A Few Thoughts on Buddhism
You are a Buddha. I am a Buddha. We are all Buddha, and therein lies a fundamental truth about our lives. We have truth, understanding and answers already within in us if only we can find it! Buddha was a man who, after seeing and experiencing suffering, found understanding and enlightenment by retreating from day-to-day life to meditate alone - stepping away from the hurly burly of life - to reflect and consider what truth really was, what he really was. He found peace of mind by retreating from ‘life’ to look inwardly for calm and deeper understanding. He discovered 4 Noble Truths. We all suffer. Suffering is caused by wanting. Suffering can be cured by eliminating this wanting. The cure is the Noble Eightfold Path. Following this path we have to aim for right seeing, right thinking and motives, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness (awareness) and right concentration. This is fundamentally is very simple and sensible approach to life. Do as you would be done by. This is easy to say, not always so easy to do.
Buddhists also see clearly that life is always changing. We mustn’t grasp onto happiness or sadness. We mustn’t long for ‘this’ and try to avoid ‘that’ because neither happiness nor sadness is ‘set in stone’. Circumstances change from second to second and we have to remain in the ‘flow’ of accepting this basic truth.
And mindfulness (such a buzz word these days) means enjoy the moment. When you are tucking into your favourite cereal don’t worry about whether your friend is still mad with you or whether you’ll get the job you’ve just applied for, whether the repair man will do a good job etc. Think about your cereal! Appreciate where it all came from – the wheat from the ground, the soil that grew the wheat, the people who harvested it, the lorry drivers who took it to the supermarket, the lady who found it for you on the shelf in the supermarket, the sun that shone down on it, the rain that nurtured it … I could go on and on. Summary: concentrate on the job in hand. (Weightwatchers (yes I did attend for a short while in my youth!) advocate mindful eating – noticing it in detail and appreciating it – and this attitude in all areas of your life can help you see the joy and beautiful and miracle of life that is around you second by second by second.
Buddhist is fundamentally a system of belief that can give power back to you. You don’t worship a deity who judges or tosses you around in a choppy sea of life. You have the Buddha wisdom within, and by following a path that is good, honest and fair to others and yourself, by being mindful of the moment and aware of the constant changes around you and the oneness with everything (animal, vegetable and mineral) you can truly find ‘peace on earth’ whatever your current situation may be.
I came to Buddhist very late in life but within its teaching I’ve found tremendous inspiration for life and a lot of down to earth common sense too. What’s not to love of a belief system that is so caring, understanding and down-to-earth? And the perks? Lots of lovely coloured prayer flags in the garden that flap in the wind reminding me that life is indeed a rainbow of colour and experience, a rainbow with a pot of gold waiting to be discovered whilst appreciating, moment-by-moment, the journey and the adventure.
Namaste, Verity x