The story of Buddhism begins with the personal journey of a man, Siddhartha Guatama who sought to find freedom from the bondage of human suffering. His journey led him to discover nirvana or an enlightened state. Bill Wilson, the founder of AA began the same quest from a different life experience. Siddhartha, born a noble prince, witnessed suffering all around him in the forms of old age, disease and death. Bill W.’s journey arose from the grips of his own struggles with the disease of addiction which sought to destroy his life. He, too, had a spiritual awakening or conversion experience after following a path of steps which humbled, purged and surrendered him to a power greater than himself. Despite 2600 years between them, both share a similar story.
The way of the Buddha begins with acceptance of the Four Noble Truths:
- Suffering (dukkha) is universal.
- The cause of suffering is craving (tanha) and ignorance (avijja).
- The cure for suffering is the elimination of craving or letting go of desire.
- The way to eliminate craving is to follow The Eightfold Path.
Buddha’s solution to eliminating craving was to follow the Eightfold path which insured that one’s actions were in alignment with their values and intentions.
- Right view
- Right intention
- Right speech
- Right action
- Right livelihood
- Right effort
- Right mindfulness
- Right concentration
The Ten Perfections were not officially documented until after the Buddha’s death. These qualitites were recognized as necessary for anyone aspiring to become a fully awakened buddha.
- Loving Kindness