Thursday, 7 April 2011

Why i am not a buddhist...

Buddhism has always been something that i have been very interested in. But there have been two things that have stopped me diving right in and declaring myself a buddhist.

You see, i like the peace, the kindness, the compassion for humanity - and i believe i subscribe to all of these ways of life wholeheartedly. The mindfulness and the universal love-ness of buddhism just touched me at a time when i so needed it in my life.

But there are two things that i can't quite get to grips with:

1. No magic.
I'm a spiritual being and like a bit of magic in my beliefs. Think of 'The Secret' and 'Think and Grow Rich' these basically teach that YOU set the direction and nature/ the universe/ god/ whomever shows up with the goods. I believe this, i cherish this and i'm so totally grateful for life's magicness. In the buddha's teaching - the magic is in the philosophy but not in the air. The Buddha would have said that subscribing to the 'The Secret' ticks off two of the three poisons (greed and delusion). Personally, i need to believe in the magic. Particle physics is 'magic'... existence is indeed 'magic'. I need to wake up every morning knowing that i will interact with the unexplained!

2. Being desireless
The buddha taught that you had to rid yourself of all desire to be free from suffering. I agree with this. But then all modern teaching tell us that desire leads to everything good. The first chapter of Think and Grow Rich is basically about letting desire consume you until you get what you want. Tony Robbin's 'The Edge' tells you to get disturbed about whatever you want to change - which means tapping into your suffering at its most raw level. The Secret tells us that our desire and beliefs come into fruition through the law of attraction.

But the thing that always bothered me: the buddha was a great man that achieved great things. He spent 45 years of his life passing on his teachings, opening monasteries, giving sermons, talking to people about his ideas. If the buddha was desireless would he done any of this or would he just have hung out under his Bo tree in a state of blissful nibbana?! He wanted to rid the world of suffering - there is no greater desire than that, but that is still a desire. Ultimately, the buddha is defined by his desire! He is famed for his desire and worked for 45 years to pursue it! Anyone else see the paradox in that?

What i do love about buddhism is that i can question this... ask what other people think, debate, discuss and then reach my own conclusion. I will not burn in a fire of eternal hell for identifying a blip. And that is why i love buddhist philosophy so much and i'm l---------l <-- *that* close from being a buddhist!