I have subscribed to an Ancient History newsletter, and today's issue reminded me that Buddha's birthday is celebrated in April. Last year I inadvertently attended a Buddha birthday celebration during the first week of May. I am going to try to find out when they are having it this year.
So, I read up a little bit on good old Siddartha. I will probably skip to The Tibetan Book of the Dead in God's Breath so that I can focus on this religion a bit. There is a Museum of Tibetan Art in my neighborhood; going to check that out as well.
The little reading I did this morning was on Buddha's life. I also started reading the Four Noble Truths. I haven't gotten very far, but I am already hitting a roadblock with this. The first Truth is The Noble Truth of Suffering, which states the obvious: we suffer. The second Truth is The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering. The origin of suffering is "that craving which gives rise to fresh rebirth, and, bound up with pleasure and lust, now here, now there, finds ever fresh delight." This craving is threefold, including the Sensual Craving, the Craving for Eternal Existence, and the Craving for Self-Annihilation.
Here is where I have a problem: "But, where does this craving arise and take root? Wherever in the world there are delightful and pleasurable things, there this craving arises and takes root. Eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind, are delightful and pleasurable: there this craving arises and takes root."
That's all you got? What kind of an explanation is that?
I have not encountered an adequate explanation of the existence of evil in any religion. Even in my own faith, it's pretty shabby. If God has no evil whatsoever in His nature, and He created everything and everyone, where did it come from? People argue that free will allows for the possibility to choose evil, but how was it even a choice unless it existed, even if only on a theoretical level?
The Eight-Fold Path:
Hold the right views.
Have the right aspirations.
Use the right speech.
Show the right conduct.
Pursue the right livelihood.
Expend the right effort.
Maintain the right attitude.
Practice the right meditation.
Sounds easy enough. I wonder how you're supposed to know all these "right" things. I had better keep reading.