The do’s and don’ts of Buddhism

The longer I continue to practice, the more I begin to see just how many do’s and don’ts there are in Buddhism. This is not to say these are rules, but really just increasing ones mindfulness to become more and more aware of the cause and effect. Each word, thought and action has an impact on the self and those around us. But this can be very difficult to see unless we increase our awareness and see the connection we have to each other.

The Eightfold Path is a great place to start when looking at what the do’s and don’ts are in this life.

  1. Right View
  2. Right Intention
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration

I would unquestionably say that all eight of these fall into the “do” category.
So then what are the don’ts?
That’s easy, the opposite of each of these are what I would consider to be the “don’ts”.
Sound easy? Well, if it were, I would be an enlightened being by now!

If we examine each step in the Eightfold Path, we can see that there is so much depth required to fully understanding what “Right” actually means. Because in the teachings, it’s clear that this is not a matter of right or wrong, but of correct and appropriate behavior based on complete understanding and wisdom of the current circumstances or situation.
The best examples of this for me have come many times from my Teacher, Bhante Sujatha. Having seen him make decisions and exercise actions, that seemed totally incorrect or even unkind at times. Only to learn from him later just how much wisdom, love and compassion went into these things.
I continue to find myself humbled and a bit embarrassed that I could not see with the clarity that he did. Yet I am also so very grateful for the lesson.
I am consistently reminded of why he is the Teacher, and I am the student. And not because he tells me so, but his demonstration of living the Eightfold Path.

The Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path are the foundation of the Buddha’s teachings. And while I often find myself studying the deeper dhamma, I can see that it is extremely wholesome and beneficial to often return to the basic principles.
This practice is not a complicated one in reality, but it is one which requires a strong determination.
A determination to remain open, loving, accepting and present. There is no magic to it, no blue pill, simply breath by breath participation in this life.
And for me, this is a gift, and offers each one of us a tremendous amount of joy and gratitude.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.