A Buddhist’s rethinking of the Law of Attraction

As a pragmatic Buddhist, I felt a lot of skepticism when I first encountered the Law of Attraction (LOA). Many things I’ve seen really stretch my credulity. But the more I think about it, the more I see nuggets underneath the hype that make sense to me, if reformulated a bit. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say the Buddha was a Law of Attraction proponent, I do think there is some common ground to be found between the two.

We create our worlds through our thoughts

In short, LOA says we create our worlds through our thoughts. It’s not just our conscious thoughts – but perhaps even more so our subconscious and inchoate beliefs, attitudes, and feelings. So let’s say for example, we think we don’t have enough money and take a miserly view toward what we do have. In Western literature, we have the Ebenezer Scrooge archetype. In the Buddhist world we have what are called “hungry ghosts.” Both characters hold the belief that there is never enough, and are never satisfied. (We probably know some people like that!) And there are a thousand different ways they interact with their worlds that telegraph their attitudes in subtle ways. People respond in kind, further reinforcing their belief that there isn’t enough to go around.

LOA says the reverse is true, too. If we go around smiling, feeling like life is abundant and that there’s much to be grateful for, we will act with openness and generosity of spirit. And people respond to that in kind. No doubt it was this sort of observation that formed the starting point for the Buddha’s famous teaching from the Dhammapada:

“Experiences are preceded by mind, led by mind, and produced by mind. If one speaks or acts with an impure mind, suffering follows even as the cart-wheel follows the hoof of the ox. … If one speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness follows like a shadow that never departs.” 1

How do we find happiness?

As a starting point, I think it’s safe to say everyone is seeking happiness. But what exactly will bring us lasting happiness? And how do we go about finding it? That’s where the views start diverging.

What I find troubling about some LOA perspectives is the advice to pursue whatever “feels good.” The wildly popular movie The Secret goes so far as to say ANYTHING we think will make us feel good is fair game – a million dollars, a dream house, a sexy red sports car. It goes on to imply that each of us has some sort of supernatural power to make the world do our bidding, suggesting that we each are the center of the universe. It also implies that spiritual growth is all about fun, lightness, and pleasure as we jump from one blissful experience to the next.

Let’s bring this all back down to earth. In my experience, what “feels good” is a pretty faulty indicator of what’s in our best interest. All we need to do is remember the last time we indulged in a gallon of ice cream or four shots of tequila to know that. And I’m sure we’ve all experienced what usually happens after we get that one thing we wanted so much. The grass quickly starts looking greener on the other side.

The Buddha’s advice

So how DO we go about pursuing happiness? The Buddha gave us another of his famous lists to help us with this. He advised us to look for things that conduce to dispassion, detachment, a decrease in worldly goods, frugality, contentment, solitude, energy, and delight in good.2

So let me unpack this a bit. In the context of LOA, I would very loosely interpret his criteria to mean something like this:

  • Dispassion and detachment: Does the thing we want fan our small-minded emotions and self-centered desires? If so, it won’t lead to happiness. This isn’t a matter of good or bad, right or wrong. It’s simply because we aren’t the center of the universe, and living with that incorrect assumption will inevitably smack the unhappy truth right into our faces.
  • Decrease in worldly goods and frugality: Are we expecting worldly goods and money to create happiness for us? If so, think again. As above, this isn’t so much a moral issue, but the simple truth that everything changes. What was once a source of happiness will inevitably fade away, again smacking the truth in our faces.
  • Contentment and solitude: Does it conduce to superficiality and distraction? If so, look elsewhere. What’s implied by the advice to turn away from the things above is the truth that nothing outside ourselves is a reliable source of happiness. We need to find the courage and quietude to look within. When we abide in the stillness of the present moment, we’re at our place of greatest potential and creativity. Free of self-indulgent thoughts, free of fear or wanting. Completely aware of and open to what IS. Think about it. It’s the only place from which we can move forward productively. And that open-mindedness is the most pragmatically positive frame of mind with which to do it.
  • Energy and delight in good: Does it energize us and give rise to a deep sense of goodness in our innermost heart? This is really the ultimate test. Looking forward, if we put our energy and intentions into being a positive influence in the world, our positive energy will reflect back to us and snowball. We’ll know we’re on the right track because our happiness grows.

Dark experiences

Keep in mind that being completely open to the present moment isn’t always going to be fun and pleasurable. We all go through times when life is difficult – whether it’s troublesome relationships, chronic illness, significant loss, and the like. Our inner lives can be difficult too, with depression or anxiety, for example.

