Forest Hermitage, Warwickshire, UK
Being born, in Buddhist terms, means that one is still ‘stuck’ in samsara, stuck in continual rebirth. Not free. Being born is already a mistake.
How depressing! lol.
It is sort of like Original Sin in Christianity. I do not know much about Christianity so I can’t comment much, but I think the idea behind these two thoughts are the same.
So, being born means being born into an unenlightened state.
In Buddhism, being born a human is the best thing to be born… we are very lucky to be human. Even beings ‘above’ us like gods and goddesses, spirits and the like can not experience the freedom realized through Enlightenment. Nor can hungry ghosts and animals.
Now, I feel this is a dangerous model of sorts, as it may serve to boost ones ego, separating them further from Enlightenment. But of course, it can serve as a wonderful motivator for many.
Writing or speaking about Enlightenment is avoided by many Buddhists, including myself. I can liken it to why Muslims do not practice ‘idol worship’. They do not believe images of Mohammad should be created… because once you try to define or describe him, you always fall well short and do a great disservice. Now, in Buddhism, idol worship is OK. Many many Buddha statues everywhere!! But Buddhists, we need to be careful not to let our love and gratitude for the Buddha’s teaching to be obscured by images and statues in his likeness. Hui Neng, the sixth patriarch of Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism beat a copy of the Diamond Sutra with a stick. His point was about this danger… attaching to words, teachings, even the Buddha himself. That’s why there’s a saying in Buddhism, “If you meet the Buddha, you must kill the Buddha!”
I personally feel the benefits of having Buddha images in my home outweigh the potential dangers. They remind me that it is possible to realize our Enlightened nature. They remind me that the Buddha was a man, a human, nothing more, nothing less. He suffered and he worked hard to figure out how to stop this. He taught the Way. He also taught, as he was dying, for us to be lamps upon our own selves. Our Enlightened nature is within us, or rather among us.
Lets not fear talking about Enlightenment. It is the goal of all Buddhists, is it not? Of course, making it a goal destroys it. That’s why it is sometimes called the goalless goal! lol. Oh these tricky Buddhists! I sometimes hate talk like that! Just tell me the answer, not riddles! hahaha.
When Dogen said that Time-Being is a sixteen foot Buddha statue, he meant it. What does that mean?! Just tell me! hahaha.
May all beings realize their inherent Enlightened nature and for love to continue to spread throughout the Universe.