Tag Archive: Religion and Spirituality


This book is a good read on the way to a meaningful life. It has daily exercises to achieve and maintain a meaningful life. According to the Dalai Lama this is accomplished through morality, concentrated meditation, and finally wisdom. Of course, since this book goes through the path of the Buddhist it may feel strange, awkward, or different. To be honest, it is. It may be difficult at times but change is always difficult because it is going against what you have always known. Stay with it and you will flourish with amazing results.

The main principle of Buddhist morality is to help others and, if that is not possible, at least to do no harm.

As the Dalai Lama says, “True change is within; leave the outside as it is. Spiritual practice is not about externals—food, clothes, or the like. Spiritual practice takes place in our hearts, in our minds. If your behavior truly reflects an improved mind and heart, that is fine. However, if you are just making a show of your spiritual accomplishments in order to get money, for example, that is hypocrisy.”

There are many things that can be taken from this book without converting to Buddhism. Exercises in this book can be put into practice in everyone’s daily life.

The lessons I have learned from this reading has helped me grow spiritually, mentally, and physically. I am glad that I took the time to read this book. If you want to make any improvements in your life you should read this good book. It will change your life too.

Peace, Love, and Happiness to you all.

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Interesting read. I finished reading it several weeks ago but have just now got around to this post. Events come along for a reason and I think my introduction to this book happens at just the right time in my life. I can relate to Ed with his life in a quandary. Everything is going wrong in his life, from bad relationship to job troubles. He meets an unlikely Buddhist name Geoff in a pub. To Geoff problems are just facts. It’s our attitude towards them that makes us suffer or not.

Geoff uses a comparison of low tide and high tide to describe life states; “It’s your life state, mate. I told you the second time I met you: if your life condition’s low all this negative stuff just appears, like the rocks at low tide. They’re always there, but when the tide’s in – when your life condition is high – they disappear. You literally rise above it all…” This is so true. When your life state is strong, you feel like you can conquer the world. The strong actually go out seeking challenges: more dragons to fight, more damsels to rescue, whatever the case may be.

Ed’s realization is that Buddhahood is not some airy-fairy mental thing, or about sitting on a mountaintop somewhere being ‘enlightened’. It’s about getting your hands dirty and actually changing things for the better. As Geoff says approach everything with WCC—wisdom, courage and compassion—the wisdom to know what to do, the courage to do it, and the compassion that through the action everyone would benefit.

I love this book. Even though it is fiction, it still adheres to the beliefs of Buddhism. Now that I have read it, Buddhism has intrigued me even more.

Peace

LIFE GOES ON

As a fork in the road sprung a leak in my life a few months ago, it left me reevaluating things and thinking what is important to me? Of course, there is family—this includes my pack of animals—and friends at the top of the list. I would have to say that creating peace, love, and compassion in my heart comes next. If I cannot bring these to my heart, how can I for someone else? I would also have to gain wisdom and the courage to apply these things into my life.

That being said, two things come to mind. First, two faults that I have at the moment are procrastination and lack of motivation. Two qualities that make it very difficult to get things done. This is weird considering my background as a Marine. If anyone knows a Marine you know they lead a disciplined life. At least I know I did when I was on active duty and up unto my depression. My best bet is to get back to a routine every day to try to develop consistency. However, it seems the harder I try the harder it is to do. MEF is telling me otherwise. What is MEF you may ask? Well that is the little voice in the back of my mind saying all the negative things that hold me back; MEF—My Evil Friend. I borrowed that from Ed in the book The Buddha, Geoff, and Me.

Second, I am looking for an anchor. In my past, as I have said before I have been a disciplined human being, however, since my recent recovery from depression, anxiety, and a failed relationship I feel I am in a tailspin, out of control, out of focus, and lacking motivation. I need something to put my life back together and to have meaning.

I never was a believer in GOD this is why I turn to Buddhism. The Christian traditions did not have anything for me. I have done research—as you know from my previous posts concerning My Journey in life—and I am looking to get involved but have no idea which tradition of Buddhism. My only insight is my own research online and reading books. There are not a whole lot of resources where I live. It frustrates me that there are so many different traditions, which one do I follow? In my research, I have found Jodo-Shin, Vipassana, Kagyu Tibetan, Zen, Bon Tibetan, Soka Gakkai, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Pure Land, Theravada, and Nichiren. I am sure there is more but these are just to mention a few. I read about or come across a new tradition daily. Each tradition has its minute differences but all have the same basic beliefs. Maybe I will see what I can find around my city and start there.

If anyone has insight on any of these traditions or others, I would be gladly appreciative if you shared your knowledge and experiences.

My next step is to learn meditation. I have meditated for about a week and it looks promising. I still have a lot to learn.

