As I was looking through my stats for this Blog today, two glaring statistics jumped out at me. The first one is that the number one search term that brought people to this site is the word “sadness”. The second surprise was that the number one post since inception, by a huge margin, is “Do I believe in God“.
This got me to wondering if there may be some correlation in these two things, sadness and God.
Does the belief in God cause sadness and suffering? Perhaps a better question would be, are you free of sadness and suffering because of a belief in God?
Now I know that many of you may think about how God was the only one there in your darkest hours or times of need. But wouldn’t it be logical to wonder where he/she was in the first place. Where was God when all of your difficulties were coming into your life? Did God want these hardships for you? And if so, then should you not be happy about these tribulations that God chose for you?
But rarely are any of us happy about hardships and difficulties. Sadness can come upon us in an instant, and totally overwhelm and consume us.
So this begs the question, without a belief in God, can one eliminate sadness in their life.
Perhaps partially the answer is yes. In so far as, eliminating the belief that an unseen force will make your life happy and eliminate sadness. Without this belief, we only have ourselves to turn to. We are left discovering the root of our dissatisfaction, and following a path that accepts and understands the nature of this existence. This is the path of liberation.
Now I am not here to convince you that there is no God. Clearly, I have no way to know whether there is or is not a God. And I would never presume to know the infinite possibilities.
But what I do know, and see every day, is a tremendous amount of sadness and suffering. And my personal path is to eliminate this for myself and others through self-examination, loving kindness, compassion, equanimity, sympathetic joy and acceptance. Remember, I said “my path”, not my accomplishment. This is a daily, minute-by-minute effort on my part. And yes, I am sometimes sad. Sometimes I am angry, sometimes I am depressed. But the frequency and severity with which I experience any of these disturbing emotions has been reduced by a monumental degree because of my practice. And I only have the dhamma to thank for this. Without the teachings of the Buddha, I would have no understanding of the cause and cessation of suffering. Without the teachings, I would have no teacher today in Bhante Sujatha. And without these teachings I would not understand how important loving the self is, and how this plants the seeds of loving kindness and compassion towards others.
I could go on and on about the gratitude that I have from the teachings of Buddha, but suffice it to say they have changed my life and affected all those around me.
Does all of this mean that Buddha is my God? Absolutely not! Buddha was a human being, and he has been dead for 2600 years. But his teachings resonate as clearly and truthfully today as they did then. All of which are intended to be examined by the individual, and tested for truth and reliability.
The Buddha cannot eliminate your suffering or sadness, but his teachings can light the way toward your own liberation. This is always a choice for each of us.
So pray, don’t pray, believe in God, or don’t believe. Each of us is so very fortunate to have a choice of how we live this life, and how we relate to the World.
And may yours be one that offers you peace.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.