| My life has been transformed by my practice of meditation and by the Buddhist theory behind it. When the Buddha had his great Awakening, he was at first reluctant to teach because what he discovered was so subtle and difficult for the conventional mind to grasp that he had doubts as to whether it was teachable. Yet there are skills which can be learned, and which the Buddha taught, that will lead the mind to a whole series of awakenings and release from the stress & pain that appears to the ordinary person as part & parcel of the human condition.
These skills have to do with paying attention and opening to experience. It is a matter of STOPPING and SEEING what is going on in the mind/body process--right here, right now. True happiness--happiness which is not dependent on things outside--comes from seeing clearly the nature of things, or, to put it another way, the nature of mind.
The mind/body process usually yields something we call "I" and something we call "God". We believe in "self" and "other", "me and the world"-- and we wonder how to get back to God or the Source, how to be at peace in the world. But peace and belonging, bliss and unity with God are already here! They are the very core of our being and can be realized now, through the skills we call mindfulness & equanimity (attention, plus acceptance & openness). Buddhism is non-theistic, but adding the concept of God does not change the Buddha's great discovery: As Kabir, the great Indian (Muslim) poet, said of God, " When you really look for me, you will see me instantly--you will find me in the tiniest house of time." And Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God is within you."
Awakening (enlightenment) is to merge with God, but Buddhists don't name that ineffable something for which the concept of God is a metaphor. The Buddhist Way makes sense to me, so that is my approach to God. And the Buddhist Way is to look deeply into the experience that is actually going on--here-and-now--to see the truth here. The Truth shall set you free. This my religion.
So, what can I put on my altar, in my religion? Somehow, I want to build an altar to the present moment and worship there. This website is my presentation of a kind of altar to the present moment. The contents of these pages are my offering to the sacred, to the Source. It is my wish that what you find here may somehow help you to develop the skills that will lead to an Awakening.
Gregory M. Smith
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Last updated: August 15, 2005, 7-5-07
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