Introduction II

Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness (pp. 10-24)

The Gradual Training

Last week, we discussed the types of happiness.   True happiness is only possible by eliminating craving.  Craving cannot be eliminated by willpower alone; resisting it only makes it worse. The Buddha came up with a better plan:  The Eightfold Path.  The training can be instantaneous and for most people, it takes time, sometimes years.  The point is to start now and keep working on it.

The Eightfold Path is divided into three elements:  wisdom, morality, and concentration.

Wisdom consists of two steps:

  • Skillful Understanding: gaining an understanding of what life is really about.
  • Skillful Thinking: practicing generosity, loving-kindness and compassion.

Morality is adopting core values and living your life in accordance with them.  The three core values are contained in the steps:

  • Skillful Speech
  • Skillful Action
  • Skillful Livelihood

Concentration is the process for practice and contains three steps:

  • Skillful Effort: developing wholesome mental states.
  • Skillful Mindfulness:  seeing things as they really are.
  • Skillful Concentration:  being able to focus on the task at hand.

We will be going through each step in detail.

Supports for Practice

The supports to help your practice are:

  1. Simplify Your Life
  2. Exercise Self-restraint
  3. Cultivate Goodness
  4. Find a Teacher and Explore the Teachings
  5. Begin a Practice of Mindfulness

Simplify Your Life

  • Are all of your activities are necessary or just a way to keep busy?
  • Do you spend time in solitude for reflection and self-renewal?

Exercise Self-restraint

  • Are you organized?
  • Do you keep a healthy body and exercise?
  • Do you eat a healthy and moderate diet?
  • Do you take the time to reflect and/or meditation each day?

Cultivate Goodness

  • Are you practicing generosity?
  • Are you practicing patience?
  • Do you have faith in your potential to achieve lasting happiness?  Look to your experience.

Find a Teacher and Explore the Teachings

  • Do you have a place where you can practice with others?
  • Do you have a teacher whom you can consult and discuss the teaching?

Begin a Practice of Mindfulness

Assignment

  • Reread this passage and reflect on it throughout the next week

Next: Skillful Understanding: Cause and Effect
Previous: Introduction I