I have been working on the Noble Eightfold Path articles and have put up the first two of the three that are to come. They are works in progress so please forgive any inconsistences you may spot. My knowledge of the path is somewhat limited so all I can do is my best.
Mindfulness has become a byword for meditation these days; it is everywhere and has even become part of medical treatment for anxiety and depression. It could be said that Mindfulness is the latest Western craze for solving all your mental ills, and yet, according to the Buddha, this is exactly what it will do. The Satipatthana Sutta details exactly how to practice ‘proper’ mindfulness rather than what you might find in an NHS run Anxiety class. I know it does because I have attended NHS Anxiety Mindfulness treatment and their version of Mindfulness is very watered down, but for good reason. They are treating a particular ailment rather than trying to liberate you from Samsara. That is not to detract from the definite benefits of their systems, the CBT training I went through had definite results regarding the Stress Anxiety I suffer from and I still use their techniques today, including breath meditation, but, as I said, they do not train you fully in Mindfulness Meditation. Only the Buddha and his disciples can do that.
With this in mind I have decided to upload the Satipatthana Sutta. This is the Sutta that details, quite explicitly, exactly how to go about Mindfulness Meditation and the various steps you need to go through for your journey toward liberation. The breath is always in mind, but there are numerous other subjects that you progressively move on to during your practice.
I could enumerate them here but I think it best to let the Buddha speak rather than run the possibility of me leading you astray, so I shall stop wittering on and just leave you to read the Sutta in your own time. As usual, there is a PDF version available for download and printing should you so wish.
It would seem prudent to start the dissemination of the Dhamma with how it all began. At least that idea makes sense to me, and I feel any newly budding Buddhist could do with an overview of where Buddhism came from and who is responsible for it.
The Buddha was not born the Buddha, or to put it more correctly, the Buddha was not born a Buddha. He was born a baby boy, between 563BCE and 480BCE (current studies cannot pin the date of his birth any more accurately than this), just like any other male of our species. He was born into royalty in a province in what is now part of southern Nepal, and brought up with the attendant luxuries that such a lifestyle entailed. There was no immaculate conception, there were no miracles, he was not born with any supernatural powers. If he were to be reborn today, he would be just like you and me and you could well be spending the evening down the pub deliberating on the current state of the European Union and Brexit!
His father, being somewhat overprotective, made sure that the boy, named Siddhārtha Gautama, never roamed outside the confines of their palace and thus never experienced the daily life of the villagers and travellers through their domain. However, one evening, he convinced one of his servants to take him out of the palace and on a tour of his lands. It was this secretive trip that changed the path of Siddhartha’s life forever.
Rather than repeating what has already been written, I shall let the following Suttas tell the tale of how young Siddhārtha became a man who would be remembered and revered for almost 2500 years.
This is the story of how ‘The Buddha’ came to be.
In the Majjhimika Nikaya, Sutta 26, the Buddha details his own search for enlightenment. He also points out the real source of happiness.