“What distinguishes the Buddha’s program for self-transformation from the multitude of other systems proposing a similar end is the contribution made by another principle with which it is invariably conjoined. This is the principle of self-transcendence, the endeavor to relinquish all attempts to establish a sense of solid personal identity.” Bhikkhu Bodhi at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/bps-essay_16.html
I think this sums up why I am becoming more Buddhist than Christian—the emphasis on non-identification with ideas, even self-concept. As I’ve gotten older, I understand more and more just how fluid everything is, including my ideas regarding everything. Everything is subject to change. The idea of holding an opinion not subject to change, which is basically the definition of dogma, seems like a desperate attempt to find security in the slippery world of opinions.
Anything not subject to change needs its pulse checked. Responsiveness and movement are signs of life. To draw a line in the ever-shifting sands of life is to wonder, “Where was that line I drew? Where did everyone go?”
I learned many years ago that, whenever I identify with anything at all, that thing’s limitations become my own. That is no longer acceptable to me. Maybe if I found the perfect whatever, I might join it, but right now the price is just too high. The price of belonging is inevitably too high. My desire to belong has created more problems for me than anything else I can think of.
My possibilities are almost infinite if I don’t box myself in using someone else’s definition. Why would I want to limit myself as I move into the next phase of my life? Everything changes continuously and I would rather work with life’s changes than spend my time and energy living in the past that wasn’t all that great to begin with.
Ever since I started taking full responsibility for my life, reclaiming it from religious organizations and “authorities,” my life has improved dramatically. Living in a mausoleum is secure, but escaping into the fresh, insecure air of the winds of change is refreshing and invigorating. Taking responsibility is the only true path to freedom. Are there people who will take responsibility for your life? Definitely—but at the price of your unquestioning loyalty regardless of the egregiousness of their behavior. If you want someone else to take responsibility for your life, be prepared to kiss your brains good bye. Been there, done that.