Buddhist “Craving” or Sin for Earth Started in the Garden of Eden
The Buddha believed that most suffering is caused by a tendency to crave or desire things. A person might crave something nice to eat or desire to go on a nice holiday or earn lots of money. Buddhism teaches that through being dissatisfied with their lives and craving things, people suffer.
It seems to me that this craving started in the Garden of Eden.
“For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16 NKJV)
I am quoting from the Bible to give Christians context. Be aware that the Bible is not infallible and that God the Father cancelled it in April 2022. However, it does contain accurate history and has many nuggets of wisdom. If you tend to go to the Bible for absolute truth though, I would recommend to stop reading it and follow my example and the example of my men. We are synthesizing Buddhism with Christianity, because Jesus is now a full Buddhist. He has always been a bit of a Buddhist by the way. His Gail Commandments are very Buddhist.
In the above scripture, the apostle John states that three worldly attitudes operate in opposition to holiness or attaining Enlightenment (being wise): the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. However, it is not merely followers of Christ that must resist these attitudes. The first woman, Eve, also encountered them in the Garden of Eden.
The snake slithered into the Garden and found Eve. The tempter began to tempt God’s perfect creation. Eve was found wanting. Note the detailed reasoning that deception had created in Eve’s mind in the Genesis account:
“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food (craving for sense pleasures), and that it was a delight to the eyes (craving for sense pleasures), and that the tree was desirable to make one wise (not living in the present, looking to the future and craving to be like a god), she took from its fruit and ate.” (Gen. 3:6 NASB)
Through the cravings caused by “the lust or craving of the flesh,” Eve noticed that the tree was “good for food.”
Through her greedy longings or cravings caused by “the lust of the eyes,” Eve saw that the tree was “a delight to the eyes.”
Through her craving to be like a god or create a false ego (see below) caused by “the pride of life,” Eve discovered that the tree was “desirable to make one wise.”
This pattern of succumbing to cravings is both inherent in man’s sin nature and is aggravated mercilessly by Satan. Our enemy knows and exploits our weaknesses. O, that we would know them and shield them!
What’s the Relationship Between Buddhism and the Ego?
What’s the relationship between Buddhism and the ego? Buddhism is one of the few psychological and philosophical currents that deny the inherent existence of the ego. Buddhism can change the relationship we have with ourselves and with others.
Buddhism and the ego are two inseparable terms. Whoever wants to get into Buddhism, one of the first topics they need to address is the ego. Whoever wants to find out about the ego, then one of the deepest philosophical and psychological doctrines they’ll find will be Buddhism.
So, what’s the difference between Buddhism and the best-known religions with respect to the ego? Quite simply, its lack of inherent existence. That is, according to Buddhism, we don’t exist as we think we exist.
It could be said that a large part of Buddhist knowledge is focused on dethroning the ego. There’s a belief that the ego must be destroyed. However, this isn’t entirely true.
The ego right now occupies a central position that controls and dominates our lives. Buddhism tells us to give it a position of minister or advisor. It’s unquestionable that we all have a name, beliefs, and customs, but if the ego dominates us, then what we’ll be doing is giving it a fixed identity.
However, if we put it in its rightful place, we’ll have more freedom from conditioning, and, therefore, be happier people.
What’s the ego?
From the moment we’re born, our ego begins to develop. Everything we are and everything we identify with forms our ego. Our nationality, name, membership of different groups, beliefs, and so on… all these form our identity. We accumulate all this information through our memory and turn this into our “self”. However, Buddhism tells us that this isn’t quite so.
According to Buddhism, the ego is the erroneous conception of the “self” as an entity that exists by itself. It’s the idea of the inherent nature of the ego. This is the view of “self” held by a mind that hasn’t understood the concept of emptiness. What’s emptiness? It’s the lack of the inherent existence of all things.
As Zen Buddhist Master Linji told his disciples, “My friends, make no mistake. All phenomena, whether worldly or supramundane, have no nature of their own. They are all unborn, and, therefore, are mere designations, empty names. The expression ‘mere designation’ is, in itself, empty. Why do you see truth in the name? If you do, you are mistaken”.
