Christian-Buddists

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by stevemb88, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. stevemb88

    stevemb88 Well-Known Member

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    Is there any way that Christian beliefs can be mixed in with Buddist practices?
     
  2. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    Yes imo. Firstly god can be thought of as the being of nirvana, similarly to the Buddha as the Buddha being. Even though Buddhist say that they don’t believe in god, it doesn’t mean that you cannot. Christ can be thought of as the showing the moral path to righteousness and the way to heaven, then heaven can be thought of as like an intermediate realm, as in the end we all want peace and nirvana is ultimate peace.



    Just my opinion, but I believe all paths can be blended it up to not others – if you feel its your path then go for it!



    Z
     
  3. earl

    earl ?

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    Well, as it was put:
    Christian "beliefs" can mix with (some) Buddhist "practices."
    Ton of stuff published in past decade by essentially practicing Christians addressing how to do that-primarily application of zen buddhism. Doctrinally, there isn't much overlap. Also much published re inter-religious dialogue between the two re areas of over-lap with much mutual respect. What I find telling though is that it's only the Christians who feel mixing Buddhism into their religion is enriching but not the reverse judging from these interchanges. Take care, earl
     
  4. rdwillia

    rdwillia Well-Known Member

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    I think largely, it comes down to what school or vehicle you belong to as a Buddhist, concerning Buddhists not blending with Christian ideals. But mainly...

    Unfortunately, I think Christians get a bad rap (usually very subtley) from Buddhists is because it seems that many Christians one encounters don't really practice their religion. Most western Buddhists have converted from another religion or aetheism. Which would seem to imply that they're really searching for something with some serious effort and are often more serious about making some sort of change in themselves, more willing to really attempt to practice what they're being taught. Many Christians are born as such and therefore don't practice the teachings of Christ, yet have no problems calling themselves a Christian. Most are hesitant to call themselves Buddhists unless they really believe it, plus, generally, you have to take vows before you're really considered to be a Buddhist (though I think it's an issue of heart).

    I think if we had more Christian's truly making an effort to practice the teachings of Jesus, the world would be a much better place!

    Also, I know from personal experience, some, though certainly not all, Christians are very judgemental and when Buddhists mix with fundamentalists, they tend to get interrogated and warned of their impending stint in hell.

    I think that's why you see more overlapping from Christians to Buddhism and not the other way around.

    I hope that makes sense and as a side note, I wholeheartedly believe in the large majority of Christ's teachings. I think Jesus might have been a Boddhisatva!:)
     
  5. Awaiting_the_fifth

    Awaiting_the_fifth Where is my mind?

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    Personally I dont think that the two beliefs can mix, no.

    For me, as a Buddhist (and this is my own opinion only) the goal of Buddhism is perfect enlightenment and liberation.To reach this state is to be greater than any god. A Christian, to my knowledge, would not accept that anything can be greater than god and would never try to be so.

    This is not to say that Christians (or anyone else) cannot make use of Buddhist practices if they so desire. To engage in Buddhist practices which are designed simply to quiet the mind and gain some level of personal peace could not be considered contrary to Christianity by any but the most rabid christian fundamentalists.

    On the other hand, there is little reason for a buddhist to engage in Chritian rituals which are soley intended to worship the christian god.

    However, the bottom line is that if you have a personal set of beliefs which meld Christianity with Buddhism, then the answer would seem to be, yes.
     
  6. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    Awaiting the fifth, hi.



    I know where you are coming from. but its a bit of a one way system.



    It depends how you see liberation and god! Nirvana can be seen as the place and god as the being [a christianised perspective], two views of the one existence, so reaching nirvana is not necessarily above god. Gods creation [us] emanates from within him, so if Jesus is a perfect example of god as a human form, then he shows us the way back home.



    I have heard a Christian argument, that meditation is not so harmless in some cases, as one visualises idols [deities] & these have an affect on your soul that is impure [some say even so with Jesus!], so why not meditate upon god only? - just something what i have come across!



    I am saying this to show that we can learn from each other! I should hate Christians for their persecution of my kind [9 million across Europe], but i dont. There are many views of the truth. The debate should never end and we should never consider our beliefs as above others – it is easy to do this with a little clever wording.



    I hope you don’t take all this the wrong way my friend, I did not intend to insult your religion or way of being!



    Respect



    Z



     
  7. stevemb88

    stevemb88 Well-Known Member

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    No offense taken, nice to meet you Z!

    I'm going to have to disagree with you there on the meditation, I meditate and focus solely on my breathing and God and i have never seen idols.

