I would like to clarify a few things about Buddhism, mainly some misnomers in the mainstream and why is it that I consider myself Buddhist.
Buddhism to me is much like Taoism and Advaita Vedanta in that they are all non-dualistic faiths, or more like philosophies or ways of life than religions.
I came to Buddhism in the nineties and have sort of moved in and out of it and Taoism since.
There are times when the Buddha’s words would reach deep into my soul and I would go on a Buddhist tangent for some time before losing myself in the material world again.
I have been studying faithfully and consistently for some time now.
Let me be clear, Buddhist do not worship Buddha, his statue is on our meditation altars as a reminder of his sacrifice to humanity and to his ancient words of wisdom.
Buddha is not a god nor is he treated as such.
We only intend to find the hidden Buddha within ourselves, not to become him but to be one with the universe.
One can be of any religion and study the words of the Buddha.
I have also lost myself in the great teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj. His teachings reach deep within and open many closed passages of consciousness.
One can also be of any faith and enjoy his teachings as they are not dependent on your views of god.
Lao Tzu doesn’t depend on a god either, his teachings are pure and are for anyone to learn from.
Wisdom is, after all wisdom.
It does not cease to be wisdom because of a religious belief. In any case, I am not one who believes in a god of any kind. This does not make me atheist.
I believe we are the creators and the created, ever intertwined with the perceiver and the perceived.
The Buddha had put forth the four noble truths, being life is suffering.
Suffering has a cause.
Suffering has a cure and finally that the cure is the Eightfold Path.
If you follow this teaching, there is nothing antithetical in Buddhism toward any religion, it is that most Abrahamic faiths are in fact antithetical to Buddhism.
The Eightfold Path would help any follower understand his own religion even better than to prevent such a thing.
Right thought, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
How can these hinder anyone?
They cannot do anything but help anyone in any situation, yet they are considered in some realms the words of the devil desperately trying to take us away from god.
I have found more wisdom in one sentence of Buddhist thought than in the entirety of other religious tomes.
Once again it comes to choices we make.
I choose to learn truth, to experience reality and to know what is actual.
I do not choose to accept the comfortable myths that those around me believe just so that I can get along with the crowd. Then again, I rarely do anything to fit in with the crowd these days, maybe it means I have awoken from the dreary sleep of mainstream America.