To End Suffering

I grew up loving the candles, the quiet, the chanting, the sitting and waiting, that I found in religion. The ceremony. It was serious, pure, and poignant. Which to my mind as a child meant powerful. Like weddings and presidential inaugurations.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. Dalai Lama

To End Suffering

Humanitarians try to end human kind’s suffering by making the world a better place. To make society better. Can you feed your family? Can you get water? Education? Equal rights? Equal access to funding or resources?  Top 5 Humanitarian Aid Organizations – BorgenProject.org

The Buddha taught that suffering came from our mind. We resist. We think. We worry. Stop these and suffering ends. When suffering ends, we simply are. There is no more “I.” There is no more “Want.” All that remains is the stillness. Even when the good things in life happen, there can be suffering. Good days, bad days. The Buddha, himself, was a man. He also left his religion. He left his home and family. He left his gods. He never claimed to be a god. He only claimed to be awake. In this awakening, he wished to teach others. There was no conversion or baptism or cutting of the flesh.

The wisdom of the Buddha is currently trapped within the religion of Buddhism.  Killing the Buddha – Sam Harris

Buddhism vs. Humanitarianism

I’d always respected Buddhism with their mindfulness and care for others. Recently I wondered how it differed from Humanitarianism? Don’t they both with to help others? I didn’t know until I explored. There is religion in Buddhism. But how much you want to get into it is up to you and which version of Buddhism you study. Some are heavy on the Karma. Karmic debt. Karmic cleansing. It wasn’t as clean and simple as I had once thought it was.

I never believed in Original sin from my religion, so I can’t see myself picking up Karmic debt. I’ll be as good as I can and see what happens. I can’t follow a guru or wear a toga. I can be kind. I want to see society change. It won’t happen overnight, but I think it can happen. It can happen if we change who we are first. Because, isn’t that how all things start? You can’t make good coffee out of dirty water. And you have to pull the splinter out of your own eye before you can remove the board from another’s eye. At least that’s what I heard from another wise man.

My Take

Helping and giving is my religion. I don’t need people bend their knees at my prayer mat or light their candle with my brand of matches. I hope they can be well and help others to be well. You don’t even have to know my name.

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The Path That Leads to Nowhere

Statue representing Siddhartha Gautama.I am a seeker. A learner. A teacher and a follower. Although I’m only proficient in a few, I have attempted to become familiar with many paths. There’s the path of the Buddha. The path of Kabbalah. The Way, Jesuit, Gnostic, the Serpent’s path, Tao, Zoroastrian and the list goes on. There are enough paths that a person could get really lost. So far I haven’t, well at least I don’t think so. Some would say that I am. I wish I could say if I am lost then the world is my home. I’m not quite that far yet. Probably never will be. The truth is that some of these paths or religions are so similar that an outsider couldn’t tell them apart. But I guess that’s the normal thing isn’t it? Until you get to know a group it’s difficult to see the distinctions.

What strikes me at this moment is the distraction that these paths and their own nuances offer. They keep us busy. It’s similar to the beads on the rosary which a Catholic will use as a prayer connection. It serves its purpose to keep your mind on your prayer. It reminds you that you are not merely a man or a woman standing alone, but you have access to a higher power. And that’s where these things should stop.

The simplest form of the Sun Cross, often call...

A woman looks in her closet for clothing to wear. She decides what to wear based on what type of day she will have. If there is a lot of walking, she will wear comfortable shoes. If she is appearing before important people, she may want to dress more dazzling. At one time, we did not choose our path, it was chosen for us like our clothing was and even our spouses. This is the time of choice. Independence. Freethinking. We can choose our path as well as our clothing. We are not limited to corsets and parasols. No more breaking and binding of our feet to make us appealing. The proper husband or wife is not picked out at birth for us.

It’s also a time of uncertainty as well as opportunity. Those two go hand in hand. The same with the fear of the unknown and it’s counterpart, paralysis.

 

When I look at some of these paths, I can feel the devotion. It’s like running my hands over a soft cashmere shawl. Or the feel of a silk scarf around my neck. The scent of a rose petal. The kiss of a child. The love of the pursuer and the hug of a friend. Comfort. Home. We belong and find rest.

