Rational Practice

Although I remain within the religion in which I was born, I cannot deny the intensely reasonable tenets of Buddhism.

It's not even clear if it's really a religion in the Western sense - instead of worshipping Buddha one commits to emulating him, with the very real possibility of achieving that goal.

This concept varies among different schools of Buddhism. I practice a minimalist style most influenced by Zen but open to others such as Theravada. What I mean by that is:

I meditate 30 minutes a day - using an incense stick for timing and simply sit paying attention to my breath. I also use mala beads - 27 and 108 bead strings, to count breaths where burning incense is not practical.

I strive to be conscious at all times - mindful.

I practice the precepts - no harming, stealing, lying, exploitation of others sexually, use of intoxicants.

I practice the perfections - the positive opposites of the precepts - healing, giving, witnessing, paying respect to others, and facing reality with full committmen and awareness.

The point is not to be good or to avoid hell or to get to heaven. The point is to break down the barriers between my self and the world - to become aware of "true nature" this singular moment in time and space, and live with, and share that awareness.

This isn't easy, I mostly fail at these, but I don't beat myself up over this. I just make a note and move on.

That's it.

50percent 50percent
51-55, M
5 Responses May 3, 2007

How many remember the commercial in which the store-owner has to beg customers “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin!”? I’ll adapt that slightly in saying “Please don’t feed my ego!” ^_^<br />
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But, you’re all so strong and supportive, I’m compelled to comment:<br />
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emerald: Resurrection is occurring right now – to you, to me, to the whole world. Whatever you were a moment ago is gone – you are re-born and can see the world fresh. You cannot make it happen – it is happening. If you want to experience it, what you have to work at is stepping out of the way and really seeing it.<br />
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SWATaddikt: First off – your picture is scary, but in a good way. I’m not sure I’d want to get my next shot from you, but I’d stay alive just not to disappoint you (or make you angry!). Patience and character have nothing to do with starting meditation or practicing principles. Instead, act “as if” you had those qualities and have had them for years. Remember – reborn every moment. What the next moment holds for you needn’t be tied 100% to what came before. Knock it down to 99%. Do a “1-1-1” practice: Sit for 1 minute, following your breath. Just once per day, skip doing something harmful (stepping on a bug, leaving a table at Starbucks for someone else to clean up) and help one person in one way (hold a door open a few seconds longer than you would normally, say hello to someone who looks like they could use it.)<br />
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Sandynipples: Thank you. And so?<br />
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Godlover: I’ve read the works of the authors you mention even though my practice is closer to Zen than to theirs. At heart, Dharma is Dharma. Ecumenism is possible between some religions, but not for others. Slipping into a somewhat more “academic” mode of ex<x>pression, the “Abrahamic” religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Bahai, are all dependent upon particular revelations through the prophets they consider foremost among the others. Where these revelations are in conflict, there can be no resolution without compromising the testimony of one or the other prophet, which cannot be tolerated by their “truer” believers. Everyone acknowledges Abraham, but Jews and Moslems part after that, with the latter tracing their religious heritage through Ishmael down to Mohammed. Christians, along with Jews, acknowledge Moses through the other prophets of the Bible, but part at Jesus, to whom is ascribed not mere prophecy, but divinity. The Bahai acknowledge all of these, but consider Bahá'u'lláh the most recent in an ongoing series of prophets, progressively revealing the will of God. So, where the will and word of God is absolute truth, who is carrying the truest ex<x>pression of that will? On the other hand, the “Dharmic” religions, most Buddhism, but some varieties of Hinduism as well, are constructed through human effort rather than divine revelation. They acknowledge that their teachings can be flawed and must be amended where proven false. Witness the “Kalama Sutra”, possibly the most amazing teaching by any religion’s founder. In brief – Buddha says that if what he’s teaching makes no sense, or leads to unhappiness, don’t follow it. <br />
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So, any one of the revealed religions can be practiced along with Buddhism, but I don’t think that any more than one of the revealed religions can be practiced together – not faithfully.

I am intrigued by your comments. I was wondering if you have heard of Joseph Goldstein,Jack Kornfield,or Sharon Salzberg. About two years ago I did a 10 day silent retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California.I find no problem melding by Christian beliefs with Buddhism.Would love to hear your thoughts on "ecumenism" amongst religions.

Wow, you have a very impressive outlook. Your beliefs are well stated and respectable. And you are realistic that you cannot achieve perfection with those goals. I can admire an outlook and way of life such as yours.

Fascinating story! I applaud you at what seems like a very honorable existence. I wish I had the patience to sit and meditate or the character to commit to those principles.

AMEN!! lol. As a person that doesn't believe in going to heaven or hell, but rather believe in resurrection, I can more easily grasp your point here! We should work to achieve good (or godly) actions now as humans; not just wait for it spitually before achieving!! THanx for this piece!