- Religion and Philosophy
How To Walk In the Footsteps Of The Buddha
© 2005 VVeasey Publishing
Buddha is a title that means “the awaken one” or “the enlighten one”. The person who history knows as Buddha, real name was, Siddhartha Gautama. He’s referred to as “The Buddha”, “Buddha” or the “historical Buddha”. The title Buddha also refers to a spiritual experience. that has been experienced by people before, and after Siddhartha, and can be experienced by anyone, meeting the necessary prerequisites.
Most aspiring Buddhist, think, that their quest is to follow in the footsteps of Buddha, or even walk in his footsteps. Whatever Buddha did, they think that they should do. If the scriptures say that Buddha cut off his locks, or that he vowed never to cut his hair or beard again, then, that's what they have to do, because that’s what Buddha, did or didn't do it!
So they conform, in dress and style, to the style and dress they think that Buddha adhered to. They think that by, imitating Buddha, they will be like Buddha, but, they’re not supposed to imitate Buddha. What they don't realize, is that they're imitating, Siddhartha, the worldly personality of Buddha.Because as mentioned earlier, Buddha, isn't only a particular person, but a transcendent experience, of total unconditioned immortal being.This experience is what Buddha refers to among other things, as the unborn,
"There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this Unborn, this Unoriginated, this Uncreated, this Unformed, escape from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible. But since there is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, therefore is escape possible from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed." (Buddha, "Sermon after his enlightenment" Yoga, Immortality and Freedom, Mircea Eliade, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1970.)
Not Imitate Buddha
The goal is not to imitate, Buddha, but to emulate Buddha. An imitation is a, counterfeit, not the real thing. The idea is to experience being, a Buddha, not to imitate his worldly personality or behavior. When you become, Buddha, you will express yourself in whatever manner, is suitable for the worldly personality you are, at that point in time, and that expression will be, appropriate for every situation and occasion.
The Eightfold Path
Although Buddha recommends following his, Eightfold path, as the way to experience Buddha hood; that’s not the way, he became Buddha. He became Buddha by an act of willpower and self-determination. "Gautama sat in a meditative mood underneath the tree from early morning to sunset, with a fiery determination and an iron resolve: "Let me die. Let my body perish. Let my flesh dry up. I will not get up from this seat till I get full illumination".
("Lord Buddha" from the book "Lives of the Saints, Sri Swami Sivananda, THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY, 1941)
The Eightfold path is just a, vehicle, to help those of a certain psychological temperament, to attain Buddha-hood. But those who have a temperament similar to, Buddha's, can attain the experience of Buddha-hood, they same way he did, if they so desire.
Buddha Wasn't A Buddhist
Buddha wasn't a Buddhist. (Just a Jesus wasn't a Christian), Buddhism was created by the followers of Buddha, (just a Christianity was created by the followers of Jesus). Buddha, never taught anyone to be a Buddhist. (And Jesus never taught anyone to a Christian). Buddha, taught his followers how to become Buddhas. (Just a Jesus taught his followers how to become Christs).
I think that one of the reasons there are so many types of Buddhisms, and conflicting types of Christianities, existing today, because their followers, are following the teachings of Buddhism and Christianity, and not developing the innate, Buddha or Christ, within themselves, as their "founders" and other awaken ones, taught them to do.
“Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” John 10:34
Hui-Neng said "We should work for Buddha-hood within the Essence of Mind, and we should not look for it apart from ourselves"
(Hui-Neng, six Zen patriarch, "The Platform Sutra" )
The Footsteps Of Buddha
So how do we walk in the footsteps of Buddha?
To walk in the footsteps of, Buddha, is not to walk in the footsteps of Buddha. Only, when we walk in our own illuminated footsteps, will we indeed, be walking in the footsteps, of Buddha.
There are no other, Buddha footsteps, to walk in!