Along with this new frontier we are all on, is the desert or wilderness in front of us. The unknown. The “not home” or otherness of it can make us wish to hide. But we left it for a reason. Do you remember? Stifled? Mine didn’t fit anymore. Do I still believe? Yes and no. Part of my beliefs I am even more adamant about, but others are added in at the last minute and cluttered up the purity.

If you want a path to follow, there are many out there. If you want a life to live, you have one. No one needs to give you a map for it. Walk. You don’t need to know where to go. Walk. Each step you take is your path. Your path is enough. So you left your home, keep going until you want to stop. Have you read the story of Siddhartha? Siddhartha_(novel) It’s a story told of original Buddha. He left his home and his family and his friends. He didn’t know where he was going, but he had the need to go.

Green Light

There’s a phrase I’ve heard often, If you meet the Buddha on the way down the mountain, kill him. http://www.dailybuddhism.com/archives/670

Whatever your conception is of the Buddha, it’s WRONG! Now kill that image and keep practicing. This all has to do with the idea that reality is an impermanent illusion. If you believe that you have a correct image of what it means to be Enlightened, then you need to throw out (kill) that image and keep meditating.

Most people have heard the first chapter of the Tao, “The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.” (So if you think you see the real Tao, kill it and move on).

Since we are away from our home, let’s not start a religion of Not Being Religious. We are free of prescribed paths. And since we are free, we need to stay free. I hope that I never trash another’s rosary beads.  http://bible.cc/1_corinthians/8-9.htm

But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.There could easily be a day that I will need them.

http://bible.cc/romans/14-1.htm

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.

Crimson, Eleven, Delight, Smell of dust after rain

The Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond
The Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a game I like to play because I love word games.  I took the idea from an episode of Doctor Who, Season 6. In that episode the companions to The Doctor, Amy and Rory had a locked door to open. They were given the pass code, but not told how to use it. Now we are all familiar with passwords and security codes. A jumbled bit of numbers and letters. Very secret things. The password was Crimson, Eleven, Delight, Petrichor. First the couple tried saying the words, Crimson, Eleven, Delight, Petrichor (smell of dust after rain.) Nothing happened. The door didn’t open. Then Amy tried a different way. Instead of just saying the words, she imagined the words. She felt the words. She pulled out the emotional link from inside of her that matched the words of the pass code. Crimson (crisp red flag flying in the breeze), Eleven (her eleventh birthday cake), Delight (the day of her wedding), Petrichor (a water  droplet hitting the dirt.) The doors open.

Once an idea is opened, many can run with it. Today many are revealing ideas. Opening doors. Exposing secrets. Teaching long forgotten truths to those around us. It’s not enough any more to merely go through the motions and do the job. The more effective way of living, the one that causes us to engage our emotions, demands our active cooperation. These aren’t new methods. They are forgotten tools. These were common in times past by Druids and Shamans. Modern commercials grab us and persuade us to buy their product by using our emotions. For example, Jif brand peanut butter once used the phrase, “Choosy mothers choose Jif.” As if to say, only mothers that give a damn about their children choose Jif. And if you don’t buy Jif peanut butter, you are an unfit mother. Much like the days when humanity learned about little things called germs causing disease, today we are learning to use more of our minds. Learning to open doors by engaging our entire selves.

Wake up. We are learning to fly by intention instead of brute strength. It’s a new day. Pay attention. We are learning new ways of seeing the world. New ways and long forgotten ways. If germs make us sick, what about our emotions and the emotions of others around us. I agree that actions count, but actions without connection is dry and blows away.

English: Emotions
English: Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My game is simple. I want to use the game to learn a new way of being. I want to engage my emotions with words. Random words or thought out ones. Why? Because I’m now aware of being able to do this. Because I believe humanity is evolving.

Buddhism teaches us to “be” no matter where we are or what we are doing. If you are washing the dishes, be there washing the dishes. If you are eating, be aware of eating. I admit that most of the time I avoid the unpleasant and forget to pay attention during the pleasant. Being awake in the Now is a habit to practice.

We learned well how to be robots and act out our parts. We learned our roles. We learned to put things in boxes and to analyze and dissect. We can take things apart to see how they once worked. We learned to distract ourselves when things are painful or boring and when everything is pleasant we are afraid it won’t last.

Four words: Crimson, Eleven, Delight, Petrichor (the smell of dust after rain.) Or try picking your own four words: Color, Number, Feeling, Smell.