The Natural Law

I’m going to run you through some definitions to see if we’re on the same page. Dhamma is the natural law; dhamma is not a belief. Meditation helps me learn the natural law at deeper and deeper levels over time. The insights I gain from my daily practice impact my beliefs. My beliefs are not the natural law. My beliefs are simply my best current understanding of how the world words. Attachment to my current set of beliefs can be destructive to both me and my community. This distinction be between a belief and the natural law is critical for establishing diverse loving communities. Remembering this distinction is hard.

This is why meditating is so important and studying scripture can be harmful. Studying scripture simply gives me an intellectual understanding that can impact my beliefs. Our intellect wants to align with facts which causes us to hold to tightly to our beliefs. Regularly meditating allows us to develop our own beliefs without the need or desire to undercut someone else’s beliefs.

Unlike gathering at a church service where people learn “the truth” from a priest, gathering to meditate together is about growing on the path together. Instead of aligning with the spoken truth of the priest, everyone is aligning with their own truth. I think this can make it harder to establish a dhamma community because the belief systems of different meditators can be so different making it hard to connect on a personal level. But this is what makes Vipassana unique. It doesn’t matter what your current beliefs are as long as your open to learning and growing with dhamma. Time to meditate.

 

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About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

4 thoughts on “The Natural Law

  1. GS is like bring your own lamp and we search together in combined brighter light. Going to church is like —- ahh nothing comes to mind. Oh god give me some idea or something to write here, please!

    Sudhakar

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  2. Oh I love this! I’ve only just started meditating but I’ve had so many ‘lightbulb’ moments that have altered beliefs I’ve been hanging onto for years and as I continue they keep changing. I hadn’t realised how much we try to make sense of the world in the light of things that have happened to us in the past and how destructive that can be.

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  3. Natural law: Law of ice to be cool and make cool who comes in contact with it. Similarly for fire.

    Recently I did a course in data analytic as big data / analytic is growing as the data over web is growing. I found the term to explain beliefs / philosophy. Also last month Mount Everest climbing was in news for quiet sometime.
    All beliefs / philosophy are like local minima / maxima. They are outcomes of greedy algorithm.
    Global algorithms are your own experience within framework of your mind and body which brings change in you. They will take you to Mount Everest. The bigger mountain is hidden behind the smaller one, until we reach the peak of smaller one we are not able to see the bigger one behind it.

    So let’s “know thyself”. This should not stop one from going to temple or church. We want others also to benefit from what we learn and experience.

    In 2006 I was in Seoul for 6 months. I often saw old age people in metro distributing leaflets and end up quarreling. Once I walked up to them and told neither of your teacher (Buddha & Jesus) use to fight.

    One person(school teacher) use to insist me to come to church and I used to avoid saying I am Hindu and practice Buddha’s teaching. I will come to church to learn but for certain reason’s I avoid going. (I have studied in convent schools and also served a course in Seminary in Goa where secretary to Asian Bishop and theology students sat the Vipassana course.). He said nothing of that sort will happen. But my experience was same, I was polite and at the end of the day this person told me that there is no need for me to come again.

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