Over the past few decades, scientists have grown increasingly interested in happiness: What makes us happy or unhappy? How can we increase our happiness? And how should we define or quantify happiness?
Buddhists have been studying the phenomenon of happiness for millennia.
Today, there’s considerable intersection between Buddhism and science. Recent research indicates that Buddhism—as well as other ancient Eastern traditions such as Taoism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism—has an incredible amount to teach us about living happier, calmer, and more satisfying lives.
By unwrapping iconic Buddhist teachings, this 51 page eBook focuses on specific actions you can take to:
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Here's what you'll learn from Hack Spirit's new eBook, How to Use Buddhist Teachings for a Mindful, Peaceful and Happy Life.
How and why to be mindful
There are many simple exercises you can do to bring a mindful attitude to quotidian activities such as eating breakfast, walking the dog, or sitting on the floor to stretch.
How to meditate
Many beginning meditators have a lot of questions: How should I sit? How long should I meditate? What if it feels awkward or uncomfortable or my foot falls asleep? Am I doing it wrong?
In this eBook, you’ll find simple steps and explanations to answer these questions and demystify meditation. (And no, you’re not doing it wrong).
How to approach relationships
This section offers tips for interacting with friends and enemies alike and walks you through a loving kindness meditation.
How to minimize harm
There is a lot of suffering in the world; it’s best for everyone if we try not to add to it. Here you’ll read about the idea of ahimsa (non-harming) and how you might apply it to your actions.
How to let things go
As Buddhism teaches, excessive attachment (whether we’re clinging to something or actively resisting it) all too often leads to suffering. Practitioners of mindfulness meditation find peace in letting go and accepting things as they are in the moment.
Our core mission is to provide education and learning platforms where ideas are explored through dialogue and turned into action.
In an age of echo chambers and filter bubbles, we encourage the pursuit of truth by raising provocative questions and eschewing groupthink. We value open mindedness, critical analysis and people thinking for themselves.
Our main site is a digital media platform where we provide commentary on the ideas shaping our lives - and our future. We bring our community together in online webinars, with our members shaping the editorial direction of our journalism and online discussions. Finally, we run our very own social network for ideas where anyone can join and share ideas (it's being upgraded and relaunched soon).
Introduction: Why Learn about Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy?
It’s dawn at the temple and a group of white-clad meditators walk slowly uphill. The air is heavy with humidity and silence, broken only by intermittent gecko cries and the soft rustling of leaves in the breeze. One by one, they sit on the floor, breathing deep and regular, minds open to the day’s Dharma Talk which is about to begin.
If you visit a Buddhist monastery to undertake a meditation retreat, you’ll become familiar with a morning routine such as this one. You’ll wake early, often before the sun, and enjoy a simple daily schedule of attending talks, meditating, eating, meditating, chanting, and meditating some more. You might take a vow of silence while you’re there, refrain from eating after lunch, or spend an entire week with no phone signal or internet.
Intensive meditation retreats are wonderful, but they are not the only way to bring mindfulness into your life. You don’t have to travel to the most remote cave or mountain or desert to find a sense of calm, acceptance, and peace. All of these things are already in your mind. (It is called mindfulness, after all). You can learn how to meditate, how to foster healthier relationships, how to heal from pain and trauma, how to unburden yourself from intrusive negative thoughts right here, right now, where you already are.
This book will acquaint you with several Eastern religious and philosophical traditions—primarily Buddhism, but also Taoism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Hinduism—drawing on their insights to make practical suggestions for your everyday life. It does not pretend or attempt to offer comprehensive discussion of all Eastern philosophies. Rather, it aims to highlight elements that may prove useful to you. It offers pragmatic advice for daily life, grounded in these ancient traditions.
I draw on Buddhist and Taoist thought throughout the book, particularly as they relate to mindfulness and meditation. Jain and Sikh ideas make an entrance in Chapter 3, on cultivating relationships, and Jainism appears alongside Hinduism in Chapter 4, on minimizing harm in the world.
If you find your curiosity piqued, I encourage you to consult the sources gathered at the end of the book. Whether you’re interested in the intricacies of Buddhist philosophy or the historical development of Sikhism, you’ll find that there are numerous excellent books, articles, and other resources to guide your future reading.
For now, however, we’ll leave abstract and theoretical concerns behind. This book is about you: a happier, calmer, wiser you.
Let’s get started.