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

Posts tagged ‘buddhism and christianity’

Mother’s Day – Mary mother of Jesus; Queen Maya mother of Buddha…

Mary the Mother of Jesus

Mary was a young virgin girl, most likely around the age of 12 or 13, who was to marry a man named Joseph.  However, it is written in the Holy Bible that Mary was visited by an angel of God.

“26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be calledthe Son of God.” – Luke 1:26-35 (1)

In biblical Jewish culture, when a woman is engaged to a man, they are actually officially married, therefore, the fact that Mary was pregnant and the child was not Joseph’s, he could have had her stoned to death.  Nevertheless, Joseph knew that it was a miracle and allowed Mary to live and accepted Jesus as his own.  While Mary was pregnant, a census of the land was declared causing Joseph and Mary to travel about 80 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  Since many people were traveling at that time and they would have had to travel slowly since Mary was pregnant, Mary and Joseph were unable to find lodging.  Therefore, they found a person willing to let them stay in a barn.  After Jesus’ birth, Mary would have been as any other house wife in that time.  After Joseph died, it would have been Jesus’ responsibility to care for his mother, since he was the eldest son.  For this reason, Mary traveled with Jesus as he preached.

Queen Maya the Mother of Buddha

Queen Maya, also known as Mahamaya or Mayadevi, means illusion or enchantment in Pali language.  Queen Maya was born in Devadha in the kingdom of Nepal sometime in the 1st century BCE.  She was married to King Suddhodana the king of the Sakya clan of Kapilvastu.  The king and Queen Maya were unable to have children for twenty years of their marriage.  One night on a full moon, Queen Maya had a dream about a white elephant. “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 in Nepal” (2).

Queen Maya was said to be pregnant for ten lunar months. She then began traveling back to her own home to give birth to her baby.  However, the baby came before she reached her home. She walked to a Sal Tree which is thought to be in the beautiful flower garden of Lumbina Park, Nepal.  Queen Maya Devi gave birth standing while holding onto a Sal Tree branch.  It is thought that she died seven days after giving birth.

All mothers are great as all mothers give birth to someone special.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12 (1)

“Love the whole world as a mother loves her only child.” (3)

(1) – Holy Bible. New International Version.

(2) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_%28mother_of_Buddha%29

(3) – http://thinkexist.com/quotation/love_the_whole_world_as_a_mother_lovers_her_only/296857.html

Advertisements

Day 1 – May Meditation

Here we are at the first day of the May Meditation Challenge.  I look forward to see how meditation will aid in my daily life.  As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I know that studies have shown that meditations can help alleviate a variety of health conditions such as anxiety and depression.  Meditation can make a person calmer and happier as it effects brain waves.  This shift in the brain waves aids in decreasing “the negative effects of stress, mild depression and anxiety. There is also less activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fear” (1). Other key benefits of meditation include increasing concentration, becoming more aware of yourself, and just simply slowing down your body and mind to help you relax.  No matter what your religion, meditation can benefit your spirituality, by benefiting your life.

As stated in an earlier post, I am not properly trained in meditation.  For this reason, I am going to use a guided mediation that helps one focus on specific body areas known as chakras in Vajrayana and Tibetan Buddhism meditation practices.  As I gain the ability to concentrate longer, I will continue my meditation and focus on Theravada Buddhism meditation practices.  These practices include: Anapanasati (focusing on breathing), Metta (cultivation of compassion and loving-kindness), Vipassana (meditation that aids in insight into the true nature of reality), Mahasati Meditation (form of mindfulness meditation that uses body movements to bring about self-awareness), Kammatthana (a complex advance meditation), Samatha (another complex advance meditation used for concentration practices designed to enhance sustained voluntary attention, and culminates in an attention that can be sustained effortlessly for several hours). (2)

The chakra guided meditation that I will begin with is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs_DuZigRzY and attached below.  The chakra meditation is a 10 minute video that aids in being aware of specific body areas of circulating energy from the base of the spine up to the crown of ones head.  It helps in refreshing and energizing ones body.  So, take 10 minutes out of your day today and meditate.

“In this very one fathom long body along with perception and thoughts, I proclaim the world, the origin of the world, the cessation of the world, and the path leading to the end of the world.” – Buddha  (3)


(1) – http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200304/the-benefits-meditation

(2) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_meditation#Adoption_by_non-Buddhists

(3) – (1995). Sayings of the buddha. (10th ed.). Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia: Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

April – Earth Day Challenge – Coming to an End (What’s Next?)

I had a great time hearing about my followers and friends adventure in completing.  Together we can make a difference.  Even though Earth Day has past, it does not mean that we should stop caring for our environment.  I still plan to clean the area around my apartment from time to time to maintain the cleanliness of my home.

So what comes next?  What will the May’s challenge be?  This month, I am going to challenge myself, but you are more than welcome to participate, to meditate every day for 30 days straight for at least 10 minutes a session.  Everyday in May, I am going to post a quote from Buddha and/or Jesus in order to help motivate myself.  Since I am untrained in meditation, I am going to use a guided chakra meditation.  Chakras are not Buddhist, however the idea of focusing on specific body parts to increase meditations are Buddhist in nature.  I am hoping that within time, I will be able to change and learn more about meditation so that I can use other forms of meditation including true Theravada meditation, which is sitting in silence.

