Buddhist Compassion :: Christian Love

InLove

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Hi Everyone :)

I hope the dialogue doesn't shut down. I am interested in discovering whatever commonalities there may be between Buddhism and Christianity. I think it is only difficult if we make it difficult. I realize that the two are not the same, and that there are many types of Christians and Buddhists. And then there are the Universalist views. Quite a mix. But I am not trying to bake a cake! I would just like to understand the properties of the items on the kitchen shelf. :)

Thomas, you have been quite forthcoming in stating right up front that your home base is that of Roman Catholic Theology. Nuttin' wrong with that. In fact, it helps me to understand your ideas on Buddhism.

Zagreus, while I find your thoughts quite intriguing, I don't know exactly where your home base is. The term "theosophy" doesn't help me very much, because all I know about that term is that it has something to do with intuition. I don't know if people consider intuition to be the same thing as mysticism. I guess what I am asking is, "How do you describe your home base--and (LOL!) can you do it rather briefly?" :D

Snoopy, Paladin, and earl (this is right up your alley, isn't it, earl?)--thank you for your comments. I have found them helpful. I appreciate all the responses here from everyone here, even when I don't (yet) understand them all.

I did not know what I was going to write before I sat down here, and I still don't know if what I have written is anything at all. But I wrote it. I just don't want to see this study shut down.

Edit: I am very glad to see Vajradhara here, too! (Just spotted your post).

InPeace,
InLove
 

Thomas

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Thank you, Vajradhara.

This is from the quote I posted:
"... The question then is this: Is this selfless compassion equivalent to the Christian charity which the Word, upon becoming flesh, expressed upon the Cross at Calvary? As Buddhism believes neither in the existence of a loving and living God nor in a substantial self, so the compassion of a Bodhisattva cannot be accorded with any ontological reality. As and when a Buddhist speaks of compassion, he treats it merely as an 'upaya' – 'an expedient means... '

That's the crux of it, I think - although Behind it I suppose is a perennial question with me, with regard to the 'self' – the ointology/eschatalogical horizon of the person is so obviously locatable in Christian doctrine, but I find myself on uncertain ground with regard to Buddhism ...

Pax,

Thomas
 

earl

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Hi Everyone :)

I hope the dialogue doesn't shut down. I am interested in discovering whatever commonalities there may be between Buddhism and Christianity. I think it is only difficult if we make it difficult. I realize that the two are not the same, and that there are many types of Christians and Buddhists. And then there are the Universalist views. Quite a mix. But I am not trying to bake a cake! I would just like to understand the properties of the items on the kitchen shelf. :)

Thomas, you have been quite forthcoming in stating right up front that your home base is that of Roman Catholic Theology. Nuttin' wrong with that. In fact, it helps me to understand your ideas on Buddhism.

Zagreus, while I find your thoughts quite intriguing, I don't know exactly where your home base is. The term "theosophy" doesn't help me very much, because all I know about that term is that it has something to do with intuition. I don't know if people consider intuition to be the same thing as mysticism. I guess what I am asking is, "How do you describe your home base--and (LOL!) can you do it rather briefly?" :D

Snoopy, Paladin, and earl (this is right up your alley, isn't it, earl?)--thank you for your comments. I have found them helpful. I appreciate all the responses here from everyone here, even when I don't (yet) understand them all.

I did not know what I was going to write before I sat down here, and I still don't know if what I have written is anything at all. But I wrote it. I just don't want to see this study shut down.

Edit: I am very glad to see Vajradhara here, too! (Just spotted your post).

