Category: Introspection

5 Simple Tips to Declutter Your Life

5 Simple Tips to Declutter Your Life

Why is it necessary to declutter our lives? The simple answer is that we have cluttered our lives with too many unimportant and unnecessary things and activities. In doing so, we have somehow managed to fill our waking hours with enough activities to keep us busy because we think that being busy is read more

Buddhism and Science: The Science on Past Life

Buddhism and Science: The Science on Past Life

Buddhism and Hinduism talk about reincarnation and past lives, but not all religious traditions believe in past lives, reincarnation or rebirth. As a result, many people from those other traditions are skeptical of the reality of reincarnation.

Here, we present some findings from scientific researches read more

Ethics: Why keep the precepts?

Ethics: Why keep the precepts?

The very IMPORTANT aspect of Buddhist Precepts is that it offers ethics without a divine imperative, this radically differs from the usual spiritual/secular dichotomy.

What is Ethically wrong is also religiously Wrong, eg It is wrong to KILL and even Killing to make an offering is also Wrong! There is NO sacrificial lamb or worse, a Human Being being killed for YOU!

We must clearly understand that the Precepts are NOT divine commandments BUT Training rules [sikkhapadam] that we voluntarily undertake to keep to our best abilty [samadiyami].

First Precept: not to kill living beings.
The negative phrasing of the precepts is noteworthy but the First Precept also lends itself to a positive reading, the development of Metta-Karuna [Loving Kindness], the positive aspect which encourages love, compassion and kindness to all living beings.
Buddhism teaches the interdependence of all living things, there must not be callous disregard for animal life or human beings.

The First Precept offer insights onto modern medical codes of Ethics. For instance, it prohibits assisted suicide or even encouragement of suicide, though they do not condone prolonging life at all costs.

Second Precept: not to steal. 
“I take upon myself the precept of abstention from taking that which is not given.”
If someone does not give us something, it is not ours to take. Without permission, taking is stealing. However Buddhism absolves one who takes something without knowing that it belongs to another .

The positive counterpart to the Second Precept is the Buddhist virtue of generosity [Dana]. To give is a greatly meritorious act.

Third Precept: 
This precept should be read in its original language: Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.

The word kama refers to any form of sensual pleasure but with an emphasis on sexual pleasure, and a literal translation of the precept would be “I take the rule of training ( veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami) not to go the wrong way/ misconduct (micchacara) for sexual pleasure (kamesu)”.

For adolescents and other unmarried Buddhists, the precept advocates the virtue of contentment in sexual abstinence—not safe sex behavior;
for spouses, the precept calls for marital fidelity. The sexual health of everyone is thus guarded.

Although most Buddhists are not celibates, we recognize celibate monasticism as the ideal lifestyle for the attainment of Enlightenment, in which monks and nuns renounce all sexual conduct as an impediment on this path.

The positive result of keeping this Precept is obvious; for the Laypeople it assures every individual of mutual respect for the body and the instituition of marriage, and for the Monastics, of the most appropriate conditions for the path of letting go of attachments, sex being a fundamental craving [kamatanha], attachment [kama upadana] and latent defilement [kamasava].

Fourth Precept: not to tell falsehoods. 
Buddhists understand the negative consequences of lying, and this precept also covers gossip and other forms of unproductive and hurtful speech.

This precept calls Buddhists to a love of truth and clarity in thought and expression.

Fifth Precept: 
“I take upon myself the precept of abstention from taking any intoxicating drinks that give rise to carelessness/mindlessness.”

The prohibition has been extended to all intoxicants, including modern addictive drugs. The Fifth Precept is primary because of its potential comprehensiveness: break it, and the resulting mindlessness easily leads to transgression of the other four. In positive terms, the precept points up the virtue of a unclouded, disciplined, and wise mind.

Buddhism does NOT have the notion of an almighty, creator God who is the source of human ethics. There is no prologue to the precepts as there is to commandments eg: “I am the LORD your God” so do this OR….!

As Buddhists, we must understand WHY we want to keep the Precepts and do it VOLUNTARILY rather than being dictated to by an external force threatening fire and birmstone to those who disobey or lapse. The aim of the Buddha Dhamma is to enable us to evolve to be BETTER and Wiser people, to do that the change must come from WITHIN and with Insight. We keep the Precepts because we want to, not because we are ordered to.

