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Comparing Buddhism and Christianity

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by mayflow, Mar 12, 2009.

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  1. mayflow

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    [quote="MerryTrees]You know, as I read about Buddhism and ponder Christianity.. I find that many of the things the bible preaches go hand in hand.. many, not all.[/quote]

    MerryTrees made the above statement on another topic and I wanted to explore this here in more detail. There a lot of similarities in Jesus' teachings in the Gospels and Buddha's teachings about 500 years before Christ. There have been a number of books by Buddhist monks including the Dalai Lama about Jesus and the Gospels and in fact many people think that part of Jesus' missing years (about ages 12-30) in the Bible were spent in the East -some say he was St. Issa and spent time in Tibet.

    Here are some similar sayings:

    Christ:

    “I give you a new commandment:
    love one another.
    As I have loved you,
    so also should you love one another.
    By this will all know that you are my disciples,
    if you have love for one another.”
    Jn 13:34-35

    “You shall love your neighbor
    as yourself.”
    Mt 19:19

    “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’”
    Mt 9:13


    “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from one who takes away your coat, do not withhold even your shirt. Give to all who ask of you, and from one who takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. As you wish others do to you, so also do to them.
    “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even wrongdoers lend to wrongdoers, that they may receive in kind. But love your enemies, do good, and lend hoping for nothing in return. Great will be your reward, and you will be children of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and to the wicked. So be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Lk 6:27-36



    Buddha:

    As a mother at the risk of her life
    Watches over her own child, her only child,
    So let one cultivate a loving heart
    Towards all beings.
    Sn 149

    Conquer anger by love
    Conquer evil by good
    Conquer greed by giving
    Conquer lies by truth.
    Dh 223

    Brethren, these things are memorable,
    endearing, praiseworthy, and conduce to
    helpfulness, peace, harmony, and unity.
    What are they?
    One serves others with deeds that are full of love, openly and when not seen.
    One serves others with words that are full of love, openly and when not seen.
    One serves others with thoughts that are full of love, openly and when not seen.
    M 48.6


    Brethren, I see no other single thing
    that stops the arising of hatred,
    or if already arisen causes its abandoning,
    as a heart freed through love.
    In a heart conscientiously freed through love,1
    hatred does not arise,
    or if already arisen it is abandoned.
    A 1.2.4



    I'll paste a lot more here as time goes on.
     
  2. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Yay! You made the thread!

    I'm thinking off the top of my head now, but Jesus' says to come to him as 'little children' and I take that to be similiar to the buddhist teaching of clearing your mind of preconceived notions and worldly knowledge (to unattach yourself from it.)

    .. Basically.. unlearning all of your learning, ridding your mind of clutter in order to know truth. Am I right on or not?
     
  3. OP
    mayflow

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    Certainly! I think you are spot on! :smile: Interesting point. Suzuki Roshi wrote a book called "Zen Mind:Beginner's Mind" A popular quote from this is "In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilites: in the expert's mind there are few."

    There is a certain freshness and newness to this type of mind they are speaking of to me. I think of something like you give a neat Christmas gift to a young child, and the child spends hours of enchantment playing with the box it came in. In reality, an adult should be able to do this even more than a child, if we don't get penned in by our preconceptions.

    We can see every moment as a new moment fresh with unlimited possiblities and infinities of potential.

    Like the more we learn, the more we can see there is even more things to our minds and imaginations than we could have ever before thought possible.

    Oddly enough, I was just thinking about this this morning, and when I went to answer your post, I realized it was this post by you that I read last night that my mind was working on and thinking about. Howww cool!
     
  4. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Ahhhh that is coool!!
     
  5. OP
    mayflow

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    Jesus:

    Buddha:

     
  6. OP
    mayflow

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    :smile:Two Paths: One Truth :smile:

    J: A slave cannot serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
    Lk 16:13

    B:

    One is the path to earthly wealth,
    Another the path to nirvana.
    Think on this, follower of the Buddha!
    Strive not for reputation
    But seek ever after freedom.
    Dh 75


    J: Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me, scatters.
    Mt 12:30


    B: The teacher may admonish,
    The teacher may instruct,
    The teacher may forbid what is improper,
    By the good will he be loved,
    By the bad will he be hated.
    Dh 77


