Religion, spirituality and what is in between

Yesterday I listened to a Korean chant of Buddhist monk and he sounded a bit like my mother’s uncle Shuli when he was a cantor. Thrilling voice, as if he opens a hatch to the sky and the words inserted into the heart of god and yours.
In the Korean chant there were sometimes Tibetan bowls, the sound of a mallet hitting the bowl carry with itself a wave of pure harmonized vibrations that are so pleasant to the ear.

    I assume many people who turn to religion, after being secular, do it to feel something deeper and meaningful in their life.

I also turned to Buddhism for that reason.
However when I look at Buddhism (which has vary nuances and different movements) I don’t see something that I see in religion; and that something is hierarchy.
Rigid Hierarchy, criticism, interpretations and prohibitions.

In Buddhism all humans are equal. Men, women, animals, all living souls.
There is no group of people who takes the responsibility of navigating other believer’s life.
There is no segregation, no selection, whoever want to join and meditate is welcome.
The hard work will already filter those who really want to stay from those who came just to see what the hype is all about. You don’t need someone to tell you what to do, how to behave, what is forbidden and what is allowed for you to stay in the right path.  
There are teachers and students, there is a hierarchy in this but there it ends. The teacher direct and navigate the student, but does not tell him or order him dos and do not. The teacher does not count as the higher authority, the wisest and smartest, the only one who knows better than anyone else.
He is not there to tell the student how to act.
The teacher himself is learning all the time and on the same path.
Teachers in Yoga and Zen schools often explain that there is no limit to learning and it does not stop at one point – when you know everything and that is it. Learning is a never-ending path.
Teachers of Buddhism and Zen supposed to tame their ego, and preferably be without it as much as possible :).

Chakras Yoga Amsterdam

When I see people turning to religion because they are looking for closeness to a deity, to spirituality, looking for something “beyond”; it feels a shame to me if they find themselves in movements that act with discrimination, patronize, exclusion, violence and degradation of some of the followers. Sometimes I think people are just looking for someone to tell them what to do, and not merely spirituality.            

I know in some countries Buddhism is a religion with all the ceremonies, statues praying, incense lighting etc. I know that in some countries people have died because of Buddhism, killed or murdered in the name of it or against it. I know that in some countries Buddhism is related to corruption and politics because of the governments or armies ruling those countries.
I do not relate to this kind of Buddhism…. Because I do not relate to politics or countries.
I relate to the beauty in the spiritual teaching of Buddhism.

It often happens also in monotheistic religions that people stretch the idea and ideology of the religion to serve some purposes they think are right.
clichés are true in this case, it is not religion that is violent – it is the ideas of people and where they are taking it.

I am a non-competitive person and for me the notion that all living souls are the same, is somehow soothing, relaxing and peacefully idea.
Ideas of hierarchy, discrimination, group of people that decide what is wrong / right according to their interpretation is less appealing.

Everyone should search and find their own way, what suit them the most. I hope people don’t forget their own personal freedom on the way.
To me spiritual growth is evolution of the mind. I wish everybody could experience it in their lifetime.

What are your thoughts? :)

This is the Korean chant I was listening to:


I think in the pursuit you can always create yourself the way. 

I think in the pursuit you can always create yourself the way.