how does, or does Buddhism put a good spin on this action?
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- Is there some kind of new meme on the internet on this, or what? Just got a "devout Christian" (his words) posting similarly (and somehow notifying me on his post, I don't know how): https://plus.google.com/u/0/105363205690334641910/posts/E17Nw8yJvNY
Intention matters: the Buddha left to find the cessation of suffering for all. "All" notably includes his wife Yasodharā and his son Rāhula, who both did indeed later joined the saṅgha and became arhats (i.e. attained Liberation).
As a husband and father, if you could free your wife and son from perpetual cyclical suffering, would you not choose to do so? I suspect the more you care, you more you would!
Moreover, one has to remember that the Buddha is a reborn Bodhisattva at the end of his Bodhisattva path, i.e. his wholesome karmic tendencies cultivated over many rebirths reach fruition in this life. But to postpone the help to "all," over many generations, due to clinging to just two in this particular life would clearly miss the pragmatic dimension of this ethical question. From a bodhisattva's perspective, this is one of the final tests about non-attachment (By the way, there are much worse stories in the Jataka tales, in terms of giving away wife and kids… The Jataka tales are meant to count the previous lives of the Buddha, and this really questions how a bodhisattva is 'expected' to behave)!
If you want to look at it with more modern eyes, Yasodharā and Rāhula are not exactly abandoned without resources, they live in the palace and are still surrounded by servants. If you see it as a separation, they benefit from everything the Buddha 'owed', which seems a relatively 'better' deal than most divorces and is way enough to live without concerns… This is not equivalent to throwing them out or repudiating them!
It also seems to me a better deal than having a bad and bitter husband and father… Why would Siddhārtha become bitter? Maybe because he's locked into his palace by his own father (who had legacy plans)?!? Or should we forget this detail, that the Buddha was locked and prevented to see the 'world' as it is? Should we consider this abuse of his father is okay and did not require the Buddha to find a way out? That it's not abuse because it's a "golden prison"? While Yasodharā is not blamed of anything, she herself was in fact deceived by Siddhārtha 's father (who used her to trap Siddhārtha, not to actually make him happy in mariage)! Intentions matter in an inter-dependent manner, the future Buddha is not the only one involved in the karmic web here!Jun 4, 2013
- i got the same obscene post (and reported it as hate mail) As obscene as he was it did raise a question for me. So i rejected his intent and kept the question.
i appreciate your perspective and explanation. I agree that the spiders web of karma and a whole lot of other things make this a tough call.Jun 4, 2013
- I had the same question-- I was recently reading "The Spirit of the Buddha", where it appears from the Sutras and from the historical context, the Buddha appears to have had an arranged marriage (probably age 15/16) and left to be a holy man when he was about 30 or 40 his son was between 15/25 years old. By that arithmetic, the man left a life that he did not ask for and was making him intensely unhappy and he did so after his dependents were probably in a position to fend for themselves. The bit about leaving an helpless wife and infant appears to be a later dramatization of the story. Dunno what is true, but it is at least more internally consistent.Jun 20, 2013
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