When you realise the truth of these 17 Buddhist wisdoms you will believe in the life lessons of the Buddha and they will change your life.
17 Life Changing Buddhist Wisdoms You Have To Believe In
1. Live with compassion
We Buddhists revere compassion.
One of Buddha’s most inspiring life quotes is:
Enlightened people invariably have high levels of compassion.
Compassion can change the world. If everyone acted compassionately the world would soon be a peaceful, love-filled place. And compassion can also change your life as an individual.
It has been scientifically proven that compassion makes us healthier and happier and even makes us more likely to succeed in life.
And self-compassion is vital too.
Self compassion is essential for inner peace and is vital for stopping mental health problems like depression.
[You can develop your self compassion by practicing Karuna Meditation].
The Huna also teach a similar concept.
2. Always love and respect your friends and family
Buddhist wisdom teaches us to love and respect our community.
“Sangha” is a Buddhist word that refers to a community of monks, a group of individuals working together towards the mutual goal of attaining enlightenment.
In Sanghas, monks come together to offer devotion, to help their community grow, and to show mutual compassion and love.
The whole world could greatly benefit by understanding the Buddhist concept of “Sangha”.
By looking at life as a “Sangha”—as a group of people who can all help one another to achieve lasting happiness and peace—we would immediately undo much of the world’s evil.
Perhaps the most important piece of Buddhist wisdom is that all people deserve love and compassion. That one piece of Buddhist wisdom truly could change the world.
3. Enlightened people live consciously
One of the most important Buddhist wisdoms for happiness is to live consciously. Live for the present moment.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. — Buddha quote
Buddhists call this trait “Mindfulness”.
Mindfulness is about focusing the mind on the present moment. It’s a simple but profoundly powerful practice.
When you live your life in the present moment you are aware of the fullness of existence. When you live now you are more receptive to joy, love, peace, and happiness.
Studies show that living in the moment::
- Makes us more mindful
- Helps with physical pain
- Increases endurance when working out
- Makes us more aware of sensory information (tastes, smells, sights, sounds and feelings)
- Increases creativity
- Helps stop bad habits
- Boosts happiness and relaxation
This is one of the life lessons we learn by meditating.
4. Appreciate the beauty of life
Life is a miraculous and wonderful thing. But too many people never stop to appreciate the beauty of existence, the preciousness of this thing called life.
Realising the beauty of life means recognising the miracle of your own body and mind, it means valuing community and society, it means revering nature. The world is a most splendorous thing. Let love of life fill your being.
Buddhists believe in oneness. They believe that everything is connected as one. They believe that we are all connected to each other, to nature, and to the world. That is why you can never live your own life fully unless you embrace the whole world: because you yourself are found in that world. To close your eyes to part of the world is to close your eyes to part of yourself.
Science proves that the appreciation of beauty is important for health and happiness. Having an appreciation of beauty makes us feel connected to something higher than ourselves . And this sense of a higher power is beneficial for our mental health [READ: The Importance Of Spirituality].
My interview with Devamrita Swami has great insights on this.
5. To change the world, change yourself
One of the best Buddha quotes is:
Buddhists know that if we are to change the world we must begin with ourselves.
One of the best Buddhist wisdom is the basic idea of training the mind to be our best.
Because we are all one with each other, and thereby we are all interconnected, if we change ourselves we will invariably change the world. Do not subscribe yourself to the ignorant belief that it’s “them or me”. It is us. It is we. We are one. If I change I will invariably change you. If you change you will invariably change me.
Change yourself and you will change the world.
The best way to start is to change your beliefs.
6. Accept death, and embrace it
Too many people in the world are terrified of death. They spend so much of their energy fighting their own impermanence, and of course it is a fruitless battle whose only legacy is suffering.
We are impermanent.
We will die.
We will return to mother nature.
Our current form will perish.
Accepting this truth is vital to inner peace.
Buddhist wisdom states that we must accept the truth. The truth is death.
Buddhists meditate on the corpse, spending hours imagining their own bodies decomposing and return to the earth [read: Samatha Meditation]. Through this meditation practice they develop acceptance of death. This acceptance diminishes their fear, leading to a profound state of inner peace
Some monks even die while meditating, by doing Tukdam.
