Buddhist view on Christianity

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Jason
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by Jason »

Mkoll wrote:
Jason wrote:As I said, I hate to admit these things in part because of the criticism I'll receive. But I also never said these two traditions are entirely compatible or their ideas analogous; I simply said I find them less antagonistic than I once did. Hopefully I'm not the only one who feels this way. I think it's far more advantageous to focus on the similarities and things they have in common than their differences. That's my experience, anyway.
IMO, focusing on similarities is fine as long as one's approach doesn't turn into a kind of Maslow's Hammer.
Agreed. And I think the same can be said for criticism, as well.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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barcsimalsi
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by barcsimalsi »

David N. Snyder wrote:
barcsimalsi wrote: Constantly mindful of submitting whatever to God's will seems like an easy an effective tool for equanimity. No?
No. Constant submitting and praising of some so-called being is a master-servant relationship where you are the servant, i.e., slave. The master is some delusional being with huge ego and human frailties worse than most humans have, including the desire for continual praise, who provides continual reprimands and swift punishments for disobedience. No equanimity at, actually lots of fear driven relationship.
The point here is creationist don't bother to contemplate it that way. The creator to them, without much critical questioning, is almighty, all loving and all wise, otherwise they will be atheist or agnostic. And that faith seems to provide them refuge for dealing with hardship.

According to Theist, the fear of God will be gone once their mindfulness of God is well established as their habits and deeds had been developed to be coherent with God's command.

Though it makes no sense for me to believe in God but from a psychological point of view, i think the abrahamic doctrine do help their believers in cultivating equanimity to some extent. As long as their faith of God is not shaken, the refugee camp stand still.
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Mkoll
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by Mkoll »

barcsimalsi wrote:As long as their faith of God is not shaken, the refugee camp stand still.
What's that mean? Does it mean that as long as they don't lose faith in God, they won't leave the religion?
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
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Kusala
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by Kusala »

David N. Snyder wrote:
SDC wrote:There is a fundamental difference when it comes to salvation which diminishes the soundness of almost any comparison that is drawn between the two practices.

While anyone can casually engage with the dhamma to a certain extent with no formal guidance, there is only so far a Christian would even look to take it due to this difference in salvation.
:thumbsup: I agree. There is talk in a lot of comparative religion discussions about how all religions teach love and compassion and are the same. But the Abrahamic religions only go so far. For example, let's take a look at the brahma-viharas:

karuna (compassion)
metta (loving-kindness)
mudita (sympathetic joy)

In the above three, the Abrahamic religions teach all of the above, but it is a superficial practice, often only toward members of their own religion. I have heard religious services where they actually pray for only members of their own religion and certainly not all beings in the lower realms (animals, insects, ghosts, purgatory).

upekka (equanimity) - not even discussed in most denominations and sects of the Abrahamic religions. There is little to no talk of going beyond the base emotions to any mental cultivation or transcendental realm where one is not trapped or held by certain emotions.

The other religions with their teachings on compassion, Golden Rule, and good-will will take you to the base camp of the mountain (heaven), but not the summit (nibbana).
I recall listening to one of Ajahn Brahm's Dhamma talk where he mentioned a Sri Lankan monk, a registered kidney donor, donated his kidney to a "Fundamentalist Christian" who went around Sri Lanka "converting Buddhists into Christians". It's hard to imagine Theists doing the same thing without some kind of hidden agenda...
"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "
barcsimalsi
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by barcsimalsi »

Mkoll wrote:
barcsimalsi wrote:As long as their faith of God is not shaken, the refugee camp stand still.
What's that mean? Does it mean that as long as they don't lose faith in God, they won't leave the religion?
It means their equanimity is heavily dependent on their believe in God.
And without genuine insight, it won't be as consistent as the equanimity from buddhist practice. Easy come easy go, fair enough...
Nikaya35
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by Nikaya35 »

Mkoll wrote:
barcsimalsi wrote:As long as their faith of God is not shaken, the refugee camp stand still.
What's that mean? Does it mean that as long as they don't lose faith in God, they won't leave the religion?
Of course. Christianity is a theist religion. Without the creator god belief their faith will fall apart.
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by martinfrank »

“ When the soul comes to the Light of Knowing, she doesn't see any conflict and contradiction anymore. Whatever leaves this Light, falls into mortality and dies.”
Meister Eckkhart http://www.ellopos.net/theology/eckhart ... .asp?pg=11

Don't despise what you don't know. The Christian and Muslim mystics could not always say what they saw because they believed that popular religion was valuable for the majority of the people. They didn't want to disturb and didn't want to get disturbed. Many Christian and Muslim mystics (and others too) were meditating up to the Immaterial-Sphere Plane. Maybe they didn't know what to do next. We don't know.
The Noble Eightfold Path: Proposed to all, imposed on none.
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VinceField
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by VinceField »

I was hoping to obtain some insight regarding a related situation that a close friend of mine is in.

After a rough time in his life, he has taken refuge in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the concept of JC as being God. A string of "coincidences" has led him to believe that the word of God via the Bible is truth and he has been instructed to explore it. He has found his passion in spreading these philosophies to others in his publicly posted writings and spoken word events, although his writings and talks are not painted by Christian terminology, but rather use words and ideas that everyone can relate to and understand. He wishes to spread truth (his truth) and inspire others.

