Tuesday, October 22, 2013

If I were the Buddha (video and cartoon)

Pat Macpherson, Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly
Great Buddha, central Buddhist Island, Kandy, Sri Lanka (Tam Church/flickr.com)
Photog Tam Church in Sri Lanka
If I were a buddha the first thing I would do is enjoy it. When the historical Buddha gained great enlightenment -- maha bodhi, the awakening of a supremely enlightened teacher rather than just the liberation of a disciple arhat -- he is reputed to have said:

"I who wept with all my brothers' tears laugh and am glad for there is liberty!" There is a way to the "end of all suffering," to nirvana.

There is a problem: things are unsteady, unreliable, aching, heart breaking, disappointing, unfulfilling, lacking any kind of lasting satisfaction. That is a big problem. Is there a bigger solution? If there is there has to be a cause(s) of all this disappointment (dukkha).

(SubscriptionFreeTV) David Grubin documentary, narrated by Richard Gere, about the Buddha's life, full of great art and sculptures across two millenia. There are insights into the ancient narrative by contemporary Buddhists, including Pulitzer Prize winning poet W.S. Merwin and the Dalai Lama. Learn more about meditation, the history of the Dharma, and how to incorporate the Buddha's teachings on compassion and wisdom into daily life.

Buddha drawing (Arkiharha/flickr.com)
The ascetic Siddhartha rediscovered that there is a cause (craving rooted in ignorance) and therefore a way out. There is a solution: nirvana, freedom, liberation (moksha), emancipation.

If I were a buddha, the second thing I would do is formulate my own Four Ennobling Truths. Real nobility is not a Boston Brahmin birthright. It is based on one's actions in this life. Some karma ennobles us, some debases, some is neutral and leaves us just the same.
Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Magadhi -- the Buddha's languages and dialects might have readily understood negatives. English cannot. Their connotations are too pessimistic, gloomy, emphasizing the wrong thing. For example, when in English we say, "It's not that we don't like you..." we don't like you, even as we're saying we don't dislike you. Double negatives confuse the mind, which does not seem to happen in these Asian languages. So my Four Noble Truths would become:
  1. There is liberation from suffering.
  2. There is a Way to liberation.
  3. There is a big problem (suffering).
  4. There is a cause of the problem.
The medical establishment of the day, Ayurvedic or Allopathic, might not like it. But I think the people would appreciate the emphasis on liberty.

The Buddha cartoon
The third thing I would do after enjoying it and formulating my Dharma dispensation in a nutshell is start kicking some reptilian (naga) butt and demonic (yaksha) derriere like Saint Sakka/Saint Michael, not violently but rather like Maha Moggallana's display to subdue a disgruntled dragon when the Buddha and others ascended into space.

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