Friday, April 16, 2010

The Rebirth of Buddha NOT

On the 14th April 2010 there was a promotional advertisement for a new movie "Who is Buddha?" in the newspaper. My immediate reaction was "WOW" and "WAY TO GO!" but wait a minute. My Buddha-sense tingled (like Spiderman and his spidersense) as I read further. The title seemed a bit strange. Shouldn't it have been The Buddha? Maybe it's just a common non-native english movie grammar mistake. "Free Admission" it read. A full length movie that cost millions to produce and the special screening is promoted for free? Suspicion sets in. The organisation behind this is the BUDDHIST SOCIETY OF HUMAN HAPPINESS?

That kinda rings a bell. Could it be affiliated with the Happy Science organisation that made the Japanese animation movie with the preposterous title "The Rebirth of Buddha"?

A phone call confirmed that indeed this is the same movie. The person on the line told me that their principle belief is that all religions comes from the same source. I enquired about the Buddhist aspects and was told that their practice was more towards Mahayana Buddhism.

Why am I against this movie? It is nothing short of desecrating The Buddha. It gives Buddhism a bad image. It tends towards cultism. It gives others wrong ideas of Buddhism. The founder of Happy Science is Ryuho Okawa who claims to be able to channel the spirits of Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and the Greek god Hermes among others. He claims to be the cosmic Buddha whatever that means and to be the incarnation of God. He likes to think that he is the rebirth of Buddha and goes by the name of El Cantare.

In one of its members-only dvds he is reported to have said “Love me more than your husband or wife or children or mom or dad”. In another one of those dvds, it is suggested that your fortune comes from god, so you should give back to god (okawa). It featured a family that donated a property that’s been in the family for generations and saying how this was better than leaving it to their children or grandchildren.

Well, if you don’t like it, why don't you just stay away you might ask? What if you have some family members that you love and needs to be protected? Some people might say "But their members also do a lot of charity work and some of their teachings seems profound". Well, whatever is profound is probably lifted straight off existing legitimate religions. Furthermore, how much are they giving to charity compared to the money they collect for Mr Okawa which includes funding their failed political party in Japan.

In the Cunda Sutta, at the passing away of Ven. Sariputta, The Buddha said to Ven. Ananda "Therefore, Ananda, be ye an island unto yourself, a refuge unto yourself, seeking no external refuge; with the Teaching as your island, the Teaching your refuge, seeking no other refuge."

In the MahaParinibbana Sutta, the last words by the Tathagatha was "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!" So literally, "The rebirth of Buddha" is an utter and complete nonsense.

In closing this issue, let us remind ourselves

Imina punna kammena, Ma me bala samagamo.
Satam samagamo hotu, yava nibbana pattiya.

By the grace of the merits that I have acquired, may i never follow the foolish but only the wise until I attain the final bliss of Nibbana.

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