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Buddhism for Baby-Boomers
This Baby-Boomer has been a life-long searcher for some form of spirituality. For a while Buddhism seemed to fit me – it would give, or direct me to the meaning and purpose of my life.
I have always felt that I’ve suffered more than my share in this lifetime and when I heard about the Four Noble Truths regarding suffering, I felt I wanted to explore Buddhism more.
The Four Noble Truths explain the nature of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, and dissatisfaction), its causes, and how it can be overcome.
The four truths are:
- The truth of suffering, anxiety, and/or dissatisfaction
- The truth of the origin of suffering
- The truth of the cessation of suffering
- The truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering
The main premise around suffering is attachment, and ignorance. Once one sees their own ignorance they can work on enlightenment and the release of their suffering.
I was always attracted to images of the Happy Buddha – he didn’t look like he was suffering. I wanted what he had. So began my search for enlightenment…
According to Buddhist teachings, one can remove suffering by following the Noble Eight-fold Path. Wikipedia says that ‘the fourth of the Buddha’s Noble Truths—consists of a set of eight interconnected factors or conditions, that when developed together, lead to the cessation of dukkha (suffering)…’ These factors are:
- Right View (or Right Understanding)
- Right Intention (or Right Thought)
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness, and
- Right Concentration
It always seemed to me that following the Eight-fold Path is in general just a good way to live.
Maybe I didn’t get into it deep enough, but I didn’t find a lot of ‘thou shalt nots’ that are found in so many sects of many religions. What I liked about the teachings of Buddhism is that everyone can attain enlightenment – with practice.
After spending about a year attending the Buddhist Temple every other Sunday, I left the temple and continued exploring other Spiritual practices, because I felt that attending the temple wasn’t really teaching me how to be a Buddhist.
I was actually studying and attending a New Thought Centre at the same time as going to the Temple as Buddhist services were only on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month.
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See my essay on New Thought.
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