A lot of people love to talk about compassion and peace regarding home, foreign and domestic affairs. But did not have the compassion and peace in mind, then how will the true compassion and peace be formed?


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"All that we are is the result of what we have thought." The Buddha. "..Religion without Science is Blind, Science without religion is crippled." Albert Einstein 1879-1955

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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Fear and Worry - The Fear and Superstition

The list of worries people face daily can be endless. But worry is not our only problem. Fear is the twin of worry. Human existence is characterized by worry and fear which lurk within dark inner corners of the mind. Like worry, we have so many fears ~ fear arising from insecurity, fear of enemies, fear of hunger, fear of sickness, fear of loss of wealth and possessions, fear of old age, fear of death and even fear of the nest existence.

Not only do we worry and experience fear whenever things go wrong, sometimes we become worried even things go on smoothly! We conjure a vague sense of fear in our minds that suddenly something may go wrong and that the happiness we now enjoy might turn to sorrow. Although some people say that no news is to be regarded as good news they may worry when there is no news. They fill their lives with undue fear with such unfounded worries. Such form of wretchedness beset all humankind. It is a fact of human existence that no one is free from this except those who are perfect or who have purified their minds.

There is yet another kind of fear that stalks the human mind. It is the fear of the uncontrollable forces of nature and the unknown. This fear has dogged human beings through the ages as they learned to deal with wild beasts and protect themselves from the attacks of other tribes. In that long age of savagery, in that constant effort to deal with forces of nature, and to understand their workings, the seeds of superstition were sown. And this superstition which grew out of ignorance and fear has persisted and passed down from generation to generation up to the present day.

Fear is described as intense emotional reaction characterized by attempts to flee from the situation which elicits it and by physiological changes such as blanching, tremors, rapid heart beat, dryness of mouth, etc. According to psychologist John Broadus Watson,"fear is one of the three unlearned emotional reactions, the others being love and anger." Watson's view is that fear is induced in the newborn by a sudden loss of support or by loud noises. Even an infant, he believes, must receive affection and reassurance. Mothering may ease the tensions arising from basal anxiety. Some say that certain fears in a new born infant could be those associated with its previous existence which have been brought forward and still remain fresh and vivid in its mind and that visions relating to such previous fears do sometimes manifest themselves from time to time during early infancy.

When faced with forces beyond comprehension which create fear, the difference between the savage and the beast becomes apparent. The beast either adapts itself instinctively or reacts by attacking to protect itself. The savage, on the other hand, when surrounded by wild beast stronger than himself, or when confronted by the forces of nature like rain, wind, thunder and lightning or natural calamities like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or epidemic diseases, will prostrate himself in all terror on the ground, pleading for protection from unknown powers. But later on early humans used a strong ally to ensure victory over these forces ~ their instinctive cunning. From an early perception of an external power outside, which they thought could be appeased through prayer, just as they themselves could be pleased, primitive people developed ritual and worship and made gifts and placating them with pleasing rituals. Good forces became good 'gods' to be flattered and pleased while unfriendly forces became evil 'devils' to be avoided.

Fear comes to those who are unable to comprehend the basic law of nature. Either as a principle or motive, fear is the beginning of superstitious beliefs. The notion of incurring the displeasure of a Creator is instilled into the minds of the followers of many religions which depend on the concept God for the fulfillment of everything. the foundation of some religious systems and worship is based on the instinctive fear of the unknown. The fear created by religions is the worst form of fear since it imprisons and ensnares the mind. Fear fertilizes the growth of superstition that flourishes in the fog of ignorance.

People yearn for security for themselves and their loved in a world of constant flux which can offer no permanent solution to problems. The moment a person thinks that he or she has solved a particular problem, the conditions surrounding the original circumstances will change and yet another set of problems will then emerge, leaving them confused and lost as ever before. They are anxious, like a child who build sand-castles on the beach and is afraid of every wave that comes in.

In this craving for security and fear of death, humans fall prey to superstition. surrounded by the mystery of the universe, they develop faith in things that they fear. It is ignorance and fear of the unknown that give rise to early religious beliefs, and the workings of universe are explained in terms of infallible supernatural gods who are supposed to control everything that happen. Even though science has done much to dispel such myths and improve the knowledge of modern people, much of the superstitions inherited from the past still continue to remain and we have yet to break free from self imposed bondage to such beliefs. Superstitions weaken and enslave the mind. Superstitious ideas, beliefs and practices are ingrained not only amongst uneducated people but strangely enough the well-educated as well.

Sometimes when taken to extremes, fear may arise because of attachment or association with specific objects or situations which are harmless in themselves. Such cases are phobias, like fear of darkness, fear of enclosed spaces, fear of open spaces, fear of heights, fear of animals, fear of devils and ghost, faer of thieves, fear of enemies, fear of charms, illusory fear of being attacked or killed by someone lurking in the background.

Of those who believe in superstition, the Buddha said:"Wherever fear arises, it arises in the fool, and not in the wise person."

By K.Sri Dhammananda

Namu Myo Ho Renge Kyo
Namo Buddhaya
Namo Dharmaya
Namo Sanghaya

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Due to this merits,
May I soon,
Attain the enlightened state of Guru Buddha,
That I may be able to librate all sentient beings from their suffering.

May the precious bodhi mind, Not yet been born in me, will arise and grow.
May the birth have no decline, and will increase forever more.

Namu Myo Ho Renge Kyo
Namo Buddhaya
Namo Dharmaya
Namo Sanghaya