I have been thinking about Buddhism.

To many of the uneducated, it is nothing more than a religion. To me, it is a way of life.
Technically, Buddhism is a religion, but it is also so much more.

Buddhism and me.

The Catholic religion has many devout followers. They have been brought up in the church and follow the churchís beliefs, even if they are not they own. They have been taught that they have the one true religion. I can remember as a child how my Catholic friends told me I would never go to heaven because I was not a Catholic. I was devastated.

How could my parents do something so terrible to me? I attended a Protestant church during my childhood. My father was a non-practicing Catholic, my mother, a Protestant. I do not mean to imply that we did not get religious training, but it seemed as though it was only on Sunday. I began to question what type of beliefs were only good one day a week. I had friends from many different religious backgrounds and I began to attend church or synagogue with them to see if it felt right. I began to question what religion really was. Was religion only a belief that we were taught and nothing more? If you believe in something, should it not also be a way of life? The ten commandments says you should treat everyone as you would like to be treated, that you should not kill, you should not covet thy neighbors wife, you should turn the other cheek. These are very good words. Why then do people claim to be religious but are religious in word only? Deeds are the measure of ourselves.

We can only be what we choose to be.
We cannot be shaped against our will,
nor forced to commit acts against others.
When you have caused pain to someone,
you should feel the pain.
When you hurt someone,
you should feel the hurt.
When you have created a smile in someone,
you will feel the happiness.

Smiles light from the inside. It is not just our faces that move. Our whole being becomes a smile. It is not just a gesture of the facial muscles; it is a reaction to feeling.

Buddhism is a feeling.
A way of living.
It is a reaction to life itself in the most positive of ways.

It is good to have an end to journey towards,
but it is the journey that matters in the end.

I do not think you should expect more from life than you are willing to put into it. If you treat each day as a new beginning, it will be. Whatever we do today creates tomorrow. Just as you cannot step into the same river twice, neither can you repeat a day.

Think how you react when someone frowns at you. You pick up on their mood and things donít feel as well as they did. Think how you react when someone is happy and smiling. You find yourself smiling and feeling happy. (Perhaps this is what the Bible meant when they said "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".)

Buddhism teaches us that we are one with the universe. As events happen they create a chain of events that affect us all. Perhaps you hate bugs and wish them all dead. If you were to kill every bug that crawled the earth,
you would also have killed every bird. We are all part of the balance of the world. Ying and Yang. Balance within our universe.

When you have learned to respect others, you will have learned to respect yourself. When you respect yourself, all others will respect you. As I was looking at photos of Tibetan Monks, I realized they do not look as old as their years. Maybe there is something to this way of life. I have only begun my understanding of Buddhism but my understanding is a beginning.


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