    And you don't hate us (Christians) because it is neither here nor now! I don't hate Muslim's for waging a war against Christianity (the extremeists), I also don't hate the Romans (their decendants) or the Carthgenians (decendents) because none of them made that decision, and even if they did I don't think I would hate them, i would think them "troubled souls". I have never heard of a mass killing of Buddhists, by Christians, although I don't doubt it happened, it might have well happened but you shouldn't hate Christians, first of all because HATE is an extremely strong word and that it happened neither here nor now. Every religion has it's troubled times! Gladly the worlds religions are pretty stable.:)
     
  8. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    IMHO, one area where Christians and Buddhists have a basis for commonality is in the concept of being drawn out by our desires into sin or error.
     
  9. stevemb88

    stevemb88 Well-Known Member

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    That's for sure!:(
     
  10. rdwillia

    rdwillia Well-Known Member

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    Where is that Vajradhara? This would be interesting to see if there are any historical references about this. Not, of course, to promote Chritian dis-like but out of intellectual curriosity. Perhaps another thread?
     
  11. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Vajradhara is recovering from illness at the moment and may not be online for a few weeks...
     
  12. Awaiting_the_fifth

    Awaiting_the_fifth Where is my mind?

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    Peace Z,

    No offense taken whatsoever, I love nothing more than the debate!

    Certainly it could be seen this way, but this is not Buddhist belief, this is simply applying Buddhist words to Christian concepts. The two cannot be melded together simply by calling Heaven, Nirvana, and calling God, Buddha.

    Also, I think it may be important to point out at this point that Nirvana is not a place, it is a state of mind.

    My own meditation practice certainly would not be suitable for Christians as it involves making offerings to the Buddhas, visualising all of the enlightened beings and involking their blessings. However, the classes I sometimes attend (not as often as I should) which are run by the Kadampa Buddhist Union do not teach any of these things, they teach only focusing the mind, simple breathing meditation and the like.
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    First question: Why would you want to?
    Is there a sense of something 'missing' from the Christian Tradition? As Earl said, and to me its a huge point, Christianity is the ONLY tradition that seems to look elsewhere for validation - I suggest the fault is not with Christianity but with the west, with its constant craving for novelty and innovation.

    You would never find a Buddhist (or any other) asking if there is something to be had from Christianity.

    Again, Earl highlights the difference between 'Christian belief' and 'Buddhist practice' - so are you talking about methods?

    The obvious is meditation, but the Buddhists didn't invent meditation, it is practiced universally in its various forms.

    And again, whereas 'meditation' and the fruit thereof might be the 'goal' of Buddhist practice, it is a stepping stone towards higher states in Christian prayer, ie contemplation.

    +++

    There is a basic and fundamental difference between Buddhism and Christianity, which colours everything, and this is the place of the person in the schemata, a point I have made many times across this board (and one which has never been seriously challenged).

    In short, spokespersons of either camp who think they can mix the two simply do not comprehend the metaphysic of their own system, and sadly in the West (and the further west you go, the worse it gets) a large number of clergy are included in this, who demonstrate a staggering ignorance of the depths of Christian theology as they trample over the subtle beauty of their own tradition to plunder the treasures of another.

    +++

    I have picked up on Z's post, not against Z, but simply because this post highlights some of the issues:

    "Nirvana can be seen as the place and god as the being [a christianised perspective], two views of the one existence, so reaching nirvana is not necessarily above god."

    But Christianity would say there is only God - thus to talk about nirvana and not God implies a degree of unknowing in Buddhism which is known in Christianity.

    "Gods creation [us] emanates from within him, so if Jesus is a perfect example of god as a human form, then he shows us the way back home."

    God creates, he does not emanate, and this is a fundamental distinction that effects everything. Buddhism is a monism - God and the cosmos are one. The Abrahamic traditions are a dualism - there is God and there is the cosmos - and this dualism is resolved in the Trinity.

    "I have heard a Christian argument, that meditation is not so harmless in some cases, as one visualises idols [deities] & these have an affect on your soul that is impure [some say even so with Jesus!], so why not meditate upon god only? - just something what i have come across!"

    You should have the argument explained.
    There is simple meditation, and there are psychodynamic methods which have profound psychic effects, and unmoderated are fundamentally dangerous. A non-negotiable rule of the latter is that they should NEVER been undertaken without proper supervision - the techniques are very real and not without danger.
    In short - consider the Greek myth of Pandora's Box. Our asylums are full of those who, by (mostly) accident and (the occasional rarity of) design, lifted the lid and found themselves unable to replace it. There is no place more dangerous than the depths of one's own psyche, and no place in heaven or earth more dangerous to travel alone.

