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Buddhism and Self  

Part 2

    Intentions or Outcome

    Buddhist morality judges a person on their intentions not the outcome. If a person goes in with the right intention, then regardless of the outcome they would not be judged to have done anything wrong. However it should also be noted that Buddhism recognises ignorance as one of the ways in which we seriously harm others. Ignorance comes from lack of awareness, so it would be wrong to imagine that one could simply carry on acting in an unaware way, harming people and all is alright. One would obviously create difficult Karma for acting in an ignorant way and harming others.

    However within Buddhism, we are not dealing with a religion that believes in harming anyone. We are in no way dealing with a religion which is interested in retaliation. We are rather dealing with one which is interested in healing all people. To act with ignorance in an unaware way will without question cause unhappiness. To end this, within Buddhism, one would understand the 4 Noble truths and act upon them and also work on the 8 Fold Path which follows on from the 4th Noble Truth .

    In the West, in good therapy we do something similar and good therapists do not believe their clients are intrinsically 'bad'. They trust in the innate goodness of their clients and help them to work through the difficulties they have experienced which have allowed them to build up false views. In this way, both Buddhism and good therapy work to achieve much the same thing in different ways. Obviously this would only be the case in therapy's which recognised a person's inner feeling self and inner resources and respected their right to autonomy.

    Much of our ignorance comes about because we have suffered hurts which have caused us to cut off from our inner feeling selves and live largely in our heads. Our thoughts when they are not coming from heart should not be confused with what Buddhism means when it uses the word "Mind". Many Buddhist groups speak of "mind" when they appear to be speaking of what I call heart. It would be wrong to believe that they are here speaking simply of thoughts. Thoughts are things which we have learnt through our experience and through our culture. Thoughts are the constant chatter that goes on in our mind, that some of us take up meditation to quiet. Indeed most of us appear at some time to have been so traumatised that we have seriously lost contact with that inner connection, our heart. Mind, when Buddhist's talk about it appears to be something different to what we mean. Rather, I would suggest like the Indians Carl Jung spoke to, the idea is to think from the heart.

    Buddhism a humanistic religion

    Buddhism could be said to be the first humanistic religion or psychology. The Buddha said, there is no God outside you. Look within, it is all there. As a religion it does significantly better than most at protecting itself from becoming a dogma or cult. The Buddist way is that the individual is more important than the group. Groups that put the group above the individual tend to degrade into dogma and cults, as the originator of the group's ideas and experiences are considered more important than the experiences of any individual. As we as humans, all have a unique history and life, that way of workings tends to diminish possibilities of growth. Putting the individual before the group, allows for individual experience to be recognised and has the added proviso that the group is able to correct itself when necessary.

    The Buddhist way is to put no truth above the deepest truth within yourself. This is so important if you are working on yourself because in order to grow, it is necessary to be open and if you want to avoid being sucked in by the many charlatans who wish to use you for their own agenda's always remember, put nothing above the deepest truth you know within yourself.


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