|Answers to questions on Buddhism:|
1. Does the story of Siddhartha Guatama, particularly in the years before he became the Buddha, ring true? Is it legend or hearsay? Does it matter?
The fundamentals of the story rings true. The fundamentals are essential questions in everybodys life: What is life? What's suffering? Is there an alternative to suffering? What's a way to overcome suffering?
I agree with Buddha in his philosophy: Life is dukkha (Suffering, with no apparent cause) - there is a cause for the suffering (avidya or ignorance) - the cause can be abated - and there is a path (margo yoga) to freedom.
So, this Buddha story is focusing on the true human problems/solutions. Perhaps some details (dates, persons, miracle stories etc.) are symbolic descriptions or not 100 percent true or fantasy, halluzination - what ever. But this is not important. Important is the message - everybody should overcome false beliefs and dogmas and clean his mind, liberate his mind, make the the world more peacefully... etc.
One Example: a questionable part of Buddhas story is the fight with Mara (the equivalent of the devil). I think that Mara is real when he is not. He is an aspect of the human psyche, desire, addictions and attachments. When the mind will become free, Mara will disappear.
2. What does enlightenment mean to you?
Enligtenment means to me:
- Liberation from greed, anger, and ignorance
- Embracing that we (all beings) are all connected
- Living honestly
- Letting go
- Being present and compassionate
- Peace of mind
3. Do you believe that enlightenment is possible? Is there more than one way to be enlightened? If so, what?
Yes, in my opinion enlightenment is possible for me, you and everyone. There are many ways to make life more enlightened. Prayer and meditation, chanting and preaching, study holy scriptures and practise sacred sexuality, dancing, silence, ... all religious ways (who recognizes freedom and tolerance, human rights and true love) are bridges to enlightenment. But - there are also "religious" sects who preys the man. They believe in a punitive God, eternal hell and sinfulness of man. If man believes in his culpability and badness he's not able to become free. Positive religions help man to feel good, connected, strong and full of love. These religions open the doors to enlightenment. My individual favourite way is regularly meditation, service for others and yoga.
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