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The Middle Way

04 Sep

So because of my scientific-spirituality, when people asked me what religion I am, I always say “I’m a Buddhist”. Technically, Buddhism can be seen as nominally atheistic, even though there are “gods” in Buddhism, they’re more like supermen and/or advanced alien lifeforms and not anthropomorphized objects of reverence. They go through the cycle of birth and rebirth (samsara) just like us.

Anyway, while describing my spirituality to people, I always talk about the need for “balance” and “non-extremism”. Christianity fails at this because it’s all about hating life/the world and seeking refuge from “bad” and trying to obsess over and revel 24/7 in “good”. My thing was that sort of mentality is just as damaging as consistently engaging in “evil” or “bad”. All things are necessary for life – like you can’t function if your world is 100% light and 0% darkness just like you can’t function if your life is 100% darkness and 0% light.

From a scientific or physics standpoint, the only way we can function in day to day life is maintaining balances – or equilibrium as it’s called in physics. When you lean on a wall, the wall also leans on you. If the equilibrium isn’t kept, either the wall you’re leaning on is going to collapse (bad) or you’re going to hurt yourself by pushing on the wall too much (bad). It’s like this in everything I see in nature – the sun is a huge ball of equilibrium which balances between gravity sucking in hydrogen and making explosions, which creates outward pressure. As soon as one of these things overtakes the other (gravity or pressure) the sun will cease to exist as it is. Even too much water is bad for you; people can die from water poisoning.

In Buddhism, apparently the Buddha (before he became “The” Buddha) tried overdoing the “good” in the Christian paradigm – fasting, exposure to pain, celibacy, etc. – and realized that this amounts to nothing more than self-hatred and self-mortification. You can’t grow spiritually as a person if you hate yourself. Just like you can’t physically grow if you deny yourself valuable nutrients. So, he discovered the Middle Way, which is a philosophy of non-extremism. A middle way between the extremes of self-gratification and self-mortification.

Balance. Equilibrium. The Middle Way.

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Posted by on September 4, 2008 in buddhism, Christianity, the middle way

 

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