Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Buddha Nature

I have been thinking of souls today.

At what point in the overall life of a being is the soul merged with the physical being we think of when we talk of a living person?  Is it at the moment of conception?  At the first breath of life? Sometime in between?  When the person is baptized?

Mothers have often told me that they could recognize personalities of their unborn babies by the way they are able to interact with the fetus.  Is a person's personality their soul?  Could it be that the two are separate and distinct?  Is it possible that a fetus is simply a potential life which develops characteristics like arms, legs, and personalities and that their soul is added at the moment God "breaths the breath of life into the being"?  That might be more compatible with the bible's wording, but is seems to slap me in the face of reasonable.

Assuming humans are not special and all living creatures are God's creation, then who is to say a dog does not have a soul?

Compassion . . . continued

Where did I leave off?  Oh, yes . . . "Take the time to understand the needs, fears, and desires of one another.  Then make the effort to help them achieve their goals."

Yes, looking back, my summation of the message of God's will is still off the target.  Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God.  The second is to love your fellow man.

The first remains simple to understand.  God created the universe, our world, and ourselves.  The grateful respect due from the created to the creator is a simple thing to grasp.  I stand in awe of all the marvelous creations around and within me.  I am humbled by the magnitude of the creator's skill.  What am I but a small speck on the vastness, both in size and time.  The fact that God gave me self-awareness makes me eternally grateful.  It gives me the foundation and perspective needed to perceive the splendors of the whole creation.

So, the first part is easy.  The second still causes consternation. Love for others.  I left off with: "Take the time to understand the needs, fears, and desires of one another.  Then make the effort to help them achieve their goals."

I fear others will dissect my words as I do and see gaping holes in it.  Do I only need to understand "needs, fears, and desires"?  What does it mean to help them?  How much help is sufficient?  An American Indian prayer comes to mind:  "Great Spirit, grant that I do not criticize my neighbor until I have walked one mile in his moccasins."  Perhaps this is what is meant by having compassion for one another.  If we take the time to intimately know one another from their perspective, then perhaps we can make decisions about our reactions/behaviors that are more in line with God's intent.

By intimately understanding another's life from their perspective, we can respond by finding ways we can help that person in a positive way.  The task is not a simple one.  It is a constant balancing act between doing too little and doing too much.  There is also the constant tug between who to help and if there is conflicting interests, finding a happy medium.

So, instead of simply knowing the  needs, fears and desires, perhaps we are better served with the concept of intimately understanding one another from the other person's perspective.  That is the preamble of the second golden commandment.

Next time, how to act on what we understand.