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  • Lama Jigme Gyatso

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?


Dear A.,

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


from Christianity

(as you know it)

to Buddhism…

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.


His system

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

mentions

“…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?

Why is that?

What is the difference

between old wine skins

and new ones?

Flexibility!


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

beginning momentarily.

Let us conclude

with a simple

call to action


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