Buddhism: Your Daily Meditation
The fifth step of the Eightfold Path is Right Livelihood, meaning to abstain from all evil living and all manner of ill-gotten livelihood.
I don’t know what the Eightfold Path is, but I do know what it means to abstain from evil living. I think that means when some child splashes in a puddle right next to me and my neatly pressed khaki pants get splotched with the murky murky water that lurks in New York City puddles, I shant wish the little yearling ill. Yikes. I think mostly that evil living is being a bad person. So this idea is not much different from most “religious” concepts. The point is to not be mean and do bad things to innocent people. What I don’t understand is why people need religion or a leader or a higher power to tell them to “be good.” Just do, or don’t and live in misery. Someone once told me that heaven and hell aren’t mythical places we metaphysically transport to when we die, but the environment you create on earth in your own life. For example, if I’m generally a good person, I don’t steal or cheat or kill people then I’m making my “heaven on earth.” That sounds a little cheesy, but I think it makes sense. If you do bad things, have no good relationships with friends or family or whomever, kill people, you live a miserable life, I would assume. And that would be your “hell”? I think the heaven part makes more sense than the hell part. If someone has no conscience then none of this mumbo jumbo even matters. They are happy being bad people. Hmm. I’m going to get a couple definitions and be right back… Okay I had a few thoughts before we move on to definitions. It is the possibility of future punishment in the afterlife for being a bad person that goads the evil doer into changing his ways. I don’t want to burn in hell or live as a rat so I better not steal this gum. Okay, that’s pretty crafty, but I don’t necessarily understand the motivation behind it. World peace? I mean why, eons ago, did someone decide sure let’s listen to this self-proclaimed prophet and try to be good people because our spiritual “father” up in “heaven” said so? I really don’t know much about religion I’m realizing as I write this. I guess my conclusion is that I look at religion intellectually without any sort of spiritual or emotional connection to it. It’s an idea I find interesting, sort of, but not because I’m searching for that “something.” I don’t have any desire to be saved or anything. I think, but definitely do not know, that Buddhism is more about thought than feeling, unlike what I have surmised about Christianity. I guess I should look into what Madonna studies. She seems to have it all figured out.
a. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
b. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.
2. One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something.
Word History: An agnostic does not deny the existence of God and heaven but holds that one cannot know for certain whether or not they exist. The term agnostic was fittingly coined by the 19th-century British scientist Thomas H. Huxley, who believed that only material phenomena were objects of exact knowledge. He made up the word from the prefix a-, meaning “without, not,” as in amoral, and the noun Gnostic. Gnostic is related to the Greek word gn sis, “knowledge,” which was used by early Christian writers to mean “higher, esoteric knowledge of spiritual things” hence, Gnostic referred to those with such knowledge. In coining the term agnostic, Huxley was considering as “Gnostics” a group of his fellow intellectuals “ists,” as he called them who had eagerly embraced various doctrines or theories that explained the world to their satisfaction. Because he was a “man without a rag of a label to cover himself with,” Huxley coined the term agnostic for himself, its first published use being in 1870.
One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.
1. Often Kabbalah A body of mystical teachings of rabbinical origin, often based on an esoteric interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures.
2. A secret doctrine resembling these teachings.
I think for now, I’m sticking with atheist, but I’m still going to try to be a good person because I think that feels better.