The Quest..

I find religions beautiful in their own ways because they have their own precepts on how about a religious one should live their life. Not that I do not believe in the almighty; I very much believe there is a man/woman/person/thing of higher being but i just find it fascinating on how one can incorporate different beliefs/rituals/customs/cultures of different religions and consciously place them into their own lives. That is what I am doing.

I am embarking on an interesting journey. I always told myself i would take the time out to study the religion of Buddhism. I may be wrong for saying this so no offence to those who are Buddhists but from what i have gathered so far, being a buddhist is finding the inner God of YOURSLEF. You are in charge of your own life right;studying the 4 noble truths shed some insight on that. And what intrigues me even more is the fact that you find your inner self “inner God” through the art of meditation. I am loving everything about Buddhism so far and I am sure to see my life turn a full 360.

The First Noble Truth– Dukkha (THE EXISTENCE OF IMPERMANENCE)

Nothing lasts forever. When you understand this it makes it easier to not be so attached to what you’re experiencing. So when you’re experiencing something you think is bad, you can relax in the knowledge that nothing bad lasts forever. Similarly, when you’re experiencing happiness you can also realize that nothing good lasts forever. Why would you want to do that? Because it helps you to be more aware of how you’re reacting to your experiences at all times.

The Second Noble Truth–Samudaya (THE ARISING OF SUFFERING BECAUSE OF CRAVING)

Craving sensory stimulation, craving existence, and craving non-existence give rise to the “continuity of being” (the tendency to confuse reality with your perception of reality), and with it its attendant suffering. Say you want something and you don’t get it–you’d get sad or frustrated. But say you want something and you do get it. Eventually you’ll get bored with it and you’ll start wanting something else. And so you start all over again. And that’s a bummer.

The Third Noble Truth–Nirdodha (THE CESSTATION OF SUFFERING)

You can end eternal suffering by ending the craving that leads to the continuation of suffering. Remember that suffering is caused by endlessly wanting what you can’t have. So if you can stop this endless wanting, you won’t suffer anymore. That’s not to say that you won’t ever feel pained or sad (or happy or ecstatic) ever again. It’s just that it won’t be part of an endless cycle of wanting–not getting–being sad–wanting again.

The Fourth Noble Truth–Magga (THE MIDDLE WAY OR THE NOBLE EIGHT FOLDED PATH)

So how do you end eternal craving? Just live by the ideals of the Noble Eightfold Path. The Path is grounded in a program of meditation. It delineates a plan of self-discipline regarding ethical conduct, mental discipline, and wisdom. The Path avoids two extremes–the pursuit of complete and ultimate sensory pleasure, or the pursuit of utter self-denial.

1. Right Understanding

This precept can be thought of as the thorough knowledge and understanding of the Four Noble Truths as a whole. It’s the kind of understanding that comes through personal experience. That means that it doesn’t matter if you read ten books on Buddhism and can recite things from memory. You need to feel it and know it in your bones. This usually takes repeated exposure to the knowledge, contemplation of the knowledge, and regular practice of the “spiritual exercises”. Don’t be hard on yourself if it takes you a long time to come to understand Right Understanding from the inside out. At the same time, that’s not an excuse to slack off. Right understanding is a facet of wisdom.

2. Right Thought

Right Thought is a facet of wisdom (Right Understanding is another). Selfless renunciation, detachment, love and nonviolence, these thoughts are extended to all beings. When this is lacking, however, as in such as thoughts based on selfish desire, hatred and violence, it is a sign that one is lacking in wisdom.

3. Right Speech

Don’t tell lies. Don’t be catty, malicious, vicious, slanderous or libelous in your conversation. Don’t delight in salacious rumor-mongering. Why? Because these things bring about disharmony in your relationships with people. When you speak in these ways with others rather than truthfully and down-to-earth, it sets up a relationship between you and other people that’s based on untruths. You may be in control of these untruths at first, but eventually, they take on a life of their own, and you’ll start to get caught in your own web of deception and mean-spiritedness. Stay away from harsh and malicious language. Foaming at the mouth is to be avoided. Speak carefully and appropriately. Ethical conduct is based on Right Speech.

4. Right Action

This precept is similar to Christianity’s Ten Commandments. Right Action tells people not to kill, not to steal, to be honest, and to have “appropriate” sexual intercourse (though I would say that what constitutes appropriate varies from culture to culture.

Ethical conduct is rooted in Right Action. And as with true ethical conduct, it takes the development of a kind of “moral compass” to know what constitutes Right Action. But basically, it means not to do things that you know cause suffering for yourself or others.

5. Right Livelihood

This precept basically directs people not to make money through harming others. For example, typical Buddhist careers would probably not include arms dealers, crystal meth dealers, butchers, or chemical company executives.

Right Livelihood is a facet of ethical conduct.

6. Right Effort

It takes a lot of persistence to prevent unharmonious states of mind from coming to be. Right Effort is a Mental Discipline and it involves persisting in your efforts to live your life in keeping with the ideals of the Noble Eightfold Path (also known as the Middle Way).

Don’t be too rough on yourself when you catch yourself having messed up somehow. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and then gently but firmly set yourself back in the right direction. Practice makes poifect!

7. Right Mindfulness (or Attentiveness)

You should be ever aware of what your body is doing, what you sense and feel, and what your mind is thinking about. You should attempt to be detached from these things, however. Merely notice them as they happen, and don’t get all caught up in, say, that fantasy you love to replay in your head whenever you smell watermelon-scented body lotion. Right Mindfulness is a mental discipline.

8. Right Concentration

This precept points to the various modes of meditation and also other practices used to strengthen mental discipline. A very common practice is “Noticing One’s Breath”, in which, sitting comfortably with your back upright, you notice your breath as it goes in and out, in and out. You also come to notice that your mind is a nonstop whirlwind of disjoint thought, and with continued meditation the mind tends to calm down and clear up.

It’s been said that the main thing that the Buddha introduced to the spiritual practices of his day was the practice of Vipassana meditation (or noticing-the-breath-meditation) in order to bring about enlightenment.

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