Exercise probably helps to sustain your life more then any other factor. It allows us to have more focus, energy, and relaxation because it reduces stress. The second most important factor in prolonging your life is probably a sense of humor. Laughing also deactivates stress hormones and aids the immune system. People with a developed sense of humor tend to be more creative and more adapt at solving the many problems that life gives us. It improves many cognitive functions. Most of all, it helps people get along with others.
A woman dropped her keys. She got down on her hands and knees and searched for them. She prayed to her God that she would find them. A man came over to her and asked what was wrong. She explained that she lost her keys. “Where did you lose them?” the man asked. “Over there in the grass” the women replied. “Then why are you searching over here on the sidewalk.” He asked. Because there’s more light here under the lamppost.” She answered. An old joke with many variations but indicative of how some of us try to solve our problems. We create our problems on the inside and try to solve them by looking outside of ourselves.
The master would also test the alertness of the novices by interjecting nonsense maxims and space them between significant ideas into his teaching to test their awareness and to joke. He would teach that many maxims have a general application and practical use. Then just for fun he threw in some opposites.
Fortune favors the lucky.
Money is its own reward.
There are more things in heaven and earth than any place else.
The more things change the more they stay the same.
The goal of Buddhism is to reach enlightenment (Nirvana) by extinguishing all the fires of craving. And/or embrace the divine (Satori) by being in the perfect now.
On the way to tranquility the seeker gains insight and learns through the Dhammapada, hundreds of discourses, sayings and precepts, the way of truth. The master believed that the softer side of religion was impractical, in this day and age of rapid change and alienation, and led to inner conflict so he emphasized the real over the ephemeral. Also, since he was Japanese he emphasized the Zen of his culture (existence and mood) and the Zen Buddhism of his teachings. He also asserted that, “The Zen of medieval Japan is as much use to us as a rusty old sword.”
Happiness and openness come from our own contented heart.