I have no time for beliefs in the supernatural anymore. I only believe in what is tangible and real in this moment. What lies beyond death will be what it will be at that time, but it has no relevance now, except as a pointless game of speculation.
If there is a God, then whatever it may be will be just as natural as I. A permutation of existence, all-encompassing, entirely universal, abstract and beyond the lexicon of language. God does not need to be called “God”. Likewise, I do not need to be called “I”.
We are continually faced with the inadequacy of language to encapsulate the whole without division or separation. The labels applied to things by words, blind us from seeing things as they truly are, often leading us into beliefs of delusion and fantasy. We have a tendency to fill in the gaps of our knowledge with fanciful ideas, however unproven, to comfort us.
What I am far more interested in are patterns of behaviour that transform the world we live right now. Actions based upon compassion and love, applied through a prism of wisdom, whether by a Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Pagan, Buddhist… have very real effects upon our world. These behaviours should be cultivated and encouraged, because by nature they neutralise the effects of negative activities. They inspire, comfort and increase harmony within communities. We don’t need to have faith in speculative concepts, we just need to observe the results of positive actions, such as compassion. They are apparent, without the need to believe in anything supernatural. There is no reason to believe in the unreal, when the real is so much more magical. It is simply a matter of how we wish to see; a choice of perspective.
…Truth is the manifest of reality as it truly is, not what we wish it to be.
It is easy to sigh, throw up our arms and despairingly say, “What a world we live!”
BUT, it is important that we shine light where there is darkness. We must be strong and show courage as individuals to stand up against ideologies of hate. We must demonstrate love and compassion, so that those void of such qualities are made aware of the futility and inferiority of violence and intolerance.
We must all be much, much better than those who choose to destroy!
I’m a Buddhist. I practice Zazen (Zen meditation) regularly, I read, I contemplate. I also acknowledge that I don’t yet know ultimate Truth. To pretend to do so would be arrogance in the extreme.
My faith connects with me and helps me find meaning through the mysteries of everyday life and beyond. I personally believe that Lord Buddha’s teachings offer a very practical path to finding peace.
…What I believe, doesn’t mean I am necessarily right. I can no more prove my beliefs to be true than anyone else of another faith. My beliefs alone make no difference to the world, other than give me a label. It is how I act in the world that matters.
I have Christian, Muslim, Pagan, Jewish, Hindu and many other friends of faiths, who are close friends. There is no question that they are very good people, trying to be a force for light, rather than darkness, in the world. We have mutual respect for each other, and share in a single goal for peace, understanding and love.
We all need to celebrate together our wide-eyed, shared appreciation for the mystery of the Universe. Together, we should hold hands and breathe in the brief moment that is allowed us to explore it. We should waste no time fighting each other.
Let’s all work for peace, and encourage an end to all suffering.
Let’s continue to campaign for those who need help and support.
Let’s change the world with positivity and love.
Let’s find friendship with those we thought could never be our friends.
Let’s be tolerant and appreciative of the diversity of lifestyles and faiths.
Let’s try to become informed about the things we don’t understand.
Let’s make bridges between all nations.
Let’s be resolute in finding inner peace and beauty.
Let’s be wise in every decision we make.
Let’s be generous in spirit and heart to those in need.
– El-Branden Brazil
I call myself a Buddhist, but I believe that such labels are irrelevant. I cannot be certain, but I like to believe that Christ was a Buddha, although he was not a Buddhist.
The reality is that such labels only divide us in our mutual search for Truth. Calling yourself a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jain, Pagan, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic… whatever, does not give you the privilege to Truth alone. To investigate reality, we must first engage with it, looking beyond the preconceived, conditioned cultures we are indoctrinated into. We must step out of the comfort zones we inhabit, open our minds and embrace the possibility that we might well be wrong. Just search, question and seek absolute truths, even if you never find them, because they do exist.
Surely, whilst we may ALL be wrong in what we believe in, the least we can do, in this vast, unanswered moment in space and time, is to hug and love our brothers and sisters of different faith. Our faiths might be unprovable, but LOVE AND COMPASSION ARE ABSOLUTE, because we have all seen the results they bring. The abstract dimensions of faith should be less of a priority, whilst the direct actions of love and compassion amplified, because, regardless of faith, these are qualities that bring positive effects to all.
It is true
That as I lie here
In my final throes
I recall with painful clarity
All the suffering I had caused.
It is true
That I regret so much
And if I could
I would resolve right now
Every hurt, every scold
Every pain that you endured.
It is true
My life is ending.
How I could have lived it well
If I had listened
Been a friend
Instead of selfish, mean and cruel.
It is true
It is ALL true
That I had done you great wrong
And now as I lie here dying
With you sat there
By my side.
It is true
That your kindness brings shame
As you talk and hold my hand.
For if our roles had been reversed
I would have done the same.
It is true
Your compassion helps me
Understand all that I have missed
And in my desperate fading moments
I have this chance to make amends.
It is true
I beg forgiveness
As my body begins to fail
To which you gently inform me
That you forgave me long ago.
– By El-Branden Brazil
To be mindful of others
To treasure, respect and worship others:
The distant brothers and sisters
We pass everyday.
Each and everyone of them
A story at play
Of love and disappointments,
Hopes and pleasures,
Hardship and despair.
They, like you,
Have experienced life:
The love of parenthood,
The love of feeling praised.
The love found in suffering.
The love of losing ones.
We, as humans, just want to breathe,
And look out upon the stars,
Love those we bring to bear.
Love those who inevitably cross the threshold.
Be sacred in experiencing
Our brief moment of existence
Love, love, love…
Because that is All
And nothing more.
Words by El-Branden Brazil