Trackin’ A Buddha

I read a little book yesterday called, “The Basic Purpose of Following the Buddha.” Buddhism isn’t as hip and groovy here as you might think. Most of the temples are tourist sites, and I think I’ve only seen monks once or twice (once at the airport). But there are some devout – mostly older people, I think. But I hear that “cool, contemporary Buddhism” is making a comeback, approaching lots of young people with the message of Buddhism through music, accessories, and iconic figures. Out of the students that come to our services, I’m pretty sure there’s only one or two that are from seriously Buddhist families. So it’s not a big deal, really. But Buddhism does reveal a lot about the culture and history of China, like studying the Puritans in America (kind of). So here’s some things this little book said that are worth remembering about Buddhism: 

1. This world was created as a product of the works of mankind. That’s why it stinks. Explains a lot, doesn’t it? 

2. Mankind was created as the product of the yin  and yang, or the intersection of positive and negative energy, or Heaven and Earth. Together we form the “Three Potentials,” meaning we’re just as powerful as anything in the universe. More good news. 

3. If your life stinks, it’s because in your last life you were a jerk. Which they say as good news. Basically Buddhism takes a lot of patience. They actually say it may take several lifetimes to get out of the mess you’re in.  

4. If you want your next life to not stink so bad, you must resolve to consistently purify your mind and perform good deeds. Big surprise. They identify the problem, then prescribe the same medication as every other religion.  

5. There are five “vehicles,” meaning “beings your ride through your life in,” of which human beings are the lowest, and Buddhas are the highest. Buddhas are great, and they’re not even in Heaven – they’re completely withdrawn from our world (apparently they don’t want to be involved in our mess, either). But again, work really hard, and at the end of this life, you can trade in this lease for an upgrade. 

6. Their view of Christianity: salvation by faith is childish (though I still don’t really get why), and the God-man relationship is limited to master-servant relationship. Funniest line – if you remove God from Christianity, there isn’t really anything to hold this system together. Hmmm… that’s kind of the definition of God, isn’t it? Strangely enough, a religion as deeply mystical and imaginative as Buddhism is completely opposed to the idea of faith!  

No faith, all works. Which religion is this, again? I get ’em all mixed up.

One Comment on “Trackin’ A Buddha”

  1. Chris March 21, 2008 at 10:28 pm #

    I was telling my wife recently that you have one of my favorite blogs. This is the kind of post I really enjoy; honest, random and interesting. Keep up the great work.

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