Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Buddhism: The Search For The Off-Ramp

First, you have to understand that reincarnation is a real thing. You are doomed to an infinite cycle of lives, which, even if you behave well, will be tedious to the point of suffering. It's not that you might come back as a worm, it's that you will come back and come back and come back and come back and come back and come back and come back and come back and come back and come back and come back again.

Buddha found the off-ramp. You could embrace hedonism and party on all the time, but that doesn't lead to happiness, only empty, temporary pleasure. You could eschew all pleasure and live as a strict ascetic, but that's just deliberately turning your life into a total drag. Instead, you need to pick the third way.

The third way is where you realize that pleasure doesn't matter. It's not that you avoid it, it's that you understand that it isn't real, not in the ways that count. It's OK to own things, but you don't let your things own you, to use the cliche. The best thing to do is live minimally, thus finding peace with life and the Universe.

At the end of such a life lies Nirvana, a state of nothingness. You'll have found the exit from the endless cycle of life and will cease to exist completely. Winning!

At least that's the way I understand it.

I think the minimalism part is pretty good. Plus, Buddha statues are just cool.


Anonymous said...

Reincarnation is from Hinduism... bled over into Buddhism over the ages. The 'rebirth' of the sense of 'self' [I, me, mine] that arises countless times daily - is the 'rebirth' as taught by Buddha.

K T Cat said...

I might be wrong on this, but the Buddha was Indian and his philosophy grew out of those roots, hence the reincarnation thing.