The 6 Paramitas
The Buddha taught in such a way that anyone could use his teachings no matter what state their mind is in or how far developed. These teachings are the basis for Mahayana Buddhism, Love, Compassion, Equanimity and Empathetic Joy. These are what the teachings pursue and strive toward, they are categorised into;
- Mindful Action
- Joyful Effort
All of the above are more than just becoming a nice person, it is about seeing the true nature of our mind. The first four can be seen as great symbols for joyful human relationships, whilst the last two are seen as key to setting your mind free.
- Generosity is more than giving of material things, it is being generous of your good feelings. This builds trust and makes for more rich experiences with others
- Mindful actions allow us to better deal with issues that arise and be more helpful towards others
- Patience protects what you built up on positivity, who is full of compassion in any situation has a relaxed mind and is not disturbed by outside circumstances
- Meditation gives free room & space for your consciousness. Inside of us it gives good concentration on thoughts and ideas, on the outside you get rid of the duality, attachment, like and dislike, expectation, fears, and allowing yourself to obtain clarity of the mind
- Wisdom lets you see clearly the subject, object, and action all as the same unit, to see through clouded eyes gives a false view of how the things truly are
Find below a more in-depth look as to how we should work toward these to better improve our lives;
- Generosity opens every situation and creates trust. There are different ways to be generous, most obvious are material things but you can give your personal power and spread good feelings, for example be there if someone is needed, give your time and to teach when you are able too. In giving your generosity you are giving the help so they can help themselves in the future. The Buddhas teaching gives you the understanding of the unlimited possibilities of the mind, that giving without pride and only love and compassion is the freeing of the mind. Ultimate compassion can show others that is is the best way to free the mind and set themselves free, a line from the eating ceremony states ‘when we are selfless all beings live in peace’. It is from the correct motivation and the action itself that develops the mind.
- When we act based on love and compassion this leads to positive feedback, we will be more reliable in our actions. When the things we say, do, or think, show love or compassion we are planting seeds in our minds for the future. This also however reminds us of the opposite, and how we power and responsibility not too upset others and say hurtful things or do hurtful actions. A good Chinese saying says “ Who thinks about himself has problems, Who thinks about others has tasks”, When we stop acting on hate and anger we see clearer the way to a positive future and positive actions.
- Patience in a way is the opposite of Anger. Anger comes from a feeling of powerlessness, it is an adrenaline poison under which influence is destructive, it can destroy the positive pictures in your mind. “Never get angry, you can burn in a moment the wood you collected for many winters”. We must never forget that force leads to force on the other side and you still do not find peace. Everything that we did with mindful actions can be destroyed by acting on the motivation of anger, we even act shocked surprised when in reality we know acting on this motivation can never bring about good. Give anger no room for it grows fast. To have more control over our anger the Buddha taught us to have more patience, to accept things we cannot change and better deal with circumstances in our life and act appropriately. If you don’t see your self as the aim but look at others we can see clearly that people react exactly how they feel, this way we can show compassion because the others may feel powerless or confused and not know what to do. Patience does not mean you are weak though in different situations you have to take a place and say what is happening, you must be courageous and help others. Patience is a sign of stability and has nothing to do with accepting harm. Who is self confident and is strong does not have to prove anything to himself and can show patience.
- Joyful Effort – When we are generous or help others we become richer on the inside, we have more patience and don’t waste our energy on anger, this means we have more energy than we need and can put this into use for others. The less pride we have then the more we develop ourselves. By going over out limits we grow and become more powerful, this is the same with our effort and energy. By giving more we can grow and develop stronger, If we get over our own concepts of “I can’t do it” or “I’m too lazy”, then we can continue to grow stronger and in return can act more compassionately for others
- Meditation – First we start with what Buddhism wants to achieve;
–For the people to become happy
And four reasons why we meditate;
1. To be in the here and now (95% of suffering is living in the past and future)
A good example of this is someone who may visit the Doctor. Let us say that you take a blood test and have to go back in 2 weeks to receive the results. Many people go through living hell waiting and worrying about it, no matter the outcome worrying achieved absolutely nothing. The outcome will happen regardless of the time and energy wasted on worrying. It is okay to have small plans and prepare for unknown but it doesn’t mean you should rely on them, because still we can only live in the here and now and expectations are often not met.
2. To keep free from interpretation – We do not see the truth only our own interpretations which are not often the true reality of the situation, meditation allows us to be free of interpretation. For example someone stands up during a meditation practice and leaves the room whilst you are meditating, instead of interpreting where they are going, who it is, where they were sat etc. We are able to just take it for what it is, noise, footsteps, the door opening etc.
3. Mindfulness – We are not alone, and we should see how people react, we get what give and more often. Be aware how we treat others, none of us are independent, humans are pack animals. We rely on each other to live in harmony, we are dependent on one another. Take our societies for example we have to go to the shops to buy things, the doctors for healing, the library for books etc, we cannot create everything ourselves. We have a great influence on each others moods and lives living so closely together, which is a big responsibility we must take seriously. By practicing being mindful we can take a greater care to improve on this every moment, and consider the others instead of ourselves first.
4. Knowledge brings you nothing if it is not combined by the willpower to use it –
Meditation combines our knowledge and willpower, giving us the ability to think clearly and use both correctly. Take an argument with a partner for example – During an argument we know what to say to those we love to fix a situation, to make them happy again and leave the trouble behind. Instead our emotions get the better of us and we don’t have the willpower to use the knowledge of how to fix a situation. Instead we get scared of hurting our ego, our self, and we lash out. Meditation allows us to remain calm and think logically in these situations where emotions try to take control.