Every year, the Full Moon in May celebrates the life of the Buddha – his birth (2579 years ago), his enlightenment, and his passing.
Known as Buddha Purnima (meaning “full moon of the Buddha”), today is a day to remember the gift of awareness and the deep understanding of the human mind that Siddharta Gautama shared with his followers, and subsequently – through them – with generations of seekers around the world.
We are shaped by our thoughts;
we become what we think.
When the mind is pure, joy follows
like a shadow that never leaves.
~ The Buddha
The impact and beauty of the teachings can be found in their simplicity: one of the Buddha’s most profound messages is known as The Three Jewels.
These “Three Jewels” are fundamental to the success of any spiritual path, but in this case, relate to Buddhist philosophy.
Buddham saranam gacchami ~ The First Jewel refers to the Buddha. This is technically not a reference to the man himself: the Buddha was careful to point out that he should not be worshipped as either a man or – especially! – an idol (oh, well… so much for that idea!). The Buddha here refers to the teacher who points the way, or to the awakened state – the vehicle for your awakening.
Dhammam saranam gacchami ~ The Second Jewel refers to the dhamma, from the Pali word for the path of awareness, or teachings, called dharma in Sanskrit. Naturally, this is about what the Buddha actually taught and is crucial to understanding the nature and source of our suffering, as well as how to overcome it (known as the Four Noble Truths – in short: there is suffering in life, there is a clear cause of suffering, there is a solution to ease suffering, and there are explicit steps we can follow to alleviate suffering).
Sangham saranam gacchami ~ The Third Jewel is the sangha, the community of truth seekers or like-minded fellows that you surround yourself with.
Of all of the Three Jewels, the Buddha considered the sangha to be the most important. Just like your mother always said, it matters who you hang out with. Modern psychologists and personal development leaders consider that we are the reflection of the five people we relate to and engage most closely with in our daily lives. As humans, we are social creatures and our success on the spiritual path can be speeded up or impeded by the influence of the people around us, in person and online.
Community support is important, but not always easy to find in a busy modern existence. Lately, I have been so busy I have not been able to schedule another Mindful Living Course, inter alia, and can’t see when it will be possible in the near future.
So I’m proposing a free Mindfulness meeting online on Sunday, May 21st from 19:30 to 21:00 (-ish) for anyone who would like to join to listen in or ask questions, and especially to catch up with those who have already followed the Mindful Living Course in the past. Look out for a Zoom invitation nearer the date, and jump online to (re-)discover the healing power of Mindfulness.
Today’s full moon also ushers in a period where change – for better or worse! – will gain momentum. After a few weeks of latency, we are entering a period of real potential for moving forward with your goals. May 4th to 27th is a very productive time and a great period for starting new projects or restructuring current ones.
The political scene will continue along the revolutionary theme of the past few years, and often in a violent and unconstructive manner. As this is likely to accelerate and intensify in the next few years, keep practising what we know from the ancient teachings and modern science – that this world is fundamentally a projection of our minds. Keep your own mind and emotions under control and support those around you who haven’t yet learned how to do so. Peace in the heart, peace in the world! See the good that surrounds you wherever possible.
Look up in the sky at night for the next few days to see brilliant Jupiter just to the right of the moon – it’s a beautiful sight, and bound to add some inspiration for your future plans!
Much love and light,