The Human Dharma

April 26, 2010


It turns out the Grand Poobah religious figure in the USA, Jesus, did some stuff that didn’t make a lot of sense.  The one that comes to mind is getting mad at the fig tree and cursing it to death because it didn’t have any figs and he was hungry.  Um… seriously, Jesus? The tree would have had figs if the conditions had been right.  Wouldn’t it have been better to curse the environment?  Or the fig tree’s health?  The Buddha said that attachments cause suffering.  Jesus experienced suffering because he craved a fig so much he couldn’t stand it.  But taking the story at face value, his craving caused suffering not only for himself, it also killed the tree, so there could be no more figs for anyone from that tree. 

Jesus also rejected his family and said that he had a new family in the form of his disciples.  Buddha did that, too.  In fact, he ditched his parents, wife and kid and didn’t see them for ages.  Later in his life his family became his followers, but he did ditch them and cause them suffering.  Among the things the Buddhist works on is his compassion.  Although he left them so he could figure out the source of suffering and the resolution of suffering, he also caused suffering.

The thing is, these guys were people.  They weren’t gods.  Buddha didn’t even claim to be.  He didn’t even assign anyone to carry on his work.  He said that people need to figure out the way the world works by practicing on their own.  Jesus did claim to be the son of God, as well as the Son of Man, but he was human.  He had faults.  Buddha had faults.  All us people got faults.

As a freshly minted Buddhist I have been thinking about how it used to irk me when Christians edited the Christian story to make it suit their experiences.  A lot of modern Christians actually redefine God to suit their perspectives.  Now I find myself doing the same thing with Buddhism.  I don’t buy the supernatural stuff in Buddhism any more than I buy it in Christianity. 

What I buy is the Four Noble Truths, and how practicing them leads you automatically to walking the Eightfold Path.  Nothing magical. Nothing that requires faith without evidence.  Just walk the walk.

The Four Noble Truths

  • There is suffering (dukkha).
  • There is a cause of suffering (craving).
  • There is the cessation of suffering (nirvana).
  • There is the eightfold path leading to the cessation of suffering.
  • The Eightfold Path

    1. Right View
    2. Right Intention
    3. Right Speech
    4. Right Action
    5. Right Livelihood
    6. Right Effort
    7. Right Mindfulness
    8. Right Concentration

    The intersting thing is that nirvana doesn’t happen in the great hereafter.  It happens here and now when you practice.  Bits and pieces of nirvana start showing up.  The more you practice, the more you get.

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    One Response to “The Human Dharma”

    1. Susan Mills Says:

      I have just discovered your blog and I feel as though we are on a similar journey. I have not traveled quite as far as you, but I have asked some of the same questions. I hope you don’t give up on this blog – or your quest for peace.

      Sue Mills


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