Caught a great documentary the last 2 nights, actually I PVR’d it, the Buddha on PBS. It was a great story about his whole life and what he taught concerning enlightenment. First time I have actually watched anything on Buddhism and I really enjoyed it.
I guess I liked the fact that spiritual enlightenment is not ‘easy work’ – true insight into the human condition takes time, reasoning, observation, and experience. Any good spiritual insight is received through hard work, nothing falls into your lap (so to speak). I see in the Buddha a person that worked hard to get what he wanted answered – the question of suffering/dis-satisfaction. Reminded me of Jacob wrestling with the angel in Genesis…just had to have an answer. I think most inquiring people can relate – sometimes you just have to ‘know’.
It’s kind of a cool religious system because the Buddha was open to questions and allowed for his teachings to be challenged…this is definitely godly (IMO). The Buddha remained humble through-out his life and was someone that earned the respect of his peers in this day in age. I also see many similarities between Christianity and Buddhism in their teachings and lifestyle…which also intrigued me quite a bit.
I do have my knocks on Buddha, to a certain degree. He did leave his wife and child to seek this ‘enlightenment’…a man does that now to a woman and he is a ‘deadbeat dad’ (that kind of dis-pleased me). The monastery’s he founded were celibate. There is a belief that being celibate is better than being ‘married’…I find this doesn’t adequately represent the persepectives of women of faith. Women can naturally ‘bare children’ – to take that out of the equation is to miss out on an aspect of ‘enlightenment’ for them (IMO). Also the idea of seperation from society bothered me (with these cloisters he developed as monasteries). How can one face real suffering if they are hid away from it all? Sure you may get to know yourself, but if we are talking of a ‘middle path’…the monastery is anything but a ‘middle path’ – it’s an extreme.
Nonetheless, I appreciated the teachings of the Buddha and what he lived and died for. He put his time and work in to get where he got – and I appreciate that. He set a good example of ‘how to seek’…exhaust all efforts until something makes sense. He also spoke a lot of ‘balance’ and the ‘middle way’…I concur this is where enlightenment is to be found. However, one needs to experience the harsh and abundance of life to see through many lenses.