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Letter: Following a path

Time Magazine’s recent focus on “The Mindful Revolution”; a way to alleviate our stressed-out multitasking culture — a way of finding peace from a digitally dependent culture. It is just a way of thinking differently. Broadly, it is seen as a means to deal with stress.

Americans have spent some $4 billion on related alternative medicines, books, etc., but in the art of being mindful, smartphones are left behind, meditating in group discussions, sitting in silence, participating in yoga and taking meals quietly, mindfully becomes for some a life-changing event. Much of this new rewiring of the brain stems from Buddha (563-483 BC) land whose millions of people profess the Buddha faith of universal love.

Buddha did not claim to be of divine origin nor claim revelation from above, and prayed to no Higher Being. (His family were of the elite and he a prince.)

In Buddhism there is no beginning and no end — no creation and no Heaven! Theirs is fundamentally a belief in transmigration — the return of the soul to other forms of life where one is freed from all desire, then one has entered Nirvana — no need to be born into the world again. The four noble truths to which Buddhists hold have the same reverence as Christians do as in the Sermon on the Mount.

Buddhists set forth his beliefs, which are a middle way between the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. Man must free himself of desire by a noble Eight-fold path, right views, right behavior, right aspirations, right speech, right mode of livelihood, right efforts, right thoughts and right contemplation. This eight-fold path requires to do no harm to any creature. Forbidden is theft, falsehood, uncharity, strong drink and taking of life laws that are expressively Christian in the Ten Commandments.

Buddha taught the Golden Rule while the Bible states, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

Buddhist’s greatest strength lies in its adaptability to local culture, while Christianity remains firm in its mission to aid the poor and feed the hungry.

MARILYN F. SHEA

Shelburne Falls

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