9 Life Lessons from Thich Nhat Hanh

1. “Some people live as though they are already dead. There are people moving around us who are consumed by their past, terrified of their future, and stuck in their anger and jealousy. They are not alive; they are just walking corpses.”

This is a particularly harsh lesson from Thich Nhat Hanh where he really wants to emphasize the importance of living in the moment. When we become preoccupied with negative feelings about the future and past it makes it impossible to do our best in the present moment.

Worrying about things that we cannot change puts us out of control of the present moment, so in a sense we are dead when we do not work in the now. So release your worries.
Image Credit: www.buddhaweekly.com

2. “When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.”

It is so easy for us demonize and blame others for complex problems. Yet when the tables turn and we do something wrong we justify it with the numerous factors that led to the incident. We should extend the same courtesy to all others giving them the same compassion we would want to receive when making a mistake.

3. “To dwell in the here and now does not mean you never think about the past or responsibly plan for the future. The idea is simply not to allow you to get lost in regrets about the past or worries about the future
If you are firmly grounded in the present moment, the past can be an object of inquiry, the object of your mindfulness and concentration. You can attain many insights by looking into the past. But you are still grounded in the present moment.”

Just because you live in the moment, doesn’t mean that you should not ever consider the future and past. The past offers us a lot of wisdom. We have to plan for our future to live responsibly. To live in the moment means just to not get swept away by the future and past, so that we forget to experience the beauty of the present. 

4. “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” 

We can often get caught up in the difficulty of our current set of problems, so that we don’t want to branch out and grow. No matter what improvements or changes we make in our lives there will always be problems, but often we prefer those problems that we already know how to manage.
We should not let our fear of the unfamiliar inhibit us from growing.
 5. “Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.”

Think carefully about what you say, do and think, because these are the things that form your identity. Living mindfully also means to live carefully to work towards creating an identity where you wouldn’t mind your signature being on everything you produce.

6. “We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.”

Holding onto knowledge and ideals does not let us to explore. Keeping open to the world of different perspective we may find we learn a lot. It will also help us grow compassion for others, who are a lot more like us then we think they are in reality.

7. “Every sliver of carrot needed the sun, the water, the air, the care of another human being. Imagine the effort to grow that carrot, take it from the earth, pack it, cut it and get it here for you. Pay tribute to that. Chew mindfully. At times, close your eyes and pay homage to the carrot. Think of the nourishment it needed to be and the nourishment it’s providing as a gift for your body.”

Every small activity of the day is filled with wonder. By learning to take note of all the complexities of the luxuries of everyday life, we get a great appreciation for the abundance that we live in. This leads to not desiring so many additional things since we already have so much.

8. “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” 

Our body can have a great deal of influence on our mood. To carry one’s self with confidence and happiness can help bring the brain out of a rut. Next time you are feeling down, stand up straight and smile to help improve your mood.

9. “My actions are my only true belongings.” 

Things come and go, but what determines the course of our lives is the way we act. Choose wisely when making decisions for actions and inactions, because these are the things that permanently alter the course of our lives and those around us.

Source & Credit: www.guidedmind.com

Ten things to be rich

Translated by Tinh Tam

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1.  Save to be rich and work hard to be rich:  Know how to save and live within your means;  work hard but not very hard to make you sick, working hard means not be lazy either working at a factory, at the farm or in your home-based business.  

2.  Be honest to be rich:  Be fair in your business, have the right price for goods or service, so there will be more trust and more customers.  

3.  Work hard to be rich:  Wake up early everyday for your work or business.  

4.  Have time management to be rich:  Take care of your chores at home.  

5.  Have prevention to be rich:  Have the burglar alarm and fire alarm installed at your house to prevent burglars and fire.  

6.  Have reputation to be rich:  Never do any illegal businesses.  

7.  Have union to be rich (Union is the noun of the verb To unite):  Every member in the family has to help each other.  

8.  Be faithful to be rich:  Have virtuous wife and well-listened kid(s);  avoid conflicts, jealousy between husband and wife, also do not get angry to your kid(s).  

