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.
Buddhism emphasizes, “If we truly do love ourselves, then we would not do anything to hurt another.”
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.
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!
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!