Seeker and Savior
Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha and Jesus the Christ
“When I know the glass goblet is already broken every moment with it becomes precious.”Paraphrased from documentary film The Buddha”
2 Corinthians 4:7 (New King James Version)
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, which the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
Siddhārtha Gautama was a seeker on the pathway to self-enlightenment. He sought to reclaim the peace inside himself when said peace was disturbed when he saw poverty, sickness and evil. Siddhartha left the comforts of his palace, his wife and his newborn baby to seek out spiritual answers to life’s challenges. Siddhartha Gautama’s journey is a Vision Quest of self-actualization.
Jesus was the fulfillment of the law and the gateway to abundance and eternal life for all people. Jesus in his mission on Earth was and is the answer. Both were the sons of Kings but each was on a different mission. Jesus knew his destiny; however Siddhartha had to discover his.
Both men once they started their ministry were interested in the everyday life trials and tribulations of the common people. In the ages when they were called Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and Jesus represented the Heroic Voice and the Noble Quest through the dark enchanted forest. They were Divine Nomads on a Divine Journey. Both sought oneness with the Beloved.
No matter what faith system we follow we are all called to be in the world but not to be part of the world systems. We are here as a light, a beacon of hope, a lighthouse for fellow seekers and travelers. Many times during our journey the test comes and we wonder where I can be weak and wear my heartbreak on my sleeve.
Holy music is a sanctuary and a type of refuge. The Sanctuary is freedom from the unrighteous bigots who cannot or will not accept the message of the prophet. Then there is the sanctuary of the suffering and suffering was not hidden from Jesus. Growing up as a simple Carpenter he would have seen and encounter all manner of suffering people.
- “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19)
- “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14)
- “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)
- “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15)
Siddhartha Gautama Buddha disillusioned by the hollowness and spiritual emptiness found within the safety and splendor of his royal kingdom sought to find the cause for suffering. Siddhartha Gautama though that by joining with other ascetics or renouncers he would become closer to God or rather receives answers to questions that were troubling his mind. The only accomplishment from this course in life was continually being hungry and thirsty and mostly trying to outdo your fellow ascetics. The only revelation able to come through this holiness competition was the sin of pride.
Such harsh methods focus only on what and individual is missing, not getting any closer to God but in total concentration of the absence of comfort or pleasure. The more we try to mortify the flesh the more we see we cannot transcend the body while existing in this earthly realm. Deprivation as practiced by some ascetics or mystics and prophets is not necessarily the best spiritual path for the average seeker. Some austerity is necessary so that we are not consumed by the material world but to isolate and deny our very human bodies the daily necessities can open the door wider to a sense of failure or discouragement. We must try to find balance in our lives. At one end is the ascetic, at the other end the hedonist/sensualist. Most of us flow best in the middle ground with occasional visits to the polar ends. Separated from our source we yearn to return.
As prophets and/or enlightened beings both the Buddha and Jesus had similar universal themes of overcoming temptation, a wilderness experience with the tempter, both mystics emerged triumphant. Realization that the Kingdom of God is within us enabled these two very different men, who lived in different time periods, from different cultures, in different parts of the world to have similar spiritual revelations which now have millions of adherents worldwide.
Bliss or self-actualization comes with accepting our interconnectedness with the world, yet not being of the world. Subconsciously we are all craving with a burning desire to become one with the Beloved. This craving may lead us down several spiritual and secular pathways during our lifetimes before we achieve our own individual enlightenment. As a Christian I take refuge in the scriptural jewels offered to me within the Biblical scriptures, yet not discounting other belief systems or spiritual pathways. As I explore many different faiths side by side with my own I find more similarities than differences. Like my Buddhist sisters and brothers I find sanctuary in the Love of God, the teachings of Jesus, and various pastors, evangelists, or teachers who have a more extensive knowledge of the Bible than me, who can help me increase my understanding of scripture. With that said as believers in any denomination we must study the scriptures for ourselves rightly dividing the word of truth so we are not carried away with doctrines of false prophets. Beware those who misuse and misconstrue God’s Divine Word for their own personal profit and gain.
I can truly say the Bible speaks to me. What does your holy scriptures say to you? Like many of the faithful I find comfort in rites, rituals, ceremonies and sacraments of my church. It’s familiar. It’s comforting. If suddenly I attended church one Sunday and everything was out of sequence I would definitely be uncomfortable, wonder what was going on and if I was in the right church. However too much restrictive structure and adherence to doctrine and dogma can inhibit the spiritual growth of the congregation for this reason many people turn to secular and social organizations that offer morals, values and intellectual growth without the mythology. Churches, social organizations and clubs also satisfy the need for companionship and fellowship. As human beings we need to belong to a body of people with similar interests, goals and desires. We desire a place to fit in and be accepted for who we are as individuals. Churches, social organizations, clubs, guilds and professional organizations offer a type of safe space or sanctuary where we receive positive reinforcement that enables us to cope with the not so positive chapters in our lives.
Traveling other Wisdom Pathways
Recently I attended Hindu church service for followers of Sri Sathya Sai Baba at the Manhattan Center located at 30 East 31st Street in New York City. At first I was hesitant when my girlfriend asked me to accompany her to her service because those old voices of narrow mindedness assailed me causing doubt to creep into my mind as to whether it would be the right thing to do. Also I wondered if it would just be other Indian people and I would be the outsider. Not so, on both accounts. Initially I had only intended to stay five or ten minutes but I was drawn in by the praise and worship music and the words of the guest speaker who had journeyed all the way from India to share wisdom as given by the late Sai Baba. After his presentation there was a ritual very similar to communion in which I shared. I was very glad to have attended this service and look forward to worshipping again with the congregation. My girlfriend did her best to explain what was going on and to share literature with me. As we walked to Penn Station together discussing religion in general and the things of God in particular I felt a peace, calm, and centeredness that I had not felt in a long time.
It is far removed from my Baptist upbringing and Bible teachings but at the same time there are many similarities between Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the teachings of Jesus. After the service my girlfriend presented me with two of the roses that had lain upon the altar, which I duly took home and placed into a vase with water. Several hours later it struck me that one of the redemptive names of Jesus is the “Rose of Sharon”. Wow! My mind immediately went to “The Song of Solomon” the Bible’s romance book. The Song of Solomon explicitly expresses the desire between two lovers but on a deeper level the love of Jesus for his bride, the church.
Hindu, Buddhist, Hebrew, Christian, Sufi Muslim all have their mystical sages who are calling us closer to God. Are you listening?
God is sending other Angels with voices who invite thought amongst the congregation. Come Let us Reason Together. No matter how many hungry people fed, naked clothed or lessons trained still our only desire is to become one united with the Beloved.
Divine fragrant Lotus Rose petals fell upon the body of the ascended one and the veil was rent from top to bottom. We his followers make pilgrimage to the Holy City in remembrance of Him.
Excerpt from the poem “One Whisper of the Beloved” by Rumi
In truth, everyone is a shadow of the Beloved –
Our seeking is His seeking,
Our words are His words.
At times we flow toward the Beloved
like a dancing stream.
At times we are still water
held in His pitcher.
At times we boil in a pot
turning to vapor –
that is the job of the Beloved.
He breathes into my ear
until my soul
takes on His fragrance.
He is the soul of my soul –
How can I escape?
But why would any soul in this world
want to escape from the Beloved?
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