I've long been fascinated with Buddhism, and to this day my life is enriched by wisdom gleaned from its philosophy, and by its existential technologies.
But I have a major problem with the mythology and base theology of Siddharta.
I won't get into all of that here, but Buddha's abandonment of his family troubles me. Especially since, the more I contemplate the changes parenthood will bring to my life, the more I see that being a parent can be one of the most profound spiritual experiences a person can face.
I was about to say that it would take a saint or a buddha to be the perfect parent, but when you look through the stories of holy men and women throughout history, and throughout the world's various spiritual traditions, you will find a lot of brave souls who are willing to face hunger, persecution, and total humiliation and negation of the ego. But most of these folks draw the line at reproduction, and like Buddha, when they do reproduce, they'd rather face the aforementioned trials rather than face the day-to-day realities of parenthood. Heck, even Gandhi was supposedly a terrible father, who spent his time fasting, organizing, and such, denying his affections to his wife and children.
I am sure that I won't be a perfect father. There will be times when I will be selfish, inattentive, cross, and distant. But already, just the concept of fatherhood, and the realities of Jes's swelling belly and digestive difficulties have me examining myself, and thinking about what kind of example I might be to a rug rat.
I've always thought that religion should ultimately be a way to connect with that which is bigger than oneself. Having kids... well, it may not be the infinity of the cosmos, but it's sure bigger than anything I've faced in any tangible way...