medicine are the Buddhist community or Sangha.
The illness however, can only be cured if the patient follows the doctor’s advice and follows the course of treatment – the core of which involves understanding and controlling the mind.
In Buddhism, this treatment is not a simple medicine to be swallowed, but a daily practice of mindful thought and action that we ourselves can test scientifically through our own experience. Meditation is, of course, the most well known tool of this practice, but contrary to popular belief, it is not about detaching from the world. Rather it is a tool to train the mind not to dwell in the past or the future, but to live in the here and now, the realm in which we can experience peace most readily and live out our days with the most gratitude and grace.
Peace and Love, Jim