Beyond Belief

This article is written by the writer that I have the greatest respect for Krishnamurti

We realize that life is ugly, painful, sorrowful; we want some kind of theory, some kind of speculation or satisfaction, some kind of doctrine, which will explain all this, and so we are caught in explanation, in words, in theories, and gradually, beliefs become deeply rooted and unshakable because behind those beliefs, behind those dogmas, there is the constant fear of the unknown. But we never look at that fear; we turn away from it. The stronger the beliefs, the stronger the dogmas. And when we examine these beliefs the Christian, the Hindu, the Buddhist we find that they divide people. Each dogma, each belief has a series of rituals, a series of compulsions which bind man and separate man. So, we start with an inquiry to find out what is true, what the significance is of this misery, this struggle, this pain; and we are soon caught up in beliefs, in rituals, in theories.Belief is corruption because, behind belief and morality lurks the mind, the self the self growing big, powerful and strong. We consider belief in God, the belief in something, as religion. We consider that to believe is to be religious. You understand? If you do not believe, you will be considered an atheist, you will be condemned by society. One society will condemn those who believe in God, and another society will condemn those who do not. They are both the same. So, religion becomes a matter of belief and belief acts and has a corresponding influence on the mind; the mind then can never be free. But it is only in freedom that you can find out what is true, what is God, not through any belief, because your very belief projects what you think ought to be God, what you think ought to be true.

Vulnerability, Questioning and Openess

When we find something to believe in it is easy to abandon the essential questioning and mystery  of life. A sense of security can arise from our  belief.  A belief in Buddhism or other religion or spiritual discipline  can provide  this for us as well. Belief can shield us in protective views, concepts and even figures who we come to idealize and feel secure with.

Doubt and questioning of what we believe in and what we think that we know can move us on from the protective shield and beyond what has become static in belief. The person who questions becomes exposed, prepared for the unpredictability of the moment. We can not know the truth of the whole by focusing on what we have, in terms of belief, knowlege or anything else. What life is, is bigger than belief and it is ever changing.

There is a Buddhist sutra, the Discourse to the Kalamas. The sutra encourages a person to doubt what is written and what has been told to them and to look beyond authority. It ends with, “But O Kalamas when you know for yourself when certain things are unwholesome or wrong than give them up And when you know for yourself that certain things are wholesome or good, than follow them.”

For me this involves questioning to the point of being willing to  let go of the security and certainty that we find in our institutions and structures and all things that we have and have come to feel secure and certain in. To do this in a way that authentically questions and that encourages a knowing for ourselves discovering a light from within, not of convention or authority that leads us in this way of being. We open to the unknown and in this willingness to open we invite a more authentic experience however without a familiar foundation we may be. This is the vulnerable way.