A new beginning is always the need of the hour when you feel something is falling apart or dying within you. It is like a warning signal that you need to stop with whatever you are doing and start afresh. The teachings of Buddhism have for centuries now, acted as a soul cleanser for many people. What is more interesting is that there are no religious compulsions in these teachings that you have to follow. This means you could be anyone in any part of the world and just follow the teachings of Gautama Buddha and follow on the journey to find eternal peace for yourself without giving up any of your present religious beliefs or customs.
Gautama Buddha was born as Siddhartha the prince in a royal family of a small kingdom in ancient India. He was not happy with his princely status or the life he was born into.
At an early age in life, Siddhartha was troubled by questions about the pain and suffering mankind faced and a process that was constantly repeated because of rebirth. His questions and the search for their answers took him out of his palace in quest of the Truth.
He took to meditation and strict fasting during the time and on one such meditation under a Pipal Tree now called the Bodhi Tree he attained enlightenment or awakening.
Teachings Of Buddha
Buddhism may have undergone several alterations and different views after the death of Gautam Buddha but the four main teachings that were propounded at the start remain unchanged till today.
- We are constantly craving and staying close to impermanent or material things
- As a result, we end up remaining unsatisfied or unhappy
- This attachment keeps us entangled in samsara or worldly life
- We are constantly becoming a part of the rebirth cycle as a result and the process of pain is becoming unending for us
To bring an end to this cycle of pain and rebirth Gautama Buddha propounded the Eight-Fold Path which people can follow. These are eight ways to conduct oneself that would enable them to lead a better life and free themselves from worldly attachments and the cycle of rebirth.
- Right Action
- Right Speech
- Right Thought
- Right Understanding
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
- Right Livelihood
Relevance Of Buddhism In Today’s Life
How is Buddhism or the ancient teachings of Lord Buddha relevant today? Are his teachings and practices helpful in the modern times of the 21st century?
- Meditation as stated by Buddha is a great way to rejuvenate the soul and the mind
- A fast-paced and hectic life has led to toxic environments around that have made people materialistic
- They are often unhappy and lost in their thoughts
- Mindfulness is another important and relevant practice for the modern world
- The constant race for more money and wealth often brings in more pain and suffering for people instead of the comforts that they want
- A mad race for success and unending competition has taken people away from their genesis
- There is a lack in the sense of peace within which is hurting social life and family life as well
- The body or the physical self is suffering too due to bad habits and irregular food habits
Buddhism For Beginners
There is no definite age requirement to set your foot on the path of Buddha’s teachings or follow them in life. It could be any day when you feel the need for something that heals and soothes your mind and you can get started. As a beginner, there are, however, a few steps that you can follow that will help you understand the principles and teachings of Buddhism better.
Everything in ancient Buddhism had an explanation behind it and knowing or understanding that explanation or logic is important. It helps your mind to grasp the truth easily once you know why you need it.
- Meditation is one of the first things that you should start with. Buddhism placed a great deal of emphasis on different types of meditative processes and breathing techniques for meditation.
- Meditation can be done in any place and for any span of time that you are comfortable with. But what is important is the consistency and regularity with which you meditate.
- One of the main reasons behind the emphasis on meditation is the practice of mindfulness.
- According to Jonah Engler mindfulness is the single most important asset of modern times. It helps a person to stay in focus of his present and take control of his mind for better results.
- As you meditate every day you will find it easier to practice mindfulness whereby you apply yourself more to the work you are doing in the present moment rather than slip into useless thoughts or let your mind wander off.
- You can spend some time reading a few books on the basic teachings of the Gautama Buddha. It will help you to understand the questions that gave rise to these answers.
- If you can find a Buddhist teacher or even a group to talk to it will help your understanding a lot. There is no compulsion to this but it helps to understand facts with like-minded people who can even explain certain views and thoughts.
Importance Of Meditation
Meditation has always been an important and integral part of the ancient civilization in India and Buddhism was not new to it. The practices of various types of meditation were already prevalent but not practiced by everyone at large.
- Buddhism propagated the importance of meditation for all
- Gautama Buddha broke this fallacy that only ascetics and religious men could meditate
- According to him, this was a practice needed by all
- There is no special arrangement needed for meditation except tranquility
- Jonah Engler says you can meditate for as less as 5 minutes every day at any place of your choosing
- Make yourself comfortable and sit straight in position and meditate with your eyes closed
- It is that time you spend in meditating which will help you find inner peace and calmness in a world full of chaos
Meditation is a process can bring about several changes in a person and one of them is mindfulness. This is an important attribute that helps people to find several types of distractions and enjoy a more cohesive personal and professional life.
Meditation And Mindfulness
Mindfulness is vital in today’s world. This is where you are in control of your mind and conscious of the self.
- Meditation enables you to focus on the inner self and that awakens your mindfulness.
- Mindfulness is a state of the mind where you are in control of it at all times
- You may be at work or with your family and you are wholly present there
- There is nothing that distracts you or allows your mind to be somewhere else
- This helps you to participate fully in your personal life
- Your focus and attention span increase will help you to give 100% at work as well
- When there is a happy balance created between work and personal life you will be more at peace and happy inside
Buddhism And Society
Buddhism is a path of peace and harmony for a person and for society in general. The meditation practices and the emphasis on mindfulness, the practice of Ahimsa or nonviolence, and the emphasis on compassion and kindness – are all the need of the hour in today’s world. Be it in our personal lives or the society in the general practice of these teachings can bring greater peace and harmony.