Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
PeterB
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by 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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marc108
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by 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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tiltbillings
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by 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.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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daverupa
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by 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]

binocular
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by 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.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by binocular » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:02 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
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.
Yes, back to Humpty Dumpty:

"I don't know what you mean by 'glory,' " Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't—till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!' "
"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument'," Alice objected.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. "They've a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they're the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That's what I say!"

(From Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass)
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

barcsimalsi
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by barcsimalsi » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:37 am

tiltbillings wrote: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.
Stupid or not, it is merely a personal impression replied to this topic "Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective".
tiltbillings wrote:The video should no understanding of Buddhism, so it really told us nothing of value.
Can't deny that, perhaps i was too obsess with its title and pay less attention to its content... :tongue:
Thanks for admonishing.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:00 am

binocular wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
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.
Yes, back to Humpty Dumpty:

"I don't know what you mean by 'glory,' " Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't—till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!' "
"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument'," Alice objected.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. "They've a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they're the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That's what I say!"

(From Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass)
The same might apply to Buddhism, looked at by a Christian. Or indeed, by a Buddhist. Few people really think that words can mean whatever we want them to mean. The myriad of incompatible positions and opinions are all held by people who believe that their view is correct, and they will often be prepared to go to some lengths to demonstrate why their notion of God, rebirth, homoousios, jhana, grace, Sunyata, etc, etc, is either tenable or exclusively correct. This is as much to do with living in an age of information and "pick and mix spirituality" as the faiths themselves.

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Aloka
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by Aloka » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:30 am

Sam Vara wrote: The myriad of incompatible positions and opinions are all held by people who believe that their view is correct, and they will often be prepared to go to some lengths to demonstrate why their notion of God, rebirth, homoousios, jhana, grace, Sunyata, etc, etc, is either tenable or exclusively correct. This is as much to do with living in an age of information and "pick and mix spirituality" as the faiths themselves.
Perhaps this is also because in todays world we're becoming conditioned to involving ourselves in arguments, attitudes and opinions, rather than letting it all go and tuning in to awareness and direct knowing in a non-verbal way.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:50 am

Aloka wrote:
Sam Vara wrote: The myriad of incompatible positions and opinions are all held by people who believe that their view is correct, and they will often be prepared to go to some lengths to demonstrate why their notion of God, rebirth, homoousios, jhana, grace, Sunyata, etc, etc, is either tenable or exclusively correct. This is as much to do with living in an age of information and "pick and mix spirituality" as the faiths themselves.
Perhaps this is also because in todays world we're becoming conditioned to involving ourselves in arguments, attitudes and opinions, rather than letting it all go and tuning in to awareness and direct knowing in a non-verbal way.
Agreed - an excellent point.

Dinsdale
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:19 pm

Sam Vara wrote: This is as much to do with living in an age of information and "pick and mix spirituality" as the faiths themselves.
Yes, and too much choice isn't always a good thing. ;)
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Kusala
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by Kusala » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:49 pm

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:
Though not a debate, Ven. S. Dhammika's review of Cioccolanti's From Buddha To Jesus is quite impressive. http://www.scribd.com/doc/13296079/Book ... a-to-Jesus

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. "

Dinsdale
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Jun 08, 2013 1:16 pm

daverupa wrote: "Cafeteria Religion" or "...Buddhism" might be an interesting thread - sure to be full of flame, though...
Yes, it would probably lead to a food fight. :tongue:
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Kusala
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by Kusala » Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:20 pm

It appears Ven. S. Dhammika is no stranger to Evangelical Christians. One last piece by the great Venerable...

"I used to know a man who was always very aggressively trying to convert me. One day I asked him why he became a Christian. He drew himself up, pleased to have the opportunity be a witness for Jesus and then he told me this story.

His mother had been a Buddhist and his father had been a Christian and as a boy he was a little of both. During the Second World War he joined the army and was taken from Sri Lanka to North Africa. He and his platoon were due to be taken abroad a ship but because to a series of strange incidents he was delayed and when he finally arrived his platoon were all on the ship and it was sailing out of the harbor. As he stood watching the ship reach the open sea and a German submarine suddenly torpedoed it. The ship sank and everyone on board died. After saying this he stood there with a big smile on his face as if this explained why he had became a Christian. 'What is the point of your story'? I inquired 'Can't you see'? he said. 'If I had been on that ship I would have died. Jesus delayed me in order to save my life. At that very moment I was born again and I gave myself to Jesus'.

I was silent for a moment as I tried to comprehend the bazaar logic of the evangelicals. Then I said. 'Do you mean to tell me that Jesus let hundreds of people die just so that you would believe in him? Why didn't he delay the whole platoon so they would all believe in him'? He stood there with his mouth open. It was clear that he had never thought of this possibility before. This man never talked to me about Jesus again."
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. "

barcsimalsi
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Re: Christianity, from a Buddhist perspective

Post by barcsimalsi » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:53 am

Nice story Kusala.

An article from Reverend Sumitta, with some interesting comments too.
http://appliedbuddhism.wordpress.com/20 ... christian/

The author's view on Christianity:
WHAT DO I BELIEVE?

My Buddhism is one of today. A businessman once said, “Success is always the by product of work not the goal.” I believe that this is true with all faith. To practice Buddhism for a goal to reach Nirvanna is to miss the point of my Buddhist practice. I practice to live the fullest and happiest life possible. That requires developing myself with the tools and lessons provided by the Buddha. If I were to become enlightened, that is a byproduct of what I think is important.

I strive to reach the four sublime states of compassion, sympathetic joy, unconditional friendliness, and equanimity in my being.

It is true that I do not follow the Christian faith, but I have studied it for many years. I believe that Christianity is not about trying to get to Heaven, but embodying the essence of Christ, who encompassed the four sublime states. A Christian wanting to achieve these qualities can enrich his faith by adding Buddhist practices and not be hypocritical.

While I do not follow Christianity, I do not deny it. While I do not believe in the afterlife as they do, if those who follow it embody the qualities of Jesus in the here and now, then I embrace their practice as successful and good.

Too many practitioners of all faiths focus on the rewards at the end of our journey, when the rewards and purpose are the journey itself.

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