    I am saying this to show that we can learn from each other!
    What can we learn from each other that is not already taught at home?

    I should hate Christians for their persecution of my kind
    This is something of a sentimental and spurious intrusion into the discussion.
    The strong persecute the weak everywhere, in every tradition, and utilise any means at hand to justify it.

    A favourite saying from Medieval Japan (whose Buddhist monks were a law unto themselves):
    "The weak are meat; the strong eat."

    Thomas
     
  14. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    There is truth in that the West seems to have a constant craving for novelty and innovation. In fact, it might have played a part in my looking into Christianity in my adult life.
    My husband and my non-Christian friends do, and many excellent conversations have ensued, but that is only my experience, and cannot be considered to be a large enough sample to constitute a reliable trend.
    I would have to agree with you there.
    I would have to strongly agree on this point, and it cannot be overemphasized, IMHO. One might compare it to going into your computer's basic operating system and redirecting vital functions, or rewriting lines of code without knowing what you're doing. To do so would be taking at least a 75% chance of ending up with an unstable operating system, IMHO. That said, however, I don't feel that it is necessary that I drop the Zen that I acquired before I became a Christian. ;)
    While I do agree with your basic principle, I have only noticed the East-West practice mixing within the "New Age" movement around here, and you can't get much further west than Seattle. There are Christians who have converted from Eastern religions, and there are those who have converted from Christianity to Eastern religions, but I haven't seen hybrids outside of the New Age movement.
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Seattlegal -

    I said:
    You would never find a Buddhist (or any other) asking if there is something to be had from Christianity.

    My husband and my non-Christian friends do, and many excellent conversations have ensued...

    Oh indeed. I meant you will not find Buddhist priests(?) teaching a Christian practice as Buddhist doctrine. I found my way back to Catholicism through Comparative Religion and various philosophies.

    I have only noticed the East-West practice mixing within the "New Age" movement around here ... but I haven't seen hybrids outside of the New Age movement.

    Well, whilst the "New Age" is largely marked by a sentimental syncretism (there is in fact nothing 'new' abbout the new age so far, it's a rehash of stuff that is way passed its 'sell by' date) I am sadly obliged to acknowledge that in some areas Catholicism, especially in America, seems to embrace any alien practice that might help fill the pews (or sell books).

    Again, I'm not saying meditation as such - Christianity has a rich and deep meditative tradition - but the error is in bringing in, or explaining technique employing Buddhist doctrinal teachings, as if Buddhist doctrine can be 'slotted in' alongside the Christian.

    Thanks for the response, as I did wonder if I was too heavy-handed.

    Thomas
     
  16. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    Stevemb88. Hello!







    Actually you are agreeing with me entirely! That is exactly what I am saying – sorry if it didn’t come across like that.



    Seattle gal, hi. I agree, although I am a druid so I don’t personally see sex and desire as sin except when taken to extremes. I was defending the Christian position because I believe in god and Buddhists and hindus tend to think they are above Christians – like when they consider Christ as a bodhisattva & nirvana as a place above gods perfection, I think we can all learn from each other!



    Awaiting the fifth,

    Its not just words, they are added to the silent meaning. nirvana is a place if you go there! Well if it is the same as the druidic void or the source, but that’s a whole different area – perhaps we can debate ultimate nature on another thread? [I’ll do one soon];)





    Ps. To everyone; I don’t see why Buddhists can’t learn from Christians! That sounds as arrogant as Christians were in the past! We can all learn from one another!



    Thomas, hello! just noticed your post – I’ll reply later - got things to do.:)



    Respect to all…



    Z

     
  17. earl

    earl ?

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    Hey Z- as for Buddhists having something to learn from other religions-even Dalai Lama has said as much in his dialogues with Christian leaders, but he said that in respect to Buddhists could stand to be more active in expressing compassion as he was speaking with admiration regarding the Christian traditions of charity. It is just that as to practice, "Buddhists" obviously have no interest in incorporating Christianized devotionalism, though there are schools of Buddhism that have devotional elements. As to Buddhists or anyone thinking themselves "better" than anyone, Buddhism and pridefulness/egoism would be an oxymoron though, of course, as common there as in any tradition:p Have a good one, Earl
     
  18. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Even though Buddhism and Christianity are, as Thomas points out, distinctly and fundamentally different religions, there seems to be a quality that attracts Christians to Buddhism and vice versa. Perhaps it is the common denominator of loving kindness that runs so deeply in each. I know many Christians who either admire Buddhism (myself included), use some Buddhist practices, or outright convert. My two favorite priests each went through a period of practicing Buddhism before returning to Christianity (Episcopal Church). If I didn't believe in God and Christ I'd probably become a Buddhist. :)

    I think that sometimes people leave Christianity for Buddhism or New Age because they do not know about the meditative/contemplative side of Christianity. Perhaps that part of Christian life was muffled during the Enlightenment? But, it is there and it is a rich tradition waiting to be re-discovered.

    lunamoth
     
  19. Awaiting_the_fifth

    Awaiting_the_fifth Where is my mind?

