Jesus was a socialist.

       I confess that I have not managed to read the Bible cover to cover, so I might have missed something, but from what I’ve heard, Jesus was a socialist. What I think he said was: If you want to be perfect, sell what you own, give the money to the poor and follow me. He may as well have said “spread the wealth around”. But that was thousands of years ago. I don’t think that nowadays many people have set their sights on being perfect- at least, not so as you’d notice- so Jesus’ words are perhaps not pertinent today.  I’m pretty sure Jesus never said – but I wasn’t there, mind you, and I don’t know  first hand, so don’t quote me – “invest your money in mortgage-backed securities or credit default swaps, then spend your profits on business investment targeted at job creation and let the minty-fresh monetary goodness trickle down to the poor.” I’m pretty sure that Continue reading

How do Buddhists reach nirvana?

There are many ways to reach nirvana or enlightenment. Some Buddhists believe that it is possible for some people to, given the right causes and conditions,  become enlightened instantly. Even those who believe this is possible say it is very rare. More often, the path to enlightenment stretches over the course of many lifetimes. Practicing the Dharma (the path) helps to speed the process along, and it increases happiness in this lifetime. Some of the practices are meditation, analytical meditation, accumulating merit by reciting mantras, helping others and by other means, cultivating right views and generating compassion for all sentient beings. There are other practices and they all are aimed at training the mind to be able to understand in an authentic way that this life and the reality we perceive in everyday life is not the true nature of reality. Once we perceive the true nature of reality and cultivate compassion to the degree that we have loving kindness for all sentient beings equally, we will be in nirvana.

  

What other practices or behaviors are expected of a Buddhist?

A cornerstone of the Buddhist understanding of the world is that enlightenment can not be attained unless one has complete, uncompromised compassion for all sentient beings. All the practices of Buddhism are performed with the aim of understanding the true nature of the universe and of cultivating compassion. No specific behavior is required of a Buddhist, but it is understood that being kind, showing compassion and helping others are skillful means toward cultivating loving kindness.