Friday, 16 October 2015

What do I believe in?

Folk know I am a Buddhist but asking me what I 'believe in' leaves me in a state of confusion.

Just what do they mean? 

Is it Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, some supernatural theistic deity or multiples there of, maybe it is animism or shamanism which still flourish around the Pacific rim in Asia, Africa and the Americas. How about Voodoo?

To seek to link and treat Buddhism as if it is a major religion with its own Gods or God or even Tooth Fairy is to fundamentally misunderstand what Buddhism is about. In the simplest of terms, as a Buddhist I am seeking by my actions or inaction to do more overall good than harm in the way I live in the world around me. In doing so I understand to some people my actions or inaction will appear to be harmful to themselves and their own needs but it is my own choice and their own view point, as in how 'No' voting friends viewed my campaigning for a 'Yes' vote.

My choice to act or not is based within my own self awareness. The more I understand my own motivations driven by greed and selfishness, the better I can decide on actions or inaction which are truly of the best intention for the greatest positive impact rather than just serving my primary self interest. 

I find as I have moved on in my Buddhist thinking and my own understanding of myself in the world, the less room there is for 'theistic belief' in my life. In terms of the standard theistic world view I 'believe' there are no such things as God or Gods or wood sprites, they have no influence on how I conduct or lead my life as I am solely responsible for what does or does not happen as a direct result of how I act or not.

It is a very scary idea to get your head around the concept you exist not because of some deities 'master plan' but because of the random machinations of universal physical and chemical laws and their impact which has lead us to top the evolutionary tree on our planet, for now. Once you have come to deity free thinking it is liberating, enervating and, dare I say, enlightening. 

Yet in a world where people are constantly seeking 'order' this idea of the world we live in being purely random and open to random influences is terrifying. This is especially true for those who consider themselves to be the governors of humanities morals, wealth and welfare in whose hands belief becomes a weapon of control, discrimination and reward. I suggest you read 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' if you want to understand one example of how the Victorian 'Governors' played the religion card. Everything in its place because 'God' wants it that way, that is why you are poor, your reward will come when you die. In the meantime we are keeping the money, the nice housing, health and blaming your poverty and short lives on yourselves. Once you read 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' with this level of awareness you will quickly find, for yourselves, examples of the modern 'Governors' manipulation of religion, beliefs and moral supremacy to exert their own personal power over the great unwashed for their own fiscal advantage.

Read much of the current output of US Republican supporting media and UK Tory media and you will see this ploy at work. So it becomes logical, in this world of modern day of quasi-religious Governors, the best way to deal with the poorest and sickest in society is to make them ever poorer and sicker as the best way to make them 'stronger' because the subliminal message is 'God Wills It!', even when the official religious authorities takes them to task for their mendacity. Look across the Catholic, Jewish, Hindu and Islamic world view and you see the same ill thought but effective discrimination against anyone who does not 'play ball' or is not 'one of them' and then becomes an open target for 'State' approved violence which generally goes unremarked or if it is remarked on comes in variants of, 'They had it coming'. The Jews suffered from this popular blindness in Europe between 1939 and 1945 yet do not see how it is wrong to behave the same way in the Palestinian Occupied Territories in the present day.

I will leave you with these thoughts to mull over and test against your own experience:
  • Imposing a rigid order and structure on human societies does not work, never has worked and is the cause for most human violence and distress in the world. 
  • Leave any swarm of animals who understand the advantage of cooperation and choice to organise themselves turns out to be the most efficient, effective and peaceful way. 
  • Human beings are swarming, cooperative animals.

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