Life is not going to stop still while I recover; I have to keep going…LIFE GOES ON! I am excited to see what is around the next corner or fork in the road.

Peace

One thing I hear people say is, “God helps those who help themselves.”  That got me thinking.  If that is so then why do they need a God to help with their problems?  You are helping yourself, which sounds like your GOD is not helping you at all.  Therefore, you are looking within yourself for the answers.  Correct me if I am wrong but that sounds more like the teachings of Buddha. 

 

While having a conversation with friends the topic of religion comes up and one person said that the younger generation is fading away from religion and becoming atheists.  I would not go that far.  All though even atheists have beliefs and morals.  I don’t think they have gone totally away from religion.  I think they are becoming closer to the spiritual side of themselves and with that process; they transform into other beliefs.

 

clip_image001After my research and many years of searching, I have finally figured it out.  I am not a religious man.  Religion seems to be more of a business and a corrupt structure.  I am a spiritual man.  That does not mean I am a heathen without any faith or beliefs.  Faith does not necessarily have to mean religious beliefs.  I do have beliefs and I do not have to belong to a certain religion to practice my beliefs.  I have faith but not in religion.  My faith is in the human spirit.  My belief is in something that is tangible not a mythical God.  I believe in the human species.  However, I do believe Jesus Christ died for our sins.  That is a given if you believe the story of Jesus Christ.

 

In Buddhism the Buddha is not some perfect, ideal being, but is rather an ordinary person living in rhythm with the law of the universe, taking wise, courageous and compassionate action for the benefit of others, through the functioning of the nine worlds in daily life.

 

The basis for all religions is the same…The Golden Rule.  That principle and more than sixty others are common to all religions.  The main difference is the teacher and how they express these principles.

 

I have to say that I relate to the teachings of Buddha.  The original intention of Buddhism is to alleviate suffering (and conflict).  I base my life on doing the right thing, good morals, a high standard of ethics, respecting my elders, being kind to other living creatures, having compassion, courage, vitality, keep an open mind, strive to achieve wisdom, and listen to what people have to say.  Everyone has a voice.  I do not suppress others words.  I want to hear them and maybe there will be wisdom in what they say.

 

The best analogy I have heard for life’s journey is the following paragraph that I read on a fellow bloggers post (I hope he does not mind if I use it here.  Here is his link: http://risinghawkspeaks.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/avoiding-confusion/)

 

Your life is a stream of experiences.  The stream of experiences that we call life is akin to an ocean wave.  In order to move toward wisdom, you must position yourself on the very crest of that wave and ride it.  If nothing else, one can see a lot farther from the crest than the trough.  If you fall behind the crest—living in the past—you will be confused and left behind.  And if you move ahead of the crest—attempting to guess the future—you risk being overcome, pounded and sucked under – again confused and left behind.  Stay present with the current experience.  Ride the crest and stay on top.  That is the place where freedom and wisdom proliferate.  (Thank you Rising Hawk)

 

Ever since I started my journey to enlightenment, I have acquired more peace and relaxation in my life.  I have never felt more at peace than right now.  I smile a lot more and in a happy state of mind.

 

Another good thing that has come from all my research is that I have more respect for all religions and the people that worship them.  That does not mean I agree with them I just respect them.

We need to understand…

We need to understand the inadequacy of an educational system so slanted towards material values. The solution is not to give an occasional lecture, but to integrate ethics into the educational curriculum. To do this effectively requires a secular ethics, free of religious influence, based on common sense, a realistic view and scientific findings. ~ Dalai Lama

Not to make light of this topic but I wanted to quote a quip by George Carlin it went like this:

 

“Tell people that there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you.  Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.”

 god-questions

Why is that?  Is it because we are not supposed to question GOD but fear him?  Why fear GOD?  I thought with GOD in your life he guided you, helped you in difficult times in your life, carried you in times of tribulation, and all around you were happy.  It did not make any sense to me to fear anyone whether real, mythical, ghostly, or supernatural.

 

GOD, if I believed, had supposedly performed miracles.  The definition of miracle is a supernatural act or effect.  Miracles are supernatural so that means GOD is supernatural, meaning not of the living.  Ghosts are not of the living but supernatural and some people do not believe in ghosts but do believe in GOD.  With that been said that means GOD is the only ghost…how interesting and hypocritical.

 

“How happy can you be when you think every action and thought is being monitored by a judgmental ghost?”  The previous question is a referenced quote from a former evangelical Christian Dan Barker.  I did not want to always be second-guessing myself and wondered if what I had done will get me into a mythical land called heaven. 

 

Personally, I need proof.  If I am going to devote my life style to something then I need to be able to see, feel, and hear it.  You know something tangible.  It amazed me how so many people will base their life on the teachings of one book, The Bible.  How is that possible with so many inconsistencies proven in many verses of the bible?

