Studying Tibetan Buddhism; as a nascent student, I am finding how much I would love to adapt "This is all an illusion". That would make it so much easier to understand. That pure spirit is eternal (within) and nobody, no thing can touch that or manipulate the PURE STATE OF BEING.
Buddhism is a philosophy more than a religion. I really do not want to worship things, like statuary. Did to much of that as a Catholic. As a kid I use to stare up at the huge marble sculptures in various churches and cathedrals and I recall, either from not eating breakfast prior to Mass or something odd was actually happening. Statues move. I think that is what we all hope for when we are religious. That all of a sudden, sad Jesus looking down from the massive cross will smile gently as if saying "Don't worry, things are ok, I'm just acting now". I kinda like the idea of having sculpture or religious depictions away from where I pray because I get upset with others depiction of what I feel is not my actual experience of the spiritual.
For example, my folks had a very (I mean very) tacky Virgin Mary on the dresser in the spare bedroom. I just did not want to pray to this, as it wasnt at all pure enough. Now lets say the sculpture was by a famous religious sculpture, let's say GERMAIN PILLON, well then I may give leave of my distaste for poor religious sculpture and actually "get into" praying my prayers before a statute. But still I'd rather not. I dont mind a cross without a figure. I dont need to be reminded of the pain Jesus went through. I live it everyday with the martyr-syndrome I have managed to develop over the years. Yes, I have not been lucky in love or life. In some ways, yes, but in most ways, any good thing I worked for and they were "the crumbs beneath the table" not the feast on the table that is for sure.
Religion I respect. I respect other's religious independence. It is important. I believe if a person (or group) has a strong belief system, that is a good thing, IF it brings about good. If not, the religion becomes a cult and it is not good.
So philosophy works for me. I like the idea of strengthening the mind (which is the spirit) when it is able to exist and express itself in a free way, and how pure it is, and how lacking of anything in this world. The spirit/mind is an entity, I believe which is constantly trying to win the battle between the world here and the eternal now. It is this dualism which gives me understanding of a new to "shuffle off the mortal coil" to quote Shakespeare, and to become, like the human crysalis, a spiritual butterfly which we have always been, but are still waiting to emerge from the coccoon of life.
It would give me a strong feeling and good feeling (but feelings are not important in Buddhism?). Oh no, this so confuses me! I have studied HUMANIST Psychology and have learned that the emotions, feelings, etc are teachers. But I am told to go beyond feelings. But we have to somehow synthesize emotions, they do something, don't they? Emotions cannot be all bad? Unless we are unempathic I will find this so difficult, unless all of a sudden my spirit bursts forth and I have no need for this world. But yes, in the spirit sense, I can see how emotions (negative emotions) could become a GREAT DETERENCE to SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT.
Please understand, I am working on this. I am listening to YOutube Dalai Lama and other Lama's to get a feel for the meaning behind the philosophy. I like to put all the cards on the table. Nothing hidden. Will this be difficult. Probably. Lessons are incremental. You dont go from here to there in 2.2 seconds. I expect this. I must learn patience and become slow as the turtle and deliberately slow. What should I do to slow down. I would love to slow down...how? What is the right method here?
Anyway, I praise you and thank-you for you helping me get to the next level in my spiritual attainment of purity of spirit and wonderous of being so I can pass this on to the next person, and so on and so on....Great Philosophy and it has always really been fascinating to me.
When I was a young girl (Grade Seven) my grandmother gave me $5.00 for a Christmas present. That was a lot for my grandma. She lived through the depression era and ever cent was important.
I really wanted for a long time a Buddha woman sculpture. I did not know the name of the buddha. I never knew there were women buddhas. I thought "groovy" (it was the sixties) The brass sculpture was found in a kiosk in the Mall in Toronto where I grew up.
"Oh look how gentile this Buddha...so peaceful! How perfect, how elegant" It also was an incence burner and being that it was the sixties, I thought "how cool!". I really liked the idea of the peaceful look on this woman's face and she was really beautiful and I just felt like she gave me a good feeling. So I got it and told my Catholic grandma. She wasnt upset that I purchase something that may be concerned "idolatry", as Catholics have lots of sculptures around the church. It isnt that we worship the statue, it is the power that we worship and the sculpture is a tool to get to the God in a faster way, as a reminder. All in all, I think that anything that can remind of to become spiritual is a good thing. Just not tons of the stuff. It can get very easily overwhelming and conflicting, at least I find this to be true. It is like sensory overload. I already am too sensitive and need less and less reminders. Really, well maybe I do know that I am getting older and I am getting my forgetful as my brain is shrinking with age. NOt fun!.
Only my born again Christian babysitter did not like the fact that she thought the buddha was a "idol" and she swiftly went to the garbage shute. I did not know this. When she told me this, I was very sad, but since I try not to be material, I put it behind me. I could always get another, if I really felt the need. Really the female buddha reminded me of the strength of my grandmother, and the beauty and grace that she was, living as a widow, going through life alone.
I had remembered a friend in University who had a roomie who was a buddha. The chi was really good, and either it was the Kung Fu movies (with David Carradine) I was watching each Saturday in the 70's or it was the atmosphere, I felt like I was walking on hallowed ground in the place where he lived (the Buddhist monk). I felt blessed to know these people in my spirit, and I can truly say this; I know you even though I have never met you. I am not talking looking at a picture either. I just know people before I meet them. I have dreamt of them, we know each other from our dreams. It is amazing! I have instant "connect" with people. Some more than others. I definitely feel the Dalai Lama is very close are the other Lama's and Buddhists I have met. I really feel like I can live in a better world when I am around them. I think I am "drinking in their bountiful spirit, of peace and love". It is a good feeling and I so want to be taught as I have been wanting to be taught for almost, forever!jajo