Learn about Hinduism and Buddhism
Our blog has a new look and style! But don't worry: among our free books and free classes and other free resources, check out The Secret Knowledge of Yoga and The Logic of Buddhism, both of which have lots of your favorite and new sutras, shastras, puranas, lessons, and the "everything yoga" of our prior "incarnation" you loved.
Beyond interfaith friendship
Someone may begin a practice for any number of reasons: their friends, parents, or even distant ancestors may have benefited by the practice, by growing up and knowing no other choice, or even the casual discovery of the practice through some accident of coincidence. But the reason why a person persists is always the same: for someone to persist in a practice, it must give benefit to them - not only in the present moment, but in the future as well. Such is human nature: we hold onto what is valuable, and let go of what is not.
Yet after only the most cursory exploration of a culture, it is clear that the practices of today are not as they were a decade ago, or hundreds of years ago, or even thousands of years ago (if that religion has even lasted so long - many faiths are quite new). And getting to know in friendship any of the practitioners of that religion, it is clear that their own personal practices have changed radically since childhood, or when the religion was first adopted - and even differ considerably from a year ago, or months ago.
By practice, greater skill and competence is gained: there is improvement. In every culture, first human and animal sacrifices are given up, then sacrifices of plants and all other living creatures - as the knowledge of what a sacrifice is is truly understood. Eventually, sacrificing is sacrificed, prayers fall silent, and in the quietude of this vedasamnyasa atheism is adopted. Eventually, atheism is itself given up for non-theism. And non-theism given up and the practitioner, now Tathagata, unbound and free, travels far, far, far, far beyond. And never again considers themself a hindu, or buddhist, or christian, or jew, or muslim, or bahai, or atheist, or anything at all. Not even human - for they have exceeded their humanity to develop a much better nature.
That we all journey on the same path is not the consequence of any god, but the consequence of a shared human nature. It is our nature to self-improve. To change, to grow, to seek what is true and valuable, and let go of all that is not. It is for the purpose of discovering - and fulfilling - the full promise of our humanity that we undertake any practice at all. And all faiths and religions are expressions of this same humanity.
Just as the purpose for which a path is taken is that we may not travel the expanse alone, but enjoy the journey through friendship with our fellow travelers, the purpose of our humanity guides us from being lost to the wilderness from which we were borne.