This is a lengthy post. Read if you dare. :)
Up until today, I wanted to say “yes” I am a Buddhist, but I still feel I am lazy about my study…. so could I call myself a Buddhist? I suppose I am…just a lazy one. I am not in a rush, and I take my time trying to absorb thoughts and experiences. Not long ago Soul Pancake on YouTube posted a video about Zach meeting people practicing Buddhism. The goal of the video was to explore Buddhism.
A response by a YouTuber really inspired me to address some issues brought by the post.
The person said:
In Buddhism there is no worship of god at all. It is instead about the individual and the worship of self. Why is this considered a religion? In the old days all religions were about worshipping a god. People back then were appreciative of what they saw around them and were compelled to make offerings to the god who made what they saw. Is religion going to end up being something that has nothing to do with worshipping god anymore?
… it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or RELIGION to figure out that we should connect with each other and be nice and caring and loving. OMG, why is this so profound??!! This should be innate in the human being and it is if people would just take the time to shut off the technology and think about it for a while. You don’t need to chant some universal mantra. Just open your eyes.
And so, on YouTube (and I am reposting here) I posted:
The Western World defines religion too narrowly because they follow the Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — and belief in a God that is is monotheist as the de facto of what defines religion. Princeton Anthropologist Clifford Geertz defines religion as such,”Religion is: “an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, that give meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life through reference to a higher power, God or gods, or ultimate truth.” For this definition, Buddhism is indeed a religion. Buddhism has all the trappings of religions:
- Physical dedications, like altars
- Formalized chanting of religious texts
- Milestone rituals, like funerals
- Monastic communities
Contrary to what has been said, speaking as a Buddhist and owing to self research, Buddhism is not a religion without a history of struggle and clash of differences. Buddhism has had it’s share of active missionaries (like other religions) that have brought Buddhism to the West. Missionaries originally spread Buddhism to other Eastern countries. And I have to agree and also disagree with Rachel Buddeberg: “It seems an entirely modern and Western attempt to redefine Buddhism as a philosophy, compatible with science. That strikes me as a “post-modern maneuver to change people’s perception by changing the language (Wallace Sampson). It stems from an attempt to increase the credibility of Buddhism and Buddhists in an increasingly secular world. It probably also serves to distance Buddhism from critiques of the monotheistic religions.”
I think very much like any of the other religions that the reach and acceptance of religion also belies assimilation and transmutation. You cannot expect a religion to remain in it’s purist form. Like a story transmitted from human being to another, each human being lends their perspective. Thus exists interpretation but what affects us all is what the majority decides to do about it. The majority can have unsteady and sometimes a dangerous hand upon all. Any religion can be dangerous. Not all Buddhists are peaceful. Can Buddhism be a philosophy to some? Yes. Because Philosophy, not to be confused with it’s product, is the quest for wisdom.
Philosophy is an activity. I think the very nature of Dharma is Philosophy.
At the heart of all human beings is a desire to seek and grow that if set free is like a bird from its cage. However, I sadly believe that how some human beings perceive religion and non-religion (atheism) can truly hamper the growth of humanity and the person itself. It’s why I study Buddhism.
Honestly, I think a God and a Non-God are often restrictive (when used by human beings) to the transcendence of a human being because many individuals have a terrible time trying to merge them with a secular way of being that is open to learning. I am not saying it cannot be done. It just seems that a lot of people seem content on not understanding the universe outside of themselves.
Facebook has this really annoying habit of recommending you things, one of which are Facebook pages. For some reason for all my passion as a geek and nerd and a love of classic horror, Facebook felt compelled to suggest to me that I would really love like two particular and completely opposite pages:
Girls and Corpses
The Official Grumpy Cat Page
Where on earth did they think I would like girls in bikinis frolicking with corpses and grumpy cats? Oh Facebook is this a post-April Fools Day joke?
I used to have a site re-direct to my more well known pop culture blog, but I decided to re-brand this domain name and blog into a stream of consciousness blog.
This blog is just going to be about anything and anything on my mind – ideas, philosophy, advice, recipes, etc. I guess it’s going to be a lifestyle blog.
I may choose to talk about politics or religion. Who knows? I can say that don’t be deceived by the title of the blog. I am not Christian nor am I Jewish. I am not Islamic. I am a Buddhist. I am a Buddhist who happens to be quite agnostic. In fact, I am a rather lazy Buddhist. Though, I am not without purpose.
I guess the reason I decided to swap blog titles..well I could finally get my blog title’s domain name. However, I felt the need to do something with this empty space.
The journey of one human being in a sea of other free floating, transient streams of consciousness transmitted over a network of intricately configured networks spanning the globe.