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We are not alone in the universe!

The history of Buddhism is the story of one man's spiritual journey to enlightenment, and of the teachings and ways of living that developed from it. Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, was born into a royal family in present-day Nepal over years ago. He lived a life of privilege and luxury until one day he left the royal enclosure and encountered for the first time, an old man, a sick man, and a corpse.

Disturbed by this he became a monk before adopting the harsh poverty of Indian asceticism. Buddhists believe that one day, seated beneath the Bodhi tree the tree of awakening , Siddhartha became deeply absorbed in meditation and reflected on his experience of life until he became enlightened. By finding the path to enlightenment, Siddhartha was led from the pain of suffering and rebirth towards the path of enlightenment and became known as the Buddha or 'awakened one'. There are numerous different schools or sects of Buddhism.

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The majority of Buddhist sects do not seek to proselytise preach and convert , with the notable exception of Nichiren Buddhism. Search term:.

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Find out more about page archiving. Buddhism at a glance Last updated This page provides a brief overview of the spiritual tradition of Buddhism. Sincerely recognizing our wrongs can help to rectify our mistakes and correct ourselves. Guilt occurs when we are convinced that we have committed an irreparable mistake and tortures us if we think that our problem will remain permanent. Life is change. The more we refuse to accept this fact, the more we resist the natural changes of our existence and the more we perpetuate our suffering.

Admitting that change is inevitable will avoid a great deal of anxiety. By practicing a shift in our vision of things, we will continue to put some experiences and some tragedies to good use to acquire greater serenity of spirit. Never forget that each event has several facets. Everything is relative.

Often at the slightest obstacle, our vision narrows. All the attention becomes focused on the concerns.

the seeking self the quest for self improvement and the creation of personal suffering Manual

Admit that our entirely negative vision of a being is due to our own perception based on our mental projection rather than his or her true nature. Enemies play a crucial role. To fully attain love and compassion, it is essential to practice patience and tolerance. That is why we must strive to seize the hatred of an enemy as an opportunity to strengthen our patience and tolerance and treat our enemies with the greatest consideration because of the opportunities that they offer us to mature. The same applies to actions which seem to us to be tedious and difficult: for example, performing a physical exercise that requires effort and strength.

The interest lies not in the immediate pleasure it provides but in the benefits that it will bring later. The flexibility of mind is what nourishes the ability to change perspective, to broaden our vision of things and to integrate new points of view. Always seek to keep an open mind; this ability to look at the magnitude of the universe and our little world allows us to distinguish between what is important in life and what is not.

A flexible mind helps address problems from several angles and conversely to consider problems from several angles, which turns out to be a way of exercising the mind in its flexibility. On the scale of evolution, the species that are the most adaptable to changes in their environment have survived and prospered. Life today is characterized by unexpected changes that are as sudden as they are violent. Tackling our existence with a demonstration of flexibility and suppleness allows us to keep a cool head in the most disturbing situations: each one of us must define our acceptable limits in relation to our system of values and our own principles.

Balance, knowledge, and care to avoid extremes are capital skills for everyday life. Like planting the shoot of a young tree, we must look after them with skill and tact because excesses such as moisture or sun will destroy the plant. Finding meaning in suffering is certainly a powerful method to deal with the darkest problems of existence, but it is not an easy task. When everything goes wrong, we say why me? That is why we should seek the hidden sense of suffering when everything is going well, in order to have the best possible chance of reaping the benefits. Suffering can strengthen and toughen us.

Pain is a remarkable, complex and harmonious biological mechanism that exists to warn us about and protect us from damage to the body. Mental posture affects the ability to perceive and endure pain ; it is mentally that we convert pain into suffering. To reduce it, we must distinguish between the pain that is due to pain, and the pain that we create simply by thinking about it. Fear, anger, guilt, loneliness, and despair are emotional reactions that are likely to intensify it. According to the Dalai Lama, the process of change goes through the following steps: learning, conviction, determination, action, and effort.

Learning and education help to convince us of the need for change and strengthen our commitment. Then, the conviction of the need for change is transformed into determination and the determination into action. Being firmly determined means that we can withstand the effort required to make real changes.

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The final element, effort, is crucial. To reach important objectives, a sense of urgency is a key element and it can communicate incredible energy. Even though we realize that every moment is precious and that we must make the best use of time, why do we generate inertia when it comes to making positive changes in our life? Because we are all accustomed to doing things in a certain way, to only doing what pleases us and what we know, because we are pampered children. To succeed, we must not slacken our effort, understanding that change does not happen overnight.

If some suggest that negative emotions, such as hatred, anger or envy are natural parts of the human spirit and therefore there is no way to alter our mental state, the Dalai Lama is unequivocal: they are wrong! The human being is born in a perfectly natural state of ignorance. Therefore, as we grow, thanks to education and to learning, we are able to repel ignorance and acquire knowledge. By analogy, appropriate exercise will gradually reduce negative emotions and strengthen positive states of mind: love, compassion, and indulgence.

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Combating negative emotions allows us to understand how the human mind works. The human mind is as complex as it is gifted: it is able to develop any number of ways to find solutions to a diverse range of conditions and situations. It has the faculty to adapt its point of view depending on the problems encountered.

All the negative mental views act as barriers to happiness; the most powerful obstacles to compassion and altruism are anger, rage, and hostility. They can cause illness or even death according to studies 5 and are destructive of all virtue and serenity. Erasing anger and hatred is not enough! We must actively cultivate the antidotes that are patience and tolerance; to do this requires enthusiasm and a strong desire to combat these negative emotions.

Enthusiasm is the result of knowledge of the beneficial effects of tolerance and patience and the destructive and negative effects of anger and hatred. Anger or hatred neutralize the better parts of intellect, namely the faculty to judge between good and bad, and the consequences of your actions in the short and long-term; your capacity to make good judgments becomes inoperative. Hate transforms an individual, making him or her repulsive, including physically as the face becomes deformed and ugly.

It is accompanied by loss of sleep or appetite with increased tension. Hate targets no other objective than to destroy; understanding this should be enough for us to decide not to allow this enemy to take any hold of us. To fight it requires preventive measures by cultivating inner contentment and serenity. When anger arrives, it must be actively challenged and then analyzed logically. Next, retracing the path of thoughts which triggered the anger contributes to dissipating it. In the western world, reacting with patience and tolerance when we are actively wronged is taken for weakness or passivity.

For the Dalai Lama, reacting in this way suggests restraint, which is the prerogative of a strong and disciplined mind. Impatience is not necessarily bad; it can encourage action so that things happen. An excess of patience will slow you down. The human brain is equipped with an elaborate system designed to register fear and worry. It mobilizes us so that we can react when faced with danger. But excessive worry and anxiety can have devastating effects, mentally and physically.

Anxiety can impair judgment, increase irritability and hinder effectiveness; it can also generate physiological problems. Faced with anxiety, the Dali Lama strives to cultivate the following thought:. A motivation that is sincere and honest can allow fear or anxiety to be overcome and to build confidence; if I fail, then the situation is beyond my strength. A lack of self-confidence inhibits our efforts to move forward, and excessive self-confidence is equally perilous.

But how can I draw the line between self-confidence and arrogance? Perhaps by saying that in general self-satisfaction and arrogance have negative consequences, while self-confidence, when it is healthy, results in more positive consequences. Think of all the many disciplines about which you do not have the slightest knowledge, consider all the areas of which you are ignorant and that you will make you a little less proud.