The Buddhas only point the way
IT was not to be any ordinary meeting. Now that the Buddha was gone, it became a growing worry that his teachings would become lost, misstated or corrupted. Mahakasyapa -- one of the most distinguished disciples of Buddha -- had therefore summoned a large group of enlightened and extraordinary Buddhist followers and monks, in order to narrate, cross-check and determine the teachings of the great man.
The list of disciples included many great minds, like Ananda -- the Guardian of the Dharma -- who attended to the Buddha personally and often travelled with him. He had the most retentive memory.
That historic meeting, which came to be known as the First Buddhist Council, echoes throughout history till this date, as the teachings, traditions and sayings of Buddha were determined, memorised and chanted by Buddhists for generations, before it was written down centuries later -- Tripitaka, literally meaning 'three baskets', consists of three major sections.
What Buddha said numerous centuries ago is still as relevant today as it was during his time. With depression being a growing problem in this intolerant society of endless desires and our lives chaotic and stressful, we could use some wise words of Buddha.
Everybody goes through suffering
Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering…
Buddha had talked a great deal about suffering. In fact, this is the First Noble Truth -- of the Four Noble Truths -- which is said to be one of the primary teachings of Buddha. This does not mean that Buddha pessimistically believed that we are all doomed and destined to be unhappy no matter what we do! He was simply addressing the reality that all of us have sufferings in our lives. Life is not a bed of roses. Everybody has problems, tragedies and misfortunes. That's just how it is. The sooner you realise this truth, the sooner you will be able to relax and work towards making things right instead of complaining, fretting or sinking into hopelessness.
Learn how to be peaceful
Resolutely train yourself to attain peace
Being happy and content is a matter of choice. And being peaceful usually does not come naturally or easily. It actually takes effort. We all crave for that much talked about Nirvana. So how do you go about attaining peace in your life? Well, for starters, cultivating positive thoughts and practicing meditating will take you a long way.
The joy of sharing
Give even if you only have a little
One way of making yourself happy is to do something for others. The feeling you get when you help someone out is unparalleled. There are so many people out there who are distressed -- help them with food, money or even your time, no matter how little you have.
Who's to blame?
They blame those who remain silent, they blame those who speak much, they blame those who speak in moderation. There is none in the world who is not blamed.
You cannot live up to the expectations of everyone, and no matter what you say or do, there will always be people complaining and trying to demoralise you. This, Buddha had said, "…is an ancient practice, not one only of today." So if Buddha, who lived so many centuries ago, called it an ancient practice, we can surely say that it is nothing new and has been going on since time immemorial. Therefore, control your anger and do not pay heed to what they say and bog yourself down with it.
Ears open for the wise critic
Should you find a wise critic to point out your faults, follow him as you would a guide to hidden treasure.
While we should not pay attention to useless criticism and bigotry, if someone is indeed providing you with constructive criticism, let your guard down and listen to him. Especially in this day and age, having someone who will sincerely tell you about your faults and give good, meaningful advice, might be hard to find, but extremely important. We all need to seek advice and share our sorrows and problems from time to time. We all need that person in our lives. If you have found your 'wise critic', never let him go.
Walk the path
You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way.
All the wisdom in the world will not be helpful if you do not apply them. The 'Awakened Ones' have shown you the path and told you what do to. It is up to you, whether you want to act upon it or not.
The way has been pointed. Now walk on it!
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed