Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bodhisattva Vows

I am presently beginning to understand that the people in the twelve step program whom I am also a member of are really misguided to put it kindly. I understand the concepts and they understand HOW to make this work, but don't understand even closely why. There is something spiritual in the Universe that connects us together. There is an old proverb about the bodhisattva.
"...Three men are lost in the dessert and are hungry and dying of thirst. They have become dehydrated and are trying desparately to find water. They top the crest of a hill and see a well. The first man runs to the well as soon as he can, leans way over to drink and falls into the well and drowns. The second man tries to improve on the first man's approach but eventually falls in as well. The third man goes to find others who are thirsty to help them find a way to satisfy their thirst, and continues doing so for the rest of his life. Such is the life of the Bodhisattva."
Ancient texts tell all kinds of stories and parables but this touches on and explains the basis of spiritual principle. Why would each exalted master go on a pilgrimage to share the knowlege he has gained? Because he understands the idea that the best way to learn, not intellectually or on paper but to learn deep in one's innermost self is to teach the thing you are studying to someone else. In the Alcoholics Anonymous book we call the Big Book, there is a chapter entitled "Working With Others". The first sentence says, "PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail." So much for that old line about, "You can't help anyone else unless you get help first." That is ALL WRONG, I get help BY helping other people, not in order to do so. But the therapy people want you to believe that if you don't pay them first, and be on prescribed medications, then you will never recover properly. I didn't get better until I started ignoring those people and just worked the 12 steps.
Most religious people are very judgemental and insist that you must fix yourself in order to be good enough to go before your God. You must bring yourself to your God and ask him to fix you. That is the higher power I know. The one people try to go back and borrow from religion "again" (I say that since most of them weren't able to stay sober while practicing relgious beliefs previous to coming to AA. The book itself says in Chapter Five, "How It Works" that "... Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God's help. ..." Also, the idea that Christianity was a big part of the Big Book is a falsehood. Earlier in the book, in the part about the second step, came to believe that a power greater than yourself could restore us to sanity." and it says, "... If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago. But we found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried. We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn't there. Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly.
Lack of power, that was our dilemma. we had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power?
Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem. That means we have written a book which we believe to be spiritual as well as moral. And it means, of course, that we are going to talk about God. ..."

You may have noticed that the word "JESUS" was not found anywhere in this reading, in fact even mentioning religion drives alcoholics out of AA. That is why in the format of every meeting of twelve step programs, it says, "... We are not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation, or institution." Even though that is said some members have started a campaign of trying to say that the big book was written from the sermon on the mount and other nonsense trying to ally AA with Christianity. This is an example of mixing outside issues with the real message. That is something from the fifth and sixth traditions of AA, which read: "...5.Each group has but one primary purpose - to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
6.An AA group ought never endorse, finance or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
So, my contention takes this one step further. The whole Christian Ideology of lacking responsibility by saying "The Devil Made Me Do It", (the Flip Wilson defense) is NO WHERE IN THE BIG BOOK. Although it does say we need to be responsible for our own actions and that: "...invariably we find that at some time in the past, we made decisions based on self, which later placed us in a position to be hurt." According to what I read, that sounds like Karma to me.
NOW, the whole point is that helping others is also a necessary component of the Bodhisattva vow and seems to be the main principle of any REAL spiritual action. If you don't believe me, look at the Salvation Army, St. Vincent DePaul's, Mother Theresa, Father John Aquinas, etc. If caring about someone else's needs above your own is a disease (condependency) then all of those saintly people needed treatment, I suppose? Or did they find a better way. Don't try to make yourself good enough to go to your higher power, take yourself to that power and let it fix you while taking the spiritual actions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please act like an adult while commenting here. Also, this isn't a forum for agenda spam. Your comment will be removed if it is not consistent with the subject. The author is Buddhist, making comments about other religions or insulting people will result in your being blocked from commenting again and your ignorance will be headlined for all to see.