In today’s article, we will explore some bits and pieces of the Dhammapada by Eknath Easwaran, subtitled, the sayings of the Buddha.
The author, who is a prominent historian and ancient Indian spirituality translator, affirms that if everything about Buddhism was lost, except for the teachings of the Buddha within this one sutra, this one book called the Dhammapada, then it would be enough to grasps all the concepts and essence of Buddhism.
I didn’t want to write an article on Buddhism per se, and I am not a Buddhist. If you guys know me then you know that I like to be considered a secular spiritual seeker.
The selection I have made for you today is more philosophical than religious, and like all the great books we have seen together on this channel, from the roman stoics to the ancient Chinese wisdom of Confucius and so on, it blows my mind to see that it all is still very much useful and valid today.
I don’t care much about ancient wisdom. I care about wisdom and am fascinated that some truths are still so accurate to this day.
As always, let’s start with a little bit of context here, and then we will start on the Buddha’s 5 tips for a good life.
So when was the Buddha around and who was he? well, you will find it funny to know that he was around at the same time as our friend Confucius from the last video. That’s about 6 hundred years before Christ, so approximately 2600 years ago.
He was born as Siddhartha Gautama, the son of a royal family in what is now Nepal. He decided to walk away from his wealth and different riches, and all the comfort that was entitled to him at the age of 30, in order to start his journey of spiritual fulfillment through a path of contemplation and asceticism before he was able to achieve enlightenment, or so it is said while sitting under the Bohdi tree and became known as the Buddha
The Four Noble Truths are the Buddha’s main teachings and are the core of Buddhism. Hundreds of millions of people now practice what is called Buddhism across the world today and have gained huge popularity in the western world, especially in the 60s. The word Buddha is Sanskrit and means “to wake up”. This is why we understand the Buddha to be the one who is awake, and truly alive and in the present, moment to moment.
Our first quote for today is about the Dhammapada, just to finish off on the context, and we will jump to the buddha’s 5 tips to a good life.
“THE BUDDHA DID NOT LEAVE A STATIC STRUCTURE OF HIS BELIEF THAT WE CAN AFFIRM AND BE DONE WITH, HIS TEACHING IS AN ONGOING PATH A ‘WAY OF PERFECT’ WHICH ANYONE CAN FOLLOW TO THE HIGHEST GOOD. THE DHAMMAPADA IS A MAP FOR THIS JOURNEY… THESE VERSES CAN BE READ AND APPRECIATED SIMPLY AS WISE PHILOSOPHY; AS SUCH, THEY ARE PART OF THE GREAT LITERATURE OF THE WORLD. BUT FOR THOSE WHO WOULD FOLLOW IT TO THE END, THE DHAMMAPADA IS A SURE GUIDE TO NOTHING LESS THAN THE HIGHEST GOAL LIFE CAN OFFER: SELF-REALIZATION.”
“Go beyond both pleasure and pain”.
Follow the “eightfold paths”. Remember that these are:
right views, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
“More than those who hate you more than all your enemies, an undisciplined mind does greater harm”.
“Don’t just look good, smell good!”
“If you need to walk alone, walk alone! I quote the Buddha: “Avoid the company of the immature if you want joy”.”