Zen Talk: The Path to Salvation Must Begin and End with the Self

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

This, to be honest, reminds me of Christianity. Of course, the Buddha knew nothing of Christianity and Buddhism is not a prophetic religion, so obviously he wasn’t talking about Jesus or Christianity, but nonetheless, the mention of being saved makes me think of Christianity. Mentally, the concept of salvation is monopolized in my head by Christianity.

But as we can see, this quote is not saying what Christianity says. This quote says that only we can save ourselves – NOT someone else (which is to say, Jesus). Now, I’m not saying that Jesus doesn’t save or passing any kind of theological judgment. I’m merely discussing the significance of this concept, which I believe can be applied to anyone, whether Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Shintoist or other.

Why? Because it puts the emphasis on the self for guiding one towards Enlightenment. Liberation from suffering and these worldly concerns only comes with our own willpower, determination and effort. I’ll avoid the theological discussion that I’m tempted to have about the concept of a savior, and just conclude by saying that I really like what this verse is saying because I do believe that each of us is responsible for his or her own fate.

What do you think of this quote?

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