Buddha’s Inspirational Words to Guide Us Through Current Times

The birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha, although three separate significant events, are celebrated on one sacred day – Buddha Purnima. Also known as the Thrice Blessed Festival, Buddha Purnima is observed on the first full moon (Purnima) of the Hindu month of Vaishaka. This year it happens to fall on May 7th.

Under normal circumstances, celebrations on this day include visiting Buddhist shrines where devotees offer up candles and flowers and recite sermons and hymns related to Lord Buddha’s principles and teachings. However, as people follow social distancing and with a national lockdown in force, festivities and celebrations this year will be restricted.

Life has changed drastically for most people around the world. And it is in these trying times that you may be able to find solace in some of Buddha’s most famous teachings.

Change is Constant

According to Buddha’s teachings, one of the most fundamental truths of the universe is that everything is continuously changing. Whether it’s the more evident changes to the planet or the subtle, drastic ways that emotions and experiences alter humans. Therefore, holding on to anything or anyone and trying to preserve lasting security is pointless. This powerful truth can guide you through these unpredictable times. Since nothing is constant and change is inevitable, this pandemic too, like everything else, shall pass.

Living in the Present is Important

Buddha’s teachings urge people to not dwell too much on the past nor dream about the future but to focus their mind on the current moment. Think about it – most regrets may arise from spending too much time thinking of past events, and unnecessary anxiety may stem from trying to know and control the future. And especially since everyone is trying to cope with the pandemic, thoughts of “what could have been” or “what will I do” can take dark turns. By training your mind to stay in the moment, you can be better equipped to deal with the current situation. Hence, it is essential to acknowledge the present – whatever it maybe.

Meditation Helps Achieve Nirvana

Buddha’s teachings imply that nothing around us can provide ultimate satisfaction. He said that one must look inwards to achieve nirvana, and meditation is key in doing so. Mindfulness, which is being aware of the present, of every action and thought without judgment, is just as important. Thus, practising meditation and mindfulness during this time can help reduce anxiety caused by uncertainty. It can even help in following necessary precautions; for instance, being mindful of washing your hands and not touching your face.

Loving-Kindness is Essential

Loving-kindness or Metta meditation is essential in rising above suffering by letting go of selfishness, anger, and fear. It’s about being devoid of self-interest and directing your attention and concern to the happiness or pain of others. Every time you’re looking out for someone during the lockdown – by wearing a mask, by self-isolating, by checking in on loved ones, you indulge in a form of loving-kindness. It starts with directing kind and loving thoughts to yourself and goes on expanding until you can direct it to everyone without any distinction.

Patience is an Act of Self-Compassion

Buddhism teaches us that patience is one of the six paramitas or ‘perfections’ of an enlightened person. Those who can practice patience can find inner peace and do away with internal conflict. A patient person has a calm mind and can better deal with external conflict; their tolerance increases, and anger and annoyance decrease. Under current circumstances, tapping into the virtue of patience is essential. Nobody thought that what started as a one-day national lockdown would run into months. But it has been necessary for everyone’s wellbeing. Hence, being patient can be of good for you and others.

This Buddha Purnima, as you remain #ParkedForSafety, take the opportunity to understand Buddha’s teachings. By practising meditation, mindfulness, patience and loving-kindness, you can improve your mental and emotional state. And once things go back to normal, these teachings will continue to enhance your overall sense of peace and wellbeing.