Matthew 5:29-30 (again) and some Buddhist Stories *NEW*

Recall last time there was talk of body mutilation in order to avoid doing wrong.

I have to admit that I was wrong when I said that there was no mention of hell because there was. I’m sure you all ready caught on to that being the clever reader that you are. The mentions of hell are in lines 29 and 30. They mention that if you have a tendency to sin and you do not mutilate yourself, you shall be cast into hell. So this just makes the case for anyone who has committed a crime to mutilate himself. If a preacher does not do so, and they pick up preaching again, I suggest asking them if they doubt their own book.

I can imagine that there are things “beyond my knowledge” such as angels, miricles, and the continued fame of the Spears sisters. I can not believe someone who professes something as literal truth then does not follow it. So these lines really discredit the whole thing for me.

However, it is not my job to prove nor disprove this book. Much more intelligent people have tried. I am merely reading it as a found object-someone left it at my desk–in order to see how it may improve my own life. By reading the suggestion for self mutilation, I must say that this book is not the work of someone with a sound mind.

I know of two stories of body mutilation in Buddhism. In the first, Buddha himself was in a prior life. He was sitting in meditation and a king came by. He didn’t like how calm pre-Buddha was so he told him things to upset him. This, of course, didn’t work. The Buddha’s never lose their temper not even as pre-Buddha’s, it would set a bad example. Then he began to cut the man up into little pieces. Pre-Buddha sat there calmly while he was chopped to death.

The point of this story is that Buddha wanted to illustrate that you never had an excuse to lose your temper. You should always retain a balanced mind even under the worst circumstances. Think about it. If the king is going to cut you up, that’s it. Fighting is useless. The only thing you have left is your dignity and piece of mind. It is up to you to keep them or lose them.

Quite frankly, I would have crapped my pants when I saw the king and got more worried when he threatened me. That’s why I’m not even close to being calm let alone enlightented. However, when I hear this story, it calms me down. It makes my problems seem small and it makes me feel better. I don’t actually think I need to let someone mutilate me. I will not allow it if I can help it. Also, I don’t literally believe this story, though there were similar stories of Greek stoics and early day Christians facing torture and mutilation with calm.

This is funny because out illustrious Christian leaders get pissed off at the drop off a hat. Ask them the wrong question, and they are beet red, jumping up and down.

The second story is actually a Zen story. It is where the great Zen master is sitting in a cave for nine years facing a wall. A follower comes and asks for teaching. The Zen master says no. Again, the follower asks for training. Again, the answer is no. So the follower cuts off his own arm. Finally the Zen master says yes.

What’s the point except for the fact that in a Zen story someone has to do something that completely contradicts common sense? The point is that if this guy would cut off his arm for teaching, what would you do? Again, it does not recommend the practice of body mutilation. It does not say that you need to cut off your arm to become enlightened. It’s just a story about a person’s devotion.

In short, my advice today is do NOT practice body mutilation.

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3 Responses to “Matthew 5:29-30 (again) and some Buddhist Stories *NEW*”

  1. equa yona Says:

    Well, here’s the thing. This is called Hebraic hyperbole. According to that understanding, Jesus was exaggerating in order to make a point. how does an exegete arrive at this conclusion? Because no one in their right mind thinks that every time you look at a woman(or man) and think, “hot diggety shit!” you have to rip out an eyeball- after all, you only have two eyeballs, and THEN what do you do. Logically, when you daydream about a hot piece after the eyeballs are gone, you would rip out your brain, nec’st pas? So then, believing that the Savior of all humanity is not a total nut job, you gp with the hyperbole thing(this is not the only example of it).

  2. Leroy Glinchy Says:

    As someone who is reading this to get advice to help me about my life, I find this to be deeply disturbing. OK, he is exagerating to make a point. But what was the point? I only read the exageration part, not the main point.

    Also, it was definitely not clear to me that he was exagerating. Yes, I would not mutilate myself even if a holy book told me because that is not reasonable. However, many of the other things he is telling me to do are equally unreasonable to me. How do I know what is exageration and what I’m actually supposed to do with my life?

    I’d like a book that would tell me only things to do with my life without exageration.

    I think that Buddhist Right Speech is a good guideline for how to speak and one of the criteria is “Do I speak of facts, or not?”

    The advice to rip out your eye was NOT factual, and I have a big problem with that because it starts me thinking what else was factual?

  3. equa yona Says:

    Excellent point- it DOES lead one to wonder what to take literally and what may mean something else entirely. There is a passage in the 19th chapter that talks about becoming a eunuch for the Kingdom of God. One of the early and famous theologions(Ante-Nicene Fathers) sliced off his testicles and walked down the streets of Alexandria quoting the passage. Welcome to the wonderful world of interpreting Scriptures!!

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