Happy Easter to all!

Please enjoy this gorgeous sermon by Unitarian Gary Cagle which explains in lovely simplicity the twin philosophies of “reincarnationist” Buddha, and Jesus Christ – a man who himself was “reincarnated” and whose rebirth is celebrated by Christianity’s Easter Sunday.


“The Zen Wisdom of Jesus and Buddha”

Since the age of twenty-one, I have been attracted to the philosophies and faiths of Asia, especially Buddhism. Which is pretty strange considering I grew up on a small farm in Georgia, was saved at 13 and baptized in the Baptist Church. Of course Jesus was my role model. Then came the turmoil of the 60s. By 20 I no longer thought Jesus was God. By 1968 after the assassinations of ML King and Robert Kennedy I was in dispair and didn’t believe in anything, especially the “God” that Baptists taught. But soon I found answers–in what may seem far from my childhood faith –in Zen Buddhism. And I woke up one morning to realize that I was connected in total oneness to a Timeless and Infinite Universe. Now I don’t deny Jesus’ divinity. I don’t deny anyone’s divinity. Jesus is a wonderful model of what humans can be. And so is Buddha. I was raised on Jesus. I had to search for Buddha. And what I found was they were two masters with one message. I believe the teachings of Buddha and Jesus offer a way to end human suffering. But I believe Jesus and Buddha were trying to heal human pain in this life, not just the next life. Jesus’ remedy was called the Kingdom of Heaven and Buddha’s tonic was called Nirvana. Of course we Unitarian Universalists are not much interested in getting people into heaven, but we are interested in getting heaven into people. I think that is the message of Jesus and Buddha. Both Jesus and Buddha taught the inner person is more important than outer image or ritual. Both proclaimed that love and compassion for others were the highest ideals. And not just to love your friends. That what every society expects. Good Zen masters have to think outside the box.

Jesus said. “You have heard it said, love your neighbor. But I tell you, love your enemies, be good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who hurt you.” “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Buddha said, ”See yourself in others, who then can you hurt.” “Hate never overcomes hate. Only love overcomes hate. Cultivate boundless love toward all beings.”

Click here for the full sermon.