Saturday, 28 January 2012

Buddhism is the Only Religion That Self-Destructs

“Buddhism is the only religion that self destructs” is a quote from the Dalai Lama. I like this as it seems to me to be saying that beliefs can be used to end belief. I think it is true that Buddhism has contained within it the seeds of its own end, at the same time it also seems to have so many ‘beliefs’ that it may be difficult for some people to find their way out. Someone said to me recently that he was afraid to read my new book ‘Everything That is Not a Belief is True’, he said he might be ready to read it in a few weeks. There is probably not much in the book that he has not already heard me say. This man seems to be afraid that by reading my book he will lose some or all of his beliefs. This suggests to me that his beliefs are quite fragile. This is probably true for many people, their beliefs are fragile so they need to be protected. If someone threatens or rejects our beliefs we may become angry. If we truly believed in something I doubt that anyone else’s opinion of our beliefs would hold any significance. The reason we may feel threatened is because all beliefs are in their nature fragile; they are not true. We choose what we believe because we feel there is something to be gained by believing what we believe. In a way when we believe something we are hoping that what we believe is true so that we get the gain associated with the belief. For instance we may believe in Buddhism because we want to be enlightened and therefore hope that this belief is correct. Inherent in all beliefs must be doubt. Doubt or any fragility of belief means that belief will always be unstable and in time must collapse. This is what we are afraid of; if belief collapses then it seems hope also collapses. And what if all beliefs were to collapse? It would seem that this would be the end of all hope. In a way this is true but we could not come to a conclusion that life is therefore meaningless without constructing a new belief. With the ending of belief all that arises in consciousness is seen as thoughts, feelings, sensations, sight, sound, touch, smell and taste that are just arising in consciousness. No meaning is attached to any of these and there are no negatives or positives. We may be afraid that there are no positives but this does not mean we are dead, we still feel what we feel. Without positives or negatives all our experiences are complete, nothing is missing and nothing needs to be changed.

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