Let’s assume for a moment that you are a gourmet cooking enthusiast and some how you came into the possession of a rare 16th century recipe. Let’s say “Turkey a la pilgrim”
You are all excited and you want to cook and taste the turkey.
You start reading the recipe and it says:
“Get your musket and go in the forest to shoot a nice medium size wild turkey.
Get the turkey home and start a large fire in the kitchen. Put a large cauldron of water to boil. Meanwhile go to the back yard garden and pick up the following fresh vegetables and herbs. Come back to the kitchen and start plucking the turkey using the scolding boiling water… etc, etc’ You get the point.
As you start reading the recipe you realize you have a problem.
You don’t live in the 16th century anymore. You don’t have a musket, wild turkeys probable don’t roam in your back yard and probable you don’t have your own vegetable and herbs garden.
What do you do?
Do you start planting your own garden or do you go to the nearest supermarket for the ingredients you need?
Of course you will go to the supermarket; after all you are interested in cooking the turkey not in reliving the 16th century life all over again.
Now, let’s say that you are not interested in cooking but rather in spiritual enlightenment.
You pick up a book like “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse and start reading.
What are you going to do after wards; are you going to shave your head, dress up in a yellow robe and go into a forest to live with the wild animals, or are you continue living in your house?
You might say; “don’t be ridiculous, nobody goes in forests anymore to look for enlightenment” but that is exactly what many students of Buddhism are doing. They are trying to imitate and replicate what Buddha did 2600 years ago.
So here is my question to you; Are you interested in attaining enlightenment or a 2000 years old life style?
Let me put it the other way;
If Buddha was alive today, would he have a job, a checking account, credit cards, pay taxes or refinance his house - assuming that the interest rates go below 5%, or would he live on the streets beggars bowl in his hand?
If Jesus Christ lived in today’s world, would he have a driver’s license, would he be driving a car, or would he still go from town to town per pedis apostolorum?
Is enlightenment a thing of the past, or is it possible to attain enlightenment even living in a material world?
Can we translate Buddha’s recipe for enlightenment and adapted to our modern life or do we have to go to India and join the Buddhist monks?
What do you think? What is your experience on the subject?