I have been writing my final paper for world religions class, and it got me thinking about various religions. I thought I would share about Buddhism, and why I am a Buddhist.
I used to be Christian. I was a Methodist all my life, until I really truly learned what Buddhism was. I have to say that the biggest difference is that I really am overall a happier person. Christianity is a great religion, in concept. Jesus was selfless, he showed so much love for others, and went through a monumental deal of suffering and sacrifice for the ones he loved. All Christians should strive to be like him. The problem is, most don’t. Modern Christianity has evolved into a group of people meeting once every week to sit and listen to a guy talk about how you should be like Jesus, and read from the Bible, then everyone leaves. Oftentimes, a lot of Christians don’t even do that. They don’t reflect on much, they don’t strive to make their lives better. They just pray. They pray for a better life. They pray for things to change. They pray for strength, courage, money, love. This is where I found the biggest issue with Christianity. There is such a lessened reliance on one’s self. Everyone must have faith in God, in Jesus, in everything, in that what they do in this life will be good enough to get into heaven. They’re afraid. Afraid of Hell, afraid that what they do is bad or wrong. Often, they are ignorant.
The reason I love Buddhism, and embrace Buddhism is that I am no longer afraid. I take refuge in myself, in the teachings of Buddha, called the Dharma. You can’t misinterpret the Dharma, and go around shouting racial and homosexual slurs at people, thinking it told you to. You don’t hear about people who committed heinous, horrible crimes, because “Buddha told them to”. You can’t be ignorant of others. The Buddha taught us to be good people. To be centered, calm, and calculating. To have an appreciation for nature, for the world around you. I feel much more connected to everything in the world, and instead of being afraid of punishment after this life is over, I just feel so much better to be alive.
I know a lot of people will see this and think it’s crazy, that it isn’t true. But I respect that, and it’s okay. Each person to their own beliefs.
I learned you can’t hold on to things in life, you have to let things go. You have to go with the flow. Nothing is forever. People, places, things, all come and go. “Suffering comes from desire” is the second noble truth. Desire. Desire for things to stay how they are. To keep your job, to keep your friends, family. To keep things they way they are. While this is normal, it does lead to suffering. But just because you don’t have desire doesn’t mean you can’t have care for those things, or love.
Karma dictates a lot of what happens to us, and you can’t ignore how karma works. By being a good person to others, you naturally will feel better, and good things will come from it. React to everyone and everything negatively, and in turn, you will not like the outcome. It’s hard, but you have to try to be a good person. It’s on you.
You can’t let the small things get to you. All you can do is strive to be a better person, to have a better life. Be helpful, be carefree, be loving, and most importantly, be happy.
Thanks for reading. ☮