Basically, it started when I had this idea to come up with ideas for other religions for Traipah beyond Yahgahn. It stayed at four other religions, at first. Then the other day, I had an idea to come up with a Traipahni religion similar to Buddhism. I refreshed my memory of Buddhism with Wikipedia, didn't get many ideas right away. Then, just a few minutes ago (I am writing this on Tuesday), I had a sudden image in my head of a new character for my latest Nokwahl novel, "Silence Speaking." The character was to be the Traipahni ambassador on Earth, but checking, I already have a character in that role: Bahruven Ehkvenis. So this new character will be Bahruven's aide (an idea I got from re-watching Babylon 5 recently). Anyway, the image I had was of this new character being offered a soda, and declining, saying "My body is a temple." (Caffeine has the same effect on Ah'Koi Bahnis that alcohol has on humans.)
From there, I had an idea for the Buddhism-like religion. And once I finished writing it all down, I realized something: I hadn't really understood Buddhism before. I knew the basics, about dharma and meditation and stuff, about suffering and so on, but if I was honest with myself, I knew I didn't really get it. I got hung up on the language, the word choices like "suffering" and disagreed with what I thought I understood of it. But then this came out of me:
Zenihdrii'gayjahrn – Zenihdrii'gayjahrn is a spiritual path concerned with purity. Purity of body, purity of spirit, purity of mind, purity of behavior, etc. Its believers are concerned with purity because the teachings of their founder, Zenihdrii, speak of how impure living causes Conflicts. Conflicts within the body, within the mind, within the soul, and within interpersonal relationships. Further, conflicts cause fear, anger, and pain, even to those who seem to win the conflicts. The teachings further say that it is impossible to be rid of all Conflicts, impossible to be rid of all Burdens. But conflicts can be avoided as much as possible by means of Clarity of Thought, Clarity of Intention, Clarity of Word, Clarity of Deed, Clarity of Inner Reflection, Clarity of Self-Awareness, Purity of Body, Purity of Mind, and Purity of Soul. The ultimate goal of Zenihdrii'gayjahrn is Purity of Clarity, when all aspects of one's self are pure and clear at all times.
Followers of this path seek to lead simple lives of thought, reflection, and purity. Because their teachings also teach that all possible thoughts, words, deeds, and feelings can – with the right (or wrong) influence – come to be one's own experience, as well as a belief in reincarnation, that they should seek to understand all points of view, analyze them as rationally as any of one's own points of view, and determine their validity for one's own life. This leads them to produce a great many individuals who excel at diplomacy.
For clarity of meaning, Purity is defined as that which is most in tune with love and peace, and farthest from conflict. So, for example, because caffeine is a toxic substance to them, getting drunk is a form of impurity that can result in conflicts between people, and conflicts within one's own mind as the caffeine shuts off the conscious mind's inhibitions and gives the id the upper hand in its constant conflict with the ego. This is a case in which conflict in general is seen as inevitable, a case in which disturbing the balance and letting one side win a conflict is – in truth – a loss, not a win. The id may seem to win in that case, but really, it loses.
I think I finally get it, now. I think I finally understand Buddhism.
This was cross-posted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1102403.html
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