One book is good, a library is better.
What I believe is whatever will help me live in harmony with my environment especially my fellow-man. Regardless of our differences I see every one as my brother, so to speak, as we all bleed the same colour. There is no One God, there are many gods and, ironically, every one of the many gods, is the One God to those that believe in that god. That is the One God, the supreme One God out of the many gods.
All these gods are different and they take many forms often this form resembles the appearance of the believer. The Hindu God Brahman takes may forms the most incredible is Ganesa having a man’s body and an elephant’s head, as outlandish as Ganesa and countless other gods. Within the different branches of Hinduism their myths do contain wisdom and good ethics. People may find it impossible to accept these gods as anything but ridiculous. Conversely they may think other people’s gods and your God is stupid. If you are offended by someone ridiculing your God, realize others will likewise be offended if you make fun of their God. Respect is a reciprocal thing if you want respect show others respect.
God could also be thought of as a force or an indefinable power. As Ob Ben Kenobi, in the movie “Star Wars”, said “May the Force be with you”, and Lao Tzu said “The Tao that can be described is not the real Tao. Both are forces that permeate everything in the cosmos. Could Mother Nature and her complex laws, that keep everything in the universe in equilibrium be the answer? Nature is beyond mans capacity to understand. Consequently all mans endeavors to change nature to his desires has had adverse repercussions.
Mother Nature a matriarchal yin idea as opposed to a patriarchal yang idea appears logical to me. The Taoist ideas of the complementary forces of yin and yang are present in all things. They are opposing, yet one cannot exist without the other. I do not want to enter into any debate on Gods or creation. History shows that this leads to bad feelings that can escalate into war. Religious crusades are often used as an excuse to plunder. Religion can also be used as a political tool.
The Buddha Shakyamuni was a peaceful man and never entered into the God debate. His goal in life was to find a means to eradicate pain and suffering in the world. I practice some of the teachings attributed to him, as I have found them effective in helping me to attain peace and contentment. The teachings of The Buddha gave us a practical approach to a lifelong endeavor of self-improvement. He taught understanding, selflessness, respect, kindness, positive attitude and reciprocity. Steps for practicing The Buddha’s Eight Fold Path, are, not necessarily in this order, Right Understanding, Right Thoughts, Right Speech, Right Actions, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right concentration. The way to improve our concentration is to control the agitated thoughts in the mind by meditation.
The Buddha taught not only love, but love needs to come from a serene and focus mind. This kind of love is actually empathy. Jesus Christ advocated selfless love, even to an enemy. He never campaigned for war; he knew love is the greatest conqueror. Love is the antidote to hate.
There have been many wise sages throughout history, if part of their philosophy or belief does not make sense, do not reject what does. All helpful statements should not be ignored. Friends often over look our faults, our adversaries criticize, and this is good how else are we to know what our faults are. Keeping an open mind is the best way to learn. There are many paths to the top of a mountain, you will find they have one thing in common; they are all uphill none are easy.