Huaca of Q’ollur R’iti, Huaman Lipa region, Peru

Let’ leave religion out of it.

I have once seen this sentence somewhere on the web, and attributed to de Dalai Lama. I could not find it again. I hope he has said it.

But then, what does it mean? It is widely known that the Dalai Lama has great interest in the intersection of western science and Buddhist psychology. His Mind Life Institute origanises gatherings of different scientists that discuss their trade with the Dalai Lama. Books about these conferences are very intriguing, because they convey the latest of the latest about the different topics. Here the quote “Let’s leave religion out of it” is fitting.

But then again, is there any field where we should not leave religion out of it, maybe except religion itself? I would argue that there is none, not even religion itself.
My argument is that religion as it is commonly practiced should be left out of everything, even religion. The problem with religion is that, being it one of the most creative excrements of the human mind, it has the overall tendency to get absolutised into absolute truth in an imagied order, and so it is the easy prone for the abuse of power by self-appointed experts, who speak in the name of their religion, stuffing their imagined order with alle kinds of fictitious necessities, because proof of any kind is absent – and by the way, who can withstand the Will of God? – and thus demand submission of the believers. Thus religion defies critical assessment, and religion has the tendency to diminish our power of critical discernment.

I belief this is also the case with literature on liberation as written in the Dzogchen tradition. The question here arises if liberation is a religous concept. I think it is not. Many religions, probably all have liberation at their core. It may be liberation in a paradisiacal hereafter, like Christianity and Islam, or down to earth in the here and now, like Advaita (classical and neo-) and Buddhism. But because all religion is also definitely imagined, we should be very cautious with all utterings concerning the presumed will of god, or any presumed, and thus fictitious necessity that is based on scripture of any kind. This is to say that any presumed necessity claimed by any imagined order should be met with the same caution, or even more so. Many millions also have have been killed, or died on behalf of the greater good of nazism, communism and the likes.

So the adagium: Let’s leave religion out of it, boils down to the critical awareness that all fictitious necessities should be assessed this way.
This means for Zhabkar’s Flight of the Garuda, that we can study the text on its own, without all the Buddhist bagage, and then see what we have got. I suspect this might be highly advantageous for us all.

* The Dalai Lama has said such in regard of “The Atlas of Emotions, a project of Dr Paul Ekman to better navigate emotions. He said also: “If we see this research work (Tha Atlas of Emotions) as relying on religious belief or tradition, then it automatically becomes limited. Even if you pray to God, pray to Buddha, emotionally, very nice, very good. But every problem, we have created. So I think even God or Buddha cannot do much.” This seems to underscore my point.