9.  Belief in your future to be rich:  Teach your kid(s) about wealth building.  

10.  Give back, do charities, have merits and good karma to be rich:  Be willing to do the charities and be generous in charities;  also do good things and avoid doing bad things.

Source & Credit;www.truehappiness.ws

Why Guidance In Meditation Is So Important

Image Credit:www.thewayofmeditation.com.au

Everyone Needs Guidance

Everyone needs guidance in meditation whether you sit in front of the teacher in a group while they give you instructions or whether you get instructions first and then go away to meditate. It is important to know exactly what you’re doing and why you are doing it.
The only exception is the natural meditation states of people who play sports or become absorbed in their hobby or even someone doing a puzzle can slip into deep concentrated states without guidance or any help. But lets leave that aside and talk about formal meditation practice.
Within most of the eastern wisdom traditions having a teacher was vitally important to get the proper guidance from someone who had experienced the various levels of meditative realisation and therefore knew what to tell people about them. It was important to find a teacher who had actual experience for themselves and not just studied the books of former masters. Just like if you wanted to visit a country that you had never been to the best person to guide you would be someone who frequently travelled there themselves and had extensive knowledge of the place.
Lineage is an important concept for the authenticity of a meditation tradition. The idea that the instructions have been passed from one realised master to the next for thousands of years generally starting from a renowned master like Buddha or some other historical master. Without a lineage connecting you with the old masters your tradition was considered lifeless and missing the vital energy current of embodied wisdom passed down.
It seems reasonable to suggest that if you are going to meditate it is very important to know why you are meditating, what you expect to find and what you trying to achieve. Even if what you are making an effort to achieve is to go beyond ambitions or effort.
I was guided in meditation through the traditional route and got instructions from a Tibetan Buddhist Master who I considered my spiritual friend and Guru and then went away and meditated exactly as he instructed even doing week long retreats following his instructions. If I needed more help I would go back to the Guru, ask questions and modify my practise in accordance with his advice.
I started to lead guided meditations with people who visited the Buddhist centre where I was living and studying and realised  it was the modern equivalent of passing on vital information and guidance.
My main job was to keep people’s minds from wandering and keep them focused ‘on the job’. As a former tennis coach what I was doing was similar to imparting the skills of tennis. Also as a meditator I realised the huge job it was keeping your mind from wandering. People would tell me they didn’t even know they were distracted from the breath until I said come back to the breath. This is a vital skill to learn in meditation; the recognition of whether you are focused on your task or whether you are simply lost in thoughts daydreaming.
As my teacher would tell me – “5 minutes of quality focused attention is better than an hour of daydreaming,” essentially quality is better than quantity when it comes to meditation.
Once you have learned the skills of meditation in a group meditation you can then become your own guided meditation teacher by internalising the instructions. When you sit down to meditate you still have the teachers voice in the corner of your mind instructing you in what you are meant to be doing and how do to it. Eventually that voice becomes your own.
It is important to note that instructions and guidance are important like a map of an area, but once you have arrived at your location you put down the map.Similarly instructions and guidance are important but actually doing and experiencing what is being pointed to is the main objective not just mastering the map but experiencing the location. For example in calm abiding mindfulness training you must continually guide yourself back to your object of meditation, let’s say your breath, by first noticing your distracted and then guiding yourself back to focusing with relaxation on your breath, but when you are already focused on your breath there is nothing left to do and no guidance needed just remain calmly focusing on the breath.
In more advanced states of meditation it is very easy to mistake states of subtle sleepiness for the deep bliss of enlightenment. One master says it is the most common mistake to make, so it is very important to get guidance from an experienced teacher to guide past these dull states to the genuine clarity of awakening.
Also states of non thought and even bliss can be brought about due to causes and manipulative techniques but they are only temporary and fleeting states – they are not the sought after discovery of a transcendent nature which has similar experiences accompanying it. It is important to not get attached to these pleasant meditation experiences and keep going beyond them.
A teacher can also turn from being a gentle and kind guide to a fierce destroyer of your ego. Whenever a student comes to the teacher thinking they have found enlightenment or grasped the ultimate truth it is the teachers job to slap it out of them, leaving them nothing to grasp or hold on to. It is said the highest discovery in meditation is to find nothing, so when students mistakenly think they have found something guidance is important to steer them back unto the path of the ungraspable.
So when you have internalised the instructions and guidance whether by a group meditation or learning the instructions directly from a teacher or even from a book or the internet you can then meditate skilfully and reap the benefits and achieve your goals. Whether those goals are stress reduction, improving concentration or contacting a non dual enlightened presence hidden within. Finally a good teacher can help confirm your experiences and let you know if you have further to go or you have already arrived at your destination.

