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Spirituality

Spirituality

  1. Standard member mikelom
    Ajarn
    21 May '11 12:31 / 1 edit
    At first glance, Buddhism seems vastly different from Christianity. Christianity is a religion about God, while the Absolute in Buddhism is never personalized, and seldom described, except as being beyond description. Most Christian denominations see the Bible as being of paramount importance (particularly in conservative Protestantism), while the vastly larger collection of Buddhist scriptures are seldom considered as an infallible authority except for a handful of smaller sects.
    But delving deeper, the differences become much smaller. For instance, many of the early Church Fathers taught that in his true essence, God is unknowable and unfathomable, beyond all words and all descriptions. This inability to speak of the divine nature is known as apophatic (unspeakable) mysticism, which recognizes God is beyond all words and concepts, and anything we use to say what God is falls short. God's essence (ousia), is within all things, but ever beyond all. Similarly, the Buddhist scriptures refer to the ultimate reality as "the Uncreated," or "the Unmanifest," an absolute Reality which is everywhere present, but beyond this perceived world, resulting from no cause, and limited by no conditions.
    Buddhist-Christian Parallels
    Parallel Beginnings
    God the Unconditioned
    Heaven Nirvana
    Jesus
    (Yeshua of Nazareth) Gautama
    (Siddartha Gautama)
    Jewish founder of Christianity Hindu founder of Buddhism
    virgin birth account virgin birth account
    tempted by Satan tempted by Mara
    Good News of the Kingdom of God the Phama (law) of Liberation
    Sermon on the Mount Sermon of "Turning the Wheel of Phama"
    taught in parables taught in parables
    Feet kissed by Mary Magdalene Feet kissed by Pasanedi
    Betrayed by Judas Betrayed by Devadatta
    Crucified possibly poisoned
    Ascension Parinirvana
    the Anointed One (Messiah, Christ) the Awakened One (Buddha, Enlightened)
    Savior Bodhisattva
    Parallel developments
    the Church the Sangha
    Gospels Sutras
    Bible Tripitaka, Prajna Paramita, and many other writings
    Apostolic succession Lineage of Phama transmission
    Faith promoted 300 years later by Emperor Constantine Faith promoted 300 years later by Emperor Ashoka
    Church councils Buddhist councils
    missionaries missionaries
    monasteries monasteries
    After flourishing in the Middle East, now a minority religion in area of its birth After flourishing in India, now a minority religion in area of its birth
    Parallel Paths
    agape (spiritual love) maitri (lovingkindness)
    the world samsara
    Purification (Purgatory) Rebirth (Reincarnation)
    hell hell realms
    imago Dei (image of God) Buddha-nature
    Christ within you Realizing your Buddha-nature
    Theosis/Deification
    Awakening, Enlightenment
    the Way the Phama
    chant chant
    prayer candles prayer flags
    saints buddhas, bodhisattvas
    angels devas
    demons demons
    relics relics
    Shroud of Turin Buddha's Tooth
    Four Spiritual Laws Four Noble Truths
    10 Commandments Eightfold Path
    rosaries rosaries (malas)
    icons icons (thangkas)
    statues statues
    the "Jesus Prayer" nembutsu
    Sign of the Cross Taking Refuge
    contemplation
    meditation
    New Jerusalem Western Paradise
    sin dukkha (unsatisfactoriness)
    Parallel Schools???
    Eastern Orthodoxy
    (teachings of the Church Fathers) Theravada
    (teachings of the Elders)
    devotional Catholicism
    (saints, Heaven) Kwan Yin, Amitabha, Pure Land
    (enlightened beings, Paradise)
    Mysticism
    (direct experience of God) Zen
    (direct experience of the Ultimate)
    Protestantism
    (Scripture and salvation) Nichiren, Pure Land
    (Scripture and salvation)
    Charismatic / Pentecostal
    (enthusiasm) Vajrayana
    (enthusiasm)
    The Dharma of the Buddha
    and the Gospel of the Christ
    The teachings of the Buddha and the Christ go beyond the basic morality which is common to all religions. They both taught selfless love, a love that goes beyond family, friends, and countrymen, but even includes our enemies as well, no matter how difficult the circumstances.
    “He was angry with me, he attacked me, he defeated me, he robbed me”—those who dwell on such thoughts will never be free from hatred.
    He was angry with me, he attacked me, he defeated me, he robbed me”—those who do not dwell on such thoughts will surely be free from hatred.
    For hatred can never put an end to hatred. Love alone can. This is an unalterable law. —Dhammapada 1:3-5 Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. . . . If you love those who love you, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. . . . Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. . . . You will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to hate ungrateful and the wicked. —Luke 6:27-28, 32, 35
