While Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) was alive, he taught the eightfold path, which Buddhists practice in their daily lives. It’s the path to enlightenment and awakening oneself while in the physical dimension. It’s important to know that each step in the path are connected. They’re intertwined, cultivating each other. They’re not separate steps to master individually. Each one supports the other.
For those who are wondering, Buddha’s teachings are not dogma, they’re tools (Upaya) to use to guide us along the path to enlightenment.
Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.
The following is the eightfold path that you can apply to your life to reach enlightenment:
It’s understanding the knowledge and teachings of things as they really are and experiencing it for yourself and through meditation. It’s also to listen to others without having preconceived ideas or jumping to conclusions. But mainly to take the time to correctly understand the teachings of the Buddha and his true intent.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
Having no judgment, blame, hatred, and harmful intent. Monitor your thoughts like a high school hall monitor. Investigate each one to ascertain its origin and then remove those thoughts that do not benefit the world. Continue to do this until it becomes second nature.
Think before you speak. Don’t lie or say spiteful things. What you say goes out to the world like a bullet from a gun, you can never put those words back in your mouth just as you cannot put the bullet back in the gun. If your understanding and thoughts are aligned correctly, saying the right things will follow.
Helping others, being genuine in doing the right things instead of being rude, hurtful, harming others, or being prideful and egotistical. A small action today can bring enormous consequences tomorrow, this is called fate or karma.
Your occupation should bring no harm to any life. Your occupation also should not bring stress and misery to your own life. If you cannot have simple joy in your daily work life you won’t find it anywhere else.
Take the time to study the text, to meditate daily, to eat right, to exercise, and to prevent negative thoughts by replacing them with positive ones. Make an effort to improve your world by gardening, walking in nature, talking with people, and showing kindness.
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
Be mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Pay attention to what you’re doing while you’re doing it. Those little accidents and bumps on the head that happen in life are constant reminders to be mindful. When you hear a bell across town or a horn blowing scares you, it is the self, reminding you to be mindful.
Keeping your mind focused on the eightfold path. Taking the time to meditate and to make your mind single in its scope directed toward enlightenment only. If one can spend as much time concentrating on the path as they do on the slot machine at the casino, one can accomplish much. Concentration is not difficult once you’re concentrating on something that you’re interested in. Simply change the focus of your concentration to that which actually benefits you instead of that which brings you profits.
Buddha’s teaching dealt in one way or the other with this path. By following it we learn to control the body and mind, and a true state of enlightenment will be reached.