Sunday, August 12, 2007

One is not like the other.

I’m not much into organized religion. It’s not that I have anything against God(s) if he/she/it/they do exist. I’m just not that big of a fan of all their followers.

One thing I couldn’t help but notice between 2 very big religions.

This is the 8 ‘awakenings’ that Buddhist live by. Basically, this is a big part of their belief system.
The First Awakening: The world is impermanent. Countries are perilous and fragile. The body is a source of pain, ultimately empty. The five skandhas are not the true self. Life and Death is nothing but a series of transformations, hallucinatory, unreal, uncontrollable. The intellect is a wellspring of turpitude, the body a breeding ground of offenses. Investigate and contemplate these truths. Gradually break free of death and rebirth.

The Second Awakening: Too much desire brings pain. Death and rebirth are wearisome ordeals, originating from our thoughts of greed and lust. By lessening desires we can realize absolute truth and enjoy peace, freedom, and health in body and mind.

The Third Awakening: Our minds are never satisfied or content with just enough. The more we obtain, the more we want. Thus we create offenses and perform evil deeds. Bodhisattvas don’t wish to make these mistakes. Instead, they choose to be content. They nurture the Way, living a quiet life in humble surroundings their sole occupation, cultivating wisdom.

The Fourth Awakening: Idleness and self-indulgence are the downfall of people. With unflagging vigor, great people break through their afflictions and baseness. They vanquish and defeat the four kinds of demons, and escape from the prison of the five skandhas.

The Fifth Awakening: Stupidity and ignorance are the cause of death and rebirth. Bodhisattvas apply themselves and deeply appreciate study and erudition, constantly striving to expand their wisdom and refine their eloquence. Nothing brings them greater joy than teaching and transforming living beings.

The Sixth Awakening: Suffering in poverty breeds deep resentment. Wealth unfairly distributed creates ill-will and conflict among people. Thus, Bodhisattvas practice giving. They treat friend and foe alike. They do not harbor grudges or despise amoral people.

The Seventh Awakening: The five desires are a source of offenses and grief. Truly great people, laity included, are not blighted by worldly pleasures. Instead, they aspire to don the three-piece precept robe and the blessing bowl of monastic life. Their ultimate ambition is to leave the home life and to cultivate the Path with impeccable purity. Their virtuous qualities are lofty and sublime; their attitude towards all creatures, kind and compassionate.

The Eighth Awakening: Like a blazing inferno, birth and death are plagued with suffering and affliction. Therefore, great people resolve to cultivate the Great Vehicle, to rescue all beings, to endure hardship on behalf of others, and to lead everyone to ultimate happiness.

This is the first time I’ve ever read these Buddhist ‘awakenings’. I couldn’t help but notice the difference between this and the same ‘rules’ that are in Christianity.

ONE: 'You shall have no other gods before Me.'
TWO: 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.'
THREE: 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'
FOUR: 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'
FIVE: 'Honor your father and your mother.'
SIX: 'You shall not murder.'
SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.'
EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'
NINE: 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.'
TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.'

Can you tell the big difference between these two sets of ‘rules’? Yes, I know, some of you will say that’s old testament, and Jesus is not as old school. Still, this is a big part of Christianity.

I’m not saying one is better than the other, but just reading this it sounds to me that one was written to make you a better person, the other is like a narcissistic parent talking down to a child. One talks about doing everything you can you help others, end poverty and suffering. The other talks about not having sex with someone you're not suppose to (twice). If that really is the biggest problem you/your God is worried about, you may want to do some rethinking on your priorities.

Just thought it was interesting.


Kate the Peon said...

Lemme know the source of those 8 awakenings, will ya? They're tres different than the 8 steps / whathaveyous that I'm aware of in the Buddhist teachings. Am I confusing apples with oranges?

Pup said...

I just looked up a couple of other versions of this. It seems to be the same basic principle but said a little differently. I think the version that I posted may be the more literal version.