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

Posts tagged ‘Christian Doctrine’

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

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Day 6 – May Meditation

I had great meditation today.  I did my meditation earlier in the day which helped to revitalize my day.  When I went to work, I noticed that my attitude was upbeat.  Even though working at Starbucks is only a means to an end for me right now, I felt the need to do the best I can.  I think the meditations really are increasing my self awareness.  It is helping me to care more about others and myself.  Tomorrow is the last day that I am going to do the Chakra Meditations, so I am going to plan on something special for tomorrows meditation session.  Have a great day everyone…  =)

 

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). (1)

 

(1) – Holy Bible. New International Version.

Day 4 – May Meditation

Day 4:

Success… I did my 15 minute Chakra meditation today earlier today.  I laid down at the end of my bed in front of my meditation wall hanging with my feet hanging of the edge.  With my eyes closed and focusing on the guided meditation, I successfully quieted my mind and focused on each of the seven chakra areas.  As I focused on each of the area, I could literally feel movement in my gut.  I really felt a peace and calmness throughout my body.

I have been researching more about Anapanasati Meditation for next week.  I am excited to try a different type of meditation.  I am not doing to use a guided video, so hopefully I will be able to concentrate and focus on my breathing all by myself.  For those of you that are doing this challenge with me, I hope you are having success.  I would love to hear how you are meditating and how it has changed your perspective or mood.

97 Oh, how I love your law!
    I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
    and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
    for I meditate on your statutes. Psalm 119:97-99 (1)

“The secret of happiness lies in mind’s release from worldly ties.” – Buddha (2)


(1) – The Holy Bible. New International Version.

(2) – (1995). Sayings of the buddha. (10th ed.). Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia: Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

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.

Who was Jesus the Christ?

Jesus of Nazareth (also called Jesus the Christ or Jesus the Messiah) was believed to be born around 6 – 4 B.C in the town of Bethlehem, Judaea.  Though Christians celebrate Jesus’ birthday on December 25th, there is no true record of his date of birth.  His mother was Mary and his step-father was Joseph.  The Holy Bible states that a Mary became pregnant when the Spirit of God descended upon her.  At the time of Jesus’ conception, Mary was a virgin.  I was foretold by several prophets that a baby would be born in the Jewish community that would be their Messiah or the savior.  Jesus was born in Bethlehem inside a stable.  During this time, there was a census of the land which required the people to go to the city of their birthplace with their family.  Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem and found that the all the inns were full.  Therefore, they stayed in a stable where Mary had baby Jesus.  Since they were in a stable, Mary and Joseph laid baby Jesus, who was wrapped in clothes, in a manger (an animal feeding trough).

The Holy Bible, in the book of Luke, doesn’t speak of Jesus again until when he is twelve years old.  Jesus leaves Mary and Joseph and goes to the temple in Jeruselm.  There, he speaks for three days with the doctors and scholars and all who hear young Jesus speak are astonished with his wisdom and understanding.  After this account, the Holy Bible does not speak of Jesus again until he is around 30 years old.  He is baptized by John the Baptist (called this because he baptized people not because he was the minister of a Baptist church).  After Jesus was baptized, not unlike the Buddha, Jesus began to wander in the wilderness and fasted for 40 days.  During this time, Satan, the evil one or devil, tempted Jesus three times.  First, Satan tempted Jesus by telling him to turn the rocks into bread so that he can eat.  He was tempting Jesus with physical needs.  Second, Satan tempted Jesus with the kingdoms of the world.  He was tempting Jesus with lust of the eyes and wealth.  Lastly, Satan tempted Jesus with an easy way to prove that he is the Messiah.  He told Jesus to jump from the high point of the temple.  If he did this, Jesus would show all the people that he truly is the Son of God as the angels would have saved him.  Jesus defeated Satan’s temptation.

 

 

After being tempted, Jesus began his ministry.  He gathered 12 disciples to teach and continue his work after he dies.  Jesus taught his disciples and ministered to the people for around three years.  Then, the Jews (namely the spiritual leaders of the Jewish religion) were angry with Jesus for saying he was the Messiah, the Son of God.  They convinced the Roman government to put Jesus to death on the cross, which was a typical way for the Romans to put a man to death.  The Holy Bible says that Jesus died without sin, which made him a pure sacrifice for the sins of the world. Three days after Jesus was put to death, he rose from the dead, breaking the bonds of death and proving that he was the Son of God, the Messiah.  He ascended into the heavens and will one day return to the Earth to take all those who believe to a place of pure joy and happiness.

 


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.

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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