Recently I've spent time with the teachings of Jesus and I'd like to focus this week on a few things I've found interesting.
He strikes me as a pretty ordinary fellow. Curt and tough, when needed; loving and kind, when needed. Of course, we know nearly nothing about Jesus as a person - just as we know almost nothing about Buddha.
Our beliefs about both teachers come filtered by time, language and bias.
The Gospels - thought by some to contain the actual teachings of Jesus - were written no earlier than 50 years after his death, in Greek (a language that neither Jesus nor his apostles spoke or wrote), and were formed to emphasize certain aspects of his teaching.
Similarly, the Pali and Mahayana Canons were written long after the Buddha's death, in languages not spoken by the Buddha, and reflect sectarian biases.
Although filtered, the parallels between the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha can seem uncanny and even extraordinary. Thich Nhat Hanh and others have written extensively about this, and I certainly don't have their knowledge or expertise.
I'm simply interested in how the enlightened mind reaches out to others. Certain teachings of Jesus, especially those that seem not to be shaded by Christian doctrine, offer valuable insight into this point.
This week's posts won't be exhaustive, but perhaps they'll reveal something about practice and direction. We'll see what kind of issues they bring out.