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Friday, October 03, 2008
The "F" Word
Get your minds out of the gutter......I'm talking about Faith.

I've never been good at talking about my faith, what I believe. I was raised in the bible belt, brought up in the Baptist tradition, went to a Catholic school, went on mission trips......I have prostelitized in different languages. However, that never made me comfortable. One of the few things I still agree with the Baptists on, is the absolutely personal nature of faith. I have never been able to comfortably talk about faith, and sometimes I wonder why. In the christian tradition much of my reticence to talk about what I believed was the knowledge that I would spark huge arguments. That didn't always stop me. I made the news in my hometown after RU486 came out, and the local news station tramped down to the local Catholic school, and came into my religion class to film a debate. Problem was, no one was pro-choice......except me. And I had never talked about it. After 4 years of, sometimes oppressive and abusive Catholic education, I was tired of being baited and ignoring it. So I spoke up, and got labeled a "baby killer" among my more fanatic classmates. It also didn't help the fact that I knew scripture and church history better than the majority of those fanatics.

However, I promised I would talk* about the Dharma, something that's becoming more important in my life. The Dharma or the Buddha-Dharma refers to the teachings of the Buddha. There's a lot out there, but the most basic bit is called the Four Noble Truths. The most comforting part of this most basic part of the Dharma, is the acknowledgement that suffering is a part of life. Not because we're all inherently bad (the concept of original sin really pisses me off), but because of the nature of life. As a kid who lost her mom when she was 14, and learned about impermanence early on, it's a comforting thought. Better yet, WE can work to stop suffering. I've never had religion that just felt right with me. Better yet, I don't have to be a woman relating solely to male deity figures, who generally insinuate that being a woman means one is spiritually second class (women obey your husbands?!?!?!?.....screw that) or responsible for original sin (did I mention the concept of original sin pisses me off?). My current mantra connects me to Tara known by many names not the least of which is the Mother of all Buddhas. Needless to say, I feel more comfortable in Buddhism than I ever did in my Baptist or Catholic church services.

*I think I should offer a disclaimer here.....I'm a newbie to the Buddhist faith, so my knowledge isn't very complete. I am, however, trying to fix that.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 11:40 AM ¤ Permalink ¤