The Buddha was a philosopher, mediator, spiritual teacher and religious leader who is credited as the founder of Buddhism. He was born as Siddhartha Gautama in India in 566 BC into an aristocratic family, and when he was 29 years old, he left the comforts of his home to seek the meaning of the suffering he saw around him. After six years of arduous yoga training, he abandoned the way of self-mortification and instead sat in mindful meditation beneath the Bodhi tree.
On the full moon of May, with the rising of the morning star, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha, the Awakened one. The Buddha wandered the plains of north eastern India for 45 years more, teaching the path, or Dharma, as he had realized in that moment around him, developed a community of people drawn from every tribe and cast devoted to practicing his path. Nowadays he's worshipped by most Buddhist schools as the enlightened one who has escaped the cycle of birth and rebirth transcending karma
His main teachings focus on his insight into Duca, meaning suffering and into Nirvana, which means the end of suffering. He had a huge influence, not only in Asia, but all around the world. And so here are the 10 life lessons we can learn from the Buddha
Number one practice the middle way
The Buddha says the root of suffering is desire. Siddhartha Gautama spent the rest of his life reflecting on the four noble truths.
- There is suffering
- The cause of suffering is our desires.
- The solution to our suffering, is to release ourselves from our desires
- The noble eightfold path that leads us to our release from suffering.
He realized that life was far from perfect, and people often try to distract themselves from realities by seeking material attachments like wealth, fame and honour. He had the chance to experience this firsthand, being born into a very wealthy family. Before his enlightenment, he walked out of his palace for the first time and saw the three harsh realities: poverty, sickness and death.
Embracing asceticism, he later tried to escape the internal sufferings by depriving himself of any material comfort and need. With this, he grew very ill and realized that his asceticism did not spare him from his desires and suffering. Hence he tells us that we must strive for the middle way the life between luxury and extreme poverty, a balance between overindulging and depriving ourselves of the things we desire. To practice the middle way, one must free oneself of one's desires. We must celebrate the idea of just enough and embrace a more balanced, sustainable lifestyle that embraces the pleasures of existence rather than those of consumption.
Nurse Brawny, an Australian nurse who focused on caring for terminally ill people, says that one of the common regrets of a dying person is I wish I hadn't worked so hard. We tend to lose too much of our time chasing things that are easily disposable, getting the latest gadgets, wanting to get a new position, wanting to make five digits in our bank account. But after getting all of these things, we still find ourselves wanting more or, sadly, that we do not seem happy with it. When we equate our happiness with getting what we desire , we will never be happy, and we'll suffer every day.
Number two adopt the right view, according to the Buddha. Do not get upset with people or situations. Both are powerless without your reaction. The Buddha is asking us to adopt the right view, to be more philosophical about the opinions we hold to become aware of what we think and then to inquire more deeply into why we think what we think. Only then can we know of how thoughts are true, false or confused. Our thoughts affect our daily decisions and relationships deeply, and we would make better decisions in all aspect of our lives if we were clearer about the foundations of our own thinking. The problem with us is that we tend to react quickly. Two things that happen around us.
Stephen Cov, in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, calls this the 90 10 rule of life. Life is 10%. What happens to us on 90% how we react to it? Imagine that before going to work, you trip on your child's bike in the driveway. Your child runs to help you apologizing, but instead you yell at him, say bad words enough to be heard by your wife who storms outside and tells you to watch your mouth. You start an argument with your wife that ends up with you either missing your morning bus or almost getting in an accident for driving too fast on the road. Then when you arrive at work 15 minutes late, you become unproductive for the day because you're still angry.
Your team leader reprimands you, and because of what happened in the morning, you yell back at him. You come home with probationary suspension.
A cold treatment from your family and a sour day. Imagine alternately that when you tripped, you stood up, briefed slowly, then for gave your child and said, Be careful
Next time, remember to keep your bike inside the garage. You won't be starting an unnecessary argument that cannot solve what actually happened. You won't miss the bus or hurry through traffic and you will take control of your day. We can be happy if we become proactive, not reactive to what's happening to us. We need to have a right view of things that we can always choose not to be affected by what's happening around us, but to use what we have around us towards our own growth.
