Catholicism and Buddhism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Meezer77
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Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by Meezer77 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:35 am

Being from a Catholic background, I've noticed that there are lots of parallels and similarities in the practices and rituals of Buddhism and Catholicism. Guan Yin seems very similar to the Virgin Mary, there's confession, holy water etc Jesuits had a significant influence in trade in Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries , I'm wondering if some of some of the practices infiltrated into Buddhist culture over the years.

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by JamesTheGiant » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:42 am

Buddhism and Mahayana existed before Catholicism, so maybe it's the other way around. Certainly Buddhism gave the early Christians the idea of monasticism and monasteries, through Buddhist monks visiting Greece in the wayyy back.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

DooDoot
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by DooDoot » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:16 am

I agree with JamesTheGiant. Buddhism was very popular with Greeks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhism. Christianity shares many things with Buddhism, which it does not share with Judaism, including non-violence, celibacy, monasticism, anti-worldliness, Mara/Satan and heaven & hell.

More theories here by Ajahn Brahm:




Meezer77
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by Meezer77 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:14 am

Who do you reckon came first? Kuan Yin or the Virgin Mary?

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DNS
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by DNS » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:47 am

Meezer77 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:14 am
Who do you reckon came first? Kuan Yin or the Virgin Mary?
Guan Yin appears in some of the earliest Mahayana sutras and before that perhaps in oral tradition, so most likely prior to 1 BCE, therefore, most likely Guan Yin came first.

edit: I see Ven. D provided a better answer, see below.
Last edited by DNS on Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:06 am

Meezer77 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:14 am
Who do you reckon came first? Kuan Yin or the Virgin Mary?
Mary.

Avalokiteśvara, a male Bodhisattva, didn't appear until mid-2nd century CE in the 25th chapter of the Lotus Sūtra and didn't undergo his Chinese sex change until several centuries later.

The veneration of Mary, by contrast, features almost from the beginning of Christian history.

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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by SarathW » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:33 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:06 am
Meezer77 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:14 am
Who do you reckon came first? Kuan Yin or the Virgin Mary?
Mary.

Avalokiteśvara, a male Bodhisattva, didn't appear until mid-2nd century CE in the 25th chapter of the Lotus Sūtra and didn't undergo his Chinese sex change until several centuries later.

The veneration of Mary, by contrast, features almost from the beginning of Christian history.
Thank you, Bhante.
Trying to marry Christianity with Buddhism does not make any sense to me.
Yes, there are some similarities. But differences are greater.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by DooDoot » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:10 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:06 am
The veneration of Mary, by contrast, features almost from the beginning of Christian history.
What about the story of the Buddha's mother & the white elephant, which sounds very much like a virgin birth or immaculate conception?
I heard and learned this from the Blessed One’s own lips: ‘When the Bodhisatta had descended into his mother’s womb, no sensual thought arose in her concerning men, and she was inaccessible to any man having a lustful mind.’ This too I remember as a wonderful and marvelous quality of the Blessed One.

MN 123
Māyā and King Suddhodhana did not have children for twenty years into their marriage. According to legend, one full moon night, sleeping in the palace, the queen had a vivid dream. She felt herself being carried away by four devas (spirits) to Lake Anotatta in the Himalayas. After bathing her in the lake, the devas clothed her in heavenly cloths, anointed her with perfumes, and bedecked her with divine flowers. Soon after a white elephant, holding a white lotus flower in its trunk, appeared and went round her three times, entering her womb through her right side. Finally the elephant disappeared and the queen awoke, knowing she had been delivered an important message, as the elephant is a symbol of greatness.

According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha-to-be was residing as a bodhisattva in the Tuṣita heaven, and decided to take the shape of a white elephant to be reborn on Earth for the last time. Māyā gave birth to Siddharta c. 563 BCE.

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DNS
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by DNS » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:49 am

Semele 2000 BCE mortal woman, virgin birth to Dionysus; father was Zeus.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:54 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:10 am
Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:06 am
The veneration of Mary, by contrast, features almost from the beginning of Christian history.
What about the story of the Buddha's mother & the white elephant, which sounds very much like a virgin birth or immaculate conception?
Passages of the kind that you quote did lead some 19th century Western scholars to suppose that Buddhists held the Bodhisatta's birth to have been parthenogenetic, though not necessarily virginal. I don't myself think that the Buddhist texts support the notion that it was either of these things. The only thing Buddhist tradition insists upon is that a Bodhisatta's mother will be of pure thought and conduct during her pregnancy and that her womb will not bear any other child either before or after the Bodhisatta.
According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha-to-be was residing as a bodhisattva in the Tuṣita heaven, and decided to take the shape of a white elephant to be reborn on Earth for the last time. Māyā gave birth to Siddharta c. 563 BCE.
I've never heard this claim before. As far as I know the white elephant was merely Mahāmayā's dream.

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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by SarathW » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:32 am

I've never heard this claim before. As far as I know the white elephant was merely Mahāmayā's dream.
Good point Bhante.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

justindesilva
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by justindesilva » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:07 am

Meezer77 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:35 am
Being from a Catholic background, I've noticed that there are lots of parallels and similarities in the practices and rituals of Buddhism and Catholicism. Guan Yin seems very similar to the Virgin Mary, there's confession, holy water etc Jesuits had a significant influence in trade in Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries , I'm wondering if some of some of the practices infiltrated into Buddhist culture over the years.
If at all there are parallels in catholism and buddhism it can be the parallels in ten commandments and five precepts of buddhism. Further more the bible has statements to seek a parallel in Kamma as one reaps what one sows.
It is not the parallels which we have to ponder on but its basic differences. Catholism speaks about an almighty God and the whole of catholism is based on that.It also speaks about a soul which is tied to God. But lord buddha expounded a cosmos with impermanence. The will of God in Catholism is replaced by buddism with a Karma based on ones past action and volitions.
Does catholism point out anything about suffering other than the will of God while buddhism fairly explains suffering as ones own past doings.
Though there is a reason why catholism bases its teachings on s God it is of a socio political background where catholism originated. Lord buddha was free to explain his teachings in India.