I can honestly say from personal experience that sometimes the best route to happiness is to stay with that darkness. Sometimes our greatest obstacle is within ourselves – the limits we place on ourselves out of a need to be in control, to know everything, to feel secure. There is tremendous power in learning to sit with the discomfort and uncertainty, and letting go. Yes, we see that all things change. But more than that, by bravely walking through it, we begin to see what we need to see. We begin to transcend our own fears and self-limiting views to reach a higher and, dare I say, wiser place. We each have our own unique path to walk in order to grow as an individual, and this is a vital part of that process.

My reinterpretation of LOA

So let’s not confuse happiness with “feeling good.” The word usually ascribed to the Buddha is “contentment”, which is a quiet sense of well-being and equanimity that comes from within. It’s a deep trust in the greater forces of the world of which we are a part. It’s a respectful awareness that we don’t act alone – that our every thought and deed is part of an interconnected web of humanity and life overall. It’s a knowing that everything we experience teaches us something valuable and helps us grow. And that by continually striving to be a positive influence in the world, we make it a better place not only for ourselves, but for everyone around us as well.

So this is my reinterpretation, as a Buddhist, of the Law of Attraction. I expect I’ll be writing more on this topic in the future, but in the meantime, I welcome your comments.

Other related perspectives on LOA:

The Spirituality of Narcissism
by Stuart Davis

I’ve got a secret: the Law of Attraction is a lie
by Jonathan Fields


1. The Dhammapada, chapter 1, verses 1 and 2. Translation by Sangharakshita, available for free download at www.sangharakshita.org.

2. Extracted from the Vinaya, ii. 10, Some Sayings of The Buddha, translated by F. L. Woodward, Asian Educational Services (2002), p 278.

51 Comments on “A Buddhist’s rethinking of the Law of Attraction”

  1. Thank you for sharing this beautifully written Buddhist perspective on a topic that has been quite the buzz in many circles these days.

    I think you make an important distinction between the empty happiness of wanting the latest sexy car and what more sustaining, substantial, and spiritual happiness can be.

    You article is a refreshing and balanced grounder among all the other LoA responses, many of which are rebuttal-type.

    Also, it’s nice to see another mindful website. 😉

  2. Thanks for the wonderful article. You have given me much to think about today. With metta, Mark

  3. Michelle Mares

    Hi Sunada,

    Thank you so much for this article! Your viewpoint on this “trendy” topic is so on the mark. I have struggled with the Law of Attraction and have always felt a chafing discomfort with the material I’ve read. I have been unable to discredit it completely in my mind yet have been troubled by the level of self deception and narcissism necessary to adhere to the “laws” that are often purported to be “universal”.

    When I read your article, I found myself nodding in agreement with a sense of recognition and relief!

    I love receiving your newsletter. It’s the only one I actually take time to read of the endless ones that stream through my inbox!

    Thank you.

    Michelle Mares

  4. admin

    Melissa, Mark, and Michelle,
    A belated thanks to all of you for your kind comments.

    To Michelle in particular –it’s great to hear from you. I’ve thought about you from time to time, wondering if you’re back performing again. Please drop me a line and let me know what you’re up to!

    Much metta back to you!

  5. Hi Sunada,

    Thanks for sharing your insights. When The Secret became wildly popular, many people have the notion that LoA is going to transform their lives and make all their wishes come true, without having them to do much. Invariably, this only leads to more laziness, greediness, attachment, and the subsequent disappointments, frustration and hopelessness.

    Frankly, I was attracted to LoA’s promise of easy wealth and riches before but like you, I found the part about going for anything that feels good worrying.

    So far, this is the first blog article I’ve seen that gives a more balanced view about LoA and I’m glad to have seen it. Thank you.

  6. sunada

    Thank you WP. I guess we’re kindred spirits. I like your website too!

  7. Hi Sunada,

    I like the way you expressed your opinion. Happiness won’t come from the sport car or the money I will win at the lottery! Law of attraction works best from the inside out: BE, DO, HAVE. BE happy for what I have right now. DO the things that make me feel great now but also in the future. Taking the ice cream as example: I would eat some of it, but not the whole pot! HAVE the things that enhance happiness in the short and long run. This is the way I live my miracle life!

