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Monday, October 11, 2010

Toward a True Kinship of Faiths

I was not raised Buddhist, but I've often felt that I must have been Buddhist in a past life because so much about the core of Buddhist teachings resonates very deeply with me. Compassion is what I try to fall back on in times of indecision, bitterness, hurt and anger in how I interact not just with people but with all living creatures and lately, even myself. During my lifetime I have tried to embrace all religions that have crossed my path.

I think marriage in particular can create a challenging experience when a couple doesn't share the same religious beliefs. What kind of ceremony do they have? Are they allowed to marry in a church, a temple or a synagogue? Maybe the couple is ok with having differing beliefs but their families aren't.

Because of my feelings about religious and non-religious acceptance I want to buy this book. It is the latest written by his Holiness The Dalai Lama, exiled spiritual leader of Tibet. I will begin this post by acknowledging that normally I don't post about polarizing topics, which in the past included religion(s). But this particular book is all about "How the World's Religions Can Come Together" and because of that I think it is worth exploring. Religious beliefs aside, imo if you are agnostic or atheist I truly believe the same type of acceptance of others based on compassion can also bring more happiness and contentment to your life.

Part of my collection of books on Buddhism
Around ten years ago a friend recommended I do some research about Buddhism because she felt I was unaware of how deeply I would identify with the religion in general. She was right. I went to the East West Book Store in Mountain View, CA and found the section on Buddhism. One book based on Tibetan Buddhism struck me as most interesting. It was called Awakening to the Sacred by Lama Surya Das. That led to reading among other books, The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama and later A Simple Path also written by The Dalai Lama and The Miracle of Mindfulness by Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Ha.

Visit my Tiny Cranes Website
I have to say that I am grateful that I have the capacity for curiosity which makes me want to learn about anything unknown before making decisions or judgments about whatever it may be. I think this willingness to investigate and do my own research before making judgments has expanded, stretched and enriched my life experience making it much more full. It has also introduced me to many new and interesting people. I think the same thought process is what allows me to be creative because creativity cannot survive without curiosity.

Perhaps a bit more profound than most posts I've written in the past but I think the message holds true no matter where you live, what your gender or whether you are devoted to a particular religion or none at all. Compassion may cause you to feel more sadness if it spills over into empathy but it will also help you to feel more happiness as it replaces many other negative emotions like hate, anger and bitterness and may help to bring an end to divisiveness by creating more tolerance.

Like the Miniature Origami Cranes I've created in the past, I believe that every small gesture of kindness and compassion begins to shift the world towards a place of peace. We can each help to create it by simply exercising our ability to create peace in our own day to day lives which collectively creates more peace in the world.

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