What we can learn from Buddhists is to live in the moment, accept things as they are, and to break free from religious dogma. Although England is a multicultural country, many people would identify as Christian. But there are a growing number of Buddhists. Could this be to the fact that despite many Christians doing good work – the hierarchy tends to spend money on buildings, ceremonies – and sometimes promotes bigotry and division, ‘in the name of God?’
Buddhism is about the middle way: balance, and living in the moment. You can live simply and show ‘loving kindness’ to others, and choose ‘right livelihood’. Real peace comes from learning from each other’s faiths (many Buddhists would say they live a way of life, rather than a religion). Here are a few nice resources, to help learn from one of the wisest men in history.
Buddha was a rich young Prince, protected from the outside world by his family. But when he finally did break free, he spent the rest of his life seeking an end to suffering. He found enlightenment, sitting under a tree.
- Now and Zen offers notes from a Buddhist monastery. A Japanese Zen Buddhis monk shares lessons from life inside a temple. He guides you through meditation to tea-drinking ceremonies, and how to prepare Zen food. Accompanied by his own illustrations: ‘Float like a Cloud, Flow like Water’.
- Zen & The Art of Simple Living is a gorgeous little book, by a Zen Buddhist monk and gardener from Japan. Divided into tiny chapters (with beautiful artwork), find wisdom in bite-size chunks.
- No-Nonsense Buddhism for Beginners answers all your questions: do you have to have faith to be a Buddhist? Are you supported to stop thinking, when you meditate? Buddhist teacher Noah Rasheta offers answers. Includes ‘Everyday Buddhism’ sidebars, with examples from everyday life.
- Buddha’s Office offers tips on the art of waking up, while working well. Buddha never held a job, but he helped people to find their own path. You don’t have to be a Buddhist to benefit (he actually never used the word, and simply believed in helping people to pay attention, and ‘wake up’.
- Zen Wisdom for the Anxious is by Buddhist monk Shinsuke Hosokawa who suggests trying a little meditation, in this charming illustrated volume of sayings. The 52 sayings each have a simple reflection to help you look into your own heart, accept your current state of being, and find calm.
- Three nice Buddhist magazines: Tricycle, Lion’s Roar & Buddhadharma.
Life Advice from Buddhists
If you find no-one to support you on the spiritual path – walk alone. If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. Just as a snake sheds its skin; we must shed our past. Gautama Buddha
Walk as if you are kissing the Earth, with your feet. Thich Nhat Hanh
If we learn to open our hearts; anyone (including the people who drive us crazy) can be our teacher. Pema Chodron (Buddhist nun, former Catholic)