Friday, August 20, 2004

Something Kristin Turned Me On To

Over the last year or so Kristin has taken quite an interest in Buddhism. Because of her fascination with this religion/lifestyle/philosophy, I have also had a little bit of curiosity about the topic. Since I had plenty of time on vacation to do reading, I borrowed on of Kristin's intro books on the topic and set out to actually learn something (I know, learning stuff and vacations usually don't go together, but I am somewhat of a dork).

Before reading anything on the topic, basically all I knew about Buddhism is that it was started by some big fat guy, there are lots of statues of him around, Buddhists don't have a god, and they meditate a lot. That was it. I knew basically nothing about the four truths, the path to Enlightenment, or the different divisions of Buddhism. Now, after getting a general overview of what Buddhism is, do I suddenly want to convert? Well, no. Do I want to continue learning about it? Maybe.

As interesting as Buddhism is, I think it makes a nice addition to traditional religion, but I don't see it as a very interesting religion in and of itself. I know that some will say Buddhism isn't a religion per se, and they're kind of correct, but if you're a true Buddhist, then the path to Enlightenment is basically a replacement for a belief in any type of deity.

I really like some of the things that Buddhism teaches and stands for, such as being non-violent, having respect for all beings, and striving to better humanity as a whole, but I have a hard time seeing how someone can base their life around this. Actually, I don't have that hard of a time seeing how someone would base their life around this lifestyle, I guess I just have a hard time seeing myself as living out this lifestyle completely.

One of the most interesting details, one of the four truths, is that everything is constantly in change--nothing is permanent. This seems obvious, but so many people, myself included, fail to realize this statement. If I come to work and someone is no longer working for us, I feel like something's wrong. As Kristin left for college, I felt like I was losing something. When I finished college I moved home because I feared finding my own place--it would involve change.

A Buddhist embraces these changes knowing that one of the truths of existence is that everything is in flux. This noble truth is something that I would really like to integrate into my life. Removing a fear of change and embracing the flux of everyday life would help to ease my mind in so many different situations that would usually stress me out.

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