Posts tagged ‘atheism’

April 18, 2010

Is Andy Rooney Becoming a Buddhist?

by Ben Hoffman

My wife and I usually watch 60 Minutes after dinner on Sunday nights. We don’t watch a whole lot of TV. It seems like 6:00 in the evening is our most typical time to watch something: 60 Minutes on Sundays and The News Hour on weekdays. Other than some sports and specials, we usually just watch movies if we’re going to watch something.

This evening on 60 Minutes, Andy Rooney talked about desires and craving. He said he craved a cookie after his lunch. (Have you ever noticed that Andy Rooney sometimes fills his segment up with some of the most mundane events?) He wished there was a pill he could take to eliminate his cravings.

Talking about craving wouldn’t be of interest by itself, but last week Rooney talked about living in the present. He talked about how sometimes he looked forward to the next month or to something in the future, but he was going to try to just appreciate this month and live more in the present.

Eliminating cravings and living in the present are two main tenets of Buddhism. The Buddha believed that the cause of all suffering is craving and the way to achieve nirvana is by the elimination of craving. Those are the 2nd and 3rd Noble Truths.

Living in the present is also called mindfulness, which is part of the Noble Eightfold Path to eliminate suffering. The Noble Eightfold Path is the Fourth Noble Truth.

As a Buddhist and a Jew (sometimes called a Jubu), I had to do a search to see if Andy is a Buddhist. I couldn’t find any evidence of that, but I did find out that he’s an atheist, which makes me feel somewhat connected to him now. People who don’t believe in the supernatural are a minority in our country, which seems a little weird, but that’s how it is in a lot of countries. Take away belief in the supernatural and you take away a lot of reasons to hate.

Why am I writing about Andy Rooney and Buddhism? Who knows? Have you ever noticed that sometimes something seems like a good idea at the time, but then when you start writing you realize that your time could have been better spent?