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So I have been having a bit of a crisis of faith lately (as much as we can talk about faith in Buddhist context). I apologize to you all for many of my recent posts being somewhat dark and negative. Yet that is where I am in my spiritual journey so thank you for bearing with me.
There is this one dark spot of my Buddhist practice that I have been running across over and over again, for several years. And that has to do with words like Love, Beauty, Caring, Heart, Hope and, once again, and most importantly, Love. You see, for me that word points to something of overwhelming importance. Experiencing that Love is really the only thing that makes life worthwhile for me. If there is such a thing as chakras, my heart chakra seems to be of utmost importance in my constitution.
Now I have read countless texts and listened to countless talks by Buddhist teachers and I do not find Buddhism to be very concerned about or even be aware of the "matters of the heart". To me Buddhism comes across as being focused elsewhere. Some (even if few) teachers have even been quoted to outright say that it is necessary to kill love.
Frankly, I would have long quit my Zen Center were it not for some folks, including my teacher, who are very capable of manifesting that "heart" energy and connect at that level. But then there are a few others who do not seem to have that part of human psychology turned on at all. And based on my understanding of Buddhism, the latter are in fact more in line with Zen teachings. The more warm and loving folks in my Sangha might be such despite Buddhism, not because of it.
I was much relieved when I ran across a few ex-Buddhist folks using the exact same phrase that has been on my mind: "there is not much Love in Buddhism". Yes, there is a lot of clarity, wisdom, awake-ness, being present, dispassion, extinction and, yes, compassion. But compassion to me is not the same as love- it does not have the same heat and energy as love does. Compassion comes through to me as a somewhat passive acknowledgement of other beings' futile struggle in Samsara's circles of delusion.
So as of today, I cannot quite call myself a Buddhist in good conscience, primarily because of Buddhism's lack of affirmation of love. Where does this leave me? I may very well continue coming to my Zen Center to keep my connection to some of the wonderful folks there going, as well as for clearing and focusing my mind through meditation. But a part of me wants a more perfect direction, that is more in line with who I am. Having a calmer and sharper mind is great but who cares if the heart is hungry?
Has anyone struggled with similar questions? If so, I would appreciate you sharing. And once again, please forgive me if my doubts expressed above are discouraging.