Buddhism is a religion – or some might say, way of life – that is led mainly by spiritual practices and honest principles that are attributed to ‘The Buddha’.
When practiced, Buddhist principles are said to lead to inner peace, calmness in the mind and a deeper sense of connectedness with the universe. In addition, at the very core of Buddhism lies gratitude.
Formed over two thousand years ago, the main principles of Buddhism are still very relevant today. Whether you want to experience more happiness, or live with more purpose, Buddhism encourages positive change in all facets of life.
Here are four principles that will help you to live a Buddhist-inspired life.
1. You Already Have Everything
According to Buddhism, the desire to have more – whether in material or emotional terms – results in discontentment. Buddha believed that the only way to end suffering was to end desire.
I don’t necessarily feel that desire is a bad thing, especially when it motivates us to do better but if wanting more makes us feel unhappy with what we already have, it’s counterintuitive. Not forgetting the disruption it causes to our inner peace.
Buddhist principles teach us that happiness can only ever be found within, and perhaps more importantly, nothing is missing from our lives. This One Thing Will Give You Everything You’ve Ever Wanted talks about this in more detail.
If you choose to feel content with your life exactly as it is, not only will you feel deeply satisfied, you will also experience freedom from disrupting thoughts.
2. Human Life is a Rarity, so be Grateful for Yours
Some say that as human beings we have an extraordinary ability to live in harmony with ourselves and others, along with the world and all of its inhabitants. Buddhism promotes such a way of life; it teaches us to maximise our potential through the use of the mind, the body, and of course the soul.
Buddha believed that humans were a rare form of life. All species are unique in their own right and when you consider the size of the human race (7.4 billion) compared with other species, such as chicken, insects and rodents, (which each amount to tens of billions upwards), you realise that human life is a rarity.
That’s not to say any species is less important, but as human beings, we have a choice to experience inner peace, compassion, kindness, empathy, and all of the other wonderful gifts that we possess.
You, me and every other human on this planet are very fortunate to have been given the chance to experience human life – the question is, how are you choosing to live yours?
3. Suffering Isn’t Always Bad
Buddhist principles are built on gratitude, selflessness and the ability to see the best in any given situation – something we can take great inspiration from.
Negative experiences that we encounter can serve as powerful lessons, should we allow them to. In this post I talk about how looking inward during times of difficulty is not something we tend to do naturally, we often look outside for blame, for answers and for healing. And yet, if we looked inside and searched for ways to grow off the back of a difficult situation, we would find many.
Even when things aren’t going well, Buddhism teaches us to look at what’s going right – it encourages us to find good in every situation and learn from all experiences. Suffering teaches us to be more compassionate, it strips us back to our true self, and we feel greater empathy toward other people as a result of our own pain.
4. Live in the Here and Now
Eckhart Tolle is renowned for his teachings on present moment living. The explosion of his book, The Power of Now, saw millions of people across the world learning about, and benefiting from, living in the here and now.
Much of what Eckhart teaches falls in line with Buddhist principles; Buddhism teaches us the importance of living in the moment and living with purpose. It says that the past has been and gone, and the future doesn’t exist. There is only ever one moment that is real, and that moment is the present.
Living in the present moment not only offers peace of mind, it also helps us to be more appreciative of life and in-tune with our surroundings, and as a result, we get greater enjoyment out of life.
Check out Soul Analyse’s top tips for living in the present moment.