Friday, December 09, 2005


I like reading Tricycle. Last Fall's issue had an article by Andrew Olendzki.
[H]iri refers to that within the human psyche that knows the difference between right and wrong, between what is noble and ignoble, between what is worthy of respect and what is not. Each of us has within us an innate moral compass, and it is the view of Buddhist tradition that religion is not the source of this but rather a form by which it is given expression.
Although I agree with this, I also am concerned about all the damage that people have done because of what they strongly believed was right according to what they thought was their innate moral compass.

The primary focus of that issue was "The Happiness Craze"—with lots of articles about the Buddhist approach to happiness. It is true, trivial, and profound to say that happiness is a state of mind.

An article by Jeff Greenwald discussed the recent plastination exhibits. He writes
One of the floor guides—a sweet, stout woman in her early sixties— told me of discussions she'd had with visitors who felt that turning humans into sculptures, even for educational purposes, was sinful, or just plain wrong.

"They're sayin' all kinds of things." … askin' how a soul could get any peace like this, on display in some museum …

"You're right," I replied. "I would think these people would feel proud, seeing their bodies serving a higher purpose than fertilizer. They would feel they were being treated with enormous respect, even reverence."

The woman looked at me with quiet exasperation. I'd missed her entire point. "Honey," she said, "these people wound not be feelin' anything. They're dead."
Returning to Olendzki's point, the Dalai Lama is quoted as saying the following.
A religious act is performed out of good motivation and with sincere thought for the benefit of others. Religion is here and now in our daily lives. If we lead that life for the benefit of the world, this is the hallmark of a religious life.

This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple; your philosophy is simple kindness.

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