A Blog A Day

It\’s a blog where I write about the extraordinary and the ordinary things going on in my life.

Annoyed Yet Enlightened

I was a little annoyed with my priest date. He pointed out something which seems a little childish to me. He seems childish for a priest. I should be above that since I’m supposed to have a ‘higher awareness’ but who the hell cares? I’m still human after all.

” Did you get baptized when you became a Buddhist?” he asked.

” Well. Not really. No,” I answered rather innocently. I knew the direction he was headed. We didn’t get to argue on that fact since my phone rang.

I know that he was going to go in the general direction of ‘ you’re still a Catholic whether you like it or not’ direction. But it’s useless to try and make other people understand. He is after all a Catholic priest or is going to be one in a few months or years. I can’t blame him if he thinks I’m such a big sinner. I don’t really care.

I guess that’s what’s wrong with religion in general. Not just Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and even Buddhism. It’s that ‘you’re either with us or against us’ mentality. If you don’t follow a particular religious path you’re either a sinner or an infidel. Some of my Buddhist friends have that mentality as well. If a Buddhist practitioner quits or isn’t as active as they would like that member to be, they criticize that member. I mean, it’s just hard to be a Buddhist. I can understand why some Buddhists can’t take the pressure. It’s not pretty when you see your flaws and your weaknesses all the time. There are times I just want to turn that awareness thing off. But the thing is, I can’t.

I guess that’s why there are religious wars. People want other people to believe in what they believe in. It’s not very democratic if you think about it. My priest date said that the Catholic faith is lax and allows people to be free to choose what they want. I guess he forgot to read about the Dark Ages. Oh well, he is entitled to his own opinions or delusions.

I don’t think the path to finding God or our divine nature within should be mapped and plotted. I think that it is not right to tell people what to believe in. Religion is not about spirituality anymore. Religion has turned into something else. Religiosity doesn’t equal spirituality anymore. When people are told what to believe in, they are not taught to be independent. They are taught to be dependent. And spirituality is a very personal journey. And that journey is going to be full of trial and error.

I am not saying that Buddhism is superior. It is not. It’s just different. It’s the most democratic of all. Buddha knew that the spiritual path is an individual journey that each one of us must take in order to be more happy. And he did not tell his followers to believe in a God. He went over and beyond that. It was said that before Buddha died he said, ” Be a lamp unto yourselves.”

What Buddha meant is that we should learn to search for the truth for ourselves and within ourselves. And he wanted his followers not to take his teachings as the absolute truth. He wanted his followers to see the truth for themselves.

After my date my friend May asked me, ” So how did the date go?”

” He’s a priest!”

” Oh, he is.”

” You should have listened in on our conversation. It would make your nose bleed. We talked about God, the divine nature, meditation and whatnot. It was just so funny.”

” And you’re disappointed because it’s against your religion?” she asked.

” I’m not disappointed. Nothing is against Buddhism. Buddhism includes everything else and incorporates everything else. It incorporates psychology, science and even other religions.”

” Really?”

” Well how can Buddhism exclude everything else when Buddhism is about the study of life?”

I remember a particular conversation I had with a Buddhist member. She was just twenty years old but she was wise beyond her years. She came at a very important point in my faith. I was thinking of quitting the Buddhist practice. I just couldn’t take my negativity anymore. But she made me understand why I should continue on being a Buddhist. What she shared to me was really eye-opening.

” You used to be a Hindu? ” I asked.

” Yes. I’m a Hindu. Or I used to practice Hinduism. But the thing is, one is never really converted,” she answered. ” Buddhism is different. I don’t tell my friends I’m a Buddhist. I tell them that I’m a practitioner of life.”

And I guess my Hindu-Buddhist friend is correct after all. Buddhists study life.

” We should practice in order to be happy,” she pointed out.

My friend made things very simple for me. I practice Buddhism in order to be happy. I practice Buddhism in order to understand my life and other people’s lives as well. I practice Buddhism because I embrace life. It’s that simple.

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