Buddhism, religion, and me – a brief note for starters

April 18, 2013

Since the age of 13 or 14, when I first began reading about Eastern and especially Indian-origin religions and philosophies, I have been strongly attracted to aspects of Buddhism. For years I was especially drawn to Theravada, also sometimes called “Hinayana” or “Southern Buddhism,” the tradition practiced in Sri Lanka and in Southeast Asia west of Vietnam. I often felt that if only there were a Theravada community near me that I could blend in to, I’d be happy to make that my “religion.”

One morning in the early 1990’s, though, I awoke to an NPR news report about an incident in Sri Lanka in which monks from a Theravada monastery instigated, or maybe even actively participated in, an armed (supposedly retaliatory) attack on a Tamil Hindu village. At that moment I said to myself that there is no religion in the world which I can  join without a measurable risk of someday waking up and finding myself implicated in an atrocity. Except maybe the Quakers.

So of course I ended up with the Unitarian Universalists, who are just about as safe as the Quakers… and now I’ve begun practicing Zen, which both is and is not “Buddhism,”  which in turn both is and is not a “religion”…

And now, in Burma, Theravadins are acting up again.

So much more to say, so little time…


2 Responses to “Buddhism, religion, and me – a brief note for starters”

  1. enjoyed reading your post I have the same feelings and so I sit with the Zen Buddhists in Boca Raton, FL and love it. Am doing a talk at UU there on Sunday sharing ideas with them on sitting and zazen. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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