Day 53: Blaming Ourselves

English: A young monk

English: A young monk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read this morning a bit out of a book on Buddhism. I read, “we are creators of our own happiness and suffering…” Creators in what sense? Take, for example, the plight of abused children. This is a topic close to my heart because I was an abused child. Through no fault of my own, I suffered at the hands of someone who thought it was their right to use me in any way possible, even cruelly. It was merely to feed their own amusement. Did I create that situation? The book on Buddhism continued, ….”so we need to take responsibility for whatever, good or bad, we experience.” What bollocks!

I did not choose to be abused, nor does any child. Children are not old enough to control their reactions to their environments, especially cruel ones. The only incentive to alter behavior in these instances is the lash and learn it we do! Only later, much later, do we choose how we will react, once we have survived and have time to reflect on how it affected our lives. In that instance only do we choose our happiness or suffering. But to insist, as Buddhism does, that we take responsibility for what we experience is another cruel joke that religion like to play on people.

Most Abrahamic religions lay the blame for all of sin and misfortune on the person and not on the gods. In many ways Buddhism does as well. I find it very peculiar that anyone can imagine that Nature is a result of human whim. Are we responsible for tornadoes that destroy our houses? Floods? Earthquakes? As for being responsible for the good we experience…. again, how is that accomplished? Do we do good and get good or is there such a thing as random goodness that we are somehow “responsible” for?

I see in religion man’s attempts to explain the unexplainable. Good may happen and Bad may happen and sometimes to people who deserve neither. Personal gods are created and cosmological and ontological arguments offered that usually don’t make a lot of sense. Whole theologies spring from these explanations. There’s a fine line between taking responsibility for our reactions to life’s circumstances and blaming ourselves for whatever happens. The former leads to happiness and contentment, the latter, in my opinion, to a life of misery and even depression. I choose the former.