Tuesday, February 1, 2011

leave religion to the young

I guess there was a time when I thought religion was the natural preserve of the elderly. They were nearer to death, had been sufficiently wounded and needed an imaginative hand up. My bias seemed to be confirmed by the number of blue-haired ladies I would occasionally see entering one place of worship or another. Who, at that age, did not need a rock, a support, a succor, a warming tale, a god?

But it occurred to me today that religion in all of its various descriptions is more likely a young (wo)man's pastime. The young have energy and are more open to feeling righteous. They are strong in their emotions and intellect and simultaneously, when touched, more capable of crediting something or someone else. Their tastes and distastes flourish. And most of all, they are attached to (or, in another version, disdain) life as they know it.

The elderly have been around the block more than once. They have experienced what the young may only yearn for. They have seen the gods come and go. It's enough to have a good cup of coffee in the morning. Death is not so horrific as once imagined, so the need for warming tales has waned. They have outgrown, with luck, enough things to realize that religion is something else they don't really need to hold tight ... and holding tight takes the energy of the young. Who's got that kind of energy after a while?

True, there is the social warmth of a Saturday or Sunday morning get-together and there is a recognition that whatever anyone knows is never quite enough and if, by a certain age, a (wo)man were to find her- or himself in a religious profession, what the hell, it can't be helped and it's something to do.

But, using the too-broad brush I am using here, I imagine the elderly would long since have outgrown the energies necessary to the fireworks of religion. Let the young seek wisdom and praise whatever god they find useful. It's not a criticism. It's just the experience of having been attached and no longer finding, or even wanting, the energy it requires.

A nice game of dominoes might be nice.


  1. i rushed all the way from all things preoccupying me including religion to your blog, because there was something very selfishly urgent. I asked myself, at a moment when I am alone, and accidentally looking at the mirror, if there were no humans left in this world, and I had to fulfill my vow to crossover sentient beings like the religion often taught... should i cross over the metaphysical thinking mind that i identify as me, or the mirror reflection of myself since i cannot see my own face to begin with unless i look into the mirror. Everybody is in one way or another, a formless Creator.. heck, some call it Buddha Nature, I have no idea what's the diff.

    Then, something broke. This was Avici Hell, because in Avici I was supposed to see just myself, and a moment of suffering felt like eternity. And I realised heck, it is not about leaving religion to the young, what if I am a seventy year old man and what do I need the most?

    As a "young", I have no idea what the so-called "old" needs. The zenish statment I learnt before from an ex-boss, I have everything I need, everything I need I have. Yet the concerned me says, what if at 70, I am in trouble and nobody comes to my aid?

    The whole idea why the young should practise, is because of this fantasy that somehow, it has gotta benefit oneself and perhaps, another individual.

    And why should the man in the mirror be considered "me", when the 70 year old man called genkaku is not "me".

    I imagine that as a student, if he senses something amiss, that his teacher is in trouble, a snake could be biting him, even though it is impossible for a snake to hurt him, still,...


    It doesn't make a difference, isn't it. All the goodwill, we all know eventually they lead to Avici.

    Grateful neverthless.

    who am me?
    who cares... dude.

  2. lose a head, become emotional, make a mistake, intentional or not, but it is weird when somehow, i do not love the man in the mirror, yet, i love the genkaku whom i see as a presumptive me, 50 years older. memememememme, in my moment of pure ignorance, faith-based ignorant goodwill, no sentient beings exist. but with a moment of intellectual thought, the book of knowledge follows awareness of the existence of something called adam, and a missing bone called eve and with the missng bone.. deprivation.. desire for completeness, an entire cosmos is born.

    oh buddha.

  3. i have always felt guilty 2500 years ago for ananda when he failed to ask gautama to live a few more years when gautama could have lived for eons.

    What if I were Ananda? The culprit of the eon?

    Ananda failed to catch the hint! Just like Adam who ate that stupid forbidden fruit! The fengshui master said I would have no love, no wisdom, no health! It's all because of Ananda and Adam! Wait, shouldn't I be at fault too?

    If only I held back Adam from eating an apple, and told Ananda to ask the Buddha to stay on. If only I did.

    I am .. sorry.