Written By Chad Foreman

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Forgetting These 7 Little Things Makes Every Day More Stressful

Source & Credit: www.marcandangel.com
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It never ceases to amaze me when I’m faced with the reality of how easily I lose sight of the truth – I catch myself stressing out over something silly, even though I know better.  And I know I’m not alone in my forgetfulness.  So much happens in our lives – so much chaos and distraction – that we often forget the important things we learned long ago.  Busy days and demanding obligations have a tendency to put our minds on autopilot, making us more reactive and less mindful every step of the way.
Therefore, some of life’s most important lessons need to be reviewed to be remembered.
Keep this short list handy and give it a read any time you catch yourself in one of those inevitable, forgetful moments of stress and frustration…

1.  You can’t lift a thousand pounds all at once.  Yet you can easily lift one pound a thousand times.  Tiny, repeated efforts will get you there.

Have you ever felt incredibly overwhelmed?
Well then, it’s time for a quick story about life…
Once upon a time there was a woman who had been lost in the desert for three whole days without water.  Just as she was about to collapse, she saw what appeared to be a lake just a few hundred yards in front of her.  “Could it be?  Or is it just a mirage?” she thought to herself.
With the last bit of strength she could muster, she staggered toward the lake and quickly learned that her prayers had been answered: it was no mirage – it was indeed a large, spring-fed lake full of fresh water – more fresh water than she could ever drink in her lifetime.  Yet while she was literally dying of thirst, she couldn’t bring herself to drink the water.  She simply stood by the water’s edge and stared down at it.
There was a passerby riding on a camel from a nearby desert town who was watching the woman’s bizarre behavior.  He got off his camel, walked up to the thirsty woman and asked, “Why don’t you have a drink, ma’am?”
She looked up at the man with an exhausted, distraught expression across her face and tears welling up in her eyes.  “I am dying of thirst,” she said, “But there is way too much water here in this lake to drink.  No matter what I do, I can’t possibly finish it all.”
The passerby smiled, bent down, scooped some water up with his hands, lifted it to the woman’s mouth and said, “Ma’am, your opportunity right now, and as you move forward throughout the rest of your life, is to understand that you don’t have to drink the whole lake to quench your thirst.  You can simply take one sip.  Just one small sip… and then another if you choose.  Focus only on the mouthful in front of you, and all your anxiety, fear and overwhelm about the rest will gradually fade.”
Take this story to heart.  Let it sink in…
And then challenge yourself throughout the day to focus solely on the sip (task, step, etc.) you’re actually taking.
Honestly, that’s all life is – small, positive actions that you take moment by moment, and then one day when you look back it all adds up to something worthwhile – something that’s often far better, and different, than what you had imagined when you started.

2.  When things aren’t adding up in your life, begin subtracting.  Life gets a lot simpler when you clear the clutter that makes it complicated.

