The Buddhist Path...And The One Light

Shakyamuni taught that there is no need to even mention the ideal called God or Allah or Krishna or the All-Mighty Ever-Seeing One in order to learn the truth of suffering. So, the great innovation in his teaching was that he did not use either the love of God or the wrath of God as a reason to live in harmony with one another, he completely side-stepped such contentious issues, and began to teach about crucial issues for living a peaceful and mindful life, such as the Four Heavenly Abodes: loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), sympathetic joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha).

This path was of course very successful because people were, and still are, eager to put an end to their suffering. However, as is the case with every path toward understanding, the followers of the teaching did not always comprehend where this path would lead. For many, the teaching of Buddha was merely a refuge from suffering, and thus many believe that there is no God in Buddhism. And, for them, that is therefore true. But that is not the fault of the teachings of Shakyamuni. Every person has their own unique definition of ‘God’. Indeed, each person has their own special understanding of God; for some, there is a personal God; for others there is an unknowable God. Thus, many of the arguments about God stem from the simple fact that God is beyond definition.

I once saw the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso talking about his early days of learning science and how he began to see the wonder and magnificence of the intelligence that was in some manner behind the existence of all the stars and planets… How delightful! In the peace and mindfulness offered by Buddhism, he had indeed seen beyond the beyond, and had acknowledged that Mystery beyond the mysteries that many would call God. In general, the Buddhist path recognizes that there is an essential radiance (also called luminosity or purity) that forms the basis of our awareness and which permeates and supports our existence. Again, some would simply call that radiance God, or and aspect of God, but it is not the name that matters. What really matters is that we allow this glorious purity, regardless of what we call it, to manifest in our lives as compassion and loving-kindness. That is our true nature, and that is our highest calling.

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