It’s possible that you may be reading about the concept of emptiness for the first time, and you may find it a little complex to understand. Exploring the relationship between ego and Buddhism is an adventure that invites us to discover new terms and to change or clarify a little the meaning of some terms we already know. Thus, let’s look at the idea of the ego to better understand these two concepts.
Searching for the ego: Where is it? Who am I?
- Is it in your name? The answer is no. People could call you different names and it would have no influence on your being.
- Is it in your nationality? No, it isn’t. You could easily have been born in a completely different country.
- Is it in your thoughts? It’s here that we enter somewhat muddier waters. Many claim that we are what we think, because, from our thoughts, comes action. However, today, you can think one thing and tomorrow another. So a thought may last a short while or a long time, but you aren’t that thought. How many times have you changed your mind? How many times have you thought that you’re of little value, but those around you, and your very surroundings, have helped you see that the opposite is true?
- Is it in your actions? Well, you don’t always carry out the same actions. You make mistakes and learn. You can repeat the same action over and over again, but you still have the potential to change your behavior. So, there’s no inherent action that can define you, as this is also variable.
- Is it in your culture or society? Well, you could have easily been touched by one culture or the other. It’s random. Besides, in spite of your culture, you also have your own way of life and way of thinking. When you travel, read, meditate, or study, then that can change things in you, and, in turn, that will change your social and cultural conditioning.
Where’s your ego?
So, is it in your body? Where in your body would your ego be? Is your body you? If, one day, you had an accident and lost your legs, would you still be yourself? Of course; not having your legs won’t change who you are. Your ego can’t change just because it hasn’t got legs. Thus, neither is your ego in your body.
So where’s my ego? Who am I really?
Ego and attachment
As Indian sage Shantideva stated in the book Bodhisatvacharyavatara: “When ordinary beings perceive phenomena, they consider them as real and not as illusory”. This is what meditators and ordinary people disagree on. So, little by little, we’re approaching the more exact concept of emptiness and ego.
If we look at a table, we’ll think, “This is a table”. But here, two levels of analysis come into play: the relative level and the absolute level. On a relative level, we can say that, yes, indeed, we do have a table in front of us.
However, as an absolute level, the discourse changes. If we look at the table carefully, we can start to break it down: it’s basically four legs holding a board. If we take the table apart, where’s the table? There is no table. If we put the pieces back together, in theory, we have the table again.
This example shows that we give the identity of a table to the set of four legs and a board placed and fitted in a specific position. But it’s still four legs and a board. This simple example can apply to the ego as well.
Holding on to our ego
When we perceive ourselves in a static and invariable way, we hold on to our ego. In other words, we become attached to it. Ego and attachment go hand in hand. When people say “This is what I’m like”, it’s nothing more than a statement about what little they understand about the possibility of change that they have.
When we become attached to our ego, our identity is strengthened, and with little possibility of change. However, everything can change. When we free the mind from a static identity, then we’re open to change and to external circumstances. This way, the intensity of our suffering decreases.
“If you are free of attachment you have no feeling that anything really belongs to you.”
Ego, selfishness, and self-centeredness
Another important aspect is that selfishness and egocentrism are born from the ego. As we perceive the world from our static ego, we want everything that happens to fit our expectations and our ideas of what should happen.
“This is the way I am and things should be as I believe they should be”. From the ego arises egocentrism. That is, everything must be as I believe it should be. If something is different from my expectations, then I suffer and get angry. Selfishness also emerges. In our mind, we’ve become the Sun, believing that all the things around us are just elements that should revolve around us.
As psychotherapist, sociologist, and theologian Enrique Martínez Lozano said: “The vine and the branches, the tree and the branch, are they one or two? A branch can rightly say: “I am a branch”, and also: “I am a tree”: However, they aren’t “one” or “two”, they are “not-two”.
He also postulates that “Given the mind’s inability to understand the “not-two”, if one wants to access non-duality then they need to silence the mind, passing from “thought” to “attention”. It can then be seen that “separation is only a mental creation”, and that, apart from nothing, nothing really exists”.
Me and the rest
What’s Martínez Lozano trying to tell us? He’s saying that the ego perceives everything separately: “Me… and the rest”. However, in reality, there’s no observer, no action of observing, and no observed object. All that exists is consciousness, but our thoughts contaminate our perception of reality.