InPeace,
InLove
Hi InLove. it is up my alley but I have but the vaguest clue what alley I'm in:) Perhaps it would seem odd to many but I find much to agree with in the views of Thomas, Zagreus, and, of course, Vajradhara. that's because I don't think Christianity and Buddhism for example are simply reduceable into each other-but I likewise do not see them so irreconcilable either. I think both traditions embody important (excuse me V:D ) "faces of God" as Ken Wilber put it-aspects of relating to the Absolute or Divinity (pick your favorite word)-I'd started a thread re to that a while back. Those 3 "faces" being the face of absolute ground of awareness where all self-other distinctions melt into relative meaninglessness; the face where we are suitably awed in profound gratitude, love, and desire for union with an Other, and the face whereby we feel ourselves part of the immeasurable web of life micrscopically and macroscopically. Even old Wilber the non-dualist finally admitted that the face of Divine Other was an important though perhaps undefinable piece he'd been leaving out of his scheme. I think different poeple are attracted initially to different "face." Some people may weave among them as "phases" or degrees of understanding unfold for them. Still others are drawn to simultaneous paths-as with me I feel both the non-dual and the devotional , Divine Other paths as "right" for me and as I've said here many times I believe that spirituality-finding the right path for you- is ultimately more about heart or intuitive sense of rightness than it is an intellectual or philosophical logic. But that's because I see spiritual paths as being about taking us beyond simply holding a set of beliefs or concepts no matter how appealing that may be. Have a god one, earl
 

taijasi

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InLove, others, earl has summed up my at-heart approach to religion and spirituality ... far better than I could do myself:
earl said:
... I see spiritual paths as being about taking us beyond simply holding a set of beliefs or concepts no matter how appealing that may be.
:)
The Buddha spoke about the Raft (yana, the vehicle, whether Hinayana or Mahayana) as being there to get you across the River. The current is strong, even dangerous, and it will sweep us away if we are not careful. A safe means for crossing this River must be found. This is where I think Christianity has a Beautiful Way of presenting the Love of Christ, God's Son, for each and every one of us.

Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread. And even angels would not dare to cross the chasm, or River, to tread the narrow, razor-edged path, unaided. No person, strictly materially speaking, can do this, and so I agree that not only religion, but God's Grace, as so wonderfully Revealed to us by Christ and in Christianity, is required.

Now for where the two Paths meet: Upon the farther shore. In Buddhism, the term `tathagata' means "gone-beyond," because the Buddhas are understood to be Beings, much like the Hindu Avatars, who have gone beyond our present level of human attainment. The recognition of the Other shore, which inspires us all in one way or another, allows us (in my experience), to lift our face, our gaze, our awareness - gradually, gently - as we plod onward, seeking to cross this River, on the way back to God, or Source.

We may behold angels, we may encounter the Prophets, Messengers of the Day, and even God's Ministering Attendants may be revealed to us, as the Splendor, the Glory and all that Christianity seeks to convey in this word `Grace' ... come to us, in Blessing. Either we will develop a deep and expanding sense of Gratitude, or we will be overwhelmed by our Encounters, and to say we do not lose footing as we try and cross this River - would be a great untruth. mea culpa, fwiiw.

Even the raft of the Mahayana, cannot guarantee the occasional "man overboard," for did not Buddha, did not Christ, also face these challenges when they sought to cross, at the behests of a Higher Calling? So I imagine that many a hand has been plunged deep, by the Masters of every tradition, to grab the proverbial sheep that has strayed, or restore our Right footing upon the Path (Eightfold Path, Divine Commandments, etc.).

Jesus, for me, has come to mean this: Because of such great Compassion, and Love, for the Family of Man, a Noble and unparalleled effort was made to securely hitch a Rope across Life's difficult River. In Buddhist terms, this was no Stream-Entrant; his feet were long ago made wet, and his whole being bathed (Luke 11:34-6), purified and the `feat' of walking on water aptly demonstrated - to near Perfection.

The Wayshower, then, as Tathagathas before him, applied the training of God's own Teachers, and Angels ... and not alone, unaided, but with the Ray of the Christ, as Christ, this man - gave his ALL - to secure a Bridge across the sweeping torrent of the River, that all mankind might cross.

Thus, as we try to "Work out our own Salvation with diligence," as Shakyamuni Buddha instructed in his final words ... it is only through a recognition of ALL our heavenly and human potential, that we may hope to fulfil this mission (having chosen to accept).