    They taught that selfless love conquers the fear of death:
    Him I call a brahmin who fears neither prison nor death. He has the power of love no army can conquer.
    —Dhammapada 26:399 A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. —John 15:13
    They taught that selflessness entails a profound shift in the mind
    Avoid all wrong,
    Cultivate the good,
    Purify the mind,
    This is the teaching of all the Buddhas [awakened ones].
    —Dhammapada 14:183 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. . . —Mark 12:30
    [Note: Jesus is quoting the Jewish Shema (Dt. 4:5) as the greatest commandment, but the words “all your mind” are his own addition.]
    Entire books can be written on the similarity (and differences) between the recorded teachings of the Christ and the Buddha; it's beyond the scope of this modest page. But if you've been interested enough to read this far, you might well want to explore it yourself.
    Christians and Buddhism
    Many Christians find Buddhism appealing because its mystical tradition is much better-known, and therefore more accessible. Indeed, in the 21st century, we have reached the point where the majority of Christians have no concept of Christian mysticism per se, as the union of the soul with God. However, since the overwhelming majority of Buddhist clergy lives in religious community (some exceptions in Japan and the United States), living religious life immersed in spiritual practices such as meditation, the mystical tradition of Buddhism is more visible to both Buddhists and Christians than the Christian contemplative tradition is. However, it is wrong to assume from this that all Buddhists are mystics or that even a majority are. Far from it. Just as a typical Christian life is to go to church on Sunday, pray, worship God, and try to live a more loving life, so the typical Buddhist pays homage to the Buddha, renews his bodhisattva vows, donates support for the sangha or temple, and tries to be a better person. Most lay Buddhists in Asia are not very deeply involved in spiritual practices like meditation anymore than most Christians. The difference is in the clergy’s practice. In modern Christianity, communal religious life and the contemplative tradition have been declining for centuries, and are virtually unknown in most Protestant denominations, while in most Buddhist cultures, it still thrives.
    Another difference is that instruction in meditation often seems to be clearer in Buddhism than in Christianity. Although there is now a resurgence of interest in Christian meditation, from the Centering Prayer movement in the United States to the World Community for Christian Meditation, to Quaker methods and the practices of other Christian denominations, there is still far less on the Christian shelves compared to the Eastern shelves for the 21st-century American shopping at Borders. Buddhist instruction tends to be more explicit, whether it's the "just sitting" of shikantaza, the conscious observing of Vipassana, the koan practice of Rinzai Zen, the compassion meditation of metta, etc. I've found that my experience at a ten-day Vipassana intensive was extremely helpful in my Christian contemplative practice. Beyond that, scores of meditation centers and retreats advertise in the variety of magazines in which Buddhist spirituality is addressed, such as Tricycle and Shambhala Sun.
    Finally, the goal is often more clearly presented in Buddhism: the serious practitioner knows that he ultimately hopes for Awakening (Enlightenment); even when Christians are able to receive instruction in meditation, the ultimate goal—theosis—is seldom expressed in Christian circles outside of Orthodoxy.
    Parallels between the Buddha and St. Francis of Assisi
    The Buddha St. Francis
    born Siddhartha Gotama born Giovanni Bernadone
    thought his destiny was to become a king thought his destiny was to become a knight
    privileged early life privileged early life
    loved Yasodhara loved Clare
    encounters with suffering led to rethinking his life (sick man, old man, corpse) encounters with suffering led to rethinking his life (POW in Perugia, kissing the leper, etc.
    renounced world to live in joyful poverty and chastity renounced world to live joyful poverty and chastity
    rejected excessive asceticism rejected excessive asceticism
    noted for compassion for all creatures noted for compassion for all creatures
    taught non-violence taught non-violence
    opposed the caste system opposed the class system
    received “marks of a Buddha” received stigmata after visitation
    tamed the mad elephant tamed the wolf of Gubbio
    founded a religious order with thousands of monks and nuns by the time of his death founded a religious order with thousands of friars and nuns by the time of his death
    tried to stop a war by King Ajatasattu tried to stop a war by the Crusaders


