wake up

January 23, 2010

How many people have provoked the question, “What are you?  What order of being do you belong to?  What species do you represent?”  Not, “Who are you?” with respect to name, origin, or ancestry, but “What are you?”  Not Caesar, certainly.  Not Napoleon, or even Socrates.

Only two:  Jesus and Buddha.  When the people carried their puzzlement to the Buddha himself, the answer he gave provided an identity for his entire message.

“Are you a god?” they asked.  “No.”  “An angel?”  “No.”  “A saint?”  “No.”  “Then what are you?”

Buddha answered, “I am awake.”

– Huston Smith, from “The World’s Religions”

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