Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Buddism, (as I understand it)

Once upon a time, 2500 years ago in Nepal, a clever man was thinking about misery and unhappiness of people around him and came to this:
It is all in your head.
If you think you are unhappy - you are unhappy. If you think you are happy - you are happy. Clever, isn't it?
So, his next challenge was: how to make people think that they are happy?

First he looked into what makes people think that they are unhappy?

  • Present needs and wishes. "I want to eat nice food!". "I want to wear nice clothes! No, not this. My neighbour wears this. I want better ones!" Our countless wishes and needs, which we are trying to satisfy whole life long. We cannot win this battle. We are all swimming in unsatisfied wishes.

  • Worries about past and future. Someone hurt us 10 years ago, and we are still revisiting this moment in our memory again and again. Isn't it silly? It is in the past! It is gone! It does not exist! Just as silly to worry about the future. It does not exist! Enjoy your life now and here, every coming and going minute. And not "When I go on holiday", "If I win in a lottery", "I'll wait till I come back home". Now!

  • Shit happens. Bad people, bad weather, bad luck... Except it. And move on. There are a lot of things which are outside of our control. Just move on!

So, what do we know so far?

Shit happens.
Cause of unhappiness are our unsatisfied wishes, needs, bad memories.
Solution: reduce amount and intensity of wishes and needs. Exercise control of you mind, what is filtered out of memory, and what is reinforced. Easier said than done? Here come the
User manual.

These are four points , called "The Four Noble Truths", which our clever man came up with 2500 years ago. Sounds reasonable. Where is the religion come into play? - you might ask. I don't know. I don't see it. But it was inevitable, that during following 2500 years those illiterate (but happy) peasants started to worship this guy. Our education system told us many times the importance of staying focused, being able to concentrate on things. They never taught us - how to do it. I never looked into "User Manual". Didn't want to be bogged down by the need to distinguish between what our clever man said and what was added. My motivation was just to be a little happy man. I got it easy way, my Buddhist monk told me basics and showed some exercises, like:

Start with a simple task like concentrating on the air you are breathing in and out. And not to think about anything else. Just on air. "How long have I been doing it already?", "Look, I am concentrating and managing not to think about anything else!", "Do I look pretty with my eyes closed?" If you are having this kind of thoughts during exercise - you are not there yet. You
will know when you are ready for the next exercise. First three Noble Truths helped me a lot, dodn't really need any exercises

It is through personal experience and exercise we will be in control of our mind and our life. Happy life, that is :)

It is no coincidence that when we walk through slums in a Buddhist country, we see so many happy smiling faces.

And stay on core, forget the religion.

By the way, the name of our clever man was Siddhartha Gotama.

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