Learning is Living

There are many religions and belief systems throughout the world and, from each, there is something to learn.

Whether it's Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism or Shintoism, each tries to teach believers in the positive aspects found in them and how striving to live through the beliefs helps people live better lives.

Two, that are perhaps the most ancient and, yet, the most geographically distant, have teachings that are remarkably similar. One is Buddhism from the East and our own, First Nations, from close at home.

The First Nations, Anishnaabe, base their beliefs on the Seven Grandfather Teachings, that focus on the values that all humankind strives to live by ... wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility and truth.

In First Nations language, the Grandfather's teachings and their meanings are global spiritualism.

Nbwaakaawin ~ To cherish knowledge is to know WISDOM.
Zaagidwin ~ To know LOVE is to know peace.
Mnaadendmowin ~ To honour all the creation is to have RESPECT.
Aakdehewin ~ BRAVERY is to face the foe with integrity.
Gwekwaadziwin ~ HONESTY in facing a situation is to be brave.
Dbaadendiziwin ~ HUMILITY is to know yourself as a sacred part of the creation.
Debwewin ~ TRUTH is to know all of these things.

(next column)

13/01/2009 04:14 PM


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(continued)

The Noble Eightfold Path according to Buddha has many similarities to those teachings of the First Nations peoples:

Right View. The right way to think about life is to see the world through the eyes of the Buddha--with wisdom and compassion. Right Thought. We are what we think. Clear and kind thoughts build good, strong characters.
Right Speech. By speaking kind and helpful words, we are respected and trusted by everyone.

Right Conduct. No matter what we say, others know us from the way we behave. Before we criticize others, we should first see what we do ourselves.

Right Livelihood. This means choosing a job that does not hurt others. The Buddha said, "Do not earn your living by harming others. Do not seek happiness by making others unhappy."

Right Effort. A worthwhile life means doing our best at all times and having good will toward others. This also means not wasting effort on things that harm ourselves and others.
Right Mindfulness. This means being aware of our thoughts, words, and deeds.

Right Concentration. Focus on one thought or object at a time. By doing this, we can be quiet and attain true peace of mind.

Following the Noble Eightfold Path can be compared to cultivating a garden, but in Buddhism one cultivates one's wisdom.

It would seem that if everyone lived their lives, either through Buddha's teachings or the Grandfather's, the world would be a better place.



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