Life of No Regret

An enlightened being lives a life of no regret. They do not fear death, knowing that they have lived a completely fulfilled life. This is the essence of the Buddhist teachings. How does one achieve this life of no regret?

Every waking moment we must make decisions. Some seem trivial; others are life defining. Regardless, every action affects our future; every action becomes part of our personal karma. Therefore, we must always be mindful of the impact on others. We must be fully committed to the action.

Shakyamuni Buddha presented guidelines to an enlightened life. These guidelines are the Eightfold Noble Path. Included are right action, right livelihood and right effort. This right is not right as opposed to wrong. It is right in the absolute sense. Examining the motives for our actions will reveal whether they are beneficial to all, or purely ego driven. Once we have determined that our actions are “right” we must move ahead with total commitment. In his book, Everyday Suchness, Rev. Gyomay Kubose (1905-2000) calls this “listening to the inner heart.”

Some feel that the most important decision you make is your choice of a life companion. Others feel it is your choice of livelihood. I feel that the most important decision you make is your spiritual path. Once you have discovered your path, and are confident in this choice, all decisions have a basis. This spiritual path becomes your “inner heart.”

Throughout history, religious figures have endured great trials. Secure in their beliefs they persevered. Shakyamuni Buddha left wealth and power to lead the simple life of a wandering holy man. Christ suffered and died on the cross. Martyrs of all faiths have gone to their deaths. They all had the opportunity to renounce their beliefs and avoid physical suffering. Instead, they listened to their “inner heart” and achieved a far greater peace.

Buddhism does not seek converts. Most Buddhist leaders discourage leaving the religion of your birth without first deeply understanding its teachings. One does not have to renounce their birth faith to apply Buddhist teachings to their life. Buddhist teachings do not address the issue of a deity. They neither affirm nor deny the existence of a Supreme Being or creator. Other religions look to God as the source of salvation. The Buddhadharma does not speak of salvation; rather, it speaks of liberation from suffering. Regardless of your belief, unless you commit to its teachings, and strive to live your life accordingly, you will never overcome suffering. Having established your “inner heart,” right action, right livelihood and right effort will come naturally. In the event things do not work out as you planned, you will be able to accept more easily and move on. Confident in your actions, guided by more than your ego driven desires, you will have lived a life of no regret.

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