Friday, August 15, 2014

Buddhism is no religion. Do not believe it. Find out yourself and trust.

I think it’s a pity a lot of people still think Buddhism is a religion and because of this do not want to make any connection with it. A lot of times during our programs guests show their amazement when I tell about this life-philosophy or way of life and tell them that Buddhism has nothing to do with a God or a believe. Buddhism has to do with the understanding of our mind. So in that way you can understand it's not a religion.

The English version of Wikipedia says it is a nontheistic religion. Does this mean a kind of religion that has nothing to do with religion? I don’t know. But it is no religion. From the outside it maybe seems to be a religion because of the way how monks an laymen praise their teacher, the Lord Buddha. But the Buddha was a prince (Siddhartha Gautama) and his father a king, so not a God. You do not pray to the Buddha in the way “Please Buddha give me this or that...”, asking for something. The teaching of the Buddha is to be creative and find yourself a way to solve the problem and make it an opportunity. Life is about doing good things and not to do bad things. 

You honour the Buddha and thank him for his wise life teachings he gave to help us to stop suffering or to suffer less. The Buddha did not give strong rules but a lot of guide lines with the freedom of your own choice to follow them. You can see them as an advise. It gives you the possibility to find out yourself. So you do not have to believe any longer but you can fully trust. When you do not trust yourself, who can you trust? Isn’t it?

Following a class at the Buddhist University the teacher (Monk) gave an explanation about the Buddha image. He told the meaning of the big ears is just to remember you to be much more aware with all your senses. To be much more connected to the present moment and take the time to discover the truth of situations instead of only your truth. The ears show not to believe but to find out yourself. When you follow the guide lines you are free of suffering and will be happy. But, do not believe, find out yourself.

The Buddha was not a Buddhist (as Jesus wasn’t a Christian). They both were / are big life teachers. A kind of role model how to live a good (not only I, I, I, me, me, me,...) life.

Buddha was inspired by nature. And being in nature myself and taking the time to work with my senses even more, I cannot even imagine but I totally understand. Life is nature and knows for instance the rhythm of the seasons. Nature shows how easy it can be to let go and to invite new things to come (a leaf falling down during autumn and the new bud already appearing for spring next year).
Mountains, for instance, you can see as an example to be stable, stead fast and reliable. A mirror to accept life as it is. Storm on a lake can show you that even the hardest wind, to compare with twist and turns in your life, only touches the surface of the lake. When you go a little bit deeper it’s motionless silent. So it’s an invitation to find your inner silent and peaceful place. The characteristic of water can be a parallel to stay unchanged yourself. Water has never been broken when it falls down into a waterfall. And so forth... 

The teaching of the Buddha (in my own words) is: “The past is history, the future a mystery and the present moment can be a present when you are aware.” Working as a professional fire chief I met a lot of (passed away) people on the spot of a fire or accident who left their houses before saying “See you...!” But unfortunately this became not to be the truth. What’s the worth of your life when you have only 20 minutes to live? What do (did) you really possess / have? Did you really live life?

Thich Nhat Hahn, a Vietnamese Monk (for me a master) uses great words. He says: “You have an appointment with life and the only moment you can touch life is here and now in the present moment. When you are not aware of the present moment, you miss your appointment with life.”

The ‘Western world’ is a world of ‘doing’, the ‘Eastern world’, among other things with the Buddhism as an assistance, a world of ‘being’. I do not romanticise the Eastern or Western world. But in my opinion it’s good to also know, and especially to experience, the Eastern World (and the Buddhist ethics) as an option to have to live life in a different, more engaged way. For me a way of experiencing free choices and freedom of living.

Not having a single insight in Eastern culture and wisdom? No problem. Do not believe me. Just wait and I hope sometime, like me, you will get the chance to discover and start living instead of only running again.

Because I am bold a lot of people think I am a Buddhist, but I am not. For me it’s a relief to find out more about Buddhism to have a choice, to encounter there is more to live a free life and to use in my role as a Catalyst and Talenteer to serve the people who join my classes and our programs 

Frans Captijn
Host / Catalyst / Talenteer at Captijn Insight

Captijn Insight“Catalyst in your process to new sustainable flow. Whether you are an individual, couple, team or an organization.”