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Buddhism and Christianity




Although Buddhism is seen to be a very different religion from Christianity, I think the differences are human constructs, put in place to somehow differentiate ourselves from others rather than speaking to the underlying truth of the world we live in. It seems that this view is shared by some prominent Buddhists. For example, there's this post about the Dalai Lama who, when asked which is the best religion said, “The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. It is the one that makes you a better person.” http://inthefootstepsofthebuddha.com/your-religion-is-not-important/

Is this not also, love God, and love one another? Why did the Dalai Lama talk at all about God? Why not just say, the one that makes you a better person? The thing is, the energy to love with compassion and forgiveness comes only when we can draw upon the well, the source of goodness, within us.

And then, there this post as well: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lewis-richmond/do-buddhists-believe-in-g_b_859658.html

It seems to me that when you search deep enough for the meaning in life, you will come to this simple answer, Love God, and love one another. In Buddhism, and now in modern psychology, through the practice of mindfulness, we have discovered that we cannot be kind to one another if we are not in touch with our deeper selves and draw our energy from that. Now, you may think, at first, that this energy comes from within you but there will come a time when you see this energy in the world and the universe and wonder, is there God.



6 blog comments below

"Why did the Dalai Lama talk at all about God?" <-- Did he actually talk about God, or perhaps, did he use a word that had a less loaded meaning, that was translated by others as "God" - something that perhaps meant something like "the divine" or some other similar word? This is one of the difficulties of translation, distinction and exact meaning can be lost. If a direct translation of God was used, did he mean the same thing you do when using the word? I mean, look at Einstein's use of the word when discussing the universe... do you think he meant the Judeo-Christian concept of God?

Yes, there are some common threads throughout many religions (certainly not all), but one needs to be careful about jumping to conclusions.
Ankhanu on Tue May 16, 2017 9:20 pm
In addition to Ankhanu's inquiry, my take on Buddhism is that it isn't a religion. It is a way of life where the individual is taught to channel his/her mind into an inquiry mode in the pursuit of truth. All of the power is invested in one's mind to search for the truth in a meaningful, respectful and peaceful way without creating harm to others and always focused on the greater good as per what he said in the quote below. The more advanced a person gets in this pursuit of the truth with the greater benefit of mankind, the higher one's consciousness is raised.

Quote:
Finally he said:
“Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words.
Take care of your Words because they will become Actions.
Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits.
Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character.
Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny,
and your Destiny will be your Life

… and …

“There is no religion higher than the Truth.”

Source: Dalai Lama - from your first quote
deanhills on Wed May 17, 2017 2:02 pm
I definitely see all forms of Buddhism as being a religion. Although Buddha himself would not answer questions about God, he did talk about the nature of the universe. In particular, he stressed the long-term benefits of moral behavior, and had a theory about life after death.

In basic Buddhism (Miniyani or Thervada) there is presumed to be no causitive agent, but a belief in multiple causes is taught, and the example given is death + state of consciousness + other factors causes rebirth of a related kind.

The Dalai Lama presumably believes in a form of Mahayani Buddhism, and to the best of my knowledge all these systems recognize some causitive agent that could reasonably be called a god.

Buddhism does contain excellent advice about living well in a fully human sense. I have no quarrel with most of their moral principles.
SonLight on Thu May 18, 2017 10:59 pm
Ankhanu: I agree that the Dalai Lama doesn't mean the Judeo/Christian/Muslim God. My point is why mention him in the first place? Why not just say, whatever makes you a better person. Or say, whatever brings you closer to YOUR god. Why the suggestion of a single diety? However, I think in both the Dalai Lama and Einstein's case, it's the Christian loving God. I think that's the most appealing model. BTW, I don't think the Judeo or Muslim God is the same loving God. Even Gandhi subscribes to the possibility of such a God when he says that he admires Jesus but not Christians. I hold the same view. We Christians often let down our side.

Deanhills: I think it depends on how you define religion. For me, it's not important. I'm just comparing different world views. I think God, as a single entity, is not part of Buddhist doctrine. So, I'm curious why he mentioned God at all.

SonLight: Can't tell if you're a Christian (Son of Light) or Buddhist, or not a believer. I too have no problems with Buddhist moral teaching. In fact, I'm practicing mindfulness, and now think that mindfulness (which is Buddhist in origin) is a great way to pray (I have a previous post on this).
Haiku2016 on Mon May 22, 2017 1:49 am
Again, I just urge checking biases and baggage when interpreting these sorts of things. The word "god" has many uses and nuances, and such, many interpretations. "... Closer to (G/g)od," could hold several interpretations, many of which do not include the concept of the Judeo-Christian god.


"BTW, I don't think the Judeo or Muslim God is the same loving God." <-- you've got a lot of history/culture to fight against on that front... including the principle texts of Christianity and Islam, They recognize their origin in Judaism; they don't deny that they share a god, rather, they redefine how people relate to that god.
Ankhanu on Mon May 22, 2017 3:36 am
Ankhanu, points taken. With regards to the differences between the Christian God and the Judeo/Muslim, I agree with you in terms of its historical origins. Just my take on the situation. I'm not, obviously, trying to take on the entire Judeo/Christian/Muslim traditions. Hence, this quiet little blog of mine. I know I'm a bit off the beaten track here and many Christians would disagree with me.

Thank you everyone for responding in kind. I really appreciate the respect for differing views and hence, to my mind, rational discussion here. This is precisely the kind of feedback I'm looking for.
Haiku2016 on Mon May 22, 2017 12:56 pm



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