Why Everything you Believe about Buddhism is Wrong. ~ Karen Maezen Miller

Via elephant journal
on Aug 2, 2011
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Buddhism doesn’t require beliefs. It requires practice.

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.


Karen Maezen Miller is a Zen Buddhist priest and teacher at the Hazy Moon Zen Center in Los Angeles. She is the author of two books on spirituality in everyday life: Hand Wash Cold and Momma Zen. Karen also blogs regularly on KarenMaezenMiller.com Want to follow her on twitter? Click here.


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13 Responses to “Why Everything you Believe about Buddhism is Wrong. ~ Karen Maezen Miller”

  1. yogi tobye says:

    Belief = lack of proof. The truth is the proof. Therefore Buddhists don't believe in anything. Belief and faith are Christian ideals to cover up the truth.

    Where there is truth, there is no reason to believe.

  2. Kim says:

    Beautifully said! 🙂

  3. I didn't say there was no faith; you must have faith to practice the Way – faith to let go of your conceptual beliefs.

    • Jamie says:

      We all have beliefs but it is not the belief's of man (right and wrong). It is the belief in love and compassion for others that resides in your own inner well being. This belief will resonate outward and bring understanding to you that will help you grow as a humble person.

  4. Vero Barnes says:

    What a great post, thank you for sharing and enlightening 😉

  5. uddhude says:

    Whenever anyone asks me what I believe as a Buddhist, I tell them Elvis lives. Thanks! Wonderful post.

  6. […] Women’s Liberation movement would say yes. The Buddhists would offer a qualified no. What do they have to learn from one another? Aren’t both pushing us toward […]

  7. Padda says:

    When Jesus comes you are all going to be so sorry that you chose to believe in this crap.

    • Mike says:

      Jesus is a Buddhist.

    • whit says:

      how can you say this and claim to be a follower of jesus? jesus taught alot of things that the buddha taught, love, compassion for everything living thing, "sinners" even, and its not very jesus like to just say this, you may want to rethink your point of view. <3 much love

  8. Sopa Terri says:

    It would be better, I think, with a pic of Buddha and not Hottei.

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