Jesus AND Buddha

I have been reading and meditating on a book called “Jesus AND Buddha”, by Marcus Borg. I was looking around a half priced books store and the title caught my eye because how often do you see those two names side by side? The two are both major influences on two seemingly different religions, Buddhism and Christianity. Buddha coming from the West, Jesus coming from the East. In this book, their paralell teachings are displayed side by side, one on each page. It strikes me how similar these two peoples messages are. They spoke many of the same truths. They both stood for Love, compassion, forgiveness, a peaceful way of living, and overall Goodness. Some say that Jesus may have traveled to the west at some point and got his ideas that way, but it’s unsure and seems unlikely.

After my religious beliefs loosened and fell off, it was hard for me to give any credit to the bible. I no longer took it’s meaning to heart. After a lot of growth and healing, I am able to appreciate the bible for what it is, and this is one of the first times I’ve actually read and thought about the bible in a couple of years. The way that I comprehend the bible is completely different now. This book helped me to understand that the parables being taught by each of these humans carry a much deeper meaning that can easily be misinterpreted or missed.

Here are some of their paralell teachings that resonated with me:

1.
Jesus: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” -Luke 6:31

Buddha: “Consider others as yourself.” – Dhammapada 10.1

This is one of both mans greatest and most basic teachings. The words really speak for themselves, so there isn’t a lot to interpret. I hope one day everyone learns to live by these words. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own little words because it’s all we can perceive with our physical bodies, but ultimately we are all the same deep down.
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2.
Jesus: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it had grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. – Matthew 13: 31-21

Buddha: “Do not underestimate good, thinking it will kot affect you. Dripping water can fill a pitcher, drop by drop; one who is wise is filled with good, even if one accumulates it little by little. – Dhammapada 9.7

There are two different metaphors here, but I believe they are both relating to the same ideas. When Jesus says “the kingdom of heaven” I don’t see it as a unreachable world outside of us, somewhere in the afterlife that we may or may not see some day, rather a dimension inside all of us that is able to be connected with right NOW. Happiness, Love, the ultimate free state of consciousness.
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3.
Jesus: Your eye is the lamp of hour body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness. Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.” – Luke 11: 34-36

Buddha: “As a man with eyes who carried a lamp sees all objects, so too with one who has heard the Moral Law. He will become perfectly wise.” – Udanavarga 22.4

Both of these quotes involve seeing, eyes, and lamps. I think these terms are meant to be taken non-literal. Our physical bodies have eyes, but who we are internally also has “eyes”. The way we perceive or see anything, is perceived with our spiritual/internal eyes. If the way we see things is with Love and light, As are we. If the way we see things is full of darkness, hatred, and anger, as are we. The reason this message is important is because it’s so easy to blinded with negativity and darkness. A lot of the nasty things we think and feel come from our egotistic nature that tricks us into feeling those ways. I believe being aware of this is the first step, which is perhaps why Jesus said, “therefor consider whether the light in you is not darkness”. We have control over how we see things, and the first step to changing our perspective is to be aware that we have the power to do it.
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4.
Jesus: No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” -Luke 6: 43-45

Buddha: “Whatsoever a person commits , whether it be virtuous or sinful deeds, none of these is of little import; all bear some kind of fruit.” – Udanavarga

Both of these quotes involve fruit which is something I have recently found metaphorically intriguing and beautiful. Physical fruit bears many seeds, just like spiritual fruit. Seeds have the ability to spread and re produce over and over again. Fruit grows on trees which are majestic in themselves. Spiritual fruit consist of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. If all of us tree’s were to bear this fruit imagine how much fruitful bliss the people of the world would experience. Wow.
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5.
Jesus: “Jesus knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.” – John 2: 24-25

Budha: “He was expert in knowing the thoughts and actions of living beings.”- Vimalakirtinitdesha Sutra…

I thought these were just so interesting. I suppose if we can see and know ourselves, then we know all others. Some people would say that these two men were enlightened masters and that we are not able to do the things they did, but I believe part of these mens message was that we are all capable of living the Free lives that they did. Jesus said he desires us to be one with him as he is with the father. Maybe the father is the kingdom of heaven (living in bliss, NOW), and Jesus is living that way. If we live the way he is, then we are ONE, all living in the same dimension.
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6.
Jesus: “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables.” He did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his desciples.- Mark 4: 11&34

Buddha: ” Such talk on the dharma is not given to lay people clothed in white. Such talk on the dharma is given to those who have gone forth.”- Majjhima Nikaya 143.15

Gratitude n’ Happiness. :)

In my lifetime I’ve learned that consciously practicing gratitude makes a happier life. To be thankful for things is to see and appreciate the good, and even the hard stuff if we try. If we focus on and appreciate the good, the good is what we will see and experience. It really is that easy. 🙂 I say ‘consciously practice’ because it’s so easy to lose touch with the bright side and not even realize it. We can choose to appreciate the things we have, or we can choose to focus on what we don’t have and find ourselves always feeling bummed and empty. This is similar to the idea of changing your way of thinking. Remember: practice makes perfect. 🙂

Love and smiles:),
Lark

A Lesson of Value.

 

Hello there! 🙂 I’ve learned something extremely valuable recently that is share-worthy. The concept comes from this familiar quote by Reinhold Niebuhr:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

This is the focus of what I’m beginning to grasp the value in:

 “Accept the things you cannot change.”

