The topic of Buddhism can be tricky. While it can be considered a religion — a faith founded by Siddhartha Gautama (aka, the Buddha) more than 2,500 years ago in India — we tend to think of it more as a spiritual apex. It’s a daily choice of processing emotions, reactions, and responses; forming relationships with others and to material things; and embracing a deep, fundamental understanding of life.
Of course, this makes it very complex, and the study of Buddhism is a lifelong journey — not one to be summarized in a quick synopsis here on the Amé site. While we are constantly working on enlightening ourselves and spreading the desire to become more enlightened with every day, we are simply armchair experts. We want to remain beautifully curious.
Honoring that note, we understand the basics of Buddhism to be incredibly applicable to anyone, anytime. It’s about acceptance, openness, and love — fundamentals that can change the way we respond, both physically and emotionally, to troubles before us.
The fundamentals of Buddhism can be broken down into four parts, otherwise known as the Four Noble Truths. Within these facets are the essence of all that is practiced in Buddhism, and honestly, it doesn’t sound pretty at first. Essentially, these four truths all center around suffering, and understanding that life itself is a series of struggles — but that our response to these struggles is key. The way we respond shapes our personality, our experiences, and our outcomes.
We spend so much time trying to make everything perfect all the time that when something goes awry, we have trouble processing it. We think it’s a grave mistake, or we carry grudges and regrets — rather than seeing that this is the nature of life, and that acceptance and adaptation are our only truths among this reality.
Without accepting the existence of suffering, we wallow in unproductive despair. We must let go of material or perfectionist desires — and understand that things are just things, including the flesh and bones body we reside inside. Our spirit is what matters. Cravings and desires are merely distractions that keep us rooted to unproductive attachment.
We come to Nirvana when we allow ourselves to accept the nature of life. When we accept this, we do not worry, we do not blame, and we do not dwell. We simply keep moving with grace and gratitude. It’s a state of transcendence. We don’t believe this is easy to achieve, but we do think it’s possible when committed to letting go of attachment to ideals and material possessions.
While these action-oriented words may make sense to you now, we can’t skip ahead without first understanding suffering, acceptance, separation of the ego, and our attachments to desires, both material and intrapersonal. We have to start slow. Think: mantras, reminders, sticky notes on the mirror, and a consistent mediation practice. It’s hard to imagine until you put in the work, but the magic is available to us all. Enlightenment is free. Why not give it a try?