Since I first read ‘Joyful Path of Good Fortune’ with my sangha’s Foundations Class back in 2008, it has indeed been a provided a joyful path for me. I had been searching for meaning for two and a half years since AA made me aware that I was powerless over alcohol and my life had become unmanageable.
In this beautiful tome, I read that we need to practice the three Higher Trainings to attain liberation. Liberation from what?
The idea of Samsara may not be familiar to everyone but it’s the theory or doctrine that turned my alcoholism on its ear. I really can’t imagine drinking ever again whilst I believe this way.
Samsara (the cycle of death and rebirth to which life in the material world is bound) is the realm that I find I am in and Nirvana is the escape from this cycle of suffering. Buddhist teachings will elaborate this far greater than space and time permit here.
Having accepted this as part of my own cosmology, the ongoing journey of manifesting peace and happiness in my daily life has become immeasurably easier, though not without many hurdles and dips. A bit like a cross-country steeplechase!
This can be a lifelong pursuit however in the context of recovery from addiction we can use this advice in the here and now.
Three Higher Trainings
What are the three higher trainings? They are Concentration, Moral Discipline, and Wisdom.
When I write in Dharmaholic about the recovery from addiction utilising Buddhist teaching and the 12 Steps methods. I generally try to focus on one thing at a time from a very narrow list of methods and practices.
Concentration reminds me to be mindful and focused. Distractions will lead to downfalls – my downfalls can lead to death – so best off avoiding that. I find that this one philosophy has been so beneficial.
For instance, apart from the spiritual and emotional rewards I get from daily meditation, I am increasing my productivity through the use of kanban, the Japanese method of getting things done one task at a time (sounds familiar?).
The Pomodoro method helps me work for concentrated periods of 25 minutes and I seem to be more relaxed and happy whilst I work.
When I am with my partner I stay tuned in to what we want to do rather than get distracted by outside ‘stuff’ (work in progress on this one).
So just the first Training, Concentration, has lead me to greater happiness and peacefulness in my life.
In the next post, I’ll write more about Moral Discipline, which potentially can be a mind-field but will certainly lead to open thinking and forward progress in establishing personal values.
I’ll finish this article though with a beautiful piece of prose from Stories of Rebirth by Aryasura,.
Listening is a lamp that dispels the darkness of ignorance
Listening is the best wealth that cannot be stolen by thieves
Listening is a weapon that destroys our enemy of confusion
Listening is our best friend from whom we receive our best advice
Listening is a relative and friend who remains loyal even when we are impoverished
Listening is a harmless medicine that cures the disease of delusion
Listening is the supreme opponent that destroys great faults
Listening Is the best treasure because it is the foundation of all fame and resources
Listening is the best gift that we can offer our friends
Listening is the best means of pleasing many people
If you like the feel of this article and are thinking you would like to give sobriety a go, try my FREE 5 part course, “Stop Drinking – Start Living”
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