  8. Hi sunada,
    Thank you for sharing.You know a lot about Buddha and buddhism.
    Thangka paintings

  9. Hi Sunada
    Thanks for a great article – like others who’ve commented above, I’ve felt very uneasy about the LOA. It sounds too seductive by half! It also seems to put forth a blanket policy that is supposed to fit all situations, which goes against common sense. For example, using pornography probably produces a feel-good effect but it would be crazy to imagine it isn’t in some way very harmful both to the user and to people involved in the industry. As with all attractive theories however, there’s bound to be a grain of truth somewhere, and I reallly admire your thoughtful and responsible approach to pinning that down.

  10. cynthia

    Thank you for adding the clarity I needed for understanding why I just don’t “get” LOA. A great article that extracts something tangible from a work that, for me, was just so much pie in the sky. The timing was perfect as well. This was just what I needed to read right now.

  11. Ed McGuigan

    Hi Sunada:
    I was sorting through my son’s morass of junk yesterday and came across a DVD of “The Secret” ( he’s moving back in with us on my recommendation and is out of the country so I have to move him out of the house he was sharing ).

    I remember hearing about it a few years back from a therapist. The fact that she quickly got to the notion of manifesting your material dreams immediately put me off, probably more because of a spiritual snobbishness than anything – I considered myself above madcap schemes to get rich and be happy and suspicious of any message that touted such shallow dream fulfillment as its goal.

    My son does have a belief in a guardian angel – that when he is in a fix something will happen to help him out. This belief does generally seem to be valid. He is by nature a very positive person who seems to literally light up the lives of those in proximity to him. I recently had a house guest, Didier, who share’s my son’s philosophy on this point. Interestingly, my sister in law had just dumped him after he closed his business and gave away all of his possessions to come from France to start a new life with her. I found him to be a real conundrum – a person who knows how to smell the roses, how to be very happy with a good cup of coffee, a walk with the dogs or a warm conversation at the kitcen table but yet also feels propelled to “live life to the full”.

    As a person who is trying to turn around my life from a position of deep pessimism and negativity, this whole idea of reinforcing your own world view with your attitude is interesting. It has taken me two bouts of severe depression to get to the point where I will take care of myself and that my outlook has shifted.

    I would also say that as a young man I envisioned certain things for my future which did happen. I wanted to learn languages, travel and work outside of the UK and I imagined myself marrying somebody from another country. All of these things happened but it certainly wasn’t a case of living happily ever after. So I guess I would argue that even if we can “manifest” these dreams, I think a lot of people might struggle to come to terms with the disappointing reality of dreams come true.

  12. sunada

    Hi Ed,

    You mentioned the struggle of “the disappointing reality of dreams come true.” Yes, I completely agree with you. What I’m talking about in this post isn’t “manifesting,” where we envision things being a particular way and then holding out some hope and expectation that it will come true. That is bound to lead to disappointment, and is what I’m talking about in my first bullet point on Dispassion and Detachment. The world doesn’t obey our particular wishes about how we want or don’t want things to be.

    What I’m speaking of here is for example a positive outlook, like what you mention is helping you out of your depression. As long as we hold on to a belief that we are depressed and that’s just the way it is, well, we’ll never find our way out. We need to have an intention to change, and an inner motivation to do the work to change. We also need to believe that we have the ability to be that happier and more positive person. But this is all about a positive sense of direction and motivation, NOT a specific expectation that the world will turn out exactly as we envision.

    The key point, I think, is that happiness is an inner attitude. We won’t find happiness by holding out the hope that someday in the future, we’ll find something we want. We can only find happiness by creating more positive things in our world here and now, and continually building on that. So I think we are in agreement!

    Best wishes to you,

  13. Hello, can you please post some more information on this topic? I would like to read more.

  14. sunada

    Hi Konstantin,
    I’m not sure what kind of information you’re looking for. Could you say a little more about the kinds of questions you still have?

    Best wishes,

  15. Dear Sunada,

    I can’t add to the conversation except to agree and affirm…your perspective and the comments, that it isn’t about getting more “stuff,” it’s about quality and meaning. Thank you. Peace.

  16. This is wonderful article. The spiritual text contains many tips for law of attraction. I personally like the Dhammapada from Buddha. Lots of Buddha’s quotation are true and very enlightening by reminding us to the reality of life and how powerful is our thought and being.

  17. Hi Sunada,

    I am a student of Buddhism and am getting to know the river as you beautifully put it another article.
    I received The Secret book from a mentor and the only immediate improvement in my won life at the time was, to distringuish between noisy thoughts in the mind and those that actually contribute to a feeling of contentment and serenity. This was not an easy change and took me all of about 3 months or so and have been sharing this with everyone ever since. Then the actual attraction of material goods has never been a wanting personally but know that it seems to have worked for others. I agree with you and most comments here, that acquiring of more unnecessary material goods does not contribute to any personal fulfilment, it needs to come from a spiritual place inside.
    I understand Buddhist principles and ways of thinking very well and keep thinking, I wish I stumbled to find this door sooner – all time is good timing.