Many organizations help to prepare us psychologically and morally, and religion goes one step further and unites us, or yokes us to a Divine Presentation of the Spiritual Ideal, as we begin our path across the River.

What I believe, of my own finding and experience, is that it is only as we tread the intimately personal, Mystical Path, that the fullest significance of our own Spirituality begins to reveal itself to us. What God has intended for us, both personally and together as one, we can only best or fully know in the Silence of the Heart, as well in as in the Highest reaches of the Illumined Creative Understanding.

We are not sheep, or robots; we are here to help each other, to learn and grow of ourselves, yet also to bring something to the very feet of the Creator, or Adi Buddha, as some Buddhists maintain. Just what exactly it is that we're supposed to offer the Divine, should not be regarded as How do we offer anything of our own imperfection, to Him Who is Perfect? It should be asked, As a being created in the image of the Divine, how may we use our gifts best to Serve, in a way that will Honor the Deity (or "Glorify God") Who has given us these gifts to begin with? :)

Right now this only makes sense to me as a blur of butterfly-wings, and Moody Blues music. :p

Hope that maybe helps ...

Peace out,

~Zag
 
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So, how does the passion of the Christ, where he felt the wieght of the sins of the whole world, and was being made a scape goat, translate into Buddhism? How does salvation in Christian terms overlay on Buddhism or Eastern thought in general? For example, the mechanism of salvation- the believing, or having faith in Christ as the mechanism of salvation...how does that translate into Buddhist terms?

Chris
 

taijasi

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So, how does the passion of the Christ, where he felt the wieght of the sins of the whole world, and was being made a scape goat, translate into Buddhism? How does salvation in Christian terms overlay on Buddhism or Eastern thought in general? For example, the mechanism of salvation- the believing, or having faith in Christ as the mechanism of salvation...how does that translate into Buddhist terms?

Chris
In rule Nine of A Treatise on White Magic, one Master (of the Fifth Degree) offers the following explanation. He gives a brief description of the FOUR kinds of forms with which Humanity, the FOURTH Kingdom in nature has to deal, in this - the FOURTH cycle, and most *material* point in our Spiritual Involution-Evolution. Please note, the ARHAT Initiation, which both Jesus of Nazareth and also Jiddu Krishnamurti (!) underwent ... is also, the FOURTH.

The Occult significance of this, already, even to a *blind* man - may begin to take on obvious weight. Master DK enumerates the four types of forms under consideration as
  1. The Form of the Personality
  2. The Form of the Environment
  3. The Form of the Devotee
  4. The Form of the Causal Body [or, reincarnating `Soul,']
The full descriptions for these can be found online, here. My first go at your questions, Chris, would be to look at what is said about #2, in contrast to #4:
2. The Form of the Environment. This is really the evolutionary working out of the involutionary group soul. It relates to our contacts, not just exterior, but on the inner planes as well. In similarity of vibration comes coherency. When therefore a man raises his vibration and builds anew from the beginning, and alters consequently his key, it results in dissonance in his surroundings and subsequent discord. Therefore - under the law - there comes always to the striver after the Mysteries and the manipulator of the law, a period of aloneness and of sorrow when no man stands by and isolation is his lot. In lesser degree this comes to all, and to the arhat (or initiate of the fourth degree) this complete isolation is a characteristic feature. He stands midway between life in the three worlds and that in the world of adepts. His vibration does not synchronize, prior to initiation, with the vibrations of either group. Under the law he is alone. But this is only temporary. When the environment satisfies then is the moment of anxiety; it indicates stagnation. The application of the law causes primary disruption.​
4. The Form of the Causal Body. This is the vehicle of the higher consciousness, the temple of the indwelling God, which seems of a beauty so rare and of a stability of so sure a nature that, when the final shattering comes of even that masterpiece of many lives, bitter indeed is the cup to drink, and unutterably bereft seems the unit of consciousness. Conscious then only of the innate Divine Spirit, conscious only of the Truth of the Godhead, realizing profoundly and to the depths of his being the ephemeral nature of the form and of all forms, standing alone in the vortex of initiatory rites, bereft of all on which he may have leant (be it friend, Master, doctrine or environment), well may the Initiate cry out: "I am that I am, and there is naught else." Well may he then figuratively place his hand in that of his Father in Heaven, and hold the other out in blessing on the world of men, for only the hands that have let slip all within the three worlds are free to carry the ultimate blessing to struggling humanity. Then he builds for himself a form such as he desires, - a new form that is no longer subject to shattering, but suffices for his need, to be discarded or used as occasion warrants.​
If we pursue this line, we find much said about this new form which the High Initiate Jesus was in the process of building, throwing plain light on the words: "Touch me not, as I am not yet ascended unto my Father."

