October 4, 2023

इ – डायरी एक्सप्रेस

ताजा र निष्पक्ष समाचारका लागि

What is the religion we need ?

9 min read

Bhesh Jung Badal

Action leads to reaction, cause to effect, striving to separation, all of which are based on the fundamental distinction made by the mind, the distinction of the seeking self and the unattained goal. It is the separation between feeling and thought. Thought is here, but feeling is elsewhere, when that feeling is an unsatisfied desire. When feeling is satisfied for a moment, thought is elsewhere to seek for further sensation. In that constant separation lies the origin of disharmony sorrow. In that disharmony and conflict is born that craving for future happiness, for a future life free from struggle, which is shown as the goal of many religions, but which is nothing more elevated than secret self-se. king The struggling self of to-day is projected in the future and there imagined as a self without conflict. A mere delusion, for the very idea of self
must be opposed to others-than-self; the very idea of future bliss and striving thereto involves a planning for escape which again is separation, a cause of further conflict. Like the problem of birth is not solved by death, so the problem of sorrow is not solved by
bliss, for there also the roct of the conflict still remains, namely self. The desire for the end of conflict and sorrow leads to the pursuit of the opposite and again we create a religion based on selfishness. The problem like any other problem cannot be solved elsewhere or in the future; its solution lies there where the problem arises And that is the religion we need.
That problem is my problem, hence nobody else can solve it. To follow others is useless, for they were solving their problems. Yet we make of our religious teachers a standard of our life; we wish them to solve the problem for us. This inertia, which paralyses all who do not feel the need for living the truth for themselves, has made millions throughout the ages believe in dogmas which are irrational, unnatural, only creating more conflict Hereby they frustrate their
own search, for instead of making themselves free, they forge new chains and fetters. Man fears
to be free, for to be free means to stand ‘alone, to bear the responsibility for oneself, to take the
initiative, to walk the untrodden path; it means to think. Rational though man claims to be, he is
most reluctant to think for himself.
If truth is freedom, then morality must be without obligation, life must not be dominated by
a god, salvation must not be of a self, religion must not come from outside. Freedom comes from
within; it is within the problem of life that the solution of truth must be found. True freedom
cannot be found in the supernatural, but in natural living and thinking. The fear to think must be
overcome before the truth can be seen. When thought is freed and action strong enough to follow
the lead of thought, then only will the religion we need be put in practice.
Knowledge with a practical application that is the religious need of all ages. Knowledge
which cannot be made practical is vain speculation which develops pride and conceit. Practice
without knowledge is blind faith and superstition. But when the universe is understood as
natural, and life in the universe,–be it intellectual, emotional or passionate,—as subject to the
same natural laws, then religion also will remain natural; morality will be natural and life will be
good and rational.

The most essential point in religion seems to be to experience the need of religion. This
however might not lead to a proper solution. For the experience of a need is the feeling of
emptiness. This feeling of incompleteness usually will produce a desire to fill that emptiness.
Thus an ideal of completeness is set up and a sincere but futile striving is begun toward the
attainment of that ideal. The problem is seen merely as a cross-word puzzle, and all sorts of
speculations on its solution provide an interesting pastime. That is done by intellectually
approaching the subject. One will speak of and discuss the fact of suffering and with patchwork
remedies like social service and Beveridge-plans one will try to bring about some improvement.
Even though we know the intuition which brought deliverance to Siddhattha Gotama, in us it
remains mere knowledge, the knowledge which is also contained in books. But “all formulated
doctrines all books, all speech and even all thought are inadequate to express the full nature of
absolute truth” (Dr. Mc Govern). Like a mathematical problem cannot be solved by sentiments
of love, so truth cannot he found by logic. The light of enlightenment is burning in every
thought, but delusion hides the light like a lamp hidden in a jar. How many must have come
within a hair’s breadth from full realisation like Alara Kalama, who had realised the plane of
Naught and yet could not come to passionlessness (Majjh. N. 26, Ariya-pariyesana Sutta); like
Purana Kassapa, who taught non-resistance and denied moral action (Digha N 2, Samanna. phala
Sutta), but did not realise “nonself”; like Pakuddha Kaccayana, who denied a creator, who was
not deluded by the seeming opposition of pleasure and pain, of matter and life, and yet believed
in the indestructibility of physical elements as well as of a soul, the principle of life (ibid).
Similarly, all Buddhists know the doctrine of soullessness but the fact that they still have
selfish motives shows that their knowledge has come through learning and not through intuition
which is realisation of the truth. For, if it is once realised that indivi-duality is only a series of
limitations, a series of actions (kamma) which accumulate, hinder and burden, which lead to the
misconception of “self” through which arises the distinction between I and you, and which
further leads to likes or dislikes,—if it is once realised that this I is only a process which cannot
proceed without the concourse of other processes, then all separateness which is delusion will
disappear like darkness for the sum.
To bring this delusion to the light there must be virtue because vice beclouds the mind;
there must be renunciation because attachment binds the mind; there must be learning to
overcome ignorance But above all there must be tranquillization where the mind is not longer
swayed either by emotional sensation or speculative argumentation. The intuition of pure
religion does not solve a problem by supplying the answer. We give an answer to the problems
of others; that is what is done by the religions we have fabricated. Those religions can be
explained in questions and answers of a catechism. Those solutions are only key-answers,
pointers perhaps, but no solutions: the problem still remains. But true religion which is not of
dogmas and rituals, but which is life itself, solves the problem by dissolving it, so that no answer
is further wanted. Thus the Buddha solved the problem of sorrow, not by procuring happiness to
satisfy himself, not in ending suffering by mortifying and killing himself, but by the intuition in
“non-self” This intuition cannot be given, because it is there already, like the solution of any

