What do Buddhists worship?

 

Buddhists don’t actually worship anyone or anything, though they revere Dharma practitioners who have achieved enlightenment, such as arhats, devas or buddhas. The Guatama Buddha said that no one should worship him, or even adopt his teachings unquestioningly. He encouraged his followers to examine the nature of the universe for themselves through analytical meditation to discover the truth.

 

Buddhists perform ceremonies in which they make offerings and ask the enlightened beings for guidance, but they consider all beings to have a Buddha nature, so we are all equal. Its just that some beings have a deeper understanding of the true nature of the universe than others.

 

 

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How do we experience thought?

If you sit quietly and concentrate on just noticing that thoughts arise in your mind, at first it will seem that they just pop up suddenly, out of “thin air”. Not only that, but one thought immediately spawns a bunch of other thoughts, until you sort of snap out of it and realize that you’ve been thinking all sorts of things. With practice, however, you can learn to not get carried away from one thought to another, but just let them go.  With more practice, you can experience a state in which thoughts don’t arise at all. From that point of view, its easy to see that the thoughts we experience are a result of a misunderstanding about what is important, and more to the point, what is real.

 

So we experience thought as though it was urgent, important, and something we can’t ignore, but after practicing, we can see that thoughts are a distraction from true concentration. You have to experience this to understand. Its like explaining the color green to a blind person. We experience thoughts every single moment of every day, but we rarely if ever understand what it means to have a thought in comparison to what it is to comprehend without thinking. Its weird, and until you practice a bit, it sounds like gibberish. But you have to admit that it was a question without a clear target.

How do you get enlightenment?

       You don’t get enlightenment, it gets you! Actually you “get” enlightenment, or it “gets” you, after you train your mind to be very focused, uncluttered, calm and still. When you can concentrate single-pointedly without distraction, you can focus on philosophical questions with enough power to understand deeply esoteric concepts. Without that training its as hard to reach enlightenment as it is for a couch potato to win a marathon.      “Getting” enlightenment also requires cultivating a complete, utter compassion for all sentient beings. Various practices can help you to really understand and feel in your heart a loving-kindness for everyone: so much so that without question you always put the needs of every other sentient being before your own.