Monday, November 03, 2003

An Anarcho-Religion of One
by Skald

I'm giving religion a rest for a while.

The problem with organized Buddhism is that it still has a tendency to force things-- meditation, contemplation, moral actions,..... there's a rigidity-- rules, customs, rituals of conformity: Bow three times to the statue, force yourself to sit, obey the master, don't touch the monks... and of course, like all organized religions... a puritanical streak of sexual prudishness and drug abolitionism. Social and societal norms trump the bigger truths. Monks, nuns, and priests bow to convention-- and the whole thing becomes another system of authority and control (though admittedly more benign than the Jewish-Christian-Muslim traditions).

Anarcho-Taoist-Zen: That's my religion. A "religion" without churches, temples, priests, prophets, rules, commandments. The essence of religion, said Joseph Campbell, is to say "yes" to everything. Yes to the world. Yes to the spirit. Even yes to suffering.

There's no way to avoid it-- true religion is always a religion of one. As soon as there are masters and servants, gurus and devotees, churches and temples, tithes and donations, priests and laypeople-- the "religion" is corrupted. Such a thing has already betrayed the central tenant of the Perennial Philosophy: Thou art That-- ALL things, ALL beings, are divine.... there are no chosen ones. Why give money and worship and obedience to monks, priests, or gurus? Wouldn't that effort be better spent on one's own liberation? Why bow to robes, sceptres, crosses, statues, beards, and shaved heads?

No more respect for spiritual bureaucrats.

Everyone their own priest, their own guru, their own master.

Religion, work, play, art, travel-- not separate. Religion is life. Religion is politics. Religion is food. Religion is sex. Religion is sleep. Religion is how you house and clothe yourself. Thoreau saw this.

Organized religions draw the spirit out of daily life and thus kill it. This is as true of Thai Buddhists as it is of American Christians and Malay Muslims and Indian Hindus and Israeli Jews.

Here's another entry for the Tao Te Ching:

That which calls itself religion is not.

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