The most common form of clutter in our lives?
And busyness is an illness.
Think about your own life and the lives of those close to you.  Most of us have a tendency to do as much as we possibly can – cramming every waking minute with events, extravagances, tasks and obligations.
We think doing more will get us more satisfaction, success, etc.  When oftentimes the exact opposite is true.
Less can be far more rewarding in the long run.  But we’re so set in our ways that we can’t see this.
And so…
  • When we work, we shift from one task to the next quickly and continuously, or we multi-task – juggling five things at once until the end of the day… and yet we still feel like we haven’t done enough of the right stuff.
  • When we finally break away for some healthy exercise, we tend to push ourselves as hard as we possibly can… until we’re exhausted and sore, and less likely to want to exercise tomorrow.
  • When we go to a nice restaurant, we want to try all the appetizers, drinks and entrees, indulging in as much deliciousness as we possibly can… and we leave feeling bloated, sometimes uncomfortably so, and then our waistlines stretch.
  • When we travel to a new city, we want to see it all – every landmark and every photo op – so we do as much as physically possible… and we return home from our trip utterly exhausted.
How can we tame our urge to do too much?
Simply focus more on doing less every step of the way.
Be mindful of the urge to over-do it.
It’s taken me awhile to get the hang of it, but I’m getting there…
  • When I’m working, I do just one thing at a time with full focus.  And when I catch myself multi-tasking or feeling overwhelmed, I’ll clear everything off my plate and make a list of just one to three key tasks I absolutely need to complete by the end of the day.  And yes, sometimes this list is just one thing long, because it helps me focus on what’s truly important and not feel overwhelmed.
  • When I went to the gym two days ago, I had the urge to push myself to my max.  I noticed this and instead decided to let that urge go.  I did a solid 45-minute workout, but left some fuel in my tank.  Yesterday, I went back to the gym and I put in another 45 minutes at a similar pace.  This morning, I would have been happy to do the same, but I decided to take a light jog instead.  My exercise regimen is sustainable, and that’s why I rarely injure myself or miss a day.
  • When I sit down at a nice restaurant, I don’t try to taste and eat as much as possible.  Instead, I leave the table satisfied, but not bloated.  I eat less than I used to.  This is something I still struggle with at times, because it isn’t easy.  It takes practice.  The result, however, is that I feel significantly better after each meal and my waistline thanks me.
  • When I travel to a new city, I don’t try to do it all.  I choose a few things to do, and I take my time.  I then leave the city knowing that there’s plenty to see on my next visit – I leave myself wanting more of a wonderful thing.
I hope you will join me on this journey.
Let’s do a little less… and make the less we do count for even more.

3.  The most powerful weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.  Train your mind to see the good in everything.

Being positive and seeing the good does not mean ignoring the negative.  Being positive and seeing the good means overcoming the negative.  There is a big difference between the two.
Of course, that’s easy to say.  But how do you actually change your perspective from negative to positive when life gets the best of you?
Here’s a simple strategy to start with…
Next time you catch a thought stressing you out, ask yourself these four questions that we’ve adapted from philosophical research by Alan Watts and Byron Katie:
  • Is this thought true? – This question can change your life. Be still and ask yourself if the thought you’re dealing with is true.
  • Can I be absolutely, 100% certain that it’s true? – This is another opportunity to open your mind and to go deeper into the unknown, to find the answers that live beneath what you think you know.  Think about some contrasting possibilities beyond the narrow viewpoint of this one stressful thought.
  • How do I feel when I think this thought? – With this question, you begin to notice internal cause and effect.  You can see that when you believe the thought, there is a disturbance that can range from mild discomfort to outright panic and fear.  What do you feel?  How do you treat the situation (or person) you’re thinking about, how do you treat yourself, when you believe that thought?  Be specific.
  • Who would I be, and what would I do differently, if I were not thinking this thought? – Imagine yourself in your situation (or in the presence of that person), without believing the thought.  How would your life be different if you didn’t have the ability to even think this stressful thought?  How would you feel?  What else would you see?  Which do you prefer – life with or without the thought?  Which feels more peaceful and productive?
Just remember that behind every stressful feeling is an untrue thought.  Before the thought you weren’t suffering, but after the thought you began to suffer.  When you recognize that the thought isn’t true, once again there is no suffering.  When you change your thoughts, you gradually change your life.
The four questions above are just a starting point for revisiting and reframing the troubling or confusing situations that arise in your daily life.  From there you can challenge the stories you’re subconsciously telling yourself and reality-check them with a more objective mindset, which ultimately allows you to make better decisions about everything.
So challenge yourself to use this tool… to think differently.
Detach yourself from the negative thoughts you’re telling yourself.  Go deeper into reality.  Don’t just look at the surface.  Investigate.  Observe without jumping to conclusions.
Who knows what you’ll see when you stop looking through a lens drastically narrowed by half-truths, and you start seeing things with a clearer mind.  Maybe you’ll start seeing things you never saw before.  Maybe you’ll start experiencing things you never experienced before.  Maybe you’ll learn lots of new lessons you needed to learn.  And maybe you’ll gradually become the person you always knew you could be.  (Angel and I discuss this whole process in detail in the “Letting Go of Painful Emotions” lesson of Getting Back to Happy.)

