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The author has lived or worked in Buddhist countries most of his adult life and worn Buddhist amulets for protection from bad guys in the bush or those more gentile, though equally bad sorts, in the business world. However, more recently the author has become focused on the basic precepts of Buddhism to improve his life. There are massive volumes describing the history of Buddhism and teachings of Buddha dating back some 2,600 years ago. Nonetheless, there are a few simple concepts that would enable most anyone to live more comfortably within their own body and with their fellow man.


Buddha became "awakened" from the sleep of ignorance and could see things in their true state, free from mental and emotional obstructions and thereby reaching "enlightenment." The basic premise is we suffer from confused and negative mental attitudes which, if overcome, can create a positive state of mind improving our own lives and those around us. Buddha's teachings focused on overcoming our negativity and developing positive concepts of care and compassion. Once we reach such a mental state, we can impart it to others and improve their lives as well.

Meditation is the cornerstone in developing mindfulness and embarking on the philosophy of Buddhism. Mindfulness is merely understanding and controlling our own mind leading to the creation of a peaceful and positive mental state. As we develop care and compassion, our lives improve and become meaningful as we help others. The adage "mind over matter" might be expanded to "mind over genetics and biology." The Thai people "Tham Boon," make merit by giving to others, not to help the needy, but to help themselves. Therefore, it is pretty simple, you are what you believe and do.

Recently, the author came across a book Joey bought many years ago in London. As you can discern from the cover shown below, it consists of Tibetan Buddhist related images and a saying for that particular day. Moreover, it highlights some of the thought processes of Buddhist teachings.

One doesn't take a journey into the Himalayas without a guide who knows the ancient paths.
Jack Kornfield


Awareness of impermanence is encouraged, so when it is coupled with our appreciation of the enormous potential of our human existence, it will give us a sense of urgency that I must use every precious moment.
The 14th Dalai Lama

This tool, our body, is given to us for only a short time: this life.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Like a robe wears out over time and turns to rags, life wears out from day to day, from second to second.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Letting go is a central theme in spiritual practice as we see the preciousness and brevity of life.
Jack Kornfield

The first thing upon which we should meditate is our precious and fleeting human life, hard to obtain and easy to destroy; I will now give it meaning.
Kalu Rinpoche

Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing.
Pema Chodron

It is a very thick book but very inspirational to open up and see an image with a saying that captures the essence of the image. In some ways, it is not unlike the Buddhist scripture volumes the young monk above was reading.

There are many tools to help people meditate but the basic procedure is to sit upright, close your eyes, empty your mind and focus on your breathing which is something we all know how to do. If an idea pops into your mind, dismiss it, as even if it is a good one, it will be stored for later recovery. Start with a five-minute session and go up to twenty minutes over time. You might want to have a shorter touch up in the afternoon. If you cannot sleep at night, rather than toss and turn, meditate and empty your mind. Eventually you will slip away and it is much more effective and restful than sleeping pills. By the way, why worry about sleeping as meditation is just as cleansing and restful as sleeping.

 

  

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