Ivanildo: “under construction”

And here is the #3 reason I am NOT a Buddhist: I am not convinced that one can totally eliminate cravings by her/his own effort.

I saw a status on Facebook the other day: “If I can’t trust myself, how can I trust others?” Good question! I guess it is of paramount importance that we know where we stand on the matter of the condition of the human heart. Are we intrinsically good or intrinsically bad? Mother Theresa or Hitler? The New York Yankees or The Red Socks? (you can guess who is what here).

Based on experiential knowledge of myself and other humans I have observed, I have yet to find one who has been able to achieve complete self-mastery. Buddhism depends on lot on one’s ability through concentration and meditation to achieve a state of mind where s/he is detached from everything also and may enter into a state of consciousness where s/he is one with everything. Nirvana is not too far away after that.

The Christian vision of redemption is just the opposite of this. Simply put, no matter how much we try, we can never achieve purity of mind and body through our own efforts. We need some kind of divine enablement, some supernatural intersection of God’s Spirit with our spirit. Without this, we are hopeless wanderers, incapable of detaching ourselves from even the most mundane things such as chocolate covered vanilla ice cream.

Of course one can achieve levels of concentration where even pain is eliminated. But to sustain that level of focus for indefinite periods of time is unimaginable and I personally doubt whether anyone has ever really achieved it. Humans can be reduced to a problem waiting to happen, if they have to rely on their own ability to conquer their tendency toward selfishness, pride and self-pity.

The Biblical is clear here: all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. Human effort unaided by supernatural intervention is like economic stimulus without economic growth.

Humans need a total recall not a partial one. If you think you can save yourself, more power to you, but if you’ve already tried and failed, there is hope and it is not in nirvana, it is in a Person whose Name is Jesus Christ. He lived in history and demonstrated in my history that He can do for me what I could not do for myself. I am glad I’m attached to Him now. If I were a construction project, the sign on the front would say, “under construction,” and I am glad for that. How about you?

Ivanildo C. Trindade