Zac Gilley

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Vincent van Gogh
“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”
Vincent van Gogh

Brad Warner
“Let me try and explain the difference between Buddhism and atheism. I’ll do it badly. But here goes. Buddhism does not have any creator God. There’s no idea that some giant white man with a beard made the universe a long time ago. Nor is there any idea that some super being sits around somewhere* outside the universe watching over it and intervening whenever he feels things have gotten out of hand, or when he just wants a certain football team to score a touchdown. Buddha is not a supernatural being. We don’t worship him. Nor do we worship any of the other beings you read about in the sutras like Avalokiteshvara or Manjushri or any of the rest of those guys. But that doesn’t mean Buddhists reject the existence of God. Different Buddhists express it in different ways. Joshu Sasaki, a teacher in the Rinzai tradition of Zen, likes to say, “There is no God, and He is your creator.” Gudo Nishijima says, “God is the Universe, and the Universe is God.” Although we don’t worship Buddha, we still do prostrations to statues of him. We recite poems to these statues and light candles and offer incense to them. We even put food in front of the statues at mealtimes during retreats. So what’s up with that? We don’t really believe that Buddha is somehow encased within these statues and that he receives our offerings or magically eats the food. Nor do we believe that he’s sitting up there in nirvana listening to the stuff we chant at these statues. We don’t believe he’s going to grant us any favors for acknowledging him or that he might get pissed off at us if we fail to accord him the proper respect. But as I mentioned earlier, all those prostrations, chants, incense offerings, and the rest have an undeniable psychological and physical effect. Even though we may not know where our need for this kind of action comes from, we need to acknowledge it exists. It’s just as strong in any atheist as it is in any religious fanatic. Atheists want to throw away everything about religion, including the stuff that clearly fulfills a real human need. That’s never gonna fly. We need certain aspects of religion to make us feel right.”
Brad Warner, Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate: A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce, and Spiritual Celebrity in Search of the True Dharma

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