    J: If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.
    Mk 3:24-25


    B:Prosperity in life is plain
    Decline in life is plain
    He who loves Truth prospers
    He who hates Truth declines.
    Sn 92


    J:No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.”
    Jn 3:5-7


    B:These two gifts there are,
    The carnal and the spiritual.
    Of these two gifts, brethren,
    The spiritual is pre-eminent.
    These two sharings there are,
    The carnal and the spiritual.
    Of these two sharings, brethren,
    The spiritual is pre-eminent.
    These two kindnesses there are,
    The carnal and the spiritual.
    Of these two kindnesses, brethren,
    The spiritual is pre-eminent.
    These two sacrifices there are,
    The carnal and the spiritual.
    Of these two sacrifices, brethren,
    The spiritual is pre-eminent.
    He who makes the spiritual offering
    Is pre-eminent among beings
    Honored by all
    As one who has gone beyond.
    It. 4.1
     
  7. OP
    mayflow

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    From Buddhist and Christian Parallels Compiled by
    René Salm



    B1: “Truly friend, I say to you, that within this very body, mortal as it is and only a fathom high, yet conscious and endowed with mind, is the world, the waxing thereof, the waning thereof, and the way that leads to the passing away thereof.”

    B2: Let the disciple be inwardly pacified, let that person not seek peace from any other; for one who is inwardly pacified there is nothing accepted or rejected.

    C1 “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is within you.”

    C2 “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

    C3 “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth"

    1 Both the Buddha and the Christtaught that Truth, liberation, understanding, are found not after death but in this very life. Nirvana (literally: “extinguishing”) and the Kingdom of God are attainable and potentially present in the ‘now’ to any whole-hearted seeker. This is the point of existence. However, this doctrine (realized eschatology) did not long survive the teaching of both Masters. It is contrary to the belief in a future paradise, a belief beloved of people everywhere and found in most religions. After all, a future paradise is an intuitive, deep-seated psychological reaction to the frustrations of life, for which it offers a ready answer. But the Buddha and the Christ did not endorse such wishful and entirely self-centered thinking (the basis of the notion of paradise is eternal pleasure). They taught that paradise is in fact not even what we really need or want, which is inner (not outer) fulfillment and peace. That peace is the result of enlightenment, of an arduous road of seeking and renunciation. According to the doctrines of Karma and the Golden Rule, good and evil receive their just and verifiable rewards in this very life. The greatest reward of good works is liberating enlightenment which frees one from all suffering ‘here below.’ This gnostic way is disliked by ordinary people because it demands truthful effort and renunciation, but it is also despised by religious institutions because it has no use for them.

    Theravada Buddhism has preserved the essential model of the self-liberating person, but has tempered this model with the popular Indian doctrine of rebirth. By teaching the concept of infinite rebirths (as many as is necessary to reach enlightenment), received Buddhism has effectively removed the need to do important spiritual work now, without delay. In the scriptures we read that one must extinguish delusion with the same energy as if one’s hair were on fire, or as if a sword hung over one’s head.

    Having attained egolessness, there is no longer ‘any one’ to do the accepting or rejecting; and having through insight perceived the emptiness (suňňata) of things, there is also nothing to receive or reject.


    Alternatively, “the kingdom of God is among you.” In either case Jesus teaches that the kingdom is present, not future. Especially in the Gospel of Thomas we see that the Kingdom results from seeking and attaining understanding. This gnostic and very Buddhist view of life is also found in the canonical gospels. Yet Buddhism and Christianity developed doctrines of a redeemer and of a vicarious savior. Both traditions elevated the founders, sometimes to god-like status. This elevation relieves the individual of the necessary work of himself/herself becoming a Buddha, a Christ.

    One basic point is that liberation is not temporal. It is not a linear progression through history–the present age giving way to some future Paradise. As discussed in note 1, it is spiritual. Liberation is an elevation in the here and now, an attainment which depends on the breaking of physical attachment and desire.

    The impotence of the physical is a frequent theme in both Christianity and Buddhism. It does not mean, however, that one should invent a future life following this present existence, but that one, in this present existence, should transcend the physical.
     
  8. the

    the Si master race.
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    Lots of religions are similar, especially when it comes to the golden rule. The reason that there are so many religions that have existed for so long a time is that they all contain some truth as well as just good advice on how to live your life.
     
