Neither Believing Nor Disbelieving
Another “A.” wrote:
“I am struggling.
I wish to become a Buddhist
but I do not want to give up
my belief that there is a supreme being.
I believe that there is a great architect to the universe
and that all of this did not just happen by chance.
I struggle with Christianity
and am pulled daily to the Buddhist Faith.
Does becoming a Buddhist
mean that I must give up
my belief in God?
you bring up some important ideas
and I would really love to help you.
However the only way I can do that,
is if you choose to be mindful
of your feelings of defensiveness
without indulging them;
for, in the words of Jamie Foxx’s character Wanda
from 1990’s In Living Color,
“I’m gonna rock your world!”
Whether you know it or not,
one of the many things
that is drawing you
(as you know it)
is the tantalizing prospect
of freedom from the tyranny
of rigidity, and fear, and coercion.
About a hundred years
before the advent of the Buddha
Lau Tzu dictated
the eight-one chapters
of the Book of the Beneficial Way
or Tao Te Ching, if you prefer Chinese.
In it he contrasted
the way of toxic masculinity or Yang
with the path of healing femininity or Yin;
and despite the ravings
of stupid white people
his thesis was NOT the reconciliation
of the two paths
but rather to the contrary,
to contrast the way that Yang and Yin’s strategies
manifest in the world around us…
and to categorically reject the path
of toxic masculinity
and embrace the way
of healing femininity.
Yang is known for being
aggressive, rigid, coercive, and fear-oriented,
whereas yin is marked
by gentleness, flexibility, permissiveness, and acquiescence.
The verbiage of your question
reveals the thought patterns
and habit energies…
of an individual who has grown weary
of the rigidity of one world view
and seeks relief in another world view
all the while assuming the new world view
is as rigid as his old one,
while simultaneously pondering these considerations
in a rather rigid manner.
Don’t feel bad,
it happens to all of us!
Yes, Christianity is lovely,
but it in NO way corners the market
on Patriarchy’s rigidity.
Whenever humans come together,
for any purpose
be it spiritual, secular, vocational, or recreational
a large demograph will lean
toward the rigidity, and fear-orientation
of toxic masculinity,
regardless of their gender.
I can’t tell you
how many Buddhist-fundamentalists
think I’m the second coming of Satan…
I tell ya A.,
you have one bad hair day,
and everybody thinks
you have horns.
Toxic masculinity values certitude
more than it does accuracy
whereas healing femininity
is quite the other way around.
The Buddha did NOT set out
to create a new religion
he only sought to master the path of freedom
and help others to do likewise.
The Buddha taught a system
of contemplation and meditation
that could be practiced by members of any religion
and atheists alike.
is not a network of beliefs
to be grasped at rigidly,
in fact it’s quite the opposite.
The great irony of Buddhist-fundamentalism
is that it could take one no more than thirty percent
of the way to enlightenment
and to continue the journey
one must shed the trappings
of fear, aggression, and coercion.
Of course the quickest path
to circumvent toxic masculinity all together
and simply traverse the way of Yin.
The THIRD step
taught by Alcoholics Anonymous
“…God as we understand him…”.
What a delightfully humble
turn of phrase.
For the great arrogance
implicit in strong faith is:
“my feelings and understanding are perfect,
I will hold on to them rigidly,
and resist any and all
reevaluation, reassessment, or release.”
God MAY exist
exactly as you understand him
or he may exist
in a very different way;
if at all.
The sin of the Pharisees
was not a dearth of faith in Christ
but an excess of faith
in their interpretation of scripture.
In their certitude
that they had a
“pretty good bead on things”
they were far too rigid
to entertain any possibility
of anything else.
Is that not why
Jesus taught the parable
of the wine skins?
If new wine is poured
into old wine skins
the old skin will burst
and the new wine will be lost.
Therefore pour new wine
is poured into new wine skins.
Why is that?
What is the difference
between old wine skins
and new ones?
I promise you
that if you select a flavor of Buddhism
that is rigid, and patriarchal
you will soon grow weary of it.
Find teachers who take to heart
the archetype of the sky dancing dakini
and will teach you Buddha’s path of centered-spontaneity
and freedom from labels, rigidity, and fear.
Perhaps you may enjoy
tonight’s guided meditation
Let us conclude
with a simple
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