Meanwhile, compare with this experience of the Initiate Jesus, the words of Christed Jesus, here with commentary from Alice Bailey, rather than the Master DK:
The third initiation, that of the Transfiguration, testified to the fact of the at-one-ment which Christ made between soul and body. Integration was complete, and the consequent illumination was made apparent to His disciples. He appeared before them as Son of Man and Son of God, and having proved to them Who He was, He faced the death which lay ahead of Him, and the intervening service.​
In the fourth initiation, He demonstrated this integration not only as God-Man, but as the One Who enfolded in His consciousness the entire world of men. He unified Himself with humanity, and portrayed the effectiveness of that divine energy which enabled Him to say in truth, "I, if I be lifted up from the Earth, will draw all men unto Me." (St. John, XII, 32.) He was lifted up between Earth and Heaven, and for two thousand years these words of His have stood unchallenged. (emphasis added)
These excerpts are from the book From Bethlehem to Calvary, in which Alice Bailey provides her own understanding of Christ's Love, and of the life of Jesus. Her approach is as of someone with a Christian background, who later met her own Master in the flesh.

Alice knew her Teacher by one of his eastern names, though she mistook him for long years as Jesus, since no room existed in her Christian upbringing for any other possibility. I would like to confirm, along with Alice and hundreds, thousands of others, that such room can safely be made without displacing the Christ, as He is, or His centrality to the Christian religion. I have met arhats, in the flesh, and KNOW them to be a reality. These are men, and women, of the same attainment as Jesus (2000 years ago), and of Krishnaji in 1925, who are alive and well, in the world today.

You would not know an arhat by casual observance. They do not wear signs that advertise their abilities, or advanced evolutionary status, since their goal is Service. This becomes impossible, if thronged by the masses, seeking cures for every ill, panaceas for toothaches, and special presentations of the same Wisdom that is Universally available, regardless of a person's tradition, location, or outward circumstances - IF that person's aspiration is pure, and their intention sincere.

All this, I can testify to, or Witness as Truth, from my direct experience, my perception and experience, as well as what *still* represents to me the Ideals toward which I strive, neither as Buddhist, nor Christian, nor Theosophist ... but simply as one who has heard. The Christ in me, bears witness to the authenticity of my message, as I do not borrow every line from another source, or need to resort to any other authority for my Inspiration.

If it comes from God, it must first come from within. Even if a measure of the Christ Light and Love flashes forth, it is not because I first look OUTward, in seeking this illumination and inspiration. Either I must first acknowledge the seed, the potential, which God has planted in me, when He created me in His own image ... or it is *useless* to look elsewhere, outward, and expect to find it in any Avatar, any Holy Man, any Christ, Buddha or Savior.

When one's feet are planted firmly on this Ground, the Truth of our Being established *in* Godhead, while not yet having attained fully to our GodHOOD, as has Christed Jesus ... it will not matter by what authority another person may seek to strip away our presentation, or persona. S/he cannot stand on this same Ground, and yet call us a liar, or tell us that what we speak is not of God.

