Beginning the Way

By Donald D.


Like in anything in life you must start at the beginning. That is a true fact in life. Even though it may seem there are short cuts in whatever you endeavor to do, shortcuts only set you back further from whatever your goal may be. In our practice of Buddhism, many think you only need to meditate to find peace, true peace. True sitting, zazen as we call it, is a big part of our practice, but not all of it. Our great Sage and Founder Shakyamuni Buddha sat and watched humanity for many years. This practice awakened his true self and understanding of the reality of life. In this transformation he found great wisdom. When he presented it to his friends, who were his first disciples, they were unable to grasp this teaching. It was just too complex. So, Buddha found a way to teach the common masses. This first teaching was on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path to Liberation of the Four Noble Truths which are: suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering and the eightfold path to the cause of cessation of suffering. By following the Eightfold Path, we can pretty much handle anything in our lives. But you must practice them.

Whether you are new to Buddhism or you’ve been on the path of Buddhism this is (at least for myself) one of the best ways to find your true path in life. The reason for this is that these principles form a system that helps you not only to look deep into who are but also look deeply into the world you perceive you live in. One of the key aspects of Buddhism is to find out who you truly are and how you fit in the world around you. You do this by sitting and by using the tools that are given to you, like the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path consists of: Right Understanding Right Thought Right Speech Right Action Right Livelihood Right Effort on the Path Right Awareness or Mindfulness Right Meditative Concentration These eight practices on the path will help you realize the Four Noble Truths and how to deal with them. In the next newsletter, I will go over them in some detail but first we should understand the Four Noble Truths, a summary of the things the Buddha learned about human life. SUFFERING We as humans do a lot of suffering during our day in by the way we let “things’ bother us. A simple thing as just waiting in line just take a moment and think about the last time you waited in line. See just how miserable maybe not you but a few in that same line spent the whole time complaining on how slow it was moving. We humans really stressed out over simple things and then cling to them for hours or even days. CAUSES OF SUFFERING Most of the time we’re the cause of our suffering pretty much by clinging to things not just on our past or on bad things that happen to us. But even when we have good things that happen we tend to want to keep that good feeling we had. Nothing is permanent so when we try to keep that feeling and it doesn’t happen we get depressed or maybe just distant. CESSATION OF SUFFERING This is when we really experience our suffering from not keeping our balance and clinging on to things. This is truly feeling the cost of your action or thoughts. THE EIGHTFOLD PATH TO THE CESSATION OF SUFFERING By working the Eightfold Path you start to see where your suffering is coming from. This is how sitting Zazen helps because while you sit many of the things you cling to will just start to fade away because you begin to really see what you’re clinging to. That’s where Right Effort and Right Meditative Concentration comes in and Right Awareness lets you see how this effects your emotions. No matter what, nothing is permanent in life, there is always change. Only by clinging to the past and to emotions of good or bad or being worried about the future brings suffering.