God in America
Support provided by:
jzenman

Faithbook jzenman

There is no thing not included in the mind. There is no goal to be achieved outside the mind. Look again! Look again! Look at your own mind! -Tibetan Book of Natural Liberation

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Compassionate. All knowing. All seeing. All loving. The refuge of all beings.

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The mind is everything. The Kingdom of God is within. The only way to realize that is by slowing down or stopping all rational thought by concentrating the mind through some form of meditative practice. All religions teach prayer or meditation. Pick anyone you like and realize the God or Buddha within. 1 person liked this
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Sitting for five to eight hours a day meditating on nothingness. Stopping my mind through concentration and seeing my whole life flash before my eyes.
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Sitting for hours on end in a monastery thinking what I had got myself into. It seemed crazy and silly. But I just stuck with it because I had nowhere else to go.
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I don't take my spiritual life too seriously. It's always there if I need it. I don't mind if other people don't see things the way I do. I just do it everyday because I want to.
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator That some God or Buddha outside of oneself is going to do all the work for you. God is deep down inside helping you all along the way. Which is the last place anyone would think to look.
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Nietzsche, Martin Luther King, The Dalai Lama, my girlfriend, my mother, my father or just anyone I happen to meet on the street if I open up and listen to them as being a Buddha themselves.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Heaven and hell is inside the mind. It's not a place. Nothing is real outside the mind. Life is a dream. All things are transitory. Meditation or prayer helps you to understand that.

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator God was some kind of mystery.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Hanging out in bookstores and always ending up in the religion and philosophy section. Next thing I know years later I'm in a Buddhist monastery.
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Both parents were religious but they must have decided not to push religion on me so I could find my own path. I supposed I believed in God and Jesus but rarely went to church. Now religion is a major part of my life. I was just reciting the Tao te Ching in my head on the subway tonight to pass the time.
Are your beliefs or practices different from your parents? If so, how and why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator They had children too early in life and probably didn't have the time for reading all the time like I did. We didn't even have a book shelf when I was growing up. My dad did teach me that I could be any religion I wanted. That God could be found just about anywhere. I know he had some kind of religious experience as a teenager. My mother got some kind of award growing up for never missing a Sunday in church for her entire childhood. But they just didn't push anything on me.
If you have children, did becoming a parent change your relationship to faith? If so, how? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I don't have children.

How I Practice My Faith

Where and when do you practice your faith? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Every day I sit down and slowly recite the Tao te Ching or the Tibetan Book of the Dead in my mind. Sometimes out loud. I do twenty minutes three times a day or all at once for an hour. If someone dies I have to say almost two and a half hours of prayers from the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Does your family practice more than one religion or faith? If so, how do you blend the traditions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The rest of my family just goes to a Methodist church on Sunday. But they don't take it too serious.
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator No problem at all. I have no rituals other than meditation. Sometimes I forget to turn off the phone. I don't go to any Buddhist temples on Sunday. I feel kind of lonely sometimes because I don't have any friends who are into the same thing I am. But it's no big deal. I don't meet to many Buddhists anyway. I may go back to a monastery someday.
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I usually have a small statue of the Buddha around somewhere.
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The Razor's Edge for a movie. The Tibetan Book of the Dead or the Tao te Ching for a book.

Religion & the Public Square

What should be the role of religion in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator None.
Should courses about religion be taught in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator They should teach world religion in high school. Or make it an elective class. If they have algebra, geometry or calculus they should also tech meditation, philosophy and world religions. All of them but not one particular faith. Just so people know what they are.
Should the Bible, Torah, Quran or other religious texts be taught as works of literature in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. It's a way to understand other cultures.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Of course. There is no one path or way to God. All paths are really the same path.
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. But I wait around for them to ask. I don't feel the need to tell people about it. Frontline is asking the questions so I thought I'd fill this out.
Do you feel that you have a duty, because of your faith, to put your beliefs into action? What are some of those actions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Faith without works is dead.
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I don't know.
Has 9/11 had any impact on your thoughts about religion? Are you more/less interested in learning about other religions? Do you feel more/less comfortable expressing your religious beliefs? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator No. I still believe religion is important. Religion didn't cause the attack on 9-11. Delusion, hatred and attachment is the source of all suffering in this world. If any religion teaches delusion, hatred and attachment then it's not a real religion to me.

Get Involved

Interested in touring your community's sacred spaces? Want to host a God in America viewing party? Visit our Outreach page for details.
Major funding for God in America provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John E. Fetzer Institute, Inc.  Additional funding provided by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. God in America is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.
The Pew Charitable TrustsFetzer InstituteThe Arthur Vining Davis FoundationsWGBH
Exclusive corporate funding for American Experience provided by Liberty Mutual.  Major funding provided by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  Major funding for FRONTLINE provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  Additional funding provided by the Park Foundation.  God in America, FRONTLINE and American Experience are made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Public Television viewers.
Liberty MutualAlfred P. Sloan FoundationMacArthur FoundationPark FoundationThe Corporation for Public BroadcastingPBS

Published October 11, 2010

FRONTLINE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE are registered trademarks of WGBH Educational Foundation
Privacy Policy   PBS Privacy Policy   PBS Terms of Use
Web Site Copyright ©1995-2011 WGBH Educational Foundation