Don’t Let Religion Rule Your Life
Let it be the true spiritual content of religion
In truth, there is no religion.
Perhaps enlightenment is very simple; as Buddhists, we say, “Until enlightenment, I go for refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha”. The same could be said for any religion, whether theistic or non-theistic: “Until union, I go for refuge in the teacher, the teaching and the community.” The word ‘refuge’ is synonymous with protection. This is what religion does; it holds and protects the teaching.
The important word, however, is ‘until’.
All Buddhist practices are concerned with the realisation of emptiness; simply realising non-dual, pure awareness beyond thoughts and images. That is the important point. In pure awareness, there is no Buddha, no Dharma, no Sangha – nor even enlightenment. There is merely pure, conscious awareness. Pure knowingness. The word ‘until’ is a projection into the future that vanishes into the spontaneous present ‘now’. We have gone, gone, gone beyond. That is it, pure and simple – enlightenment of our true nature, although perhaps not yet stable.
Of course, when we forget or become distracted, we have to rely again on the teacher, the teaching and the community to inspire us.
Could it be like that?
If we are wanting “The Great Enlightenment”, perhaps we’ll be waiting and hoping for a very long time, and will therefore never find happiness now. This hoping or desiring brings about fear, pride, jealousy, ignorance. Maybe a little enlightenment is enough. It’s all in our own hands. Could it be that for some, this is too much to handle? And so we rely on someone else to tell us what to do. Maybe we are a little lazy and have become too reliant on the external, which is now our new habitual persona – but we’re still caught up in believing.
The word ‘religion’ comes from the Latin word religare, meaning to bind or live under monastic vows. As householders, we have to know what we are binding ourselves to. The objective is to bind ourselves to a method that frees us from conventional clinging. If our feeling of religion enslaves us, then it’s not doing its job, is it? Being in an institution, we can easily become institutionalised. If the institution loads us down with guilt, pride, anger, fear, ignorance and jealousy, then that is an extra weight we have to carry – for life!
Enlightenment: having attained spiritual knowledge, insight and awareness, which frees a person from the cycle of rebirth…
…which frees us from going round in circles!
Once we break out of our habitual cycle of existence, we break out of the illusion. This brings insight … an enlightenment. Maybe not “The Great Enlightenment” of a full Buddha, but workable nonetheless. We can now control our environment because we’re not acting in the same old way – we jumped out of the programme! Being free from the old personality, life is fruitful and happier. We become generous and confident, and have no need to condemn others who think in a religious way.
This isn’t making up our own spiritual path; it’s utilising our circumstances to the best. The alternative is that we are kept dangling like puppets, hoping that others will pull the right strings.
Religion divides people.
Our spirituality journey
is to find ourself in ourself,
… and …
find no thing there!
We’re all making the same journey
to no thing and no where.