What was your own Buddha Moment like?

When I was around three, I was one lovely Michigan morning walking down the sidewalk near my home with my dog Sandy, while very much under the notion that life, and the world as a whole, was a pretty good thing. But then Sandy trotted out into the street where two men were on their hands and knees near a tar machine doing road repair work.

Sandy, just a little mutt dog that I loved a lot, made the mistake of going up to one of the men to sniff his foot for a moment. And that’s when it happened for me. Because of this crime by my dog, the man yelled at me in a most harsh manner, “Get your goddamn dog out of here kid before I spray it with tar!”

Fortunately Sandy departed from the guy the moment I called her, and so she wasn’t harmed. But I remember very well to this day thinking, “How could God be so mean as to place me in a world that’s like this? I thought this was a nice place.”

That experience really shook me to my core. And yet, that’s nothing compared to what happens to some people when they’re little. For example, I recall several years ago a little blurb in the news about how in Israel a father and his 5-year-old son were walking along when, suddenly, they were caught in a withering cross-fire of bullets between Palestinians and Israeli military personnel shooting machineguns at each other!

They were both killed.

I couldn’t help but wonder when I read that if that little kid at that time at least had some clue as to the kinds of hateful forces there were in the world. Or whether he was up until that moment under the basic notion that love was all about, and that even though there may have been some inkling that there were some real problems in the world, they could never be so bad that people actually made and used powerful weapons to kill each other with; that no way could there really be that level of hate for one another!

Because he lived where he lived, I suspect that he probably did in fact have a pretty solid clue about what the world had in it when this happened, though it must have been utterly terrifying just the same.

But here’s the thing. I’ve never understood how it is that with all of the various discussions that go on in the world about so many mundane and not so mundane things, why is it that one never hears a word about that utterly stupendously shattering and shocking moment of truth when full-blown hate makes itself known to an individual that it really does exist in life?

One may say that they remember where they lived when the Beatles came to America, or what they were doing when they got the news that princess Di was killed … or when the space shuttle Challenger blew up … or when some guy with a stick hit a ball that broke someone’s long-standing record. And yet for reasons I can’t understand, people never seem to regard as significant that mind-boggling moment when that single event occurred in their life (which had to have shacken them to the core of their being) that said: “Hey little kid; you’re in a world that has unvarnished hate in it – so you had better watch out!”

I once entertained the idea of collecting anecdotes from people from all walks of life to make a compilation for a book titled something like: “Buddha Moments: A collection of stories regarding ‘Life’s big sucker-punch awakening to the awareness of hatred’”

To read such accounts from famous, infamous and others would, I’ve always thought, be very interesting. People on death row might have particularly interesting things to say on the subject. (E.g., “Up until the moment dear old mom decided to use me for a toilet plunger, I loved life and people, … .”)

Alas, I am too lazy for such a great project. Thus I’ll pass on the money and make due with whatever any of you may care to share regarding this most important of all events – your own Buddha Moment.

Thanks All!! :slight_smile:

So you have a fascination for when the realization of hatred begins? Is this a demographic poll for when to begin the indoctrination?

Some guy yelled at your dog and now the world is full of “unvarnished hate”? Come on man, pull it together.

I was in kindergarten, and I was a very solitary child. I minded my own business, and that was fine by me.

Yet Derek, he was a constant whiner. I dont know why, but his block buildings were always being knocked over. My guess is that the kids enjoyed watching him cry after his shit was ruined.

I stepped in and always tried to stop Derek from crying, and to smooth things over. My young brain did not process any of this as hate/intolerance, but it did clue me into the fact that earth is not a paradise.

It’s not a Buddha moment, but it’s close as I can get, man.

I can’t think of any time that I didn’t realize that the world was filled with nasty, unpleasant or outright cruel people. I’ve always been more surprised by kindness than cruelty.

I guess I did a poor job of writing this post, didn’t capture what I meant to say. But one thing you did was use the word full, which I didn’t. In anycase we’ll just move on.

Um, interesting. For me it was like walking into the propeller of a plane. But then maybe I’m a little sensitive, I don’t know.

Thanks for sharing! :slight_smile:

Those in the know know that 9 is 6. :eek:

I’m the same as Der Trihs. I always knew people sucked. Without going into detail, I was made aware of that in very early infancy. Innocence never existed for me.

I started to post in this, but then realized the first time I realized how cruel this world was I was a kid and it was a member of my family who was being cruel. It depressed me and now I don’t want to go into detail. It was around age 6 or 7, though.

As a Buddhist I fail to see how your ‘moment of awareness that blind hatred exists’ should in anyway be connected to the Buddha. Can you explain the connection? I get what you’re seeking, story wise just don’t see how it’s a ‘Buddha’ moment.

I don’t know if there was an exact moment, but I realized this very early, probably around 3rd grade. I couldn’t reconcile the Christian teaching we were receiving with the behavior of the Christian children around me. I followed all these rules, why didn’t they? Why was it ok for them to torment me damn near constantly and call themselves Christian? How come the adults, who always insisted we go to them with our problems instead of trying to solve them ourselves, never bothered to do anything about it? ‘All people are jerks unless it suits them not to be’ became my philosophy for a long time.

I think for me, and most people, it’s a gradual awakening to the fact that cruelty exists in the world. I don’t think any one specific event triggers the realization.

This is why kids need to learn to cope with failure and cruelty from a young age. And this is where a lot of today’s over-protective parents go wrong.

Well, the principle drawing from Buddha’s experience, as I think of it, is somewhat the same – a sudden awakening to an aspect of reality that one hadn’t previously been aware of.

I suppose I could have used the word epiphany instead, but to borrow the way I did just seemed to lend itself to a nicer title. And to my way of thinking, whether we’re talking about hate or karmic rebirths and such, it doesn’t make much difference.

I agree by the way. When I thought of a Buddha moment, I thought of a moment where I was totally at peace with the world and myself. That is a Buddha moment.

I think the OP doesn’t really have a grasp on what Buddhism was. I let it slide - I’m no Buddhist - but perhaps I should have said something.

Maybe it’s more of an anti-Buddha moment… Call it ‘Eurekrap!’

When I was in my teens my friend and I were entering a building. She held the door open for an elderly man.
He called her a cunt.
It was definitely not the first time she or I had been at the receiving end of nasty words or rudeness, but it made us both feel like crap all day.

Sorry, but that made me laugh! :smiley:

The best I can recall is when I was seven and heard that someone had shot President Kennedy and the confusion and pain in myself and virtually everyone in my circle of adults. It seemed impossible.
No one would do that.

I saw it as a reference to the legend of young Prince Siddhartha being shielded from the sight of all suffering and cruelty during his childhood and the shock he experienced when he finally discovered old age, disease and death. “Buddha moment” is probably the wrong choice of terminology since that story does not really refer to a Buddhist awakening in the sense that Buddhists would use that word but it does refer obliquely to a story from the life of Siddhartha Gautama (aka “Buddha”).