Siddhartha Gautama was a great spiritual leader from ancient India who founded Buddhism. In most Buddhist traditions, he is considered the Supreme Buddha. “Buddha” is interpreted to mean “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.”
Siddhartha is the primary figure in Buddhism, and the accounts of his life, teachings, and monastic rules were recapitulated after his death and memorized by his followers.
Today I want to discuss some very important life lessons which I’ve derived from the teachings of Buddha.
1. Its Okay to Start Small
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Every artist was once an amateur.”
We all start small, do not despise small beginnings. If you’re consistent, and if you’re patient, you will succeed! No one succeeds over night; success belongs to those who are willing to start small and patiently work until their jug is filled.
2. Thoughts Become Things
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”
Buddha said, “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” James Allen said, “Man is mind.”
In order to live rightly, you must fill your mind with “right” thoughts.
Your thinking determines your actions; your actions determine your outcome. Right thinking will grant you everything you desire; wrong thinking is a vice that will eventually destroy you.
If you change your thinking you will change your life. Buddha said, “All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
When you release those who you are holding captive in the prison of un-forgiveness, it is you who is released from prison. You can’t keep someone down, without staying down with them. Learn to forgive, learn to forgive quickly.
4. It’s Your Actions That Count
“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?”
They say “Talk is cheap,” because it is. To progress you must act; to progress quickly, you must act daily. Greatness will not fall upon you!
Greatness is for everyone, but only those who are willing to act consistently will experience it. There’s a proverb that goes, “God gives every bird a worm, but he doesn’t throw it into their nest.” To be great you must act great. Buddha said, “I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.”
5. Seek to Understand
“In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.”
Stephen Covey said, “Seek to understand first, then to be understood.” Easily said, very difficult to do; you must labor to understand the “other” person’s perspective. When you feel anger rising, let it cease. Listen to others, understand their perspective, and you will have more peace. Be more concerned with being happy, than being right
6. Conquer Yourself
“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”
He who can conquer himself is greater than the mighty. To conquer yourself you must conquer your mind. You must control your thinking. Your thoughts cannot be tossed to and fro like the waves of the sea. You may be thinking, “I can’t control my thoughts, if a thought comes, it comes.” To that I say, you may not be able to stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can certainly stop him from building a nest in your hair. Dismiss thoughts that are contrary to the life you desire to live. Buddha said, “It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe that lures him to evil ways.”
7. Live in Peace
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
Don’t look without for something that can only be found within. Many times we may look without only to distract ourselves from the reality we know is true. That reality is that peace can only be found within. Peace is not a new job, peace is not a new car, or a new spouse….peace is a new perspective, and that new perspective begins with you.
8. Be Thankful
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
There’s always something to be thankful for. Don’t be so pessimistic that for a moment, even a split moment, you fail to realize the thousands of things you have to be thankful for. Everyone didn’t wake up this morning; some people went to sleep last night for the last time. There’s always something to be grateful for, recognize it, and give thanks. A grateful heart will make you great!
9. Be True to What You Know
“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”
We know a lot, but we don’t always do what we know. If you fail, it won’t be because you didn’t know; it will be because you didn’t do what you knew to do. Work to do what you know to do. Don’t just consume information, but ponder on thoughts that are conducive to what you desire to become until you have a burning desire to manifest it.
10. Travel Well
“It is better to travel well than to arrive.”
Life is about the journey! I’m not trying to arrive, I’m already there. I am happy, and content, and satisfied where I am today. I may experience nicer places, and finer wines, but I am traveling well. Don’t put off your happiness into some nebulous time in the future based on some goal that you think will bring you happiness. Travel well today, enjoy the journey.