Aside

do all spiritual paths eventually lead to God?

21 Oct

I watched a documentary movie this weekend based on the life of Chogyam Trunpa, a controversial former Tibetan monk who founded Tibetan Buddhism in the US. I do not wish to discuss the man himself (that’s a subejct for a different discussion)

 The movie gave me an insight into what Buddhism is about and the attraction it holds for westerners. Indeed, in our materialism, pressurized lives, neuroses, our empirical way of thinking and all the other faulty Western ideas that we hold to be the be all and end all of everything, Buddhism can be a healthy antidote. Yet the goal of Buddhism, to reach ‘an enlightened state’ is a self-serving purpose. At the end of the day a person would choose Buddhist practices because they are good and healthy for him. Yes, on the way he might pull himself out of his own ego somewhat and take another pair of glasses to look at the world.

But. But we have to know that the only true antidote for everything and anything that stops us from being who we should be is God. A human being is selfish, self-seeking, self-absorbed and addicted to his physical ‘needs’. Practices like meditation are dead-ends until that person can start to think Higher. God created that ‘inner self’ that can produce calm and enlightenment, but that same inner self longs to be connected with its Creator.

But surely, one could argue, it is better for a person to be in a state of spiritual enlightenment/awareness rather than be stuck in themselves. Surely it is better to develop and to evolve, with or without God. This is an interesting question. 

 

10 Hear the word of the Lord,
    you rulers of Sodom;
listen to the instruction of our God,
    you people of Gomorrah!
11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—
    what are they to me?” says the Lord.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
    of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
    in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to appear before me,
    who has asked this of you,
    this trampling of my courts?
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
    Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
    I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
    I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
    I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
    I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
    I am not listening.

Your hands are full of blood!

16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
    Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
    stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow. (Isiah chapter 1)

Hashem is calling compassion,kindness and simplicity, pure and simple but in His name.

The answer is that the yearning for God will lead to God, and not anything else. That is not to say, however that we do not have something to learn (either positive or negative) from other spiritual practices. In Isiah, God says it straight. He hates these ‘religious practices’. They mean nothing to him. Eastern practices involved heightened awareness. God wants us to come before him clean, as his own precious children and not in some meaningless ritual.

So let’s start to seek Him. If, along the way we find tools to help us for this purpose, then all the better. But we must never lose sight of the goal.

 

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