Weve mentioned before about Buddhisms focus on truth as opposed to metaphor. Not that metaphors cant be the truth, theyre just up for interpretation.
Of course, there is the whole reincarnation aspect, but Im not ready to call that a metaphor just yet.
However, both metaphors and truth face the same challenges in the confines of standard religions: Translation & Time.
Misinterpreting or taking what you want from scripture/history/truth crosses all religions. Those were originally written in a different time, in different languages (many times), and a different set of social-political and even moral values.
Therefore, misinterpretation becomes misleading. It doesnt mean we cant still find value from these words. On the contrary. But, hopefully, take the purest meanings love, peace, acceptance.
As has been said so many times before, thoughts of those epiphanies we have cannot be put into words. And, words cannot describe those epiphanies even when written. But, we try anyway many times in the form of stories, parables, metaphors. And, thats the danger and the beauty. Its where poetry lives.
Lets just not take it literally.
Heres a great article:
From another article in the same issue:
This leads on to the misconception that the Buddha was a philosopher, in the sense in which that term has been used in the Western tradition. I am not the only person to have insisted that he makes it quite plain that his interest was purely pragmatic: he intended to help people and only attempted to teach the truth to the extent that it was helpful; further speculation he tended to discourage. At the same time, one must remember that, as [the philosopher] Paul Williams has written, the teachings of the Buddha are held by the Buddhist tradition to work because they are factually true (not true because they work).