What we can learn from the dalai lama and buddhist nuns

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WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM BUDDHIST NUNS ABOUT LIFE

There is profundity in the way of life that buddhist nuns lead. So devout, days are spent from sun up to sun down in prayer, meditation and contemplation. Gaining deeper understanding of the Buddha’s teachings is all they are after in this life. And they are so after that they commit fully. They give all of themselves to this desire to understand life in this way.

We might not fully grasp or realize how Buddhist nuns actually spend their days and the extent of their devotion. They are at many times in isolation or solitude. And the peace and resolve that comes over us when we do this for extended periods of times, years in this case is unparalleled to any self work we can do.

With restricted focus and incessant learning of the Buddha’s teaching and learning to let go of suffering they spend their days in total surrender to a higher calling within.

How do we learn to live in this way?

What would that do for us?

To be so committed to not suffering is a noble task that only few will ultimately attain to this level. That is essentially the calling of the nun or monk. You are called to spend a lifetime in one state or another of meditative self inquiry.

A numinous life can be quite extraordinary. It seems as if the nuns just float about on little marshmallowy clouds with this deeper understanding of life.

However it is not just this philosophy that lends to their peaceful demeanor and profound level of calm. They are spending hours meditating and sitting in prayer and chanting sacred mantras. This is what leads to ultimate serenity in life.

Learning the teachings gives practical understanding therefore having less emotional triggers and ties to events in life. It’s the practical understanding that offers strength and resilience when life becomes difficult and in those hard to bear moments.

My favorite mantra is Om Namah Shivaya. Krishna Das’ rendition here is a powerful one to awaken the senses and spirit. I was moved from the first time I heard it.

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS WAY OF THINKING?

Let’s say these nuns and monks alike devote themselves in their entirety to learning a way out of suffering. They devote themselves to this cause day in and day out. And they have such resolute belief in their conviction.

They are practitioners of life learning the power way forward.

BUDDHA’S TEACHINGS AND THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS

The buddha’s teachings are a roadmap to happiness, deeper understanding and learning detachment. The Buddha taught that by learning a way out of suffering is the only way to true peace. We are all suffering in some way. Life is suffering. And when you begin to understand this with deeper awareness you release it and do not have attachments around that.

1. The First Truth is suffering – dukkah – This word means suffering or pain. The Buddha believed that with deeper awareness we begin to understand the nature of life in this way, all existence is suffering and learning to understand this from a higher perspective is the ultimate nirvana or sorts and frees us from the hold of life and this aspect of it.

2. The Second Truth – cause of suffering: Understanding our own power of the suffering we feel inside and how to begin to be more rational and understand in a way that we ultimately suffer less. Becoming more reasonable and beginning to understand the true nature of life in a philosophical way.

3. The Third Truth is the end of suffering – learning how to suffer less in a way that allows us to be more contemplative and live in a more existential way.

4. The Fourth Truth is the path that frees you from suffering – it is here the Buddha suggests mindfulness and self reflection to invoke greater self discovery. Learning how to go deeper with life so you have deeper understanding to life and all of it’s entanglements. On this path you learn to let go and be less attached. You begin to understand life in a much deeper way and you free yourself of the self limiting beliefs that keep you in a state or on going cycle of suffering. The chance to free yourself with this deeper understanding – this is what he fourth path provides.

LEARNING TO TAP INTO JOY

There is something to be said about those who can laugh from deep within, a good belly laugh that takes you so wonderously into ecstasy even if just for the moment. That moment of bliss where you feel truly happy and you are holding onto nothing else. None of your turmoil or issues or hardships in that moment of laughter are weighing you down. So what can we gather from this way of being? Why does it seem the Dalai Lama is always laughing? Or is he just happier than we are? Perhaps it’s the meditation, the solitude, a lifetime spent in teaching the wisdom of a great sage and living by this, doing good and opening the world to love. I think love is the key factor here in this equation.

Life changes when you begin living from love.

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Sue Dhillon is an Indian American writer, journalist, and trainer.

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