Buddhism is an eastern religion that is both spiritual and philosophical. Its core tenets offer universal insight into the human condition, and suggest ways in which we might achieve balance and tranquility in our own life. Several Buddhist practices promote physical and mental health. Everyone, no matter their religious beliefs or lifestyle, can achieve a positive change in their life by contemplating the advice offered by Buddhism.
At Health Fitness Revolution we believe that a balanced spiritual life is crucial to good living. Here are 10 elements of the Buddhist faith that we believe promote a healthy and happy life.
- Respect for themselves, people, and nature: The Buddhist ‘Path of Life’ offers prescriptions for the ethical and spiritual well-being of each individual urges them to develop wisdom and have compassion for all life forms.
- Weave healthy behavior into life patterns, meditate: The Path is Eightfold and defined as Right View, Thought, Speech, Actions, Livelihood, Meditation, Effort and Mindfulness. Suffering with a practical and realistic Path involving meditation, practice and study leading to Enlightenment or Realized Buddhahood, are all intrinsic to Buddhism. The health benefits of meditation are consistently proven by science- making this ritual a fundamental health aspect within the Buddhist traditions.
- Diet: Many Buddhists are vegetarian or vegan due to the 1st precept and respect for other sentient beings. Some may have taken a precept which involves eating only one main meal a day. This is usually eaten before midday. However it is not uncommon to find non-vegetarian Buddhists as the Buddha asked his monks to eat whatever they got.
- Fasting: An individual’s health allowing, in all schools and traditions a one day fast is recommended on New Moon and Full Moon days. There are also other festival days such as Buddha’s birthday, death day, his enlightenment, the first Sermon and others.
- Caution when using medications and drugs: Some Buddhists will be wary, and will wish to know the effects, of any drug which alters their emotional state or clarity of mind due to the 5th precept. However, the idea of the 5th precept is so that individuals do not perform harmful acts whilst intoxicated.
- Be physical: There is no question – scientifically or energetically – that a healthy, fit, flexible body is a great complement and support to the pursuit of a healthy, fit, flexible mind.In Tibetan Buddhism one of the main meditation practices involves doing physical prostrations. In Vajrayana traditions all practitioners – monks and lay ones – need to complete at least 100.000 prostrations as a part of preliminary practices. According to his website, the Dalai Lama takes daily exercise, including walking on a treadmill if it’s too wet to walk outside.
- Buddha taught the importance of a strong body: saying “To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
- Living in the now, decreasing stress in your life: Buddha preaches “Do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
- You set your own limitations, break them: According to Buddha “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”
- Realize that nothing is accomplished instantly, so persevere to accomplish goals: “A jug fills drop by drop”- Buddha. This is entirely applicable to health and fitness goals, that improve and happen over time. Stay consistent and steadfast to accomplish your goals.