One might very sensibly ask: If the teachings of buddhism are basic to humanity, and are found anywhere, then that’s all we need, right? What is the value of following buddhism in particular? or any religion?
Well yes. In fact, in my headstrong and rebellious youth i asked this same question. And gee in my <cough> wise and experienced age i investigate the same.
So. Organised religion can seem like only a way for society to ensure some kind of order. In the worst case, a way for the hard-asses in society to control people and use them for their own purposes. And yup, that happens, way too often.
But i got another view as well.
As i grew a little less headstrong (although apparently no less rebellious) through bashing that head against walls so many times, (and slowly realising that it was not the walls bashing themselves against my head!) i got a little understanding of how tremendously uncontrollable this wild mind is. How hard it is to do good, and how easy to do bad — even when trying to do good.
I watched myself trying to organise the experiences i had and the helpful words i found, partly for learning, and partly so that i could hang on to them when head-bashing events occurred.
It became clearer that at least for me, the teachings and the codes of buddhism were the best guides and tools to at least tweak the tail of that monkey mind every once in a while. And sometimes even to dance with it a little closer to some higher level.
I started to see that religions get formed as people try to codify and organise these precious ideas and practices. Practices which really exist, not to control us, but to try to show us how to focus our monkey mind, and get off the dizzying wheel.
Of course, our human mind being what it is, sometimes these codes (religions) get turned against the very truths that they were formed to protect.
That is not a reason to reject them.
It is a reason to try harder.
- The passions of delusion are inexhaustible.
- I vow to extinguish them.
- The number of beings is endless.
- I vow to save them.
- The Truth cannot be told.
- I vow to tell it.
- The way which cannot be followed is unattainable.
- I vow to attain it.
revised 6 july 2017 on the occasion of the birthday of his holiness XIV dalai lama of tibet