The life of Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha the founder of Buddhism, is shrouded in myth in legend. What is known is that he was born in Nepal and became a philosopher and religious teacher who would go on to found the Buddhist religion.The Buddha or “enlightened one” is regarded by many people as a god-like all knowing being.
Buddha spent his life exploring other religions and philosophies and was deeply unsatisfied by everything he came across. Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha one fateful night during deep meditation where all of life’s answers became clear and he achieved full awareness. After his enlightenment, Buddha spent the next 80 years of his life traveling and teaching the Dharma, the name given to Buddha’s teachings, as a way to help others reach the path of enlightenment. Today, over 500 million people around the world practice Buddhism and continue to live by his teachings. Here are 10 life lessons to be learned from the mythic and wise Buddha.
Lesson 1: How You Think Has Power
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”
Many people have a hard time realizing that our thoughts can manifest themselves in a very real way. It’s important to remember that our mind is powerful and that it’s responsible for everything we do in life. If you believe that you are worthless, then you will be worthless and if you believe that you can achieve anything, then you can. Remember to be mindful of how you perceive yourself. Try your best to think good thoughts so that you may become a better person.
Lesson 2: Remember To Live In The Present
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Living in the present is difficult for many of us. We’re often too preoccupied by what may come tomorrow and have trouble overcoming the things in our past. When we do this, we actually stop living and we don’t know how to live in the present. We all have to remember to stop trying to change what is beyond our control and just live our life day to day. We have to do our best and seize each day as it comes.
Lesson 3: Be Your Own Hero
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
We all probably have heroes we look up to and it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that they’re going to come along and save us when we need help. Rather than waiting around hoping for someone to come and solve our problems, we all must be more self-reliant and remember that we have the power to change our circumstances. Everyone has the ability to carve their own path in life.
Lesson 4: Share Your Wealth
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
Though we are all taught the importance of sharing when we’re kids, as we grow older many of us start to forget this lesson. It’s too easy for people to be selfish and keep the good things in their life to themselves. This isn’t a good way to live and we all have to remember to share when we can. Sharing your good fortunes with other will make you richer in the end because your soul will feel fuller.
Lesson 5: Practice Healthy Habits
“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
Today’s lifestyle makes it difficult to keep your body healthy. However, the state of our physical bodies affects everything we do and also our minds. Our minds deteriorate when our bodies are unhealthy. Our brains have to divert energy to overcompensating for our unhealthy ways and this takes away from having a focused and clear mind. No matter how busy our lives are, we must remember to maintain a strong and healthy body.
Lesson 6: Don’t Be Envious Of Others
“Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.”
With the rise of social media and how easy it is to see what others have and what they are doing, many of us get caught in the throes of jealousy. It’s too easy to look at others and want what they have. We all have to stop this type of thinking and remember to appreciate what we have ourselves. We can’t spend our time worrying too much about other people.
Lesson 7: Remember To Act On Your Words
“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?”
Too many people make hollow promises and fail to actually act on the things that they say. It’s crucial that we remember that actions do speak louder than words. You can spend your time speaking about all your good intentions, but your words are worthless unless you actually see them through. Remember that you have to keep your word and do the things that you say you will.
Lesson 8: Cultivate A Strong Work Ethic
“To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.”
Though it’s good to take time and enjoy life, it’s vital to continue to work hard throughout your life. Being lazy gets you nowhere and prevents you from actually living your life. Working hard is valuable and being persistent will get you everything you want out of life. There’s no value in being lethargic and you end up not contributing anything to society. You have to remember that diligence is the ultimate key to success.
Lesson 9: Choose Your Words Carefully
“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”
Our words really do have power and the things we say can have unforeseen consequences. Due to this, we must all be more thoughtful of what comes out of our mouths. It’s rather easy for other people to latch on to the things we say and twist them into something else. This is something everyone, particularly people in positions of power, need to remember. Whether we like it or not, we have to take responsibility for our words.
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Lesson 10: Keep Moving Forward
“I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.”
It’s alright to take the time to enjoy the fruits of all your hard work, but you can’t stop and rest on your laurels for too long. You can’t evolve and grow as a person if you think that you’ve already reached your peak. You have to remember that there’s always room for improvement and that there is always more ahead of you. Keep pushing forward and always continue to work hard.