Jun. 7th, 2011

midwestbuddha: (buddha)
Namaste, Readers! Know that if you are just joining this column, you can scroll back one entry to find part one of this article. :)

In his travels, Siddhartha was once asked, “Are you a god?”
He answered, “No.”
“Are you a wizard, then?”
“Then, you are a man?”
Again the answer: “No.”
“Then, what are you?”
“I am awake,” came the wise response.

With this incident, the Buddha taught that simple awareness was the key to the understanding of all things.

Although Jesus taught that all things are in the hands of God almighty, he also seems to have believed that the common man held much more personal spiritual power than he realized…as, when performing miracles, Jesus would say: “Go thou, and do likewise.”

There are many stories of the miracles Jesus performed: the loaves and the fishes, healings…and, of course, his resurrection and ascent to Heaven.

Likewise, there are stories of great battles ended by the Buddha with a simple touch of his hand to Mother Earth, causing her to tremble in witness of his right to win them.

Regarding miracles, Borg’s book quotes:

“Truly, I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” --Mathew 17:20

A monk who is skilled in concentration can cut the Himalayas in two. --Anguttara Nikaya 6.24

According to Marcus Borg, the one major difference between Jesus and Buddha was Jesus’ social and political passion, which the Buddha apparently didn’t possess. He also believes that this accounts for Jesus’ public activity being so brief by comparison. Here are some passages that seem to support this:

“Whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you.’” --Luke 10:10-11

“The wise man does not befriend the faithless, the avaricious and the slanderous, or the one who stirs up strife; the wise avoid the wicked.” --Udanavarga 25.1

To obtain salvation, they taught:

“Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” --Mathew 5:19

“These worthy beings who were well-conducted in body and mind, after death have reappeared in a happy destination, even in the heavenly world. But those worthy beings who were ill-conducted in body and mind, after death, have reappeared in the realm of ghosts.” --Majjhima Nikaya 130.2

Now, read these passages from The Parallel Sayings regarding the deaths of these two awesome figures:

Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. --Mathew 27: 50-51

At the Blessed Lord’s final passing there was a great earthquake, terrible and hair-raising, accompanied by thunder. --Digha Nikaya 16.6.10

I can find no better way to end this review than by closing as Borg does, and quoting the famous poet, Kipling:

There is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, /When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!


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June 2012

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