With all the mass shootings over the past few days, which have happen in Paris, Beirut, Oregon college, and other places, I thought I would post about Faith and rules by which I live my life, and why.
I post daily on my FB feed a small something about my thoughts, about politics, religion, humanity, etc. I am a very blunt person and do not feel holding back will prove anything or teach anything to the next person reading or listening to what I have to say. I have always believed I was put here on this Earth, and gone through what I have been put through from a very young age so that I may teach others. Now if others listen that is up to them. If others believe the same as me, again that is up to them.
As much as some may believe, I am not “preaching”. Even though I am an Ordain Minister, study religions, and practicing Buddhist. I do not believe in INSISTING my beliefs be everyone’s beliefs. But, as said before, I do believe in being blunt about my thoughts and educating others on what I have learned over the years. In this way I educate.
The title of this blog is: Faith = Not A Religion. Now I do believe their are MANY religions on this Earth and they have their place. They give the people who follow each one a ritual, a way to focus their faith. I do not believe that their is only ONE face of the creator. (again this is MY belief, I am not requesting or saying it needs to be yours). However, FAITH – faith has really very little to do with RELIGION.
Once their is clear understand of the meaning of the two words religion and faith, understanding the difference between them is not that hard. Both words are often confused because it is thought that there is a interchangeable in their meanings. Strictly speaking, both the words are different in terms of their concepts and connotations. They may not have some similarity in their meaning, but religion and faith are very much have a reciprocal relationship in the field of religion. In the world of religion, without faith, you cannot be a follower of any religion. Even to be an atheist, you need to have faith in not believing in God. Now I know some Atheist who would disagree with that statement. Will I explain my reasoning behind this statement later on in this article.
Faith, is often spoken of coming from our heart/soul. When we use it normally, is used to mean a sense of trust. Faith is generally is a complete confidence or trust in something/someone. Faith is not based on proof. This is why I say Atheist have faith, for they have complete confidence and/or trust in the fact that their is no God with out proof.
Faith shows how much one trust someone or something, not necessarily a God but perhaps a belief or someone or something you need to rely on. Faith with in religion – not as the religion: faith consists of the belief in one or more gods or deities, or none at all. However, this always does not have to be the belief in deities and gods as all religions do not believe in the god concept, but follow teachings taught by teachers and mentors instead. So, faith in this case is the faith in the teachings of someone and the lessons of life. Faith is usually accompanied by hope because when we use the word faith to show that we trust someone, we are hoping that our trust is placed correctly. If we study how faith is built, we can see that faith is built on the belief. When faith becomes strong and unshakable, we become strong within ourselves which can be called awaking into our belief or some ball it being called to our religious choice.
Religion is not Faith, so what is it? Religion is based on cultures and the rules they have created over time which they have named beliefs. At the same time, religion influences the culture too. Religion builds character and morality.
Religious leaders at one time were the Kings and Queens advisers, they helped draw up the rules which governed the people. Today religious leaders impart primary knowledge about the respective dogmas and tenets, which governor the people who follow different religions. They try to build faith in the corresponding religion in the minds of the people. Thus, religion and faith are related to each other although they are different from each other.
Below is my way of life that guides my faith: I do not think of these rules as my religion because I do not have a “religion” I practice Buddhism as in I try and live a lifestyle guided by the teachings of Buddha and Buddha says their is no almighty God. This I do not believe (this is not my faith. What I trust within my heart/soul). However, I do believe that the rules we live our life by, that guides our faith, are also what should be what guides our daily lifestyle and with this in mind – these are mine:
The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.
– Atisha of the Buddhist faith and teachings
Back to the horrible actions around the world, religion has been said to be the center of all this. So, perhaps FAITH is the end to it all? All who have Faith in something good has the ability to bring Humanity back into line of peace and goodness.
I have yet to master any of the above rules I try to follow on a daily basis, that I pray (to my Creator and Earth Mother) for the strength to continue my lessons they have for me, To my teacher Buddha (who is not a God but a Teacher) to keep teaching me, and give me strength in my faith to hold strong in each of these life rules to be able to live a lifestyle that honors each of these life rules every day.
Since I started learning and following Buddhism I have thought the above rules should be the commandments on how to live life –
The greatest achievement is selflessness. – To think of others perhaps not always before thy self but perhaps as you are thinking of yourself. If you are going to do something. Think of how it will effect others before doing it. If you are going to the kitchen and live with someone ask “would this person also like something from the kitchen?” If you are at the store perhaps look at the products and think of others in need before thinking of your wants.
To master The greatest achievement is selflessness, and thinking of others leads to The greatest worth is self-mastery. With self-mastery, one learns to control one urges, addictions, actions, etc. To master oneself isn’t the ability to master one’s life but it does help. It makes one’s life much more clear, much happier. Yet Buddha teaches you can not have good with out the bad, happiness with out sadness. So, even though self-mastery can make your life a happier life, it does not mean a life with out bad or sadness.
The greatest achievement is selflessness and The greatest worth is self-mastery leads to: The greatest quality is seeking to serve others, which leads to continual awareness, etc. As it is taught one rule mastered leads to the next rule, and the next rule should become easier to master. This of course is not always true, their are stumbling blocks in life at every level in life, we may fall off those steps and need to start re-climbing.
But – imagine if just the majority of people followed their faith/ their code of ethics/life rules – be they these ones or others which they hold as dear as commandments, imagine how much better humanity would be all over the world. Yes we still have sadness, bad times, and lessons to learn, but with faith and a sit of rules which makes life easier to life by, to each other, as well as, ourselves with kindness and peace those hard times will be less harsh and we would be able to learn our life lessons with less effort and more awareness.
I send blessings to each person and pray for peace among humanity.