Saturday, January 19, 2008

But for the Grace of God

     Honestly, religion has never played an important part of my life, other than its presence in other people's lives and said people's association with me. It's always been by proxy, through the lens of an non-believer. Or perhaps a yet-to-believer. Christians have always been nice, but the evangelizing streak that I've encountered has always made me wonder whether folks are trying to rack up "scores" with Jesus. I do not know whether Jesus keeps count. I would like to think that Jesus has better things to do.

     But Buddhism has never scared me. Not that I'm terrified of religious ideas and not because I'm Chinese. I appreciate the duality of sin/grace, Krishna/Shiva, Ahura/Angra. It's a beautiful balancing act that gives people a huge amount of moral and spiritual choice. But as nice as that is, nothing has ever seemed as honest, as wholesome as the search for truth that Buddhism preaches.

     I suppose a large part of this comes from how peaceful Buddhist temples are. And I have visited my fair share, from Thailand to China to ones here in the good old U.S. of A. The wildly divergent styles of architecture have done little to dispel the general sense of calm that permeates these places. And I've never quite been able to pinpoint where that calm comes from. It's just like the air is lighter, more still, and I've never breathed or seen clearer than whenever I'm on temple grounds.

     But I think that I'm not ready for religion yet. Maybe I'll never be. But it's pretty comforting to know that whenever I'm ready, there are places to go, questions to ask.

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