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Buddhism - Religion or Philosophy ?


Michael Holmboe Meyer

The Buddha's Words on Kindness This is what should be done Be the one who is skilled in goodness,And who knows the path of peace:Let them be able and upright,Straightforward and gentle in speech.Humble and not conceited,Contented and easily satisfied.Unburned with duties and frugal in their ways.Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful, Not proud and demanding in nature. Let them not do the slightest thing That the wise would later reprove. Wishing: In gladness and in safety, May all beings be at ease. Whatever living beings there may be; Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none, The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,The seen and the unseen, Those living near and far away, Those born and to-be-born, May all beings be at ease!

Let none deceive another, Or despise any being in any state. Let none through anger or ill-will Wish harm upon another. Even as a mother protects with her life Her child, her only child, So with a boundless heart Should one cherish all living beings: Radiating kindness over the entire world Spreading upwards to the skies, And downwards to the depths; Outward and unbounded, Freed from hatred and ill-will. Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down Free from drowsiness, One should sustain this recollection. This is said to be the sublime abiding. By not holding to fixed views, he pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision, Being freed from all sense desires, Is not born again into this world.

Coexist with any other religion

Buddhism is probably the most tolerant religion of the world, as the teaching can coexist with any other religion. Other religions however, aim to be exclusive and cannot accommodate Buddhism at the same time. The Buddhist teaching on God - in the sense of an ultimate Reality - is neither agnostic (as is sometimes claimed), nor vague, but clear and logical. Whatever Reality may be, it is beyond the conception of the finite intellect, as it follows that attempts at description are misleading, unprofitable, and a waste of time.

For these good reasons the Buddha maintained about Reality a noble silence. If there is a Causeless Cause of all Causes, an Ultimate Reality, a Boundless Light, an Eternal Noumenon behind phenomena, it must clearly be infinite, unlimited, unconditioned and without attributes. It follows that we can neither define, describe, nor usefully discuss the nature of THAT which is beyond the comprehension of our finite consciousness. It may be indicated by negatives and described indirectly by analogy and symbols, but otherwise it must ever remain in its truest sense unknown and unexpressed, as being to us in our present state unknowable.

In the same way, Buddhism denies the existence in man of an immortal soul. The Enlightenment which dwells in life does not belong to one form of life. All that is man's changing and mortal; the Immortal is not any man's.

The Buddha examined the phenomenal life objectively. Studying effects, and tracing their causes, he produced a science of living which ranks with any other science known to man. Having analysed form, he described the life which uses it, and showed it to be one and indivisible. Man, he declared, can become Buddha, Enlightened, by the principle of Enlightenment within. The process, therefore, is to become what you are, to develop to the full



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