Today’s blog post is not about religion. Today’s post is about Buddhism, which I believe to be much more than just a religion.
For me, the beauty of Buddhism is that it does not have to simply be a religion. You can look at it in many different ways without any judgement. Without any ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers.
At this point in my life I follow three aspects of Buddhism. I do not think there is one more important than the other. I just believe these three aspects are essential to me personally:
– Moral Values: Living with the principle of non-harming and respect for all living creatures (whether human or animal) and life itself. This is the ethical part of Buddhism in which people choose pacifism as a way of life.
– Mythical Experience and Emotion: The mystical experience includes the search for enlightenment to attain nirvana, the ultimate goal in Buddhism (spiritual clarity). The idea of self-transformation is very present in this search. Yoga is a common practice used to increase consciousness, through the control of the body and mind, however, meditation is what buddhists believe to be the ultimate practice that allows us to cultivate wisdom and compassion. Meditation is sort of a way to step back and look at things without any judgement or criticism and gather knowledge from our own experiences in order to grow spiritually.
– Philosophy: Seeing Buddhism as a philosophy rather than a religion. Acknowledging that studying and teaching are important factors within our lives. Studying does not have to be through reading texts or books, wisdom can be obtained through life experiences, however, sharing your knowledge with others is one of the most important things.
Seeing Buddhism as a philosophy is my own choice for now, however Buddhism can definitely be interpreted and lived as a religion, in fact, most people see it that way.
“Buddhism is not a single entity at all but a collection of sub-traditions” – Buddhism is a collection of multiple dimensions: ethical, material, ritual, philosophical, mythical, religious, emotional, etc. neither are more or less important. It is the balance between them all that makes Buddhism. To look at Buddhism as being simply one dimensional and to ignore the existence of other dimensions is to reduce a complex religion / philosophy into a small factor. Therefore my research into the different aspects of Buddhism is an ongoing journey and hopefully one day I can balance them all in my life.
Going back to the initial question: am I a buddhist? – I have been debating this for a while…the other day I came across this sentence: “Buddhism is not just a religion for monks” – it gave me clarity. To practice Buddhism you do not need to be a monk, to be a certain ethnicity or have a certain background. Buddhism can be for all devoted humans who wish to search, learn and grow. As long as you live by the Buddhist ethics and desire to grow intllectually and spiritually, you can practice Buddhism. You do not need to follow the Dharma (Dharma – teachings of the Buddha) religiously, as Buddha said: “Each person should think for himself on matters of the doctrine, cross-referencing views and opinions against the scriptures before deciding whether to accept them.” – Because at the end of the day, sharing knowledge give people the power and room to grow which is the main focus of Buddhism, to grow, so you can then give back to others and reach nirvana.
So, am I a Buddhist? Perhaps I am, perhaps I am not, I don’t like to classify myself. I practice Buddhism in my own way. I want to practice Buddhism. I want to live, search, learn and grow. I sometimes struggle, but that’s okay! Trying your best and having the desire to keep learning and growing is the best mindset in my eyes. However, I am not an expert and this is just how I see Buddhism in my life. It is not right or wrong. It is just how I chose to live it.
Hope this post was informative yet simple to understand. Did it give you a different view on Buddhism? Do you have a different opinion? Let me know. Thank you so much for reading. Lots of love,