Buddhism Discussion Forum
Re: no confusion
Posted by Y Chan on Saturday, 23 January 1999, at 9:34 p.m., in response to confused, posted by Lupe Morgan on Saturday, 23 January 1999, at 6:50 p.m.
> I'm confused about my religion right now and I've been wanting to look into Buddhism. It seems to be the right religion for me. My whole life I've never had a religion whatsoever and now I feel very empty with nothing to believe in. I need more information about Buddhism. Please help. Thanks.
> Lupe
Response:
Buddhism is actually very simple: Do everything that is good and avoid doing anything that is evil. How do you determine what is good and what is evil? Again, very straight forward. Just ask yourself (not God or Jesus or Allah): whatever I am doing, will I hurt someone physically or mentally or will I cause damage to Mother Nature?
In the A & E "Biography" series, Mr. Patrick Duffy, a very devout Buddhist and actor of the TV series "Man from Atlantis", "Dallas" and "Step by Step" said about Buddhism: "a religious belief in which you are responsible for what you did." For example, as human beings, we had been upsetting the environment of planet earth in the past, therefore we are now facing global warming, and if we do not clean up our acts now, we will face serious consequences in the future. In Buddhism, we call this Karma, and have nothing to do with God or Satan.
However, Karma is meaningless without the doctrine of re-incarnation: ie., you are reborn again, again and again, until you reach "the other shore", Nirvana. This explains why some people are born into a Royal family and received endless honours and wealth, whilst others are born poor and face tough time all their lives. This is because Karma works through many lives. What you are suffering (or enjoying) now is a consequences of what you have done in your past.
Since you cannot redo the past over again (sometimes I wish I could!), you will have to accept life as it is.
However, that does not mean you should be passive about life. Because, knowing that your present sufferings (such as loneliness, unemployment, financial difficulties, marital problems, etc.) is a result of your past actions, than, HOW WOULD YOU PLAN FOR YOUR FUTURE? Are you just say: I do not have a job and there is nothing I can do, because it is God's will? Or would you say: OK, I am going to brush up my skills NOW, so that in the FUTURE I may meet a potential employer? In Buddhist sayings, "if you plant your seed now, you will harvest your food in the future".
Do Buddhists believe in God? The correct answer is: yes (Sakra Devendra is regarded as King of Gods in the Buddhists Texts). But he did not create the Universe. And, he certainly takes no control over your life, just as the President of United State does not tell his citizens what to do. Thus, while Buddhists respect God as a Commander-in-Chief of Heaven, we do not pray to him before meals just as U.S. citizens do not say thank you to their President before they eat.
Although the Lord Buddha is not a deity, he is regarded as the teacher of all sentient beings (including God) in the Universe. (In the Lotus Sutra, when Buddha gave a speech, "Sakra and his 20,000 gods" also came to hear his teachings.) Thus, worship of Buddha should be more correctly described as paying ceremonial tribute to a great teacher by his students.
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