There are fourteen profound pieces of Buddhist wisdom that can change your life forever. These Buddhist life lessons are so powerful that they consistently transformed people’s live for more than 2500 years.
And be sure to read these 3 core Buddhist beliefs once you’ve finished this list.
Here are the 14 most important pieces of Buddhist wisdom.
- You must live with compassion
Buddhists revere compassion. One of Buddha’s most important quotes is “Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike”. Enlightened people invariably have high levels of compassion.
Compassion can change the world. If everyone acted compassionately the world would soon be a peaceful, love-filled place. And compassion can also change your life as an individual.
Self compassion is essential for inner peace. Self forgiveness and self acceptance lead to psychological healing. Compassion for other people empowers us to accept and to forgive the wrongs of others.
Living with compassion means recognising and accepting the human nature in yourself and other people. Because of this, compassion helps prevent you from suffering the anguish of not understanding the actions of other people.
- You should love and respect your social network
“Sangha” is a Buddhist word that refers to a community of monks, a group of individuals working together towards the mutual goal of attaining enlightenment.
The whole world could greatly benefit by understanding the Buddhist concept of “Sangha”. In Sanghas, monks come together to offer devotion, to help their community grow, and to show mutual compassion and love.
By looking at life as a “Sangha” as a group of people who can all help one another to achieve lasting happiness and peace, we would immediately undo much of the world’s evil. Perhaps the most important piece of Buddhist wisdom is that all people deserve love and compassion. That one piece of Buddhist wisdom truly could change the world.
- You should live consciously
This is perhaps the most important Buddhist life lesson of all, and the number one piece of Buddhist wisdom: Live life consciously. Be aware of the present moment, of right now. Don’t dwell on the past or dream of the future, live now.
Buddhists call this trait “Mindfulness”. Mindfulness is about focusing the mind on the present moment. It’s a simple but profoundly powerful practice.
When you live your life in the present moment you are aware of the fullness of existence. When you live now you are more receptive to joy, love, peace, and happiness. Just by focusing your mind on the present moment you will change your life forever.
- You should value the beauty of life
Life is a miraculous and wonderful thing. The trouble is that mine away at our jobs and careers like a colony of ants. We never stop to appreciate the full beauty of existence, the preciousness of this thing called life.
Realising the beauty of life means recognising the miracle of your own body and mind, it means valuing community and society, it means revering nature. The world is a most splendorous thing. Let love of life fill your being.
Buddhists believe in oneness. They believe that everything is connected as one. They believe that we are all connected to each other, to nature, and to the world. That is why you can never live your own life fully unless you embrace the whole world: because you yourself are found in that world. To close your eyes to part of the world is to close your eyes to part of yourself.
- To change the world, change yourself
One of the most true quotes ever said comes from Leo Tolstoy: “Everyone thinks of changing the world. No one thinks of changing himself”. Buddhists, however, know that if we are to change the world we must begin with ourselves.
Because we are all one with each other, and thereby we are all interconnected, if we change ourselves we will invariably change the world. Do not subscribe yourself to the ignorant belief that it’s “them or me”. It is us. It is we. We are one. If I change I will invariably change you. If you change you will invariably change me.
Change yourself and you will change the world.
- Accept death, and embrace it
Too many people in the world are terrified of death. They spend so much of their energy fighting their own impermanence, and of course it is a fruitless battle whose only legacy is suffering.
We are impermanent. We will die. We will return to mother nature. Our current form will perish. Accepting this truth is vital to inner peace. Buddhist wisdom states that we must accept the truth. The truth is death.
Buddhists meditate on the corpse, spending hours imagining their own bodies decomposing and return to the earth. Through this meditation practice they develop acceptance of death. This acceptance diminishes their fear, leading to a profound state of inner peace.
- Food is sacred
“Thank you for this food we are about to eat”. Many of us grew up in families who recited this line every dinnertime. Buddhists meditate on food and eat mindfully. When eating, they will focus their minds on the food absolutely, meditating on the tastes, the sights, the smells, and the textures of the food. They understand that food is a blessing, one that must be valued and respected.
Eating mindfully naturally leads to eating slowly, and this in turn helps the digestive system, but mindful eating also helps the mind and spirit. When we eat slowly we come to recognise the interconnectedness of life, the fact that the food becomes a part of us and that we are, therefore, deeply connected to the wider world.
