Graven Images


Extravagant infrastructure, ornate trappings, elaborate rituals and large amounts of agreement cannot disguise or conceal that religions largely represent the illusion of something to lean on in difficult times—or a reason for euphoria and gratefulness when times are good.

They ARE indeed the false gods we were warned about.

The fear, question, or panic over what comes “next,” should not be the seed, or excuse, or reason for manufacturing graven images.

It is perplexing that the followers of any particular religion apparently assume their religion is excluded from the discussion—obviously.

We should no more worry about what comes next, than we did about coming here to begin with—but at times we will. This is normal.

Making stuff up is also normal—just not helpful, as it requires extravagant infrastructure, ornate trappings, elaborate rituals and large amounts of agreement. It requires fortitude and great strength to resist making things up.

It is harmful in that making things up supports the delusion that some human beings are less important than others.

It is logical that if we are “going somewhere,” we likewise “came from somewhere.”

I do not remember putting a lot of energy into coming here or worrying about what I was leaving. Just like everyone else, I came here kicking and screaming—the result of someone else’s efforts. I would like to put a corresponding amount of energy into where I am going next—as I likely won’t remember that either. I will feel lucky if I still have most of my marbles and get to go—kicking and screaming—the same as I arrived.

Charles Buell

Where’s Jimi?

BuddhaEverything we know about Siddhartha Gautama was all written down more than four hundred years after his death. Have you ever wondered what gets lost–and created–in a game of “Chinese Whispers?” He was never a Buddhist and, given what has happened over the 2500 years since he was alive, he would not likely be interested in becoming a Buddhist today—nor would he likely be very impressed with the way things have played out in his name.

Jesus was a Jewish carpenter with at best “unusual” parentage. Nothing was written down about him until a century and a half after his death. In hind sight, he probably came to know more about carpentry, nails and betrayers than he might have liked. Given the history of Christianity over the past 2000 years, he would not likely be interested in becoming a Christian today—or be at all impressed with the way things have played out in his name.

Muhammad was an orphan and a trading merchant (Deja Vu EST?) with Jewish roots all the way back to Abraham. I am pretty sure Jews, Christians and Muslims all claim the same roots—quite an amazing tree one could argue. Given the history of Islam over the past 1500 years, since Muhammad died from fever, I doubt he would become a Muslim today. He likewise would not be very impressed with how things have played out in his name.

Confucius was a writer and a politician—a politician? Really? They do not make politicians like they used to apparently. He likely died not knowing or imagining Confucianism—and certainly never getting to vote on it.

Now really–what is all the confusion about?

The next prophet will have it much more difficult. I mean, at this time, how can anyone go a hundred years or more without having anything written down about them? Perhaps they will simply have to come from another planet.

And where the heck is Jimi, anyway?

— Lao-Tzu,
Very old—and obviously-coffee-inspired-poet (and Alan Watts’s side-kick)

Charles Buell