Growing up in the U.S. (California), almost all of my friends were either Christian or Catholic. My family wasn’t.
My parents were “religious drop-outs”. In no way do I say that to suggest it was bad or good, it was really just the resulting combination of U.S. freedom and hundreds of year’s worth of effort to push specific beliefs off on to the rest of the world.
And don’t think I’m knocking Christianity. It’s not Jesus’ teachings that are to blame, but rather well-intentioned but misguided individuals. Those living today that are still pushing their beliefs off on to others simply do it because that’s what they were taught. This began a very long time ago, and unfortunately, has influenced many good people.
I can’t speak for elsewhere, but in the U.S. that led to a pretty big “backlash” of sorts. Still, today, “religion” as a whole (whatever that word means) is on the decline in the U.S., which in the U.S. really means Christianity/Catholicism.
So, that created an effect (along with certain groups “resisting” scientific discovery, which didn’t help). It was the mass “dropping out” of children from the religion(s) their parents and ancestors devoted their lives to, because as we all know we can’t see ourselves very clearly (unless we practice), but others can see us with clarity.
Many saw something they didn’t like and decided they didn’t want to affiliate themselves with it.
Fast-forward, this led me to grow up utterly dumbfounded about religion in just about every aspect. But I have to say, I’m so glad for that, because when it came time that I began studying it I was able to come at it from a much-removed point of view.
I think it’s because of this that I’ve been able to notice the beauty in all the various wisdom traditions of the world, including Christianity, and for that, I’m very grateful.
I can see clearly how Christianity, Islam, and of course Hinduism (among others) are directly connected to Buddhism, and in that I feel rooted to them just as much as I do Buddhism.
At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to find peace. And fighting each other isn’t going to help us do that.
So whether you’re Christian, Catholic, agnostic, atheistic, or something else altogether, consider this a friendly invitation to allow Buddhism to enhance your own life & tradition in a peaceful and harmonious way.
Here’s to an enlightened society.
7 Buddhist Teachings That Will Help You Overcome Life’s Most Difficult Challenges and Find Peace
We all essentially suffer from at least one of the below challenges, if not more than one, which is why I feel that connecting with Buddhist wisdom, whether directly or through the lens of your own tradition (if you have one) is so powerful.
Whatever it is you’re working to overcome, I hope this list can be of help to you.
Here are 7 Buddhist teachings that will help you overcome life’s most difficult challenges and find peace:
1. Cultivating understanding + compassion allows us to cool anger
At the heart of Buddhism is the practice of realizing a greater understanding of yourself and the world around you.
What many of us don’t realize is that it’s this very lack of understanding ourselves and the world around us which causes us to suffer so much.
And one of the ways this can manifest is in a deep anger or resentment towards others.
Buddhism teaches us to handle our anger “skillfully” (a word used often in Buddhism), which means many things, most notably leaning in to our anger mindfully simply with the power of our awareness or “presence”, which allows us to “step away” from it and view it more clearly so that we can identify its source and then release it.
This leads to understanding, and understanding leads to the cultivation of compassion, the quality of being able to “feel” what others feel and in so being compelled to send our love to them.
Anger is one of two emotions which leads to aggression and war. Most Middle Eastern warfare is based mostly on anger, anger towards the “opposition” because they defy their own beliefs.
But this anger could never survive under the right understanding. It would be cooled like water hitting a flame.