Dharma – Magic or Psychology? …or a little of both?
Walking around a Stupa (a large circular structure with sacred objects inside, representing the Buddha) in order to gain merit; is there magic in it, or is it psychological? That’s for you to decide. Does it do something, or does it make us feel good? In Buddhism, there is practice called Tonglen. One visualizes taking onto oneself the suffering of others on the in-breath, and on the out-breath, giving happiness and success to all sentient beings. It’s a great idea.
“While this might seem like an outrageous thing to do – breathe in suffering and breathe out joy – part of the practice is to work with habitual patterns of mind and develop the psychological attitude of exchanging oneself for others.” Chogyam Trungpa
I attended a retreat where we had a heated discussion about Tonglen with the lama. The lama said, “It’s a good idea to exchange yourself for others, but would you actually do it?”
Dharma is the first step of intention towards actual experience.
The magic is being inspired, which changes our psychology… prayer has the same effect!
Is there magic, or is it psychological? Or is there a little bit of both? It’s for you to decide. We can become hooked on the good wish but that doesn’t make us stable: experience does.