THE DAILY MEDITATION has an inspiring video that will help you to realise this wisdom.
7. Food is sacred
You wont find an enlightened person mindlessly eating food while watching TV.
Buddhists meditate on food and eat mindfully.
When eating, they will focus their minds on the food absolutely, meditating on the tastes, the sights, the smells, and the textures of the food. They understand that food is a blessing, one that must be valued and respected.
Eating mindfully naturally leads to eating slowly, and this in turn helps the digestive system, but mindful eating also helps the mind and spirit.
When we eat slowly we come to recognise the interconnections of life, the fact that the food becomes a part of us and that we are, therefore, deeply connected to the wider world.
Have gratitude and respect for food and you will help not just your body but your mind and spirit too.
8. My religions is kindness
One of the best Dalai Lama quotes is:
The Buddha used to meditate between 5am and 6am every morning.
In this meditation session he would contemplate how he could help people that day. Having meditated on kindness he would then set out to do it. He would spend the hours between 10am and noon helping his community.
Buddhists understand the value of giving. They know that giving and receiving are both beautiful acts that help to create a deeper connection between people.
Give something today and allow someone to give something to you. You will immediately feel more connected.
9. Rid yourself of ego
Buddhists believe in letting go of the ego.
Bu as Robert Wright says in Why Buddhism Is True [AMAZON], “Don’t feel like you’re committing a felony-level violation of Buddhist dogma just because you think of yourself as being a self.”
The one thing that all spiritual practices have in common is this: they are about letting go of the ego and getting in touch with some form of higher power.
Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism… they all share this trait, they all know that the greatest obstacle to peace and happiness is the ego.
Let go of the ego and you will achieve a higher state of being.
One of the principle reasons why Buddhists meditate is to remove the ego.
When meditating, we create oneness, we come to see that the whole world is interconnected. This is the very antithesis of ego. Ego says “I am”. The enlightened mind says “We are”. That one subtle difference in attitude can change your life forever.
10. Right Speech
Here is an attitude that makes life easier.
Buddhists follow the “Eight noble truths”.
These are Eight beliefs that Buddhists consider to be of ultimate importance.
One of these beliefs is right speech.
Right speech is peaceful speech. It is speaking in a compassionate and peaceful way.
Buddhist wisdom states that we should not judge others. We must not speak in words of judgment. Nor should we speak in words of anger, hostility, or resentment.
Right speech is about speaking from a place of love and compassion.
When you speak in this way you make your words more pleasurable for other people, and you improve your well-being. Using words of kindness, love, and compassion leads to heightened state of joy and happiness. Rid yourself of violent words and adopt a peaceful vocabulary instead.
11. Do not want. Appreciate
Buddhists do not want. You won’t hear a Buddhist talking about how much better their life would be if only they won the lottery.
Buddhists appreciate what they have, they appreciate the present moment, whatever the moment might be.
Buddhist wisdom states that every moment is precious and that wherever we are, there we must be.
Do not dream of better places, of richness, of an easy life.
Appreciate the life you live.
This life lesson is best expressed by the Bruce Lee quote “Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult life”.
12. Right livelihood
The work you do every day should be work that leads to peace and happiness for yourself and for all other people.
Whatever you do, whether it’s writing, gardening, real estate, teaching… whatever it is, you should feel happy about it.
Your work should serve your own life. Seems simple, right? But how many people are stuck in jobs they hate? Do work that makes you happy and peaceful.
Your work should help other people too. You don’t necessarily have to work in healthcare or charitable organisations to achieve that. Teachers can have a profound effect on their students, as can people in public services—simply helping someone with a smile can go a long way towards making their day a better one.
Use your work to boost peace and happiness for all.
One of the most important life lessons in all of Buddhism is the importance of non-attachment.
Non-attachment means living in a “liquid state”. It means we are not attached to ideas of want or anger. It means we live in the present moment.
As water travels freely through the rivers and stream, so too must we travel freely through time, through the succession of present moments, through the river we call life.
