It is the simple and clear wisdom of this and the many other teachings that keeps me rooted in the Buddhist religion and philosophies. I have the utmost respect for any person's choice of religion. I have the utmost respect for anyone who clearly lives the basic tenets of their religion. The intent of religion in it's simplest form is to provide a moral guide and a compass for day to day life. If that is the outcome of that practice then we have success. What I see way to often, is so very many practitioners who make a grand presentation of their religion and the amount of time they spend in church or temple and in bible study, yet they show none of those teachings in their day to day life or behaviors. Truth, morality, compassion and basic human decency rarely make a showing.
More wars, deaths and outright hatred have been rooted in religion. It is the exclusionary piece that is a problem, as well as the fanaticism that all too often comes with it. Any truth, followed to an extreme becomes a fallacy and the follower a fanatic. If you don't accept (take your pick) Jesus, Allah, etc. as your savior then you are not going to heaven. You are evil, a heretic. Well, to be blunt here, if your god would exclude any human being, regardless of how good, moral and compassionate a human being they are, because they don't follow one particular religious edict, then quite frankly, that's not a god I want anything to do with.
I can't count the number of times I have been told, "well I am going to heaven". The implication of course is that I (Alicia) am not. I am okay with that. I am okay with living my life with as much decency as I can muster. I am okay with trying, although I fail countless times, to live compassionately, kindly, truthfully and with simple moral decency. I am not in need of saving, conversion or proselytizing. Nor, do I feel the need to to save, convert or proselytize to anyone else. It would be nice though, to have mutual respect and acceptance. It would be nice though, to see more people truly live the tenets of their religion, not just attend church, post a fish on their car, and feel they are guaranteed one all expense paid trip to heaven in the afterlife.
There are people I meet who do practice their religious teachings in day to day life. They are few and far between, but they do exist out there. They have internalized the teachings and are wonderful proponents not of a particular religion, but of how human beings who study the word, any word, should live. That my friends, is religious success. And that my friends is my simple point here.