Monday, August 21, 2006

Buddha, God, the Devil & The Infinite Universe

Aren't some of the statements on this blog pretty odd, coming as they do from a professed Buddhist? What's all this business about the Devil? Wherefore all this God and rowboats stuff?

Well, of course, Buddhism has its own Devil. He's called Mara and while Buddha was sitting under his tree looking for the Answer, Mara tempted him in textbook Old Nick style--albeit this was a few hundred years before Christ's went toe-to-toe with Satan in the desert, so if it was a copycat temptation and not the work of the same Underworld hoodlum, Satan must have copied Mara.

But anyway. I have called myself a Buddhist without ever really delving into it deeply enough to wear the label with any legitimacy. But there were always questions. Like did I really believe in karma, or was I just attracted to it intellectually? (Which I definitely am: I love the idea that, as Kerouac would say,"the universe takes care of its own evil.")

There were questions. And always, at the back of my mind, a yearning for the God I believed in as a child: the loving, forgiving, all-wise Father in whose arms I could sink, at last, and let go of all my pain and grief. A few years ago I even had a vision of God in a dream that was more intense than any living experience I'd had up to that point, and I woke up weeping.

So do I believe in God again? Have I recovered my Christian faith and abandoned my Buddhism? I dunno. "Recovered my faith" and "abandoned my Buddhism" are such grand words to describe what is really only a slight shift in the thinking of one tiny mortal speck in an infinite universe.

And where has it shifted? I dunno that either. I don't want to put labels on it anymore--that's just a sign of intellectual arrogance, and I'd really like to lose that side of me. It's also limiting. Can the truth, whatever the truth might be, fit into a handy-sized box for me to carry around under my arm and show to friends? Maybe everything I've ever thought or believed is one fragment of the truth, and the whole thing is too enormous and other-worldly for anybody to see and understand.

7 comments:

yes2truth said...

Mr Hodder,

If you were Born Again in the beginning then you were always Born Again. You cannot become un-Born Again it's impossible. If you were not Born Again then everything I say is irrelevant.

On the other hand you/we can go astray like the so called prodigal son and when you/we have had our pig sty moment, in your case Buhddism, we then come to our senses and return to the fold.

There, it's as simple as that, but then that is "The simplicity that is in Christ"

I hope this has helped you.

Regards

y2t

Anne174 said...

It is normal at your age to question your faith and you did say you watched the "Passion of Christ", a very powerful film produced and directed by Mel Gibson, a zealot catholic. What was the sense of all that unnecessary violence in that film and it is unrealistic because no mortal man could sustain that kind of torture. Jesus was mortal here on earth, right? The Bible was written by men. The stories are beautiful, yes. Do you want to take them literally?According to Buddha, "existence is made up of factors which form links in the chain of casuality,namely the five senses and their objects(corporeity, sensation, perception); it includes the unconscious formative powers(sanskara) which are at work in the predispositions, drives, instincts,the constructive powers of vitality, and finally consciousness. These factors disintegrate in death. Their unity and center is not the self but karma, which in rebirth creates another transient combination." It is necessary for you to struggle towards clear sighted vision as all we human do every single day. Anne174

yes2truth said...

To Anne174,

Two pieces of information for you:

1) Roman Catholics especially Mel Gibson's variety are not Christians, they're Roman Catholics - men and women of religion and Jesus Christ was not religious.

2) Born Again Christians don't struggle. Jesus Christ did all the 'struggling' at the cross for us his brothers and sisters.

y2t

Bruce Hodder said...

The phrase "pig sty moment" is revoltingly angry and judgemental. Please don't foul the air of this blog by defaming other people's religions in that way.It just creates upset and alienates all reasonable people from a discussion they might benefit from joining.

As for all these labels--"born again", "Catholic", "Buddhist"--I don't want to get into debating the meaning and merit of each. It all sounds like mortal human opinionation to me.

yes2truth said...

Thank you for confirming you are a man of religion and not a Christian.

I can now dust off my shoes and stop wasting my time.

Woe to you Chorazin! You like them have had your warning. Now repent if you know whats good for you.

y2t

Bruce Hodder said...

Thank you for your warning. Your messages have no doubt amused everybody who reads S.P.

Now please come out of the Head Nurse's office, tell the orderlies you need to go back to your room, and take double doses of all your medication so you can sleep tonight.

Bruce Hodder said...

By the way, all, when I say in the post that I don't know what I'm thinking about these spiritual questions, I'm not looking for someone to help me find the answers (particularly not by giving me Biblical lectures). I'm actually asserting in a roundabout way that I like not knowing, and I think there's something in that position that's an advance on my previous certainty.