What We Choose To Believe In Becomes Our Faith

The end of the world was supposed to happen on May 21 at 6pm, according to a Mr. Harold Camping, an uncertified fundamentalist minister, and his followers. Of course, the end of the world did not happen since I am writing this several days after the predicted date.

Camping said he is “flabbergasted” that the world did not end. Camping’s PR aide told the L.A. Times that the group is “disappointed” that the many thousand true believers weren’t raised up to heaven while the remaining living suffered and eventually died from earthquakes and famine. The group posted 2,000 billboards around the country warning of the end. Camping spread the prediction on his radio show.

The ‘Doomsday’ prediction was a cornerstone of their faith, which they took very seriously. Some of them abandoned their jobs and poured out their life savings to warn people, the IBTimes reported.

Keith Bauer, a 38-year-old tractor trailer driver, took a road trip with his family to see attractions around the USA before it ended. He went into financial debt to do so.

Robert Fitzpatrick, who spent $140,000 of his life savings to advertise the end in New York, said he was dumbfounded when life went on as usual Saturday. “I do not understand why ...,” he told Reuters while awaiting the event in Times Square.”I do not understand why nothing has happened. I didn’t water my plants, I didn’t do my dishes before I left. I didn’t expect to go back home,” said Fitzpatrick.

An NPR reporter talked to two Camping followers the day after the prediction. One man, his voice quavering, said he was still holding out hope that they were one day off. Reporters in California caught up with two unnamed Harold Camping followers. They looked dejected and emotionally stunned, it was reported.

At a recent Takamori Sensei’s lecture, I heard it explained about the necessity of having faith. Without faith in something we cannot live. Some people say they have no faith. But we have faith in many things, such as our health, our possessions, our job and so on. For example, when we are driving we believe that the oncoming car will pass us by without crashing into us. But in fact the oncoming car could cross over and hit us. But without this belief we cannot drive.

Everyone has faith, and it becomes that person’s faith, whatever they believe in. Is it ok to believe in anything, or any religion, such as a cult that predicts the end of the world? No, it’s not ok to believe in anything. From Sensei’s lecture I understood that we should carefully analyze the “object” before we put our trust in it, asking ourselves “is this trustworthy or not?” This is a personal responsibility, since the result, for good or for worse, will fall on the believer.

When we are betrayed by something we put our faith in, we suffer. No one wants to suffer, yet by believing in unreliable things we are destined to suffer.

We firmly believe in the wrong things, no matter how much we are taught the truth, I heard. “All is idleness and foolishness” said Master Shinran. All is devoid of truth; everything in this world will betray and deceive. There is nothing we can truly put our faith in. For this reason shouldn’t we take extra caution before handing over our faith?

The opposite of belief is to know. We live with a purpose, to be happy. But how can we be happy in such a world? Only the nembutsu is true, said Master Shinran. Turn only to the Buddha of infinite life, Amida Buddha (ikko sennen muryo ju butsu).

Frank Costelloe, U.S.A.

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #05, What We Choose To Believe In Becomes Our Faith

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