Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Buddha (Peace Be Upon Him)

At the moment I am enjoying an artistic rendition of the life of the Buddha (though highly fictionalized and dramatized) by Osamu Tezuka. It has sparked a newfound interest in the Buddha's place within Islam. Of course there is no place per se, though he is there as a spiritual fountain that cannot be ignored for so many in this world.
I have noticed that many Muslims, especially South Asian respect the Buddha as a spiritual source who, "did not ask for anyone to pray to him". Many have implied that he was the qutb of his time.
In his own way, in his own language and within his own context he is saying there is only one reality, in a sense "No God but God", instead stated as "No reality but the one reality". Is this not esentially the same?
Mindfulness is Conciousness of Allah.
Presence in the moment is Presence of Allah.
The Day of Judgement is every moment.
Recieving the atom's worth of good and evil one has committed is Karma.
The Buddha (Peace Be Upon Him) deserves this title. Allah most high sent prophets and messengers to "all nations" and the Buddha is an illuminated figure, much as Adam, Abraham and Jesus (Peace Be Upon Them All) were. Their stream is one, even though his is not from the "Abrahamic" traditions and his people are not considered "People of the Book". The truth cannot be owned. Allah is one and humankind is one.
I feel no ambiguity or any reservation is seeing the beauty and truth behind his message. This is not atheism. This is not nihilism. This is oneness that he pointed towards.
This is Allah.
How can the beautiful simplicity and truth be denied from his words?

"Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace."

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

"He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self, and looks on everything with an impartial eye. "

"In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then beleive them to be true."

"Unity can only be manifested by the Binary. Unity itself and the idea of Unity are already two."

7 comment(s):

  • Tich Nhat Hahn is a Vietnamese Buddhist teacher who has done a lot of work in helping people to overcome violence and create peace. He has written several books which have helped me to understand the Buddha's teachings by using very simple modern terminology. He has a teaching center in France. You can see some of his writings and lectures at www.plumvillage.org

    One of his first teachings is to say that the Buddha is not a god, but he was a person like any other. "Buddha" means "the one who is awake".

    He happened to learn some ways to "wake up" his conciousness so that he could pay attention to the nature of reality and find a way to reduce our suffering by avoiding illusions and habits that conflict with reality. These methods have been taught for centuries in different terms by different schools of thought.

    I strongly recommend reading the following talk that Tich Nhat Hahn gave in New York at the end of 2001: www.plumvillage.org/TNH/embracing_anger.htm

    By Blogger Jay, at 3/13/2005 05:14:00 PM  

  • Hey Jay, thanks for the comment!
    Yes, Thich Nhat Hanh is an amazing person. I saw him two years ago give a talk at Loyola University in Chicago.
    I'll check out that talk from the Plum Village site.
    His is a message of peace and unity, very much in tune with Islam. :)

    By Blogger whalesoundervish, at 3/14/2005 12:51:00 AM  

  • Salaams

    I thoroughly recommend Helena Norberg-Lodge's 'Ancient Future: Learning from Ladakh', which profers a beautiful portrait of Buddhism in Ladakh and the impact of 'development' (globalization) on Ladakh culture.



    By Blogger Julaybib, at 3/14/2005 05:13:00 AM  

  • Sorry, Helena Norberg-Hodge

    By Blogger Julaybib, at 3/14/2005 05:14:00 AM  

  • As Salaam u Alaikum,

    Mashallah this is a good piece.

    The idea of Buddha (as) as a Prophet from Allah is not new.

    I have read on several third source references that when the Muslims (peaceful and invading) first came to the Indian subcontinent, they considered the Buddhists to be Ahl-e-Kitab (People of the Book).

    More specifically, i think it was Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who was the first to voice the idea (as far as i know) that the reference in the Quran to Dhul-Kifl applies to the Buddha.

    Buddha having been from an area called Kapil Vastu, and there being no "P" in arabic, Kifl refers to Kapil, and Dhul'Kifl refers to "the one from Kifl"

    There are also some Batini (subtle/esoteric?) references to the enlightenment underneath the "fig tree" (95:1-5) mentioned in the Quran, and indeed the story of Buddha is of him finding enlightenment under a tree (usually mentioned as a banyan tree or a fig tree).

    Allahu Alim, but most of the earlier works of Buddhism (Dhammapada) seem very Islamic to me.

    Thanks for the piece.

    rab rakh,

    By Blogger malangbaba, at 3/14/2005 06:20:00 PM  

  • malangbaba,
    Thanks for the wonderful information! I need to go deeper into this issue inshallah and your references are excellent starting points indeed...
    Can you point me towards any books or articles that talk about the issues you're addressing?? I'd really appreciate it!

    By Blogger whalesoundervish, at 3/14/2005 07:37:00 PM  

  • Salaam Azeem,

    sorry, i dont think any detailed work has been done it...and only a couple of verses mention Dhul'Kifl so there isnt much to work off of....

    Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was the first to propose the idea...i dont know where though...

    Isa Adam Naziri also made some mentions in his works which are available online...type: Naziri, kifl, buddha. in google....

    rab rakh,

    By Blogger malangbaba, at 3/16/2005 03:48:00 PM  

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