Buddha taught us that each of us possess skillful and unskillful qualities.
Obtaining enlightenment requires a strong commitment to develop our skillful qualities and abandon the unskillful ones. This is the path to true happiness and Nibbana.
To achieve perfection in skillful qualities, one needs to cultivate the Five Strengths.
- The strength of conviction (saddha)
- The strength of persistence/energy (viriya)
- The strength of mindfulness (sati)
- The strength of concentration (samadhi)
- The strength of discernment (pañña).
These Five Strengths are developed by following The Three Trainings or Practices.
- Sila: Virtue, good conduct, morality. It’s the cornerstone upon which the entire Noble Eightfold Path is built. The practice of sila is defined by the middle three factors of the Eightfold Path: Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood.
- Samadhi: Concentration, meditation, mental development. Developing one’s mind is the path to wisdom which in turn leads to personal freedom. Mental development also strengthens and controls our mind; this helps us maintain good conduct.
- Prajna: Discernment, insight, wisdom, enlightenment. This is the real heart of Buddha’s teachings. Wisdom will emerge if your mind is pure and calm.
I am beginning to learn that intentions do leave a lasting impression. They do not just float in and out of our conscious streams of thought. One needs to be aware if these intentions are bringing about the desired result. If they are not, then one has to become more skillful in these intentions. This is where discernment comes into play, through examination.
Perhaps today while you are doing a routine or mundane chore, you can check in with yourself. Ask yourself what your intention is, and if you are acting with loving kindness towards others. Make a strong determination to let go of the self, and be mindful of others and how connected you are in this moment. Allow yourself, this very moment, to be filled with loving kindness and compassion towards the whole World.
This is one simple way to be heedful, and develop concentration and awareness. This will leave a mark on you, that you can develop more and more each day, each moment.
This is how our practice moves us off the cushion, and becomes living breathing Buddhahood.
Have a great moment.