The Four Limitless Minds
Living life in a kind and wise way is important to Buddhists. To nurture these ideals, the Buddha taught them to sow seeds of goodness by practicing Compassion, Loving-Kindness, Joy, and Inclusiveness. The loving-kindness meditation, mettā, is the traditional Buddhist blessing.
May all beings be well.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be at ease.
The Five Precepts
In the beginning, the Buddha did not make any rules for the sangha. A rule was made only when a wrong was done. He taught that following the precepts faithfully is the same as filial respect toward our parents and Dharma teachers. The five major rules are called the Five Precepts.
- No killing – Respect for life: The Buddha said, “Life is dear to all beings. They have the right to live the same as we do.” This means to respect all life and not kill anything. Killing ants and mosquitoes is also breaking this precept. Having an attitude of loving-kindness towards all beings is holding this precept, wishing them to be happy and free from harm. Taking care of the earth, its rivers and air is included. One way that many Buddhists follow this precept is by being vegetarian.
- No stealing – Respect for others’ possessions: If we steal from another, we steal from ourselves. Instead, we could learn to give and take care of things that belong to our family, to the school, or to the public.
- No sexual misconduct – Respect for your own pure nature: Proper conduct shows respect for oneself and others. Our bodies are gifts from our parents, so it is our duty to protect them from harm. It is especially important for young people to keep their natures pure and develop their virtue. It is up to them to make the world a better place to live. In happy families, the husband and wife both respect each other.
- No lying – Respect truth: Being honest brings peace into the world. When there is a misunderstanding, the best thing is to talk it over. This precept includes no gossip, no back-biting, no harsh words and no idle speech.
- Not using alcohol or drugs that cloud the mind: – Respecting clarity of mind: The fifth precept is based on self-respect and being health-minded. Young people may think that drinking alcohol, taking drugs, and smoking makes them feel grown up, a “cool thing to do.” But a young person’s body cannot cope with intoxicants. They can affect the way the brain develops and grows and make children sick and lose control of their behavior. It’s important to keep yourself safe. Don’t get sucked into trying something that may harm you. Learn how to say “no.”
The Six Perfections
The Six Perfections are a set of positive qualities to develop on the Bodhisattva Path.
- Giving: The wish to give freely, without expecting a reward
- Precepts: Development of good behavior
- Patience: Calmly facing the difficulties in life
- Effort: Being energetic and overcoming laziness
- Concentration: Staying relaxed, with the mind focused
- Wisdom: Combining intellectual understanding with insight into the way things really are.