A Sunday Morning Walk... Deerfield, MA
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It has become fashionable - a pretension of intelligence - to belittle all who follow religious dogma, while the one belittling shows how dogmatic they are. Of course, this behavior is rooted in ignorance and pride - the two are usually hand-in-hand. Being blind to one's own dogmatism while decrying it in others might be the most insidious form of it. Right Action invites us to explore our own attachments to belief, in whatever form they take, and this opens the possibility of compassion and understanding toward others who likewise have opinions of their own. Right View can allow us to see that dogmatism is not a matter of what we think, it is a matter of attitude. Right View allows us to see clinging to non-belief is the same clinging as clinging to belief.
Right View and Right Action are two aspects of Buddhism's Noble Eightfold Path, the way from suffering to joy and peace.
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Dogma, from Greek dogma or dogmatos; "that which one thinks is true."
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A man met the Sage to explore whether he wished to become a follower...
Do you have a doctrine? I'm not a dogmatic man and follow no belief. I don't let anyone tell me what to think. And I detest religious rituals and creeds of all sorts. All that's for the naive and superstitious - people who want to be led around like helpless little lambs. I left that years ago.
You are dogmatic - as much so as anyone I've ever met.
You must be joking!
No, I'm serious. In clinging to your resistance against belief, you're showing how dogmatic you are. Such obstinacy is as creedal as anyone who follows a creed. To insist on not believing is believing. And refusing ritual, you're unaware of your own ritualizing.
The man left and never returned. Should we be surprised?
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Dogma does not mean dogmatic. Doctrine does not make anyone dogmatic. A person can follow a teaching without being dogmatic, as a person can refuse to ascribe to one and be dogmatic. And not to ascribe to a formal doctrine is possible because one has an informal doctrine. No one escapes having a belief system, apparent or not, known to oneself or not.
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*©Brian K. Wilcox, 2022.
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse.