One of the first stories of the Bible is the story of Adam and Eve. It is a rich story of the origin of man and woman, with many lessons revealed within on how Western/Middle Eastern culture understands the nature of human beings. As Western Occidentals, understanding more how we were raised to understand human nature makes it easier to understand our orientation to the Buddhist philosophy and its understanding of the universe.
The Buddha gave a very clear mission statement, “I teach one thing and one only: that is, suffering and the end of suffering.” (— SN 22.86)
The Four Noble Truths, the oble Eightfold Path, the Law of Karma, etc.: Everything that the Buddha taught was done with one clear purpose: to end suffering.
But what does he mean by suffering? How does that translate into happiness?
Buddhism doesn’t change the world, but how we engage in it. Buddhism—in its application—is a fundamental shift of thinking, where we see that we are not fixed identities but a grouping of ever-changing processes and conditions continually in motion. That realization dissolves the concepts of self, separateness and isolation that are cornerstones to the illusions which cause our suffering.
Anyone who has started a regular meditation practice knows pain is something that is part of the practice. But is there anything we can do to minimize the issues of pain in our meditation? While many meditation instructions discuss the challenges of the mind, they less frequently discuss the challenges of the body.
In today’s society we are continually marketed the image of what beautiful is. Be mindful that this world is made up of nothing but beautiful people. We just need to adjust our focus from what other’s expectations are for beauty and what truly makes people beautiful.
Overall, I am now finishing my month-long experiment and very satisfied with the results. I have not only lost nearly 20 pounds (which my dieticians say is fantastic and healthy), but I have developed a greater understanding into myself and my Buddhist practice.