    Yamakavagga: Pairs
    1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts, suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
    2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are ...
  2. 21 May '11 12:55
    Originally posted by mikelom
    At first glance, Buddhism seems vastly different from Christianity. Christianity is a religion about God, while the Absolute in Buddhism is never personalized, and seldom described, except as being beyond description. Most Christian denominations see the Bible as being of paramount importance (particularly in conservative Protestantism), while the vastly lar ...[text shortened]... f the ox.
    2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are ...
    Counterfeits.

    The absolute truth is found in the Word of God which is contained in the book we call the Bible.

    God can be known by faith in His son Jesus Christ. There is no other way.

    The other ways are counterfeits of the truth, designed by the adversary to blind men from knowing the truth.

    2 Cor. 4:3,4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

    Any parallels between the Biblical scriptures and all other religious writings are superficial.
  3. Subscriber Suzianne
    Misfit Queen
    21 May '11 15:11
    Originally posted by josephw
    Counterfeits.

    The absolute truth is found in the Word of God which is contained in the book we call the Bible.

    God can be known by faith in His son Jesus Christ. There is no other way.

    The other ways are counterfeits of the truth, designed by the adversary to blind men from knowing the truth.

    2 Cor. 4:3,4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to t ...[text shortened]...
    Any parallels between the Biblical scriptures and all other religious writings are superficial.
    At least he didn't call us all dishonest cheats, spreading falsity and untruth.

    Although I suppose that could be next. 😛
  4. Standard member karoly aczel
    the Devil himself
    21 May '11 15:36
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    At least he didn't call us all dishonest cheats, spreading falsity and untruth.

    Although I suppose that could be next. 😛
    You confuse Hindus with Buddhists, still worse you (and others) are quick to condem Hindus (for example) when someone comes along and has a "bad attitude". You condemmed the hell out of that guy, however I never heard one word of praise for rvsakahadeo, who is a Hindu from what I can tell.

    Sad,sad christians ...
  5. Standard member mikelom
    Ajarn
    22 May '11 04:29 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    At least he didn't call us all dishonest cheats, spreading falsity and untruth.

    Although I suppose that could be next. 😛
    Before you get your knickers in a twist, let me finish what I was about to point out.

    I didn't get a chance to edit the specific parts I wanted to, as I pressed tab and it posted - that's why there's no title.

    The piece was not written by me and is attributed here:

    http://josephalmighty.multiply.com/journal/item/799?&item_id=799&view:replies=reverse

    (note the josephalmighty site!)

    It is simply a parallelism of Buddhism and Christianity, and how both hold similar patterns and indeed similarities.

    Josephw writes there are no parallels. Well I contest that!
    Read the article. If you see no parallels then you can't read, or refuse to accept truths.

    It is simply of interest to see the similes of both religions, and neither one knock the other down.

    So accept it. There are similarities whether you like it or not!

    -m.
  6. 22 May '11 12:09
    Originally posted by mikelom
    Before you get your knickers in a twist, let me finish what I was about to point out.

    I didn't get a chance to edit the specific parts I wanted to, as I pressed tab and it posted - that's why there's no title.

    The piece was not written by me and is attributed here:

    http://josephalmighty.multiply.com/journal/item/799?&item_id=799&view:replies=reverse ...[text shortened]... k the other down.

    So accept it. There are similarities whether you like it or not!

    -m.
    I didn't say there were no parallels. I said the parallels were superficial.

    All other belief systems based on all other so-called sacred writings are counterfeits of the truth of God's Word which is contained in a book we call the Bible.

    It's a hard pill to swallow, but absolutely true.

    There is only one thing that can't be counterfeited, and that is the resurrection.

    Only in Christianity will one find a saviour that was crucified and then resurrected.

    Jesus lives. Buddha is dead. Face the fact.
  7. 22 May '11 12:26
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    You confuse Hindus with Buddhists, still worse you (and others) are quick to condem Hindus (for example) when someone comes along and has a "bad attitude". You condemmed the hell out of that guy, however I never heard one word of praise for rvsakahadeo, who is a Hindu from what I can tell.

    Sad,sad christians ...
    Learn to comprehend what you read. It is the Christians in this forum that are condemned at every turn.

    You underestimate what Suzianne knows about Buddhism and Hinduism, and she accurately called out dasa on the basis of what he posted.

    You are a hypocrite. You spread love and warm feelings for everyone in this forum except the Christians who you regularly insult and condemn every chance you get.
  8. Standard member karoly aczel
    the Devil himself
    22 May '11 20:41
    Originally posted by josephw
    Learn to comprehend what you read. It is the Christians in this forum that are condemned at every turn.

    You underestimate what Suzianne knows about Buddhism and Hinduism, and she accurately called out dasa on the basis of what he posted.

    You are a hypocrite. You spread love and warm feelings for everyone in this forum except the Christians who you regularly insult and condemn every chance you get.
    I will light an incense stick for the both of us,and I will contemplate my unecessary negativity towards christians.
  9. 23 May '11 10:49
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    I will light an incense stick for the both of us,and I will contemplate my unecessary negativity towards christians.
    With a lower case 'c' of course.
  10. Standard member rvsakhadeo
    rvsakhadeo
    23 May '11 17:33
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    You confuse Hindus with Buddhists, still worse you (and others) are quick to condem Hindus (for example) when someone comes along and has a "bad attitude". You condemmed the hell out of that guy, however I never heard one word of praise for rvsakahadeo, who is a Hindu from what I can tell.