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    Greetings to all.

    I cannot speak for hindus as I only really know one hindu personally. Buddhists however do not (in my experience) consider ourselves to be above Christians. We do pity Christians, as we pity every living creature trapped in this painful world, maybe this is where you are getting this idea.

    I have never heard any Buddhist claim that Christ was a Boddhisattva, a boddhisattva would have no reason to claim to be the son of an omnipotent creator god.



    I do not know what the druidic void or the source is but Nirvana is not a place, it is a state of mind.

    To say this is like saying that Anger is a place if you go there, it may be a useful analogy at times but we know that anger is not a real, physical place and neither is Nirvana.



    There is no reason why Buddhists cannot learn from Christians, but Christian doctrine is not compatible with Buddhist belief.

    I can't wait
     
  20. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    Earl, hello.

    Well yes it would be an oxymoron and yes we are all guilty of thinking ourselves superior, I sometimes think Druidry is in its purest form, is way above the rest, this is why I pointed it out – as it is a lesson I too must learn. The dalai lama is a wise man & we can learn from each other!

    I would not expect Buddhists to do anything other than practice Buddhism, yet this is a comparative forum & if someone asks if Christianity & Buddhism can be mixed then yes of course it can imo. Faith is [sometimes] like a prism we see different colours of the same light, thus ultimately we are believing in and worshiping the same thing via different vehicles, there is not one correct vehicle though! I was trying to show this with my comparisons between ‘god the spirit’ and ‘nirvana’ then with god as being and Buddha being.



    Lunamoth. Hi



    Yep there is a deeper side to Christianity; if it had remained a cult this would be apparent imho. I just can’t see why one cannot believe in Christ and god and nirvana, thence meditating upon god’s truth. In fact I see no reason why we cannot love and respect his creation i.e. our world even if it is illusion. Here is another interesting point I think – the world is an illusion as compared to god! It is brought forth of god [or the goddess Crom in Druidry – but that’s another story] thus is of him but not god himself, so it is a comparative illusion!



    I feel quite strongly that Christians need to find that deeper side! If there were Christian meditation classes at church then even I would go – could do with a few more cushions though lol



    Thomas, I’ll continue from earlier…

    There will always be something missing from all religions, the truth cannot be found! It [truth] is naked or else it would all be pointless – and this is in my humble opinion an actual state, nature &/or principle of the ultimate reality that this is so! I call it the ‘universal paradox’ but these are just words that point to the silent meaning and crux of existence, I am sure you all know where I am coming from though.

    I thought contemplation was a form of meditation! Perhaps we are getting tied up with words when in ‘truth’ there is just the mind and ways of utilising it for given ends.







    Ok I’ll challenge! :) Please don’t take this offensively; I just think you are - well - right and wrong! I see what you are saying as concerns the clergy, though I don’t know for sure. But it’s the main issue – these schemata you talk about. So if one does know the metaphysics of their own system [as I do mine], then one cannot mix the fundamental truths? I think the opposite is the case, where anyone of the highest order within there own tradition will be one with all others of the same height! It is the lesser understanding that involves words and meanings set in stone, where we get tied up in the smallness and duality of it all – Jesus and the Buddha are both sharing the truth now are they not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I can see the implications you talk of with using terminology from two different religions – worded knots I call things like that. But I am not a Christian so I can’t really say their point or that of the Buddhists, but I hope you see what I am saying beyond the words.

    If in the beginning there is god, then his creation could only have come from within him! Then add the notion ‘there are no divisions between things’ then ultimately god is not separate from his creation – the apparency of separateness is the substance of illusion – it does not actually exist!



    Much respect all, I hope I have not upset you all as any serious practitioner of their given religion will not appreciate me saying they can mix, rightly so to, but philosophically not so! As a druid I must search for universal truth I intend no disrespect.



    Z the druid-Christian, Buddhist-druid, Taoist-muslim-baha’I you get the picture! A follower of the universal ‘path’ [approach] – that is to say – non-attachment un-pathed!





     

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