Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby Coyote » Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:45 pm

PeterB wrote:Agreed. Each spring has be traced back to its own source...or left alone.
During my involvement with Buddhism it was my contention that the same applied to the Mahayana and Theravada too.They each needed to be subject to their own lights.


I agree also, in that it is almost impossible to understand a religion from the other side.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby barcsimalsi » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:00 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
barcsimalsi wrote:I think i will just follow the mainstream assertion that Jesus was a noble figure but the bible is corrupted.


Now why does that idea sound familiar? ;)

Please get yourself brainwashed by Dr Naik. :lol:


I tried my best to find any professional debate between Buddhist Ajahns with Christian apologists but can't find any. Here's an amateur video i found that might be of interest:
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby Kusala » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:51 am

barcsimalsi wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
barcsimalsi wrote:I think i will just follow the mainstream assertion that Jesus was a noble figure but the bible is corrupted.


Now why does that idea sound familiar? ;)

Please get yourself brainwashed by Dr Naik. :lol:


I tried my best to find any professional debate between Buddhist Ajahns with Christian apologists but can't find any. Here's an amateur video i found that might be of interest:


Does this count? Mohottiwatte Gunaananda Thera and the Buddhist Re-awakening http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#sect-33

Image

"It was at this time, about 1860, that a young Buddhist saamanera named Mohottiwatte Gunaananda appeared on the scene and challenged the Christian missionaries to meet him in open-debate. This young novice had obtained his early education in Christian schools and had thus studied the Christian scriptures and was also well versed in the Buddha's teachings...

The Christian clergy at first took no notice of the challenge of this monk, but later, quite confident of their success they accepted the challenge. This resulted in three public controversies, one at Udanvita in 1866, another at Gampola in 1871 and the last at Panadura in 1873.The Panadura controversy, which lasted for a week, was the most important of them all. It was the culmination of his efforts and it led to a Buddhist reawakening..."
Last edited by Kusala on Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:56 am

barcsimalsi wrote:I think i will just follow the mainstream assertion that Jesus was a noble figure but the bible is corrupted.
Whose "mainstream?"

I tried my best to find any professional debate between Buddhist Ajahns with Christian apologists but can't find any. Here's an amateur video i found that might be of interest:
There is not a thing of interest in this video. Why do you think that there is?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby Kusala » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:01 am

Kare wrote:If we study Buddhism from a Christian perspective, Christianity from a Buddhist perspective, Buddhism from a Hindu perspective .... etc. .... we are bound to get a distorted and lopsided view. We should rather study each religion partly from its own perspective, but mainly from the human perspective.


Couldn't have said it any better... :namaste:
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby barcsimalsi » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:39 am

Kusala wrote:Does this count? Mohottiwatte Gunaananda Thera and the Buddhist Re-awakening http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#sect-33

Thanks.

tiltbillings wrote:
barcsimalsi wrote:I think i will just follow the mainstream assertion that Jesus was a noble figure but the bible is corrupted.
Whose "mainstream?"

Buddhist, do we need to vote?

tiltbillings wrote:There is not a thing of interest in this video. Why do you think that there is?

Is it not to learn what an ex-buddhist is thinking when he decides to convert to Christianity?
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby PeterB » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:11 pm

What that tells you barcsimalsi is what an advocate of a particular form of protestant Christianity thinks. And one who shows a very shaky grasp of Buddhism, who thinks for example that Karma/kamma is a punishment.
As a former Buddhist who converted to Christianity I do not recognise his beliefs as representing any Christianity that I practice.
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby daverupa » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:17 pm

PeterB wrote:As a convert/... to Christianity I do not recognise his beliefs as representing any Christianity that I practice.


I ran into this trouble; it seems no one is allowed to say anything is "for-sure" Xianity these days. It isn't even "followers of what Jesus taught, at minimum" because that isn't agreed upon, as trying to read the Gospels has shown. Denominations abound; Jesus is everything from the Son of Yahweh to Krishna to Buddhist to Taoist... there are definitely shades of New Age thinking everywhere, where once there wasn't.

Modern thinking about Xianity is all over the map, it seems. "Xian" is (almost?) a meaningless term. It seems to mean monotheist inspired by Jesus and Pals.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:28 pm

PeterB wrote:Agreed. Each spring has be traced back to its own source...or left alone.
During my involvement with Buddhism it was my contention that the same applied to the Mahayana and Theravada too.They each needed to be subject to their own lights.


What made you convert from Buddhism to Christianity old friend?
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby barcsimalsi » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:37 pm

PeterB wrote:What that tells you barcsimalsi is what an advocate of a particular form of protestant Christianity thinks. And one who shows a very shaky grasp of Buddhism, who thinks for example that Karma/kamma is a punishment.
As a former Buddhist who converted to Christianity I do not recognise his beliefs as representing any Christianity that I practice.

I agree with you about the guy who doesn't really understand buddhism while i'll be impatient to hear what was your thoughts(particularly about Christianity) that led you to convert.
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby PeterB » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:49 pm

I am trying to walk a fine line here. To correct obvious distortions while not losing sight of the fact that this is a Buddhist forum and I am a guest.
So apart from reiterating my agreement with the view that systems of spiritual thought can only be understood on their own terms, I have no desire to promulgate my views.
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:06 pm

daverupa wrote:Modern thinking about Xianity is all over the map, it seems. "Xian" is (almost?) a meaningless term.


