One of the questions I have had when it comes to enlightenment, and the Buddhist philosophy, is in regards to the idea that it is wrong to kill another living being, an idea which strikes me as so similar to the Christian commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”
The problem that I have with dogmas, and the idea of commandments, is that they are antithetical to enlightenment, in that they do not encourage/espouse self-control, but rather doing what you’re told.
Such religious, and even secular, commandments are means of controlling a populace that cannot seemingly control itself. The whole idea of enlightenment is self-awareness and actualization, a part of which is the idea that one should not need to be controlled, but should be in control of him/herself. And so the idea of the Buddha making a commandment such as “thou shalt not kill” seems inconsistent with the truth of the teachings of enlightenment.
My understanding of this is that there has been a separation between the/a “Buddha” and “Buddhism”, or put another way, between Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist religion.
Organized religion has always seemed to me to be all about control and manipulation—getting people to do what is “right,” not because it is right, but because of fear and greed. Again, it’s the same way one controls a child—by manipulating him with his own fears and desires.
From my personal notes, 7/16/00