Buddhism is one of the oldest religions still practiced and one that more followers have, with more than 200 million. Although, some prefer to refer to Buddhism more as a philosophy of life than a religion.
One way or another, what has allowed this philosophy/religion survive over time and continue gaining popularity are its simple messages filled of wisdom that can really enhance our daily lives. In fact, it is not necessary to embrace Buddhism to reap the benefits that can give us. Just keep an open mind and a willing heart.
1. Pain is unevitable, suffering is optional
We tend to think we react to events, that these bring with it the seed of sadness or joy, but actually we react to what the events mean to us. We only can be damaged by that to which we confer importance. Therefore, to avoid unnecessary suffering, sometimes we just need to make a step back, disengage from emotions and see things from another perspective. It is difficult, but with practice we can learn to do it. In fact, another Buddhist quote shows us the way: “All we are is the result of what we thought; it is founded on our thoughts and is made of our thoughts.”
2. Rejoice because everywhere is here and everything is now
Often we miss life while we are tied to the past or worried about the future. However, Buddhism teaches us that we have only the “here and now”. Therefore, we must learn to be fully present to enjoy every moment as if it were the first and the last. So, don’t dive into the past neither dream too much of the future, but focus on the present moment because that is where you will find the keys to happiness.
3. Take care of the outside as well as the inside because all is one
We are a physical and spiritual unity, but we often forget it. Sometimes we worry too much about caring for the body and we forget the soul, while sometimes we care a lot for our psychological balance leaving aside important aspects such as diet and exercise. However, to find a true wellness state it is imperative that mind and body are balanced.
4. Better wear slippers than carpet the world
It is important to know which wars are worth to fight and which to lose, because fighting against windmills can be very romantic but not effective. Sometimes, either because we overestimate our forces or we are not aware of the magnitude of the situation, we make plans that go beyond our capabilities. This way we generate unnecessary stress. However, to find inner peace it is important to be aware of our strength and dose our resources, only this way we can go further.
5. Do not hurt others with what causes yourself pain
This is a top of Buddhism that if applied literally, it would virtually eliminate all laws and moral precepts. However, this Buddhist quote goes beyond the classic “do not do to others what you would not like to be done to you” because it involves, above all, a deep understanding of ourselves and, secondly, a great empathy to others.
6. The richest isn’t who has more, but who needs less
Although we are not aware of it, our desire for more, whether at the material level or emotional, is the main source of our concerns and disappointments. When we learn to live with little and accept everything that life gives to us and the moment we receive it, we achieve a more balanced life and reduce tension and stress. Wanting more things often indicates that we need more security or that we feel alone and we need to fill those gaps. When you feel comfortable with yourself, you don’t need to prove anything.
7. To understand everything you need to forget everything
When we are young we are open to learning, we have no preconceived ideas. However, as we grow, our mind becomes full of social conditioning telling us how things should be, how we should behave and even what to think. We are so imbued in this context that we do not realize that our mind has become a very narrow box that imprisons us. So if you want to change and see things from another perspective, the first step is to disengage from the beliefs and stereotypes that keep you tied. In this sense, comes another Buddhist quote to enlighten us: “In heaven there is no distinction between east and west, people create these distinctions in their mind and think they are true.”
8. Hatred does not diminish hatred. Hate only decreases with love
Violence begets violence, anger produces resentment. It’s something we know but that almost we never apply so that often we engage in discussions in which we are led by our most negative emotions, we respond to criticism with another critic and an attack with another even stronger. However, hatred only breeds hatred, the only way to counteract its effect is to give love, responding with positive emotions.
9. Give, even if you have only very little to give
This is one of the oldest Buddhist quotes, but ultimately, some research in the area of positive psychology have shown that gratitude and giving are one of the paths that lead to happiness. It is not about to give expecting to receive something in return but to give motivated by the pleasure of helping someone. Remember that is not a better person who graciously gives away what owns in excess but who shares what is barely enough for him/her.
10. If you can appreciate the miracle that holds a single flower, your whole life will change
In this Buddhist quote is enclosed the secret of change: learn to appreciate everything and every person for what it is, a unique and unrepeatable miracle. When we learn not to criticize but to accept and marvel at the smallest things around us, our lives will change because we’re opening the door to gratitude, curiosity and joy. On the contrary, if we think there is nothing special about the little things and we’re on the top of the world, not only we are closing ourselves to the beauty but also to learning and growth. If you can’t appreciate the miracle that encloses a flower, it means that you’re already dying inside.