During almost any discussion of the Law of Attraction, the wisdom of the enlightened sage Gautama the Buddha (563 to 483 B.C.) is inevitably quoted as proof that the law has survived from ancient times until now. A favorite quote of Buddha, paraphrased here, is that each of us is the result of what we have thought. Another quote states that a person's work in life is to discover his work. Then he is to throw his whole being into doing that work. This advice, though it was offered more than 2,000 years ago, is as true today as it was then and has particular significance for understanding the psychology of the Law of Attraction, say proponents of the law.

Buddhism also says to let go of ego-centeredness. But to release the “I,” you first must know the self. Practitioners must strive to understand their interconnectedness or interdependence with others and, in fact, the entire universe. These two positions seem to be opposite: me or us. The polarity must be understood — do you live your life focused purely on yourself or do you live your life aware of your interconnectedness with others and the world?

The Buddha expounded four noble truths. Suffering exists; put another way, impermanence exists. Attachment to desires or craving is the origin of suffering. When attachment to desire ends, suffering ceases. Freedom from suffering is possible by following the Eightfold Path: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right contemplation.

Buddhist philosophy aligns beautifully with the Law of Attraction due to its emphasis on perception, thought, speech, and action. Right thought, for example, means to harm no person or thing through negative thought, including yourself, and to avoid desire and cravings and ill will. Instead, Buddhism emphasizes cultivating thoughts of goodwill, love, joy, and gratitude. Speech should never be critical, harsh, or malevolent; instead, it should be gentle, kind, truthful, and appropriate for time and place. Having a generosity of spirit and gratitude for the blessings you already have are as important in Buddhist practice as they are for deliberately working with the Law of Attraction.

What is generosity of spirit?

Dana is the word used in Buddhism to mean generosity of spirit. It is perhaps best illustrated in a person's relationship with others in the form of mutual aid, trust, kindness, and commitment. Never to be obligatory, dana carries with it positive karma in spiritual benefits that can stretch over many lifetimes.

The idea of dana or generosity occupied an important place in Buddha's teachings. The act of selfless giving for the welfare of others means giving even more than is required or customary. The Buddha emphasized that attitude toward giving was far more important than the actual gift and, further, that the greater spiritual benefit comes to the poor person who has little but gives much than to the rich person who has much and gives something that is personally insignificant. The Buddha did not abjure the acquisition of wealth; on the contrary, he considered it a source of happiness and peace of mind if the money was gained in a morally just way.

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