Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

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daverupa
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by daverupa » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:27 pm

marc108 wrote:
daverupa wrote:Luke 19:27
"But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and kill them in front of me."
this quote is part of a parable Jesus was giving and not a direct quote from Jesus.
Yes - but that line of the parable is about divine retribution, so the point stands. Jesus taught about divine retribution because, on this view, ones ability to contribute in a positive way is solely God-given (there will be theological hairsplitting here, but naught hangs on the details) so one must ultimately report to God for one's behavior.

The Buddha doesn't seem to have taught in this sort of way.
  • "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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marc108
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by marc108 » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:27 am

daverupa wrote:
Yes - but that line of the parable is about divine retribution, so the point stands. Jesus taught about divine retribution because, on this view, ones ability to contribute in a positive way is solely God-given (there will be theological hairsplitting here, but naught hangs on the details) so one must ultimately report to God for one's behavior.

The Buddha doesn't seem to have taught in this sort of way.
I must admit I don't have a broad understanding of Jesus' teachings yet but I don't see that parable as about divine retribution, rather about nongreed and faith
"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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Kim OHara
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by Kim OHara » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:30 am

daverupa wrote:
marc108 wrote:
daverupa wrote:Luke 19:27
"But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and kill them in front of me."
this quote is part of a parable Jesus was giving and not a direct quote from Jesus.
Yes - but that line of the parable is about divine retribution, so the point stands. Jesus taught about divine retribution because, on this view, ones ability to contribute in a positive way is solely God-given (there will be theological hairsplitting here, but naught hangs on the details) so one must ultimately report to God for one's behavior.

The Buddha doesn't seem to have taught in this sort of way.
Hi, Dave and all,
I'm not sure that you're right in saying this particular parable is a teaching about divine retribution (and I do mean "I'm not sure", not "I'm sure you're wrong but I'm too nice to say so") but if it does, it is an example of an essential underlying difference between the two traditions.
The Buddha taught that we make our own future conditions by our own actions, and we alone are responsible for them whether they are good or bad.
Jesus (plus the compilers of the OT) taught that a supernatural being can and does alter our future conditions by excusing us (being merciful), rewarding us (heaven for choosing the right teacher) or punishing us because we have offended him.
That difference (which I am sure about) is a tough one to get around for anyone wanting to see the two religions as "both true". All the moral teachings are pretty similar, especially if you leave out the OT, but the carrot and stick are not.

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by Coyote » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:28 am

IMO the NT is not a reliable source as to the teachings of the historical Jesus, and is itself a product of religious development removed significantly from that of Jesus himself.
"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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daverupa
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by daverupa » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:00 am

The passage I quoted is from the Parable of the Minas. Here is a good summary of the points, with the point sustained by my quote underlined:
There seem to be at least five major points that the parable communicates. First, Jesus will leave his disciples for an undetermined amount of time. Second, Jesus will return to consummate his kingdom some time in the future. Third, disciples of Jesus who are good stewards in his absence will receive incredible rewards from him upon his return. Fourth, disciples of Jesus who are poor stewards in his absence will have their rewards taken away and given to the disciples who are good stewards. Fifth, those who reject Jesus as the rightful king will face a terrible judgment upon his return.
You can google the parable if you'd like to generously hunt for alternatives.

:anjali:
  • "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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BlackBird
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by BlackBird » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:47 am

marc108 wrote:I believe that Jesus was likely a stream-enterer due to the way he speaks and teaches around the 1st 3 fetters. I also think his contact with God and angels was not a delusion or some sort of story made up after his death, but rather that he was in contact with sort of deva(s), perhaps what had become called the Brahma Deva in Buddhism. It's interesting to think about how much of the Judeo-Christian religions central teachings have been effected by contact and influence from devas.
I don't think there's any evidence of that what so ever. Jesus never spoke of Dukkha, or anatta. He never spoke of having a personal insight into paticcasamupada. These things are necessary for stream entry. Though an admirable man, with many good qualities, he was possessed of wrong view, and advocated eternalism, which the Buddha spoke against.

I don't think there's a valid argument that Jesus was a stream enterer - On the basis of what I have said above, in fact it seems like a rather erroneous conclusion, no offense intended.

metta
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by binocular » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:58 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:The Buddha taught that we make our own future conditions by our own actions, and we alone are responsible for them whether they are good or bad.
Jesus (plus the compilers of the OT) taught that a supernatural being can and does alter our future conditions by excusing us (being merciful), rewarding us (heaven for choosing the right teacher) or punishing us because we have offended him.
All the Christians I have ever heard or read maintain a stance to the effect of "we make our own future conditions by our own actions, and we alone are responsible for them whether they are good or bad" - they don't see karma as opposed to God somehow.
In effect, to them, God and karma are functionally the same.
According to them, if you choose wrongly, you can end up in hell for all eternity: and it will have been your own action that has brought you there. If you choose correctly, you've boarded the train to everlasting bliss.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by Dinsdale » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:39 pm

binocular wrote: In effect, to them, God and karma are functionally the same.
That's how it seems to me. "Do good things, go to heaven" doesn't seem all that different from "Do good things, get a better rebirth".
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by Coyote » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:10 pm

The difference is, what is "good" is defined not based on understanding of action or intention, but on the dictates of a God. You can still go to eternal hell being what a Buddhist would think of as a good person. Besides, even though Christians may believe our own actions determine our fate, they do not determine other things, like tenancies (towards sin/akusala) or other trials and tests - these come from God alone, or sometimes from the devil. Ultimately, things are under Gods control, even if free will is taken into account. Hence a tendancy towards inaction and bias against "spirituality" in especially deterministic sects like the Calvinists - "sola gratia" ect.
"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."
Iti 26

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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by barcsimalsi » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:25 pm

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

Form my perspective, the biggest problem in Christianity lies under the belief of the Creator.
Why did God creates human if He is self sufficient?
Buddhism makes it clear that when one is content there is nothing to want. Some Christians say God creates us to share His love(i assume it is metta in Buddhism), and this leads to a few more questions;
1. why did He wanna share something with someone who doesn't exist in the first place?
Delusion.
2. why is the reality of this world more dukkha than metta?
God is a liar.
3. and what about the creation of animals? had God sacrificed them just to show his metta to humans?
Holy cow is Poor cow...