However, as this Ground is not simply that out of which my own rootedness in the Divine has been provided, nurtured and caused to *begin* to flower forth ... the Buddhist, or person of another mindset, or approach to God's Teachings and Wisdom, may wish to demonstrate that equally well rooted are people of other faiths, other traditions, to whom and which Saviors, Buddhas, and Christs have come. And *not* simply because "we received a Divine Manifestation over here" does our fellow man have the authority to present his experiences and testity to their significance.

It is because, just as our feet (can be) firmly planted on, or rooted in, God's rich, fertile SOIL ... SO TOO, can every other person's. This is our Blessing, through God's Grace, that He has seen fit to deny NO MAN entrance to His Kingdom, and least of all, to allow any one man ... to hold the keys of passage which EACH of us holds, having been presented these for safekeeping, by and tom, Christ within. {Enter Mysticism}

Every one of us, is a Fortress of the very Strength, in potentio, of God the Father. Our demonstration of this spiritual power, it turns out, has everything to do ... with how well we are able to show forth the same Unconditional Love, shared unreservedly throughout the entire Family of Man, as from Brother unto Brother, and even as realized in the closest of human relationships - that between Mother, and Her most wonderful child. :)

Unto those whom much is given, much is expected. This is not because God is unfair or plays favorites, but because those who have this greater Responsibility have earned it, and in order to preserve Divine Balance, MUCH must be given. This is the true explanation, as best we might be able to comprehend it with the Intellect, of why the Heart continues to give, and give, and give ... even when this remains the very last centre of vital force, or organ, supporting the life, of one man - yielding His all, for God's Truths, God's Plan, and God's Purpose ... as even the closest, admit their dismay, disbelief, and disheartentment.

He dies. He dies, even daily, because in preparation, he must be ready to BE this God, which the people have created, as they seek to understand themselves, each other, and the purpose for their being. He does not assume any role that he has not already. The Arhat becomes, because of his experience - Death - the ending of the forms of the environment, as he has allowed himself to unwittingly support them (in their illusory nature, the Buddhist view provides). His role in not a new one, assumed from without, but the willingness, and the recognition, from Within, that as the Spark of Heat, of Light, of Sound, and more - His own truest Identity is *not other than* the Identity which has been foisted upon him: G-D, the Divine, the Most Holy, and even, The HIGHEST.

Now what is left? If he has died to the illusion of ego, of self (a thoroughly Buddhist conception, teaching and understanding), what can be left? Not the death of the body, he now knows objectively the continuity of his own former existences, and can verify those of any being, within reason, whom he examines. The physical body, along with the Lotus itself (the Causal body, or Soul) may become shattered, as is the case for many an arhat in ages past, but did not Christ Jesus *rebuild* the Temple *not made with human hands* in three days time? This is mentioned in the very beginning of this post, in quotation.

The goal of spirtual evolution which occupies an Arhat's focus as he prepares for the 5th Initiation (Adeptship, total Self-Mastery), is just that. Nothing of what we think of as "personality," or `Ego,' still remains. Identity, however, is a Mystery which has not yet fully been revealed. Knowing that *Identity* is not different (non-dual) than God's own, in no way means that we have Attained to what God intends for us, even as Individuals, as uniquely focused representations of the Divine Self-Consciousness, still called into Being, or cyclic incarnation, by the cry of the World Soul.

Most of us, like myself, are pretty well caught up in the samsara, are we not? Aspirants to the Mysteries, perhaps, or aware of some of the teachings, especially fortunate if we have had the good sense to practice what has been given, lest our much more humble responsibilities (arghhh, :eek:) be diminished even more so, that we may at least make Good on the tiny task(s), which we have been given.

Ego, a projection of the Soul into space and time, is not, in the last analysis, an Illusion, or Dream, in the sense that it does not exist whatsoever, or have any rooting in the great Ground of Being. Rather, it is something like a really, really funny Joke, and it's on US, because neither are we who we thought we were (we are much, much more, yet also, perhaps, a bit less), nor what. One might even be left with a sense of, So we're really all just the same wacked-out, crazy Veteran Cosmic Rocker, staring at ourself in a room full of mirrors. Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah!

