Monday, February 15, 2010
First of all, I am not happy with the descriptions of the many supposed experts who are supposed to be scholars of Religion. When describing Buddhism, they make the mistake of saying the words, "Buddhism, like Christianity...", and then begin some parallel between the two and one of the things as an American who grew up in this society which is thought of as primarily Christian, trying to look at Buddhism through the eyes of a Christian and compare the two is like trying to look at a compact sedan and compare it to a firetruck as seen through the eyes of a fireman. They aren't similar. NOTHING about them is remotely close except that people come to a place and learn something from a religious leader. That is where the similarity stops. I read an article today in which the author decided to expand on his knowledge by totally making up some pretext, when he looked at a picture of the Buddha and decided since topknot is like a crown and to wear the topknot of the hair as if adorned with a flower garland. this is from his actual description:
"...topknot is as if crowned with flower garland (You have to distinguish with a Buddha image what you are looking at -- whether it is the physical body of the Buddha which has a topknot like a garland or whether it is the Body of Enlightenment [dhammakaaya] of the Buddha which also has lotus bud on the topknot."
Okay, let me clear that up for you, sir. Here is the facts as they are presented to someone who ACTUALLY READS about Siddhartha Gautama. He was, unlike the statue of Buddai that most people see and think is supposed to be the historical Buddha as he got older, was quite slim. He barely ate, almost starved himself to death, at least once. Here is the situation, in those days there was a social code amongst the males in India, known as "The 32 Signs of The Great Man". They include him to be flat footed, have the mark of a thousand spoke wheel on the soles of his feet, and further down the list there is, "14 His body hair is blue-black, and curls clockwise in rings." and "His head is like a royal turban (Pali: u nahisiso). Note that this denotes his cranial protrusion, visible on Buddhist iconography." His head, therefor is shown to have a protrusion on top, usually pictured to have a flower garland that he even names one sutra after, and in some iconography he even has a halo or aura type image behind his head with something that looks like curved braids, almost like dreadlocks. Why would they keep showing him like that if that wasn't what they wanted him to look like?
Juzu Beads have over 150 beads and so when someone tries to tell you, "HEY, I have a set of Juzu beads with 108 beads, a buddha bead, a head bead, separator beads in between the 108 beads, and five tassles", then tell them that 108 beads would be a mala with five tassles and you have never heard of one of those. the beads that SGI sells in the book store have over 150 beads and if you don't believe me, count them like I did. I am trying to say here is that there are too many opinions, too many experiences that don't really amount to anything, and too many people on the internet who are trying to say SOMETHING. But I will continue to try to bring you the truth, no matter what. To complain to that person that they are misinformed and that they should quit making impure teachings to newcomers is not the Buddhist way in SGI. I was crippled and was looking for something I might be able to do to sell that I could do from my wheelchair and I went and studied beads from the bead store and the bead stringers who made and sold malas. The problem is that changes. I am going to be satisfied to be a real enlightened person and make my little prayer cabinets (Butsudans) and use my prayer beads in the manner that you and I know is the right way. I hope you decide to take this journey with me as I promise it will be full of twists and turns as the unfortunate part about any religion is that PEOPLE, not the principles, sometimes stand in our way like the log jam in the work flow. I promise not to dwell on that as the best way for me to learn Buddhism is to help in teaching others. Let's Get Started!