flowerbudh wrote:I understand that I have karmic ties with my mother, father, and brother and in that regard am in the exact living situation I am meant to be in. However, I find it increasingly difficult to tolerate the suffering my family members impose on each other, on me and on themselves. In a sense, I am mad at them, but I also have compassion. They know of my becoming a Buddhist, but believe it to be (in their words) just as "woo-woo" as any other religion and that makes my heart hurt. I am not denying that I too have flaws, in fact, I am taking full responsibility for them. I just don't know how to adjust.. I suppose once I get to a certain level in my spiritual development, their ignorance won't irk me as much, but for now what can I do?
Almost everyone you ever meet will go through life conditioned by the world around them, conditioned by their own mind, and they will rarely if ever seek greater awareness or do whats needed to attain it. Nor will most of them ever be able to really break free of their conditioning, they will just be swept away by it. They will suffer and not understand why, then they will make more suffering from the "solutions" they implement to relieve their pain. They will remain trapped in Samsara until the day they die. The worst part is that no matter how realized we are, we cannot force other people to become realized, we cannot force them into awakening, we have to just have as much compassion as possible for them and from that place of compassion always act to benefit them, wishing that they attain liberation as swiftly as possible. Besides cultivating patience towards the faults of others, this is all we can really do in a situation like this.
For ourselves we can look at this and contemplate the pitfalls of samsaric existence and attachment. Seeing suffering unfold in front of us and knowing why its happening can be a powerful tool to remove ourselves further from our own attachments which hold us back from attaining freedom.
The "religion" of Buddhism is indeed woo-woo. The religion is the external appearance of the internal teachings and is based heavily, or perhaps entirely, on culture, its the teachings themselves that are important, that is the real Dharma. It is the teachings that liberate beings, not the practice of religion or ritual. Of course we must put the teachings into practice, but the teachings never say we must adopt a religion or religious attitude. They say we must cultivate non attachment and compassion!
As Buddhism comes to the west, we can see how our culture is adopting it in its own way. The message remains the same though. The way the message clothes itself... that is all religion.