Thursday, July 15, 2010

Long Term Commitments Can Be Dangerous

"Our faith must be alive; it cannot just be a set of rigid beliefs and notions."
--Thich Nhat Hanh

Hanh writes, "In the beginning we might have embarked upon the path of Buddhism thanks to a belief in re-incarnation." However, he continues by noting that as the world in its impermanence moves, so must we. Continuing our practice and touching reality as it is, we may find that our beliefs change. Perhaps they are more defined, more refined; perhaps the change is more radical.

Yet we need not fear change because as we find our way through practice, through experience with the reality of the world flowing ourselves to that acceptance, realizing the Amida Buddha more and more deeply, we find a confidence and security that we may have not known before.

Our ideas are more solid, reflecting our core senses. When we form our ideas and beliefs in response to our own experience, more so than the experiences of others, we may for the first time, perhaps, find our voice, our way, our joy. In this state, no one can easily remove our belief from us.

"Making a long term commitment [can be] dangerous." If years and time pass without our continued practice, a continued commitment to living the results of our experiences, one day we may come to discover that we cannot believe as we once did. A great revelation, an epiphany may come over us informing us that our usual beliefs, our usual way is no way. We are plunged into fear, panic, darkness.

"Faith must be alive; it cannot just be a set of rigid beliefs and notions." Open to change, to experience, we open ourselves to the fruit of all--peace, joy, a spacious freedom and love. Sometimes we may think that "faith" is only thinking, only notions. Yet it is more. In our prayers, our meditation, we must put our whole self into action; we must live those actions. Merely thinking, sitting meditation is not enough.

Our actions may be modeled after those of the Buddha, a guiding example. Deeply thinking, deeply seeing the world as it is, the goodness of change will lead to us to our share in creating a more harmonious, peaceful world.