*The above statement is my personal view and it does not represent DW.

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marc108
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by marc108 » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:23 pm

daverupa wrote: You can google the parable if you'd like to generously hunt for alternatives.
i really do not see those things in that parable... but i'm also not a christian :jumping: i think that is a very course interpretation... akin to saying the 1st Jhana simile is about taking a bath.
BlackBird wrote: I don't think there's any evidence of that what so ever. Jesus never spoke of Dukkha, or anatta. He never spoke of having a personal insight into paticcasamupada. These things are necessary for stream entry. Though an admirable man, with many good qualities, he was possessed of wrong view, and advocated eternalism, which the Buddha spoke against.

I don't think there's a valid argument that Jesus was a stream enterer - On the basis of what I have said above, in fact it seems like a rather erroneous conclusion, no offense intended.
No offense taken at all. I actually don't have a valid argument that Jesus was a stream enterer. I'm not familiar with the Canonical nuances around stream entry, but only around the destruction of the first 3 fetters: Self-view within the aggregates, Skeptical doubt about the truth, & clinging to rights & rituals... all of which Jesus speaks about often. Granted the NT is extremely course compared to the Suttas and maybe I'm digging here a bit, but these are just my musings... the purpose of this is to keep me interested enough in Christianity to actually do all the reading necessary to do well in this class. :jumping:
"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

Post by Coyote » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:36 pm

marc108 wrote: I'm not familiar with the Canonical nuances around stream entry, but only around the destruction of the first 3 fetters: Self-view within the aggregates, Skeptical doubt about the truth, & clinging to rights & rituals... all of which Jesus speaks about often
Could you elaborate? Jesus never talked about anatta as far as I am aware and encouraged clinging to rites and rituals by performing baptisms, laying on of hands, eucharist, not to mention the "ritual" of faith in him being the path to salvation.
Silabbata paramasa IMO is about seeing something other than the "cooling" of the three unwholesome root defilements as being essential to the spiritual path.

http://www.jesusanswers.com/bible/friday.htm
Last edited by Coyote on Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"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."
Iti 26

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daverupa
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by daverupa » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:02 pm

marc108 wrote:
daverupa wrote: You can google the parable if you'd like to generously hunt for alternatives.
i really do not see those things in that parable... but i'm also not a christian :jumping: i think that is a very course interpretation... akin to saying the 1st Jhana simile is about taking a bath.
Have a look at the wiki for it, if you like. You may feel that it's a coarse interpretation, but divine retribution resulting in eternal (!) consequences is ever-present in the Gospels, to say nothing of the Pauline Epistles (Xian Abhidhamma, if you like).

The Parable of the Minas is simply one example which highlights a core difference between the 'Good News' v. the Dhamma.
  • "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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Sam Vara
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:20 pm

daverupa wrote:
Have a look at the wiki for it, if you like. You may feel that it's a coarse interpretation, but divine retribution resulting in eternal (!) consequences is ever-present in the Gospels, to say nothing of the Pauline Epistles (Xian Abhidhamma, if you like).

The Parable of the Minas is simply one example which highlights a core difference between the 'Good News' v. the Dhamma.
I can't find the bit about eternal consequences, here or in an "ever present" form.

On a more general level, there are a huge number of sophisticated and impassioned debates over the meaning of what Jesus said. I probably live among liberal and tender-minded Christians, but the idea of eternal damnation does not gain much favour with them. Nor the idea of an eternal soul which can suffer it. Some angry right-wing Christians believe it, but then again there are some people who call themselves Buddhists who think and say some decidedly odd things...

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daverupa
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by daverupa » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:46 pm

Sam Vara wrote:I can't find the bit about eternal consequences, here or in an "ever present" form.

On a more general level, there are a huge number of sophisticated and impassioned debates over the meaning of what Jesus said. I probably live among liberal and tender-minded Christians, but the idea of eternal damnation does not gain much favour with them. Nor the idea of an eternal soul which can suffer it. Some angry right-wing Christians believe it, but then again there are some people who call themselves Buddhists who think and say some decidedly odd things...
For what it's worth, from the wiki:
Failure to use one's gifts, the parable suggests, will result in judgement.
The judgment, as you note, can receive different explanations depending on which sort of Xian one asks. The point, however, is that talk of the Last Judgment is found everywhere in the Gospels, with the consequences described as 'everlasting'.

Now, the Gospel texts nominally form part of what a Xian considers authoritative. I cannot find an interpretation of the Gospels in general, or this Parable specifically, which convincingly argues for the absence of such a judgment. It's an essential aspect of Christian soteriology (to wit, ever-present).

Perhaps many modern Xians prefer that things be otherwise due to trouble reconciling omni-benevolence with eternal hellfire. One approach might be to consider that Hell isn't a permanent destination - just a really long Purgatory, say - but there doesn't seem to be any scriptural support for such a claim.
Last edited by daverupa on Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • "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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