Thank God for Buddhism. What’s that you say? I can’t have one in, and of, the other?
Are you telling this red-blooded American veteran that I cannot follow the teachings of the Buddha and still believe in the God of Abraham? Wait a minute! Buddha never eliminated “Him” when offering the Four Noble Truths or the Eight-Fold Path. The 30-something young man was brought up to believe in the “Divine.” Not once did he ever challenge the religion of his father.
So why can’t I visualize Mother Mary when I meditate on compassion? Why should I not contemplate the teachings of Mohammed or the “secrets” of the Kabbalah? Aren’t all of these belief systems geared toward the same end: the easing of suffering and the attainment of happiness?
Without Buddhism, I’d never know that the Kingdom of God is indeed “within,” and attainable in this lifetime! I don’t need to die to get there, or to “earn” the mutually guaranteed benefits. Following the path of the Buddha has made me a better Christian; studying Kabbalah has led me to better understand God. I appreciate the teachings of Christ as the 30-something young man who called to so many to follow His Way to a salvation, be it through the Greek Orthodox way of my father or the Roman Catholic one of my mother.
Let’s not forget, however, that just like the Buddha, Christ was not calling for an end to his parents’ religion. I believe that both were “fulfilling” the essence of basic Judaism and Hinduism. Their teachings embraced not the rituals of their religion, but the spirit. It is that spirit that I too want to embrace while dancing a Sufi Dervish whirl, shouting “l’chaim” with my “greatest generation” Kabbalah friends; and humbly falling to my knees while seeking guidance from the One the nuns urged me to go to in good times and in bad.
I want my vessel to become a “melting pot” allowing the Light of all that is Good to fill me. I’m not smart enough to decide if one is better for me than the other. I don’t want to mess up with this Life I am leading now, and I don’t want to lose out by refusing to listen to others who speak of why we were created in the first place.
But, that’s me while writing on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th Year, a veteran of many spiritual battles with many more to engage in before a Final Correction, and the Enlightenment for all sentient beings.