This topic is a little different than the typical things that I discuss… hopefully I don’t offend anybody, but I thought it was an interesting discussion, and well, it’s my blog so I’m sharing. :-)
My girlfriend brought up this question last night…. Is Buddha just as ‘real’ as Jesus?
First, I should state that neither one of us are Christian… she claims Buddhism and I am a spiritual being that doesn’t subscribe to one religion or another. So this question comes from a idea that Jesus (and Buddha for that matter) was a profit/spiritual leader like many other great figures in history whose stories were recorded/altered/created by man as a way to gain power over people and at times clarity and hope for sake of survival in this life. Of course this idea is subjective but still very relative when you think about this question.
*SN: J and I have this joke that the answer, cause and reason behind almost everything that isdeemed ‘wrong’ in this country are either power or capitalism. Seriously… really think about it. I bring this up because in my opinion, religion, amongst some other things, (but really all just boils back down to religion) is the basis on which this country was founded and religion has regularly been used as a way to control the masses, hence the fight for power. And Capitalism, well, like they say, money is power. More to come on that later.*
One thing that I have to remember in thinking about this question is my own perception. I wasn’t raised in a religious home. I don’t think we ever went to church as a family, ever. Well, except the day my sister and I were baptized, and even that was more of a tradition than a religious practice. I guess it’s a little bit different because culturally Germany is not a very religious country and my father, although America (who statistically are more religious), rebelled against religion after being raised Jehovah Witness and separating from his family at 17.
Hence the ‘hippie’ undertone in my perception.
I wasn’t threatened by the wrath of a Jealous God or eternal damnation. Nor did I understand enlightenment.
Although, I was threatened with Santa Claus as a kid, lol- not sure what that means though.
Seriously, I don’t really know a whole lot about either religion, even now. I didn’t even discover some of these things until I ventured into a Pentecostal church with my best friend at about the age of 10, and after that (as you can imagine) I was afraid of God, Jesus, hell and the end of the world and I just didn’t get it. Christianity was not always a source of anxiety for me, later in middle and high school most of my friends were Christian and they managed to clear some of those things up and teach me more about faith than fear. So I understand that my perception of God and religion is different than most and I have been able to form my own opinions about God without my parents beliefs hindering my perception.
Wait. Hold that thought.
Then again, my parent’s beliefs, or more accurately, lack there of, did affect my perception… I’m just as non-subscribing as they are.
Back to the question…
My answer to her was that they are both as real (or not) as you perceive them to be. Everything is about perception… if you are raised Christian, you would perceive Jesus to be ‘real’ and if you were raised Buddhist you would perceive Buddha to be ‘real’. J was raised Christian, but later found Buddhism, thus the realization and question. G is similar, both of her parents are Christian and her beliefs are now more aligned with metaphysical teachings.
First of all, the question its self shows arrogance, because it’s almost like saying, “wait, if Christianity and Jesus is bullshit does that mean the Buddhism and Buddha is too??”
I know it is silly and more of a rhetorical question than anything else… but it does present a good point.
Why would the story and teachings of Buddha be any more real than that of Christianity?
Just because we aren’t Christian and don’t subscribe to those teachings? Even the Pastor(s) at the Metaphysical Church that I sometimes attend cracks jokes about Jesus. They quotes him (Jesus), Buddha and other religious teacher’s quite regularly, but I’ve only heard cracks about Christian beliefs. For example, most recently during a Science of Mind 101 class (which is held in a Methodist church) the Pastor was talking about something and used a curse word. Ass was the word I think, but he whispered it. Multiple times. Then goes on to say that he had to whisper the curse word because there is a big Cross behind him and he doesn’t want to upset Jesus and be struck by lighting and be sent to hell. It was a joke and I most definitely laughed because I think it’s silly too, but objectively speaking, what makes Metaphysical beliefs superior to anything other? The big joke is that whole point of Metaphysics (or my understanding of it anyways) is that you don’t have to join a church, practice religion or read a bible to be a spiritual human being with an awareness of a higher consciousness.
Buddha’s life and teachings were recorded and shared by man just as Jesus’ were. For me, it’s the fear and exclusivity that Christianity seems to rule by that turns me away, but that is my experience. Again I don’t know a lot about Buddhism but I find comfort in the approach to reaching a higher consciousness or the escape from “the cycle of suffering and rebirth”. However just as Christians fear eternal damnation in hell, Buddhist (along with other eastern religions) fear bad Karma or eternal repayment of karmic debt.
Ahh, there is a reason, explanation and viewpoint for every aspect, huh?
Personally, I believe in God. A higher being. A divine spirit. The Universal energy that ties all people, animals and things together and the scientific laws of it all, but that is just my belief. As human beings we all yearn for understanding and a sense of belonging. Some achieve this through religion, others through other venues, but in the end we all want to have something to believe in, an explanation, and a hopefulness that walks along side us in our life’s journey.
Religion is such an interesting topic… touchy and personal, but Interesting nonetheless.
What are your thoughts?