So I've been thinking (ooh, dangerous) a lot lately and in reading Hagakure I got pointed towards Zen. Zen seems like a pretty neat concept and it seems to have some things in common with the way that I already think (I certainly don't claim to understand Zen, but I've got a little bit of an idea). So having found some similarity--mainly in the areas of living in the moment, slowing down, being mindful of the world around you and a few other things--I decided to do a little more looking into this Zen thing. The more I looked into Zen, the more I liked some of the ideas and I think that I'm going to see about integrating some of the ideas into my own philosophy and life.
Inevitably, looking into Zen lead me to look into Buddhism, its progenitor. At first things seemed to be going reasonably well for Buddhism, it was friendly, mindful, compassionate, didn't conflict with my beliefs too much, but then some problems started to show up. The first and biggest problem is that I started to realize that there were plenty of half-followers in Buddhism too and I really dislike the half faithful followers of any religion, not that I like fanatics, but if you're going to follow a belief system, follow it because you believe in it, not because you like it or your parents told you too. The worst group though are the people that follow a belief system because they discover it and it gives meaning to their life; your life should give meaning to your belief system, not the other way around. That's a bit of a diversion, but that's what started me on realizing that I dislike Buddhism; after that other thins started popping up, like my dislike for the notion of reincarnation or my belief in the food chain instead of compassion for furry animals. Then there was the landslide realization that Buddhism is just another religion, not that different from the rest.
Religions are funny ideas, and strong ones too. Now, I consider ideas to be important complexes, akin to living beings; the requirements I hold for life are the containment of information and the ability to propagate. As with anything that is alive, ideas tend to want to stay alive and will evolve and try to spread as much as possible. In short, ideas (religions included) will evolve and spread, trying to stay alive and adapt to the times as best they. I guess what I am trying to say is that Buddhism, just like all other religions will try to convert you, even though it uses very different methods than many other religions and once converted it will try to hold you and keep itself alive. Remember, what I said at the beginning of this paragraph, religions are strong ideas, many have been alive and evolving for millennia.
So to use a bad analogy, my idea system was just chilling with its good friend Samurai history and Samurai history said, hey let me introduce you to my good friend Zen. My idea system and Zen hit it off pretty well, and are trying to get to know each other a little better. Zen was introducing my idea system of some of its friends, like Buddhism, and my idea system initially liked Buddhism, kind of cool guy. Then Buddhism started to get on my idea systems nerves and my idea system was all like, I just want to be friends. My idea system and Zen are still seeing each other and maybe things will work out for them, they're still in their honeymoon period, so we'll wait and see what happens. It's a good thing that my belief system is pretty confident about itself and doesn't need to whore itself out to feel good.