One of the things that fascinates me about Buddhism is how simple it really is. And I don’t use the term “simple” in a negative or derogatory way. I also appreciate the moderateness of the belief structure.
I was bouncing around the web and came across Ian Muir’s website, on which he was discussing the four basic truths of Buddhism. A statement in that post leapt out at me, and sticks in my mind even now:
“For example, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a good meal, but you should be just as happy with a simple bowl of rice or bread.”
I’m no Buddhist, and I certainly don’t know much about Buddhism, but I respect that there seems to be no inherent sense of entitlement in the Buddhist belief structure.
I respect that a lot.
Like you, I’ve never studied it extensively and, personally, any set of beliefs (fixed or open to interpretation) is something I am definitely not on the lookout for.
But many of the concepts of letting go, of not craving what you can’t have, of generally not being a little frustrated and angry person and just doing good, appeals to me, and should to anyone with some common sense, I believe.
I wonder sometimes if Buddhism could be implemented in the real pragmatics of the world though. For instance, law and economy. If it could, it would make for a fascinating political movement.
Well, that’s how I perceive it mostly.
I’m glad that you found my blog. If you’re interested, I’m posting a series of posts on Buddhism and I’m always happy to answer questions.
Unfortunately you are right in many ways. However there are some countries that are adhering to Buddhist philsophy on almost every level. Bhutan actually bases almost every policy decision on the welfare of the people over monetary gain or power. They have one of the highest quality of living indexes in the world, but have to rely on India for military defense.
About twenty years ago I read “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich: A Novel, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. There is this scene in the Gulag where he is having a bowl of particularly bad fish soup and talking about savoring the eye of the fish, which can be chewed for hours. And he saves some cracker crumbs, too, to eat later on in the day.
I had studied Buddhism a little, but there is always something about really well-written narrative that seems to convey its truths. Perhaps we need a Siddhartha for the twenty-first century.