Tea with the Buddha
One of the rituals of friendship for me is to sit and have a coffee or tea with friends every so often. Talking over a coffee last night, with a friend, we got onto the topic of historical or fictional characters that we would like to have coffee with. I mentioned the Buddha as one of my choices. We didn’t go into depth of what we would discuss, with each of these people, rather just who we would like to sit and chat with.
So I decided that a tea with the Buddha would be a good way to get to know him. Imagine sitting in a Tea house in Sarnath, India about almost 2600 years ago. The tea house is across the road, from the soon to be famous Deer Park. Siddhartha Gautama arrived in Sarnath, about 7 weeks after achieving enlightenment. As the tea house is crowded, you offer a place beside yourself, and you both introduce yourself. Upon hearing that Siddhartha had achieved enlightenment, I imagine my first question would be how he came to this discovery. The Buddha would have explained the middle path, neither living for the pleasures of the world, no living as an ascetic, denying oneself of even the necessities of life. Rather it is about having enough to be comfortable, healthy and be able to help those around us, that is the balance we should strive for. For advice he would tell us to be mindful of our thoughts, speech and actions. As to possessions, he would tell us that they were not really ours, nor did our possessions define who we are. The advice might follow:
Practice loving kindness to get rid of hatred.
Practice compassion to remove cruelty.
Practice sympathy to dispel apathy.
Practice equanimity to end jealousy or envy.
Contemplate the impurity of the body, to overcome lust.
Contemplate impermanence to overcome ego.
Practice mediation as this will teach you control, so you may gain great wisdom.
Never pass judgement on others, least you be judged in return.
All conditioned things are subject to decay, be diligent in acquiring enlightenment.
Do not follow any teacher with out first examining the teachings, and if beneficial to you, without harming other beings adopt them.
I might ask what is the main point of his teachings?
Life is suffering, but there is a way to end suffering, might be his answer.
To learn more about his teachings, requires effort, an investment of time, contemplation of what has been taught, and adopting the teachings as guidelines to live your life by. So to learn more we must follow the middle path, and learn from our teachers, who have learned from their teachers, until we arrive back to the original teachings of The Buddha. I hope you have enjoyed your tea break.