I know some of you want me to post every day. That’s turning out not to be as reasonable as I thought it would be. For the next two weekends (Saturday + Sunday this week, Friday + Saturday + Sunday of next), I won’t be publishing any articles.
I will, however, be writing. I have a plan with what I’ll do with said writing. It will be posted in time.
Disclaimer: I’m not actually as knowledgable about Buddhism as I make it seem. If I said something wrong, please correct me. If you’re interested in learning buddhism for real, consult a teacher or thoroughly researched book.
Yesterday I wrote a semi-satirical (though it’s completely true) Facebook status about religious extremism. I’ve copied it here for convenience:
“I’ve been thinking about the cases of religious extremism in the news and this leads me to believe that Buddhism is the way of the future. Buddhist extremists are known to sit in isolation for long periods of time and do… Well, nothing. And hurt no one in the process.”
While it was meant to be humorous (and a very humorous onion article was posted), I really do think Buddhism may be the way of the future.
I’m not talking about the “sects” what strictly do monastic life and chant and sit in silence for many hours. I think that Buddhism is much more adaptable than other major religions because it doesn’t need a spiritual leader or congregation or anything of the sort.
When thinking about practicing any other major religion, the thought typically is “i need to find a church/synagogue/mosque/etc.”
The thought in a buddhist practice is more like, “I need a place to sit.” One of the mainstays of a Buddhist practice–meditation–doesn’t require anyone else around you, a holy book, singing, or even a quiet place! Finding a quiet place is generally encouraged, because it’s extremely difficult to meditate with excessive background noise, but it’s not necessary.
Another important aspect of the practice that appeals to me (and I assume other Westerners) is the lack of a god to appease. While the religion is named after Siddhartha Gautama–the Buddha–he’s not a god! My understanding is that he didn’t want to be a god, but the practice was named after him by western scholars.
As there is no god to appease, you the practitioner are not a sinner by default. This is a huge problem that I can’t get over about Christianity. I concede that I am far from perfect. Yes, I’m sorry to disappoint you all, it hurts me too. But I was never able to buy into the concept that I am a sinner for simply being born.
The core difference that these religions have with Buddhism is the constant fear of judgement. You were judged to be a sinner the moment you were born, you are waiting for Christ to return and judge you again (sorry Muslim and Hebrew friends, I don’t really know what judgement you face).
Instead of judgement, meditation is practiced to fully experience the present moment. The is-ness of everything.
In an increasingly fast-paced world driven by technology and marketing that preys on our insecurities, I feel that taking a step back is the answer.
Taking a step back to appreciate what is happening and simply allowing it happen–without fear, without judgement.
It simply… is.