Founded in the late 6th Century (B.C.E.) by Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha), Buddhism is today practiced by over 520 million people, known as Buddhists. The religion holds within a diversity of beliefs, traditions, and spiritual practices taught by the Lord Buddha.
Although Buddhism focuses on spiritual development, in modern-day, it has been practiced to boost mental health as well. It has turned into a lifestyle used to keep your mind involved in different forms of practices. These practices help you achieve inner peace and happiness.
Let’s find out how Buddhist principles and practices benefit mental health through different means.
In Buddhism, meditation is pursued as a part of the path toward Nirvana, awakening, and liberation. It involves numerous meditation techniques, most popular ones are: Sati (mindfulness), Anussati (recollections), Asubha Bhavana (reflections on repulsiveness), Anapanasati, and so on. These mindfulness meditations help soothing mental stress and anxiety.
Meditation in Buddhism is practiced in numerous ways – yoga, deep breathing, and chanting. The aim is to perceive your thoughts and control your mind to achieve Nirvana (enlightenment).
According to numerous researches, practicing meditation regularly has a lot of benefits for a range of conditions.
The Buddhist teachings are all about practicing kindness and compassion toward other people which give a profound feeling of relatedness without loss of identity.
After attaining enlightenment, Lord Buddha started teaching the way of life to people. He shared his first teachings with five holy men near the city of Benares (now known as Varanasi). For 45 years, the Lord Buddha spread his wisdom and teachings across India. The teachings of Lord Buddha are called Dhamma.
In Buddhism, all people are equal and therefore Buddhists believe in helping others. According to Jason Henninger, a Buddhist expert, “Buddhism makes a practitioner feel like being in a wave in the ocean rather than feel like one’s life is an isolated phenomenon”. He further says, “A wave is a wave, but not unconnected to the rest of ocean.
Faith in the Doctrine of Karma Boosts Mental Health
Karma in Buddhism refers to an action driven by a purpose that leads to future consequences. Most people see the term “Karma” as what goes around comes around. However, it is more than that. It is a doctrine of responsibility and empowerment. It embraces the idea that we all humans have the power to change any circumstance we face in our life. For all Buddhists, hope is a decision as they believe they are not helpless victims of unchangeable emotions.
The doctrine of Karma is widely accepted by Buddhists around the world. It gives an explanation for various life crises and thus helps people suffering depression, anxiety, and other psychological distress.
The religion Buddhism is associated to happiness – perhaps more than any other religion. According to Buddhist teachings, sorrow and happiness are our own responsibilities and entirely in our control. So, it would be right to say that practicing Buddhism can help you stay happier or less depressed.