I am pleased to see this discussion happen. And I love the tolerance with
which it is carried out. Unfortunately, as I am European Time bound, I have to
come late with my comments.
From my understanding, we are in a matter which has left areas of
"traditional local religion", meaning having left behind the monotheistic autocratic
religion we were raised in. An appealing factor with those is that they don't
encourage you to look for truth (or what you might consider as true) but
basing on some kind of old-time reading they supply you their interpretations and
demand you to accept this for truth. Even worse, they have tried to keep one
in line with psychological tricks such as "if you don't believe, you'll be
heavily punished by some mystirious supernatural force".
If you like to believe that the seed of tolerance and compassion might also
be found in those religions, namely all three of them, then it is at least we
have left behind those stone-heads who were trying to shape and control our
lives in a way they approved whatever good (or not good) for.
As for myself, I started a sincere search about the question "what is really
true" and "what is the ultimte truth behind all this I can perceive?" right
after maturity. And it has led me a long way. In some way it has been this
"spiritual shopping", looking here and there, taking up bits and pieces all
along to finally form some sort of basic understanding of this. Finding out that
there was no ultimate truth, and that what I consider true is a very
personal and instable conception of what my senses receive as information.
There are now two areas of religiousness and spirituality that complement
each other: shamanism and buddhism. This is what has been the result, and I
stick to it. It has been the result of long search, testing, practising, proving
a.s.f. and after that I eventually cannot say that this "spiritual shopping"
was no good.
Don't get me wrong. I guess I understand what you meant. Some people have a
certain concept in their minds, mainly ego-driven, how they would like to see
the world and its abouts. And then they take up one and another Idea,
technique, practise, whatsoever to confirm this concept, together with some
condemnation of others (ideas as well as people) who/which do not comply. This kind
of shopping is something I also disapprove.
However, as we as American&Eupean-grown people have - due to 1,200 years of
christianity - lost alomost any contact to our spiritual roots provided by
shamanic/druidic cultures as the Germannen, the Celts, the Slawics, and others
alike, and as Northern American Native spirituallity isn't really our
culture, we - as simply being cut off - need to go and simply look. Today's Asian
cultures have close contact to their roots, and this is something that attracts
(though we are not Indian or Tibetan or Chinese or whatsoever). Same with
the Native Religions that have survived. A very famous polynesian saying is "we
are the land" (ka 'aina au), and that leads to something many people feel:
to find something for oneself where we re-legate to ourself (whatever this
maybe), to harmony with our fellows, and to harmony with the planet we live on.
As we have lost roots, we need this shopping to come back to the basic ideas
who to come closer back to this desired harmony. And the ways to it are
numerous, as all kinds of explanations and practises are also concepts, ideas,
models, not the reality itself.
Even with Buddhism alone, you will be very confused if you look into
different traditions. Tibetan lamas - so I was told at least with the Gelugpa, and
with other schools just the same - take 15 to 25 years to complete their
education, with all the tulkus and rinpoches being assumed having practised
lifetimes before coming to the very point. However I have met people who in their
own way through this traditon have had their "Theravada times", have had their
"Tibetan times", have had their "Zen times", eventually stopping at Poona
for some years to listen to Rajneesh as well, and have come to a very distinct
point in practise and understanding of which I think a great deal. It is
possible, but it means you let yourself being guided along. If it appears, then
do it, if it doesn't, don't look for it. As for Drudche I assume this
Amitabha-phowa-initiation may be something very essential for his present-life
spiritual practise, so it will continiue to reveal its effects even more over the
years, for somebody else there may be others. I would be just very careful if
I discoverd that dispite some thourough discipline I would lose effects or
some sort of inner contact/response with it. Then it wasn't the thing I should
have been going for. Then it might be better abandoning the whole thing and
go for another. This is also shopping, but it helps finding one's place - A
good working intuition provided.
Namasté and Tashi Delek and Gassho and whatsoever
have a profound and happy day