Five Buddhist Rules for Well-Being

Buddhists believe that you can only be happy when you achieve inner peace. And inner peace, they say, comes from following some simple rules that have to do with your well-being.
Five Buddhist Rules for Well-Being

Last update: 14 December, 2020

Tibetan Buddhism is a pacifist philosophy in which human happiness is the central element. However, contrary to Western beliefs, Buddhists don’t believe that happiness is about being fulfilled or excited. On the contrary, if you want to be happy, you need to find inner peace. To achieve inner peace, you should follow the five rules for well-being.

Buddhists designed the rules of well-being based on what they call life’s “poisons”. These are all the feelings and situations that control you and affect your peace. These poisons are hate, anxiety, arrogance, egotism, and non-conformity.

The five rules for well-being are designed to help you avoid or get rid of these five poisons. As long as they’re inside you, the emotions they trigger intoxicate and damage you. At the end of the day, they work against your happiness and well-being. Thus, if you’re looking for inner peace, you should follow the rules we’ll share with you today.

“Every place is here and every moment is now.”


1. Let go of hate

Hate is a complex and profound emotion. It consists of anger, rejection, resentment, and aversion, among others. Consequently, it’s a very invasive feeling that affects the way you see the world. As long as you have hate in your heart, you won’t be happy.

That’s why Buddhists include the act of releasing hate from your heart as one of their five rules. It’s obviously much easier said than done. To truly free yourself from hate, you need a healthy dose of empathy.

It’s all about seeing things through an empathetic lens. If you feel hatred towards someone, try to understand their faults and limitations. Viewing people with empathy will help you forgive and let go of hate.

A woman with her hand on her forehead.

2. Let go of your worries

Worries come from anxiously anticipating the future. In other words, it’s the expectation that something unpleasant could happen, something that could cause pain or discomfort. Worries don’t come from the rational mind. If it were a question of being rational, you would simply try to figure out some way to mitigate the risk.

The best way to free your mind of worries is to exist firmly in the present. Instead of thinking about what might happen, be in the here and now, and make the best of it.

Not only will that relieve your anxiety but it’ll also nourish the confidence you have in yourself.

3. Free your spirit of arrogance

One of the most paradoxical aspects of arrogance is that it makes you vulnerable. When you feel superior to other people, you’re more likely to get angry with yourself for any little mistake that you make. It’s also easier to feel like a failure when someone criticizes you or let people’s praise be your motivation.

Taking yourself too seriously only leads to problems. You can avoid this by being humble and understanding that life isn’t long enough to learn everything you’d like to learn or achieve all your goals. Without arrogance, life feels lighter.

4. Learn to give

Buddhists focus a lot on the importance of generosity. People who believe in themselves and don’t wish suffering on anyone have this virtue. Generosity enriches everyone’s life.

Giving is a kind of personal power. When you give from your heart, it makes you feel stronger. It expands your very being and contributes to your well-being. At the end of the day, well-being is the fruit that you’ll reap for yourself and those around you.

Someone passing on the five rules for well-being.

5. Accept more and expect less

Another important rule for well-being is learning to accept every experience that you have. Each person that you meet and each situation you deal with in life brings you a gift. The problem is that we aren’t always able to identify it.

Instead of complaining about what’s happening to you, put it in the context of learning to increase your well-being. The best part is that you’ll have the ability to turn negative situations into growth opportunities.

The rules for well-being of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition are a guide for life. It’s easy to make life unnecessarily complicated. These rules remind us that the only important thing is to live simply, with a humble and positive attitude towards yourself and others. The rest is just details.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Loy, D. (2004). El gran despertar: una teoría social budista. Editorial Kairós.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.