Have gratitude and respect for food and you will help not just your body but your mind and spirit too.
One of the best Dalai Lama quotes is, “My religion is simple. My religion is kindness”. Buddhists don’t see giving as a special occasion, as something that happens at birthdays and Christmas, they give every day. The Buddha used to meditate between 5am and 6am every morning. In this meditation session he would contemplate how he could help people that day. Having meditated on kindness he would then set out to do it. He would spend the hours between 10am and noon helping his community.
Buddhists understand the value of giving. They know that giving and receiving are both beautiful acts, act that help to create a deeper connection between people. Give something today and allow someone to give something to you. You will immediately feel much more connected.
- Rid yourself of ego
The one thing that all spiritual practices have in common is this: they are about letting go of the ego and getting in touch with some form of higher power. Buddhist, Christianity, Hinduism… they all share this trait, they all know that the greatest obstacle to peace and happiness sis the ego. Let go of the ego and you will achieve a higher state of being.
One of the principle reasons why Buddhists meditate is to remove the ego. When meditating, we create oneness, we come to see that the whole world is interconnected. This is the very antithesis of ego. Ego says “I am”. The enlightened mind says “We are”. That one subtle difference in attitude can change your life forever.
- Right Speech
The Buddhists follow the “Eight noble truths”. These are Eight beliefs that Buddhists consider to be of ultimate importance. One of these beliefs is right speech. Right speech is peaceful speech. It is speaking in a compassionate and peaceful way. Buddhist wisdom states that we should not judge others. We must not speak in words of judgment. Nor should we speak in words of anger, hostility, or resentment.
Right speech is about speaking from a place of love and compassion. When you speak in this way you not only make your words more pleasurable for other people, but you also improve your own well-being. Using words of kindness, love, and compassion leads to heightened state of joy and happiness. Rid yourself of violent words and adopt a peaceful vocabulary instead.
- Do not want, but rather appreciate
Buddhists do not want. You won’t hear a Buddhist talking about how much better their life would be if only they won the lottery. Buddhists appreciate what they have, they appreciate the present moment, whatever the moment might be.
Buddhist wisdom states that every moment is precious and that wherever we are, there we must be. Do not dream of better places, of richness, of an easy life. Appreciate the life you live. This life lesson is best expressed by the Bruce Lee quote “Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult life”.
- Right livelihood
The work that you do each and every day should be work that leads to peace and happiness for yourself and for all other people. Of course this means that you should not be involved with gangs, drugs, guns, harmful services and so on, but it also goes much deeper.
The work that you do on a day to day basis should be conducive to your own sense of inner peace. Whatever you do, whether it’s writing, gardening, real estate, teaching… whatever it is, you should feel happy about it. Your work should serve your own life. Seems simple, right? But how many people are stuck in jobs they hate? Do work that makes you happy and peaceful.
Your work should help other people too. You don’t necessarily have to work in healthcare or charitable organisations to achieve that. Teachers can have a profound effect on their students, as can people in public services—simply helping someone with a smile can go a long way towards making their day a better one. Use your work to boost peace and happiness for all.
One of the most important life lessons in all of Buddhism is the importance of non-attachment. Non-attachment means living in a “liquid state”. It means we are not attached to ideas of want or anger. It means we live in the present moment. As water travels freely through the rivers and stream, so too must we travel freely through time, through the succession of present moments, through the river we call life.
Travelling freely means travelling without attachment. If we are too caught on the way things “should be” we are not free to experience the way things are. Let go of your preconceived notions of life and you will embrace a much deeper connection to the present moment.
- There will always be a now, and now is all there will ever be
There is no Buddhist wisdom and no Buddhist life lesson more important than this. Now is everything. Right now. Not tomorrow. Not yesterday. Not the dream in your head. Not the fear. Now. Now. Now. Now.
Embrace this moment. Sit back and tell yourself “This is my life right now”. Have the courage and wisdom to live 100% in the present moment, because this time, this moment, is more precious than gold or jewels. This moment is the single most valuable commodity you will ever have. It is everything. Embrace it. Love it. Live it. The time to be alive it now.
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