Interlude - Buddhism, my basic beliefs
Trip Start Jan 08, 2004
167Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Shannon's parent's place
Buddha was a man who noticed problems with the world and life. Problems such as suffering amongst people and other animals. He searched for answers. He had already seen that his life as a rich prince did not fix the problems he and others were encountering. He tried being an ascetic. That life style also did not provide the answers. He then followed a middle path (between the two extremes of his previous two life styles). He eventually rid himself of all his problems and sufferings and went about teaching others how to do so for themselves.
Basically, for me, his important teachings are that: wrong thoughts lead to wrong speech which will lead to wrong action which in turn will lead to bad consequences
Clearly it can be seen that a person (regardless of sex, race, religion, age) who wishes to live a better life and be in a better world can attempt to reduce their own wrong thought, speech and actions whilst working to increase their right thoughts etc. This then leads to better consequences for all. It is not possible to control another persons thoughts however it is possible to control your own. Buddha taught methods of controlling your own mind and training yourself to eliminate wrong thoughts, ie. impatience and hatred, whilst strengthening your capacity for right thoughts: compassion, kindness, etc. Meditation was one of the main methods for learning to control and train your own mind.
This to me is common sense. There is no magic or supernatural powers involved. The Buddha was simply a person who searched for answers, tried some different methods of solving his questions and eventually came up with a simple solution to his questions. If you train yourself to base your thoughts and actions on compassion you will generally cause good things to happen. If you are angry or ignorant, it follows that generally you will do stupid things which will lead to further destruction and problems.
The Buddha also recognised that all living creatures, be they human or otherwise are the same in the fact that they do not like to suffer. Our aim in life should therefore be to reduce suffering and increase sustainable happiness for all living beings.
Buddhism is a philosophy that seems to be very straight forward and logical. It is not mutually exclusive of other religions, it is simply a philosophy taught by a very intelligent, wise and caring man about 2500 years ago.