Number three create good Karma
In the words of the Buddha, it is mental volition Oh, monks that I call karma, having willed one acts through body, speech or mind. In Buddhism, Karma means only actions of one's own volition. Not all actions as volition. Since actions can be relatively good or bad, so the resulting karma will also be good or bad. Good karma will lead to good outcomes on bad karma.Bad outcomes in life Volition is a more complex concept in Eastern philosophies than in Western ones, which defines will as a faculty independent of emotions and reason. In Eastern philosophies, volition is the most significant factor in determining the karma. It is what determines the ethical quality of the action. It is a mental impulse and urge pushing us in the direction of a particular experience. Volition is something at the crossroads between emotion and reason. Bad volition is based on a bad attitude or a bad intention, and to avoid having a bad karma, we have to align our actions to positive attitudes and intentions.
In other words, we have to work firstly on our attitudes and intentions to be clean in our thoughts and feelings are intentions will lead to our actions and they can have great consequences in our life. We need to work on ourselves in the present in order to build a better future for ourselves as what we did in the past has echoes in the present. What we do now well have echoes in the future. If we don't study well for an exam, we may fail. If we sleep through our deadlines and delay doing our tasks, we may be late. If we eat too much, we may suffer from sickness in the future. If we indulge in smoking and alcohol, we may struggle to give them up in the years to come.
But remember, if we choose to give more effort today, then we are sure to go beyond our past mistakes. If we, for example, choose to study better starting now, we can still achieve our dream job or graduating the course we love, even if that would take longer than we planned. If we choose to make a schedule a plan, how will balance how priorities and our workload then we can still finish and be better in our job. If we choose to start exercising, we can still live more healthily than we are now. Nothing is written in stone.
Our past does not define us, and what we do today can shape our present and our future. However, to make the right changes takes effort. And this effort will not have everlasting effects unless it comes from a good attitude and good intentions or, in other words, from a deep compassion towards ourselves and others.
Number four live every day like it's your last, the Buddha says ardently do today what must be done. Who knows. Tomorrow death comes. Buddhism believes that life is a cycle of birth and rebirth, and our goal should be to liberate ourselves from that cycle of suffering. The problem is, we tend to think that we have all the time in the world. We put all our efforts into a tomorrow that may not come. I'll start exercising tomorrow. I'll finish my work tomorrow. I'll call my mom tomorrow. I'll ask for forgiveness tomorrow, and that is a reality we need to face. If we learn to see that every day could be our last. We will live ardently each day, making peace with everyone , doing what we can do today and sleep peacefully at night knowing that we lived our day to the fullest. That is why it's important to start your day, right by practicing mindfulness meditation. For example, when you focus on breathing in and breathing out, you have a direct experience of impermanence. When you meditate on your painful and sad stories , you have a direct experience of suffering. It motivates you to live in the moment when you're eating.
Eat when you're reading. Read when you're doing your job or at school . Do your tasks with focus. When you're driving your car, drive your car when you're with someone, spend that moment with them. This allows you to step away from the past and future and live in the present moment to be where you are right now.
Number five great things are the results of small good habits. The Buddha teaches us drop by drop. Is the water pot felled? Likewise, the fool gathering it little by little fills himself with evil. Likewise, the wise man gathering it little by little, fills himself with good. The Buddhist approach to goodness and evil is very practical. Evil may for a time lead us to happiness, but all are bad. Actions together will eventually ripen and lead us to illness and bad experiences. So while we may suffer from time to time. Even if we are good, all our good actions will eventually ripen and lead us to true happiness and goodness. According to the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 18 to 254 days of constant exercise and practice to develop a new habit on whatever skill you wish to learn.
You can always start today. You can't exercise for one day and immediately assume that you'll be healthier all of a sudden, starting with small things like switching to healthier alternatives of food, brisk walking or waking up early in the morning to stretch in the same way. What have a bad habit you wish to change? You can always start small.
Dr. Nora Volkow, co director off the N. I. H, is National Institute on Drug Abuse, suggests that the first step is to become more aware of your habits so you can develop strategies to change them. You may start by avoiding the places that trigger your vice, like lessening your time in pubs. Or try switching to healthier alternatives. Choosing unsalted popcorn over a bag of potato chips or chewing gum over reaching for a cigarette. It doesn't matter if you fail. Sometimes that is part of learning.
Number six. Show your wisdom in silence. The Buddha tells us no, from the rivers, in clefts and in crevices, those in small channels flow noisily the great flow silent. Whatever's not full makes noise. Whatever is full is quiet. He believed that there is always a time to speak and to listen. If one is to talk, he must talk only when he means well and is just endearing and true. But one must learn to listen more, acknowledging that we do not know everything, he goes against the useless chatter or those who judge arbitrarily and with their biases in today's digital information. Whenever we scroll through social media, it's easy for us to fall for fake news. Sometimes we even justify our wrong beliefs with one YouTube video or a single article. A little knowledge is dangerous because we assume that there's an easy answer that every other question is invalid, that we are the only ones who know the truth. It's called the wisdom paradox.
