Tag Archives: Buddhism

Buddhism has 8 “Auspicious Symbols.” What Are Your Symbols?

Every Wednesday is List Day, or Tip Day, or Quiz Day.

This Wednesday (well, Friday, I forgot to hit “publish”): What are your “auspicious symbols?”

I love numbered lists. My 12 Personal Commandments. My 8 Splendid Truths. The 10 Myths about happiness. The Essential 7 of Habits.

Buddhism has many numbered lists—the Triple Refuge, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Four Noble Truths—which is surprising to me, given Buddhism’s emphasis on gateless gates and transcending the bounds of rational thinking.

There’s a koan to be written about that paradox, for sure. (Along with numbered lists, I love koans.) Let’s see…how about, “Use numbers to throw away enumeration.”

I particularly love Buddhism’s eight auspicious symbols:

1. Parasol
2. Golden fish
3. Treasure vase
4. Lotus
5. Conch shell
6. Endless knot
7. Victory banner
8. Wheel of Dharma

I made up a list of my seven auspicious symbols:

1. Bluebird (of course)
2. Ruby slippers (what I want is already within my grasp)
3. Dice (chance and fortune)
4. Blood (hard to explain: diabetes, hepatitis C, St. Therese of Lisieux)
5. Gold star (my right actions are their own reward)
6. Holstein cow (my family, Kansas City)
7. Peacock feather (symbols beyond words)

This is so satisfying, I could keep going with more symbols. How about you? What would you choose for your auspicious symbols, and why?

The Eight Splendid Truths of Happiness.

Every Wednesday is Tip Day, or List Day.

In my study of happiness, I’ve labored to identify its fundamental principles. Because I get a tremendous kick out of the numbered lists that pop up throughout Buddhism (the Triple Refuge, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Four Noble Truths, the eight auspicious symbols), I decided to dub these fundamental principles as my Eight Splendid Truths.

Each one of these truths sounds fairly obvious and straightforward, but each was the product of tremendous thought. Take the Second Splendid Truth—it’s hard to exaggerate the clarity I gained when I finally managed to put it into words. Here they are:

First Splendid Truth
To be happier, you have to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.

Second Splendid Truth
One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy;
One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.

Third Splendid Truth
The days are long, but the years are short. (Click here to see my one-minute movie; of everything I’ve written about happiness, I think this video resonates most with people.)

Fourth Splendid Truth
You’re not happy unless you think you’re happy.
[Many argue the opposite case. John Stuart Mill, for example, wrote, “Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so.” I disagree.]

Fifth Splendid Truth
I can build a happy life only on the foundation of my own nature.

Sixth Splendid Truth
The only person I can change is myself.

Seventh Splendid Truth
Happy people make people happy, but
I can’t make someone be happy, and
No one else can make me happy.

Eighth Splendid Truth
Now is now.

What did I miss? What Splendid Truth is missing from that list?

Now I’m trying to come up with my personal eight auspicious symbols for happiness. Let’s see—bluebird, ruby slippers, dice, blood, bird house, treasure box, roses…hmmm. I will have to keep thinking about that.

* I enjoyed cruising around The Cool Hunter—”roaming the USA and the globe, so you’re in the know”—to look at all the cool things there.

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Order your copy.
Read sample chapters.

Buddhism Has 8 Auspicious Symbols. I Chose My Own Set of Symbols. What Are Yours?

Every Wednesday is Tip Day – or List Day.
This Wednesday: The 8 auspicious symbols of Buddhism — and my own list, too.

I get a tremendous kick out of the numbered lists that pop up throughout Buddhism: the Triple Refuge, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Four Noble Truths. In fact, it was Buddhism that inspired me to write my Four Splendid Truths (after I formulated the First Splendid Truth, I just had to assume that I’d end up with more than one).

However, it’s surprising to me that Buddhism, with its emphasis on gateless gates and transcending the bounds of rational thinking, has so many of these numbered lists. I love them, but still, it seems incongruous. There’s a koan to be written about it, that’s for sure. Let’s see…how about, “Use numbers to throw away enumeration.”

One of my favorite lists from Buddhism is the list of the eight auspicious symbols:
1. Parasol
2. Golden fish
3. Treasure vase
4. Lotus
5. Conch shell
6. Endless knot
7. Victory banner
8. Wheel of Dharma

I was inspired to come up with my eight – wait, make that nine — auspicious symbols for my happiness project:
1. Bluebird, to symbolize happiness
2. Ruby slippers, to remind me that what I need for happiness is with me, right here and right now
3. Dictionary, to stand for reading, writing, and invention
4. Blood…between my husband’s Hepatitis C, my sister’s diabetes, and St. Therese, blood has assumed great power in my life
5. Gold star, to symbolize virtue and right action
6. Dice, to reminder me of the influence of chance and fortune
7. Holstein cow, a symbol representing my family. Long story.
8. Peacock feather, a reminder of symbols beyond words
9. Cherries. Cherries are cheery.

What would your auspicious symbols be? Please post them! I’m so curious to hear what other people would choose.

* Threre’s a huge amount of interesting information on Beliefnet. Check it out.

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Video: Meditate on Koans.

2010 Happiness Challenge: For those of you following the 2010 Happiness Project Challenge, to make 2010 a happier year – and even if you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge — this month’s focus is Mindfulness. Last week’s resolution was a quiz, How mindful are you? Did you take that quiz? How did you do?

This week’s resolution is to Meditate on koans. A “koan” is a question, story, or statement that can’t be understood logically. Zen Buddhist monks meditate on koans as a way to abandon dependence on reason in their pursuit of enlightenment. Even if you’re not seeking satori (or, I should probably say, you’re not seeking it), I’ve found that thinking about a koan stimulates mindfulness. Because koans force me to challenge the usual, straightforward boxes of meaning, they push me to think about thinking.

I love this koan: The best way out is always through.

If you want to read more about this resolution, check out…
Find your own koan.
Life’s cruel truth: you get more of what you already have.
The extraordinary happiness of completing a project: Four to Llewelyn’s Edge.

A propos of Buddhism, I make the following observation: it’s continually surprising to me that Buddhism, with its emphasis on gateless gates and transcending the bounds of rational thinking, has so many numbered lists! I love them, but still, it seems incongruous. There’s a koan to be written about it, that’s for sure. Let’s see…how about, “Use numbers to throw away enumeration.”

If you’re new, here’s information on the 2010 Happiness Challenge (or watch the intro video). It’s never too late to start! You’re not behind, jump in right now, sign up here. For more ideas, check out the Happiness Project site on Woman’s Day.

* Speaking of koans, Wikipedia has an entry on hacker koans, which are hilarious, and truly thought-provoking.

* About 43,000 people get my free monthly newsletter, which highlights the best material from the blog and the Facebook Page. If you’d like to add your name, click here or email me at grubin [at] gretchenrubin [.com]. (Sorry to write in that odd way; trying to thwart spammers.)