Immortality, part 2

“Where do I go from here,” the end of my last post.

So…where DO [we think] we go when we die?

That depends on what we believe.

I was raised in a pretty religious household in the mid-western Bible Belt, where Sunday church, in my Sunday best, was a must.  Church was required, and was eventually held over my teenage head, in order to get permission to go out Friday and Saturday nights.  But I haven’t been to church regularly since, say 1981, when I left Ky.  Or at all in the last 25 years.

Eventually I was exposed to something that felt more along the lines of what I thought.  Or, at the very least, what sounded like a great plan for ‘after death’.  Reincarnation.  (It also didn’t have an equivalent for Hell.  On the lighter side, it also didn’t involve using one of my two free weekend mornings to get dressed up to go somewhere since the weekends of my childhood were Saturday morning piano lessons and Sunday morning church.  I never got to sleep in from age 7 to 15.)

So, I am a Buddhist.  Not a very good Buddhist, but a Buddhist nonetheless.  In my opinion, the best thing about Buddhism is that reincarnation believes in you whether you believe in it, or not. 

After my recent illness, I was emailed, “Am I ready to be saved now?”.  Someone else urged me to think about my spiritual future while I was thinking about my children’s legal future, and I was told that I needed to get things straight.

But I thought I already had those things straight. 

I feel like I am constantly defending my religious choice, or lack of it.  It feels like people in America think Buddhism is a hobby, like knitting.  350 million knitters.

As I said to my sister, “what I believe is not whimsical; not temporary”.  I’m not going to ‘get serious’ because I got a whiff of mortality.  As if I were only on a sabbatical from Christianity.

Part of why I explored other philosophies (rather than assume an inherited one)  is that what we believe, in large part, depends on the region of the world in which we were born.  My Indian friends are mostly Hindu.  Some American friends are Christian, and some of my English friends are atheists.     

It’s a similar situation with food.  I grew up eating fried southern food.  My Indian friends eat saffron and cumin.  My English friends eat bangers and drink milk in their tea.  Is their food any less of a food than mine?  Is their food less healthy?  Is my fried pork chop the only way pork chops should be eaten in the world?  Does it not all nourish us?  Don’t we go out seeking foods foreign to our upbringing?  I know I love some won ton soup, chicken piccata and pupusas. 

Don’t I have the freedom to choose the ingredients of MY beliefs?

I am often told I have ‘issues’ with religion.  And maybe I do.  But maybe I just chose something else.  I am not anti-Christian; I am just not Christian. 

I’m okay with the thought that, when I die, I need to repeat life over and over so that I can correct mistakes.  Can you be okay with that too?

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