With all that’s going on in the world – political, economic and environmental uncertainty – we may feel that the world is a crazy and scary place. Can we face such a world with a sense of peace? Are we destined to worry and be fearful of such uncertainty, or are there reliable methods of gaining an inner peace and stability that remains undisturbed by a stressful world?
2,600 years ago, in India, the Buddha taught that the key to peace, and perfect peace, was in uncovering the very nature of our own minds. He also taught a vast range of methods aimed at achieving this goal. Millennia later, millions of people all over the world continue to find profound and practical benefit by practising these methods, all of which in a way, are forms of meditation. These methods are every bit as relevant as they ever were, and are particularly useful nowadays, given the stresses of the modern world.
Buddhism teaches that the main causes of our happiness and unhappiness are not external conditions, but our mind’s reaction to them. The logic for this is easy to understand. If external circumstances were, from their side, a cause of happiness, then anyone who experienced those circumstances would be happy. Examples are easy to see: many very wealthy people are unhappy.
If we think about it, we can find nothing external to our own minds that can be a guaranteed source of happiness. We all know people who are happy-go-lucky, whereas others are prone to being upset at even very small problems. This shows that external events are not the main cause of our happiness or unhappiness, but rather, what primarily determines this is our mental strength – how resilient we are to problems and stresses. So, it’s natural to ask: are there methods we can use to develop more mental strength, more peace?
The Buddha taught that a reliable refuge from our suffering and difficulties – real peace – can only be found internally. Through the practice of meditation, we can nurture and develop states of mind which are a source of peace, relaxation and true happiness. And we can find the strength within ourselves to face and deal with the difficulties and stresses that life inevitably throws at us.
At the Society’s Buddhist Spring Festival on 10 and 11 November teachers from different Buddhist traditions will be introducing and exploring meditation and Buddhist philosophy. As well as these talks, with ample opportunity to try meditation and ask questions, there will be many other attractions – for all the details, please click here.
Festival entry $5. Family rate $10 for parents and school-age children or younger. Talks $10 or $15 for two or three. Temple tours $5.