Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lesson From Buddhist Seminar 1: Self Reflection & Karma

I have never been the religious type, nor even really spiritual, however, I decided to try Buddhism out for self improvement, and to find some purpose in my life. So, this is what I took in from my first seminar:

1) Buddhism is not a religion, it is a way of life, and it applies all of its teachings to anything and anyone out there.

2) In order to truly better ourselves, we need to understand and analyze ourselves through a watchful mind.

3) Negativity is one of the most important things we need to deal with in order to be happy with ourselves. We should see how many times we complain about things or blame others, and notice that in doing so, we are not only making matters worse, but we are keeping ourselves from reaching self happiness (Ex: We often complain, "I can't believe it's raining again!" Why can you not believe so? Is it not natural? How will complaining about it help?)

4) Karma is not exactly how it is commonly perceived; yes, karma deals with reincarnation, and also with how the way one treats others will come back to effect them in their next life, however, the most important thing I took from Karma, was how it can lead to a happier lifestyle.

One's karma is effected by one's decisions, actions, and thoughts, and if those are with good intentions, than their karma will a positive one, if one's thoughts, actions, and decisions are with negative intentions, than their karma will be a negative one. Also, one's karma can effect someone else's karma either positively or negatively, and one can use someone else's karma to their own advantage.

One of the most important things about karma is to simply except it, do not question it nor dwell on its reason, simply accept it, with that mind set, you will have more room for positive motives and thoughts

Ex: Someone is yelling at you for a reason you feel is not your fault; now there are two ways to view this situation - positively or negatively.

Situation 1:If you decide to yell back, than matters will only escalate and nothing will be solved. Also, your negative reaction has made the other person more angry, creating more negative karma for themselves.

Situation 2: If you decide not to yell back, accept your karma, than you can try to reason with the person in a calm non-aggressive manner, having more chance of calming the person down, and handling the situation more lightly; through this, you have prevented the person from creating negative karma for themselves, as well as created positive karma for yourself.

5) Buddhism accepts people of all beliefs, from Scientology, Christianity, Muslim, etc... However, their principles also apply to every existing entity. Buddhist also believe that life is forever going, that there is no beginning and end to life.

6) Buddhism is not about gaining good karma, for that mentality would actually be negative, for self gain, and therefore bring negative karma, but rather, Buddhism wishes to express care, love, and happiness for all existing things.

These are some of the major themes and lessons I took in from my first class, and these ideas may not necessarily reflect the teachings of Buddhist educators.

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