           

In the churches that I went to, talk about suffering, peace, or how to combat the suffering was never talked about.  It was all about GOD.  He is the Almighty One no one questions his words.  That was not what I was looking for.

 

Just because I did not believe in your GOD does not make me a bad person.  Some religious people tried to make me think so.  My non-belief in GOD did not automatically make me a criminal but some people would look down upon me if I did not have GOD in my life.  Some people that I knew and met in my life are very religious people.  Nevertheless, they can be very hypocritical.  They preached one thing but when it comes down to their own life, they do the opposite.  What is up with that?  If you preached the Bible then you should live by it.  In my reading of the Bible, I found too many inconsistencies in it.

 

I heard someone say that religion provides structure.  It may be structure but it was corrupted.  Where is the structure in the Catholic Church when all the corrupted priests fondled young boys in their congregation?  Where is the structure in the U.S. Government; if congress is so religious then they should have structure?  Where is it?  Has religion corrupted our government?  That was not the path I wanted.  I guess the majority of people chose GOD, a mythical being, to follow.  I was not a follower like most of the sheep in the herd.  I followed no one.  I wanted to lead people out of suffering.  I needed to figure out a way to do that.

 

I continued my research outside Christianity.  Peace and to combat suffering should be promoted as the number one priority.  In my mind, our mission as human beings is to combat suffering and have it conquered in our lifetime.  The path looked brighter.  I may have found what I was looking for.

 

Follow the link below to read about other religious leaders who lost their faith:  http://www.salon.com/2013/03/27/5_religious_leaders_who_became_outspoken_atheists_partner/

Questions

Most of my life I struggled with Christianity and religion.  I grew up in a family that rarely went to church.  We never talked about it, never went to church, and never prayed before a meal.  I never had an opinion on it until I was 18 and in the Marine Corps.  I witnessed my fellow Marines happy and talking with them, they attributed it to GOD.  I figured so many people could not be wrong.

 

I started my quest for enlightenment.  In the process, I visited many churches, many denominations—Methodist, Baptist, Protestant, Catholic, Lutheran, and others.  I met many people in all those churches.  All of them seemed nice at church.  They would introduce me to other people.  Before long, I shook many hands and made some friends.  Being the observant type, I noticed how they acted in church and when they were at home or out with friends.  A lot of them supposedly live their life by the bible but actually, they live by their interpretation of the bible, when it is convenient, or not at all.  In my opinion if you say you live by the bible then you are a Saint and commended for doing so.  However, as I pointed out previously the majority of people that I have met did not.  They went to church for forgiveness of their sins but then they went right back out and commit the same sins repeatedly.  If you were living by the bible then you strived to improve yourself not to commit the same sins.

 

I had to keep in mind that I did not meet all of the people in the congregations so I based my findings on a subset of them.  In my conclusion, it seemed that people that called themselves “very religious” that go to church every Sunday and practice their faith were mostly hypocrites.  After meeting all of them, it put a sour feeling within me.

 

I know I know…you’re going to say that we are not all like that.  That may be true and I commend you who are devoted to your religion.  Unfortunately, I have failed to see that.  I can honestly say that I have met only a handful of people that have wholeheartedly committed their lives to their GOD.  Some have said you cannot judge a mass by a few but I found that I could get a consensus from my findings.  Many people will defend their religion and try to get me to go to their church but I have done all that.  I had to find what is right for me.  The ferocious conflict continued inside my heart.

 

All that being said they all had one thing in common.  I felt that my heart and soul did not belong there.  I thought not everyone fits in to the conventional religious denominations.  It’s time I tried something else.  My quest continued.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2.

We Must Remember…

sandy-hook-school

The news media does not cover these heroes and these fallen angels long enough. Therefore, we the people need to remember them for their heroic actions and remember the children for all their lives ended way too soon.

Sandy Hook Heroes We Must Remember:

Rachel DaVino

Dawn Hochsprung

Anne Marie Murphy

Lauren Russeau

Mary Sherlach

Victoria Soto

Sandy Hook Little Angels We Must Remember:

Charlotte Bacon

Daniel Barden

Olivia Engel

Josephine Gay

Ana M. Marquez-Greene

Dylan Hockley

Madeleine F. Hsu

Catherine V. Hubbard

Chase Kowalski

Jesse Lewis

James Mattioli

Grace McDonnell

Emilie Parker

Jack Pinto

Noah Pozner

Caroline Previdi

Jessica Rekos

Avielle Richman

Benjamin Wheeler

Allison N. Wyatt

I never met anyone of these people but I can only send my thoughts and prayers to the families. In addition, to do my part to make sure this does not happen again. Are you doing your part? Every one of us has a responsibility to care for our fellow human beings.

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