bobby1933 (bobby1933) wrote,

Thinking, Believing, Doing, Being

When the fictional Mma  Precious Ramotswe was a student at the mission school in Gaborone, she was taught about the Virgin Birth, and Resurrection of Christ and the teachings of Jesus.  The former made no sense to her and she did not believe that they had occurred; the latter made perfect sense and she guided her life by them.

I am like her, though longer a child.  The more i look t look at the eight-fold path and try to practice it, the more true it seems and the more attractive it is.  But the more i look at the Four Noble Truths, the less noble and truthful they seem.  Fortunately for me, the Dalai Lama, the closest thing the Buddhists have to a Pope, does not recommend that i become a Buddhist, only that i follow the eight-fold path.  What is true to my experience, i may treat as true; what is alien to my experience, i may trear as alien.  I do not expect that others will have had the same kind of experiences that i have had or that they should interpret their experiences in the same way i frame mine.  People's theologies and philosophies will differ.

My spouse has had many experiences which have confirmed for her the truth of her Roman Catholic Faith.  I know she is a truthful and sensible person and i have no doubt that her experience are real and that her interpretation of them is sensible.  I have not had those experiences, or the ones i did have were interpreted differently.  We get along pretty well because, i think, we both have good hearts.

Christians are theistic, Buddhists are agnostic.  Christians believe in resurrection, Buddhists in reincarnation; Christians have souls, Buddhists don/t/  Yet the eight-fold path and the sermon on the mount are almost interchangable and the best of the one is identical to the best of the other.

The non-fictional Fung Yu-Lan wrote in A Short History of Chinese Philosophy. that Europeans are religious people who are sometimes philosophical while the Chinese are philosophical people who are sometimes religious.  He defines philosophy as systematic, reflective thinking about life and religion as philosophy plus a "certain amount of superstructure, which consists of superstitions, dogmas, rituals, and institutions."  I suppose that "superstitions" and (maybe) "dogmas" would be used by philosophers to make the distinction, and that religious believers might prefer other terms.

This distinction does not address my issues.which do not differentiate philosophy and religion, but thought and action, or ideology and action, or ritual action and ethical action.  (Amos -- God hates the rituals of believers who abuse their fellow human beings.)

The more advanced a person is along her or his own religious or philosophical path, the more universal her or his ethical behavior becomes.  Compassion, benevolence, mercy extend everywhere.  Humility and moderation characterize everybody.  All roads lead us home.
Tags: buddhism, notes for a wayless journey, sermon on the mount
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