I like books.


I live in a small town and enjoy writing about the inhabitants. I spend most of my time perusing through used book stores looking for that one great book that I don't have; consequently, I have rooms filled with books. I am a book addict.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

One Road To Enlightenment

A professor, who happens to be a good friend of mine, gave me a book on Buddhism. The book Buddhism A Way of Life And Thought by Nancy Wilson Ross, a good book go check it out, explains the history and concepts of this philosophy. My interest is pure not out of the need to be trendy but out of the need to know what others think. It was, after all, one of those religions that my fundamentalist’s preacher warned me about. They worship a little statue of a man and they light incense and they chant and hit the gong and do other weird things. Our denomination, because we are so right in our beliefs, has sent missionaries to countries like Japan and India trying to convert those lost souls.

So I began studying this book, this sinful book, hoping to find information that will help me when I read books written by authors from other countries. It is important, I think, to know about the culture of a people, their religions, their politics, and their history, in order to understand their writings. My desire to know was pure, probably the only pure desire I possess, unless you count the love for my three grandchildren.

I learned that his man, Buddha, didn’t exactly start out to teach about gods, he started out to learn and through his learning reach enlightenment. Enlightenment, this I liked; although I wasn’t to impressed with the whole ascetic thing, but then his views changed, so I read on. I am always striving to become enlightened, that is why I read and study, it is the goal, or at least I think, of humanity to strive for knowledge. Then I find him looking for ways to make his mind better, his life better, his health better, and the cherry on the philosophy, he is working at making mankind better; his teaching part, the part I really like.

I especially like the directions to enlightenment: right views, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. These lessons on how to have the right things in your life are more you should and not do this or do not do this. This is all about good thoughts, really important for me, and getting rid of negative energy. Being kind to other humans and other animals. It’s all about respect of the environment, creating good Karma. Karma, not to come back after death as someone else, although that, too, is a belief that I am researching, but it is doing good things making and saying positive things.

I am trying to adhere to these eight principles, and, in doing so; I hope to become a better person, to become enlightened. That is not a bad thing, so I wonder, why is it that fundamentalists work so hard to bad mouth a philosophy that is based on the teachings of man very similar to the man they follow? Their differences, well their differences are quite obvious.

Buddha encouraged meditation; in fact, his road to enlightenment and reaching Nirvana is through meditation. I can spare a few minutes a day to think about things, clear my mind, let it rest, which, by the way, opens the brain, not for demons as my preacher thinks, but for new ideas that can only come in and be understood when you sit quietly. Ideas like algebra or physics or literary criticism or writing a new novel.

I guess what I mean is that in this world there are many different kinds of beliefs for reaching Nirvana, heaven, different planes or whatever it is a person chooses to call perfection on earth or beyond the grave. It doesn’t hurt to learn those different beliefs, maybe take a little from each and make life good for yourself and for your neighbor. That’s all.


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