May you all find the courage, patience, and understanding to join me in my journey to increase our mindfulness, concentration, tranquility, and insight.  If you are a Christian, increasing your mindfulness, concentration, tranquility, and insight can help you to gain a better understanding of God and yourself.  If you practice another religion or do not practice at all, meditation can also aid you in decreasing anxiety and stress in this highly stressful world.  So join me in the month of May for May Meditation.

What is Christianity and Theravada Buddhism?

Maybe I should back up and explain a little more about what is Christianity and what is Theravada Buddhism.  As with any religion, these religions are far more complex than any one person could type in a blog posting.  With differences in each persons belief, it would be impossible to use any one video to explain everything about Christianity and Buddhism.  I am going to offer two videos: one about What is Christian? and one about What is Theravada Buddhism?  Both of these videos are just a brief overview of the two religions, but they should be helpful in understand a piece of each religion.  Please take a look at the videos and post any questions you may have about the religions.  I look forward to explaining my stands on Christian-Buddhism.

Click on the words to go to the YouTube video

What is Christianity?

A visual explanation by “What is” Media about Jesus, God and Religion.

What is Theravada Buddhism?

As explained by a Theravada Monk.

Christian-Buddhist Holidays

With the passing of Easter, I was thinking about the multiple holidays for Protestant Christians and Theravada Buddhist.  I know all the Christian holidays, but I don’t know much about the Buddhist holidays.  Below, is the collective list, in chronological order, of the Protestant Christian (C) and Buddhist (B) holidays that I observe in one fashion or another.

(C) – January 1st – New Year’s Day – This isn’t a religious holiday, but it is the New Year for people in the Christian world and those who use the Gregorian calendar.

(B) – Anytime between mid-January and mid-February – Lunar New Year’s Day – This is somewhat a religious holiday, due to the very strong cultural bonds with celebrating the New Year.  Buddhist, which tend to be Asian in decent, use the Lunar calendar.

(B) – Full moon day of the third lunar month (this year February 7th) – Magha Puja (Sangha Day)– Also called Fourfold Assembly, this day is a festival for observance of a special event that happened nine months after Buddhas’ Enlightenment.  The event occurred as followed: There were 1,250 monks, that came to see and learn from the Buddha.  The Buddha gave them the principles of Buddhism called “The Ovadhapatimokha” (To cease from all evil; To do what is good; and To cleanse one’s mind).  This occurred on a full moon.  Laypeople (non-monks) often walk around a shrine or Buddha image three times as a gesture of respect for the Three Jewels – the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

(C) – Sunday before Easter – Palm Sunday – Palm Sunday represent the arrive of Jesus in Jerusalem the week before he was put to death on the cross.

(C) – Friday before Easter – Good Friday – Good Friday commemorated the day that Jesus was beaten by the Romans and hung on the Cross for crucifixion.

(C) – Sunday sometime between March 22nd – April 25 – Easter – Easter celebrated the resurrection (rising from the dead) of Jesus three days after he was beaten and hung on the cross by the Romans.

(B) – Different day every year – June 4th, 2012 – Vesakha Puja (Buddha’s birth, Enlightenment and Death) – Vesakha Puja is sometimes spelled Vesak and occurs on a different day every year.  Vesakha Puja commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and passing into Nirvana of the historical Buddha.

(B) – On the full moon of the eighth lunar month in July – Asalha Puja – Also known as Dharma Day, Asalha Puja commemorates the first sermon of the Buddha, the Dhammacakkappavttan Sutta.  In this sermon, the Buddha explained his doctrine of the Four Noble Truths.

(B) – Three months between July and October – Vassa – Vassa or the Rains Retreat, begins the day after Asalha Puja and ends three months later.  During Vassa, monks stay in monasteries and intensely meditation. Laypeople take part in Vassa by bringing food, candles and other necessities to monks to support them during this time.  They also sometimes give up eating meat, smoking, or luxuries during Vassa, which is why Vassa is sometimes called the Buddhist Lent, comparative to the Catholics lent.  Vassa is the end of the three-month period.

(C) – 4th Thursday of November – Thanksgiving – United States holiday in which people Christian and non-Christian like, give thanks to God for the food He provided through the autumn harvest.  This was first observed when the Native-Americans (Indians) aided the pilgrims harvest corn for the first time.

(C) – December 25th – Christmas Day – The observed day for the birthday of Jesus to Virgin Mary.  I say observed day, because no one knows the actual day Jesus was born.

(C) Every Sunday – Every Sunday of the year is devoted to resting the body and worshiping God.  Like the Jewish culture, Christians call this day the Sabbath.  Most Christians go to church on this day.

(B) The four phases of the moon (full, new, and the two quarter) – Uposatha – Uposatha is equivalent to the Christian Sunday church services.  Monks rededicate themselves to meditation and study, confess their faults and the ancient monastic rules are recited.  For laypeople (non-monk Buddhist), Uposatha are days for bringing offerings to the temple, where they may also meditate and listen to dharma talks.

Note: This is not an extensive list of Christian and Buddhist holidays.  I only put the holidays that I, as a Protestant Christian and a Theravada Buddhist, would observe.  Catholics and Zen Buddhist, etc. have many more holidays that are not listed.

Video

Jesus & Buddha

I find it very interesting how alike Jesus’ teachings and Buddha’s teachings are so similar. I do not believe that Jesus was a Buddha or Buddhist, but they have similarities in their teachings…

I did not have time to finish my other posting. So, I offer this video for your consideration. Next Monday, I will post my beliefs…

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…

%d bloggers like this: