Are you too, like me, fascinated by the Buddha and his teachings? Recently, one of my friends, a die-hard believer of individualism keeps insisting me to write more about the Buddha way of life. It is interesting that he found Buddha as much a respecter of individual dignity as he himself is. This is however, true. Buddha, when he was prince Siddhartha Gautama, was just a common human being like you and me before he sought a way to get out of the earthly sufferings and became enlightened.
Enlightenment is not something that can specially be attributed to the Buddha. Enlightenment is like awakening from a dream, just as a person goes through an experience of a complete transformation of body and mind as he wakes up from sleeping. The historical Buddha lived about 2,500 years ago in India. According to teachings attributed to the Buddha, he was not the first Buddha and he will not be the last. He taught that during this eon there will be thousands of fully enlightened Buddhas.
Follow the Dharma
Buddhism teaches that there is a body of universal Law (which he called ‘dharma’ or ‘Dhamma’ in Pali) that underlies everything in this universe. This is the core essence of life. You can also think of it as the basic rhythm of life and the universe. To practice Buddhism is to bring your individual life into harmony with this greater principle of life of the universe, called ‘Dhamma’. If you can do that, you will be able to experience greater wisdom and courage, more vitality and compassion (which are the fundamental qualities of this life-essence). This is what it means to live and manifest the conditions for an enlightened life.
You do not need to be a ‘Buddhist’ to understand Buddha’s wisdom and teachings. His teachings can just be life-lessons, which can benefit everyone who is seeking the true meaning of life. Buddha himself said, “My teaching is not a philosophy. It is the result of direct experience…My teaching is a means of practice, not something to hold onto or worship..My teaching is like a raft used to cross the river.”
Buddha affirms that all people, even all beings, regardless of their gender, capacity or social standing, inherently possess the Buddha nature, the quality of a Buddha. Therefore all are equally worthy of the utmost respect. In this way Buddha was definitely a respecter of individual dignity. Buddha also teaches the importance of self-love.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” He said. Another such saying is:”Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”
The teachings of Buddha can be life-changing. All of us can live and profitably apply this teachings in our lives. An alert for us to live in the moment: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Here is an advice to take action: “I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act…I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.”
Our health, wealth and wisdom can be increased by following Buddha’s teaching. Here are some of those gems.
Take care of your health
- “Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”
- “Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”
- “To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
- “Without health life is not life; it is only a state of languor and suffering – an image of death.”
- “Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.”
- “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
Happiness and relationship
Again here are my favorite Buddha quotes about happiness, compassion and relationship.
- “There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”
- “Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.”
- “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
Be compassionate and speak wisely
We can be happy only when we are compassionate and speak mindfully. Here is what the Buddha said about it.
- “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”
- “The tongue is like a sharp knife… Kills without drawing blood.”
- “Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”
- “Do not speak harshly to any one; those who are spoken to will answer thee in the same way. Angry speech is painful: blows for blows will touch thee.”
- “Misfortune comes from one’s mouth and ruins one, but fortune comes from one’s heart and makes one worthy of respect
Life is a miracle
Buddha taught us that when we live mindfully, life can be a miracle and we can live a balanced and happy life.
- “When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”
- “More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body. The most valuable of all are the treasures of the heart.”
- “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.”
From this we can conclude that to enjoy good health, to bring true happiness in our lives and family, we need to discipline our lives. Buddha way of living is all about living a mindful, happy life in the present moment.
To know more about the Buddha way of living, you may read: Laughing Buddha: The Alchemy of Euphoric Living