Personal Responsibility

A person’s theology was a matter of total indifference to the Buddha.  To accept a doctrine on somebody else’s authority was in his eyes an “unskillful” state which could not lead to enlightenment because it was an abdication of personal responsibility.  He saw no virtue to submitting to an official creed.  Faith meant trust that Nirvana existed and a determination to prove it to oneself.  The Buddha always insisted that his disciple test everything he taught them against his own experience and take nothing on hearsay.  A religious idea could all too easily become a mental idol,  one more thing to cling to when the purpose of the Dharma was to help people to let go.  Even his own teachings must be jettisoned once they have done their job.

via Does it work? | Still Mind Zendo.

I was raised in a protestant Christian household, went to church every Sunday, my parents were Sunday school teachers, I sang in the choir and was “confirmed” in a Lutheran church.  There it is taught that every person is inherently sinful and “unclean” in the eyes of God, and therefore we need salvation from our sins and that can only come through faith in Jesus.

At about age 40 or so I came to the belief that there was no personal god that listened to each person’s prayers and watched over each person, and that trusting in a god to make everything turn out okay was abdicating personal responsibility.

Contrast that with the teachings of the Buddha, who taught that all persons contain buddha nature, or the sacred nature that is the basis for becoming a buddha.  Couple that with the blog quote above, and you can see one of the reasons that Buddhist philosophy is catching on in the West.

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