9 Buddhist Teachings for a Better Life
There was once a time, very distant for us, when we stopped looking upwards with wonder and admiration and started to look for other things.
This happened when we started to underestimate, neglect, and forget the spirit, letting other things take its place. Thus we started to wander, in constant search of pleasure and security, in constant flight from the fear, pain, and discomfort that stop us from feeling at peace.
The word Buddha comes from budh, which means “awaken,” thus Buddha means “the Awakened One.” A Buddha is someone who has awakened from everything, as if coming out of the most profound sleep, and has discovered that he is no longer suffering, that suffering was only a bad dream. We can all escape this nightmare, managing “to do nothing but good, to avoid harming others in any way, and to purify the heart.”
As declared by Buddhism, the path that leads us to “reconnect with our spirit” consists of three stages: listening or reading, reflecting on what has been read, and putting it into practice. From this, it can be deduced that Buddhist philosophy is something that must be useful. If it doesn’t work, it can be given up; on the other hand, if it turns out to be beneficial, it’s worth cultivating it.
So, to serve as an introduction, we bring you 9 of the many sutras or Buddhist teachings that invite us to reflect on our lives. They are not quotes to remember, but teachings that work together to form the entire Buddhist doctrine and which we can adapt to our own daily behaviors.
Sutra 1: He watches; he is clear
The fool sleeps as if he were already dead, but the master is awake and he lives forever. He watches. He is clear.
Everything is in our hearts, but we need to learn to observe. By doing so, our mind becomes clear and we become more delicate and concentrated. Be wise and observe; don’t speak, just observe and learn.
Sutra 2: Only love dispels hate
In this world, hate never yet dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate. This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible.
Light dispels darkness, and darkness is hate. How do we achieve this light? Relaxing and letting your mind be blank. Separate yourself from the effects that only fill you with hate and negative feelings. Win silence and the light will enter you and hate will be irrelevant to you.
Sutra 3: How can you quarrel?
You too shall pass away. Knowing this, how can you quarrel?
Life is short. Quarreling is uselessly wasting it. It is better to use your time and energy to achieve happiness, so don’t quarrel over physical things when your heart is uplifted. Dust we are and to dust we shall return. What sense does it make then to quarrel? What do we earn by wasting our energy?
Sutra 4: Beyond judgments
A mind beyond judgments watches and understands.
Don’t allow yourself to consider what is good and what is bad, because if you analyze it, you will be divided. Choose an attitude of conscious attention. Simply observe both options, but don’t choose.
Sutra 5: Live arduously
It is sweet to live arduously and to master yourself.
Would you go up Mount Everest in a helicopter? It is probably easier, but it wouldn’t be as enjoyable. It is truly enriching when we put our heart and soul into things. We must live life, not watch it happen. This can only be done by living your own life and not those of others.
Sutra 6: Overcoming
With gentleness, overcome anger. With generosity, overcome meanness. With truth, overcome delusion.
Turn the negative into something positive. The world prepares you for the negative and pushes you onto the paths of repression. An intelligent person does not serve society, for what it needs are obedient people, not intelligent ones. Live your life intelligently.
Sutra 7: Awake forever
All things appear and disappear, but he who awakens shall be awake forever.
There are two ways you can live: falling or growing. Falling is easy because gravity helps you, as do society and the masses. To fall, you just have to let yourself be taken and be obedient.
But growing is difficult. To grow, you must disobey; you must overcome your ego, overcome yourself, and evolve. We are all capable of achieving consciousness, but few of us seek and find it. If you set out on the path and come to know yourself and live your own life, you will live forever.
Sutra 8: Words
Watch your words.
The mind is full of words, often unnecessary ones. Get used to thinking what is necessary and speaking as little as necessary. Be concrete and telegraphic. Think beforehand if what you are going to say makes sense. Always remember that words have power and that power can turn against you.
Sutra 9: Thoughts
Watch your thoughts.
Thoughts are in your mind, they are chaos, and it is important to collect them. They come and go senselessly. You make things up or interpret them and your thoughts go their own way. Your thoughts are your executioner. Only think when you want to do it. Learn to connect and disconnect yourself.
There have been thousands of Buddhas in history, thousands of awakened people who showed us the path that they took toward gratitude and wisdom.
Images courtesy of Sutichak Yachiangkham and Mila Supinskaya