Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Buddhist Atheist Smurf.

I'm surprised anyone is actually reading my blog! Since it is only a mere embryo in the blogging world.Some people seem to be just reading it waiting for me to slip up. but that's ok...I don't mind.  One such person asked me about my constant reference to and belief in Buddhist teachings and asked me how can I believe that and call myself an atheist. 
The Buddha

As I'm sure the rest of you know Buddhism is not neccessarily a Theistic religion. Traditional Buddhism has taught that there are no gods or the more maliable Buddhist sects teach that if there are gods that they are not bothered with us and they are not worth our bothering with either. Of course, like all religious teachings there is the "human element" to it, people changing and adapting their beliefs to accommodate another firmly held belief and God or a higher being of some sort has appeared in some forms of Buddhism. 

Buddhists aim to (although don't always succeed) live compassionate lives with love for all living things. This is their main teaching and it is this that I subscribe to. (I haven't quite managed to extend that love to months, wasps, daddy long legs and cochroaches yet tho.)This is mainly achieved through self examination, meditation and constant attempts to apply it to our daily lives. Most Buddhists in the east are motivated by their beliefs in Karma and reincarnation so if you live a good life you will be rewarded  by being reincarnated as a person of means or education or a buddhist monk etc. and if you live a bad life you may be reincarnated as a person who's entire life is suffering. This is not something I am too sure about as I don't think that it's correct to say that people that suffer from a disability or disease or that have experienced famine  and war were bad people in a previous life. So this requires a little more study on my part to understand this fully.

I do like the idea of having a soul but I know that just because I like the idea does not make it true. My general reasoning when it comes to such matter is that we need to look at available evidence and decide how likely something is to be true. reincarnation, heaven, an eternal soul....they are all nice ideas but there is no evidence to suggest that they are real and there is so much evidence that the universe, this world, life as we know it exists and was formed without the hand of god. When we look at the facts there is/was nothing for God to do.

Enlightenment and Nirvana are words that everyone associates with Buddhism and the constant desire for enlightenment is something that appeals to me and deeply impresses me.

I also find Taoism fascinating. Tao meaning the way....It's a bit like "The Force" in Star Wars to put it into really basic terms that are part of general awareness. There is nothing other worldly or theistic about it and when you die you become part of this...(only you don't get to come back as a blue glowing ghost after you die- sorry). But again just because I like it doesn't mean it true. In the east people often combine religions to suit their own personal beliefs. For example many Buddhists refer to the I Ching and Taoist book of guidance. When we look at the origins of these two seperate beliefs we can see they are of the same origin....so it makes sense and also supports my argument about the "human element" warping religions.

So really I am an atheist who loves the teachings of Buddhism and I think we could all do a lot worse than adopting at least some of it's practices and show a little more compassion for each other. S'all I'm sayin yo!

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