Do you think you know how to practise Buddhism the right way? Let us discuss on this subject.
When it comes to Buddhism, many Buddhist laities seem to proclaim their deep understanding on the way of life as outlined by Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Having read hundreds of Buddhist books, debating back and forth among Buddhist friends on the concepts of correct living and achieving Nibbanaship, oftentimes this group of people think they have nailed the major aspects of Buddhism right.
However, that isn’t the case. Remember, as much as you think you have successfully grasped a handful of Buddhist knowledge, there is still a tree full of knowledge yet to be comprehended and discovered.
We know that to practise the Noble Eightfold Path, the few important ingredients to have include Right Understanding, also known as Right View.
And what is right view? Knowledge with regard to stress, knowledge with regard to the origination of stress, knowledge with regard to the cessation of stress, knowledge with regard to the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: This is called right view.— Maha-satipatthana Sutta: The Great Frames of Reference” (DN 22)
Right Understanding is the first among the eight factors of the Noble Eightfold Path. In simple terms, Right Understanding is about having the correct knowledge and insight on the cause of an event.
And Right Understanding also extends to having correct views when it comes to Buddhist beliefs. But how do you ensure you are on the right path to Buddhism?
This is where the 7-step approach to adopting the correct path to Buddhism comes in.
7 Considerations to A Correct Buddhist Belief
- Do your present conditions render you to believe Buddhism?
If you are an atheist who do not believe anything, then obviously you will have no interest in any belief. Similarly, if you are free thinker, you will also have little interest to learn any belief.
We must first ensure that we are ready to accept any genuine Buddhist belief in order for one to take a step further into the proper path to Buddhism.
2. Do you have any criterion to learn proper Buddhism?
It is pointless if one has no sincerity to learn Buddhism. Many Buddhist merely believe in superficial Buddhism such as chanting, taking vegetarian diets and praying to Bodhisattvas and Buddhas.
Instead, what you should be doing is to:-
- constantly expose yourself to proper Dharma sermons
- ponder over all these sermons
- consistently do reflections in our mind
Through these correct ways, you will eventually gain insight because your consciousness is actively pondering all these proper golden Dharma sermons.
3. Are you belonging to people who have good parenting brought up?
If you are not, then Buddhism will be difficult to follow and practice. Certainly, the younger generations today either find Buddhism obsolete, or they hold on to superficial beliefs in it because proper Buddhist practices start off with good discipline, respect, obedience and fine manners.
Unfortunately, many are brought up without good parenting and being overly pampered in the family. Without good parenting brought up, chances are, you will tend to be skeptical or dismissing of the correct ways and tend to prefer sticking to your own comfort zone of believing and practising Buddhism your own way.
4. Do you understand the true core of Buddhist belief?
The fundamental point of Buddhism is that, whatever you sow, you reap. Good actions give birth to good karma effect, while bad and evil actions beget bad karmic effects.
This means that there is a reward for anyone who practices good actions, or demerits whenever one has committed wrong doings. This is the world of fair system and universal justice.
5. Do you like critical thinking?
Contrary to a lot of lay Buddhists’ thinking, Buddhism is not a religion but a way of life through our critical way of thinking. Hence Buddhism is very practical and pragmatic if only one contemplates deeply and reflects constantly on all the Buddhist sermons.
Take for instance, this phrase by the Lord Buddha, “He who sees the Dharma sees me”. Many Buddhists would think that reading and understanding more on Dharma will lead one to see the Buddha.
In actual fact, he who truly practices the Dharma thoroughly and gained Jhanas as well as insight will eventually see the Buddha. To attain jhanas means attaining the four resublimed states namely, compassion, loving kindness, inner joy and equanimity.
6. Do you have an open mind to learn Buddhism?
Many Buddhists are unconsciously rigid in their mind and thus, they often fail to absorb good, golden Dharma because their mind is rigidly set to oppose any views different from their perceived knowledge.
The correct way is to constantly remind ourselves to be more humble and keep an open mind in learning Buddhism. We should also understand that good, precious Dharma is not easily found, hence we need to constantly search for it until a time when we have finally found good, practical sermons that we can apply in life.
7. Do we have the passion to learn Buddhism?
In everything we do, we must have the passion to perform or work on something with sincerity. For example, if we want to be a good cook, ensure that we possess the passion for cooking. Otherwise, even with the best ingredients given to you, you may not be able to ome up with a good tasting dish.
Likewise, even the best golden sermons given to you, these sermons are nothing more than ingredients in cultivation. In order to successfully achieve a fruitful cultivation, you will need divinity in the form of your passion to learn Buddhism.
How to Practise Buddhism Correctly Starts With You
One of the key takeaways on how to practise Buddhism the proper way is to remember that learning is a lifelong process. Always remember that no matter how knowledgeable you are when it comes to Buddhism, there are still more to be discovered and understood about the way of life each day.
Always stay humble and have a sincere heart as you approach Buddhism as the way of life. And with the above 7 considerations in mind, you will be well on your first step to approaching a correct path to Buddhism.
That said, may you be well and happy.
Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu.