The Journey Of A Christian Reaching For God With The Aid Of Buddha's Teachings

Archive for March, 2012

So, How Does Christianity And Buddhism Compare And Differ?

I figured a follow-up question to “What Does It Mean To Be A Christian – Buddhist” would be so, how does Christianity and Buddhism Compare and Differ from one another?  Below, I compiled a few major items.  First are the similarities followed by some differences.

Similarity Between Christianity And Buddhism
The Golden Rule

  • Buddhism – Buddha based his ethics on the Golden Rule, which was for the welfare of all human beings and all with life in it.
  • Christianity – Jesus also preached His ethics on the Golden Rule, which was for the welfare of all people whether Christian (a Christ follower) or a sinner and easily approachable.

Asceticism (Abstaining from Certain Things)

  • Buddhism – Buddha extreme asceticism and gave an emphasis on self-liberation through knowledge.
  • Christianity – Jesus also rejected extreme asceticism.

Forms Of Worship

  • Buddhism : The worship in Buddhism includes monasticism, ringing of bells, bowing, use of incense and rosary, erection of towers or stupas, prayers and meditation.  Though, one must remember that Theravada Buddhists do not worship any Gods or people, including Buddha.
  • Christianity : Christians also follow almost the same forms of worship – Monasticism, Confession, ringing of bells, use of rosary, incense and the erection of towers.  Note that this is found more in the Catholic churches and its branches/schools.

Love And Compassion

  • Buddhism : The Buddhist doctrine gives an emphasis on love for all of humanity and every other beings as well, no matter whether the being is a friend or an enemy, human or animal.
  • Christianity : The Christian doctrine is also based on the principle of ‘Love thy neighbor like unto yourself’, which means that love should be showered upon not only your friends, but also your enemies.

Difference Between Buddhism And Christianity

God

  • Buddhism – The original Buddhist doctrine does not entail any Godly figures. However, the later Buddhist sects introduced some godly figures.  In Theravada Buddhism, there is no god/gods.
  • Christianity : There is only one triune God (Jesus and the Holy Spirit) who is loving and approachable.

Salvation

  • Buddhism – According to the Buddhist concept, one has to work for one’s own salvation, and therefore, cannot blame or depend on others for salvation.
  • Christianity – Salvation is not based on one’s work, but instead, is for all those who believe and accept Jesus as their savior.

Eternal Life

  • Buddhism – According to the Buddhist doctrine, there is an eternal life, which depends on the karma of one’s present life.
  • Christianity – There is an eternal life in Heaven, which has nothing to do with karma and comes as a free gift of salvation.

Love And Compassion

  • Buddhism – The concept of Buddhism requires the use of love and compassion to gain good karma.  However, it does not mention a God who showers love and takes care of His people.
  • Christianity – The Bible requires the use of love and compassion.  God loves all people and showers His love from Heaven to all.

The Concept of World

  • Buddhism – Buddhism neither deals with the beginning nor a definite end of the world.
  • Christianity – According to the Christian doctrine, God has created the world from nothing, and rules it according to His own definite plan and one day will send Jesus to Earth again to end the current world and renew it to holiness.

Spiritual Texts

  • Buddhism : The Buddhist texts includes only those insights which the Buddha learned by His own strength and will after comprehending the nature of truth.
  • Christianity : The Bible is regarded as the words of God and includes those realities, which are unknown to humanity.

I would love for my blog followers to propose some questions for me to answer, which will allow me to write about what you want to hear about.  Next week, I will begin talking about my personal Christian-Buddhist beliefs.  So come back next Monday/Tuesday for more…

May God bless you and the Buddha guide you throughout your life…

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What does it mean to be Christian-Buddhist?

I figured the first question many people will have for me is, “What do you mean by you are a Christian-Buddhist?  Don’t you have to be either Christian or Buddhist.  You can’t be both.  Can you?” 

Short answer: I am a Christian who believes in God and Jesus and I also believe that a man who is known as Buddha had a great ability to see the world in a positive way before the time of Jesus.  I can be both Christian and Buddhist easily as Christianity is an established religion (The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods) (1) and Buddhism is a philosophy (The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, esp. when considered as an academic discipline) (2)

As with any religion, there are many differences in each of its members in any given religion.  I believe that there is a God and that he sent Jesus the Christ to the Earth to not only save us from our sins through his sacrifice, but to also give an example of how we were created to live while upon this planet.  Through the testimonies of other human beings, God reveals Himself.  People took their stories, their lives, and their history and placed it into a book that humanity now calls the Holy Bible.  I believe that what the Holy Bible says is true is truth, but of course as within any language, when it is translated into another language and interpreted my human beings, it loses meaning and makes the Holy Bible fallible to a degree.  I believe that God is all-powerful, but do I believe that He is present in our lives, making all things happen.  Well, not necessarily.  I don’t believe that every time a person survives a crises or when an unexplained happening happens, that it was a miracle preformed by God or that it is the power of God.  When I stood by and watched my cousin in a coma for several months while people kept praying for him to get better and the doctors said that he was going to die, was it a miracle that he survived and is functioning somewhat normally today?  Or, is it possible that God created him and the rest of humanity in a way that their bodies can heal on their own or develop their minds through school to become doctors, nurses and other types of healers to deal with injuries?  It is hard to say, but the Bible does say in Matthew, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (3)  When it says this, does this mean that God hand feeds each bird for each meal since they do not store food?  Or, does it mean that he created them in a way, as with the rest of the world, to have the knowledge to migrate when needed in order to find the food that they need to survive.  In the same way, did God not create us in a way to care for our needs, to learn, to grow, to discover?

So, yes… I believe Jesus is the Christ son of the living God, therefore, I am a Christian.  However, is it possible that since Buddha came well before Jesus that he could have understood the concepts of Christianity?  I see Buddhism as yet another path discovered by Buddha before Jesus on Earth existed.  The concepts of Christianity are seen in Buddhism (later posting) though Buddha would most likely had never heard of the Jews and their religion.

My Buddhist believes, as you will see in future postings, come from the ideas of using Buddhism as a form of reaching my ability to be happy, understanding the world around me, using meditation as a form of speaking to God and to use the natural energies of the planet to energize myself.  I believe that my studying Buddhism and the teachings of the Buddha can be a crutch in helping me to become the person that God wants me to be.  The Buddha’s teachings coincide with the person Jesus was and the person that God wants us to be, but that is for another posting.  The Buddha said, “If you find truth in any religion, accept that truth.” (4)  I can be Buddhist and Christian as I see truths in them both.

May God bless you and the Buddha guide you throughout your life…

 Jesus Quote – Matthew 37:37-40 – 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Buddha Quote – “One who serves the sick, serves me.”

Sources:

(1) – https://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=religion&tbs=dfn:1&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=KiVkT9-FFqbhiALO5_WiDw&sqi=2&ved=0CCcQkQ4&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=be4785b23a3ecada&biw=1280&bih=568

(2) – https://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=philosophy&tbs=dfn:1&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=fyZkT8z3E8bjiALL0tWiDw&sqi=2&ved=0CCcQkQ4&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=be4785b23a3ecada&biw=1280&bih=568

(3) – http://bible.cc/matthew/6-26.htm – New International Version (1984)

Updates

Updates have been made to the following sections:

– Resources – Added books, links and videos to the resource section…

– Personal Challenge – I added a little more information about the first challenge for myself… After one month, there may be a challenge for you as well… Keep an eye out…

I would suggest that you look on the right side of the page and click to follow my postings via email, that way you will get an email when I update my blog.  Thanks for reading…

Prelude to my Christian-Buddhist Journey

I grew up in a Christian home my whole life.  Having done so, my group of friends were all Christian and I was taught about the evils of this world.  Now, my family wasn’t one of those hard-hitting, Bible thumping, PRAISE JESUS with your hands waving in the air type of Christians that you see on the Sunday morning television programs.  They have never supported televangelist, always voted Republican and went to church every Sunday and Wednesday evening for church and Bible study.  I was actively involved with my Sunday school class, church services and youth group.  My godparents were even the preacher and his wife.

My home town of Mattoon, IL had less than 19,000 people, which didn’t lend to all that much diversity or culture outside the hand full of Chinese restaurants that were one-hundred and fifty percent Americanized.  Everyone I knew, were either Christian, Baptist, Catholic, or “burning in Hell” atheists that don’t go to church.  When I finally got the opportunity to escape Mattoon to go to a Christian college, I went to yet another small town.  Lincoln, IL had less than 15,000 people.  The largest amount of diversity and culture in Lincoln included going to classes with black people, the occasional foreign exchange student, and a Non-Western Religion class.  In the Non-Western Religion class, I got the opportunity to visit two Wiccan groups to learn about their religion.  I figured there could be nothing more opposite than the Wiccan religion and I wanted to learn more.  Boy was I wrong.  I learned that their principles and values are actually quite like Christianity, of course without Jesus and God being the supreme powers.

