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Monday, June 10, 2013

Buddha or Jesus: choices on a page

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As I clean out another bookcase, I found the book “The Path to Tranquility”, a book of daily wisdom from the Dalai Lama. I don’t have any idea where this came from – presumably left there by a co-worker or visitor who thought I could use a bit more tranquility. (Yes, indeed, I could.)

But there’s an interesting bookmark in the front: Traveling with Jesus Cars Stickers.

I’m not sure which is farther from me personally.  I agree with the tenet of Buddhism that says desire creates suffering, but I don’t find the elimination of desire either possible or desirable. It’s what you desire. You should desire to create a happy family life. You should desire to live your live ethically. You should desire to connect yourself with a higher power in the grand scheme of things (aka God). You should desire goodness and truth.  I can’t see that the path to salvation/nirvana lies in emptying yourself, but in fulfilling yourself – in replacing that desire for material goods, fame, fortune and other destructive things with the desire for constructive things.  Perhaps a good Buddhist would say that I’m missing the point, and they might be right.

At the same time, while I am a Christian I am not the type of Christian who puts “Honk if you love Jesus” bumper stickers on their car (and certainly not on my bike – I hate it when cars right behind me honk). Those who are this type would perhaps accuse me of a lack of zeal, and they might be right.