Monday, January 31, 2011

Comparing the Wiccan Threefold Law to the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him". - Buddha 

The Wiccan threefold law states that ‘Whatever you send out, you get back times three’ which looks awfully similar to the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path.  I have been Wiccan on and off for twelve years and my most recent stint of nearly two years now without a break has made me realise how my thoughts make the world, so my thoughts are also involved in the Threefold Law and are thus destructive to myself also.

I have always felt that Wiccans can take a lot from Buddhism, so I have put our perspective next to that of the Buddhist Eightfold Path in order to put our school of thought next to theirs to show you how similar and important they are.

1. Right View. The right way to think about life is to see the world through the eyes of the Buddha--with wisdom and compassion.
From the Wiccan perspective: We ought to be ambassadors for our faith as walking representations of our deity, showing the most virtuous qualities of those particular Godddesses and/or God.  Can you imagine your patron Goddess or God walking around swearing, gossiping or thinking destructive thoughts against a brother or sister?

2. Right Thought. We are what we think. Clear and kind thoughts build good, strong characters.
You are what you eat and you certainly are what you think!  By becoming consumed by negative ‘mind chatter’ we allow ourselves to be open to the criticisms of others, to take everything literally rather than having the outer perspective that we ought to.  This way of thinking is beautifully brought to life in The Power of Now by Eckhardt Tolle.  As a strong character you will be a wonderful example for others and will be able to live each day at a time rather than feeling regret and nostalgia for your past and putting all of your hopes into your future.  Give out kind thoughts to others and yourself – love yourself.

3. Right Speech. By speaking kind and helpful words, we are respected and trusted by everyone.
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.  By becoming a glowing example of love, compassion, patience and understanding we are teaching others that it is possible to retain this state.  Make your statements helpful, rather than ‘holier than thou’ without judgment or prejudice.  This will create Perfect Love and Perfect Trust around you, insist on being this way without ill thought.

4. 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.
People judge us by our actions, not by our words.  We can sound as holier than thou and spiritual as we like when we speak, but if we turn around and do something nasty or feel as though we are ‘above’ anyone else, how can we not expect the Threefold Law to come into effect?  Challenge those thoughts that come into your mind when you’re thinking vain, jealous, competitive, egoic, self destructive thoughts – stand back from them and consider where they have come from.  Still let them come through, but over time, you will first be able to lessen the affect of those thoughts on your body and mind and eventually be able to remove them from your world by being in control of them.

5. 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."
So many Wiccans, unless they are working in the field of New Age retail stores or therapies are helping people, their planet & wider communities.  Let’s also make this path important in our lives whether we are still working in an office job yet helping others in another way.

6. 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.
I have personally given up drinking partly for this reason: if I am not taking care of my body, how can I expect to progress well spiritually?  Be honest and gentle in your path.

7. Right Mindfulness. This means being aware of our thoughts, words, and deeds.
We really ought to think of our Threefold law as fulfilling these three things on a constant basis before wondering about where the repercussions come from.

8. Right Concentration. Focus on one thought or object at a time. By doing this, we can be quiet and attain true peace of mind.
As mentioned, this way of thinking or ‘mindfulness’ is beautifully explained in The Power of Now.  It means that we are staying in the Now with our mind, free of the mind chatter that brings us down.


Mama Sasha said...

I really appreciated this article. Thank you for taking the time to put this up for people like myself- A newly practicing Wiccan- and my fiancee, who is more leaning towards Buddhist practices. I'm going to print this out for future reading! :)

Elspeth said...

Enjoy! I should really expose these comments - I never get to read them in time! I hope that the two of you can really appreciate this shared bond between faiths. )O( Elspeth