Travelling freely means travelling without attachment
. If we are too caught on the way things “should be” we are not free to experience the way things are. Let go of your preconceived notions of life and you will embrace a much deeper connection to the present moment.
This is particularly helpful if you have been feeling stuck in life.
14. There will always be a now, and now is all there will ever be
There is no Buddhist wisdom and no Buddhist life lesson more important than this.
Now is everything.
Not the dream in your head. N
ot the fear.
Now. Now. Now. Now.
Embrace this moment. Sit back and tell yourself “This is my life right now”. Have the courage and wisdom to live 100% in the present moment, because this time, this moment, is more precious than gold or jewels. This moment is the single most valuable commodity you will ever have. It is everything. Embrace it. Love it. Live it. The time to be alive it now.
15. Dukka: Life is Painful And Causes Suffering
Buddhists believe life is suffering.
Taken at face value this belief doesn’t seem all that positive now, does it?.
Life causes suffering.
Well, gee, that’s just swell. So you mean I’m going to suffer all my life?
Yup. Inevitably life will lead to pain.
But here’s the point. If you accept the fact that life causes pain, you will immediately gain mental strength.
So much of the suffering in life is caused by:
- fear of possible pain,
- the idea that we suffer more than others,
- the idea that if we’re in pain, we must be doing something wrong.
When you simply accept that life always includes a degree of pain, you remove all three of those issues. You don’t fear pain, because doing so would be pointless—pain is going to happen anyway, so why fear it? You know that all life experiences pain, so you no longer feel alone. Finally, you know that you’re not doing something wrong. No matter what you do, your life will involve some suffering. It’s inevitable. As soon as you realise the inevitability of some degree of pain, you gain strength.
Learn more about Dukkha and Sukha.
- Read my poem about this.
16: Anitya: Life is in Flux
Buddhists believe in Anitya, the state of impermanence, the idea that all things are perpetually changing 
This address one huge flaw without typical Western thinking: We try to keep things stable.
You want to know that your job is secure, your relationship is solid and will never change, your health is constantly in a good state, and that all is fine.
Just one problem: Life doesn’t work like that.
Life is as the ocean currents, ever rolling, ever moving, ever stirring the waters of change.
You can’t stop life from changing. The more you try to cling on to life, the more pain you’ll suffer.
You get ill. You get healthy. You find a good job. You lose a good job. You get married. Maybe you get divorced. That’s life. Change.
Imagine if there was no change. Imagine if it were all the same, day in, day out, yesterday being tomorrow being today, all one. Imagine. What would be the point?
The thrill of life comes from riding the waves. You can’t stop the current from stirring, you can’t stop the waves from flowing, you just get up on surf on the waves of life. And you love the ride. And if you fall of, from time to time, you love the feeling of being in deep water. Life is change. Embrace it.
Another Buddhist belief is that we should have no attachments. No, not email attachments, mental and spiritual attachments.
17: Anatma: The Self is Ever Changing
One of the most important of all Buddhist beliefs and values is Anatma: the idea that the self is always changing. 
Buddhists believe there is no soul.
For instance, take me.
I’m a writer and meditation teacher, 32, healthy, look alright, have a loving family… that’s me. But here’s the deal. That me, that self, is going to change. 32 turns to 33. Maybe I lose my job. Maybe I get a better job. Maybe something happens to my family. I. change.
And besides, you also have to ask, where does the idea of “self” come from? (click that link for a truly elucidating read).
I actually changed a lot recently.
My father died this year. My father’s death changed me forever. The self I clung to before isn’t there now. I’m different. And next year, or next month, or maybe even today, something will happen that will change me.
We are forever changing.
But in the west we tend to try and cling on to one idea of ourselves. The problem is that if you cling on to one idea of yourself, you prevent yourself from experiencing the full reality of your own existence.
It takes courage to let go.
Accept your impermanence, embrace your ever changing state. You might have just one life. But in that one life, you’ll exist in a million different colours. And that’s the beauty of you and me: we have the potential to be anything.
What is your favorite Buddhist wisdom?
Leave a comment.
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