The Horrors of Monastic Life
Just endured a gruelling weekend at the temple. The 8 Precepts Retreat was a 24 hour event that began 8pm Friday night and until 9:30pm Saturday. The main objective of it was to let lay people see what it was like to live as a monk. damn, I barely lasted 3 hours. There was no talking allowed and the girls were segregated from the guys. Loads and loads of chanting ceremonies, a little bit of food, and… yeah… *phew* is all I can say now that it’s over.
At least I learned some stuff… the Buddhist tradition reeks of Catholicism. One of my biggest complaints against Catholicism was it’s overemphasis on ritual – people say and do things people that’s what they’re supposed to do, not because they truly mean it. Is there really a point in that? I thought they believed that intention was the main thing that counted. Now it seems that appearance may hold an even greater position. I bet half the people didn’t even know what they were chanting about …
Many people have criticism against Christianity. As I was previously an atheist, I can understand where some of them come from. One in particular that Buddhists share with other criticizers is that fact that Christians condemn other religions and doesn’t give them the rightful respect that is due. If one does not accept Christ, then they go to hell. If one does, then they are automatically saved. Buddhists saw that it was not fair for innocent people who had not accepted Christ to go to hell and for sinners who had accepted Christ to go to Heaven. On Friday night there was a 5 Precepts ceremony where people take vows not to kill, steal, commit sexual misconduct, lie, and ingest intoxicants. Following that was the command to “not follow non-Buddhist disciples”. Then, there was a whole blurb on how if you follow the 5 precepts but don’t take them, your blessedness will be limited. If you take the 5 precepts, then you will be saved from the 6 realms of hell. Omg… that totally got my blood boiling… they were guilty of the exact same crime they accused Christians of!!!
growl. I’d like to bring it up with the venerables some time, but I have this feeling that my message will fall on deaf ears…. not that they aren’t open to discussion. They’re very wonderful people. I guess when someone questions your faith, no one’s going to be very open to it being torn down.
Then a lecture was given about how society went from belief in many gods to belief in one god to belief in no god ~self. Their explanation for this was that over time, people got more and more answers that they needed, so they didn’t need “god” as an explanation. They learned that there wasn’t an oven god who cooked your food, and there wasn’t a washer god who cleaned your clothes. Thus, over time, people’s reliance on gods lessened to the point where they could now rely on themselves for answers.
Does not needing something automatically eliminate that entity’s existence? When I was young, I needed my parents to clothe and feed me. Now I can do that on my own. However, it does not strike me as reasonable to suggest that because I do not need to depend and rely on them anymore, that they no longer exist. Food for thought.
oh well. it’s lunch time so i’m off to get some real food!!!