De-tachment in the Sermon on the Mount

    I’ve been studying Jesus’ Sermon the Mount quite a bit lately (both in Matthew 5-7, and Luke’s account of a similiar “sermon in a level place” in Luke 6) and am struck by this section where Jesus talks about worrying

      25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, {as to} what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, {as to} what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and {yet} your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And who of you by being worried can add a {single} hour to his life? 28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is {alive} today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, {will He} not much more {clothe} you? You of little faith! 31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

    This reminds me a great deal of the Buddha’s teachings on detachment. Of course there are some differences. Jesus would say that freedom from worry comes from trusting God, seeking His purposes, and taking care of what you need to do in the day at hand (not worrying about tomorrow). Buddha on the other hand would say that suffering results from attachment, and the way to be free from suffering is to detach oneself from desire.

    To me the similarities come though when thinking about the idea of expectations. “Worry” results from having expectations, since expectations create fear (either that some good won’t happen or that something bad will happen). This is particularly the case when we deal with people. Our disappointments and suffering comes when we attach expecations to the relationship (i.e. philia love in the Greek language as used in the New Testament).

    If however, we detach ourselves from the expectations and love expecting nothing (the agape love, also a Greek term used in the New Testament for self-less love w/o expecations), then we are free from suffering and free to love no matter what.

    Anyway those are some random thoughts. I would appreciate any thoughts on this from my readers who are interested in the connections and tensions between Christianity and Buddhism.