The journey to Awakening is the transforming of ourselves at our core.
It involves overcoming those things that keep us in a state of suffering: greed, hatred and delusion. These things inhibit us in our efforts to manifest our lives as embodiments of compassion and wisdom.
The potential for self-transformation is fundamental to Buddhist thought. We have the ability to unleash our Buddha Nature, to bring out our true potential. Some think that we have to live in specific conditions in order to do this. Some believe that only monks and nuns can attain Enlightenment, by walking away from ordinary life and living away from civilization. I humbly disagree.
I think that we can attain Enlightenment in this very life by facing those things that inhibit our ability to see the Truth and overcoming them.
Awakening is the term I like to use to describe the process of inner transformation that allows us to break through, to overcome those things that keep us from seeing reality. We have to overcome our “lesser self” that Is enslaved by selfishness and the ego. There are plenty of other philosophies that talk about Awakening in their own words. Buddhism is just one expression of a part of the human experience, the inclination toward mystical thinking.
It is through this transformation process, and others like it, that we can move forward in compassion, love and wisdom.
With our love we can save the world.
It’s a revolutionary idea that we can transform ourselves fundamentally by seeing the Truth. The revolution is within you. Change yourself and you can change the world. It’s a Mindful Revolution.
This revolution is the work of transforming our lives. It involves discovering and challenging our delusions and preconceptions which inhibit our Awakening. Buddhism has a belief that there is a positive and enlightened condition of life which exists within us all. We call it Buddha Nature but it can be called many other names. It just means that deep down, at the core of our being, we are one with the Truth already. This state of Awakening is characterized by qualities of compassion and wisdom. This enables us to spread positivity in any situation.
Different branches of Buddhism use different methods to bring this about. I recommend cultivation of the six perfections: generosity, virtue, patience, diligence, concentration, and wisdom. There are several practices that I do to cultivate these qualities and I have found them to be very helpful on the journey to Awakening. The cultivation of the six perfections represents my roadmap to Awakening.
One individual really can make a difference. “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” as Gandhi said (or didn’t say). When we change ourselves we touch the lives of all of those around us and change them a little as well. We can spread positivity, peace, insight and compassion.
We just have to believe we can do it.
Well, they say you should find a teacher as soon as you can. That’s easier said than done sometimes. I wouldn’t say wait until you find a teacher to start practicing though.
I think it’s helpful, interacting with someone who’s been on the path longer than us helps keep us on track and set an example for us. That being said, good teachers can be hard to find and we have to be a little wary because there have been examples of scandals throughout the history of American Buddhism. I searched for a teacher for a while before I found mine. I didn’t connect well with most of the teachers I met before him, for various reasons. So, while finding a teacher is important, we also can’t settle for a teacher that doesn’t work.
But I think when you find the right teacher you know.
It’s helpful to have a community of like-minded individuals around you too, but there are many cases of a teacher and student practicing alone together throughout history, so a large community isn’t as important as having a more experienced person to help you out.
If you don’t find a teacher right away, that’s okay. Just practice the six perfections until you do. And then continue to practice. Practice, practice, practice. Sometimes it will be hard and sometimes it won’t. But practicing in this way will transform yourself and your life.
Join the revolution with me.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Daniel Scharpenburg
Editor: Travis May