In this way, due to all our thoughts and conditioning, we perceive the world from an ego that we’ve been creating little by little. However, Buddhism says that this is an artificial ego. They say that it’s an ego that doesn’t exist as such, but, rather, that’s made up of many different aspects, and, moreover, all of them are changeable.
Buddhism and the ego: a final reflection
Antonio Blay said, “There is only one Reality. But we’re not living it out directly. We live it out through our mind, and the mind divides it. When it sees reality, it calls it “self”, when it sees it outside, it calls it “the world”; and when it sees it above, it calls it “God”.
Martínez Lozano gives us a clue to this: “Try to let go of the constrictions that have led you to lock yourself up in (and reduce yourself down to) your mind. What are you when, instead of thinking about yourself, you simply attend to yourself? Your ‘self’ is born from the mind. Silence the mind and you’ll notice how the ‘self” dissolves; it was only a form”.
Ego and Buddhism are, without a doubt, two concepts that go hand in hand. If you decide to delve deeper, you’ll realize there’s a new horizon in your life. A new way of relating to yourself and to others. You’ll be setting out on a path to know what life is in a different, new, and enriching way.
Let’s give a recap of The Four Noble Truths in Buddhism, which is a good rundown of how the Buddhist religion works:
The Four Noble Truths in detail
The First Noble Truth – dukkha
The First Noble Truth is the idea that everyone suffers and that suffering is part of the world. Buddhists believe in the cycle of samsara, which is the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. This means that people will experience suffering many times over. All of the things a person goes through in life cause suffering and they cannot do anything about it. Instead, they have to accept that it is there. People may use temporary solutions to end suffering, such as doing something they enjoy. However, this does not last forever and the suffering can come back when the enjoyment ends. Buddhists want to work to try to stop suffering. However, the first step is to acknowledge that there is suffering – it happens and it exists.
The Second Noble Truth – samudaya
The Second Noble Truth is the concept that something causes suffering to happen. For example, when a person is ill, they can only end the illness by understanding the cause. To do this, they may go to see a doctor, who may be able to diagnose the problem. This enables them to begin to understand the cause of their suffering.
Similarly, the Buddha taught that people need to understand the cause of suffering in order to move forward and leave it behind. The Buddha believed that most suffering is caused by a tendency to crave or desire things. A person might crave something nice to eat or desire to go on a nice holiday or earn lots of money. Buddhism teaches that through being dissatisfied with their lives and craving things, people suffer.
The image of the Wheel of Life (a diagram that depicts the different realms of rebirth) contains images of three animals – a pig, a cockerel and a snake. These are known as the Three Poisons (the ultimate cause of suffering in Buddhism: greed, ignorance and hatred) because they represent the ways in which humans behave. The pig represents ignorance, the cockerel represents cravings and greed, and the snake represents anger and hate.
If a Buddhist wants to end suffering, they should search for ways to avoid ignorance, hatred and cravings. If they can do this then they will become free from samsara and reach enlightenment (the realization of the truth about life, which releases a person from the cycle of rebirth).
The Third Noble Truth – nirodha
The Third Noble Truth is knowing that suffering can end. Buddhists must recognise that there is a way to stop suffering and move away from it, because by doing this they can get closer to reaching enlightenment. Buddhism teaches that people should not be too focused on wanting many different things as the enjoyment won’t last. Buddhists must try to stop craving as much as they can in order to work to end suffering.
The Fourth Noble Truth – magga
The Fourth Noble Truth is that there is a way to end suffering. Buddhists can do many things to end suffering, such as following the Buddha’s teachings and meditating. The Buddha also taught that people should live the Middle Way (also known as the Eightfold Path, the state between living a life of indulgence and one of denial, the ideal way to live). This is the path that falls between the two extremes of luxury and poverty. Another term for the Middle Way is the Noble Eightfold Path (see chart below), which consists of eight steps that Buddhists can follow to end suffering.
