Cause & effect

Buddhists have known for centuries that all suffering has a cause. If you do NOT think, feel and act RIGHT (cause), the effects are usually NOT GOOD. You suffer. That’s why it’s important to think, feel and act RIGHT. Then the effects are usually RIGHT too. Cause & effect. Common sense that has been around for at least 2500 years and is widely quoted, including by me.

Also religions and (ancient) philosophies are based on this principle. Philosophy literally means to LOVE wisdom. What is wisdom? Just know what’s RIGHT and apply and share it! Sharing is multiplying happiness.

What is RIGHT?
The word ‘right’, according to Buddha, is comparable to words such as wise, sound, capable, ideal. I translate that into what is GOOD for you and others. Because we are human beings with a body, a mind, a heart and a soul, the RIGHT things are what’s good for you and others physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. What gives you energy, joy and meaning?

Noble truths
Buddha has developed the Eightfold Path for this. The Eightfold Path is the fourth Truth of the Four Noble Truths:

1. there is suffering
2. suffering has a cause
3. suffering can reduce and even end by …
4. … following the Eightfold path.

In essence, the truths explain the nature and resolution of our dissatisfaction in life.

The path begins with right understanding. We need to understand the principle of cause and effect. Right thoughts means thinking positively and keeping your mind free from evil. Right speech and right action refer to what we say and do—to not harming other people or ourselves with our words and behavior. Right livelihood means how we live day to day, making sure our habits and our work don’t cause harm to ourselves, others and the environment. Right effort refers to focusing our energy on what benefits us and others. Right mindfulness means awareness of the moment without judging. mind and body with discernment. Finally, right concentration refers to dedicated practice.

Though the eightfold path is always listed in this order, it is not strictly sequential, and does not need to be followed in only this order. The Path is divided into three main sections: wisdom, morality, and discipline. They are all connected and strenghten each other. The eightfold path may not always be easy to follow. The more you make an effort, the less suffering you will experience. Find out for yourself and try to follow the guidelines as much as you can.

Know – feel – do
The eight steps can be divided into three areas for training: ethical conduct (sila), concentration (samadhi), and wisdom (prajna.) Right speech, right action, and right livelihood concern ethical conduct. Does it feel good for you and others? Right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration relate to the practice of concentration. Right understanding and right thoughts are related to the development of wisdom. 

It’s is all connected
All eight steps are interconnected and reinforce each other. You can’t do them individually and try to master them. For example, right speech is not possible without right understanding and right thoughts. Practicing the Eightfold Path is the way to achieve less suffering one step at a time.