4.  Happiness is letting go of what you assume your life is supposed to be like right now and sincerely embracing it for everything that it is.

Holding on can be painful.  Holding on can directly contribute to stress, health complications, unhappiness, depressive thoughts, relationship problems, and so on.
Yet, as human beings, we cling desperately to almost everything.
We don’t like change, so we resist it.
We want life to be the way we think it “should” be.
We get attached to our fantasies…. even when they hurt us.
Over the past decade, as Angel and I have gradually worked with hundreds of our course students, coaching clients, and live event attendees, we’ve come to understand that the root cause of most human stress is simply our stubborn propensity to hold on to things.  In a nutshell, we hold on tight to the hope that things will go exactly as we imagine, and then we complicate our lives to no end when our imagination doesn’t represent reality.
So how can we stop holding on?
By realizing that there’s nothing to hold on to in the first place.
Most of the things we desperately try to hold on to, as if they’re real, solid, everlasting fixtures in our lives, aren’t really there. Or if they are there in some form, they’re changing, fluid, impermanent, or simply imagined in our minds.
Life gets a lot easier to deal with when we understand this.
Imagine you’re blindfolded and treading water in the center of a large swimming pool, and you’re struggling desperately to grab the edge of the pool that you think is nearby, but really it’s not – it’s far away. Trying to grab that imaginary edge is stressing you out, and tiring you out, as you splash around aimlessly trying to holding on to something that isn’t there.
Now imagine you pause, take a deep breath, and realize that there’s nothing nearby to hold on to. Just water around you. You can continue to struggle with grabbing at something that doesn’t exist… or you can accept that there’s only water around you, and relax, and float.
Today, I challenge you to ask yourself:
  • What are you desperately trying to hold on to in your life?
  • How is it affecting you?
Then imagine the thing you’re trying to hold on to doesn’t really exist. Envision yourself letting go… and just floating.
How would that change your situation?
Bottom line: We cause 99% our own problems by holding on too tightly, to everything.
But we can get out of our own way, and find harmony, by letting go.

5.  If the grass looks greener on the other side, it might just be life reminding you to water the grass you’re standing on.

Rather than focusing on what you don’t have and begrudging those who are “better off” than you, perhaps you should acknowledge that you have lots to be grateful for.
Most of us have amazing family members, friends, and other loved ones who love us back.  Learn to appreciate what a gift that is.  Most of us have good health, which is another gift.  Most of us have eyes, with which to enjoy the amazing gifts of sunsets and nature and beauty all around us.  Most of us have ears, with which to enjoy music – one of the greatest gifts of them all.
You may not have all these things, because you can’t have everything, but you certainly have enough.  You have plenty of good things in your life that you can focus on and build upon today.  If you’re still struggling to find something right now, start here:
  • You are alive.
  • You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night.
  • You didn’t go to sleep outside.
  • You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning.
  • You haven’t spent a minute in fear for your life today.
  • You know someone who loves you.
  • You have access to clean drinking water.
  • You have access to medical care.
  • You have access to the Internet.
  • You can read.
Be honest: when was the last time you were appreciative for simply being alive, or going to sleep with a full belly?  More specifically, think of all the little things you experience — the smell of a home-cooked meal, hearing your favorite song when it randomly comes on the radio, seeing a marvelous sunset, etc.
Look around you today, and water the grass you’re standing on!

6.  When people are rude and judgmental to you, smile and choose not to react.  Travel the high road.  Keep your peace.  Do so, and you take all their power away.