From speaking with him I get the impression that he is very excited about the work he is doing, and he has indicated that his work is the main source of happiness for him right now. He is also making big plans to evolve his work on a much larger scale, and it seems that he hopes to find even more happiness through the fruition of these plans. He unfortunately doesn't seem to be putting in a lot of time on his own personal self development, admittedly putting aside meditation to focus on his self expression through his work, and claims to spend a lot of time listening to Christian music as a source of inspiration.

In analyzing the situation with my understanding of the Dhamma, it seems that he is looking for happiness in the impermanent creations of his work and is feeding on his ego's expression through these spiritual teachings. He has formed a secure attachment to the teachings of the Bible. However, I do believe that he wants to help others, and to the extent that he is doing that, his path is commendable. But it does seem that his desire to express himself and what he believes is truth is more of a distraction and impediment on his path to true happiness than anything else. I simply wish him to find the happiness he is looking for, that we are all looking for, but I am afraid that he may be looking for it in the wrong places, although I could definitely think of much worse places. Though there is also an element of truth in what he is doing, as his work can potentially inspire virtue and wholesomeness in himself and others. I would be interested to hear other's opinions.

:thanks:
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puppha
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by puppha »

Hi VinceField,
VinceField wrote:After a rough time in his life, he has taken refuge in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the concept of JC as being God. A string of "coincidences" has led him to believe that the word of God via the Bible is truth and he has been instructed to explore it. He has found his passion in spreading these philosophies to others in his publicly posted writings and spoken word events, although his writings and talks are not painted by Christian terminology, but rather use words and ideas that everyone can relate to and understand. He wishes to spread truth (his truth) and inspire others.
It looks like your friend became a born-again/evangelical Christian. Does he call himself born-again?
:thinking:
Spiny Norman
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by Spiny Norman »

VinceField wrote: I would be interested to hear other's opinions.:
I think it's something you just need to accept.
Buddha save me from new-agers!
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dhammafriend
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by dhammafriend »

I was hoping to obtain some insight regarding a related situation that a close friend of mine is in....
Hi Vince, here's my advice to you, for what its worth. I've known a few people who've experienced this.

Tell me if I'm off here: He/she went through a traumatic event: financial crisis, drug abuse, bad divorce etc. Received counseling from a (youth) pastor etc and has now changed their ways and been "saved". If this sounds familiar, I think my advice will help.

One: keep your brahma viharas at the forefront with your friend at all times. This is their way of dealing with pain and trauma.
Two: do not try to convince them otherwise. Let this run it's course. Remember metta.
Three: remember the law of kamma. He/she are the owners of their deeds.

My experience with the various 'born agains' is they normally come to another point of 'burn out'. This time it will be religious. They will not be able to sustain this momentum. The cognitive dissonance is normally too intense.

Note: the one thing you will pick up is an intense desire to externalize their personal crisis onto all other people they come across. They momentarily lose the ability to self-critique and project their own perceived short comings onto others. Cultivate mudita, and rejoice in their happiness.

I hope this bit of advice helps. :namaste:

Metta
Dhammafriend
Metta
Dhammafriend

Natthi me saranam annam buddho me saranam varam
For me there is no other refuge, the Buddha is my excellent refuge.
Etena saccavajjena vaddheyyam satthu-sasane
By the utterance of this truth, may I grow in the Master’s Way.
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Mkoll
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by Mkoll »

Dhammafriend's advice sounds pretty solid. :thumbsup:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Spiny Norman
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by Spiny Norman »

dhammafriend wrote: do not try to convince them otherwise.
Absolutely. That's the worst possible thing you can do with this scenario.
Buddha save me from new-agers!
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Sam Vara
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by Sam Vara »

Thanissara's account of an often-reported situation regarding born-again Christianity:
Ajahn Chah suggested I practice with the American nun, Kum Fah. Kum Fah was very inspiring to me. When I left Thailand, I decided to ordain as a nun in England at Chithurst. After a time, Ajahn Sumedho organized a group from England to return to Thailand. One of the things we were looking forward to was reconnecting with this very inspiring nun. To our surprise, we found that Kum Fah had become a rabid born-again Christian. It was very distressing to see that this person had become so different than before. Furthermore, she was very keen on putting down Ajahn Chah and converting us to her views. Ajahn Sumedho went to Ajahn Chah very upset about the way Kum Fah behaved. Ajahn Chah simply said to Ajahn Sumedho, "Well, maybe she's right."
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha299.htm
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rowboat
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Re: Buddhist view on Christianity

Post by rowboat »

Sam Vara wrote:Thanissara's account of an often-reported situation regarding born-again Christianity:
Ajahn Chah suggested I practice with the American nun, Kum Fah. Kum Fah was very inspiring to me. When I left Thailand, I decided to ordain as a nun in England at Chithurst. After a time, Ajahn Sumedho organized a group from England to return to Thailand. One of the things we were looking forward to was reconnecting with this very inspiring nun. To our surprise, we found that Kum Fah had become a rabid born-again Christian. It was very distressing to see that this person had become so different than before. Furthermore, she was very keen on putting down Ajahn Chah and converting us to her views. Ajahn Sumedho went to Ajahn Chah very upset about the way Kum Fah behaved. Ajahn Chah simply said to Ajahn Sumedho, "Well, maybe she's right."
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha299.htm
Some recluses and brahmins, so called,
Are deeply attached to their own views;
People who only see one side of things
Engage in quarrels and disputes.

Udāna 6.54
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5
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