Is the Belief in Angels Anti-Buddhist?
I believe in angels.
Is this anti Buddhist?
Just as Glenda the Good Witch of the South,
in the Wizard of Oz,
“Are you a good witch or a bad witch.”
as to whether or not the belief in angels
is anti Buddhist
depends upon two things:
FIRST what flavor is your faith,
and SECOND what do you do with the angels.
A hundred years before the advent of the Buddha,
Lao Tzu dictated the eighty-one chapters
of the Book of the Beneficial Way,
or Tao Te Ching if you prefer Chinese.
In it he warned against the aggression, fear, rigidity,
and coercion of toxic masculinity (or yang)
and lauded the peace, flexibility, compassion, and acquiescence
of healing femininity (or yin).
So if an idea or an emotion
is something we rigidly grasp at
with white-knuckle intensity
then that could be problematic.
However, if we merely enjoy an idea
and are not attached to it
it is neither good nor bad.
although I like the idea
that the four fundamental forces
of the universe
are gravity, electromagnetism,
the strong nuclear force
and the weak nuclear force,
I am also comfortable with the idea
that there might be more,
or that the truth may be utterly different
and far more interesting.
The trap of yang
is that it values the convenience of certitude
more than the inconvenience
of intellectual integrity.
And as such yang views authority
as the source of truth
whereas yin views truth
as the source of authority.
But why could this matter?
Let us return to first principals.
A tale is told
that in his first discourse,
the Buddha taught
the four noble truths.
From a certain point of view
FIRST – there is stress
and plenty of it.
SECOND – humans have the inconvenient ability
to take whatever stress life throws at us
and make it much worse.
How do we do that?
By neurotically indulging
dread’s impulse to shove things away
and desire’s impulse to pull things toward us.
THIRD – there is a state
where in one is free
NOT from the presence of dread and desire,
BUT merely from their tyranny.
FOURTH – the good news
is that the attainment of this liberation
is not dependent upon the caprice
of a real or imagined entity
but merely the result
of having mastered
the techniques of the eight-fold path.
So if an idea
is something you violently shove away
or hungrily reach for
then it could undermine your peace and love.
The presence of absence
of celestial beings
is NOT an issue
according to the Buddha’s teachings.
The SECOND thing that determines
whether or not our belief in angles
is anti Buddhist or not
is our relationship to them.
It has been observed
by wiser folk then myself
that when adults are subject
to a sufficient degree of stress
they will sometime reach out
for a real or imagined
which can force them
to relate to this entity
in the role of a child,
which is NOT terribly resourceful.
That is the trap of the dynamic
of devotion between
a parent and a child.
However an antidote exists:
Love for all beings
as our peers
and roots us
in the role of adult,
which is far more resourceful.
real or imagined,
serve as quasi parents, aunts, uncles,
older siblings, or older cousins,
that can undermine
But the good news
is that when angels serve as archetypes
whose iconography support…
our contemplation of love
and the wisdom of letting go
then this can aid
our personal evolution.
Far too often
in Tantric Buddhism
patriarchy views the male and female buddhas
as literal objects of faith, worship, and supplication
like a great celestial father Christmas
which feed the dreads and desires
that exacerbate their stress.
Fortunately matriarchy’s minority
has always viewed the Buddha’s
as archetypes whose iconography
supports our contemplations.
This could become less theoretical
and more visceral
in this morning’s guided meditation
Let us conclude
with a simple
call to action
In the Tibetan tradition Lamas are supported
not by monasteries but by students
as such the production of these livestreams,
blogs, and class materials is supported
by the generosity of viewers, and listeners, and readers
just like you.
Join our nightly livestream.
Download FREE practice materials.