Friday, March 3, 2023

Do not seek to follow the footsteps...

 There is a Buddhist saying: "Do not seek to follow the footsteps of Buddha.  Seek instead what Buddha sought."  The nuance may be subtle, but truly different.  Visiting the places Buddha visited and saying the words that Buddha spoke will not give you the enlightenment Buddha sought and found.

Buddha went looking for answers to life and found them.  Finding those answers ourselves require we bring into ourselves, at a much deeper level, the same questions and research.  Buddha helps point the way to enable others to find enlightenment easier, but each person must still follow the path that Buddha followed.

I've often tried to apply this logic to christianity.  I've even tried to figure out what pithy saying I could use about Jesus that would correlate to the Buddhist saying.  I think I found something close.

"Seek not to live your life with Jesus in it.  Seek instead to live your life as Jesus lived." It's like the difference between a cult and a following. The "Christ Cult" honors Jesus over the teachings. Whereas the "Jesus Followers" honors the message Jesus spoke over himself.

Mind you, there are some early references supporting a Christ Cult. Consider the volume of the Gospels space it taken up with the lead up and death of Jesus. The various letters in the bible, for example First Corinthians 15:1-3, spell it out as such.

I hear a great deal of "Praise Jesus" and "Hallelujah", as if recognizing the relationship between Jesus and ourselves is the main goal of christianity.  But is being christian about the relationship, or is it about the message and teachings of Jesus?

Jesus, in the earliest documents, tends to downplay his divine status focusing more on two things: helping and caring for one another, regardless of social stigma... and teaching us to behave the same.  By both word and deed, Jesus' focus was on love, caring, and community.  His message was not focused on "praise me."

So, I wonder, what percentage of time do we spend praising Jesus compared to time spent loving unconditionally everyone, including those we would otherwise disagree with?  How much time do we spend loving those who disagree with us, say...  politically? or sexually? or perhaps religiously?

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