Oh yeah, God's the Biker, as in in Zen and the Art of - ... or again, whoooo! What a long, strange trip it's ... or perhaps just, The Answer my friend, is blowin in the W-

Just keep ol' Timothy's hands off the channel knob, and usually it's a bit easier to keep pace with the Divine Tempo, cadence, rhythm, pulse ... Heartbeat, ahh, Music!!! :)

Usually metaphors and similes work best, unless we genuinely want to know something like, how does the Arhat, already aware OF our greater Identity, come into the Fullness OF that Identity, and what might such a state of consciousness, or Divine Being, be like?



The Tibetan Master, who appreciates the value and importance of the Flower, even before the Flaming Jewel within it has been revealed, would probably give an answer very different, if the student were a Buddhist Lama ... than say, if the person had a Kabbalistic background, and the proper training to grasp such concepts as the Ain Soph Aur. As that is almost pure mumbo-jumbo to me, the answer might be phrased against a more Western background, expressed in terms of the very topic of discussion, and question originally asked, concerning the Nature of Christ's Love for us. So he might cite the Biblical passage:
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." :)
And this, I hope, in my wordy and eccentric way, is what I was really trying to say ... just with a bit more art, and perhaps the lack of some of the matter :)o) of the Original.

Namaskar,

~Zag
 

InLove

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Thanks for your response, Zag. :) And for the explanation on the sister thread. Now I have a better handle on where you are coming from, although I admit that it would take me a long time to understand the details!

Has anyone ever told you that maybe you should write a book? ;)

InPeace,
InLove (and Light)
 

seattlegal

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So, how does the passion of the Christ, where he felt the wieght of the sins of the whole world, and was being made a scape goat, translate into Buddhism? How does salvation in Christian terms overlay on Buddhism or Eastern thought in general? For example, the mechanism of salvation- the believing, or having faith in Christ as the mechanism of salvation...how does that translate into Buddhist terms?

Chris

Dhammapada 1:5 "For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule."
 

InLove

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Thanks, earl. Am I correct in my understanding that the terms "non-dual" and "devotional" coincide with (please forgive my awkwardness, everyone) "Zen" and "Shen"?

And a quick note to Vaj (Is the shortened version of your name okay? I apologize if not, since I have been using it for some time now.) Anyway:
The reason I am glad you are here is kind of the same reason I'm glad Thomas is here. I understand that in both of your views, Buddhism and Christianity cannot ultimately "mix". Apples and oranges, oil and water. But reading your reasons for the views you express aids me in deciding what I think about it all, and educates me in both areas to boot. You mentioned that the best way to understand these concepts is to read about them on our own. I agree, but it is difficult for me right now to acquire all that reading material for more than one reason, not the least being that it is confusing to even know where to start. But I have a long reading list (I think you and I have talked about this before!) and much of it comes from helpful suggestions here in CR. And I'm working on it. In the meantime, it does help me to investigate whatever I can right here. :)

InPeace,
InLove
 

earl

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Yes InLove Zen and Shin would demonstrate those 2 poles of non-dual awareness and devotional other power. There have been some traditional Buddhist "schools" or approaches that did literally combine Chan or Zen with Pure Land practice. Whiel due to the theological foundation of Christianity, its practitioners would almost always see it as a devotional Other power approach, in terms of actual contemplative practice and personal experiences, there is most certainly a type of non-duality potentially available to those practitioners-the non-duality of the contemplative state. As with hesychasm, the "way of silence," their contemplative states are intended to reach a state of "emptiness" in the sense of non-attachment to any mental states including preconceived notions of God and to rest in "silent communion." I've posted in threads here before various quotes by Meister Eckhart and one of those quotes in particular to me suggests he had experiences of such non-duality. Similarly, even in other schools of Buddhism other than Pure Land that are ostensibly non-dual in orientation, there are practiced methods which appear to be Other power in subtle ways. take care, earl
 

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As and when a Buddhist speaks of compassion, he treats it merely as an 'upaya' – 'an expedient means... '

Hi,

Upaya is usually described as “skillful (as in beneficial) means”. What this actually is, will depend on what is required in any particular situation.

s.
 