Take, for example, the great Albert Einstein when he said, The more you learn, the more you're exposed to what you don't know Buddha reminds us that those who are wise do listen because they acknowledge that there are things that they do not know. A little knowledge is dangerous because you might be so convinced with your opinion that you failed to look at the truth because you easily dismiss other people.
One can share wisdom and also learn from another by listening and engaging in healthy dialogue.
Number seven, if in a conflict, choose compassion according to the Buddha. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world by non-hatred alone. Is hatred appeased? Even Siddhartha Gautama experienced discrimination and suffering. He was sometimes abused, and he had to go through a hard journey to build his legacy. Also, other famous leaders like Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Gandhi, who had both advocated nonviolent action that led to societal changes in their corresponding countries, were victims of evil words, discrimination and disbelief. Buddhism teaches us that the cycle of violence, of hatred, of abuse and of revenge can never be stopped with hatred. When someone insults you and you and self-back, sometimes they come back worse. When someone punches and we punch back, we go home with more bruises and wounds. Nonviolence is not just letting yourself be harassed or assaulted. It's a way to protect yourself from even greater evils. Take, for example, when you're bullied by a classmate or a colleague. As long as you don't feel physically threatened. Empower yourself first. Remind yourself of your goodness, but their words can never hurt you.
And that though you may make mistakes, you can keep trying. Remember, the bully wants you to feel angry and powerless because they're also experiencing something bad in their own life. Some practical solutions include when a bully is approaching, you count from 1 to 100 to relax yourself. Or maybe you could just walk away. Or, if he insults you, join in, insult yourself and laugh with him. Then walk away. Or you can look at them with compassion and be nice to them. Do something about it. Don't keep it in and don't hide from it.
Maybe asking help from authorities could help, especially if the bullying becomes serious or involves physical assault or abuse. Meditating on your own giftedness lets you see that you're more than what they say.
Choose friends for quality over quantity, according to the Buddha. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions and comrades, he can be expected to develop and pursue the noble eightfold path. The Buddha reminds us that it is better to seek fellowship with noblemen than to associate with evil companions. The Buddha acknowledges that life is not a solitary journey along the way we encounter a lot of people, but not every one of these people are good influences for us. Some bad habits are developed because of negative peer pressure in our experiences, when we're rich or in prosperity, when we're famous or well-known people like to be around us. But when we're in need of support, we find fewer friends to go to. We can make the decision to choose the people who can influence us to be better, good friends of those who lead you to goodness, to virtue, to develop good habits and not those who let you go astray who push you two vices. It's better to have a few friends who support and careful you truly and who work with you towards a better life
Number nine. Be generous. In the words of the Buddha. Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle on. The life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. Buddha has always emphasized how generosity and helping each other can create great change in the world. According to various research, there is a ripple effect of kindness. Just as anger or fear can be passed on to others. So does a simple act of kindness a simple smile to someone conspire them to work better.
A gesture of compassion can be passed on to another person. When you help someone carry their groceries, they might be inspired to open a door for a stranger. That stranger would be inspired to pass on that act of kindness by giving a lunch to a coworker or assisting an elderly person across the street. A lot of things can spring forth from that simple act of kindness. Buddha, however, first asks us to take care of ourselves. You cannot give what you do not have. You may really want to help people to the point of exhausting yourself for breaking down your boundaries or not giving yourself time to eat or sleep, and then you get sick or burnt out. Then you wouldn't be able to offer help to anyone else. It is important to take care of yourself to live healthily, to give yourself time for meditation. Toe. Ask for support from other people, because only then can you give the strength and love you have within you
Number 10 In our final quote, the Buddha says you yourself must strive the Buddha's only point the way
all these life lessons given to us by Buddha and meant to teach us that we can be a Buddha, too. We can also be enlightened, but only if we choose to live out these Buddhism. Teaching us daily the Buddha's that came after him and developed Buddhism can be a source of inspiration and a guide to all of us. Right now, we may feel like life is hopeless. We may find ourselves in debt unhappy and our job having fights with our family and friends. We may feel like life is too hard on us already. Buddha reminds us that change starts with us. We should take control about lives, not leave it up to fate or the heavens. Struggle well and do not give up easily.
The noble eightfold path.
- Right view
- Right Resolve
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
is something we can start cultivating. More by the habits we build, we can always read more research. And we hope together to achieve liberation from the life of suffering or nirvana, that the Buddha guides us too.