Buddha and the Christ in total alignment on suffering and happiness and Kardec’s universal control of the spirits.
(This article is a complementary piece to iSpirit.us‘ quick video, below.)
“The only true guarantee for spirits’ teachings is in the overall agreement amongst revelations made spontaneously through a large number of mediums unknown to one other and in several places.” (The Gospel According to Spiritism, p23)
About 2,500 years ago, humanity received a gentle reminder from one of its greatest sages, Siddhartha Gautama: attachment to impermanent things is the cause of all suffering.
Attachment to impermanent things is the cause of all suffering.
The Buddha, as he came to be known by his followers, left all of us with a simple but profound message that transcends time and invites reflection to this day. For as long as we pin our hopes for happiness on things that are impermanent by nature and therefore bound to change, we are sure to find disappointment. After all, it is only a matter of time until such things change — and, it also follows, until we are invariably let down. Thus, we struggle, and we suffer.
Ultimately, Buddha’s teaching begs the question: to what impermanent things are we attaching our happiness? Is it to our beautiful house? Our expensive cars? Our material possessions? Our bank account? Is it to our physical bodies? Our social status? Our skills or intelligence? Is it to other people? All of these, without exception, change with the passing of time.
The implications of Siddhartha’s penetrating words are vast and, no doubt, warrant contemplation. They also lead us to the realization that much, if not all, of the world around us is impermanent. Everything, so to say, is in a state of flux: everything comes into being and then dissolves. Impermanence, in fact, is a key concept within Buddhism — and one we should all ponder over, Buddhist or not. Siddhartha’s insight equips us to understand where suffering comes from — and how to avoid it. The natural conclusion? Avoid attachment to impermanent things and you will avoid suffering.
But where, then, do we look for happiness? If this world, as the Buddha tell us, is fraught with impermanence, is happiness not of this world? Can we not be happy here? Should we strive only to avoid suffering?
Enter Jesus, the Christ, a little more than 500 years later. In a different part of the world and speaking to a different people, this incredible spiritual teacher comes to reinforce and complement Siddhartha’s message: store your treasures in heaven, He says, where moth and rust cannot destroy it, and where thieves cannot break in and steal it.
“Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.”(Matthew 6:20)
Like Buddha, Jesus warns us of the folly of putting that which is most important to us (and leads us to happiness), in a place vulnerable to decay and theft. If our hearts and minds are exclusively focused in gathering physical treasures as a means to happiness, we should be prepared for the unfortunate consequences that will follow. In that sense, Jesus’ words both overlap and are the natural complement to Siddhartha’s poetic wisdom. They too hint at a world of impermanence — and where, at a moment’s notice, we can have our physical possessions taken away. In Jesus’ construct, this impermanent, decaying, and dangerous world is the one we currently find ourselves in: the here and now.
As it is often the case with all messengers of the Divine, both the Buddha and the Christ are in complete alignment in many ways: they both tell us that this life is temporary and changing; that we should not attach our happiness to things of this impermanent world; that if we do, we are bound to struggle and suffer; and, more importantly, that it is possible for us to overcome suffering.
Shepherding us forward on the pathway to self-actualization the Buddha set us on, the Christ points us toward ultimate happiness by inviting us all to store that which is most important to us (our happiness) in a completely different place: Heaven. According to Jesus, this other realm is impervious to decay or theft. It is permanent.
Surprisingly, this other world, Heaven, is also within our reach — right now. After all, it must co-exist with this impermanent world we live in now if we are to store our treasures there. If it were not so, our treasures would decay and risk being robbed while we wait to get there. Otherwise, the message would have been to gather our treasures with us until we reach this permanent world, where we could then store our treasures. But again, we would risk decay and theft along the way.
Jesus, then, is demystifying the idea of a far-away and figurative place (Heaven) that is inaccessible to us. According to this interpretation, Heaven is nothing but a spiritual world that exists and interacts with the physical world — and upon which we should be placing our focus and efforts. How else would the treasures we gather here be stored there if these two worlds do not interact? Simply put, if we cannot reach this permanent realm, we cannot store our treasures there. In that manner, Jesus brings permanence closer to us than we often make it to be.
Unfolding the implications of these teachings, we can go further: if we, ourselves, are going to vanish from this impermanent world, why would we store our treasures there if not to access them later? What is the point of diligently storing the fruit of our noblest efforts if we will later cease to be? That is to say: Jesus brings us, like Siddhartha before, the certainty that our spiritual essence will outlive this transitory world — which would, in turn, validate the reason why it would behoove us to store our moral and spiritual treasures in a safe place: because we can use them later. The Buddha and the Christ speak to us about a greater perspective: one that transcends the impermanent/physical reality in which we find ourselves temporarily immersed. They speak to us of a spiritual reality. (A spiritual reality we again come validate through Allan Kardec’s studies on mediumship in the 19th century and whose workings we eventually come to better understand through the eventual codification of Spiritism.)
In essence, these two sages of humanity are asking us to awaken to our true spiritual nature.
Siddhartha helped us understand and avoid suffering, and Jesus pointed us toward happiness. In essence, these two sages of humanity are asking us to awaken to our true spiritual nature — which outlives, outlasts, and outshines our current reality. In doing so, we are invited to build moral and spiritual skills — true treasures — which will persist even after our physical existence has ended and which we will leverage again and again on our eternal trek to happiness. We are immortal beings — always evolving, always growing, and always learning.
If these realizations were not beautiful enough by themselves, consider the message within the message: God, the benevolent Creator, in all its mercy and grace, continues to echo the same message of love and truth through the ages to ensure all of creation can hear it — because ultimate Love has no favorites. Thus, God makes different spirits the mediums of this incredible message of understanding, unity, and love. Humanity’s great sages, saints, poets, and prophets are flag-bearers of the same message and are working towards the same purpose. The fact these messengers are varied and diverse, coming during different times of our common history and speaking in different languages, in different ways, and to different peoples, is only further proof of the love God has for us all.
“Universal control of the spirits”
That is exactly why Allan Kardec and the good spirits remind us to look for the same message coming from seemingly disconnected places in what he called “the universal control of the spirits” — and why we should always strive to increase our “spiritual diversity” by going beyond the boxes and turfs organized religion insists on establishing. The astounding beauty and connection we find reflected in the teachings of different messengers of Divinity speak not of synchronicity or chance but of one-ness. They are, Kardec would say, further proof of their worth — and validation that God continues to reach out to us in whichever way will resonate better with each one of us so we can speed up our walk toward spiritual enlightenment and ultimate happiness.
May our journey be one of ever-increasing awareness, search for Truth, and kindness to all creation.