    Keep sharing, we are all connected……metta

  18. I prefer not to think of the LOA as explained in The Secret. As a student of Buddhism, I find the works of Abraham-Hicks are much closer to the actual teachings of Buddhism. Self-appreciation, self-love, compassion for self and enjoying the moment are all parts of their wonderful works at http://www.abraham-hicks.com

  19. I enjoyed reading your post. Keep it up! Peace will find you.

  20. LOA is good, the more you already feel “prosperous” the more will come in to you.
    The more you already feel “healthy” the more healthy you are, even though you are smoking, for example, in your whole life.
    the more you already feel “happiness” the happier you are, the universe will attract what you feel, NOT ONLY YOUR THOUGHT. Thought is just the first step !! Notice that I said “you already feel _____” (fill in the blank) and also PLUS “you already asked and thought”, it will attract back to you as a mirror, this is what is called law of attraction.

    It’s right, it’s true, there is no different with Buddha, for me.

    My 2 cents.

  21. Louche

    I would like to see a more comprehensive comparison between Buddhism and LoA… maybe I will have to do it myself. I am just beginning to learn about LoA. I like how your comparison shows that one is positive and the other critical. Surely they can be put to work together and not necessarily be contradictory. But I do see people who follow LoA advocating infinite wealth, which I find very problematic and socially unaware.

  22. sunada

    Given that the Buddhism and LOA are not the same thing, I think it’s rather inevitable that there will be differences between the two — whether or not you’d actually consider them contradictory. Anyway, if you do come up with a more comprehensive comparison, please do let me know.

  23. If you dare to hear it from myself, it’s right now my big ‘labor pleasure’ to let you receive a few more suggestions of mine, for instance that my situation still deserves to be controlled by myself, one that there were Certain Capitalists, who didn’t understand as mine alone, so that I can of course tell & e.g. help us all find out &, whoever is who, how, why & when to exist as Moral Representatives of, what The True ↔ Happiness is, in my own case due to & still as the most relevant result to be of an undeserved labor conflict that I still didn’t know, didn’t think, if I could explain to myself, greetings, ‘J.A.,’ promised, there IS good news with & from me, arentved@in.com, there to be continued, an issue that I’m NOT under obligation, whatsoever that I can fail to rely on.

  24. Andrea

    I really thank you for your entry. i’m just a newbie to the theories but i have to say that your article’s very thought-provoking and i cant help but agree on many of the points in your article.
    However, i have a question to ask. If both Buddhism theory and Law of Attraction are right then what is karma in the world of LOA? I dont really know how to put it. Part of the problem is also because everything is a little messy inside my head. But if everything is energy and it’s very likely to change then karma is also somekind of energy? Why it’s still have influence on us? Past energy can have influence on us? Well, i hope you get my question. If not, please ask me the part when you think you dont understand. Maybe that helps me understand my question a bit more.

  25. sunada

    Hi Andrea,
    Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your question. I was away on a month-long retreat, and am just getting back and catching up on things.

    But on to your question. I’m not sure I understand it, but let me just say a few things that might help. I’m guessing that you’re thinking of karma as something from our past that controls our future, and it’s something we can’t change. Maybe you’re thinking of karma as being like fate or destiny — and we’re at its mercy.

    But the Buddhist definition isn’t like that. It actually means “action,” and particularly an action or choice with an ethical motivation behind it. So if we do something out of kindness, generosity, or wisdom, we create conditions for positive consequences to arise for us. And if we do something out of anger, selfishness, or ignorance, we set conditions for negative consequences.

    If you think of it this way, then the Buddhist idea of karma is very much in line with LOA, don’t you think? It’s really about choice — OUR choice to move ourselves in a positive or negative direction. I think of karma as being like a universal force in the world, like gravity. It’s always at work in the world, and there’s no escaping its effects, either!

    Is there something more to your question that I’m not getting here?

    Best wishes,

  26. Sascha Holyoak

    Thankyou so much for your article! I was very happy to come across your site by chance tonight as I have been wondering about this topic for a while! (both LOA and how this view fits in with a Buddhist perspective). I like what you’ve written…very helpful :) Kind Regards to you, Sascha.

  27. Peggy

    Thank you. The articles awake me.