You will end up extremely disappointed if you expect people will always do for you as you do for them.  Not everyone has the same heart as you.
Truth be told, being emotionally strong and committed to a cause doesn’t mean you have to stay and fight all the battles and petty arguments that come your way.  It means just the opposite – you don’t have to stay and respond to other people’s rude remarks and unnecessary hostility.  When you encounter someone with a bad attitude, don’t respond by throwing insults back at them.  Keep your dignity and don’t lower yourself to their level.  True strength is being bold enough to walk away from the nonsense with your head held high.
You need to remember that life is not about justifying yourself – it’s about creating yourself.  Your life is yours alone.  Others can judge you and try to persuade you to their point of view, but they can’t decide anything for you.  They can walk with you if they choose, but not in your shoes.  So make sure the path you decide to walk aligns with your own intuition and best judgment, and don’t be scared to walk alone and pave your own path when doing so feels right under your feet.
Make this your lifelong motto: “I respectfully do not care.”  Say it to anyone who passes unfriendly judgment on something you strongly believe in or something that makes you who you are.  People will inevitably judge you at some point anyway, and that’s OK.  You affected their life; don’t let them affect yours.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

7.  You cannot control exactly what happens in life, but you can control how you respond to it all.  In your response is your greatest power.

If there’s one thing all six of the previous points have in common, it’s the importance of responding to life’s surprises and challenges more effectively.  When you can let go of needless ideals, judgments, and self-pity parties, you give yourself the space required to respond to life’s difficult situations more effectively… and that changes everything.
And this applies to everyday difficulties too, not just life’s larger scale catastrophes.  For example, when my 2-year-old son, Mac, dumped his dinner plate on the floor last night, I could have gotten upset (“He knows better and he shouldn’t do that!”) and scream (not effective at all), or I could have done exactly what I did and simply let go of that ideal – that judgment – and the resulting tension, and then calmly explain the situation to Mac while helping him clean it up (and yes he actually helped too).  My response was indeed the more effective option.
Regardless of the situation at hand, when we respond in emotional haste and angst, we only compound our problems.  Taking a deep breath, or ten, and responding calmly means we’re going to be able to better handle any difficult situation, whether it’s an emergency or the unexpected loss of a loved one or a 2-year-old’s belligerent misconducts.
Of course, all of this is easier said than done.  So if you’re struggling to change your response to an unexpected life situation right now, start by evaluating the tension in your body and posture.  I bet you can find some kind of tightness.  For me, it’s often in my neck, but sometimes it’s in my back and shoulders.
Where does this tension we feel come from?  We’re resisting life – perhaps we’re annoyed by someone, frustrated at our circumstances, overwhelmed by all our obligations, or just flat out bored.  And our mental resistance creates a tension in our bodies and unhappiness in our lives.  Therefore, Angel and I often recommend this simple strategy to our course students who are struggling to relieve themselves of their resistance and tension:
  • Locate the tension in your body right now.
  • Notice what you’re resisting and tensing up against – it might be a situation or person you’re dealing with or avoiding.
  • Relax the tense area of your body – deep breath and a quick stretch often helps.
  • Face the same situation or person, but with a relaxed body and mind.
Repeat this practice as often as needed.  Face the day with less tension and more presence.  Change your mode of response from one of struggle and resistance to one of peace and acceptance.  And see how doing so changes your life.

Your turn…

If you’re feeling up to it, we would love to hear from YOU.
Which point mentioned above resonates with you the most today, and why?

Eight Great Awakenings Sutra

Image Credit: www.buddhistedu.org
Translated by Shramana An Shr Gao of the Latter Han Dynasty

Buddhist Disciples! At all times, day and night, sincerely recite and bear in mind these eight truths that cause great people to awaken. 

The First Awakening: 
The world is impermanent. Countries are perilous and fragile. The body is a source of pain, ultimately empty. The five skandhas are not the true self. Life and Death is nothing but a series of transformations—hallucinatory, unreal, uncontrollable. The intellect is a wellspring of turpitude, the body a breeding ground of offenses. Investigate and contemplate these truths. Gradually break free of death and rebirth. 

