Guatam Buddha is at the center of Buddhist teachings, and his words of wisdom have been passed down over the millennia through oral teachings and written records. Buddha embodied the spirit of peace, acceptance, and non-attachment to material possessions, and through his messages we can come to a better understanding of our spiritual and emotional selves.
Here are 11 lessons from the Buddha that will help you start winning at life:
“When you like a flower, you just pluck it. But when you love a flower, you water it daily.”
There is a sharp contrast between unconditional love and emotions that are based on our ego’s needs and desires. By learning to understand the true meaning of what love is, we can appreciate the beauty and power it brings to our lives.
“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
The truth cannot be hidden from those who seek it. No matter what life throws at you or what manipulations you have to deal with from others, eventually the true nature of a situation will always be revealed.
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
Modern society places such an emphasis on material possessions that we tend to measure our level of success by the amount of money we have or how others perceive us. However, a peaceful life can only be achieved by acknowledging who you are within.
“There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path.”
The old cliche that life is about the journey not the destination holds a lot of truth. Don’t live your life in anticipation of the end result. Instead, embrace the joys and heartaches along the way to find out what it truly means to be living.
“An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.”
To get the most out of life, you need to be surrounded by sincere people that are supportive of your authentic self. When we associate with those who only cause us pain, we rob ourselves of an opportunity to be happy.
“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”
Buddha emphasized within his teachings that we are all one. Segregation and separation are a construct of mankind, but in the eyes of the universe we are all equal and worthy of love and happiness.
“You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.”
Holding onto a grudge does nothing to the person that you are angry at. Instead, it simply consumes your mind and steals your joy. All emotions have their place,but the best thing you can do to move forward is to let go of the negativity.
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
Our thoughts create our reality, and this idea is a common thread throughout many spiritual cultures. What you focus on in life is what you will continue to see. If you only acknowledge the darkness, it is hard to see the light.
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
Buddha’s message is simply to learn to think for yourself. We all have a lens that we perceive reality through, but only you can decide what is true for your life. Just because something is popular, does not make it right.
“You only lose what you cling to.”
Many of Buddha’s teachings are based upon the concept of attachment. There is no need to fear loss if we remove our emotional attachment from it. Unconditional love and joy comes from fully accepting the experience, even if it is short-lived.
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
Your life is yours, and yours alone. There is no way for anyone to experience the world from your unique perspective. Instead of leaning on others to guide you through life, be brave and blaze your own path.
The lessons of Guatam Buddha can be applied to nearly every facet of our lives. No matter where you came from or what you have experienced, we all have room to grow and evolve as people. When we remain conscious of our own thoughts and embrace our winding journey, we open the doors to bigger and brighter experiences.
This article was originally published on The Power of Ideas.