  28. Ellen

    I was wondering if you could share your thoughts on this:

    I started thinking about the law of attraction and its use in bringing things into my life such as: having the chance to study oriental medicine, traveling to beautiful wild places, having a family and maybe a farm. I feel like these things would allow me a space to reach out to the community and connect with nature. Because of my circumstances I’m not able to pursue these things now, but would like to put the thoughts out there to set me on my path.

    I also practice meditation and know that the only true contentment can come through this practice and that my wants are only grasping for things that may bring passing happiness and joy.

    Am I looking too deeply into this?

  29. sunada

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have certain things for yourself! The things you’re wishing for seem like perfectly good things to aspire to. My understanding of the Buddha’s teaching on desire is that there’s nothing inherently wrong with desire itself. After all, if we eliminated desire, we wouldn’t feel any motivation to practice, to better ourselves or the world around us. I think the key is to understand the difference between aspiration and expectation. It’s healthy to have a sense of direction, wanting to stretch and grow in a certain direction. But are we staking our happiness on getting things exactly as we envision it and when we want it? Will we be disappointed if things don’t go as we planned? An aspiration is when we gently steer ourselves with an intentionality that heads a certain direction, in a more open-ended way. Staying mindful of conditions around us as they change– i.e. being open to the possibility that we might need to change course, or seeing new things come into the picture that help or hinder and dealing with them.

    So I think it’s great to work toward having the kind of life you envision for yourself. Just stay open and mindful of what’s happening as you go along. How you get there is just as important as the end goal itself.

  30. In 2004, a hypnosis client, Lena Lees, began to spontaneously channel Eastern Deity of Compassion Kuan Yin, thereby clarifying the Kuan Yin profound spiritual teachings. The Spirit Deity revealed Her immutable wisdom on mindfulness (focused intent) and the laws of attraction and compassion as well as Her prophecies for the future of humankind.The following represent the major Kuan Yin Spiritual Law of Attraction Teachings as explained in “Oracle of Compassion: the Living Word of Kuan Yin” and other Hope Bradford & Lena Lees books:

    1. You are the physical extension of your “Authentic” or “Always” Self–that which is the essence of your being
    2. “You are god: both the “sliver of god” and the “ball of light”. Ego’s very nature-capable of a relatively expansive, detailed, and yet individualistic perspective is crucial. Separating itself out from the God Force, ego extracts infinite unique experiences, integral to humanity’s process of ‘spiritualizing matter’. Incarnating on the earth, achieving individualism is therefore critical for attaining divinity.”
    3. You are a creator: “juggler of the dream and the world of dreams”.
    4. “You create your whole world from your thoughts.”
    5. You are here on earth in your “rightful place” because you have chosen it. The laws of reincarnation and karma are real.
    6. The basis of your life is free will and karma (the personal vibration created from prominent beliefs attracting objects and events to you). You always have the freedom to change your beliefs and thus what is attracted: In Her teachings, Kuan Yin states:

    “There are the waves and there is the wind, seen and unseen forces. Everyone has these same elements in their lives, the seen and unseen: karma and free will. The question is, ‘how are you going to handle what you have?’ You are riding the karmic wave underneath and the wind can shift. Everyone must take what they see and deal with that which is unseen.”-Kuan Yin

    7. The purpose of your life is to marvel and enjoy all you’ve created as well as to utilize your “focused intent” to “imagine the possibilities of something greater than is right here.”
    8. “You are meant to be the ‘Watcher’. Instead of judging, you just see.”
    9. “The most powerful forces in the universe are loving-kindness and motherly-love.”
    10. “You cannot die; you are eternal, quantum beings.”
    11. You have infinite realities to choose from.
    12. “The universe will bring whatever one wants!”
    13. “You are made of sound. Sound comes first in the universe.”
    14. “Being in the moment is one’s link to eternity.”
    15. “There is no such thing as time.”
    16. “There is no evil, only ignorance.”
    17. There are new, inexperienced as well as advanced, compassionate souls on earth.
    18. “You are a totally unique, divine being simultaneously belonging to one huge family, a great continuum.”
    19. “You are all sacred energies and everyone is as sacred as the next.”

  31. Kuan Yin’s 20th Law of Attraction and Mindfulness teaching:

    20. “Regard your life as about choices, experiences and desire and that you are already liberated. Don’t be afraid of desire. It is why you’re here: to taste, live.”

