Thursday, September 17, 2009

Buddhism is Not a Religion (Interdependence Project, 9/16/09)
The Buddha-Dharma -- despite there being religious organizations called "Buddhism" -- is not inherently a religion. It is a technique and way of living that is applicable to anyone, EVEN IF they choose to continue identifying with a religion.
The Buddhist way of being is one that fos-ters compassion, kind-ness, and cooperation. If a condition of being Buddhist is that you must forsake your religion (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or otherwise) for something called a "Buddhist religion," the chance of Buddhism spreading wide becomes exponentially slimmer. I would have sorely misunderstood what the Four Noble Truths mean.
Buddhism is a path to liberation from dissatisfaction (dukkha). It does not condone war or killing others on the way to liberation. Buddhists do not defend physical or mental territory with knives, guns, and bombs (or bows and arrows, as pictured here with a "lost tribe" in the Amazon jungle that does not want contact with the modern world). Although religions like Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and others all have beautiful teachings and have been engines of civilization at various points in history, each of them also succumbs to combat when their geography or beliefs are challenged.

There is a whiff of the primitive origins of religion that makes itself known whenever religious organzations (or governments claiming a divine right) kill other people for not believing in the spiritual or physical boundaries that they have drawn.

When I hear of wars being conducted with the blessing of Christ, or a Jewish God, or a Fatwah, or in the name of a Mormon divinity, I cannot help but picture a caveman with a stone in his hand standing outside his rock house bashing in the head of a threatening neighbor going "Me mine, no come here!"

Spiritual teachings that are truly based on compassion and interdependence -- that offer the tools to actually manifest compassion -- do not require guns, knives, and bombs. More>>