View, Meditation and Action

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The Importance of a Meaningful Belief System

While many people want to learn Buddhist meditation, they are often very skeptical and uneasy about the philosophies and religious elements that go with it. Is this true for you?

Many think that Buddhist practices and meditative experiences can be easily separated from belief systems within which they are embedded. Do you?

Many have the idea that belief systems, especially religious belief systems, are dangerous and regard anyone who is a "believer" as a dogmatic person. They think that those who subscribe to a religious belief system have completely shut their minds off from new ideas and remain mere prisoners of tradition. Does this describe you? How is this true for you?

In order to make sense of meditation practice, we have to draw on certain Buddhist concepts. For example, to do meditation we have to believe that there is such a thing as spiritual liberation and that ignorance and the defilements of the mind inhibit us from realizing that goal.

What beliefs do you bring to your Buddhist practice? To your meditation practice?

Do you come to meditation practice believing that there is such a thing as liberation, that ignorance is the cause of suffering, and that the conflicting emotions of the mind restrict your ability to realize your goal?

If we have no philosophical orientation we will have no idea what we are trying to achieve.

While it is true that people can be opinionated and fundamentalist in the way that they cherish their beliefs, this does not mean that we can embark on a spiritual path without believing in certain essential elements of spirituality. Although it has been said that we should learn to dispense with our beliefs, if we have no philosophical orientation we will have no idea what we are trying to achieve, where we are trying to go, or what sort of personal predicaments or psychological and spiritual conflicts we are trying to understand.

Do you have a view of where you are trying to go, what you are trying to understand?