Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Laughing Buddha

Is despair the secret of life? Its meaning and kernel? Is the meaning of life a bad meaning? On despair.com there’s a demotivational poster of a sinking ship with the caption, “It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.”

Why does the laughing Buddha laugh? In his moment of Enlightenment he sees that each of us are eternally reborn into our same lives so as to live this same life yet once again. We reincarnate as ourselves in eternal repetition. For some it is a reward to be so reborn. For others it is a punishment.
People to whom I’ve told my parable have often exclaimed, “That’s horrible!” I guess it’s analogous to how many Christians feel about the belief of many atheists that there is no afterlife. What’s comforting to one is an existential horror to another.

It is meaning and value in this life that is at stake. Not some other life past, present, future, or parallel. In the past I found the Laughing Buddha comforting in my darkest times. How so? If I could not merely tolerate but imagine myself desiring an eternal repetition of even the worst, I found not only the confidence to handle the problems insistently demanding of my time and attention, but the energy for future plans and projects.

Is the Laughing Buddha enough now?


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