sábado, 21 de janeiro de 2012

Socrates, Jesus, Buddha - Frederic Lenoir

It has been a long while since I have read anything on religion, God, faith, beliefs, salvation and especially any religious master. And so when one of my students showed me this book and urged me to read it I accepted it as new variety to my reading list which is always very long and eclectic, believe me!
The author of this book, Frédéric Lenoir writes about three great masters: Socrates, Jesus and Buda which he considers to have been the three men who changed, adapted or created most traditions, beliefs, and followers in the whole world. Or so, the three most influential individuals ever known to man.
He writes on each and every aspect of these three men's lives - from their preaching, followers, sexuality, family life, childhood, birth, history, death, personality, physical appearance, miracles, teachings - and on the list goes. It is very detailed and in my opinion an excellent book as well since the author doesn't try to convert you or make you go to his side of view but instead he points out their history, writings and the facts we have on them and leaves the rest up to you. He takes you in a trip that is based on these three character's lives enriching your thoughts and opening up your head to what you always thought was so, when the truth is that there is just SO much more! 
When the author touches on their financial resources and means of living he points out how Jesus reminds us that the human being needs more than just material possessions to be a total human. The same way, Socrates attests that a man is only truly a man when he searches the truth and does all in his reach to leave ignorance behind. And for Buda, the meaning of human life consists in overcoming the illusion of our own ego, by tapping into our interior. All wise sayings.
One of my favorite quotes in this book though comes from Socrates when his best friend questions him about what is justice and he answers: "Justice isn't something which can be defined, it has to be practiced." 
Desire is another topic brought to the fore in this book. It shows us how all the human suffering, wars, discussions and fights are brought on because we don't know how to control our body against our own desire. Our body -led by its desires - is the one who calls the shots. We are controlled by desire and all that happens in our life and our society is based on what others desire and what they do to get what they desire. Desire has always been something that has been a big mystery and question in my mind, something I always wished to understand better, to find out what comes behind it and how we can loosen its grip in our life to the barest minimum. And maybe that is where Buda, Jesus and Socrates come when they speak of leaving it all behind, forsaking it all, becoming poorer than the poor, giving of ourselves to the world and others and letting go of all that we have in us which might control and keep us back in our decisions and relations with all that is around us. And then you see, that is just too much for me - it's not what I desire! Hah!, there it goes... the same old desire! 
I will end here saying that even after all I know, read and heard about religion (including this book), I am still searching for truth, for freedom of mind, for the real thing - and because I am still looking and going after it I know that I will somehow, in my own way, find it because I know that the search for the truth is what brings true liberty: liberty to the individual who frees himself from tradition, from authority, from the society's dominant opinions; and most of all is given the greatest liberty, the interior liberty that comes from the human being that learns how to truly know and dominate himself. That's what I pretend to learn - and that is what I am still learning.  

Book Review:
A fascinating look at the communality and enduring relevance of three of history's most influential figures.   Socrates, Jesus and Buddha have each, in their own way, shaped the modern mind; their messages and philosophies are three cornerstones of the way we think. Through years of research, Frédéric Lenoir has come to understand that their teachings converge on a number of critical points. In his new book he looks at the origins of these three monumental figures, and how their common message of individual responsibility and tolerance remains as pertinent as ever.

How did these men come to their vocation? What do we know of their childhoods, their families, their personal lives? Each was revolutionary in their time, breaking substantially with the traditions and received wisdom of the era, but none of them wrote anything down themselves. 

Their teachings have reached us via the lessons and transcriptions of disciples, sometimes only being written down many years later. What impact has this oral interpretation had on their message? What did they actually say themselves and what has tradition subsequently added? Lenoir tackles all of these questions, comparing across the three figures, as well as analysing both the content and form of their teachings. 

He discovers that at the heart of all of their ideas is the notion of a personal spiritual quest that was instrumental in creating a new kind of man: an autonomous individual, responsible for his choices and actions, and not beholden to any group. This message, which so powerfully overturned the prejudices, dogmas and rites of their respective periods, still has much to teach us today.

Socrates, Jesus, Buddha will surprise and enlighten laymen and experts alike.

Um comentário:

  1. Creo que esos tres grandes hombres cambiaron el pensamiento,rompieron esquemas y convenciones de su época, y es verdad, nada se conoce escrito por ellos, más bien escribieron su historia viviendo en plenitud cada instante de su vida. Y hoy más que nunca su legado parece ser la respuesta y la pregunta sobre el sentido de la existencia humana. Raquel Agûero Piñero