Friday, May 2, 2014

Methuselah's wiles

Which, if either, is more frightening -- the threat/promise of death or the threat/promise of deathlessness?

In Christian myth, Methuselah is said by some to have lived 969 years. That's not precisely ageless, but for most of us mere mortals, it's close enough to suggest agelessness ... a realm in which what came before and what is yet to come stretch out endlessly and thus confound any notion of time or age or, perhaps, benefit.

There are days when the words slip easy off the tongue: "I don't want to die."

There are days when the words slip easy off the tongue: "I want to live forever."

And as the words slip off the tongue, perhaps they are accompanied by a sense that something might be a blessing and something else might be a curse. 

But is it so? Isn't this life more interesting than blessings and curses?

I suspect it is.


  1. Only if i'm healthy and wealthy. After that, the endless repetitions of history might get depressing.

  2. A century has passed since the first world war. Was it even the first world war in the first place? If history repeats itself over and over again, where there were capitalists there will always be greater depressions; where there were militarists there will also always be greater wars. What perplexes me is that ever since the satellites occurred on this planet, the last time somebody called Himself a Buddha and anybody else acknowledged Him as One, that was almost 2500 years ago. Look, if there can be so many incidents that take place over the past centuries, why is it so difficult that a modern-day prime minister or president put on a robe and shave his hair off like somebody did 2500 years ago?

  3. Anonymous -- When Gautama left his palace, he left his prime-ministerial and presidential potential behind. What Buddhists call "greed, anger and ignorance" are not a matter of clothing or haircuts and asking a prime minister or president to forswear what s/he loves so dearly is largely an idealist's wet dream.

    For this reason, if The Dhammapada is to be believed, Gautama suggested, "It is not what others do and do not do that is my concern. It is what I do and do not to -- that is my concern."

    PS. The word "buddha" just means "awake." It does not mean holy or unusual or elevated.