We might find that someone we encounter often seems to be in a perpetual state of gloom. Our tendency in such cases may be to try to avoid them, but instead we can make the choice to offer support that comes from the heart. We may be inspired to ask if they would like some help or to offer suggestions that have helped us in the past. We can include thoughts of their health and happiness in our times of prayer and meditation. Life holds a different path for each of us and like a lighthouse, we can shine through the darkness, offering our light to help others find their way back to their own. Buddhism often teaches us that we can send gloomy spirited beings a silent prayer of peace and ease. Reaching out to offer a comforting touch or hug can ease someone’s frustrations and cause the clouds to dissipate. If they need understanding, we can sympathize without reinforcing the negativity they may be experiencing by directing their attention someplace more positive. Helping them find the humor in their situation might be appropriate and is a great way to lift spirits, or a logical approach may help them see all the good in the situation, in their lives and in the world. 

Buddhism strongly teaches us that in order for the wisdom of special insight to remove impediments to proper understanding, and to remove faulty mental states at their very roots, we need concentrated meditation, a state of complete single-mindedness in which all internal distractions have been removed.

Single-minded meditation involves removing subtle internal distractions such as the mind’s being either too relaxed or too tight. To do so we must first stop external distractions through training in the morality of maintaining mindfulness and conscientiousness with regard to physical and verbal activities–being constantly aware of what you are doing with your body and your speech. Without overcoming these obvious distractions, it is impossible to overcome subtler internal distractions. Since it is through sustaining mindfulness that you achieve a calm abiding of the mind, the practice of morality must precede the practice of concentrated meditation.

Buddha means one who is fully enlightened. In other words, a buddha has fully awakened from the sleep of delusion. He is free from all obscurations, both gross and subtle, and has revealed the two intrinsic wisdom awarenesses. Buddhahood is the spontaneously established, uncompounded nature that does not depend on any other conditions. A buddha has perfect wisdom, has perfectly accomplished the nature of compassion, and has every ability to manifest all excellent activities.

There are many buddhas in the past, present, and future. In fact, there are as many buddhas as there are particles of dust. Basically, the term buddha refers to anyone whose mind is fully awakened and who is free from all suffering and its causes. When we point to Buddha Shakyamuni as a Buddha, he is an example of this. A buddha has four forms, all of which emanate from the dharmakaya:

  1. Nirmanakaya is a buddha who has emanated in a physical form. A nirmanakaya can emanate anywhere as anything animate or inanimate–as a human being, an animal, or even a bridge, if necessary…
  2. Sambhogakaya is the expression of the complete, perfect manifestation of the Buddha’s excellent, infinite qualities, called the enjoyment body–splendid and glorious. All the buddhas appear and manifest in the limitless buddha fields in this form…
  3. Dharmakaya is one’s own perfection, fully free from all delusion and suffering. It is infinite and transcends all boundaries…
  4. Svabhavikakaya is the indivisible nature of the other three forms.

The fully enlightened have taught us that when we lend our energy to uplift another in any way, we improve our own lives while making the world a better place for all of us.

May there be peace in the world; may all beings find great happiness…