Buddhism has a very particular way of dealing with pain. This philosophy promotes the idea that it’s possible to end all suffering, even though it’s an unavoidable part of life. Although life causes us pain, we are not condemned to passively suffer it. There are 8 ways to end suffering.
According to Buddhists, to end suffering, the first thing to do is accept that it exists. All human beings, sooner or later, are touched by pain. Resisting it only worsens it.
Now, accepting pain doesn’t mean resigning yourself to it. Buddhism states that suffering is born of desire and that, therefore, learning to reject desire is the shortest way to end suffering. In turn, this philosophy points out that there’s a “noble eightfold path”, or 8 ways to end suffering, that should be practiced freely so that peace and harmony prevail in our lives.
1. Right view – the first of the 8 ways to end suffering
The best way to be fair is precisely by not judging. Rather than deciding whether something is good or bad, you should instead try to completely understand its nature. Many people act in the wrong way. However, who are you to judge them?
To end suffering, it’s necessary to cultivate a comprehensive attitude, rather than to judge. It’s not up to you to evaluate, approve, or condemn others’ behaviors. Nor do they have the power to do it to you.
2. Right resolve – forge noble purposes
There’s a big difference between setting successful goals and setting noble goals. The first ones are inspired by a desire for individual praise, which often leave you empty in the end. Your own triumph allows you to give yourself a round of applause, but does it have any purpose in the universe?
Buddhists, on the other hand, invite people to forge noble purposes. It’s a way to end suffering because they always lead to deep satisfaction that others can share. Feeling useful and purposeful gives more meaning to your efforts.
3. Right speech – be honest and cautious with your words
Words give life, but they also take it away. They make you and can also break you. When words come from a clean soul, they are a balm for the world. Words transmit understanding, affection, and fraternity. They comfort, motivate, and exalt the greatest values of life.
However, sometimes words are also used to lie, hurt, or belittle. No one can be happy if they harm others through their words. Sooner or later this backfires and ends up damaging the person who uses language that way.
4. Right conduct – Don’t hurt others or indulge in excess
One principle is present in virtually all the ethical codes of different cultures. You shouldn’t kill others nor threaten their lives. Furthermore, this doesn’t only apply to physical things, but it’s also symbolic; it can be spiritual.
To end suffering, it’s important to not make others suffer since that would be a great contradiction. Likewise, any kind of excess damages your well-being and should be avoided. There’s no better way to achieve harmony than to maintain balance in your own way of life.
5. Right livelihood – earn a living by working hard
It’s not appropriate to try to build lifestyles sustained by something other than your own work. When this happens, feelings of personal pride are diminished and altered.
Work transforms human beings and makes them better. It’s a way to build dignity, grow, and serve others. Idleness sooner or later leads to dissatisfaction and anguish. We stagnate, and it leads us to lose our best virtues and abilities.
6. Right effort – cultivate virtue
It’s not possible to end suffering if you don’t embark on a path of constant evolution. Virtue, in a general sense, isn’t something that falls from the sky, but it’ actually the fruit of patient cultivation. It’s a direct result of effort.
Cultivating virtue will also increase your self-love. It makes you see yourself as a real person in the process of learning and growing. It allows you to be open to criticism and errors and to see opportunities to evolve.
7. Right mindfulness – open observation
If you want to end suffering, it’s necessary that you remain attentive to the messages that your body sends. Our bodies warn us of any imbalances. It alerts us to lifestyles that can be harmful.
Likewise, it’s a good idea for you to become aware of how you act. You shouldn’t try to judge yourself nor approve of or punish yourself. Instead, it’s important that you see yourself as a bystander would in an effort to get to know yourself better.
8. Right samadhi – learn to calm the mind
When the mind is carried away by emotions, it loses its power. And if we give yourself over to uncontrolled feelings or passions, you easily end up sinking into situations that ultimately only cause more suffering.
Each person must find the tools that help them calm their mind in times of confusion, fear or anguish. When you act under these influences, this is when you make the most mistakes. That’s why it’s important to learn to contain these emotions.
The eight ways to end suffering are the result of ancient wisdom. They are also a detailed guide to facing the world and life. If you apply them with perseverance, it can lead to inner balance, harmony, and peace in your heart.