And I'm back at blogging. Why now? Because I have an exam day after tomorrow! What other better time to be blogging than when I should be studying! Very logical!! :P
Anyway back to the topic. I thought of writing on this topic because I had a chat with one of my Islamic friends and had a very hard time explaining my religion to him. I didn't give him an Abidhamma lesson or anything, just tried to explain why I'm an Atheist and a Buddhist at the same time.
And extremists of Buddhism, Islamism, Christianity and any other religion this is not for you :-)
I always have a very hard time explaining about Buddhism to my god believing friends because they all seems to think that Buddhism at some point accepts the idea of a superior god and have laws to follow.
As far as I've learnt from school and Sunday school Buddhism neither have laws for normal people( in the sense people who are not monks) and neither does it site about the concept of a superior god. It only sites what is good to do and what is bad to do. Doing good or bad is up to oneself. And the gods are beings those who are greedy towards merits and for them to attain nibbana they got to finish their time in heaven. That's all I remember.
Anyway none of these are really important for me on daily basis other than the practical side of Buddhism in overcoming problems and deciding what I should do better in troubled situations. I don't like the Buddhism my grandmother practices. I think it is some kind of extreme way. For her its all about gathering merits.
Back to the chat with my friend, well I told him that I am an atheist so he was kind of sorry to hear that and hoped I'll come to my senses and become a Buddhist again. And he said that Buddhism believes in god/gods and do I not know Buddhism right. And gave me this link to an article about why being an Atheist is better than a "false believer of god" on the website of Islamic Research Foundation.
I started with not believing superior gods anyway so I don't see any dissimilarities in Buddhism and Atheism except that Buddhism have some other beliefs and teachings in its package minus the concept of god while Atheism has minus concept of god.
Well out of sheer curiosity I read some articles on Buddhism on the site and realized it is no wonder people look at the religion in different manner.
At the end of this article it says that the 4 truths and eight fold path are contradictory.
"Now, for any person to follow Buddhism he should first have the desire to follow the Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path. The Third great Noble Truth says that desire should be removed. Once you remove desire, how can we follow the Fourth Noble truth i.e. follow the Eight Fold Path unless we have a desire to follow the Eight Fold Path. In short desire can only be removed by having a desire to follow the Eight Fold Path. If you do not follow the Eight Fold Path, desire cannot be removed. It is self contradicting as well as self-defeating to say that desire will only be removed by continuously having a desire."
Well I repeat , no wonder these people have a different idea about Buddhism than the Buddhism I know.
As far as I understand the four truths are truths. You don't need to follow them they are there. There is actually nothing to follow in them, only to understand the existence There is sorrow/desire, there is a reason for sorrow/desire, there is getting rid of sorrow/desire and there is a way to get rid of sorrow/desire. The eight fold paths are only the Buddhist teaching of how we should we spend life in order to get rid of sorrow/desire.
In Abidhamma I've once been taught that Buddhism is written and explained in Pali and we have to learn Pali to understand it completely for many reasons. One is that you can't understand the meaning of a term in different language than the one its said/written in , sometimes. The term may be similar to the one in the first language but wouldn't necessarily mean the same.
That is why , I think, that so many people of different religions understand Buddhism in a different way and try to relate it to many of the god believing religions.
As for me Buddhism is my philosophy, Atheist is what I am. And my religion is;
Have a nice day!