  32. Dear Sunada,

    Thank you for posting the above Kuan Yin Spiritual Law of Attraction & Mindfulness teachings. For many, this is a time of great confusion. Here,Kuan Yin explains the origin of our present reality (what She calls the “better than”, “not enough” & “survival of the fittest” paradigm) and the often dire consequences: “Humanity has created itself around the ‘survival of the fittest’ belief and the fearful belief that there is ‘not enough’. Unfortunately, many individuals really believe there are not enough resources for everyone…Any war and any other dilemma focusing on hate, fear and murder is based on the belief of not enough and the illusion of survival of the fittest…The indigenous tribes are sometimes the most powerful as many of them are so in harmony with nature as to be really, really divinely human. They’re so in touch with their humanity that they’re totally in tune with their Diva nature. They know that human/nature harmony is the crux of spirituality. Of course there is always the criticism–that “better than” mindset. Humans say they’re better than each other. And they say they’re better than nature. But they’re not. It’s ludicrous to compare the intelligence of other living creatures to human intelligence. Plants have enormous intelligences and spirituality. However, the “better than” mindset greatly contributes to the ongoing environmental destruction. The earth is trying to teach humans that everything is spirit. Eventually, humans will learn. It’s just another way to understand divinity. Spirit works through one’s own humanity and the earth. Everything here (on earth) is for the divine evolution of all energies. Whereas the word ‘beings’ so often refers only to humans, I use the term “energies” as it encompasses all living things on the planet.”-Kuan Yin

  33. “Your existence is eternal. This phase (of your soul) is so important because you learn so much in human form. This is where the individual’s ‘spark’ of existence can expand into bigger, more powerful energies…Many spirit energies are coming in all the time. Soul evolution is linear for some, non-linear for others. Some jump around experiencing a variety of lifetimes. It’s a way for the soul to develop compassion…Loving kindness is the most powerful force in the universe…If every human being could recognize the power of ‘the Love and Forgiveness Principle’ all consciousness on earth would change instantly. Indeed, thoughts can change the course of history. Sometimes, all it takes is enough people knowing about a certain concept…You can help teach the world about empathy. If you’d rather use the words, ‘loving kindness’, that’s fine. Empathy or loving-kindness! They are the same. But remember, they’re very different from guilt or pity. Having true empathy is to understand another’s pain and suffering from a place of power.”-Kuan Yin

  34. I did my own writing on this topic a while back and thought I’d share the link with you, though my discourse isn’t nearly as kind as yours. :) http://radicalunschooling.blogspot.com/2009/08/law-of-attraction.html

    Enjoyed your commentary!

  35. rinzing gyamtso

    I think lOA do correspond with the logic and reason of Buddhism. it emphasis on feelings. even in Buddhism when we receive initiations and teachings from rinpoches, they direct us to emphasis on feeling of receiving initiations, to feel that we and lot other have benefited from the blessing of God. i think if you just started to follow buddha dharma you already have mastered LOA.

  36. JayGee

    what strikes me when I read the article & comments..
    1. wanting to eliminate desires (as we all seem to crave for) is a desire in itself
    2. from my understanding,desires themselves are not ‘the’ problem. When buddha invites to eliminate desires, it’s a way to say “whatever you desie is in you already”, or if you will “do not look for things outside of you”. You are all. that’s the duality trick here again. when we desire, we basically are in a position where we consider ourselves “separated”.

    So, yes, LOA and buddhism is the same: once we undertand (feel, KNOW) taht we are all with all that is, then tehre is no need to need, want, desire, crave, since we already are / have that which we desire… So the questioni now is: how do I deeply know that I am indeed what I long for…

    And the paradox becomes: once I know that I am what I desire, well, I don’t desire it anymore, since I am this thing….

    the mind cannot reach out for this.

    Feeling can, yes.

  37. […] as well.  Sunada Takagi wrote a post discussing the connections between LoA and Buddhism called: A Buddhist’s Rethinking of Law of Attraction.  One of the reasons I’m choosing to include this blog over all the others I spent time […]

  38. This is a Great and very helpful article about “A Buddhist’s rethinking of the Law of Attraction” Thanks for sharing this helpful information and I hope get more information here about Law of attraction

  39. Cartmands

    I wonder if you understand the teachings correctly tho? For instance, if you are truely listening to your emotions and what ‘feels good’ then you would either stop eating the ice cream at the point that you felt it was off balance and not feeling good or you would not have been inspired to eat it in the first place if you had taken the time to raise your vibration and affirm that you want to eat foods which will energise and be beneficial for your body… once time has been spent feeling how energising, uplifting and enjoyable this is then you feel a pull to certain foods, which may possibly be ice cream if thats what your body feels would rebalance itself.

