by Jim Spreckels

The emptiness of the Buddha makes room for the fullness of the Christ. Without the Buddha - better to say, without being a Buddha (for Gautama/Siddartha does not personally matter as Jesus/Immanuel does) - the soul contains too much of its own to be free for perfection. The Buddha was a man who, in an Eastern spirit, was a kind of equivalent to Francis of Assisi in the West. He is the moon as Christ is the sun. Buddhism has a sense of right and wrong close to the law of Moses and, at the same time, a sense of quiet and peace that is at the heart of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Yet Christ brought a sword to the West, where peace seems to be impossible. Buddhism is the only major spiritual movement of history which, while being itself persecuted, has never persecuted others. It is not a "religion" in the Western sense, and offers (at its purest, at its most original and source-based) no competition with any other faith. Like a two-edged sword, the world of the spirit is historically divided between the East and the West; but the Middle East, where the Holy Land is the hub, is neither East nor West but both. Here Jesus Christ expressed a spirit that had all the best of Greek and Jew and all the best of Buddha and Lao T'zu, of Brahman and Veda. The West took up Christ; the East, despite the efforts of Thomas the Doubter in India, did not. But to know Christ in his fullness is to see him as not a Western figure but a reconciling figure, who holds the complete planet of the spirit in his hands and heart and soul. Accepting the emptiness of the Buddha into Christian or Messianic life makes it possible to transcend and transfigure human "cultures" - to value them not above their true worth, so they cannot stand in the way of universality and awakeness. As Christ is the only originating figure of the west who is in himself trustworthy, historical, and powerful for good, so the Buddha is the only figure from the east who is in a position to help render perfection. (Mohammed is the monolith that stands between East and West, the Sufis meditating high on that great and difficult rock.) As Huston Smith put it years ago, "Jesus and Buddha, they are the only two names." Yet Buddha is nameless; he is the namelessness. So Jesus is the only name, but the Buddha - not the man, but the being a Buddha oneself - clears out all naming, empties the self of competition, that Jesus Christ (Yeshu'a) may be all and own all.

-- Jim Spreckels is a Houston Poet, who describes himself as 95% Stratfordian at heart, and 65% Oxfordian in mind, according to his "Condensed Statement on Shakespeare." He is one of the few poets who still uses rhyme and meter and gets away with it. To catch him reading his sonnet duo "The Loss of Stratford" and "The Ascension Of Oxford", come to the First Friday Poetry Readings at 1413 Westheimer hosted by Robert Clark, 521-3519, or Wednesday night Poetry at the Mausoleum.
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