Remove, retread, repeat

May 13th, 2009

The other day I had to have a ginormous bolt removed from a tire and the hole plugged. It reminded me that retreads can have a lot of miles left on them, and so I plugged in this repeat post today:

From time to time I’m asked this question: What do Buddhists believe? I like to respond that Buddhism requires no beliefs, but that’s rather hard to believe. And so I offer this.

I believe in love. Not the love that is the enemy of hate, but the love that has no enemies or rivals, no end and no beginning, no justification and no reason at all. Love and hate are completely unrelated and incomparable. Hate is born of human fear. Love is never born, which is to say, it is eternal and absolutely fearless. This love does not require my belief; it requires my practice.

I believe in truth. Not the truth that is investigated or exposed, interpreted or debated. But the truth that is revealed, inevitably and without a doubt, right in front of my eyes. All truth is self-revealed; it just doesn’t always appear as quickly or emphatically as I’d like it to. This truth does not require my belief; it requires my practice.

I believe in freedom. Not the freedom that is confined or decreed by ideology, but the freedom that is free of all confining impositions, definitions, expectations and doctrines. Not the freedom in whose name we tremble and fight, but the freedom that needs no defense. This freedom does not require my belief; it requires my practice.

I believe in justice. Not the justice that is deliberated or prosecuted; not that is weighed or measured or meted by my own corruptible self-interest. I believe in the unfailing precision of cause and effect, the universal and inviolable law of interdependence. It shows itself to me in my own suffering every single time I act with a savage hand, a greedy mind or a selfish thought. It shows itself in the state of the world, and the state of the mind, we each inhabit. This justice does not require my belief; it requires my practice.

I believe in peace. Not the peace that is a prize. Not the peace that can be won. There is no peace in victory; there is only lasting resentment, recrimination and pain. The peace I seek is the peace that surpasses all understanding. It is the peace that is always at hand when I empty my hand. No matter what you believe, this peace does not require belief, it requires practice.

I believe in wisdom. Not the wisdom that is imparted or achieved; not the wisdom sought or the wisdom gained. But the wisdom that we each already own as our birthright. The wisdom that manifests in our own clear minds and selfless hearts, and that we embody as love, truth, freedom, justice and peace. The wisdom that is practice.

What do you believe?


  1. the beliefs of non-believing

    Comment by Chris Austin-Lane — May 13, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

  2. I believe in possibility.

    Comment by Shalet — May 13, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

  3. I’m with you.

    Comment by denise — May 13, 2009 @ 3:25 pm

  4. We can attempt to teach the things that one might imagine the earth would teach us: silence, humility, holiness, connectedness, courtesy, beauty, celebration, giving, restoration, obligation and wildness.
    David Orr from “Earth in Mind”

    Comment by echolage — May 13, 2009 @ 3:32 pm

  5. Let me clarify, my first post was not my statement of belief, it was my punning response to Karen’s poetry.

    Given the opportunity to post a precis, I am embarrassed to find myself with nothing coherent to write. Math, attention and kindness are usually the correct approach? Sit stilly and observe? If you are going to do X, do X well?

    Comment by Chris Austin-Lane — May 13, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  6. Practice.

    Comment by Chris — May 13, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  7. “Love and hate are completely unrelated and incomparable.”

    So different from the view of love and hate as polar opposites. Freeing in that it opens up the possibility that love can exist without hate as its necessary complement.

    Comment by Mama Zen — May 13, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

  8. This is one of your posts that first got me hooked on your blog. It doesn’t require my belief, it requires my practice. I’m going to print this out and put it in places where it will remind me that the only kind of Buddhism I understand, the Buddhism of practice, may be the only Buddhism I need.

    Comment by Marianne — May 14, 2009 @ 6:43 am

  9. What do I believe? You have to believe in yourself before you can truly believe in anything or anyone else. (Hugs)Indigo

    Comment by Indigo — May 14, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

  10. I believe that my husband and I are looking into Buddhism in our area, something new and interesting and wonderful is upon us these days.

    Comment by Cat — May 14, 2009 @ 2:47 pm

  11. Beaaaautiful post. I’m not “Buddhist” but everything about it is real and practical and holds promise. You don’t have to be officially Buddhist to practice Buddhism, and I found your post enlightening.

    Comment by [a} — May 16, 2009 @ 9:58 pm

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