For those of us who come from a spiritual tradition, where there is a concept of a “personal God,” divas, saints, etc., Buddhism can seem very cold and lonely. It’s just our mind and this thing called “karma,” no beginning; no end. Austere, to say the least.
Sometimes, when life is not going well, it’s “comforting” to think that there is a spiritual presence somewhere–a “higher power, if you will, to whom we can turn, to unburden our hearts or to ask for “help,” whatever that means.
I’m sure to some Buddhist practitioners, this seems a shortcoming on the part of those of use who “can’t cut it” as Buddhists. We still want the “warm and fuzzies” of a personal God. Well, why not?
Is there a valid expression of this personal higher power in traditional Buddhism, without resorting to folk religion and superstition?
I know what you mean; this was originally one of my own issues back when I first started looking into Buddhism. There was even a period of nearly a year when I gave up Buddhism and went back to Christianity, and this was probably the biggest reason at the time. When you are used to “walking with God” and knowing that “you’ll never walk alone” and similar ideas, it’s hard to give that up and take complete responsibility for yourself.After all, you’re just one person, how can that compare to having God on your side?
All I can say is that after time, it gets easier. In my own case, I found that meditation helped quite a lot. In a way, becoming one with everything does indeed offset not having a personal god; you are the god in one sense. In another sense, you’re nothing at all. With enough meditation, your outlook on many things will change. Still, that’s probably not the perfect solution for everyone.
I’m very interested to hear what our readers have to say about this, especially those who converted into Buddhism rather than being born into it. Did you have issues of this nature, and if so, how did you deal with them? Post your comment below or send me an email.