In a couple of days, it’ll be 2015 – the year of the Sheep, according to Chinese astrology. The sheep brings me to the Kalama Sutta, as taught by the Lord Buddha.
We are all born with a mind. Through education and personal experiences, we have been taught how to discern from right or wrong. From right or wrong views. And from truth or false.
As an advertising copywriter, I have been tasked to influence the masses through subtle branding. Although advertising is subtle persuasion, the ultimate decision to adopt, or switch brands is solely in the hands of the target audience.
And the Kalama Sutta, taught centuries ago by the Buddha; applies to religion too. Especially religion, I must stress. To me, the purpose of religion is to break free from the shackles that prevent us from realizing our individuality and potential. In short, a true religion gives absolute freedom.
Some religions preach the do’s and don’ts just to shackle the followers and ensure that they do not leave that particular “religion”. In other words, certain religions are plain control freaks. And in some ways, you cannot blame them for the followers themselves behave like sheep, herded towards the direction the leader or should I say, “controller” desires. You are not encouraged to think, reason or decide for yourself. You are just told to do so. That, dear readers – is the complete opposite of freedom. Your life become theirs. You are but a puppet controlled by invisible strings.
Of course, Buddhists have do’s and don’ts. For lay people, the don’ts are:
- No killing
- No stealing
- No sexual misconduct
- No gossip, lying or spreading rumours or anything that could incite negativity
- And, no consumption of alcoholic beverages.
These are common sense and are in no way, restrictive of one’s freedom. We all know what killing, stealing, adultery and gossips can do. They cause suffering. Drinking? Try getting so pissed drunk and chances are that you’ll break all the other four precepts.
Like I’ve mentioned earlier – we all are born with minds. Good or bad, your actions will speak for themselves. Come see for yourself and you’ll know. Don’t be a sheep.