problem is in the problem itself; it cannot be taught, because it must grow from inner necessity,
from necessity through inner development. Thus learning, methodical thinking which is mind
control, discussion which enlarges the viewpoint, should not be despised as having nothing to do
with religion. On the contrary they are very necessary, preparatory stages, like virtuous conduct
and detachment. The problem of which religions are seeking the solution will not solve itself
spontaneously; it must become an obsession till the mind becomes free from sorrow and the
delusion which caused it, like a festering wound throws out the pus and the thorn which caused
the ulcer.
True religion, the religion we need, cannot be forced on the one hand; it will not come to
pass, all by itself on the other hand. Misdirected effort and agitation would give a wrong support,
taking the delusion of self as the goal of striving. Lack of effort and sloth, would lead to faith and
fatalism. Hence the Buddha said: “Unstayed and unstriving did I cross the flood. For, when 1
kept myself stayed then verily I sank ; when I strove hard, then verily I was whirled about”
(Sanyutta N. I, 1). The effort required therefore is one of preparation, of clearing, of protection
rather, than of creation, production, formation. Even if one understands the vital necessity of the
process of breathing to the life of the organism, one should know too that breath is not life, and
that mere effort in breathing cannot produce life. With absolute sincerity and a well-disciplined
mind the clouds of karma have to pass away by keeping thoughts undefiled. Then only the clear
brightness within may shine forth revealing true religion that self is naught, that our problems
were delusions; that the solution was to be found in the losing of the separate self; that all the
outer manifestations of form and phenomena are not real but symbols; that all the activities of the
mind discriminating this and that big and small, good and bad, are only based on the illusory
distinction between self and non-self, and are hence unreal and imaginary.
The problem caused by the conflict between self and non-self does not cease by the
elimination of one party because, the distinction being unreal, both parties are delusory. To
eliminate one and to leave the other would not solve the problem, but only intensify it without
chance of solution as the conflict will have been crushed. This trial to eliminate one of the
opposing parties is nothing but a desire to escape, a kind of selfishness, even if one calls it “no-
self.” The problem can only be solved by solving both factors, for then alone when self and
other-than-self are seen as delusions, a true amalgamation may take place, thus actually and
really solving the problem, ending the conflict without escape, without desire, without
selfishness, without striving, without limitation. That is the religion we need. Those who see
“self” as the source of craving, and hence as the origin of sorrow, and who then try to overcome
sorrow by the elimination of “self”, might easily do so with a secret desire for happiness which
again would be some subtler kind of self-seeking through a desire to escape from sorrow. But
sorrow is as much a delusion as self. And so is pleasure but a delusory expression of self. Only
the understanding that both pleasure and pain, both joy and sorrow, are rooted in the artificial
distinction between self and non-self, will instead of eliminating one part by the overcoming of
self, merely see this delusion as a product of action. Not by counter-action, but by the cessation
of activity which leads to distinction, will this delusion disappear.

When the absence of sorrow would leave a void that emptiness itself will cry out for
satisfaction, a sign that self” is still there Thus it happens that people make religions to procure
eternal happiness for them. But the religion which overcomes the delusion and the distinction of
self and non-self will not perceive a void when “self” is gone, for it will perceive that-
disharmony has vanished. The discord is solved in the harmonious unity of an accord, where no
more self, no more non-self or others in their separateness can be distinguished. There can be- no
individual joy or sorrow any longer, for all individuality has disappeared in the process. In that
process Ices all reality, while all seeking for security outside is delusion and must lead to
In that harmony, in which all self and non-self are lost and where all conflict has come to
an end, all search for satisfaction becomes senseless, love is not any longer acquisitive, truth is
complete and thus the problem of life solved in itself, and through itself. The want of religion
will have vanished through the understanding and over-coming of fear, without rituals, without
prayer, without salvation, without God or Gods, by the working out of the problem of self in
ourselves Self is the saviour of self’ (Dhp. v. 160). While the religions man wanted and manmade
for his own satisfaction and security are the walls of a prison erected by his own fear and
ambition, hope, hate and love,—the religion we need will break down those very walls of
selfishness and bring about freedom and harmony, where joy and sorrow will be neither mine nor
others’, for they will have disappeared together with the delusions which created them.

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