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Old 08-14-2002, 05:26 AM   #5
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
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Ian,

Sounds ike you and I have a similar belief system.

I too am a Buddhist. I have several sangha's in my area as well as a Pureland church. I decided that as a western buddhist that they did not necessarily meet my needs and that by simply belonging to a Sangha or church did not define my as a Buddhist. Any more than going to a Christian church defines one as a christian.

Whatever path you choose, spirituality must come from within. If you find it by defining yourself as a Christian and walking that path then great, if Buddhism, atheism, or paganism works then great!

I personally feel sometimes that people get a little too wrapped up into dogma and fundamentalism of religion and fail to see what the rest of the world has to offer them in the terms of personal and spiritual growth. It does not have to be a threat to your religion, but that is a personal decision and choice that MUST be made by the individual.

Aikido can help people of all religions realize of humanity and the joy of compassion and interdependence if we open our eyes up to it!

I tend not to tell people that I am a Buddhist. Not because I am ashamed, or worried what they might think, but that it is any such title is self defining and the one thing that attracted to to the philosophy of Buddhism was the fact that is was boundless and non-dogmatic. In our western world we are quick to label people "this" or that.

Usually when people find out, the conversation denegrate into a comparision of dogma, which I really do not like to discuss. Since for me Spirituality is an individual path and what I do and be does not apply to anyone else. I do not judge anyone based on their religions or paths....only by their actions as a human!

In fact for me, Aikido is a part of that path. So I am no more a buddhist than a aikidoka. I also read the bible and find much richness in the teaching as lessons of Jesus. (I was raised a Christian and still consider that a part of my heritage). So for me I am also a Christian!

Have a great day.

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