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BUDDHISM BASICS Anyone Can Benefit From

Buddhism Basics Anyone Can Benefit From

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.


Dukhka, the first of the Four Noble Truths, is the existence of suffering. Within this is a much more complex journey of accepting that there is suffering in life, and letting go of material things and perfectionism. In this way, desire and ignorance are the root of suffering in Buddhism.

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.


Trishna is the second of the Four Noble Truths, and it is the understanding that our suffering has a cause. Perhaps it was to teach us something — and life is full of lessons to be grateful for, if we allow ourselves to see them as learning opportunities rather than misfortunes that befall us. The major source of this suffering is the exaltation we give to our ego. We suffer because of our misdirected energy to the notion that we are independent and separate, taking a fundamentally “I” or “me” mentality. Maintaining the delusion of ego is our futile struggle: It’s a cyclical experience that does not allow us to wholly connect with nature, or deeply understand others.


Not just a cool 90’s grunge band. Nirvana is the end of suffering. It’s the beautiful part of successful meditation — the moment when we are able to look at anxious thoughts and stressors as passing clouds that are simply obscuring the sunshine, which is always there, and always beaming. It just gets temporarily blocked.

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.

The Path

The Path is the cessation of suffering, which is broken into the Noble Eightfold Path. It’s divided into virtuous routes to take by modes of communication and love: For example, good morals, which involve understanding, thought, and speech, then utilize meditation and mental development in the way of action, livelihood, and effort. This path results in wisdom and insight, known as mindfulness and concentration.

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?