The Greatest Self-Help Secret: You Can Transform Your Life by Leaving America for a Better Life and Love Overseas! First, if you look at the most devout practitioners of Buddhism, such as lamas, monks, nuns and those who do solitary meditation retreats for months or years, they seem different from other people in that they seem to have repressed their desires and passions. This is because Buddhism teaches that one should not cling to desires, since that causes suffering. So I am highly skeptical of the Buddhist claim that the answer to suffering is to abandon and disassociate from desires. But even if it were possible to disassociate from desire in general, I'm not sure that would be a good thing.
Remember, I am not talking about the casual Buddhist practitioner who meditates occasionally to relive stress and studies Buddhism as a hobby. So I don't see how reciting mantras and following rituals makes one more spiritual or brings them closer to enlightenment. My conclusion and advice about Buddhism is that it is good in small doses, like most religions and spiritual practices are. You see, the major religions of the world, including New Age beliefs, contain nuggets of truth and wisdom.
Now, let me clarify, I am not advocating that one live a hedonistic lifestyle of following every desire and whim. However, that doesn't mean that you should do nothing but meditate all day for months or years, like Buddhist lamas, monks, nuns and long term retreatants do. In martial arts, there is a style called Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) that combines multiple martial art styles, rather than sticking to one. One of the greatest martial artists of all time, Bruce Lee, said that styles are restrictive and that their rehearsed routines lack the ability to adapt.
Of course, some people will find that one particular religion seems more relevant to them than the others, or that it somehow "feels right" for them.
Even the Dalai Lama says in his lectures that Buddhism is not right for everyone, and that it's ok to believe in other religions if you think it's best for you.
It's tempting for our minds to try to find easy-to-understand answers and formulas for the nature of existence, which is what religions provide and what makes them appealing. Discover Friendlier Foreign Women, Authentic Saner People and Cultures, Lower Cost Living, Healthier Food, Freedom to be Yourself, and Much More! The typical Buddhist devotees I've met (and I've met many) seem very quiet, solemn, repressed, and reclusive. I guess it takes a certain type of person to want to abandon their desire and passions, or disassociate from them. In many Buddhist sects, practice does not just consist of learning about Buddhism or silent meditation. Repeating orderly rituals (that someone else created) and reciting mantra texts (that someone else wrote) seems robotic and mindless, as well as tedious.

But my impression is that those who like to do rituals and recite mantras over and over again, find a sense of order in it which gives them a feeling of control in their life. But it does not seem like a good idea to take it to the extreme, or have it take over your whole life. They have great lessons to learn from and symbolic motifs that contain deep truths and meanings about our human psyche. One needs a balance in all areas of life (including desires and spirituality) with nothing taken to the extreme or over-indulged. It's beneficial to meditate between 10 minutes and one hour a day, whatever you can manage, but months and years would be taking it to the extreme. By combining the strengths of various styles, a fighter becomes more versatile, fluid and adaptable.
This respect for other religions is what makes Buddhism stand out from others and gain respect among freethinkers.
As with a lot of religions, what starts out as practical teachings from a religious figure gets interpreted wildly over hundreds of years, into some weird incarnation it is today. But after doing some reflecting, pondering and analyzing of Buddhism lately, I have some new observations and critical questions that I would like to share and elaborate on. It consists of performing rituals and reciting mantras in scriptural texts over and over again too. It seems no different than taking notes at school and trying to memorize them for tests, which we all know does not result in real learning.
We all know that overindulging in alcohol, drugs, sex, eating, or any kind of carnal pleasure is bad for you.
Ideally, you need a BALANCE in all healthy and good areas of life, having a little in each category.
You don't want one thing taking over your whole life, or be doing only one thing everyday, and neglecting everything else. If you read the story of Buddha, it says that at first, Buddha tried to crucify his flesh to attain enlightenment, by not eating anything for months, which nearly killed him. Focusing on only one becomes restrictive and does not allow one to flow or adapt with truth and reality.
Ultimately, one has to follow one's heart and deep intuition to find their path, purpose and destiny. So perhaps people with the kind of personality I describe above - solemn, quiet, passionless, repressed, reclusive, non-expressive - are the types drawn to Buddhism. But if you take these religions too literally or seriously, or follow them to the extreme, it warps your mind and life, which is not good for you. Buddhist philosophy is correct that desires cause suffering, especially if they are not fulfilled, or if one becomes addicted to them. Examples: You need SOME spirituality, SOME desires, SOME discipline, SOME work, SOME play, SOME rest and relaxation, SOME vacation, SOME time off, SOME exercise, SOME money, SOME material things, SOME food and water, SOME fruits and vegetables in your diet, SOME protein in your diet, SOME time with friends and family, SOME time learning new things, SOME time meditating, SOME time out in nature, SOME time to yourself, etc.

It helps you become more efficient in your life and thoughts, and makes self-control come more easily. Buddhism contains concepts such as karma, reincarnation, and insights into the nature and cause of suffering in life, which is lacking in Christianity.
You can spin it any way you want, but the result is the same either way: The most devout practitioners of Buddhism seem to have caged or repressed their desires and passions, or have disassociated from them, making them seem less human and less alive. Perhaps these types are "passionate" about subduing their "passions", and "desire" to repress their "desires", which is kind of an oxymoron. This is why Buddhism, Eastern spirituality and meditation have become so popular in the West.
The late great mythologist Joseph Campbell, an eminent professor of world mythology who was featured on PBS with Bill Moyers, believed that all religions and mythologies of the world contain deep truths about the human collection psyche and consciousness, and therefore hold intrinsic value. On the other hand, Christianity contains what Buddhism lacks, such as a creation story (or myth), and virtues such as faith in God, surrendering oneself to a higher power, the concept of spiritual rebirth and dying to your former self, having a purpose in life, etc. So to attempt to end suffering by suppressing, abandoning or denying our desires, passions, wants, needs, longings, wishes, cravings, etc. They may have a peaceful tranquil smile on their faces, but they still seem less alive and human for some reason. Plus as a writer, philosopher, truth seeker, and freethinker, my mind is highly overactive.
Even many Western therapists and psychiatrists recommend meditation to their patients, since its beneficial results are well documented, even in Western science. Therefore, it's kind of ironic that he would have advocated that one abandon life to meditate all day everyday long-term, since that would have seemingly contradicted his own teachings.
Perhaps the late great comedian George Carlin put it best when he said, "Religion is like a pair of shoes. To accomplish this goal is to achieve nirvana, an enlightened state in which the blazes of greed, hatred, and ignorance have been extinguished.
Not to be befuddled with aggregate demolition, nirvana is a state of cognizance past definition.
In the wake of achieving nirvana, the enlightened individual may keep on living, smoldering off any remaining karma until a state of last nirvana (parinirvana) is achieved at the moment of hypothesis, the goal of nirvana is attainable by anybody, in spite of the fact that it is a reasonable goal just for parts of the ascetic group. In Theravada Buddhism an individual who has attained illumination by emulating the Eightfold Path is known as an arhat, or commendable one, a kind of lone saint.for those not able to seek after a definitive goal, the proximate goal of better rebirth through enhanced karma is an alternative.

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