The Buddha taught three criteria for making moral judgments.

The first is to act towards others the way we would like them to act towards us.

Eg In the Samyutta Nikaya he uses this principle to advise against adultery. He says: “What sort of Dhamma practice leads to great good for oneself?… A noble disciple should reflect like this: ‘If someone were to have sexual intercourse with my spouse I would not like it. Likewise, if I were to have sexual intercourse with another’s spouse they would not like that. For what is unpleasant to me must be unpleasant to another, and how could I burden someone with that?’ As a result of such reflection one abstains from wrong sexual desire, encourages others to abstain from it, and speaks in praise of such abstinence.”

In the Bahitika Sutta, Ananda is asked how to distinguish between praiseworthy and blameworthy behaviour.

He answers that any behaviour which causes harm to oneself and others could be called blameworthy while any behaviour that causes no harm (and which helps) oneself and others could be called praiseworthy.

Behaviour can be considered good or bad according to the consequences or effects it has and whether or not it helps us to attain our ultimate goal of Nibbana.

When asked how after his death it would be possible to know what was and was not his authentic teaching, the Buddha replied: “The doctrines of which you can say: ‘These doctrines lead to letting go, giving up, stilling, calming, higher knowledge, awakening and to Nibbana’ – you can be certain that they are Dhamma, they are discipline, they are the words of the Teacher.”

This utilitarian attitude to ethics is highlighted by the fact that the Buddha uses the term kusala to mean ‘skillful’ or ‘appropriate’ or its opposite, akusala, when evaluating behaviour.

The other thing that is important in evaluating behaviour is intention (cetana). If a deed is motivated by good (based upon generosity, love and understanding) intentions it can be considered skillful.

Evaluating ethical behaviour in Buddhism requires more than obediently following commandments, it requires that we develop a sympathy with others, that we be aware of our thoughts, speech and actions, and that we be clear about our goals and aspirations.

How to Find Peace in the midst of Chaos

How to Find Peace in the midst of Chaos

The world we live in today is in chaos. Greed and hatred are seen manifesting everywhere. People are living in fear, feeling a great sense of insecurity and frustration. Government and financial systems are falling apart. Nothing seems to be working.

In a world where chaos seems to reign, is there any hope of finding peace? Here are a few tips to reclaim the peace and sense of safety missing in your life today.

1. Look Within

Instead of trying to fix things outside, let us begin by fixing what is wrong inside – within ourselves. Examine our values, beliefs and the principles we uphold. Take a good and honest look at our motivations. Are our actions motivated by fear or by love?

We are now experiencing the effects of actions that were motivated by greed (financial collapse) and hatred (terrorism). We should know by now that if our motivation is not pure, the end result cannot be good, even if it may look good in the short term.

2. Eliminate Fear and Selfishness

The more we feed fear, the stronger fear grows. We need to recognize and acknowledge the fear within us, and face our fear. Only when we do that can we learn to overcome our own fear. It is possible to live a life without fear. Indeed, that is what ultimately freedom means – the freedom from fear.

Again, when we look at the world outside, we are seeing repressive regimes that promote fear and exploit their people are now having to deal with the backlash of such repressions. Fear cannot sustain itself. Eventually, it will fail.

The same is true for us as well. If we let fear becomes the motivating force in our life – in our behaviors and actions – it will eventually fail us too. If we look closely, we will realize that selfishness is a form of fear. Therefore, we need to eliminate selfishness.

3. Seek Peace within You

Peace is our birthright. It is our true nature, our essence. If we look within and eliminate fear, we will find peace within us. It has been there all the time. Only our fear and selfishness have blinded us and obscure our sight.

If you have been living fearfully all your life, it can be difficult to believe that peace is within you. Yet, you must have faith that this is true. Only then will you begin to seek it within.

Once again, we can look at the world outside to learn that all who seek peace outside have not found it. Only those who seek peace within have found it. Ask the sages and the saints. They will tell you this simple truth.

Put these three simple tips into practice in your life and you will reap the benefits.

I wish for you peace and joy in life.

A Reason, A Season or a Lifetime

A Reason, A Season or a Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty,
to provide you with guidance and support,
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met,
our desire fulfilled, their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons,
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson,
love the person and put what you have learned to use
in all other relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life,
Whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.