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  9. wes

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    Buddhism asks for the follower to think it over first and only accept what can be understood and rationalized
     
  10. Nausus

    Nausus Community Member

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    Being Buddhist and all.. I'm going to have to stick up for it.

    Buddhism and Christianity are very different. I grew up with christianity forced down my gullet (I went to a catholic school) so I know that in depth as well. Although they have similarities like treating eachother with respect, etc etc, they are completely different.

    First of all, Buddhists do not believe in God. This is why:

    "Primitive humans found selves in a dangerous and hostile world, the fear of wild animals, of not being able to find enough food, of injury or disease, and of natural phenomena like thunder, lightning and volcanoes were constantly with them. Finding no security, they created the idea of gods in order to give them comfort in good times, courage in times of danger and consolation when things went wrong. To this day, you will notice that people become more religious at times of crises, you will hear them say that the belief in a god or gods gives them the strength they need to deal with life. You will hear them explain that they believe in a particular god because they prayed in time of need and their prayer was answered. All this seems to support the Buddha's teaching that the god-idea is a response to fear and frustration. The Buddha taught us to try to understand our fears, to lessen our desires and to calmly and courageously accept the things we cannot change. He replaced fear, not with irrational belief but with rational understanding.
    The second reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is because there does not seem to be any evidence to support this idea. There are numerous religions, all claiming that they alone have god's words preserved in their holy book, that they alone understand god's nature, that their god exists and that the gods of other religions do not. Some claim that god is masculine, some that she is feminine and others that it is neuter. They are all satisfied that there is ample evidence to prove the existence of their god but they laugh in disbelief at the evidence other religions use to prove the existence of another god. It is not surprising that with so many different religions spending so many centuries trying to prove the existence of their gods that still no real, concrete, substantial or irrefutable evidence has been found. Buddhists suspend judgement until such evidence is forthcoming.
    The third reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is that the belief is not necessary. Some claim that the belief in a god is necessary in order to explain the origin of the universe. But this is not so. Science has very convincingly explained how the universe came into being without having to introduce the god-idea. Some claim that belief in god is necessary to have a happy, meaningful life. Again we can see that this is not so. There are millions of atheists and free-thinkers, not to mention many Buddhists, who live useful, happy and meaningful lives without belief in a god. Some claim that belief in god's power is necessary because humans, being weak, do not have the strength to help themselves. Once again, the evidence indicates the opposite. One often hears of people who have overcome great disabilities and handicaps, enormous odds and difficulties through their own inner resources, through their own efforts and without belief in a god. Some claim that god is necessary in order to give man salvation. But this argument only holds good if you accept the theological concept of salvation and Buddhists do not accept such a concept. Based on his own experience, the Buddha saw that each human being had the capacity to purify the mind, develop infinite love and compassion and perfect understanding. He shifted attention from the heavens to the heart and encouraged us to find solutions to our problems through self-understanding."
    - Ven S. Dhammika.

    Also, Christianity is very victimising despite it's "treat your neighbour as you would be liked to be treated." concept. For example, the bible is sexist in it's victimisation of women. I'm sure you're thinking "But, wait, the Virgin Mary was seen as a great figure." Well, actually no. She was only seen as such because "God" chose her to carry his son. Nothing more.

    Sorry to come in at such a seemingly vicious manner.. and I do not mean to seem like i'm flaming the Christian religion as everyone has a right to believe what they wish. But, Buddhism is very, very different.
     
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  11. Sithious

    Sithious Well-known member

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    What I think most religions get wrong, is that I don't think you will stand before God being judged and determines if you can transcend to heaven or not.

    Rather I believe your thoughts and action represents if you're ready to ascend to a higher consciousness. Being good to others will do good to yourself and your soul, and once you realize that hate, anger and all negative emotions are meaningless to waste any time on, and live in a calm life where you help others and try to make other happy as well as yourself, and realise that material goods pose no real significance in the great puzzle of life. Obessesion with material goods will only hold you back.

    I also don't believe atheists can reach enlightenment, as I believe you have to grasp the concept of a higher meaning of creation, a god. So helping an old lady over the road once every while won't really help you.

    Charge your soul with positive energy, then you shall recieve happiness in this life and the next.

    What I am currently wondering about is, did God create evil, or were there two forces that created the universe. One good, one bad?
     
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