I have the body of a god:)

12 Sep


This statement, that I have seen on t-shirts, makes me laugh for two reasons:

  • It is funny
  • It is wrong

On so many levels this is wrong. For sixteen years I have taught Religious Education, and I have studied and taught about world religions for most of my adult life. It is wrong because as it refers to the Buddha, almost all Buddhists do not see the Buddha as a god, rather as an exemplar. Buddhism is a religion that has no god, and could be termed atheistic. It has a very good moral code, and can help a person train the mind but it has no reference to a divine being. I am aware that I am making sweeping statements, and there will be pockets of popular Buddhism that will be theistic but the vast majority do not worship with any reference to a deity. The second reason this is wrong is that when people refer to the Buddha, they undoubtedly refer to Siddhartha Gautama- and the image image portrayed is not of him. The Buddha taught the Middle Way of neither asceticism nor indulgence and is much thinner than this image. This image is possibly of Budai, seen by some some Buddhists as a bodhisattva- a being who has put off enlightenment to help others.

Enough of the RE lesson, thinking about this set me off down a train of though about my own views of the body. Paul taught that the body is a temple of God, something that should be taken care of, enhanced and not abused. There are many things that are easy for me to avoid, such as unnecessarily sticking needles into my body. But one implication of the body being a temple that I have assiduously avoided is the overindulgence of it. I usually joke that I’m building a larger edifice! However, in my faith we have a health code/ commandment called the Word of Wisdom. some aspects are immediately noticeable and fairly straightforward for me to keep:

  • No alcohol
  • No tobacco
  • No tea or coffee
  • No harmful drugs

There are also positive aspects that I don’t struggle with too much:

  • Eat grains and pulses
  • Eat meat sparingly

However, implicit in the commandment is also to exercise moderation in all things. I’m not sure whether my eating habits met this criteria. I think I keep the letter of the law, but if I truly see my body as a temple then I need to take care of it a little bit more.

Reading this makes me sound like some religious zealot, I am not saying that this view will be true for all people of my faith- but in establishing this lifestyle change it is another motivator for me, and hopefully will help me develop a healthier relationship with food and my body.

Goodness me, that was a heavy post!!! Unlike my food intake for the day, where I forgot to take my lunch to work and therefore didn’t eat it until 3pm, followed by a tea of some homemade soup- Stilton and celery-mmm mmm.

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