Several years after college, I popped my small town and closed-minded bubble and moved to Chicago, IL, well over the 19,000 people I was use to in Mattoon and Lincoln.  Heck, I had more people living around me on the surrounding blocks than all of Coles County, IL (the county where Mattoon is located).  At the daycare I was working, I encountered Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Confucius Buddhist, atheists, and all sorts of different races of people.  I was intrigued to learn about the different cultures of the people and the different values of other religions.  Furthermore, while I was in Chicago, I began schooling again as a Community Counselor.  In my classes, I was urged to learn more about different races, cultures and religions in order to better serve the communities that I would be working with in the future.  During my internship, I worked with the Pan-Asian community at Asian Human Services.  My fellow interning colleagues and I were very different from each other; one was an India-born, straight male who was Hindu; another was a Syrian, straight woman who was Muslim; and I was a white, American, gay male who was Christian.  As you can imagine, that was an interesting year, full of educational opportunities and wonderful, eye-opening conversations. 

During graduate school, I met the man of my dreams who came to the United States several years back from the Southeast Asian country of Malaysia. (Note I said Southeast Asia… When he told the first time he was from Malaysia, I said, “You mean that island next to Africa?  Oh, wait.  That is Madagascar.  Wrong country.”)  Through his guidance, I have learned much more about the different forms of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.  Recently, we returned from a two month trip to Southeast Asia, where I got my first glimpse of a Theravada Buddhist temple.  I gathered several free pamphlets and bought a book.  Through the endless miles of road trip in Malaysia, and the several hours of a plane ride home to Chicago, I read several of the pamphlets on Theravada Buddhism.  And so, this is where my journey begins.

Sit back, read, and enjoy… Then, go out and live your own journey as we venture through my Christian-Buddhist Journey…

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – Jesus

One who sees my teachings sees me.” “The gift of Truth excels all other gifts.” – Buddha

Start of Christian-Buddhist Journey (The Journey of a Christian to God through the path of Buddha’s teachings

Over the past three years, I have been introduced to a new world, the world of Buddhism.  I grew up as a Christian, but something has been missing for a long time.  I always had a strong faith in God, but I just wasn’t happy.  After spending three months in Southeast Asia and visiting a Theravada Buddhist temple, I began reading  more about Buddhism.  Over time, I discovered that my happiness does not come from what will happen after I die, but from within myself here on Earth.  Recently, I began meditating to calm my mind and allow the energies of the universe to energize and restore my inter peace as I continue to travel toward the Lord God.  The Buddha and his teachings help to lead my path by offering self-reflection and inter peace, while God aids to lead me to my death and eternal life.

So, I began to look for information on being a Christian and a Buddhist and found that it is more common than I had believed.  However, nothing I read seemed to really be what I was looking for completely.  Remember that Christianity is a religion.  Buddhism is not a religion, but a philosophy, “the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.”(1For this reason, practicing Buddhism and Christianity is not impossible.  My religion is Christianity, but I utilize Buddhism as a tool to gain happiness here on Earth.  I decided to document my journey as I discover more about how my Christianity could be enriched through Buddha’s teachings. 

My postings could include:

– updates on my journey (See postings weekly on Mondays)

– information on Theravada Buddhism and other schools of Buddhism (See Teachings of Theravada Buddhism and in postings as some information may be in them as well)

– some of my techniques in meditation, rituals, etc. (See postings)

– things l have learned from my meditations (See postings)

– links and videos to aid in education and meditation (See Resources)

– personal challenges and challenges that I give you (See Current Challenges)

– and many more….

I am very excited to go on this journey with all of you.  Please feel free to add comments, questions, or anything that aids in positivity and encouragement.  Criticism is welcomed as well only if it is done in a positive way and not to accuse or argue.  It would also be great to hear about your journey through Buddhism and/or Christianity.  You can leave your story in the comments or email me and I will anonymously add your story.

May God bless you and the Buddha guide you throughout your life…


Source:

(1)http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/philosophy

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