Insights of Buddhism – How I Chose My Religion
Many Buddhists never really had an idea to what Buddhism really is. In my region, many strayed away from Buddhism even though they called themselves Buddhists. Here, I would like to share with all my readers, on how I chose my religion.
First, I would like to start off with a little about myself. I was born in a Buddhist family but never really thought much about Buddhism since birth. I then begin to lean towards Christianity as to where I was schooled (Christian Missionary School) and what I was taught there. However when I grew older, I started to question about my religion. I was at the verge of converting to Christianity. Before I decided to agree for baptism, I told myself that it is important for me to know my roots, thus I led myself to ask more about my family religion.
Believe it or not, only then I knew that Buddhism has no God. I know most of the world look at Buddhism as atheism. But let me explain to you all, how Buddhism is indeed a religion, with or without a God. Buddhists do have faith. Faith in Buddha, who we see as our Teacher. The Buddha is actually just a title. To whom we look upon to and take refuge in is the first Buddha (the founder of Buddhism), Gautama Buddha or better known for his name, Buddha Shakyamuni.
Buddhists faith, is the faith in the teachings of Buddha. The believe in the laws of nature and karma. The teachings of Buddha is simple. Focus on selflessness, be pure, discipline our mind, and to obey the Eightfold Path.
The importance of Buddhism, is to become or at least be as close to a Buddha. When one reaches a stage, as pure as Buddha himself, he/she shall also be a Buddha. Yes, there are several Buddhas, but we always look to Gautama Buddha as the First Teacher and all his teachings.
Buddha himself said:-
I’m no God. Nor will I preach. I’m only here because those who are lost can come to me for answers. I will never convert others. You can learn from me and part ways as you wish. I welcome everyone who wishes to seek for answers.
Perhaps that is the reason why I never get to learn more about Buddhism. A true Buddhist will obey Buddha’s teachings and thus, will not preach or convert others. However when one seeks, he shall find answers from them.
Yes, that is when I seek. So shall I find my answers. I found out that most things in this world happens because of me (according to the teachings). We shall never blame others, as for what happened is caused by what we have done. If we wish to live better lives, first we must be better.
That is when I found out Buddhism is all about morality. However, I still believe in a Creator/God. So, I got confused after understanding Buddhism. Then I found out that, Buddha himself has never reveal about the existence of God and so I kept on researching for answers and finally found it. Writings suggest that Buddhism can be practiced by people of any religions. As mentioned above, Buddha said, “you can learn from me and part ways as you wish”.
As I slowly lose my leaning towards Christianity, I was still in doubt. In a bridge between these two.
Then one day, my college lecturer came into the class and talked about religions. He asked who are Christians, Muslims and Buddhists. However when it came to the question, “who practices Buddhism here?”, to my surprise not even one admitted, when I knew there were Buddhists in my class.
Seeing this, my lecturer said to all of us. “There is no shame with what your religion is. I’m a Buddhist and I’m proud of it. What is important about your religion is if it suits you. It doesn’t matter if it is practiced by the majorities or the minorities. As long as it suits you”.
Then, since that day, I realize how Buddhism answered all my doubts. That is the day when I decided to learn even more about my own religion and thus, became a Buddhist. It is also since then, I found out that Buddhism was wrongly portrayed and lots of Buddhists have no idea what Buddhism really is. I hope one day, they find their true religion.
BELOW ARE EXPLANATIONS TO SOME TERMS THAT MAY SEEM RARE TO MOST PEOPLE.
Further Explanation – TECHNICAL WORDS
What is karma?
Karma is described as an energy. This will be best described scientifically. As we are all familiar with Newton’s Third Law of motion, I shall then explain with it as an example. Truthfully, it is similar. Newton’s Third Law states that to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. That is how karma works. If in our lifetime, we were to generate positive energy, we will in turn gain positively.
As Buddhists believe in afterlife, karma is best used then. Our soul is a source of energy, where energy is not destructible and can only change in form. When we pass on, this energy will change in form. If we were to have good karmas, our energy is positive, thus our form to be changed shall also be positive.
Pure and Disciplined Mind
I’m sure that everyone is familiar with this quote:-
The mind is everything. What you think, you become – Buddha
In Buddhism, it is important to have a pure and disciplined mind. Every living things have brains. What distinguish us humans, is our mind. The ability to think, consider, and make decisions instead of relying on instincts. According to the quote, it is explained that, if we were to think of happy and positive thoughts, we will become so and vice versa.
Selfishness (opposite of selflessness) is a temptation. Buddha’s teachings stated that, cravings and temptations are pollutants to our mind. If we were to be selfless, we think less of ourselves, thus we feel the lessen in need for temptations. With selflessness, one can also gain good karma (mentioned above).
This is where Buddhism is centered. However, there are a few deeper information, but I’m here to just provide a brief description, not to preach. The Eightfold Path is somehow similar to Christian’s Ten Commandments.
- Right View
- Right Intention
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
As these deserves deep explanations, you guys can read more about it here if interested.