Meezer77
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by Meezer77 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:23 pm

Thanks so much guys, I think I'm a bit more educated on this now.

For anyone who is interested in why current images/statues of Kuan Yin might look like the Virgin Mary http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/maria-kannon.html

I was a bit obsessed with the mini series "Shogun" when I was younger

Meezer77
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by Meezer77 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:41 pm

SarathW wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:33 am
Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:06 am
Meezer77 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:14 am
Who do you reckon came first? Kuan Yin or the Virgin Mary?
Mary.

Avalokiteśvara, a male Bodhisattva, didn't appear until mid-2nd century CE in the 25th chapter of the Lotus Sūtra and didn't undergo his Chinese sex change until several centuries later.

The veneration of Mary, by contrast, features almost from the beginning of Christian history.
Thank you, Bhante.
Trying to marry Christianity with Buddhism does not make any sense to me.
Yes, there are some similarities. But differences are greater.
I'm not trying to marry the two faiths, I've just got too much time on my hands at the moment

DooDoot
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by DooDoot » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:07 pm

Meezer77 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:41 pm
I'm not trying to marry the two faiths, I've just got too much time on my hands at the moment
This was the 1st book I ever read on the topic: http://www.thaicrc.com/gsdl/collect/MIS ... r/1928.pdf but my advice is don't believe in the content.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:38 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:06 am
Meezer77 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:14 am
Who do you reckon came first? Kuan Yin or the Virgin Mary?
Mary.

Avalokiteśvara, a male Bodhisattva, didn't appear until mid-2nd century CE in the 25th chapter of the Lotus Sūtra and didn't undergo his Chinese sex change until several centuries later.

The veneration of Mary, by contrast, features almost from the beginning of Christian history.
At the same time, with the surprisingly strong Christian presence in China, I don't think that it is entirely unreasonable to suggest that it is possible that the female Chinese form of Avalokiteśvara may well have been influenced by the Syriac tradition of Marian veneration that would have been preserved by the Tang dynasty "luminous religion" (景教) of Nestorian Christianity. Guānyīn-with-child is a famous & well-attested artistic motif of Guānyīn-depiction that seems more Christian than Buddhist, as I can think of no Mahāyānasūtrāṇi in which Avalokiteśvara/Guānyīn and a child or his or hers play a great role.
子念昔貧,志意下劣,今於父所,大獲珍寶,并及舍宅、一切財物。甚大歡喜,得未曾有。
The son thought of past poverty, outlook humble, now having from father a treasure harvest, also father's house, all his wealth. Great joy - to have what was never before had.

Τῆς πατρῴας, δόξης σου, ἀποσκιρτήσας ἀφρόνως, ἐν κακοῖς ἐσκόρπισα, ὅν μοι παρέδωκας πλοῦτον· ὅθεν σοι τὴν τοῦ Ἀσώτου, φωνὴν κραυγάζω· Ἥμαρτον ἐνώπιόν σου Πάτερ οἰκτίρμον, δέξαι με μετανοοῦντα, καὶ ποίησόν με, ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου.
Your fatherly due I withheld unthinking, in evil I wasted your wealth; a prodigal cries, "I've erred, father, receive the repentant as serf."

妙法蓮華經 Κοντάκιον τοῦ Ἀσώτου

Meezer77
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by Meezer77 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:29 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:38 pm
Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:06 am
Meezer77 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:14 am
Who do you reckon came first? Kuan Yin or the Virgin Mary?
Mary.

Avalokiteśvara, a male Bodhisattva, didn't appear until mid-2nd century CE in the 25th chapter of the Lotus Sūtra and didn't undergo his Chinese sex change until several centuries later.

The veneration of Mary, by contrast, features almost from the beginning of Christian history.
At the same time, with the surprisingly strong Christian presence in China, I don't think that it is entirely unreasonable to suggest that it is possible that the female Chinese form of Avalokiteśvara may well have been influenced by the Syriac tradition of Marian veneration that would have been preserved by the Tang dynasty "luminous religion" (景教) of Nestorian Christianity. Guānyīn-with-child is a famous & well-attested artistic motif of Guānyīn-depiction that seems more Christian than Buddhist, as I can think of no Mahāyānasūtrāṇi in which Avalokiteśvara/Guānyīn and a child or his or hers play a great role.

Wow! You both know your onions!

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Kusala
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by Kusala » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:17 am

Meezer77 wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:35 am
Being from a Catholic background, I've noticed that there are lots of parallels and similarities in the practices and rituals of Buddhism and Catholicism. Guan Yin seems very similar to the Virgin Mary, there's confession, holy water etc Jesuits had a significant influence in trade in Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries , I'm wondering if some of some of the practices infiltrated into Buddhist culture over the years.
You might want to read up on the history of Buddhism. Emperor Ashoka was the Buddhist "Constantine" that made Buddhism the first "world religion"...are you familiar with Barlaam and Josaphat? It's a copy of Buddhism...

Image
Image

"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. "

Meezer77
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Re: Catholicism and Buddhism

Post by Meezer77 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:01 pm

Not familiar with Barlaam and Josaphat, but I will certainly check this out. Cheers 😊

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