How do I relate to my religion?

I am absorbed into and engrossed in Buddhism. In every second of my life, in whatever I do, consciously or unknowingly I try to live up to the Buddhist principles. I am so in to Buddhism that, sometimes I wonder whether I'm a blind or a passive believer. I am not sure whether followers of other religions feel the same way. I have friends, whom I consider very intelligent, are fundamental believers Christianity. Are we in the same boat? Is there a difference in the way we follow religions?

How did I become a Buddhist?

Although my parents took a great interest in Buddhism since merely an year ago, they were not that religious when I was small. In comparison to others, we went to the temple very rarely. To be frank we went to the temple twice a year. Probably our visits were limited to Poson and Wesak day. My parents did not force me to attend the Sunday school either. I went there for several days and got heavily bored.
As it was compulsory, I learned about Buddhism from the Grade 1 itself. Lord Buddha was portrayed as someone who is superhuman. We were taught that seven flowers blossomed on the first seven steps he took as a baby. New born Siddhartha was able to walk and talk and the book had drawn an aura around his head. I don't think this portrayal of Buddha is not in the text books anymore. Lord Buddha was a common man, who was able to see things differently.

Meditation

I used to feel that Meditation was something exclusively for the monks, who renounce the worldly affairs. The thought of meditating bored me to death. Who would want to sit cross-legged for hours thinking about nothing. I can remember trying to meditate and I failed each time. I had to meditate once in a Seela Wyapara and it was such a disaster. I am sure I hated the whole religion on that day. Later I learned that the feeling was common for all my family members. Since that nightmarish incident, we did not take part in Seela Wyapara. Except, when we had to observe Seela at school.

Meditation is not a hard thing to do. It is like an experiment everybody can do. The goad of meditation is calm, quiet happiness. Imagine the mind as a pond that has been stirred. When stirred ( thinking) mud (thoughts) obstructs us from seeing though. Meditation is letting the thoughts as they are. Letting the mud sink in to the bottom of the pond. To see the thoughts as they are. Passively watching the mind till it clears it self.

Higher Education

I learned Buddhist Civilization as an Advanced level examination. BC is said to be the easiest subject in the whole A/L stream. I did BC because I did not have anything else to do. I was ashamed to do BC at school. But later I developed an interest in the subject. Nobody (students, other students, teachers, principal) took the subject seriously. We did not have a proper place to do the classes and we had drag the chairs like vagabonds from place to place. There were many days on which we (one monk and 3 students) had to cancel the class. Apparently the subject was not easy for me, since I barely passed with "C" grade. I did not bother to go for classes either since I though I was doing fine. Luckily it was enough to get me through the AL exam.

  .....................................................................

I am not proud , but I feel very fortunate be a part of the Buddhist minority. Buddhism is the only religion that goes with science. Buddha preached about Cosmos, Big Bang theory, planets, evolution 2500 years ago.

Several Western scholars including Albert Einstein and Dr. Sir Arthur C. Clarke were drawn to Buddhism because of the similarities between scientific philosophy and the Buddhist logical thinking. For hundreds of years some academics has identified Buddhism as a religion without dogmas and theologies. Both Einstein and Clarke thought that if there is a future for religion in this increased scientific world, it would most likely be Buddhism. Nobel-prize winning philosopher Bertrand Russell described Buddhism as a speculative and scientific philosophy:

Buddhism is a combination of both speculative and scientific philosophy. It advocates the scientific method and pursues that to a finality that may be called Rationalistic. In it are to be found answers to such questions of interest as: 'What is mind and matter? Of them, which is of greater importance? Is the universe moving towards a goal? What is man's position? Is there living that is noble?' It takes up where science cannot lead because of the limitations of the latter's instruments. Its conquests are those of the mind.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a standard cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness largely derived from Buddhist meditative practice. Mindfullness techniques are used in curing many psychological disorders.

The concepts of rebirth, reincarnation, nothingness (anatta),  is being widely accepted in the scientific community.

Although Buddhism has been severely treated in the past, There has been no wars or human slaughter on behalf of Buddhism. There are remnants of Buddhist sculptures in the Saudi Arabian museum. Buddhism has been popular in the now Middle eastern region.
"When the Taliban destroyed the Bamyan Buddha statues, Buddhists did not allow themselves to seek revenge, because that would, in fact, mean the Taliban had succeeded not only in destroying the containers, but also the contents." Ajahn Brahm
Buddhism stands for love, peace and unity not only among humans but also for animal and other beings.  

Buddhism is a religion that encourage people to question, question and question. Buddhism is free from theology or dogma, where people are forced to believe. Buddhism has no absolute truths that instills fear, guilt and frustration.


”If someone flushed a Buddhist holy book down the toilet, as a Buddhist monk what would you do?”
Ajahn Brahm : What would I do? Call a plumber!

Even though statistics may show otherwise, Buddhism is one of the fastest spreading religions in the world. There is no need for a Buddhist to declare themselves a Buddhist nor they go to temples to make offerings.

The relationship between Buddhist laymen and the clergy is very important. Buddhist monks are not suppose to be self-sufficient but to take offerings from the laymen. Buddhist monks and the laymen co-exist beautifully serving each other, benefiting each other.

Unlike in other religion there are not sects or groups in Buddhism. There is Mahayana and Therawada but they teach the same values. They are like identical cakes with different icings.

The law of Karma is a very difficult Buddhist concept to understand. Thus is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. This of the following scenario. You kill a man. The act of killing has a reaction. The reaction is shame and guilt of the act that was committed, fear of getting caught. The act of killing overwhelms the human mind consuming it little by little. Any act done with such impure mental status leads to disaster. This is one way to understand the law of Karma. This is very much similar to modern psychology. There is no supernatural ledger that records/list-up the good and the bad karma. 
 
There are many friends of Buddhism in other religious faiths. There are many Christian followers of Buddhism, who goes to church every Sunday. If you feel like exploring Buddhism Listen to Ajahn Brahm. Buddhism is about happiness and freedom. I am sure God, Allah or Jesus would not mind being happy and free.

I have learned about other popular religions and I can very much relate to them. Understanding of other religions have prevented me from criticizing them. I can understand what is it like to believe in god, what is it like to love Jesus.

Religions promote peace and truly religious people coexists well and live in harmony.

References: http://sanuja.com/blog/is-buddhism-a-philosophy-or-a-religion/
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Plucking tea with Happiness

A Perspective of Sri Lankan Bus Conductors

Unconditional Love?