Recovery Messages & News

12 Steps of NA-Connection to Buddhism-Part 2 of 2

By Mr. Ken Mercer

The first seven steps of NA and Buddhism provide the foundation for self-reflection and right action for a healthier life. Steps 8 – 12 address  ongoing issues in recovery that are also addressed in the Buddhist  “Noble Eightfold Path” and “The Four Noble Truths”.Steps 8 – 9

8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to  make amends to them.                                                                                      9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except  when to do so would injure them or others.

Buddhism emphasizes, “If we truly do love ourselves, then we would  not do anything to hurt another.”                                                                The similarities between Steps 8-9 and Buddhism here are the practice of compassion and loving kindness. Putting into action what we have  learned. The first person we need to make amends to is ourselves. A  living amends. We need to remember to love ourselves first for we  cannot give away what we don’t have. Loving ourselves and others means acknowledgement of any past harms that may have occurred but also not incurring more harm by trying to “fix” or seek absolution.

Step 10

10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong  promptly admitted it.

This is a repeat of steps four to seven and the eight fold path, thereby making the principles a part of our daily living. There is great emphasis  in both the Twelve Steps and Buddhism about staying in process,  maintaining awareness and acknowledging our challenges or suffering.

Step 11

11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of  His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Conscious contact with our Higher Power allows for a feeling of  connectedness and oneness, where the urge for control and imposing  “my will” is sublimated. It allows for patience and understanding. Buddha taught that the greatest prayer we could do is for patience. He also taught meditation as a path or a means to enlightenment.  Meditation is not necessarily a means to an end; it is the means and  the end. Meditation provides acceptance of people, places and things  as they are; and true acceptance is enlightenment!

Step 12                                                          

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we  tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles  in all our affairs.

In Buddhism there is a figure called a Bodhisattva. He uses  compassion, wisdom and appropriateness of behaviour to help people.       In both the twelve steps program and Buddhism, it is emphasized that behaving in a certain way attracts people. It is then and only then that  people can be helped. And then they can only be helped to help themselves.

The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism are:

1. Life means suffering
2. The origin of suffering is attachment

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable                                                             

4. The path to the cessation of suffering is The Eight Fold Path.

Suffering is part of the disease of Addiction, however, Recovery offers  a way out just like the Eight Fold Path. Similarities between them  would allow those that are so inclined to reinforce the basic principles for being happy, joyous, free and enlightened!