Welcome to Pandora's Box

You're cordially invited to take a peek into Pandora's Box.

The intent of this blog is to inspire critical, logical, and free thinkers to join in on the discourse which will address topics such as; Agriculture, Agribusiness, Tourism, Human and Animal Rights, Cultural Diversity, Organic Cooking, Wining and Dining, World Religions, Philosophy, or anything else that might just "pop" out of Pandora's Box!

I would love for you to join me in the never-ending journey to enlightment, love, and the pursuit of purpose.

Peace Out,
Carla Jean

Monday, August 30, 2010

Whoda Buddha?

One of my favorite subjects has always been religion. At the end of my college courses, I had an elective credit waiting in the wings. The University took it upon themselves to enroll me in yet another hotel management course and I could think of nothing else that would be more monotonous. I needed to remedy the situation so I called my academic counselor to request a quick switch into a subject, any subject.

As the counselor quickly read a list of elective courses, she mentioned World Religions. Ah Ha! Sign me up. It was the last and only class needed before the completion of my first degree, Associates of Arts in Hospitality, Travel, and Tourism.

Indeed, I saved the best for last. Besides philosophy, this comparative religions class was the most thought-provoking and grammatically challenging course to date. My professor stretched me every inch of the way and what initially was frustration turned into appreciation. If this world is ever going to "Give Peace a Chance",  I strongly recommend that every human being learn a bit about a  religion outside their own.

The knowledge I gained opened up a plethora of questions that jumped out of my personal Pandora's Box. Since then, I continue to contemplate on a daily basis how the World's Religions fit into my world and my limited perception of God. The fact that I believe in God; the Supreme, Absolute, Divine Being and Sole Creator of the Universe, and that almost every other religion on the face of His green earth also does, I ponder what the unifying truth is. Both philosophy and religion are think tanks and I am but a very small fish, hell, maybe even just the plankton the sucks off the small fish, in this vast ocean of knowledge. So, I give it a go and try to understand.

Understanding one's purpose of existence was the topic for my philosophy final and comparing two different religions was assigned for the religions class. Both subjects tie together at so many levels. I concluded that one's purpose of existence was to know God and Love. Plain and simple. Granted, I had to fill in the final with a lot of big words and impressive quotes beginning with pre-Socratic Greek philosophers such as Empedocles, Parmenides’ and Heraclitus’ (say that 3x fast). But overall, I walked away from that class with a broader mind and new enlightenment.

My foundational views have not changed, although the class allowed me to look into my ideas and thoughts from several different perspectives. I have discovered there are untapped facets within my belief system that are similar, yet contrary, to many religious philosophers. For example: Buddha received his enlightenment not from this physical realm, but from a transcendental realm. I agree with Buddha in this respect, but disagree with his argument that there is no God. I question the reincarnation and karma beliefs that Eastern philosophies postulate, but that is most likely because I am a Westerner who has been taught since birth western values, philosophies, and a western viewpoint of metaphysics and ontology.

So as my title of today's blog reads - Whoda Buddha? - you may have already guessed who caught my interest. Although, unknowingly making matters increasingly difficult, I didn't choose Buddhism, but instead Hinduism. Go figure.

After recently watching "The Buddha - The Story of Siddhartha - by David Grubin, I discovered again why I liked ole Sid. Basically, he was just another soul searching for answers in a world of suffering. As the Buddha would say, "Life is Dukka (suffering), yet I have found a serenity that you can find to." Siddhartha Gautama's one quest was to share his enlightenment with those who suffered. Honorable aspiration if I do say so myself. The Buddha said, "You are already enlightened, the capacity for nirvana (bliss) has always been in you." Comparing Buddha to my Lord, Jesus Christ, it sounds reminescient of Jesus when He taught "The Kingdom of God is within you". The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Keynote speaker Ananda Guruge, addressed the Buddha’s contribution to humanity and world peace at the
2005 Buddha Anniversary Celebration in Paris, France. To quote Guruge, “The Buddha’s ideal of loving kindness, which expresses itself with a deep commitment to peace, unity and harmony, tolerance and accommodation, nonviolence and selfless service, remains the fundamental basis for all human relations- person to person in family and community and nation to nation in the world. This is his contribution to sustainable world peace."

Are U da Buddha?

To be continued....

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