    I am reading this article because I have a niggle about LOA but when I read critisisms of it I often feel that peoples understanding is simply from watching the secret and not from a thorough understanding of how the teachings are applied. I hope this isn’t too critical and if you still feel it all doesn’t add up I am still very interested, I just want to understand and I really appreciate your artical, its given be a lot to ponder. One final thing…do Buddhists believe in karma…isnt that just based on the energy you put out is reflected back to you…a mirror, since we are all one. Namaste :)

  40. sunada

    Hi Cartmands, Thank you for your comments. I am about to head out on retreat tomorrow and don’t have much time to respond, but let me say a few things quickly. Sometimes the issue with “what feels good” is that we fall prey to addictions of various intensity. Then it becomes hard to really stop, doesn’t it?

    And yes, karma is a Buddhist teaching — more along the lines of what we do has consequences, so be thoughtful about what we choose to do.

    Namaste to you, too.

  41. Cartmands

    Hi sunada, im gonna mull over what you wrote for a while. ( Hmmm, which I proceeded to do straight away lol so if you’re busy please feel free to read this when you get back….thank you for providing this…its helpful : )

    It seems to me that people are more prone to addictions when they don’t ‘follow their bliss’ or if they feel so low that they can’t feel any good feelings, then to follow a sense of relief with each thought they think.

    Addiction seems to happen when people feel powerless to change how they feel any other way. The point of LOA is to value your emotional guidance system ( emotions ) and become highly discerning of what you are thinking and why. If you were practicing LOA then you would be aware of your thoughts around, for example, having a cup of coffee. You may be feeling drained and exhausted. If you practice following your bliss then you may look for thoughts that feel good around this, for instance; having a rest; looking at where you have been thinking resistant thought which may have drained your energy and changing them; taking time out after a rest to imagine how good it feels to be fully fit and full of vibrant powerful energy..not just for a few seconds but for a good half hour or so, and then follow inspirations when then arise over what food, drinks or supplements you feel a pull towards and I think you would be aware of the thought that you were thinking about why you need the coffee in the first place. Do you believe that you ‘NEED’ coffee to give you energy? Does that thought feel empowering or true? Does your energy really come from the coffee or is there another source of energy that you could tap into? Which thought feels better : the only energy I ever have is when I drink caffiene, I am powerless and have no energy without it. I am completely reliant on caffiene to get anything done with my day. OR I am Source energy, I am made of the energy that flows through planets and the entire universe. I am love and I am loved. Unlimited energy flows through me, I would like to spend the day doing what feels good to me and only that. I will focus on appreciating the things around me and whatever I am doing. After a while of imagining feeling energised you do actually start to feel energised and you don’t feel like drinking the coffee anymore, reaching for the coffee after that feels off. Do I, source energy need coffee for energy, haahaa so funny….no! To consciously practice loa you really need to discerningly listening to EVERY thought you think and why and valuing how you feel enough to reach for relief and find thoughts that feel better. If you do not realise the power your thoughts have to change how you feel then you may reach for the coffee, put that would NOT be following your bliss, that would be ignoring it. Also what I love about LOA is that it is non jugemental, in that, just because coffee now feels bad to me, I do not judge or condemn you for drinking it as I am aware that what is not in alignment for me may infact be in alignment for you. BUT I am gonna think about what you said. I hope you have a beautiful retreat.

  42. sunada

    Hi Cartmands,
    Back from my retreat — which was fantastic.

    I think we’re saying the same thing, just getting hung up on terminology. I don’t like to use the phrase “what feels good” because a lot of people don’t have the discerning awareness that you speak of. They only understand what feels good on a surface level (hedonistic pleasure) and aren’t able to tell the difference between just wanting coffee to get the short-term energy boost or wanting to feel healthier in the long run. That’s why I don’t use the phrase “feels good.” Other than that, I do understand and generally agree with what you’re saying.

  43. bellofpeace

    Use anything that happen as bell of mindfulness,that is meditation..gedeprama|bellofpeace.org

  44. This is truly inspired, so we have to pursue the greater good instead of our lowly mortal desires?

  45. sunada

    Hi Arnold,
    I don’t think we “have to” do anything. The question really is what does your heart of hearts think is the best and most beneficial path to follow? Depending on the time and place, pursuing our mortal desires is perfectly acceptable. Make mindful, considered choices!

