What is the connection and the essence of all religions?

January 01, 2022

There are thousands of religions across the world, but just a look at a few of them are enough for us to understand, atleast intellectually, what is their main purpose and to see if there are really any contradictions between them. Every religion, essentially, is not a goal by itself, but a tool towards the goal. And as long as that is the case, it becomes utterly foolish for a man to think that by doing all the rituals and listening to the words, he actually has achieved the goal, or will achieve it. In the zen tradition there is a proverb which says "The net is used for catching the fish, but once the fish is caught the net is discarded." What it means is the words and rituals, which are unique for every religion, are just a net which is discarded when it fulfills its purpose. 


Some religions use the method of "love" and "compassion", but these things are just a bridge which is to be used to take a man from one place to another. They are not a place on which he is to build his house. Religions are necessary for anyone whos being carries like a fire questions such as "What is the essence of all this?" Anyone who holds opinions such as, "i am free, i don't identify with anything, i don't follow any religion, i don't believe in anything, i am an agnostic", is a man who has never made even a single step out of his shore, but has only heard some stories and philosophies and believes that he has already arrived. It's like using a telescope to see what is on the other shore, but his feet had never stepped there. It is one thing only to see the truth through books and words of another, but it is another to feel it directly. Yes, the truth in the end of every religion, is that "everything is void of meaning", or "everything is empty", or "all is one", or "nothing really exists, all is illusion". But these phrases are just a pale expression of that which they are trying to convey. George Gurdjieff had said something in the context of, "In order for a man to know much, he has to know only one thing. But to know that one thing, first he must know a lot." The Truth within those phrases found in the very peaks of religion, gives the key to everything, but in order for one to reach that Truth, he must first walk a lot with his own two feet. The difference between a Buddha and a professor is that regardless of what ugly words a Buddha may use, they will have an infinite more depth than the beautiful words of the professor. Buddha walks on his own feet, the professor looks and inspects his footprints. Those who deny religion as a whole, are like those who know everything in theory, but completely lack and practice to give weight to their beautiful words. And those who make divide "religion" from "spirituality" are just as deluded. Religion is spirituality, but when one fails to see the essence of it, his mind separates the spiritual from the religion. There are people who won't hear and open their door even if God's hand knocks on it, and there are those who will hear and open their door even if mud is thrown on to it. There are people whom even if you give them the whole Truth, they won't see it, and there are others who will see the Truth even in a joke.


The essence of every religion is to make one conscious. Consciousness is the opposite of impulsiveness, which is uncoscious. Many religions say that every person possesses a "buddha-nature", a "divine spark", which is always with him, regardless of the circumstances or his actions. If that "spark" or "nature" was absent, one could not be. Religions are methods through which one could realize (see) his real nature, which has always been on the tip of his nose, but since his whole life he has been looking only horizontally, it remained unnoticed. Religion is not some tool with which one "creates" a "soul", or "higher nature" or "being", because that task is impossible and contradictory in itself, for that "higher nature" has always been there, it is just manifesting itself in unconsciousness. This "buddha-nature" reveals itself when one puts "himself" aside. When the "I" drops. When the "ego" dissolves. That can happen through many ways. In christianity for example, the focus is on compassion, which is the highest form of love. Love is a feeling, which nature is to unite. Love means to accept something as a part of yourself, to be one with it. Even though physically everyone has its own boundaries, even though mentally everyone has his own thoughs, love gives one a mysterious capability to experience others as a inseparable part of himself. Love is a feeling which could give birth to emotions, but itself is not an emotion, but a feeling of unity. And that feeling could be described in two ways. One way is to say a man who loves can say, "I feel as 'I' don't exist, but am one with you." And another way to say it is, "I feel like you are part of myself." Regardless of the choice, whether to say it in a "negative" or "possitive" way - in the first case as "I dissolved into the other" or in the second case as "placing the other into myself" - the feeling of unity, or the feeling that one is something more than his mind and body, remains the same. In order for one to love, he has to put his desires aside, his ambitions aside, his attachments aside, his ego aside, otherwise unity becomes impossible, there will always be friction and conflict. In this way love is a method through which one could attain ultimate dissolving of the "I" and reach complete "unity" in which the very "love" is lost. When one attains this unity, that means there is no distinction between "me" and "you", "me" and "the world", love becomes impossible, because love can exist only when there is duality - one thing loves another. In complete union, or "the universal individuality", love is replaced by a "feeling" of ultimate peace and completeness.


In taoism the principle is the same - Yin has to see that without Yang, "he" cannot exist, and Yang has to see that without Yin, "she" cannot exist. Both, by themselves, are void of essence, void of their own independent nature, both are empty, both are illusions. When one sees that his existence as a "thing", as an "I", is a product of everything else, then the distinction between "him" and "the world" disappears. The characteristics which one gives to oneself, such as "i am good, i am beautiful, i am rich", exist only because of the background of "the evil, the ugly and the poor" within the world around him. If the world disappears, the person himself cannot exist, the "I" cannot exist. For this reason the "I" is an illusion. The "I" is empty, void of essence, he is created and conditioned by everything else. And the world is built out of "individual things", which are "things" only because they "possess" some charateristics, again conditioned by everything around them. For this reason there is no thing which has its own independent reality, but everything is dependent and void by itself. When a "thing" sees its own voidness, that "thing" is no longer a "thing". When one sees that the "I" is empty, that the "I" actually does not exist, there can no longer be an "I", only "Emptiness", as a base of everything.

In zen it is also the same - everything is mind. The buddha-nature is mind itself, the original mind, the empty mind, the void mind. And when in that mind concepts arise, then do the ten-thousand-things arise, the world of maya becomes a reality. Everything in the world is just an appereance, and the sense of reality comes out of the deluded mind. That which gives "reality" to appereances and keeps one confused, are his own beliefs that appereances have their own independent real nature. When one accepts the empty for full, illusion for reality, takes the game seriously, then do all desires arise. And from desires arise "good" and "evil", "right" and "wrong", "justice" and "injustice". But when one sees that mind creates the sense of "reality", it returns back to itself and a complete silence arises, void of manifestations. There is once again no Yin and no Yang, the duality is lost, oneness has taken over.


Some religions use the method of watching the mind, others - the accepting of things and moving with them, and still others use love. There are many other religions which methods are completely contradictory and opposite to one another, but the method is not imporant, what is important is the goal to which it leads. This goal is always the same - complete consciousness, which arises by getting out of the delusion of "me" and "you", "yin" and "yang". In the end all methods seize to exist, all religions, all spirituality, because everything is one and the same full emptiness. When the fish is caught the net is discarded. The net has always been an illusion. Nothing really ever came nor had it ever went, nothing was ever born and nothing ever died. There has never been anyone who has walked, nor anyone who had ever reached. There has never been a wheel or karma (samsara), nor had there ever been nirvana (freedom).

Author: Vasil Stoyanov
Amit Bhar
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