Recently, someone asked me how they could become a good Buddhist and this got me thinking. I believe our goal shouldn’t be how to become the best Buddhist, but the best whomever we already are. We were born humans and at our very core we are all the same, so it seems more encompassing, and less discriminatory, to be the best possible human we can. One way to achieve this goal is to follow the Buddha’s path. I am not talking about some religious path, but a path that is more concerned with how to live your life without harming yourself or others. I believe there are some key teachings Buddha gave that can help you reach this goal. I have listed below the foundation teachings that I feel are relevant to becoming the best possible human you can be. I will just give a brief outline and leave you to investigate further. This post is just too wet your appetite.
Five Precepts – I believe this is the starting point for anyone wanting to be a good human. They are not commandants, just five things we should do our best to refrain from. They are:
1 – Refrain from killing or causing others to kill. Here we are talking about all beings, not just humans.
2 – Refrain from taking things that have not been given.
3 – Refrain from lying, harsh words, divisive speech and idle talk.
4 – Refrain from sexual misconduct. This means refrain from harming people with the sexual act.
5 – Refrain from getting intoxicated or taking illegal drugs.
Four Noble Truths – the first point in this teaching shows us that life is filled with suffering, which means dissatisfaction, discontentment and a feeling of unease. Of course, we have moments of happiness, but they don’t last. This point is not supposed to depress us, but to motivate us to change our lives, so we can reduce our suffering, and the suffering of others.
The second point shows us various causes for our suffering. It especially talks about the three poisons, which are clinging desire, attachment and delusion.
The third point informs us that if we let go of these three poisons our suffering will be considerable reduced, some may say extinguished entirely.
The fourth point presents the eightfold path to us. If we follow this path we will reduce our suffering and the suffering of those around us. It will also help us take responsibility for our actions of body, speech and mind. The eightfold path is:
Instead of writing about these points individually, I have linked them to my previous blogs for you to read at your leisure.
Three Traits of Existence – These are:
Impermanence – all phenomena are compounded and so are constantly changing.
Suffering – this point has been mentioned above in the first noble truth.
Non-self – there is no solid and permanent self for us to get attached to. Understanding this helps us to let go of our ego clinging and self-cherishing.
All the points above are for you to study and implement. The three points below are practical practices for you to do on a daily basis.
Meditation – sit down quietly for at least 10 minutes a day and simply watch your breath.
Mindfulness – keep bringing yourself back to the present moment throughout the day.
Reflection – at the end of the day, sit quietly and reflect back over the day. Reinforce the things that worked for you, and look for better ways to have acted if things didn’t work for you.
As I said, this is just a brief outline of the Buddha’s path. I believe if you implement some, or all, of these, you will defiantly become the best human being you can be.
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