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There are a significant number of people who present Christianity and Budddhism as saying practically the same thing, which they do not, and that was what this post was intended to highlight.

If I am wrong, then I was hoping for a Buddhist to put me right ... Earle has offered his own distinctive and knowledgeable view ... and I think we find some common ground in apophatic and cataphatic spirituality (not to mention heroes in common) ... if I have offended, I apologise, but I make no bones in saying that if Theosophy makes as fast and loose with Buddhist doctrine as it does with Christian, then from where I choose to stand there is doubly no reason to continue the dialogue.

Thomas

Hi,

Is it not the case that there will be differences and similarities between the teachings, but that in dialogue people can appreciate the POV of others, learn a little and maybe see the commonalities that any "timeless" teachings are likely to share? And maybe help us all to get along a bit better than we are otherwise want to do.

s.
 
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First, thanks Zag for the excellent post in response to my question. It's been some time since I read Alice Bailey. Thanks as well SG!

Paint me curious. It seems that what we hear a lot of is Christianity strained through Eastern thought, but I'm wondering what the reverse would be. What would Buddhism sound like strained through a Judeo-Christian seive?

Chris
 

seattlegal

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Paint me curious. It seems that what we hear a lot of is Christianity strained through Eastern thought, but I'm wondering what the reverse would be. What would Buddhism sound like strained through a Judeo-Christian seive?

Chris
I think that's what I do. (I have a Christian vocabulary, not a Buddhist one.) Thomas Merton might also be a good example of Eastern thought filtered through Christianity. I think Snoopy just started a thread for Thomas Merton quotes in the Alternative section.
 

Snoopy

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I think Snoopy just started a thread for Thomas Merton quotes in the Alternative section.

Hi,

Oh yes. Specifically under Esoteric at the behest of Brian as he is considering setting up a sub forum of Mysticism.

s.
 

Vajradhara

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Namaste Thomas,

thank you for the post and the question.


Thank you, Vajradhara.

This is from the quote I posted:
"... The question then is this: Is this selfless compassion equivalent to the Christian charity which the Word, upon becoming flesh, expressed upon the Cross at Calvary?

in short, no.

there are several reasons for this, depending on ones school of practice and their philosophical view. one of the reasons that these two things are not equivilent is that selfless compassion is something that all human beings, at the least, are able to cultivate and generate, the Word becoming flesh is a singular event in human history and is not duplicable.

As Buddhism believes neither in the existence of a loving and living God nor in a substantial self, so the compassion of a Bodhisattva cannot be accorded with any ontological reality. As and when a Buddhist speaks of compassion, he treats it merely as an 'upaya' – 'an expedient means... '

this is, essentially, correct.

each being, of course, responds to the teachings in the manner in which they are able, some beings are easily able to generate compassion and have more difficulty with generating Wisdom while for others the reverse is true and then you have folks like me that have a hard time with them both!

the Buddha likened his teachings to a raft, as has been explained previously. this raft is not something that is taken with us after we've crossed to the Other Shore. we leave it behind for others, perhaps, to find and make use of as well :)

That's the crux of it, I think - although Behind it I suppose is a perennial question with me, with regard to the 'self' – the ointology/eschatalogical horizon of the person is so obviously locatable in Christian doctrine, but I find myself on uncertain ground with regard to Buddhism ...

