Every great religion has universal truths to offer. In my never-ending quest for ideas that can improve my life, I came across a great summary of the Buddhism’s core beliefs, known as The Noble Truths. I found it a thought-provoking counterpoint to the go-go, control-and-dominate philosophies we tend to live by in the West. See what you think.
- Life is painful and causes suffering. The message here isn’t “life stinks,” but rather we are better off adjusting our expectations and dealing with negative feelings and events head-on. Sickness, death and heartache are inescapable parts of life. An expectation that we should always be happy or content often leads to more disappointment and pain, as does excessive attachment to material possessions. Accept yourself as you are, and take life as it comes, for better or worse.
- Life is in constant flux. Everything is always changing moment-to-moment — the weather, our minds, bodies, beliefs, relationships, moods. Live in the moment. Savor the good stuff, and know the bad stuff will pass, as all things do. Celebrate change, don’t fight it.
- The self is always changing. See above. The constant change in our “self” makes it possible for us to change and grow. Instead of “finding ourselves,” Buddhists believe we should focus on creating our best self moment to moment.
If any of this makes sense, try incorporating it into your life. No, you don’t need to wear sandals, shave your head or burn incense to take advantage of these ideas. They are Buddhism’s gift to the world.