The Second Awakening: 
Too much desire brings pain. Death and rebirth are wearisome ordeals, originating from our thoughts of greed and lust. By lessening desires we can realize absolute truth and enjoy peace, freedom, and health in body and mind

The Third Awakening: 
Our minds are never satisfied or content with just enough. The more we obtain, the more we want. Thus we create offenses and perform evil deeds. Bodhisattvas don’t wish to make these mistakes. Instead, they choose to be content. They nurture the Way, living a quiet life in humble surroundings—their sole occupation, cultivating wisdom. 

The Fourth Awakening: 
Idleness and self-indulgence are the downfall of people. With unflagging vigor, great people break through their afflictions and baseness. They vanquish and defeat the four kinds of demons, and escape from the prison of the five skandhas. 

The Fifth Awakening: 
Stupidity and ignorance are the cause of death and rebirth. Bodhisattvas apply themselves and deeply appreciate study and erudition, constantly striving to expand their wisdom and refine their eloquence. Nothing brings them greater joy than teaching and transforming living beings. 

The Sixth Awakening: 
Suffering in poverty breeds deep resentment. Wealth unfairly distributed creates ill-will and conflict among people. Thus, Bodhisattvas practice giving. They treat friend and foe alike. They do not harbor grudges or despise amoral people. 

The Seventh Awakening: 
The five desires are a source of offenses and grief. Truly great people, laity included, are not blighted by worldly pleasures. Instead, they aspire to don the three-piece precept robe and the blessing bowl of monastic life. Their ultimate ambition is to leave the home life and to cultivate the Path with impeccable purity. Their virtuous qualities are lofty and sublime; their attitude towards all creatures, kind and compassionate

The Eighth Awakening: 
Like a blazing inferno, birth and death are plagued with suffering and affliction. Therefore, great people resolve to cultivate the Great Vehicle, to rescue all beings, to endure hardship on behalf of others, and to lead everyone to ultimate happiness

These are the Eight Truths that all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and great people awaken to. Once awakened, they even more energetically continue to cultivate the Path. Steeping themselves in kindness and compassion, they grow in wisdom. They sail the Dharma ship across to Nirvana’s shore, and then return on the sea of birth and death to rescue living beings. They use these Eight Truths to show the proper course for living beings, causing them to recognize the anguish of birth and death. They inspire all to forsake the five desires, and to cultivate their minds in the manner of Sages

If Buddhist disciples recite this Sutra on the Eight Awakenings, and constantly ponder its meaning, they will certainly eradicate boundless offenses, advance towards Bodhi, and will quickly realize Proper Enlightenment. They will always be free of birth and death, and will abide in eternal bliss

Source: True Happiness

20 Life-Changing Buddhist Lessons You NEED In Your Life


1) Love heals everything

“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”

2) What you do defines you, not what you say

“A man is not called wise because he talks and talks again; but if he is peaceful, loving and fearless then he is in truth called wise.”
“A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.”

3) Don’t believe everything

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”


4) What you think you become

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts. If a man speak or act with an evil thought, suffering follows him as the wheel follows the hoof of the beast that draws the wagon…. If a man speak or act with a good thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.”

5) Living fully in the now is the secret of well-being

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
“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.”

6) Awaken yourself by looking within

“The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”

7) Words can be a double-edged sword

“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.”

8) Learn to control your mind, or it will control you

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.”
“It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.”

9) You must walk your own path

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

10) Happiness never decreases by being shared

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

11) Kindness should be given to everyone

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.”
“Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.”
“Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”

12) Let it go and watch your suffering leave you

“You only lose what you cling to.”

13) Spirituality is a necessity

“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”

14) Let go of fear

“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”

15) The truth always comes out

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

16) Knowing yourself is priceless, profound knowledge

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”

17) Doubt destroys, trust unites

“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.”

18) You are deserving of your own 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.”

19. Replace jealousy with admiration

“Do not be jealous of others’ good qualities, but out of admiration adopt them yourself.”

20. Love and let go

“In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?”

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