Wednesday, 16 March 2011

a Moment for Wisdom…



“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.

Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumored by many.

Do not believe in anything (simply) because it is found written in your religious books.

Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.

But, after observation and analysis,

When you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and
benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

The Buddha

Personal Wisdom:

Are you always discerning when it comes to things that you’ve heard, or things that are part of your traditions?

Societal Wisdom:

America purports to be a “Christian” nation. How would our society change if we applied the teachings of Jesus to our domestic and foreign policies?

a Moment with Sharif…


It’s amazing how many of the world’s religions were “started” by wisdom teachers who did not INTEND to start a religion! Today’s quote by the Buddha can be seen as downright

It’s amazing how people subvert the clear statements of the wisdom teachers – how Jesus’ clear instruction to “love our enemies” turned into a justification for every war fought,
through the Crusades and up to our present moment. How the “Golden Rule” could be set
aside in order to promote slavery, genocide and colonization. How the Buddha’s admonition to “cause no harm to any sentient being” was ignored by the “religious” Sri
Lankan Government in its aerial bombardment and summary imprisonment of its own citizens (who happened to be Tamil).

Remember one of my earlier “Moments”: “Which part of ‘Love Your Enemies’ don’t you understand?”

What’s the problem?

Even as a child, I found the simplistic version of Christianity spoon-fed during Sunday School at odds with what most adults were actually doing with their lives and their society. It seems that everyone treats complicated moral codes (from the Bible to the Qur’an to the US Constitution) the same: find the few phrases in the code that support your position, then ignore the rest. Or worse – don’t read it at all, and rely on your “leader” to tell you what’s in it and/or how to apply it.

Both of courses of action lead to the same result – a world population that thinks of itself as
highly “moral” in belief, but is highly “immoral” in application. People who can recite the words, but don’t know what they mean.

What’s the remedy? As the Buddha says above, (1) make a careful observation and analysis; (2) find something that appeals to your reason and (3) is for the good of all. Really simple, yet really powerful. Because… by relying on your own observation and appealing to your own reason, you make yourself responsible as the final arbiter of right and wrong in your life. No more leaning on authority figures or on precedence or on language written in books thousands of years ago. In your heart and mind, you know right from wrong.

The third part is equally important: if it’s not for the good of all, don’t do it! This is where Jesus’ “trading places” wisdom comes in: if you don’t want the action done to you, you
probably shouldn’t do it to someone else. Real simple…

To create a world that works for all, we need a whole lot less “religion” (including the secular religion of the Constitution) and a whole lot more common sense and heart-felt



PS: We will be discussing this theme during the upcoming March Tele-Seminar. Don’t forget to register! Commonway Praxis March Tele-Seminar.

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Sharif Abdullah photo: Lisa Norton

All other photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.

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3 Responses to Wednesday, 16 March 2011

  1. Heather says:

    This may be what John Lennon was thinking about
    “Imagine there’s no heaven”
    “and no religion too”
    Unfortunately, religion can divide people, make an “other” of non-members, thereby becoming part of the root problem.

    • admin says:

      I remember when “Imagine” came out… how uncomfortable I was with that lyric. And, even as I begin to advocate for a “trans-religious reality”, I have to admit that I’m still a little twitchy. The indoctrinations of “Heaven” and “Hell” go deep. But, as you know, those are not places we go to at some later point — they are what we carry around with us, what we build every single moment, by our actions (and our inactions).


  2. Pingback: 2012: Facts, Predictions, Speculations… and Absurdities | Dr. Sharif Abdullah

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