Buddhism Redefined: In Defense of the Divine…

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The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

It is almost an article of (non?) faith that sooner or later religion will lose its impetus and die, covered and buried by the very dust that it has gathered over the last few centuries, as if the only thing we need is one more app in the smart-phone to give us ultimate and infinite happiness, or one more notch on the bed-post to give meaning to a life in a world which may not otherwise have any…

…as if the only reason for the existence of any religion was to tell us one more lie to justify the status quo of power incarnate in the body of the ruler, and secondarily to give us the trappings of knowledge, as best as could be surmised, at least a little bit, from the wise men of the ruling house, reading the stars and telling tall tales…

…all of which misses the main point, but which, if true, would certainly justify their immediate and total demise, into the trash-bins of history, detritus and debris washed up on distant shores with no legs to stand on, no arms with which to swim. For that, indeed, is the proper place for superstitions and sweet talk, the lies we tell ourselves to make it through one more day, and the myths we create to live by, for lack of anything better…

But there is more to religion than that. On the one hand, from the simplest facts of life we perceive something miraculous, mysterious and divineā€”the birth of a baby, or the first words of a child, or the smile of great grand-folks after the absence of a long long while. On the other are the sacred limits within which we operate, most notably gravity and light, lower and upper, and many others lesser left unnamed, all defining our existence, and giving meaning to our mission, our short time on this plane(t)..

But the divine is what is left undefined, mysterious and dark, until a light can be found to illuminate it, until science can find a way through the darkness, because this is what it does, and religion does the rest, defining our relationship to science and the world. Because there will always be plenty that science will never know, and where no one will ever go, but in our minds, in their quest for unity…

Religion does not exist to explain the natural world, but our relation to it…

Religion begins with the recognition of duality, ourselves and the other, and proceeds to try to put that genie back in the bottle from whence it came, but likely never to be accomplished, though many philosophical gymnastics and autos-da-fe will transpire in the process, and many lives will be lost. So the first act of consciousness is consciousness of the self, or lack thereof, for there is no place for ego in religion…

This is yet another Middle Path, between ourselves and the world, the defined and the undefined, light and gravity. There is a world of things, and then there is not, just a world of form, no content, pure potential, nothing actual nothing factual. Religion takes over where science leaves off, and that is exactly as it should be…

There is a world of unity and there is a world of duality, plurality, 0 and 1, again and again, emptiness and fullness, form and content, and they are the same world, as seen through different eyes, our eyes, at least two eyes necessary for multiple dimensions. The world is form, pure and pristine, unified and unmoving…

We are the content, corrupt and sometimesĀ  contemptible, craving and striving, dealing and conniving, never satisfied never content. This is the world of suffering, of views and vistas, a show for Saturdays and a hangover for Sundays. But the world of form is eternal, and beautiful, and infinite, and divine, and empty. The only thing changing is the line that separates us from it…

For what is it that is divine or godly, anyway, but that which we can’t even pretend to know, except by inference and intuition, that which is bigger than us, that which is stronger than us, eternal everlasting complete and unchanging, that gives form to the silent strivings for sanity on dark cold nights and meaning to muffled moans on misty mornings?

No, there is no place for ego in religion, but for this life, in this dimension, some ego is necessary, to exist and to go forward, or to simply rise and hopefully shine in the morning. The trick is to not get attached to it, for there is an inverse relation between enlightenment and ego, the more of the one, then the less of the other, and that is gospel…