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Friday, May 20, 2016

Transcendental Backseat Driver


For those, like me,  uncomfortable with the whole concept of faith-based driving, who can't in certainty and good conscience declare, "God is my witness" or "Jesus is my copilot",  I suggest we accept Buddha as our backseat driver. Here he is pictured in a 2013 Mazda.

Mazda is the god of Zoroastrianism --a Sumerian religion that spread along the Persian Gulf over 5000 years ago-- which advanced 3 tenets: Good Thoughts; Good Words; Good Deeds. My other car is a '71 VW Bus. VW stands for "Peoples' Car" and, after tinkering 45 years, I've got this one running about right --but Buddha likes modern seatbelts.

45 years.
                                                         {Other car, '71 VW Bus}
Mazda is a very popular car in the USA. It comes from a corporation based in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.  This is probably a good time to get back to Buddha.

Buddha thought suffering is an ingrained part of human existence, described generally in what he called the 4 Noble Truths: craving sensuality; acquisition of identity; fear of death; mainly, the mind creates suffering because it is complex and prone to anxiety. He devised a therapeutic remedy which he traveled around teaching for 45 years, "The Eightfold Path".  It involved Mindfulness, correct View, Intention, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Concentration --generally a more detailed, studied and inspired catalogue of Zoroaster's tenets-- and gave onto modern psychotherapy.

45 years.

He recognized compassion, kindness --towards oneself and others-- has no calculable limit but still, supply is often exceeded by need --a great enigma that may take several more millennia to solve.

Is anybody working on this?


22 comments:

  1. I hope so. I really hope so. Not least because working on it (and particularly understanding that enigma) is more hopeful than almost anything else.

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    1. I hope so too, EC. I'd like to think compassion is gaining.

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  2. Buddha definitely had the right idea - - but unfortunately there are no Buddhas behind the wheel. Only spawns of Satan.
    I like that Buddha photo, and having him as a backseat driver is an extremely good idea.

    BTW - your post has finally appeared on my dashboard (my blog dashboard, not my car dashboard). Google is Slow. Mazda is more reliable.

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    1. Thanks Jon. Picture is of how the statue came home from the nursery, but I agree, an onboard Buddha would be a calming influence in every car.

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  3. We can all work on this. We can begin by giving a smile to everyone we see. They will smile back and at the same time pass a smile on to someone else. In very little time everyone will be smiling. Smiling on the outside makes us happy on the inside. A person smiling on the inside has no room for unhappy thoughts. I know it sounds simplistic but I know it could work.

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    1. An excellent method, which I believe is effective. I wonder if it extends to motoring. Cars used to have round-eyed sealed beam headlights that were friendlier looking than the quartz-iodine squinty lights now. Cars look more upset than they used to.

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  4. What Emma says is SO SO true...a smile given to everyone can really make a difference. I see it everyday.

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    1. Emma knows a smile can alleviate suffering, Keith, even speed healing. So do you! My best to Beate and you.

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  5. As usual, I'll not be inclined to the stated issue, back seat driver be they of what persuasion.

    As a contrast, let's use VW as an example, or current follower of the tenants of the Buddha, Siddhartha, whomever. How should we judge companies, indeed whole countries, like own own, how do we stack up?
    Or are these our tenants at all? Have we changed, are our intentions and missions different now?
    Geo, if you look globely now, do you see the changes, reminiscent of our and other countries nativist, or populist movements? Trump, taken globely, is just our version. Whether or not we elect him will say something important about our country.
    Cheers, pal
    Mike

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    1. Do I see global changes reminiscent of other nativist movements? Certainly. I see a Ghost Dance spreading across the world --but the reality is more mundane: Who will inherit the earth's treasures? It's a tontine, the self-entitled and faux heirs circled around a donkey-engine chugging in a hole. Trump is no stranger to such competitions, nor is Hillary. We have to decide who is most inclined toward government by discussion. Tough choice.

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  6. In each moment life renews and so compassion rises and falls until need is subsumed. Indeed people are working on it. Universal breath pushes us toward our solution.
    That is a wonderful picture. Is that a Buddha chuckle I hear?

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    1. Certainly need is included in the tremendous operations of the universe --and joy where suffering is avoided.

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  7. I agree with Emma and Keith. Like the line from one of my favorite hymns: "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." Each individual, each smile is a step toward a more compassionate world. I think happiness is contagious, but we can't want to catch it from someone else; we should be a carrier.

    Have you ever noticed that drivers with bumper stickers saying "God is my co-pilot" usually aren't very good drivers? Maybe they should move over, and let Him drive. :)

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    1. I'm still not a fan faith-based driving but am definitely a fan of Jill and Sy Miller's excellent song. And, because I appreciate humor and kindness, I'm certainly a fan of yours.

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  8. Dear Geo., you have a very, very beautiful Buddha on your backseat! A lot of his wisdom is very attractive, (though I have a few reservations). I cherish what he said here:
    "In the end, only three things matter:
    how much you loved,
    how gently you lived,
    and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you."
    (I'm just learning to master the last). Britta x

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    1. Dear Brigitta, I too have reservations --especially about the 3rd part of the excellent quote. I don't know what is meant for me beyond encounter and attachment or no attachment. Buddha is beside my rocking chair now and will soon take his place in the garden --perhaps he will be more specific out there. But I do love your gentle and encouraging comments. Thanks.

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  9. Sliding in late, here ... and all I can think to say is that I'd rather be a back seat driver than have to put up with one. I feel that's a deficiency in my kindness that might help the compassion supply/need imbalance if I were to work on it.

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    1. O Jenny, never late, always welcome. I believe your backseat driving advice would approximate Buddha's: Ease the suffering traffic; be mindful, kind.

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  10. Such a beautiful Buddha!:))
    And, yes, I have been working on these for most of my life. The concept of letting go of what isn't meant for me, though, is my greatest stumbling block!
    Am beginning to think I'll never quite grasp it.:/
    Why does the "not meant for you" have to be SO attractive?? lol

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    1. Perceptive Ygraine, I wish I knew the answer to your excellent question. There are many enigmas on this trainride, and the attractiveness of what is "not meant" for us certainly qualifies.

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  11. There's something about your Buddha's eyebrows I am especially drawn to - looks like he's about to squint one eye open and chuckle. He would be very suited to my driving I think. Not mastered tinkering yet, but 45 years may just do it :-)

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    1. Buddha devoted 45 years to teaching --tinkering with the mechanisms of compassion. Surprising how well his work has held up. Worth a try.

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