Wheels of Progress.
The invention of the wheel took a load off mans shoulders. It has many commercial uses one of its first uses was the wheelbarrow, carts and chariots. Today we have a vast array of uses for the wheel it is seen everywhere from the push-bike to the locomotive, the family car to the huge road-trains, big trucks pulling a string of trailers all with many pneumatic duel wheels. On the water the wheel has mostly replaced the tiller.
In the late sixth century BC, before Christ, a man called Siddhartha Gautama lived, commonly known as the Buddha. Buddha found and taught others how to free themselves from life’s suffering. His teaching is called the Dharma by his followers. The basic teachings, fundamental to all schools of Buddhism, are known as The Four Noble truths and The Eight Fold Path. They are simple to understand but not so easy to put into practice as it takes mindfulness and self-discipline, without any supernatural assistance.
The symbol adopted to represent the eight ethical steps of the eightfold path is an eight spoke wheel. Each spoke represents a teaching to master. The first step is ‘right understanding, as outlined in The Four Noble truths, understanding that all things are passing. With right understanding the passing of people and material things no longer brings anguish and suffering. Through meditation on the impermanence of all things one learns equanimity. Also the futility of greed and clinging are realized. This is as big a step as the invention of the wheel but not in a commercial sense.
If you are ignorant of right understanding, the first step on the path, the other seven steps will be harder to keep to. The steps are not necessarily in any order each one must be practiced when the occasion arises. To be aware and mindful therefore is an important step on the moral path to contentment. Every step is important the second step right thoughts are just as important as, right speech, right actions, right effort and right occupation, earning our living in a way that does not adversely affect other beings. The sixth step is equally important the right effort to practice this honourable path to peace of mind is critical. All the steps combined are vital. Our right thoughts lead to right action. Just as all things are interconnected and essential in the balance of nature, so all steps on this intelligent path need following and practicing equally.
Evert time I see a wheel it reminds me of those eight steps, that when practiced take me closer to perfection. This is the under laying goal in my life. Often I find myself straying from the right path unmindful, distracted and heading to an unsavoury destination, not a burning hell nothing as drastic as that. It is a worldly mercenary hell of greed and aversion, a world that is lacking in consideration, compassion, reciprocity and respect. I have trained my mind to respond to other symbols as a reminder of the path I am following.
I am reminded of the fleeting nature of all things when I see a flower, a sunset or the face of a clock. This natural law that we are all subject to is not a case of being singled out and persecuted, victimized or picked on. Things are just as they are. Realizing all things are subject to change we become less grasping and clinging more caring and sharing and appreciate the simple pleasures in our life. Happy to be well and when plagued by misfortune knowing it will also pass. All things can be used to keep one focused, following the spiritual. I have no organized religion dictating to me but everyone needs a guiding ethical path. Man has created many Gods there is, I believe, only one with many names
The wheel can be used for commercial purposes or ethical. How we use the wheel and other inventions is the critical point. The wheels on a car must be kept in balance for safe and comfortable travel. Our symbolic spiritual wheel also needs attention to keep it in good running order. When you see a wheel you may recall the Eight Fold Path as I do and try to practice the eight steps. They will not clash with or change any of your existing beliefs. But may change your life by providing direction and meaning. To conclude I wish you a wheel good life.
Please look at the link, I have highlighted, it is well worth the effort. Another tip on effort the push has been taken out of the push-bike with the invention of the powered bicycles. You will conserve more energy if you purchase one. Remember only if you need and do not just want to hang it on the garage wall. Like the Eight Fold Path it must be used to do any good.