“Buddhaful: A reference to used to describe someone or something that embodies a Buddha like nature and beautiful attributes inside and out.”
The term Buddhaful originally came from my wordsmith sister Clare. If you know Clare, you know she is a super creative yoga-fairy! Of course, as with most words, I took my own personal interpretation of the word – what it meant to me. Every word has its own personal connotations, and the above definition is mine.
Life Lesson 1: Sometimes we can be triggered by certain words, we think they mean something negative or bad. A part of living yoga is separating ourselves from these first, primitive reactions and realising that there are deeper levels at play here. Instead, we seek to find the meaning behind the word and recognise that it’s not inherently negative or positive.
At Essence of Living, we started the Body Buddhaful Challenge five years ago. This 12 week challenge isn’t simply about the physical form, and that’s why we decided to use the Buddhaful term, to inspire our students to aspire to beautiful attributes inside and out.
As in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the first word has the most power – Buddha. So, what is Buddhism?
The fundamental teachings of Buddhism
When I first heard the four noble truths many years ago they shook me to my centre. I’ll let you read them first and then tell you a little more about my reaction:
The four noble truths
- Dukkha – Life is unsatisfactory, disjointed, suffering.
- Samudaya – There is a cause of suffering, which is attachment or desire.
- Nirodha – There is a cessation of suffering, which is to eliminate attachment and desire.
- Marga – The path that leads out of suffering is called the Noble Eightfold Path.
The first time I was introduced to the four noble truths was at a workshop. And, to be quite honest, I shut down after the first was said. Life is suffering?! No thanks!
I ran straight in the other direction – in fact I got up and left the workshop. I couldn’t relate to this at all. I was a positive, happy and optimistic person, I couldn’t accept that life was suffering. It sounded awful to me.
This was many years ago, I was young and naive. And it has taken many years of practice, learning and letting go to come to this understanding: The first noble truth is 100% right!
Yes, life is suffering. But not necessarily the extreme, painful suffering I first mistakenly took it to mean. Suffering can be mild – discomfort, dis-ease… It can be physical, mental or emotional. And the practice of Buddhism is to move out of that suffering. If we follow the path the fourth noble truth sets out for us, we will keep moving away from the suffering.
Life Lesson 2: While I was young when this first teaching made me flee, it could also have been that I had made my way to the wrong teacher. It’s so important that we find the right teachers for us, teachers that we resonate with and that make misinterpretation of learnings less likely to happen.
“Yesterday I was clever and wanted to change the world, today I am wise and want to change myself.”
The eightfold path
We can break up the eightfold path into three categories, Wisdom, Morality and Concentration. I could explore each part of the path with you for days on end, but I’ve listed the key components of each for you below. I find it so interesting to observe the similarities and the congruent level of sophistication between the Buddhist eightfold path and Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga and other teachings!
- Right Perspective – See the Real from Unreal
- Right Intention – Be Kind
- Right Speech – Impeccable with Words
- Right Action – Do your Best
- Right Livelihood – Respectful Career
- Right Effort – Conscious Alignment
- Right Mindfulness – Control Thoughts
- Right Concentration – Meditation
Life Lesson 3: “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” – Morpheus, The Matrix. While we might not always be on the path, the important thing is that we get back on. We have the inner discipline (tapas) to realise where we have left the path and that it is time to return – and actually do it!
Tapas is heat, specifically the kind of heat generated by certain yogic practices that burn off impurities. Tapas is the friction generated by going against the grain of habit, of complacency, of doing what’s easiest, of getting away with things. Tapas is the fervor of striving to be the best you can, which may mean shifting what you do and how you do it.
Tapas is often translated as discipline however discipline must be fuelled with devotion and love opposed to fear.
The Buddhist teaching Right Effort doesn’t mean More Effort. You don’t become a better yogi by doing more yoga or harder yoga; you become a better yogi by raising the bar of your intention to live in alignment with your highest self. And the same goes for the rest of your life.
“Yoga doesn’t necessarily make your life better, instead it makes you better at living your life.” Alanna Kaivalya
Are you ready to take the plunge with our Body Buddhaful challenge?
Our twelve week challenge is designed to retrain your habits, Spring clean the dusty corners of your body and give you the inspiration and motivation to achieve your goals.
The next challenge starts on Monday 5th February – 29th April 2018 .
What’s included in the challenge?
- 12 weeks unlimited Yoga & Pilates classes
- Michelle Merrifield’s Body Buddhaful Journal or an ‘Essence Logo’ singlet
- Weekly inspiration, education & motivation
- Body Buddhaful Forum
- 7 day online support
- Receive one week of unlimited classes for free when you complete the challenge!
You also can attend the Body Buddhfaul Mindful Talk Series with Michelle Cassidy for free! So bring a friend along.