What can we learn from the Buddha

When we talk about the Buddha, we imagine an image of the Buddha sitting in the lotus position, meditating in a calm and composed manner. But there is a characteristic about him that is not highlighted or known to the people. It is not that people think that he may have lacked that characteristic but we never associate it with him. The Buddha as mentioned is also pictured as a calm, composed, enlightened and knowledgeable person. 

But a tale about him reveals yet another side of him and I believe it is equally admirable. The tale goes like this, the Buddha before he became the Buddha or “the enlightened one” roamed around different places in search of Enlightenment. We wanted to find answers to his questions and remove suffering from this world. He meditated for long duration in search of the answers but was unable to find them. 

One day, he arrived at the peepal tree which is not known as the Bodhi tree. He was so determined to find the answers that on that night he decided to take a vow. A vow that would test his patients and willpower. He was so determined to find the answers that he decided that he would sit and meditate at that place until he is able to find answers to his questions. He decided that he would not move even if his body starts to decay. With this determination, he sat under that tree and did not give in to any distractions that might derail him from his purpose. No amount of pain or suffering would distract him from his motives. 

This was a bold show of willpower and strength. His utter control of his senses and his ability to let go of the pleasures and pain is something we all need to have in our life. If we are able to put in even a fraction of his will power, I believe that we could achieve a lot of our goals. We all currently live a life where we are slaves to our senses, we are not able to control our desires and delay gratification in order to attain our goals. We live in a life where we need instant rewards. 

When we talk about the practice of meditation, it is a practice to help us build that willpower by controlling our mind and forcing it to concentrate. Experiencing the pain while sitting still is a method to train our body and mind to stick to our goals and not give up at the first encounter of displeasure. Meditation is like a controlled experiment, where we introduce our body to some discomfort and train our mind to deal with it by controlling our senses.

This is what we need to learn from the Buddha, the ability to stay focused on our goals and developing the willpower to stay focused on our goals without getting distracted by outer or inner factors. 

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