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

Posts tagged ‘Christianity’

Day 5 – May Meditation

I did my meditation late in the evening again, but I was able to focus quite well.  I laid on the bed in a comfortable position and listened to the Guide Chakra video.  Once again, I felt a sensation in each of the chakra areas as I focused on each of the seven areas.  I wish I could say that I have some brilliant ideas or even feel Enlightened from doing a daily meditation, but really I only feel as though I have calmed my mind and feel more  relaxed.  This is perfectly fine to me.  It is great to just relax the mind and soul for 10 to 15 minutes everyday.

 

I recently found a sermon with Biblical references on Christian Meditation that I wanted to share with my Christian followers.  If you are interested, please take some time to read this sermon and begin meditating.

 

http://executableoutlines.com/ph/ph_18.htm

 

“Though he should live a hundred years, immoral and uncontrolled, yet better, indeed, is it to live a single day virtuous and meditative.” – Buddha (1)

 

(1) – (1995). Sayings of the buddha. (10th ed.). Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia: Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

 

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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.

 


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…

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