I know a number of religious fundamentalists. But, no, they’re not Christian. Not even Muslim. And, nope, not Zoroastrian, either.
They’re Buddhist. And among the reasons for their holier-than-thou-ness is they think Buddhism is “smarter” than other religions. They think Buddhists are more about critical inquiry than unfounded belief, not prone to superstition or magical thinking. And the intellectual icing on the arrogant cake is the notion that modern day Quantum Physics supports 2500-year old Buddhist beliefs.
Of course these are American Budddists, most of whom have never visited Buddhist countries, where people routinely pray to “Lord Buddha” in order to improve their chances of winning the lottery, or make donations to the local temple be assured of a better rebirth.
Well, this news story might hammer a nail into the “Buddhists are smarter than other religion’s followers” coffin:
ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) _ The Cambodian Buddhist community in Rochester is abuzz over what they believe is a miracle: a wasp nest in the shape of a seated Buddha built in the eaves of their temple.
The nest was spotted last week. Elder members of the community say they have never seen an apparition of the Buddha in their lifetimes.
Seventy-year-old Voeun Sor of Rochester says the hive shows the Buddha is trying to tell everybody to seek peace in their lives.
Robert Jeanne is an entomology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He says the Buddha-shaped hive could actually be four different nests formed over a couple of years. He says if someone wants to read miracles into that, that’s their privilege.
Moeun Ngop is a 76-year-old monk. He has a more mystical take. He says the insects are trying to communicate Buddha’s message.
I can only respond with an ancient Buddhist expression: Oy, vey!
Now the followers of Siddhartha Gautama have joined the “Virgin Mary is in my French Toast” and the “Jesus is in the wood grain of my bathroom door” Christians.
Ignoring that for a second, let’s take a gander at the rest of the impressive reasoning going on here.
“The hive shows the Buddha is trying to tell everyone to seek peace…” Uhhh… hello? This is a WASP’S NEST! If it was a chorus line of butterflies dancing in the shape of the Buddha, sure. But WASPS?! Not the first insect that comes to mind when I free associate about “peace” (which, by the way, is praying mantis).
“The insects are trying to communicate the Buddha’s message…” Not very well, I’d say. If I was trying to communicate the Buddha’s message, I’d try, oh, WORDS, not an image that looks all puffy, like the Buddha after he’s been stung by a a few thousand wasps.
And, to get technical, how are we to explain that the wasps learned the Buddha’s message in the first place? Buddhist teaching says that one reason being born as a human is so precious is because this is the only form of life that gives you the opportunity to hear the Buddha’s message.
Alright, alright… perhaps I’m being a bit too hard on the 76-year old guy. He’s a monk. He doesn’t get out much. And, having had my share of wasp nest encounters, I understand the confusion. Just listen for a minute and you can hear the little stingers engaging in a veritable non-stop spiritual practice, repeating over and over the mantra, “Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…..”