I’ve heard that idea many times before and previously took it as good advice, but the true importance of the point has recently clicked with me. I feel like my soul is able to fully see and understand the significance of the instruction. It required a very hard lesson to understand the value in accepting the things we cannot change. I hope others can learn from my story rather than figuring it out the hard way. The way that I learned is just a glimpse of the many things that can and will happen to us, good and bad, however unchangeable.

  I have been dealing with a particularly challenging financial ordeal, which in the end of, I will have paid $4,000.00 plus throughout the span of a year for an apartment that I don’t live in or have any use for. The most money I have ever made in a year is $8,000.00, which means the best case scenario would be getting to ‘keep’ 50% of my income after paying rent and electricity for a place I don’t live.  There are many little details involved that seemed to cause way too much discomfort, but I’ll leave those out and share the basics. I lived in an apartment for 11 months, resigned the lease for the next year, and then, BAM.  Life happened and I found myself moving out shortly after resigning the lease for the 2nd year. At the time, my roommates and I decided the place would be sub leased (meaning 3 other people would move in in our place, would be added to the lease along with us, and would pay the rent and utilities.), no biggie!  Needless to say, things didn’t go the way I expected. Granted, it is by choice that I don’t live there, but I had to choose the lesser of the sucks.  One of the 3 of us didn’t move out as planned which made finding a sub-lease nearly impossible. I can now see that I hung onto that ‘nearly’ for far too long. I attempted many ways to fix the problem so that I wouldn’t have to spend the majority of my income on this place that I didn’t live, but all attempts failed.

Financial stability is something I have always struggled with. While I lived in the apartment for the 1st year I was often broke or nearly broke, which was a bummer, but it was worth it because I had a place to live of my own to show for it. I had something of great worth in return for all the money I was paying.  After moving back to my parents’ house and witnessing how it all played out, the inability to change the circumstances drove me crazy. The thought of work and money began to manifest an abundance of anger and resentment, let alone writing out the checks each month. I even have had to pay late fees a few times. It was hard enough to always be on time while I was living there. Each month I made an extra trip to the apartment complex to turn in my checks, and each time it seemed to make me even angrier. The anger caused going to work twice as hard knowing many of the hours I would work and the money I made from doing so, would be spent for nothing. A couple times I imagined myself getting a baseball bat from the garage and just smashing things, I may have even done it once. 😉  Sometimes I would just cry. I was angry at myself for being so angry, and I was disappointed in myself for letting money have so much control over me. I had to keep track of my everyday spending to be sure that I had enough money for rent each month, which made the tribulation very hard to escape from. This rough road has continued for almost a year now. It’s currently early June, and our lease is up August 9th. We got an offer from the complex to end the lease a month early which would be a miracle. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best, but now I know that if it doesn’t happen the way I prefer, it is out of my control and to moan and groan about the unchangeable circumstances would be silly and fruitless.

I learned how important it is to freely accept the things we cannot change because of the abundance of anger, pain and suffering that I experienced by not doing so. Now, I just need to put this knowledge into practice. Not just involving the situation with my apartment, but with anything and everything that I don’t have the power to change. To accept the things we cannot change is to be content with the way things are.  I had a lot of trouble accepting that the way things are, are the way things are. This situation is something that I cannot change, control, or fix, and trying to do so rather than accepting it for what it is, caused more turbulence than I realized. It would have been nice to fathom this concept earlier so that I could have avoided all the discomfort, but I didn’t, and that’s okay. What you don’t know, you don’t know.

It’s ironic because I remember trying to figure out what ‘lesson’ I was supposed to learn from all of it. I definitely didn’t see it then. I thought, ‘Well, I guess you should be able to tell the future before you sign a lease!’, and ‘next time I’ll think more before I sign a lease’. Apparently these lessons didn’t quite cut it for me. I will definitely put more thought into a big decision like signing a lease, but I was disappointed thinking that there was nothing more valuable to learn especially after such a pain in the butt of a situation. Little did I know. 😉

Are there unchangeable situations in your life that you have trouble accepting? Try to imagine what it would feel like to be able to truly accept the circumstance for what it is. The relentless desire to be in control would disappear, the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings toward the situation would vanish, and you’d be able to see more clearly the good that comes from the situation. If you put focus onto the negative aspects of an unchangeable situation, you will see and feel negativity. If you focus on the positive aspects of an unchangeable situation, you will see and feel positivity. It seems like it would be easy, but it can be very tricky.  For some reason our egotistic human nature tricks us into feeling a lot of ways that we don’t have to. But once you know, you know. It’s up to us to put the truth we know into practice. Life is quite a journey.

All are welcome to reply and share whatever your heart desires, I love to hear what others think. – Can you relate to my story or experience? Do you agree with me? Let me know! Have you personally found value in accepting things that you cannot change? Do you completely disagree with the concept? If so, that’s more than okay and I’d love to hear why?

Thank you all for reading, and I hope your day is filled with peace. 🙂

Love to all,

Lark

 

 

A little coincident

 

I opened up my dictionary to the word ‘coincident’ as the first word on the page. I thought  it was neat because I’ve been doing some deep thinking about ‘coincidences’ recently. What a beautiful definition.

           coincident– adj. 1 occurring together in space or time. 2 in agreement; harmonious

“Coincidences mean you’re on the right path.”
― Simon Van Booy

“It’s hard to believe in coincidence, but it’s even harder to believe in anything else.”
― John GreenWill Grayson

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
― Albert Einstein