I think the same applies to "God", it seems to mean whatever people want it to mean.
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby Sam Vara » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:13 pm

daverupa wrote:
PeterB wrote:As a convert/... to Christianity I do not recognise his beliefs as representing any Christianity that I practice.


I ran into this trouble; it seems no one is allowed to say anything is "for-sure" Xianity these days. It isn't even "followers of what Jesus taught, at minimum" because that isn't agreed upon, as trying to read the Gospels has shown. Denominations abound; Jesus is everything from the Son of Yahweh to Krishna to Buddhist to Taoist... there are definitely shades of New Age thinking everywhere, where once there wasn't.

Modern thinking about Xianity is all over the map, it seems. "Xian" is (almost?) a meaningless term. It seems to mean monotheist inspired by Jesus and Pals.


You are absolutely right, but I think that something similar could be said about Buddhism. Even on this one Theravadan site, there are such profound differences of opinion as to the meaning and importance of particular ideas that they are identified by code words. I'm not sure whether this is due to the fact that we are dealing with huge and diverse religious and cultural traditions that have developed over thousands of years; or whether it is because we are applying a critical and restless western mindset to them.
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:12 pm

binocular wrote:To me, being at peace with the idea that some people will suffer in hell for all eternity, with no chance of redemption, and that this is good and just, requires a bestial mindset.


For my part I think that it requires a "Holy Willie" mindset, consisting in a strong conviction that one is not oneself one of the hell-bound, a thankfulness that this is so, and a strong stomach. I doubt any beast could be so vicious.



    Holy Willie's Prayer

    by Robert Burns


    O Thou, who in the heavens does dwell,
    Who, as it pleases best Thysel',
    Sends one to heaven and ten to hell,
    All for Thy glory,
    And not for ony good or ill
    They've done afore Thee!

    I bless and praise Thy matchless might,
    When thousands Thou hast left in night,
    That I am here afore Thy sight,
    For gifts and grace
    A burning and a shining light
    To all this place.

    What was I, or my generation,
    That I should get such exaltation,
    I who deserve most just damnation
    For broken laws,
    Five thousand years ere my creation,
    Through Adam's cause?

    When from my mother's womb I fell,
    Thou might have plunged me deep in hell,
    To gnash my gums, to weep and wail,
    In burning lakes,
    Where damned devils roar and yell,
    Chained to their stakes.

    Yet I am here a chosen sample,
    To show thy grace is great and ample;
    I'm here a pillar of Thy temple,
    Strong as a rock,
    A guide, a buckler, and example,
    To all Thy flock.

    (etc. etc. for another twelve verses)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/robertburns/works/holy_willies_prayer/

In practice, however, my impression is that Holy Willie types (Fred Phelps and his horror-show of a family will serve as a good example) are not very common among Christians today. Rather, most hell-believing Christians are simply not at peace with their belief in a literal everlasting hell; they are tormented by it and resigned to being so.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:31 pm

:offtopic:
P.S.

To Peter B. and any other Scotsmen here... my apologies for the englishing of the Burns extract. I just didn't think there'd be too many who'd know what 'ane', 'guid', 'wha', 'sic', 'frae', etc. mean.

:focus:
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby PeterB » Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:36 pm

No need to apologise to me Bhante...I have several times quoted the opening lines of Burns' 'To A Louse'..but have translated it from the vernacular...for the same reason. :smile:
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby marc108 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:27 pm

Hi Peter, glad you've decided to contribute :) Really really interesting to hear the perspectives of a former Buddhist/current Christian. I'm interested to hear whatever you have to say, even in private, if you think it's not proper to post in the forum. Have you studied the NT depth, both in and of itself & the historical development? What about the Pali Suttas?

To others, RE: Jesus and self-view, I must admit that while listening to the NT I had initially thought there was good evidence for this but upon going back I was unable to find much. I did however find some interesting stuff in the Thomas

Another thing I realized is that interpretation of the parables is EXTREMELY subjective. I found myself interpreting them in the light of the Dhamma... and while this does fit very well into many parables, I'm unsure if its the correct way to approach the Christian teaching.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:12 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
barcsimalsi wrote:I think i will just follow the mainstream assertion that Jesus was a noble figure but the bible is corrupted.
Whose "mainstream?"

Buddhist, do we need to vote?
Buddhism is not the arbiter of what is and is not corrupted. That is just as stupid as looking at Buddhism from a Xtian stand point and stating that Buddhism falls flat because it does not accept Jesus as its savior.

tiltbillings wrote:There is not a thing of interest in this video. Why do you think that there is?

Is it not to learn what an ex-buddhist is thinking when he decides to convert to Christianity?
The video should no understanding of Buddhism, so it really told us nothing of value.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby daverupa » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:17 pm

The phrase 'Cafeteria Christianity' comes to mind here. "Cafeteria Religion" or "...Buddhism" might be an interesting thread - sure to be full of flame, though...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Postby binocular » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:21 pm

Dhammanando wrote:In practice, however, my impression is that Holy Willie types (Fred Phelps and his horror-show of a family will serve as a good example) are not very common among Christians today. Rather, most hell-believing Christians are simply not at peace with their belief in a literal everlasting hell; they are tormented by it and resigned to being so.

Agreed. Although it is beyond me why they endure that. It must be horrible to have a mind like that.

To believe that one must, in effect, believe (and do) things that one finds morally repugnant, if one is to be saved (from eternal damnation) -- I suppose this is simply an unfortunate consequence of a fideistic approach to religion.
But perhaps a salvationist-damnationist doctrine (such as some Christian ones) can be approached only in a fideist manner to begin with.
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