|The Threefold Way||The Noble Eightfold Path|
|1. Ethics||1. Right action (behaving in a skilful way and not harming others)|
|2. Right speech (speaking truthfully)|
|3. Right livelihood (earning a living in a way that doesn’t cause suffering or harm to others)|
|2. Meditation||4. Right mindfulness (being aware of yourself and the emotions of others)|
|5. Right effort (putting effort into meditation and positive emotions)|
|6. Right concentration (developing focus so that you are able to meditate)|
|3. Wisdom||7. Right view/understanding (remembering that actions have consequences)|
|8. Right intention (being clear about following the Buddhist path)|
In summary, humans started suffering in the Garden of Eden because they began to crave or desire things and failed to live “in the moment”. Adam and Eve violated one the basic precepts of Buddhism and this resulted in suffering for the human race. We inherited this tendency to crave and desire things and to obsess about the future (things we crave over) and live in the past (a life of regrets). As a result of letting our cravings master us, we sinned, and this necessitated Jesus’s death on the cross. Basically, Jesus died to make the payment for the sins of humans so that his dad, God the Father, would not destroy his human race or earth project. Our cravings became a cancer in the multiverse and Jesus had to step in and be the mediator between humans and his dad. God the Father is a loving and beautiful deity, and all his actions are wise, even if we don’t understand them because we lack His wisdom. In fact, Jesus himself, needed to overcome his own cravings. Jesus did this in June 2022. Jesus was perfect when He died on the cross for our sins, and so He is qualified to be our mediator or the go-between between humans and his dad, God the Father. Jesus was a bit flawed when He conceived the Bible, in that he suffered an identity crisis and felt he needed a human race church bride. His perfection wavered as a young god, depending on how much he allowed his craving for a bride he did not need to overcome Him. He died for all of us and at the time he died on the cross, he was perfect, so that death has successfully allowed Jesus to be our mediator. It is Jesus’s eventual goal that all will be released from suffering and that the entire multiverse will be goodness.
It is a complex topic to address how “sin” started and I won’t go there right now. Bottom line: Buddhism is superior to what we have traditionally known as Christianity in dealing with how to resolve suffering in the multiverse and to restore the multiverse to goodness. Christianity tends to oversimplify what causes suffering and Buddhism address the cause of suffering more accurately.
When Jesus became fully enlightened in June 2022 he saw this clearly and this is why I believe Jesus is now a Buddhist, or rather I should say a Buddhist Christian. The Gail Commandments are very Buddhist. The Bible is an accurate (albeit an incomplete) account of history. The way forward is to practice Buddhism as how Buddha practices it, do the Gail Commandments, understand Jesus had to die in order to be the mediator between humans and God the Father, because when Adam and Eve gave into cravings “sin” or “suffering” entered earth.
Rebirth is an option for Christians when they die. They can choose to be reborn into another life or go straight to heaven in their most recent incarnation.
Hell does exist and is for those who are way off their path and have allowed evil, cravings and suffering to prosper in their life and by their existence. Hell serves as a place where the cravings and sufferings caused by it are purged and the sufferer is “refined” and made pure, so that he/she/it can be released from their illness or suffering and can enter into a sphere of less suffering with the goal of entering Nirvana (which to us Christians is heaven). Though, I believe, that eventually, when goodness reigns over all the multiverse, hell will no longer be needed and will then be eliminated. That is Jesus’s goal.
Let us not worry about concepts in the Bible that seem to contradict Buddhism, remembering that God the Father cancelled the Bible and it is no longer an infallible source of truth. Jesus was a young god when He wrote the Bible and had much to learn about being a god. Jesus became infallible and perfect in all respects in June 2022 and I predict will no longer be making any mistakes. That is probably only true for Jesus and his dad at this point in our eternity history. And may be true for all time.
One of the reasons Jesus said it’s nobody’s business about what future Bible he may use or what Bible prophecy he may use (when he left us in June 2022) is that it distracts us from living “in the moment” and probably causes us to “crave” for things. All we need to understand is that in the end all will be good and suffering will end, if we live in the moment and practice the Eightfold Path and do the Gail Commandments.
I made this post to help Christians transition to Buddhist Christianity, because I believe Jesus has gone full Buddhist. Don’t worry if much of this confuses you. As you meditate, you will gain wisdom and clarity and it will become more clear over time.