I just had my first taste of a meditation retreat at the Sannataram Forest Monastery (http://sannataram.org/).
I can comfortably say it was one of the most satisfying and fulfilling experiences I have had to date. The retreat is lead by the head Abbot Prah Mana, where his aim is to improve your mindfulness and awareness in all your thoughts and actions.
Through the teachings of the Dharma (the truth of the Buddha), the ideology puts an end to ALL suffering. We were taught that by becoming more mindful you are able to realise that your body, feelings, memory, thoughts/volitions, consciousness, are ALL impermanent. Upon realising this you can detach from any connection that you once had with any of the 5 aggregates and become at one with your inner self.
The law of cause and effect plays a big part in how your life unfolds; karma. The Dharma expresses that we need to live with constant metta (loving kindness) in all our thoughts and actions as they will ultimately determine if we receive good or bad karma. Thus by realising dukkha (impermanence and suffering) we can be at one with all beings and shed metta in all our thoughts and actions to receive good karma for individual happiness.
Buddhism has a lot of misconceptions, it is not a heavy dogmatic religion, it explains a purpose to life and helps one live more harmonious. It provides a code of practise or way of life that will lead one to true happiness and put an end to all suffering.
I have always had a strong affection for the Buddhist way of life but I have never fully immersed myself in its teachings. As a result of the weekend I am fully committed to living my life through the Dharma. Nothing has ever made more sense and has resonated with such compounding impact than the teachings of the Buddha.
I am not about to shave my head and become a monk, but by being a lay Buddhist I will be able to attain true happiness and be a beacon of hope to all around me. To those that have suffering and pain in their lives, and to those that lack direction and purpose.
I was once told by a very special person that I was a ‘light worker’. I didn’t understand what this was until now. The Dharma is the light and I will spread it to as many people in the world to end all suffering. Suffering is so broad, the feeling of anger, jealousy, spitefulness, greed, ego, ignorance, esteem, inequality, racism, hate…the list goes on and on! This is all suffering. We don’t need this in our lives!
More than ever has the human race needed the ‘truth of the Buddha’. Just on the word ‘Buddha’, one instantly thinks of a God like figure. Buddha is not a God. He was just an ordinary man,Siddhartha Gotama, that was born into a wealthy family and realised that money didn’t necessarily create happiness. After 6 years of study and meditation he became ‘enlightened’ and created the principles of Buddhism and spent the rest of his days teaching his practice until he eventually died at 80.
These teachings, the truth of the Buddha, the Dharma, has helped millions of people attain true happiness in their lives. Isn’t this what living is all about? Being truly happy in every moment of our blink of an existence? YES. If you want to burst the bubble I would highly recommend doing a retreat at Sunnataram and learning the basics of the Dharma from the incredible Monk Prah Mana. He is amazing and teaches in a way that relates to people living in the modern day world.
So if you have time, learn about the Dharma, incorporate it in your life, and make a change that we so desperately need as a human species. In the last century we killed over 100 million people. This is mind blowing, an unnecessary act of suffering that was caused by people with no loving kindness in their hearts. As we move towards a destructive, over consuming, ignorant, and covetousness state of mind, we need the Dharma more than ever!
Imagine a world free from ALL suffering?
Free from hatred, wars, bigotry, racism, gluttony.
A world where people cared about ALL beings; the animals, the environment, the universe!
This can be achieved through the Dharma.
There are only 300 million active Buddhists in the world out of 7.5 billion people. There are lots of additional people from other religions and walks of life that adhere to many principles of Buddhism, but there are many that are in the darkness.
Make the choice. Learn and incorporate the truth of the Buddha in your life and shed the LIGHT.
The world and its people need you.
The Dharma is the answer.
Embrace and celebrate it to ALL.
Karma won’t let you down…
Live and love all x