Now, I’m all about Buddhism and its sound-of-one-hand-clapping insights, but really:
Memo to the nation’s religious leaders. When delivering a sermon, here’s an idea: try to make it relevant or interesting in some way.
I bring this up because last week on Radio 2’s Pause for Thought a Buddhist was trying to tell us to think of others and not just ourselves.
Now there are many examples he could have used here. There’s the parable of the good Samaritan, which has worked well for thousands of years. Or there’s the parable of the John Prescott, an inarticulate fat man who was steered though life by his pant compass and his class hatred and ended up lost in a tabloid world of hate and “Two Shags” ridicule.
But no. The story we got was about a “wicked man” whose only good deed on earth was not treading on a spider. So when he died, the spider lowered a sliver of thread into hell so he could climb out.
With me so far? Unfortunately, lots of people also used the thread to get out and it snapped and they were all killed.
So what’s the good Buddhist trying to say here? That if you let others share your good fortune, everyone will die? That the wicked man wasn’t wicked after all? Or that he’d written the sermon after sniffing several pints of glue?
Whatever, the story was rubbish, so this morning I’m going to see if I can do better with my own sermon on selfishness. It’s called the parable of the British Airways Flight to Barbados.
He goes on to tell a really hilarious story about a man on a golfing holiday who had to take his wife and children, one of whom is a baby, which is made especially entertaining knowing that he himself has been on holiday the past few weeks and happens to have a wife and three children..