Religion 101: Christianity is all about Passion; Buddhism is all about…

…’getting over it’, of course, as if you didn’t know that already, you who’ve probably fallen in love more times than you care to admit and probably never ‘got it right’, or maybe just once or twice, depending on how you count and who you ask, not that you let that stop you for one moment, reaping maximum rewards from a face, or a glance, or an imagined encounter while waiting in line for coffee, just waiting for something—anything—to ‘kick in’, and not just caffeine…

Or maybe you followed his/her activities closely enough to know where he/she might be at any given time of day on any given day of the week, and you just happened to be there, too, with an enigmatic smile and a pithy salute, full of vim and vigor and whatever comes later, counting the babies by the look in his/her eyes, or at least the efforts to be made if not dying then at least trying, lucky if you don’t end up at the keyhole on your knees…

We’ve all been there and we all understand, of course, unless you’re lucky enough to have been born so rich or so pretty that they all come to you and you can pick and choose from the daily queues—yeah, right. This is the likely origin of ego, even, that mustering of personality and passion that makes brakes squeal and hearts break. Ah, passion! That’s the word, embodied in Christ and emboldened by religion, enshrined by the centuries and embedded with our remains…

Of course, if you’ve been there more than once or twice, then the next thing you learn is that: it passes—with time. There’s not a love ‘crush’ in the history of time or the world that won’t pass with much less time than what it’d take to consummate it. And even if you do: then what? Chalk it up on your bed’s headboard or chalk it up to experience? Was it good? Congratulations. You went for it. Or not. Who won? And if you did make a go of it for a while, who broke up with whom? How’d that work out? Or you could just forego it, if the specs aren’t right, and maybe be all the wiser in the process…

We Christians make great fun of ‘primitive’ cultures and their planned marriages, notwithstanding the fact that we once did so ourselves, now those patterns so embedded within race and class that it’s not necessary anymore, the likelihood that you’d marry outside your race or tax bracket so minimal as to be virtually nil, but: can’t you learn to love anyone, given sufficient incentives and psychological motivations, perhaps preferable to the fifty-percent divorce rate that prevails in modern ‘democratic’ countries?

Bottom line: passion or passivity, what’s your preference? Choose your weapon: body or soul. You’d think the choice between passion or passivity would be simple, two concepts derived from the same original Latin word: pati, meaning—you guessed it—suffering. Ouch. Buddhism starts to sound better all the time. Some people think they’re too happy to be Buddhist, but that’s likely a misunderstanding.

Ours is a dimension of suffering, pure and simple. You have no choice. All pleasures here are transient, nothing to compare with the pure white light of spirit: electricity, magnetism, fire, and thought. It’s there, waiting for you…

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