I went to a discussion at “Against the Stream” with Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geofferey DeGraff). I met a guy into Forest Thai Buddhism doing Tai Chi who kind of did rub me the wrong way but I was curious. I am also a bit of a literature and history buff from my youth, so the idea of a discussion of Western Romanticism versus Eastern Buddhism attracted me. We were given a document called “Principles of Romantic Religion.” I am cleaning house today and looking at it I am inspired to write my thoughts.
I was a bit confused at the event but then realized that the discussion was more what Romanticism is and how it has influenced American thought, and how I think to some extent it has distorted the view of what Buddhism is. The German Romantics were a bit notorious and their history was laced with adultery and illicit acts that reflected their beliefs.
Bhikkhu’s final points I find interesting because they lay the argument for why religion in America is not the source of rule of law. It also lays the foundation for an understanding of Buddhist rational that healthy outlook of humans being one humanity would lead to behavior of all being one of compassion and love. I am finding dealing with HATERS and with people who don’t want to accept I am taking this path from my own heart as going against this teaching. I may not appear to be compassionate or loving because I am trying to protect myself when I am sick and in pain. Unfortunately jealousy and abuse seem to be too prevalent and accepting in society. Men taking a NO as personal or elitism in health and wellness being abusive to anyone who is not PERFECT.
Bhikkhu makes the point that the mind is organic and needs to express but is limited by it’s own cultural experience, personality, and feelings. Religion is not reality. And it’s effect is personal to the individual. It is interesting that to him Religion does not need “rules of behavior.” IT makes sense to me now having read the book “Selves & Not-selves.” The UNITY of the Universe has a prevalent sense of right and wrong. Lying and stealing for example are bad behavior all over the world. He also writes that some religious expressions are more evolved than others and that religions needs to be examined from a historical perspective. His final point is that “Religious change not only a fact. It is also a duty – religious traditions need to change to keep up with the world.”
I look around and think that much conflict in the world today is one generation not willing to accept that the next generation is trying to change religious views to make the world a better place and one more of tolerance and peace. In the fear of this change, many are trying to pull religion backwards instead of going forward. Of course for me, i hated religion growing up. I felt it was choking and ignorant and oppressive. For the past few years it is as if the people in California have completely lost perspective and are judging me based on lies and on what others have said instead of asking me for TRUTH. I left the Protestant church the moment I moved out of my parents house at 18. I only went out of holiday obligation. I rarely went home to both avoid abuse and to avoid having to go to church.
I realize the lack of education for some on the west coast is causing people here to judge me and others by what TV and Film has taught instead of being aware that a person is more than the surface. Calling someone crazy for wanting to achieve things they don’t see as possible is negative without knowing my experience and not being a positive rational loving person. I am not putting down the west coast. I love it here. there is much potential. But when people in their 20s don’t know “the Tale of Two Cities” (think Les Miserables but from Charles Dickens and not a musical) or the rules of operation for math. there is something wrong.
I digress. And my comments may not be seen as acts of love, but they are. Focus more on yourself, and stop wasting time trying to impact someone else and life is much easier. Sanity will return. In other words, I am not going to change no matter what you think of me, because your view is not who I am.