Transforming Suffering: The Roadmap to Freedom

We crave permanence and safety and we can’t just settle into the uncertainty that is often part of life. He put forth the four noble truths: life is suffering, the cause of suffering is wanting, suffering diminishes when wanting is abandoned, and the way to do it. The way it culminates in a course of action is very important. This isn’t a philosophy for us to believe in; it’s a path for us to walk.

 

By Daniel Scharpenbrug

 

The Buddhist path is about trying to engage our lives more skillfully.

We’re trying to learn how to live our lives in a way that reduces our suffering and we’re also trying to change the way our suffering spills out of us onto other people.

The path isn’t about creating more pleasant feelings so much as it is about being more okay with whatever is happening. Suffering, neuroses ignorance…these are normal aspects of being human. We probably can’t get rid of them but let’s see if we can move through the world with a little more mindfulness.

I don’t talk about the Buddha much because I think people may get carried away thinking about him. This isn’t about his journey; it’s about yours.

That being said, I will say a little about him. The man we call the Buddha went on a search for meaning 2500 or so years ago. He saw suffering in the world and he was depressed, so he turned to the religions of his day for comfort and that didn’t work. He tried a really diligent personal meditation practice, because he wanted to have some personal insight into the nature of things. Suffering, he realized, was a natural part of life—our own reaction to impermanence and death.

We crave permanence and safety and we can’t just settle into the uncertainty that is often part of life. He put forth the four noble truths: life is suffering, the cause of suffering is wanting, suffering diminishes when wanting is abandoned, and the way to do it.

The way it culminates in a course of action is very important. This isn’t a philosophy for us to believe in; it’s a path for us to walk.

With this in mind, the Buddha put together the Eightfold Path. He said that living in a way that supports these eight fundamental things is a way to promote well being and create harmony with the world around us.

Wise View: Learning how to put down our baggage and preconceptions in order to see the world as it really is. This is training in clarity.

Wise Thought: Lessening our attachment to views and judgments. This is training in equanimity.

Wise Speech: Being honest and careful so that our words don’t cause harm. This is training in virtue.

Wise Action: Helping others whenever possible. This is training in virtue.

Wise Livelihood: Having a career that minimizes harm. This is training in virtue.

Wise Effort: Always trying hard. It’s hard to stick with these practices. This is training in diligence.

Wise Mindfulness: Being present with what’s happening. This is training in attention.

Wise Meditation: Cultivating a mind that does not move. This is training in wisdom.

This is the foundation of Buddhism. We are training in these things in order to minimize the suffering of ourselves and the people around us. It’s important to keep these foundational things in mind because sometimes we forget.

 

Photo: (source)

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

Did you like this post? You might also like:

What is Mindfulness?

  By Daniel Scharpenburg Mindfulness is simply engaging our experience in the present, moment after moment, dwelling in our experience as it is. It is opening ourselves not just to the aspects of our lives that we like or dislike or see as important, but the totality...

The Buddha Said There Would Be Days Like This.

  By Toni Bernhard   Life is tough. We’re all subject to suffering, stress, anguish, and dissatisfaction. This is the essence of the Buddha’s first noble truth. Given life’s uncertainty and unpredictability, how could it be otherwise? When I first encountered this...

The Travels of Jingfei. {Short Story}

  By Tom Welch Jingfei ran up the stone steps of the monastery two at a time. The steps were many and she was tired when she reached the top, glad for the looseness of her boy's clothing that had made the climb a little easier. As she caught her breath, she rehearsed...

You Left Me: When Their Words Hurt.

  By Ty H. Phillips   “I don’t like you anymore,” she says, her lip quivering. “You’re not my daddy.” I look down at her blue eyes and the pain of her comments feels like a boot heel to the gut. I am caught reeling. Tears fill my eyes as I see her fighting back the...

Comments

comments

Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel lives in Kansas City. He runs Fountain City Meditation. Daniel is a Zen Priest and Meditation Teacher. He believes that meditation teachings can be shared with a little more simplicity and humility than we often see. He has been called "A great everyman teacher" and "Really down-to-earth." Daniel is affiliated with the Dharma Winds Zen Sangha, where he received ordination in 2018.

Find out more about Daniel here and connect with him on Facebook
(Visited 103 times, 1 visits today)