Automatic Heaven

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I came across an article posted to Facebook this early afternoon that made me gag. The article, which can be found here, details briefly an incident where a snipit of conversation between two cricket players was caught.

In the conversation one player, who is a Muslim, is telling the other player, who is a Buddhist, that anyone who converts to Islam automatically is allowed into Heaven. Automatically. This kind of pisses me off.

For starters, I’m pretty sure that’s not what the Koran actually teaches. I might be wrong, but I think that’s oversimplifying the doctrines of that religion and I feel like more credit should be given to the path itself. Some years ago Islam was the only religion I studied (this lasted for over a year) and during that time I learned many dark-n-wondrous things about Islam that many others might not know. It’s been a while, but I don’t recall anything so flat or sweeping.

The second thing that struck me is that it appears to somehow be okay for this Muslim man that someone would join his religion JUST for the prize in the box. How cheap is that? And I’m wondering what kind of person he thinks he’s attracting by discounting his own dharma in that way? I would assume an offer as simple and cheap as the one he’s making to this Buddhist would only really be attractive to someone so lazy in their own religious / spiritual life that avoiding Hell is their only real concern. There was no mention of “Islam will make you a better human” or anything like that. Just “join the club, and get the prize.” Pathetic, and frankly dangerous. I think it follows that if someone is lazy enough in their own effort or their own understanding and joins because it means “automatic heaven,” then my guess is that this same person is probably going to make a fool of himself at some point – inviting this kind of fool into one’s “religious club” seems to put the club at risk of looking stupid when this new (selfish and lazy) person inevitably shows his arse. Why would anyone care to risk that – especially when considering a religion like Islam, which is unfortunately already suspect in so many regards?

Thirdly, the offer as it was made implies that the Muslim not only understands very little about his own dharma but also the dharmas of non-Abrahamic believers. If you come from an understanding that Heaven isn’t the final stopping place, then what value is automatic admission through the pearly gates going to hold? Probably, temporary value at best. So to offer heaven to someone who sees it as a pit stop more than anything else seems about the same as making a bid deal out of offering a rented video to someone. They understand that they cannot keep the video, so what exactly is the favor being done here?

The last thing that bugged me about this is what was said to the Buddhist when he apparently refused the heavenly offer. He was met with a response like, “Be prepared for fire, then.” (The actual response may have been differently worded, but that’s pretty much what was said to him. I don’t have the article opened right now.) If one’s offer in conversion was truly as sincere as I’m sure this Muslim man would have everyone believe, then why was the reaction to the answer he received from the Buddhist, “Fine then, but you’re gonna be fucked after you die”? If that response is any indication of the personal development Islam is capable of, I’d say the Buddhist is better off staying with his current dharma. Sadly, I know similar behavior to be true of Christians, also. I know this because once upon a time I was guilty of nearly identical behavior.

The biggest question of all that this brought to my mind is: Where are the Hindus that do this? Where are the Buddhist attempting compulsory conversion of non-Buddhists to Buddhism?

Can anyone point me to resources that illustrate this behavior among Hindus and Buddhists?

Aum Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

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2 responses to “Automatic Heaven

  1. Hindus do not openly canvas Hinduism as a religion for conversion. Indeed there are certain Hindu devoteeships that do attract many individuals from other religious groups to join them (Hare Krishna, for one) but one of the main hallmarks of Hinduism is to embrace diversity of all kinds, be it religious or social. Buddhism probably attracts more followers than Hinduism but I am not sure if that is by open canvas or simply due to the nature of the religion – Buddhism appeals more to the intellect and Hinduism probably more to the heart (devotion being a key defining characteristic of Hinduism from Buddhism which uses knowledge as the correct path to liberation). I have read somewhere that many Buddhist schools claim that their way is the ONLY way to liberation, above not only other religions but above other forms of Buddhism. They rank Abrahamic religions in the third tier, Hinduism in the second tier and Buddhism at the top. I don’t know how widely believed this is though and whether it is true of Buddhists in general. From what I have experienced Buddhists and Hindus seem pretty content in their own beliefs without the need to promote any religious ideology. As for compulsory conversion, I have been told by a German friend that Hinduism may be the only main religion to have never had a ‘crusade’. Indeed I believe there is still no official route to conversion to Hinduism like a baptism. There is simply the freedom to believe or not

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    • Thank you for this comment!

      I think I would agree that Hinduism is perhaps the only religion now to engage in something like a “crusade” although I think it’s generally a rare thing among all the Dharmic religions.

      I would agree with you about Buddhism generally using knowledge as a path to moksha, and you’re right that there are significant sects within Hinduism that promote devotion as the primary and most effective means. However, there are also significant populations of Hindus who do not see devotion as the means for liberation and indeed see knowledge as the supreme path, instead.

      Interestingly, I think in many ways my particular path – Sahaj Marg – sits in the middle of all that. Our practice is heart-centered and contains many elements of devotion-based practices, but is actually founded on and sits squarely under the umbrellas of Raja Yoga / Jnana Yoga… which do not see devotion as the primary means of liberation.

      Thanks again!

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