Pax,

Thomas

perhaps i can explain it in another manner...

the Buddha Dharma does not say that self does not exist rather it says that Self does not exist. so, what's the difference between these terms.. self is the relative aspect of being which interacts with sensory phenomena in a continually changing manner, it is never the "same" from moment to moment, like a moving river. Self is that aspect of being which is regarded as permenant, unchanging and static and it is this which Buddhism says does not exist. that our perceptions are not in accord with our experience is due to the effect of the ego upon the consciousness.

so... generally speaking, most beings have the view that Self or in our terms Atman, exists in an independent and permenant manner. as such, most Buddhists go on about non-Self or Anatman... however, nothing is cut and dry in Buddha Dharma.

when beings that held the view that there was no Self wanted to know why they should behave in a moral or ethical manner, since there were no repercussions, the Buddha taught that there self did, indeed, exist though not in a permenant way.

this is, in my view, a point that is either not understood or not explained well enough in the Buddhist interfaith dialog, in my view.

*****

Generally...

it is my view that humanity has a wide array of mental dispositions and spiritual need and with that view in mind i am loath to try to make a "one world religion" by amalgamization of various traditions into one. as the beings are diverse they need a diverse means of spiritual practice. my view is that the garden of human spiritual practice is more beautiful where there are many different flowers growing and blooming rather than one flower.

metta,

~v
 

Thomas

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Benedicimus te, Vajradhara.

Thank you for the thoughtful and considered post.

this is, in my view, a point that is either not understood or not explained well enough in the Buddhist interfaith dialog, in my view.

I fear that too often the desire is to 'explain' or 'equate' difficult and sometimes unique doctrines leads to unsatisfactory compromise.

i am loath to try to make a "one world religion" by amalgamization of various traditions into one.

Indeed so.

Pax vobiscum,

Thomas
 

plurplex

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Paladin: Perhaps, then according your model, perception and belief have nothing to do with absolute reality.
Thomas: Oooh, there's a discussion! How much does perception and belief determine reality?
There definitely is a discussion.
I often contemplate the notions of perspectivism and the 'metaphysical' law of relativity. As Albert Einstein wrote: I know that I do not know, i believe that in the idea of the grand architect / god, what we comprehend as god are sub-divisions of the ultimate/grand/god. We only know what we think we know, yet all that we know, has in it truth.

:)nice thread
 

marcoav

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when beings that held the view that there was no Self wanted to know why they should behave in a moral or ethical manner, since there were no repercussions, the Buddha taught that there self did, indeed, exist though not in a permenant way.

this is, in my view, a point that is either not understood or not explained well enough in the Buddhist interfaith dialog, in my view.

Hi. I step in since it is not the first time this issue comes into my 'reading' path. What if instead of regarding the above conception on the [higher or inner] Self (I, Ego, Divine Spark, [threefold] Spirit, God within, ...) as a possible unclear transmission from the Spiritual Teacher Gautama Buddha or a possible misunderstanding in the reception by his pupils, we look at it from another angle?: like in our common shcools, let us imagine that a Teacher knows perfectly well the nature of an advanced theme but he also knows the students aren't yet ready to grasp the meaning: Wouldn't he in first place teach his students the basics necessary to a future understanding, being silent at that time about the more advanced concepts?

Comes to my mind Paul of Tarsus' metaphor on this transmission and learning process (not really that different from the process of education occurring from primary/basic school to the universaty in the learning development of the individual):

« For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. » Hebrews 5:12-14

May you please share you thought on this aspect? Thank you.
 

arthra

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For myself as a Baha'i I can see the oneness of Christianity and Buddhism when it comes to the concept of sacrifice for others..

The Jataka tales are replete with the ideal of self sacrifice..

The Bodhisattwa ideal is self sacrificing and one can I think easily see the sacrifice of Jesus in a similar way.. Jesus to some could be a Bodhisattwa.. We Baha'is accept both the Buddha and Jesus as Manifestations of God and in a sense the concept is similar to the perspective of there being many Buddhas..

"There have been many Buddhas before me and will be many Buddhas in the future,"

There's also a Christian legend of Saint Iosaphat and Barlaam that is today acknowledged to be pretty much the story of the Buddha imported into a Christian legend..

See:

Barlaam and Josaphat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The work of Paul Carus in his "the Gospel of Buddha" also resonates for me still..

- Art
 
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