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Islamic Ideology ( 9 Aug 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Buddha's eightfold path of even-mindedness



9 Aug 2008


To have aspirations and ambitions is normal. To realise their ambitions, people toil hard and put in all efforts, even sacrificing family and personal lives. Yet, often this goal remains a mirage.


For instance, when your boss praises you for good work done, everything goes just right, and when you return home you begin to dream of all the things you can do with the support of your boss and the heights that you can reach. Perhaps, the next time you meet him he is busy in attending to some urgent work and is curt with you. You feel snubbed, hurt and all your plans go out of the window. To remove the imponderables that lie on the growth path, to overcome the feeling of being let down and to achieve your ambition, often such ways are adopted for which stars need to hide their fire so that no light can expose their deep desires.


Suffering and frustration in life are inescapable. The root cause for these is uncontrolled desire and ambition. The cause of frustration can be removed through overcoming desires and drawing a line to craving for more. This can be attained by being mindful of all the things that you use to pamper and harm yourself with; by being mindful by abandoning your expectations about the way you think things should be. And, out of your mindfulness you begin to develop awareness of the way things really are.


Says Buddha, man is the arbiter of his own destiny, not the gods. To feel relieved from queasiness and frustration, Buddha laid down the eightfold path. First, view the world in the right perspective. Instead of imposing your expectations onto things, see things simply as they are. Second, do not try to manipulate situations in line with preconceived notions of how they should be. Just, work with what is.


Third, you should not hesitate about what you say. Fourth, give up the tendency to complicate issues that usually cloud relationships. Be simple and straightforward. Fifth, it is only normal that you should earn your living. Many are disgruntled with their jobs. The truth is you should perform your responsibilities properly and be happy with what you do.


Sixth, make the right effort to see things as they are and work with what it is without any kind of aggression. Seventh, be precise, clear and mindful of what you speak, perform and behave. And lastly, be absorbed in things as they are instead of being absent-minded and captivated by all sorts of distractions and speculations.


The fact is that we attempt to consolidate our experiences in some concrete way. But times and situations are constantly changing. Human consciousness is made up of temporary mental processes and events. Everything is impermanent. And, because of not recognising this truth, a feeling of uneasiness and anxiousness occurs even at the best of times. This underlines the need for practising cessation of passion and aggression and recognising the truth that life is full of suffering and frustration. The wisdom then attained provides deep enlightenment on understanding of life in the right perspective.


The Buddha says that he who is wise and virtuous, gentle and humble, energetic and not indolent, remains unshaken in misfortune, is hospitable and friendly, unselfish and generous, impartial and liberal. He attains the true honour as a human being.


Source: The Times of India, New Delhi