Alternative to Buddhism as Religion – Simply put and Clearly Stated
In case you become too serious about yourself in this life, note that there are reportedly 400 trillion subatomic vibrations every second. So be humble! And being humble is something I have had to do regarding my experience with Zen Buddhism as my religion. I love Buddhism; I love Zen; I love my Sangha; I respect my teachers; and, I had great difficulty accepting Zen Buddhism as my religion. I have no clear understanding for this other than the strict hierarchy and rich ceremonies reminded my very much of my Catholic upbringing. I also decided against that approach as my religion.
In a distant Taoist way, I feel more “religious” when meditating in the woods – but this deep, personal experience feels more like sacred spirituality to me. Recently, M. Mcleod in Shambhala Sun wrote about the spiritual value of Buddhism.
Much of this post re-frames and adds to many of his comments.
Fifteen Reasons Why Spiritual Buddhism May be Very Good for YOU:
- We do not have to deal with the issue of whether or not there is a God or gods.
- We can focus on being a good person and living a good life without greed, envy, hatred, or anger.
- We can recognize that there is nothing especially religious about our waking up into a more aware state.
- We can accept Buddhist mind training or other forms of mind training as a way to become awake.
- We do spiritual Buddhism solely for our self and by our self. There are teachers and the sangha, but YOU do it alone through personal experience in long-term regular practice. It is an internal ting!
- We may use our Buddhist spirituality to wake up in experiencing non-material higher reality – a form of ultimate reality.
- We never need to simply have faith in Buddhism (unlike many other major religions). The Buddha noted that as we experience Buddhist practices and experiment with it for our self, keep it ONLY if it is working for you. If it does not help, stop doing it.
- We can use skillful means in Buddhist practice, spirituality, and – perhaps even more important – in how we live our life (emotionally regulated, kind, compassionate, awake, present-minded, happy).
- We can practice Buddhist spirituality without connection with systems, programs, or institutions. We are the sole entity of spiritual practice; spirituality is highly personal and internal.
- We notice that Buddhist spirituality appears to work for many other people, so why not give it a chance.
- We may study various religious doctrines and texts only to find out that many of the key points and recommend/required practices are somewhat similar. I myself am always amazed at the similarities in what Jesus and Buddha have reportedly “said” to their followers. There appears to be a spiritual theme in much of it.
- We may practice Buddhist spirituality without concern for specific standards and rigidness about “doing it only this way.” In spiritual practice, the “right way” is the way that works best for the spiritual goals of the person doing it.
- We may practice Buddhist spirituality and find our self feeling more closely connected and integrated with others and the earth itself – perhaps even with the universe.
- We may come to a realization – a liberation – that Buddhist spiritual practices that are helpful to us represent serious regular practice on a personal level.
- We WILL come to understand that Buddhist spiritual practices increase our personal happiness.
For more information refer to Mcleod, M. In Shambhala Sun (November, 2013), pp. 42-49.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
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