The ways in which Tibetan Buddhists practice their religion have always been intriguing to me. Many people choose Potala Palace as their pilgrimage destination because it is said to be the closest place to the Paradise. Most of them go on their journeys on foot and crawl on their hands and knees for the entire way. They lie down and touch the ground with their foreheads in every five or ten steps, in order to measure the length of their journeys and feel the power of the earth. This is one practice by which they show their devotion to the Buddha. They also believe it is the way to wash away their sins in previous lives by torturing their bodies. Many have spent most proportion of their time to do such religious practices. Due to the extreme weather in Tibet, lack of oxygen, cold, rain and storm, it is easy to die on half way of the pilgrimage. The question that confuses me the most whenever I saw and heard such austere practices is why so many people are willing to risk their lives for a holy figure that nobody can proof its existence. .
Grown up as an atheist, I have no religious affiliation at all. Neither Buddhism nor Christianity has ever connected to me. They are subjects that I've heard of but do not understand. However, after experienced both religions personally, through talking to my friend and joining a Christian fellowship group, I started to realize that religion is not about worshiping a holy figure blindly; it is about caring and becoming a better self. Just as Professor Kandinsky has mentioned, "life of spirit is like a triangle moving slowly, almost invisibly forwards and upwards." Religions serve in my life more as frames and guides that lead to the vertex of that triangle, which are the better self. In my opinion, religions are practiced that often because they really influence lives in a good way. Doctrines of every religion tend to admonish people to do good things instead of bad ones.