We asked our readers, what is the best thing Buddhism has done for your life? Here are your answers.
In September of 2013, I had a brain hemorrhage and stroke. During my two months in hospital and my continued rehabilitation at home, I cannot begin to convey the depth of gratitude I have for the path I have embarked upon. Having the ability to breathe deeply and meditate assisted in my healing and provided an opportunity to engage in discourse regarding unconditional love, fearlessness, and wisdom with friends and family.
—Dana Hangle, Lillooet, British Columbia
Doing activism and playing punk rock in the nation’s capital gets the blood pumping. But sitting in absolute stillness lets that blood nourish the brain, the body, and the spirit. It takes you to a place where there’s no clenched fist, but an open hand. No list of demands, just endless invitations. Funny how something as simple as minding the breath can be the most revelatory—and radical—thing.
—Lucas Oswalt (pictured at left), Washington, D.C.
Buddhism has taught me many things: mainly, to breath and to be in the here and now by paying attention to whatever arises at the present moment. A real treasure for life. May all beings be enlightened.
—Claudia Melissen, Benidorm, Alicante
The one person who got through my stubbornness and false pride was Pema Chodron, who impacted me the most with her books. And then Thich Nhat Hanh, loving and gentle, captured and captivated me as no other could. Buddhism has led me to the middle of the road, offering peace of mind and a more open loving heart.
—Kathleen Willard, Toronto, Ontario
Buddhism has changed my life deeply and continues to change it. One of the best things is that it showed me how to fall in love with this unfolding moment. It’s one of the most profoundly beautiful things I have ever experienced and it is always available. Thank you for asking. 😉
—Melissa Gill, Little Rock, AR
With deep kindness and wisdom, I’m learning to get over myself.
—Sue Brooks, Houston TX
I was a decades-long dabbler, and gained much in the way of compassion and mindfulness. One can hit bottom in different ways, and after my most recent experience with that, I began meditating and found that mind training is liberating, and has brought me a sense of peace and space.
—Mary Jane Dodd, Neptune, NJ
Buddhism and meditation have changed my life for the better, allowing me to be more loving and caring towards myself. Anger, doubt and judgments have gradually dropped away and I find myself living a joyful life.
—Natacha Friedman, Ridgefield, CT
I was well on my way to losing my mind, seriously, when I happened to fall in love with a Buddhist. But that was secondary, or so I thought. En route to impressing him with the lengths to which I would go to win his love I unwittingly discovered that Buddhism had something to offer me too, beginning right at the beginning with the first noble truth. It was and has been endlessly comforting to me to realize that suffering is universal. The mind I was losing was the one that believed suffering was unique to me. Now that I know we’re all in it together my heart is engaged pretty much all the time and on behalf of all of us.
—Cindy Littlefair, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Slowly, through studying and meditating, I’ve learned that I am, indeed, in charge of my thoughts. Although it took some time and a lot of nerve, I was able to leave an abusive marriage after 20 years. I was able to walk away from people and situations that hurt me. And, the biggest gift of all, I discovered that I could be happy.
—Deborah Demander (pictured at right), Evanston, WY
Here is part of a poem that I composed during my last bout with breast cancer. In my journey of practicing and learning about Buddhism, the concept and truth of present moment mindfulness has been one of the most important teachings for me. As the wonderful teacher Thich Nhat Hanh says, ‘present moment, wonderful moment.’
In the hall of my breath I sit,
I watch my out breath
as it carries forward
both release and thoughtful intention,
embracing the ephemeral that is life
and welcoming small moments of grace.
—Joyce Meadows, Austin, TX
Prior to committing to my mindfulness and metta meditation practice, I really wasn’t cognizant that other beings had feelings. I knew it on an intellectual level, but not in my heart. Now, the fact that all beings fundamentally want the same things drives most of my interactions with other humans, my pets and other animals. This is a work in progress— part of my practice—and, as such, I do it imperfectly. Becoming a member of the local Insight Meditation center has increased my exposure to the dharma and to sangha, both of which encourage me to be ever mindful of how I interact with others.
—Judie Sigdel, New York, NY