The Seven Factors of Enlightenment – Oldest Buddhist Teachings
These Seven factors of Enlightenment are mental attitudes or values that are from the oldest Buddhist teachings to prepare any individual to a desirable state of being mindfully aware of any situation, issue or person at any given moment.
So, let’s briefly…. look!
The awareness and the ability to be fully present; an awareness of the reality of things; it is considered an antidote to delusion to be in a clear and relaxed awareness of what is going on around you, and to focus on any topic, person or issue. A state of no distractions.
Investigation requires that we investigate that Dharma (Universal Truth) for ourselves. We seek our own self-reflection and consideration of reality. As the Buddha said:
“Believe nothing no matter what you read it or who said it, unless it agrees with your common season and observation.”
Buddha is suggesting here that we are not to practice the Dharma simply because he said so, rather, to understand and experience it for ourselves. Buddha wanted us to utilize our minds to the fullest capacity…. not be empty minded!
Diligence means to keep on persevere and not to give up. We live in a world where there are many distractions – such as various technologies for example, or even a lack of understanding or communication. This applies to both a global and personal level of an individual. However, with great persistence, patience and perseverance anything is possible!
Joy and gratefulness accompanies useful thinking. It can help you see, believe and help you try something new. You aren’t practicing mindfulness, because you must; you are practicing mindfulness to transform your life; to enhance the quality of your life, to bring more contentment and joy into your life. In turn, this brings more joy, and brings an attitude of gratitude.
Tranquility refers to our willingness to find inner peace. By inner peace, I mean to find relaxation. This represents the ability to manage one’s stress or anxiety. For example, when you take a deep breath of air in, when you are feeling upset, angry, nervous or sad…. you are engaging in tranquility. It is knowing when you need to find or need relaxation that is very important.
Concentration is the ability to focus. When we strength our focus on our ability to concentrate, it gives us real insight into our lives. But, it is something that we must develop and strength over time. Improving our concentration helps us in many ways as focusing us on something we’re studying, new projects at work, improving our listening or verbal skills, etc. Concentration is like a lamp, the stronger it is, the more of the mind we can see.
Equanimity is one of the deepest factors of all, and one of the hardest. It represents facing the difficulties of life, our challenges, our problems, without becoming attached to them. I know, this is a strange concept, yet, most profound! Equanimity is the ability of not allowing or the ability to let your challenges, obstacles or problems become bigger than you. In other words; when something bad happens, we become stressed or angry about it, we often make a situation worse than it is. If we face a problem with equanimity, then we don’t let a problem become bigger than ourselves.
As human beings, we have a tendency in our lives to make things larger than they are. Equanimity is out ability to resist that. It is all about taking a different perspective of seeing things – our problems and challenges in a different light. With these Seven factors towards Enlightenment, we can learn more about ourselves, and what is truly important in our lives.