The Purpose of Religion
by Lama Thubten Yeshe
Thus, the only purpose for the existence of what we call religion is for us to understand the nature of our own psyche, our own mind, our own feelings. Whatever name we give to our spiritual path, the most important thing is that we get to know our own experiences, our own feelings. Therefore, the lamas' experience of Buddhism is that instead of emphasizing belief, it places prime importance on personal experimentation, putting Dharma methods into action and assessing the effect they have on our minds: do these methods help? Have our minds changed or are they just as uncontrolled as they ever were? This is Buddhism, and this method of checking the mind is called meditation.
It's an individual thing; you can't generalize. It all comes down to personal understanding, personal experience. If your path is not providing solutions to your problems, answers to your questions, satisfaction to your mind, you must check up. Perhaps there's something wrong with your point of view, your understanding. You can't necessarily conclude that there's something wrong with your religion just because you tried it and it didn't work. Different individuals have their own ideas, views, and understanding of religion, and can make mistakes. Therefore, make sure that the way you understand your religion's ideas and methods is correct. If you make the right effort on the basis of right understanding, you will experience deep inner satisfaction. Thus, you'll prove to yourself that satisfaction does not depend on anything external. True satisfaction comes from the mind.
James's comment: I have heard before that one difference between Christianity and Buddhism is in Buddhism we are responsible for our own "salvation." I really like the bits in this quote that talk of personal experience and practice. This is the true path of Buddhism. No one can tell you what to do, you have to experience it for yourself for it to lead to true mindfulness and liberation (in my opinion).
-Peace to all beings-
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Posted by They call him James Ure at 6:06 PM