14 March 2012

Finally, the Fourth!

There's a spare minute in my day, and so I can finally put up the final part of the Basics of Buddhism.  There are Four Noble Truths.  #1, #2, and #3 are done.


There's a way to set things right.

All great ideas are centered around solutions.

The world is full of problems, and people by and large want answers.  Those answers might work and they might not.  They could be the medicine, or they could just be a placebo.  They might get rid of the problem or they might just help you to deal with it.  Sometimes you can't really tell the difference between the two.

Religious Buddhists (see, there are sects and subsects and divisions of everything) will leave a peace of fruit in front of a statue and hope that that solves some problems.

Monks in the temple and many Buddhist practitioners in the West focus more on trying to do the following:

To cultivate and practice wisdom.
To live an ethical life.
To concentrate.

Pretty easy right?

To cultivate wisdom we try to understand things how they really are, not how we wish them to be or how they seem to be.
To practice wisdom we focus on our intentions; on making sure that we promote goodwill and understanding.

To live an ethical life we refine, moderate, and reduce our speech.
We abstain from actions that are not kind, respectful, or peaceful.
We earn our living in a way that doesn't harm or take advantage of others.

To learn how to concentrate and understand our minds we focus on understanding our mental state.
We become mindful of our bodies, our actions, and the reasons (or lack of reason) behind what moves through our mind.
We learn to observe the workings of our mind through meditation.

Give yourself plenty enough of all of those things and you'll be well on your way.  You won't even need any thousand-armed gold statues or piles of incense.

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