Monday, March 30, 2015

the wondrousness of human birth

I wonder if, in their tracking of Buddhist spoor, a house cat, elephant or humming bird might accord with the occasional assertion that being born human is a rare and wondrous thing -- something to be cherished and nourished and used to best advantage.

Among Buddhists, there are times and places in which such an assertion is made. I wouldn't contradict it, certainly, but I notice that the ones making the assertion are generally human beings and one of the things I have learned in Buddhist training is to take a little skeptical care where my own judgments, however scrumptious, are concerned.

And so, when I hear my fellow human beings asserting good or bad news about the human condition, I feel a little as I do when I hear that the Vatican plans to investigate instances of pedophilia in its ranks or that the police department will handle "police brutality" cases: Is there no other source, one not so cozily aligned, to render a sensible point of view? In-house investigations aren't always the same as "in reality."

And if there is not, am I wrong to wonder if this isn't a bit like a teenager admiring his or her reflection before a high school prom at which s/he really wants to look good? "'O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'"

I am aware that there are men and women of great learning and, for all I know, great accomplishment, who will extol the good fortune of being born human -- how rare! how fortunate! -- but how much of this is worth crediting?

The best I can figure out is that if it is true, it's true. If not, then not.

And the house cat, elephant and humming bird may be the exemplars worth heeding.

1 comment:

  1. Life is a gift... that is inherently unsatisfactory. A gift includes some expectation perhaps. The buildup to xmas leads to the restful sigh in the aftermath. My greatest joys come from new life, babies, puppies, kittens, an occasional calf. A precious misfortune? The gift that keeps on giving... samsara.