I find it crazy that the human intellect is unable to make sense of the world: everything is contradiction and paradox, and no one really knows much for sure.
Most people go through life ignoring the contradictions because they get busy with work, a family and life. It never made sense to me why we would hide from reality.
At an early age, I started asking the important why’s. Like “Why does our world exist?”, or “Why are we alive right now?”
The consequence of this was a deep dive into philosophy and trying to understand our world a bit better from the average person. Just recently, I started to gain more clarity and build my own opinions. My goal is to become a Ninja. Aka., become meta aware of myself, my surroundings and the world around me.
This is when I started to learn about Buddha & Buddhism which answered a lot of the questions I had about our world, inner-peace & achieving self-realization.
Who Was the Buddha?
Buddha was a ninja himself because he had a lot of mental clarity and saw the world with a light that no one else did. Buddha lived 2,600 years ago was not a god. He was an ordinary person, named Siddhartha Gautama, who was a teacher, philosopher and spiritual leader who is considered the founder of Buddhism.
He was twenty-nine years old when his life changed. He had a huge realization that his privileged status would not protect him from sickness, old age, and death.
He sat in meditation beneath “the Bodhi tree” until he realized enlightenment. From that time on, he would be known as the Buddha.
He then spent most of his time teaching people how to also reach enlightenment and through a lot of his teachings the core values of Buddhism arose.
One of the insane things in Buddhism that I realized was that there is no stuff, no difference between matter and energy. Look at anything closely enough — like a rock or a table — and you will see that it is an event, not a thing.
There is not a multiplicity of events. There is just one event, with multiple aspects, unfolding. We come out of the world, not into it. We are each expression of the world, not strangers in a strange land like evolutionary science usually teaches us.
Everything that happens on earth happens because we make that experience and so it is key to learn more about the world and our universe.
Living in the present —living to the fullest
The emphasis on the present moment is one of the most important messages. Most of our time is spent thinking about the future or projecting our past experiences onto future events.
This made it click for me:
There is no purpose in getting anywhere if, when you get there, all you do is think about getting to some other future moment. Life exists in the present, or nowhere at all, and if you cannot grasp that you are simply living a fantasy.
We are always seeking security when we think about the future but there is no security. Everything passes and you die eventually. We are going through a constant rebirth, of death throughout life, and the continual coming and going of universal energy before and after death.
4 Noble Truths:
Buddhists = ninjas. The first part of this process is understanding yourself and Buddhists summarized this very well in these four main pillars:
- Human life has a lot of suffering. Everyone around us suffers. People get sick. We all experience some sort of loss and disappointment. Suffering is not necessarily a bad thing. It is just something that we all experience & accepting it allows us to become happier. Once you accept it, we can start understanding why we suffer.
- The cause of suffering is desires. The goal of buddhism is to maximize for happiness & mindfulness. As a result, you want to minimize your unnatural, unnecessary desires like spending all of your time wanting more money, a better job or chasing to be liked by those around you. These things will not bring you long-term happiness and so will usually leave you more unhappy than happy.
- There is a way to end suffering. Nirvana is the way in which buddhists think you can achieve this. They believe in reincarnation (idea that our soul moves from body to body, so at the end of each lifetime you start again in a new form — could be an animal, human or thing). Nirvana extends this idea and is described as a transcendent state free from suffering and our worldly cycle of birth and rebirth. It’s only when we achieve Nirvana that we can get spiritual enlightenment.
- The way to end suffering is through wisdom, ethical conduct, and meditation. You can break this down into 8 ways:
- Having the right understanding and viewpoint (a lot of which is based off of the Four Noble Truths).
- You want to develop good values and attitude (for ex., compassion rather than selfishness).
These two things are factors which constitute to Wisdom. Right understanding (or right views) is the understanding and gaining clarity on the true reality. It is a direct insight and understanding things from a nature lease.
- Use the right speech (don’t tell lies, don’t gossip, don’t be harsh or rude to people).
- Take the right action (help others, live honestly, don’t harm living things, take care of the environment).
- Contribute the right work to the world (do something useful, avoid jobs which harm others or bring you short-term happiness).
- Put in positive effort (encourage good, helpful thoughts, discourage unwholesome destructive thoughts).
- Have the right mindfulness — self-awareness is soo important to everything is life (be aware of what you feel, think and do).
- Play around with meditation (calm mind, practice meditation which leads to nirvana).
The last three things are factors that promote mental discipline. Putting in the right effort is the willingness to create positive states of mind and eliminate any evil or unwanted ones.
Right mindfulness (or attentiveness) involves being aware of the processes involved in your daily existence, those of your body, the feelings, the mind and the experiencing of thoughts and ideas. Right concentration refers to the progressive stages of dhyana (pretty much meditation in Hindu traditions). During this meditation, your mind is gradually cleared of passionate desires, then thoughts, even feelings of joy, until only pure-awareness remains, in a state of perfect calm.
3 Universal Truths:
The second part of this process is becoming ultra-aware of the world around you and our universe. Buddhism again summarized this very well in 3 main ways:
- Everything in life is impermanent and always changing.
- Because nothing is permanent, a life based on possessing things or persons doesn’t make you happy.
- There is no eternal, unchanging soul and “self” is just a collection of changing characteristics or attributes.
Key Takeaways on Becoming a Ninja:
- Always seek to understand. We spend most of our life memorizing and following what others have created for us. We need to start by asking why and always seeking to gain clarity.
- Nothing else matters but the present. Stop thinking about the next hour, the next day or year.
- Follow the 8 fold path to develop wisdom, ethics, and concentration.
- The path to a happy life is one cleared of passionate desires, then thoughts, even feelings of joy, until only pure-awareness remains, in a state of perfect calm.
I guarantee you if you understand yourself really well and then develop unique knowledge about the world/universe you will become a Ninja in no time! Thanks to Buddhism we all know how to do this now.