Gautama Buddha (560-480 B.C.E.) was born a prince of India, into a life of leisure and comfort. He was treated and indulged at every turn. In contrast, Jesus of Nazareth was born under threat of death, poor, in a manger, and in hiding for his life from Roman mercy. To modern times, many followers of Jesus, and those of Buddha have followed, with more or less success, the peace and loving ways to live a pure life; and be rewarded in a better after life.
Some, including myself, brought up to pray, and who also now meditate, have come to realize how much a meditation is both a quiet contemplation of the inner self, and with that naturally releases the opportunity to relax into the heart of God. This can allow inner quiet, during moments of stress, for many has evolved from new age theory to effective method to prepare and rehabilitate the body. For clarity of mind, it is always best to meditate your 20 minutes before a meal, and find how refreshed and mentally alert you feel. This was the way the Prince of India choose.
We have come to feel that it is not simply a new age contention that we all are a child of the universe. We are, and beyond that a child of God. Prayer and meditation can became a healthy part of a daily routine, as with natural diet and exercise, to lower blood pressure and find revitalized inner well being.
The great irony is that Buddha is better known and recognized as supreme noble person more in China or Japan than in his native India, where Hindu and Muslim outnumber the followers of Buddha in his own land. They say, often a prophet is not recognized in his own country. For sweetly raked stones in a garden of Buddha, you must go to Japan, or China. In India, Hindu holy cows and aggressive holy monkeys reign more supreme.
But to come to now, or the thirty years that the east has come, by the Beatles to us. And In that time, many a wise and restful practice from the East has been embraced. We see people in a park together all moving their bodies in artful ways, which we know in the elderly is excellent for balance. Yoga is as natural as to meditate on the beach. This is not likely one who is violent. This prayer and to meditate has become seen as thorough and wise. To meditate and speak the truth in gentle ways that compliment and discipline, as the situation applies.
Live less like the devil and more like Lincoln, who was often, in all the battles and arguments, found quietly in a darkened room, alone, sitting quietly in thorough mediation or prayer, or his next instructions from God. All powerful men knew to leave him be, he was working out some horrible decisions he had to make, and wanted to see if there was a way that less men might die in the coming battle. He had read the plans and felt they were faulty.
Lincoln was on his destiny to becoming a national icon and holy man. In the case of Lincoln, it matters not now what he did in that quiet room, other than mirror. But, with all we know about the magnificent human being that was Lincoln, it would be wise that we also apply such sound quiet time before our next battle.
And it was, and nevertheless is, this sense that the Wise Men from the east did not come from the hidden stone age village in the mountains, or hunters and gatherers anywhere who had no time to think. They may have been from Baghdad, or farther to the east: their influence of one God and that we should all seek the commencement of entering wisdom, and the developing the soul until achieving the flowering of human perfection.
In those ancient times, to followers of Christ, it was Jesus speaking to God. To a follower of Buddha, it was Gautama Buddha seeking divine perfection on earth to prepare to meet God. And really, as we in the west meditate with the billion followers of Buddha, we billion followers of Christ can pray for peace, but when needed pass the ammunition. But, really, Crusades are so long out of fact.
Perhaps we could all use twenty minutes a day raking our Japanese or Chinese Gardens of Buddha in their Oriental adapting of a Prince of India, now very Oriental in his bearing, no longer thin. But there are shared bonds of deepest humanity that knit us together as human beings that rule to love over hatred, understanding over accusation. And there is hope in that. We do know God is not finished with us.