Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Buddhism And Christianity

Much to my disappointment we did not receive yesterday's forecasted snow. What is it with the local weather people? They have millions of dollars worth of Doppler radar and are still wrong most of the time. When I was in high school, the local weatherman had a simple map of the United States and a magic marker. He was almost always correct in his predictions.

I've been thinking the last few days about how everything we are is a result of every experience we've had in life so far. Ironically, not every good experience produces good and not every bad experience produces bad. This morning I was reading another chapter from my Dalai Lama book on compassion. Buddhists, of course, believe in reincarnation. Unlike the Christian belief where life is a one shot, pass/fail kind of scenario, in Buddhism the belief is that you are continually born again into new lives. If you live a good life, you are born into a better life. This will keep happening until you reach an enlightened state called "Nirvana". The interesting thought I read this morning which is part of Buddhist belief is that there are behaviors, similar to the Christian idea of sin, that are to be avoided. The belief is that if you steal in this life, you will likely suffer poverty or want in your next life. If you are violent in this life, you will likely be a victim of violence in your next life. It's not quite as simple as I make it but you get the point. The message here, whether we have one life or many lives to live, is that our daily actions effect the quality of our lives and the lives of others. I do believe in karma. What you put out will return to you. Do good and good will come back to you. If you are blessed, be grateful and not self centered and selfish. If you've had some tough times in your life, you don't have to have a victim mentality forever. I know these thoughts are a little all over the place and could be developed much more. I hope I've said enough to give you some food for thought.

The first morning I had breakfast in France, I went into the dining hall looking for a coffee cup. None were to be found. How could a country famous for French roast coffee not have coffee cups??? I looked around and saw people pouring their coffee into what I thought were cereal bowls. Well....when in Rome....I mean as the French do. I poured my coffee into a bowl. It was a cold morning. I soon realized how comforting the warm bowl was to my cold hands. I thought about this the other night when my wife and I were drinking coffee in a restaurant. Chloe was with us and wanting to hold one of the coffee cups. My wife let Chloe put her little hands around the cup. She looked at my wife and said, "This feels good!"

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