What Would the Buddha Be Today?

What would a Buddha be if he came into the world today?  Here are some thoughts I had:

  • He would come from a wealthy family. Not a king or president, but more like the head of one of the powerful families in the area. His father might be mayor of a mid-sized city.
  • He would be tall, good looking, and whip-smart.
  • He would be educated. He would have gone to a good college.
  • He would have tried other religious traditions. He would have grown up a Catholic. Then he would have experimented with other religions, maybe LDS, New Age, Hinduism.
  • He would leave home and became a homeless person. A bum. A beggar. Not a monk as we know them now with clean robes and a respectable place in society. No. A homeless man wearing the stinking rags that other people throw away. In winter they would be stuffed with newspaper to keep warm.
  • He would walk around town asking for a handout of food.
  • He would meditate under a bridge or in abandoned lots.
  • He would be a community organizer. He would be traveling here and there organizing groups of homeless men and women and teaching everyone else.
  • Most people would consider him a cult leader.
  • Important people would seek him out for advice, but he would continue to lead the life of a homeless man, even into his old age.
  • By tradition, Buddha’s are always men. But that’s probably more legend than fact. Probably all of the previous Buddhas are legendary, just as all the Bodhisattvas are later inventions. So he may or may not be a man.
  • Most of his family would eventually voluntary join him in homelessness.

What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “What Would the Buddha Be Today?

  1. Very, very good.

    I think the phrase “community organizer” could be misleading. Although the Buddha literally organized communities of monastics, that phrase typically refers to a method of political activism in our usage.

    1. Agreed! I used the word intentionally to be a bit provocative. There was nothing then like organizing within a democratic political system. On the other hand, the Buddha set out an explicit political system within he sangha, it just happened to be a largely anarchist system!

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