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Step 2: Came To Believe That A Power Greater Than Ourselves Could Restore Us To Sanity...The Buddhist Perspective

Michele Happe, MA, LADC Updated: Apr 20th 2011

Even though the founders of AA attempted to make the "God" aspect of the steps all inclusive, the are still quite Christocentric. In Buddhism we do not conceive of a creational God. Buddhism is essentially an atheistic philosophy. So what is the power greater than self. This power is the Buddha Nature. We all possess Buddha Nature..we just don't "realize" it. Realization is the attainment of the Buddha Nature. This is what the Shakyamuni Buddha described as being fully awake. The reason we are not fully awake is because in the Human Realm, we experience Samsara…the cycle of birth and death. Our Buddha nature is obscured by not understanding fully the "nature of our own mind". We experience obstacles such as grasping, and being non virtuous, ego concerns such as selfishness and self centeredness. We live in fear and avoidance rather than mindfulness.

two glasses of alcoholThe Buddhist comes to believe in the Buddha Nature within. By this same token, the Buddha Nature is in all other beings as well. As we stand in line at Costco take a look around at all the Buddhas surrounding you. They too are Buddhas who have just not yet realized their own Buddha nature. We are just "beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thought"

Sanity in Buddhist terms is called equanimity. It comes from discipline. Since we are all in this boat of Samsara, there is a way out!. The way out is IN. We sit in meditation and come to know ourselves. In Tibetan Buddhism we have many formal practices which help us on the path to our Buddha Nature also known as the View. We recite mantra while slipping the mala beads through our fingers. Sanity does not require enlightenment but it does require a sense of peace and acceptance of what is. As the serenity prayer teaches, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the power to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In step 2 we come to believe that the power IS our own Buddha nature and that through discipline and right motivation we can be restored to equanimity. In my next installment I will discuss the concept of turning our will and our life over.

Until then, be well.


Michele Happe, MA, LADCI am a licensed addictions therapist that specializes in addiction and codependency. I use Buddhist principles to aid in recovery and to help promote happiness. I also write and teach about these issues. I have a private practice in Minden, NV and Reno, NV and work nationally on the phone(775)230-1507 and through skype (mhappenow). My webpage is Join me on Facebook for lots of mini teachings.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Oh ... - JR - May 12th 2011

... what's the point ?

JR (Buddhist/Stoic by belief; happy and sober without Steps)

real struggles - Missn - Apr 26th 2011

I have had real struggles with codependence as well as working with behavioral problems related to wellness and spiritual development.  One of the problems I have had with AA is that the codependence problems only became worse.  I am not alcoholic, just codependent and am always looking for support to get through this.  Thanks

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