Sunday, January 3, 2010

In Which I Do Brit Hume's Research For Him

Caption: Buddha Daibutsu, Kamakura, Japan. This statue, made of bronze, is 11.40 m high and weights 93 t.

Image credit: Dirk Beyer/Wikimedia

Yet more proof that anyone who takes Fox "News" seriously has to be a frothing idiot, courtesy of Steve Benen:

I was taken aback when I saw that Fox News' Brit Hume, reflecting on Woods' career on the air this morning, talked about whether the golfer may return to his chosen profession.

"The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith," Hume said. "He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger is, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."

Hume was not, as the video shows, kidding.

Brit Hume Said What?

I don't know jack about Buddhism, but in contrast to Brit Hume, I'm willing to admit that to myself. What I do know about Buddhism is that it's a religion that's been around for more than a thousand years, and has hundreds of millions of adherents. For a religion to be that successful, it would have to have some way for its disciples to forgive themselves. Turns out I'm right:

“To understand everything is to forgive everything”

Buddha quotes (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.) Forgive Quotes

Which led to these:

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

“Be vigilant; guard your mind against negative thoughts.”

Buddha quotes (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.) (relevant Buddhist quotes)

As you can see, Buddhism does have something to say about forgiveness, which is that it's usually the better course for one's own well being. Too bad Brit Hume couldn't spend ten minutes doing an Internet search and a little reading before he babbled about his prejudices on TV.

You might not be surprised to know that Prince Siddharta had something to say about that, too:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

Buddha quotes (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.) (relevant Buddhist quotes)

I'll translate that from the Hindi for you, Brit: "Next time, look it up, Butthead!"


Unknown said...

And exactly why are you trying to enlighten Brit? Come on Cujo359, this is all about the frothing idjit knuckle-draggers being pandered to. This is Fox viewers we're talking about after all. They would know from Buddha if the great Diabatsu of Kamakura were to fall down and crush their pickup trucks.

By the way great picture of the big guy. It is even more inspiring in real life.

Cujo359 said...

Hi James,

I'm not really trying to enlighten him. In fact, I didn't even e-mail him. ;-)

As Buddha would say: No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.

Lex said...

Nicely done. Didn't know that Tiger considers himself a Buddhist; it would be interesting to know of what school. He's Thai, right? That would suggest Theravada, though possibly something less intellectual like a Pure Land belief.

Never mind that though, ask a serious Buddhist and s/he'll tell you that Jesus was a Buddha/Arhat/Bodhisattva (the last makes the most sense).

Like Christianity, it is easier to say that you believe than to act like it.

Cujo359 said...

There are similarities between Jesus Christ and Buddha, if you ignore the former's references to supernatural beings and the like. Jesus' admonition to "judge not, lest ye be judged" was a challenge to his followers to do what they believed in before expecting others to. Very wise, I'd say.

That last Buddha quotation, though, and other similar ones I found at that site strike me as nothing like Christianity. The idea of using reason and knowledge above belief and worship seems counter to both the words and the practice of Christianity. It's rather striking, coming from a religious text.

Lex said...

The trouble is finding anything we can be sure actually represents what Jesus said/thought. The issues of translation and canon formation (particularly Roman/Byzantine imperial prerogatives that influenced it) are troublesome.

Some of these issues did not affect Buddhism to the same degree, but if you go further into studying the branches of the religion, there is a lot of bickering and arguing about what the enlightened Gautama meant. And some of the popular - as opposed to monastic - Buddhist beliefs look as silly to reason as Christianity.

More purity of the original message was retained as Buddhism spread from India, but that's because there's no conquering aspect (which is probably more Roman than Jesus teaching). Buddhism is very well suited to enveloping native traditions: Animism in Tibet or Taoism in China (creating Cha'an/Zen). It doesn't negate the local, just posits something higher that the local is a part of.

The real similarities start to show up if one looks at the texts and heresies that the Church decided were not canonical. And for that matter the texts that were completely lost until the mid-20th Century. In those a very Buddhist Christ is visible.

The last known manifestation (and known mostly through descriptions of it as a heresy) of what i'd call Jesusness was the Cathars. They seem awfully "Buddhist".

But what we know is a religion almost entirely co-opted by the State from the beginning.

There's also the distinct possibility that Jesus was less enlightened sage and more than a little political revolutionary. (See John Dominic Crossan)

Dana Hunter said...

Buddhism itself is older than Christianity, about 2,500 years old at this point. And it's a fuck of a lot better at forgiveness than Christianity is. Something, of course, that Brit Hume wouldn't know, because his kind of Christian only learns enough about other religions to figure out how they can convert their followers to Jesus. It's horribly pathetic.

One practice of Zen Buddhism would be useful just now: hitting Brit Hume with a stick... Not that I believe he'd be enlightened, but hey, at least it would make us feel better.

Moss said...

Arguments against Buddhism