Why did you choose your particular religion?

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Sky Dancer, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. Sky Dancer
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    Sky Dancer BANNED

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    I have my own personal story, but I will start the thread with a brief answer. I chose Buddhism after a long period of checking other paths because it made the most sense to me.
     
  2. High_Gravity
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    I have always wanted to read into Buddhism got never got a chance.
     
  3. Sky Dancer
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    I got into Buddhism about a year after my father committed suicide. That to date, is the most devastating trauma in my life, (and I have many). My Catholic training did not leave me with a way to put my father's death in some perpective peacefully. According to the RCC, my dad was bound for eternal damnation and ex-communicated from the RCC for committing suicide.

    I was bereft of a way to help myself and help him. For a year, I was in shock. I wasn't able to cry or grieve him. I heard my first Buddhist teaching--Life is suffering. I could relate to that, and I could see that as true for my father too. The next Noble Truth was the cause of suffering is not seeing that everything we cling to, our bodies, our lives, our loved ones, is impermanent. I knew from my loss the truth of impermanence. The Third Noble Truth is the truth of the cessation of suffering. Here I was raised in a system that emphasized eternalism--either eternal hell or eternal heaven, and it intrigued me that there was a possibility of an end to suffering as I knew it then. That enlightenment is possible, even in this very life, and that a man named Prince Gautama Siddhartha, the Shakyamuni Buddha had realized this.

    The next Noble Truth is the Truth of the Path that leads to the cessation of suffering. I attended my first Buddhist meditation retreat. It was very strict. Ten days of silence. Sitting meditation for one hour, watching the breath and body sensations, walking for one hour, noticing the touch of the foot on the ground, sounds, smells, sights and thoughts passing through. No eye contact with anyone there. I was going out of my mind. I couldn't sit still for a second. During the meditation I was either stuck on popular songs or running movies I had watched or generally being in pain. I hated it. I felt like I was in boot camp. Even the meals were held in silence, and we had to do an eating meditation, this kind of microscopically slow eating of noticing, the smell of the food, the colors of the food, lifting the fork to the mouth, tasting, chewing, swallowing. Intending to take another bite, lifting, placing the mouth, etc etc etc.

    What I wanted to do was what I customarily did, which was check out, space out, talk. Anything but notice what was going on inside of me.

    Then something really intense happened. The teacher announced that two people on the staff had just been killed in an auto accident, and that they were going to burn the bodies and their belongings on the retreat land. The structure of the retreat had to go on without the teachers so that they could attend to the funeral. We were all on our own to sit, walk, eat, sleep and not look at or talk to each other. The final instruction was to notice the breath, since we never know when we will have our last.

    I broke like a dam. All the grief I hadn't felt for my father's death flooded me. I cried and cried and cried. I could not help myself. My eyes were closed, snot was running down my face, and when I was finally able to open my swollen eyes when the bell rang there was a pile of kleenex in front of me and I had no way of knowing who had done me the kindness of offering the tissues.

    For three days, the funeral went on. I sat, and walked, and ate in silence, all the time returning my mind to the breath. Something was happening but I wasn't aware of it. My heart had opened and my mind was at peace. I sat from five am to nine pm alternately sitting and walking, eyes to the ground, internal, and when I got back to my tent at night I sat longer. Sometimes till 12 or 1, I think. I had dreams of spiritual teachers visiting me.

    At the end of the tenth day, we broke silence, and I felt as though I was so open that I didn't even have any skin.

    What had become clear to me during the retreat was impermanence, and the peace that comes from not clinging, not wishing things to be other than how they are.

    I learned that in Buddhism, not even hell is permanent. I learned practices that I could do to help my father in the afterlife, and I sponsored yogi's to do those practices until I could learn them myself.

    It's not as though I became enlightened. It's that I had a touch of an experience of the truth of the cessation of suffering and it had come to me from the path of meditation--the Fourth Noble Truth.
     
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  4. Mini 14
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    Same as you.

    Personal experience lead me to God.

    God lead me to Christ.

    Backwards for most, I know, but that is how I got here.
     
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  5. Two Thumbs
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    Whatching the Science Channel series on "How the Earth was made".

    There were far to many coincidences for me to keep thinking we got here by that incredibly long chain of coincidences, so I felt there had to be something.

    Few years later I came across "Intellegent Design". It gave a name to the way I thought.
     
  6. Sky Dancer
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    I really love reading spiritual autobiographies. I'm hoping more of you will write your stories of how you found your path of religious or spiritual practice.

    I'm hoping that we can see our common goodness and get beyond what divides us in religion.
     
  7. Mini 14
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    What divides us the most in religion, IMO, is intolerance of other religions. The nature of God is that there is only one God. By necessity, we're all worshiping the same God, it is only the religion and practice that differs.

    Many people strengthen their own faith simply by attacking the faith of others.

    Those are the ones who are truly lost....the ones whose "faith" is nothing more than a facade for their fears.
     
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  8. Sky Dancer
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    Intolerance of other religions is what divides us. Ignorance fuels the intolerance. There are language and conceptual differences that divide us too.

    For example, you use the term God, and it is not used in Buddhism. We do not have a creator God, a Savior, in Buddhism. Yet, we do discuss 'Buddha nature', that which cannot be imagined or described but which can be experienced moment to moment as your own self-knowing timeless awareness.

    We call this state of being, the Mother of All the Buddhas, because it from this awareness of emptiness, primoridal purity that Buddhas, emerge.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
  9. Two Thumbs
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    It's rivalry.

    My faith is better than your faith. na na na boo boo!

    it's when the nuts start screaming allah akbar and blowing themselves up is when the real problems start.
     
  10. Mini 14
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    :clap2: :lol: :clap2:
     

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