The Buddha's Gift: A life of Well Being and Wisdom

Rickett, R. (2017)

The Introduction to my book- Introduction “Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9 percent of everything you think, and of everything you do, is for yourself—and there isn’t one.” Wei Wu Wei The Buddha taught: ‘Wherever there is something that is intended, something that is acted upon or something that lies dormant, then that becomes the basis for consciousness to land. And where consciousness lands, that then is the cause for confusion, attachment, becoming and rebirth, and so on. But if there is nothing intended, acted upon or lying latent, then consciousness has no basis to land upon. And having no basis to land, consciousness is released. One recognizes, 'Consciousness, thus unestablished, is released.' Owing to its staying firm, the heart is contented. Owing to its contentment, it is not agitated. Not agitated, such a one realizes complete, perfect nibbana within themselves.’ (S N 12.38 and 22.53) The ancient religious stories teach that spiritual transformation is a mystical process that occurs to very rare, unusual people, and it is a process full of supernatural visions and experiences with extreme feelings. These perceptions make spiritual transformation seem inaccessible to normal people. Over my 30 years of study, reflection, and practical experience in Buddhism and clinical psychology, I have noticed that even the teachings of the Buddha are often shrouded in a mystical or theistic point of view, which, I believe, obscures the original sagacity of the Buddha. Instead, I have found through learning and applying the Buddha’s teachings, the transformation leading to transcendental enlightenment is an intentional psychological attainment. Enlightenment is created through the process of planned change, consistently practised by motivated learners, moving one from an uninformed way of living (acting, thinking, feeling) to one according to universal prinicples. This book shows that the Buddha’s teachings are an effective doctrine of psychology in which the citta or mind/heart is the prime mover for the transformation, transcendence, compassion and wisdom needed for the culmination of insight for enlightenment. Buddha maintained that the experience of enlightenment, which denies the existence of an innate and substantial self, was the ultimate structure of experience and consciousness. To be enlightened is to Awaken to a veiled reality that is already present, but which most of us do not discern. Once we stop creating and clinging to our illusionary virtual reality of a self, an amazingly complex, dynamic and interrelated world appears to us ‘as it is’. This book is an innovative approach to understand the Buddha’s teachings and while not presented in a systematized manual format, it presents a broad foundation of how, with modern psychotherapeutic techniques and theory, one can proceed effectively on the Inner Path or Middle Way. In fact, the ancient texts and modern cognitive-behavioral point of view complement and clarify each other. To demonstrate this, similarities as well as differences that exist between current scientific psychological theory and the teachings of the Buddha are critiqued as well as are numerous contributory interventions. This book provides a valuable and unique perspective of the Buddha's teachings by considering them as a Relapse Prevention Program, which recovers our 'Original Mind’ and innate wellbeing. In the first sections, theoretical doctrines are compared between the Buddha’s teachings and modern psychology while in the second part practical interventions are compared. Since this book is the continued assessment of the themes of my two previous books, to explore further these fascinating and important ideas, I recommend the reading of them as well as the study of the works of the authors cited herein.

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