Pedram's stream of consciousness

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Self, Salvation, and Suffering

Is being selfless actually selfish? Think about the philosophy of Buddhism to reject the earthly world and all its temptations in order to cleanse the soul in order to reach enlightenment. This strikes me as odd because while it is not focused on the physical self it does preach a life that is totally devoted to the self (defined as the soul). Ok fine, now I'm not focused on what I eat or the clothes I wear so you can't really call me selfish (in the traditional sense that most people understand) but all I care about is my salvation, "f**k the rainforest, f**k global warming, can't you see I'm getting jiggy with my soul"

Instead of engaging the world, they totally reject it and focus on nothing (in an attempt to cleanse their souls). It seems like the true path to salvation/enlightenment/etc would be to realize that they want to cleanse their soul and instead they go to Las Vegas to gamble, eat at all-you-can-eat buffets, and date showgirls until they have no money, cholesterol problems, and enough STDs to kill a horse.

I realize that this line of argument isn't flawless but it is kinda fun to think about (given I have been coding all day and all I can think about is exceptions being thrown while my MD5 hash implementation keeps loading a deprecated library). So the true path to salvation is to realize the path but to totally reject it.... but if you realize that the path to salvation is to realize the path and reject it, then that is selfish so maybe you should take the path... no, you shouldn't take it.... wait, I think I had it right the first time... nope, that was wrong... shoot it was.. AHA I GOT IT. So what you have to do is see the path and then if you want to take the path, actually go the opposite way but if your heart leans away from taking the path, then you gotta take it. WOW, I understand now; the path to salvation is suffering... DAMN IT, the Buddhist were right in the first place "Life is Suffering" as said by the Bodhisattva.

Argghg... Ok, so here we go: In order to get from A to B, you must take the most painful route. Is there a connection between this and bottled water? I don't know but for what it's worth, when I was young and I would watch the Pee Wee Herman show, the talking couch always freaked me out.


  • When someone I knew remotely from college recently decided to go be a monk off in solitary somewhere, and gave away all his worldly possessions (including his bank account), it did strike me as being incredibly selfish. Mainly because he left his family and all the world's problems behind. I wonder how his family felt about that, and I know my friend who would have asked him to be his best man at his upcoming wedding was probably disappointed. Being an intelligent and thoughtful person, he probably could have contributed to solving the world's problems, too, but instead he is off in a forest somewhere completely cut off from the world. And yet not. I think he has a landline he can use once in a blue moon. That's cheating.

    By Blogger Emily, at 11:37 AM  

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