Thursday, April 2, 2009

Things you didn't know about Buddhism (which you were probably better off not knowing).


I've been working on a re-revision of the novel, for which I've been reading something called "The Mahavaga." It's supposedly a transcription of the original teachings of the Buddha and is what all the rules and teachings of Buddhism are based on. So here, for your illumination, are some of the pronouncements of the Buddha when he was here on Earth. Once you read them I think you'll understand better why he was so eager to get off the Earth!

1. No one under 15 years of age is allowed to be ordained UNLESS they know how to scare away crows. (What? Buddha had a crow-phobia?)
2. The ordained were only to use "decomposing urine" as a medicine. (That'll cure what ails you!)
3. The ordained should live only at the foot of a tree. "caves are extra allowances." (Cause only cream puffs live in caves.)
4. The ordained should cover "the three circles" on their bodies which are the naval and the knees! (Those aren't the "circles" I thought they'd choose.)
5. Things you must do for your teacher:
- Give him teeth cleanser to rinse his mouth.
- Empty the teacher's spitting box. (The fun never stops!)
- Smear his face with clay before he goes to the baths. (I've heard about a lot of weird things at the baths, but never that!)
6. You may NOT be ordained if:
- you are in debt (OK Americans, no Buddhism for you!)
- you suffer from leprosy, boils, or elephantiasis
- you are a robber who "openly wears emblems of his deeds" (The example given is a necklace made up of the cut-off fingers of the people you've robbed. They needed a special rule for that one! Hello? A necklace made of human fingers didn't raise any red flags for you guys right off the bat?)
- you are a eunuch or hermaphrodite (what did all these old guys have against eunuchs et al?)
- you are a serpent (Well, shoot! That shuts me right out.)
- you have had your hands or feet cut off (because that's just too gross even for Buddha?)
- you have hands like a snake's hood (that's not covered by my HMO either)
7. And finally, once you have been ordained you must "abstain from all sexual intercourse EVEN with an animal."
(You just know that at first the rule was just "you must abstain from sex" and then some monk got caught with his pants down with a water buffalo and said, "But Buddha, I thought that just meant with people!)

So now you know. And you're welcome.

13 comments:

sageweb said...

wow I really feel enlightened now.

Willym said...

That number 6 thing about eunuchs sounds sort of like that bit in Deuteronomy about no man with crushed testicles coming unto the tabernacle of the lord. Ouch in either case but what the heck they got against eunuchs?

Pyzahn said...

You gotta wonder, who sat around making up these rules? And I thought Scientology was weird.

mrpeenee said...

Well, that's certainly eye opening. I guess I'll just take my little snake hood hands on off to the Taoists.

yellowdog granny said...

being a pagan is better..
1.eat, drink and be merry
2. don't kill
3.............there is no 3

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Hi, guys

Before all of you decide what is to believe and what is not in Buddhism, I suggest all of you, and, especially you, Elizabeth,
to read our kalama sutra, thoroughly and carefully.

Yes, the words from mahawakka that elizabeth brought here is true, but, not from your point of view.

Lets put it like this,
when you decide what is non-senses and what makes senses, you have to put many factors in to the context, you have to consider about time, place, culture, and peoples in to the context before you started to make fun out of them.

Are you expect Buddha to tell Indians 2,500 years ago to take aspirin as a medicine?

Sure, you can try to explain full-fledged chemistry to two years old children but will he/she will follow what you trying hard to teach? some would, but most of them will stare at you with blank eyes, and think 'this guy is really nuts'.

Or are you expect Buddha to explain what lunar moon base will look like to ancient age people?
They'll definitely laugh at you.

I'm really going to ask you this :
Haven't you guy been in India?
I recommend all of you to get there,
see the truth with your eyes.

Especially you, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth said...

To anonymous:
I grew up in Asia in Buddhist countries, so I'm deeply familiar with and respectful of Buddhism.
I wrote this in a spirit of silliness, which is entirely in sync with the spirit of Buddhism as I've studied it. Laughter is always encouraged. It's good for the soul, good for the mind, and if not meant unkindly (which this wasn't), good for the target of the laughter too.
Peace

a thousand shades of twilight said...

Elizabeth, I love your spirit of silliness which always comes from a respectful, totally inclusive place. I don't think that anyone who knows you would think you were making any kind of negative comment on Buddhism. This made me laugh, as does, for example, the line "Men kiss calves" (among many other knee-slappers) in the Old Testament. Respectful irreverance is always healthy!

Elizabeth said...

Sage - Glad to take you to the next level toward stepping off the wheel of suffering!

Willym- Sheesh, I know! And ouch on the "crushed testicles." You'd think that's a person who'd really need some divine comfort!

Pyzahn - I gathered, from reading this document, that it was the people around the Buddha who kept coming to him and complaining about things - e.g. 'All these people with leprosy and elephantiasis keep coming to us to get cured and then leave the order when they're better!" So then poor Buddha had to stop meditating and make a new rule.

Mr.P- Yeah, Taoism is so confusing that even the Taoists don't know what the rules are, so you and your snake hands should be fine. (I finally read the footnotes and it seems to mean webbed fingers. My sister in law has webbed toes. I wonder if they'd let her in?)

YDG - Works for me! The fewer rules the better!

1000shades - Thank you dear. Of course, I was hoping to make people (and myself) laugh. In large part because I was so frustrated that this seminal document, which I'd had great hopes for, was proving to be largely the Robert's Rules of Order of Buddhism, rather than the deep cosmological treatise I'd been hoping for. As Buddhism teaches, expectation and attachment always leads to disappointment!

yellowdog granny said...

some people need to not be so fecking serious all the time..

Kathleen said...

As Anne Lamott says, "Laughter is carbonated holiness." I'm feeling quite blessed having read this. And peaceful. And present. And, om.....

Elizabeth said...

YDG - Thanks hon.

Kathleen - Oh, I adore Anne Lamott and I love that quote! Thanks for that. I'm often carbonated, if not always holy!