How do we associate with the Buddha? In our mind, Buddha is probably a “greater” being that is larger than life. A character that we cherish in our mind, almost like a fairy tale figure. A “god” like figure.
The Buddha said that after his Parinirvana, disciples should rely on the Buddhist precepts as their guide in life. He said that those who understand his teachings sees Him.
However, how many of us really relate to Buddha in this manner? Or truly sees (understand) his teachings?
Our mind habitually have stray thoughts through interaction with the world. We then form beliefs and opinions. We then try to correlate to our religion. Thus further justifying our personal belief and opinions. Establishing our position.
In a way, we are just inflating our ego. This is where the real danger of religion begins. This is when evil or sufferings are done to ourselves and others in the name of religion.
Can a Buddhist be guilty of this? Absolutely.
I once watched a video on Facebook. In that video, a women was going around a camp site to “pray” and chant over the meat cooking on barbecue stoves. Then she proceeded to advice the campers to refrain from evil and be vegetarian. Naturally, the campers are not too happy with that party pooper. Some tried to chase her away. She was persistent though.
I don’t think Buddha ever taught us to impose our views onto others.
Although Buddha advice his disciples not to harm or kill living beings, he did not make it compulsory to adopt a vegetarian diet. So what happened?
Is that lady driven by her belief that her prayers will truly liberate those animals whose meat is being cooked?
Is her belief driving her to react out of compassion and concern; to advice the campers against the evil deed of meat consumption?
Taking this as an example, we can see how religion or beliefs can influence us into behaving in manners that are inappropriate.
Although the above example is kind of extreme, we have to be careful with ourselves.
Do we get irritated with our love ones simply because they do not share our beliefs in Buddhism, in karma, etc?
Do we judge others based on our moral yard stick and make them feel uncomfortable (“for their own good”)
Do we impose or influence our views and opinions on others?
The list runs on and on.
We like to associate with “like-minded” people. However, we need to keep ourselves in check and walk the middle path too. (I think)