  46. Thanks For posting your insights. I’ve often struggled between reconciling my Buddhist leanings and LOA as well, do I use both to my benefit and growth. The critiques one sees more often Is that LOA is focused on the material benefits. But if you watch the secret again you will see that that is a very small part of the movie and much of it is also focused on bringing in the relationships, love and benefits to others that you wish to manifest. What we resist persists so I think sometimes when we say it’s too focused on materialism we are struggling ourselves with letting materialism go. I truly agree that we have to distinguish between sense pleasures and true joy. Manifesting the latter will bring us deeper and more meaningful contentment. But if others have not enjoyed much in the way of worldly goods or seek to raise their status through material objects and do so through LOA, it simply gives them an opportunity to then later practice detaching from those things eventually. Everyone is at a different point in their journey so we are reminded not to judge. Remember that the Buddha also preached the middle way: deprivation from materialism is to be avoided as an excess of materialism. I find that LOA can be used to manifest things that bring me more joy in life. . For me that means having the abundance to travel, build relationships, and have plenty of time to focus on things I enjoy like painting writing or gardening. I also manifested a beautiful home which I’m sitting in now, that gives me a great sense of refuge and contentment as well. It’s a nice home but its not ostentatious or grand. It’s my middle way. LOA works when you feel the joy of that which you want to manifest. The law will not kick in if what you want involves hurting another. Paradoxically, Buddhist philosophy and meditation creates fertile ground for LOA. Why? Because by learning to have equanimity , discern our thoughts and not be swept up by them, and realizing the transitory nature of all things, we create the space for things that we want to manifest to come into our lives. By letting go of attachment to those things, or the ideas of the things, once we have put our request out there to the universe, we just let go. That is the allowing through which things, or outcomes show up! If things manifests were fine, if they do not we are fine. With that approach, if it is the right thing for you, it usually shows up. We all have goals, dreams…we want love, friends, to be of service, to adopt a dog, to give to charity, to have a patch of earth to plant a garden in. If those things arise from true lovingkindness and compassion towards oneself and others then I see no harm in leveraging LOA to create them, without attachment to thier showing up. Peace.

  47. ์Niki

    Hi, thanks for your article. I’m one of the Buddhist who believe in LOA. Could you kindly help me some question that i cant figure out : )
    1. LOA is teach to want, but Buddhist teach to unwant, how can this two work together?
    2. How LOA described about recarnation?

    Thank you

  48. sunada

    Hi Niki,
    My apologies for the delayed reply. I hadn’t noticed your comment was waiting!

    In response to your first question — the Buddha didn’t say that we shouldn’t want things. We couldn’t get enlightened if we didn’t want it, right? We can’t grow and awaken unless we feel the desire to do so. There’s nothing wrong with wanting things. But as I say toward the latter part of my post above, there’s a difference between healthy wants and unhealthy ones. Healthy wants are those that conduce to dispassion, detachment, a decrease in worldly goods, frugality, contentment, solitude, energy, and delight in good. Unhealthy ones are the opposite. Which ones are we pursuing?

    I’m afraid I can’t answer your second question. I’m not a LOA expert, so I don’t know what they say about reincarnation.

    Best wishes to you,

  49. Thanks

  50. Thank you for sharing the parallels of LOA and buddhist. Great article. I am a believer of the LOA and although I am not a buddhist, I do like the teachings of Buddha (amazing wisdom).
    For me the high vibrational frequency emotions are feeling good emotions. The way I interpret “feeling good” is a long term feeling good.
    Eating a lot of ice cream for the pleasure of the moment and then feeling guilty for overeating is not feeling good and it does not align with sustained stated of happiness and peace.

  51. I came here by serendipity. I have also reflected on how much Buddhist teachings of karma, intention, mindfulness relates to Law of attraction. I find ethical considerations that arise out of interdependence and the deeper understanding of suffering, its causes and ending of suffering at personal and collective level is missing even in Abraham teachings ( i very much like them, as they show a path towards joy and happiness through LOA). Even though I grew up as a Buddhist with 5 precepts, I find Karma is mostly taught as a negative past-life thing to explain all suffering including man-made ones.
    What is not commonly seen is that the Buddhist path was about education of the whole human person through cultivation of mindful middleway balanced vision of reality, with 31 realms of existence and the great possibility of transcending the painful conditioned realms of repetitive birth and death cycle to reach the ultimate goal of Universal Knowledge and utimate freedom and peace of nibbana – the deathless, unborn, unfettered and unconditioned. The Buddhist path set us on a journey to become a noble person committed to practice of generosity, virtue and mindful meditation to evolve the human brain and body for greater good not only in the planet but Cosmos.

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