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Mr. Modern Invention, that tricky bastard, makes us believe that suffering is an easy fix. Countless gadgets have been delivered to us so that we will never be hungry, never be bored, never be lonely, lost, dirty or without a pre-recorded fart sound (yes, there’s an app for that). We employ all of these material and virtual inventions, wondering how we ever survived without them; and still, we suffer.
Why is that? I mean, with all of these gadgets, shouldn’t life be perfect? Or at least be close to it? Life should at least be sort of easy, right?
But it’s not.
Life is not easy.
And no matter what the next latest-greatest promises, life will not become easier once we invest in it. The end of suffering is not available in stores. The end of suffering is available only deep inside ourselves. And once we think we find the end to suffering, we must continue to practice through dedication and self discovery. We don’t stop practicing once we find a shiny happy moment of peace. The moment will pass and another opportunity for growth through suffering will present itself. Because life changes at such a pace that the ways we suffer change constantly, too.
Buddhism offers a practical Eightfold Path to the end of suffering. It doesn’t contaminate the earth, stress you out, make you fat or cause break-outs of any kind. Oh, and it’s free. Yah, baby. Remember those Four Noble Truths we learned about? Well, this is that path eluded to in the fourth truth, which is broken down into three parts: Wisdom, Ethical Conduct and Mental Development. Here are the eight pieces…
- Right View, understanding that in 300 years we’ll be dust so keep things in perspective
- Right Intention, controlling the way we think about ourselves and others through mindfulness
- Right Speech, thinking before we speak and refraining from gossip or harsh language (ouch), being truthful, kind and helpful with the words we choose
- Right Action, doing the right thing and living wholesomely
- Right Livelihood, earning an ethical living that doesn’t conflict with our values or harm the planet
- Right Effort, consciously directing our lives toward transformation by finding a balance between life’s activities and a disciplined meditative practice
- Right Mindfulness, living in the here and now through experiencing physical sensations, emotions, thoughts and attitudes
- Right Concentration, being absorbed by one thought, also called one-pointedness; it’s a doozy
The Buddhas dying words are these: “Look not for refuge to anyone beside yourself.”
The machines, the services, the computers, the gurus… they are convenient or they are distracting. But they are not the end to suffering. You are. It just takes practice.
From mine to yours,
p.s. Don’t forget to share with your Bu-curious friends! Read more by Vanessa at Everything Old is New Age Again.