Here’s the thing, I’m not into “religion” per se, the thought of a group of beliefs somewhat “controlling” my life never appealed to me. It’s partially because I just don’t like to be told what to do, “period” and because I (and I think we *all*) need to really believe in something to accept it as truth. I also think it only has to be *truth* in our own mind, whether others believe in it or not, or whether or not we have *scientific* proof for something we believe. Science has ever *proved* that God exists, but that’s okay with me, because His (Her/Its) existence rings true with me.
Okay, so the Buddha said, “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
I really like that. Why can’t all religions be more like that? I have often felt that various flavors of religion give me the shove-it-down-your-throat approach. Well, if we’re really only going to be able to *believe* in something that rings true with our “own reason and (your own) common sense” then what’s the point of shoveling a belief at someone?
The Dalai Lama has said so many things that ring true with me, and that’s why I’m trying to learn more about Buddhism. For instance, the opening paragraph of “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama says:
I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think the very motion of our life is towards happiness…
This is very encouraging to me. At one point in life I thought that life pretty much just plain ol’ sucked. Having read most everything that Jean Paul Sartre ever wrote, when he said that “Hell is other people” I incorporated that into my daily beliefs. Whew! I’m glad I escaped that frame of mind, because I now truly believe that we’re all just seeking happiness. Look at a young baby’s face, so full of life and joy, not yet burdened by all the things that we, as adults, let bother us.
In future posts I’m going to talk a lot about happiness and how it ties to Buddhism, because that’s what I’m getting out of what I’m absorbing from it. I’m pretty thrilled about it, because on my lifeline as a Buddhist, I’m just a newborn, if not a kid still unborn but growing in the womb.
Where are you? Has any of this struck a chord with you yet? Have any Buddhist teachings rang true with you yet?