I will preface this post by admitting I know as much about Buddhism as I know about repairing lawnmowers. Which is only saying I know the bits that I’ve read, without much context and a little I’ve heard in my psych class. Well, I learned about Buddhism in psych, not lawnmowers. Lawnmowers I learned from Dad.
Anyway, I think Buddhism is interesting… First because eastern cultures place more value on compassion, understanding and kindness. While we Westerners place value on money, career success and independence. As soon as I heard that, I was a lot more interested in Buddhism. I mean, what a concept placing more value in being nice to someone than how much money you make or your position on the org chart? Genius!
Since then, I’ve been reading more and more about Buddhism. Not necessarily because I see myself following it exclusively, but because I think there’s something to be learned and taken away from every religion. And open-mindedness should be embraced, not feared as it often times seems to be, at least in my personal experience with Christianity. Hell, even in this class as we discussed Buddhism and Zen, both of which I believe the teacher said are considered more science than religion (I believe I’m remembering that correctly), some students became very defensive and felt the need to defend the existence of God (which isn’t denied, by the way), Christianity as the only religion, or their discomfort with the discussion. I, on the other and, placed this lecture in the top two of lectures. Right behind or tied with Rollo May, who I found unusually intriguing. But that’s a post for another day.
The other thing I found intriguing as I read more was that sex isn’t considered dirty or wrong or designed only for reproductive purposes. Rather, using relationships dishonestly is when it becomes wrong. For example (this s my personal deduction), it would be wrong of me to have flings without feelings, or le to someone about my feelings for him to have sex with him, etc. But if I’m in a committed relationship and am in love, regardless of being married or actively trying to have a baby, that relationship isn’t wrong.
Now, let me restate, I’ve read very little, so I might be taking this out f context, but even if I’m wrong, I think this defines MY personal feelings about sex. Sex outside of marriage, but within a meaningful context, isn’t necessarily bad just because you’re missing a piece of paper. And the only reason to have sex ISN’T just to have babies, which I’ve never understood anyway. How can something so fun, so intimate and so connecting only be ok if you’re having babies?? Are infertile couples not supposed to have sex? What about post-menopausal women?
I haven’t read much so far, but what I ave has been endlessly eye-opening. And then again, much of Buddhism is similar to Christianity. Lots of their basic set of rules includes what we Christians call the Ten Commandments.