    Sad,sad christians ...
    Well,many thanks for the kind words for me ! I was pleasantly surprised to see my name crop up in this debate regarding Christianity and Buddhism.
    Many westerners do not know that Hinduism is followed by the vast masses of India. Approximately 900 Million Hindus live in India out of a total population estimated to be 1.23 Billion as per the latest census in progress now.
    Assuming that Hindus between age 18 and 65 number about 650 million,the adult believers in their own religion i.e. Hinduism can safely be estimated to be about 500 million. The no. of adult Hindu atheists cannot exceed 1 million at the most. About 150 million adult Hindus may be agnostics. The no. of neo- Buddhists is not more than 15 million totally at the most. Christians number about 15 million totally. Muslims are about 200 million totally.Sikhs and Jains make up the rest.Buddhism which arose in India 2500 years ago when Hinduism was in decline is no longer of any substantial existence in India. Hinduism continues to flourish.
    By the way even President Bush did not know anything about Hinduism being a Religion in its own right.
    Why blame the US President when a learned man like Schopenhauer was confused between Hinduism and Buddhism.
    Incidentally the learned pessimist Schopenhauer considers Buddhism to be more profound than Christianity because of the Buddhist doctrine of Nirvana which is what happens when one's self is reduced to a minimum of desire and will ! I highly recommend the book" The Story of Philosophy " by Will Durant in this context.
  11. Standard member karoly aczel
    the Devil himself
    23 May '11 20:49
    Originally posted by josephw
    Learn to comprehend what you read. It is the Christians in this forum that are condemned at every turn.

    You underestimate what Suzianne knows about Buddhism and Hinduism, and she accurately called out dasa on the basis of what he posted.

    You are a hypocrite. You spread love and warm feelings for everyone in this forum except the Christians who you regularly insult and condemn every chance you get.
    Actually I have said many positive things about Jesus' teachings .
    The fact that I have a go regurlarly at the christian church/ideals probably reflects the society I live in.
    It probably reflects the demographic of the posters on here.
    I try to "call a spade a spade" and I will recognize good things wherever they come from, even christianity
  12. Standard member karoly aczel
    the Devil himself
    23 May '11 20:56
    Originally posted by rvsakhadeo
    Well,many thanks for the kind words for me ! I was pleasantly surprised to see my name crop up in this debate regarding Christianity and Buddhism.
    Many westerners do not know that Hinduism is followed by the vast masses of India. Approximately 900 Million Hindus live in India out of a total population estimated to be 1.23 Billion as per the latest censu ...[text shortened]... will ! I highly recommend the book" The Story of Philosophy " by Will Durant in this context.
    It's a spirituality forum and I enjoy the comments of peole who live in parts of the world that I have not heard about.
    Christianity has it's own merits and a definite place in the world for now.
    I really hope that some of the other christian posters can recognize the awesome tolerance and diversity that the Hindu religon has shown towards other religons
  13. 23 May '11 22:35
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    It's a spirituality forum and I enjoy the comments of peole who live in parts of the world that I have not heard about.
    Christianity has it's own merits and a definite place in the world for now.
    I really hope that some of the other christian posters can recognize the awesome tolerance and diversity that the Hindu religon has shown towards other religons
    "tolerance and diversity" are good and fine in most aspects of our everyday life's. But is it really good when it comes to religious mingling so to say?
    You see from a Christians viewpoint in our wanting to stay on track with our beliefs and wanting to stay true to our God who does want us to stay pure in our worship, it's something we do want to do. Because we do sincerly believe our future life's depend on staying that way.
    Such scriptures that speak of "a little leaven" doing harm, and what does "light have to do with darkness" and others that tell us to "flee from the unbelievers" and "not to even have a meal with them" are all refering to the differances in beliefs that we should have.
    And we do take this serious because of the examples in the Bible of long ago when God condemned any assosiation with any one from another nation or Kingdom around them and even had those nations destroyed because of there pagan beliefs. And he even showed the seriousness of this by expelling or even killing ones of his people that did not follow his commands.
    God does not do that now but the ideas and principles of those laws and commands should still be of a serious matter to a Christian today.
  14. Standard member karoly aczel
    the Devil himself
    24 May '11 23:17
    Originally posted by galveston75
    "tolerance and diversity" are good and fine in most aspects of our everyday life's. But is it really good when it comes to religious mingling so to say?
    You see from a Christians viewpoint in our wanting to stay on track with our beliefs and wanting to stay true to our God who does want us to stay pure in our worship, it's something we do want to do. ...[text shortened]... f those laws and commands should still be of a serious matter to a Christian today.
    Like I said, a lot of tolerance and diversity.

    This is more defiitive of the universe I want to create.