Jesus, a Buddhist?

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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Distorted » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:28 pm

Jikan wrote:
Distorted wrote:I have recently assumed the differences in the schools was due to the different teachers exodus out of India. So from a toddler in the subject reading a lot of this thread I must ask. Is Buddhism so dogmatic there is no shades of grey or possibilities of grey areas? Any input here?


There are differences in emphasis, differences in approach, differences in method, differences in presentation. These are not necessarily points of conflict. They are just differences. Different people have different needs and capacities. Hence, there are different doors to Dharma to suit anyone's particular matrix of possibilities.

All this speculative stuff over whether Jesus was or wasn't a Buddhist is pointless and irrelevant, frankly. The real point is to find a situation in which you can learn and practice, and then really practice it.



I agree on its irrelevance in my goals. Was curious if sacrilegious is a thought in Buddhism or is there many valid possibilities and avenues beyond that has already been laid out. I ask in the most polite way possible. I do not have interest in any new Jesus Buddha cult but it is just a curiosity.
"Sona, before you became a monk you were a musician". Sona said that was true. So the Buddha said, "As a musician which string of the lute produces a pleasant and harmonious sound. The over-tight string?" "No," said Sona, "The over-tight string produces an unpleasant sound and is moreover likely to break at any moment." "The string that is too loose?" Again, "No, the string that is too loose does not produce a tuneful sound. The string that produces a tuneful sound is the string that is not too tight and not too loose."
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Paul » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:37 pm

Distorted wrote:
Jikan wrote:
Distorted wrote:I have recently assumed the differences in the schools was due to the different teachers exodus out of India. So from a toddler in the subject reading a lot of this thread I must ask. Is Buddhism so dogmatic there is no shades of grey or possibilities of grey areas? Any input here?


There are differences in emphasis, differences in approach, differences in method, differences in presentation. These are not necessarily points of conflict. They are just differences. Different people have different needs and capacities. Hence, there are different doors to Dharma to suit anyone's particular matrix of possibilities.

All this speculative stuff over whether Jesus was or wasn't a Buddhist is pointless and irrelevant, frankly. The real point is to find a situation in which you can learn and practice, and then really practice it.



I agree on its irrelevance in my goals. Was curious if sacrilegious is a thought in Buddhism or is there many valid possibilities and avenues beyond that has already been laid out. I ask in the most polite way possible. I do not have interest in any new Jesus Buddha cult but it is just a curiosity.


It's not possible to insult or annoy a buddha. So Buddhist sacrilege is not possible. Disrespecting the Dharma is a source of negative karma though.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Jikan » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:39 pm

Sure, no problem.

I think I understand what you're saying: do Buddhists accuse each other of behaving in a sacrilegious way? I've never seen it, and my behavior (especially as a beginner) was very coarse indeed. I asked a lot of rough questions, in a rough way; sometimes I was answered roughly, but in hindsight, my teachers have been extremely patient with me and generous with their time and energy. Generally, if your attitude is that you're here to learn, and you are willing to be taught, then you will have no problems at all.

I'd like to know what others think on this.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Jikan » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:40 pm

Just caught Paul's comment. It's right on the mark in my view.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Distorted » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:42 pm

Cool, Thank you both. That answered my question for sure. I appreciate the patience you all on this board have shown me that is for sure.

:namaste:
"Sona, before you became a monk you were a musician". Sona said that was true. So the Buddha said, "As a musician which string of the lute produces a pleasant and harmonious sound. The over-tight string?" "No," said Sona, "The over-tight string produces an unpleasant sound and is moreover likely to break at any moment." "The string that is too loose?" Again, "No, the string that is too loose does not produce a tuneful sound. The string that produces a tuneful sound is the string that is not too tight and not too loose."
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Tewi » Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:08 pm

Is Buddhism so dogmatic there is no shades of grey or possibilities of grey areas? Any input here?


In a way, there is no such thing as "Buddhism"--there are only a great variety of Buddhists. If Buddhism makes you wiser, kinder, and more open-minded, then I guess that's the main thing. (It can be hard finding a whole group like that, I know.)
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Tewi » Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:18 pm

Far from being fair, it's a massive oversimplification - repeated so many times (for obvious political reasons) that most people take it to be true without giving it any thought


Well, at least we can say with some assurance that Christianity is the majority religion of Europe (and has been for a thousand years or more, depending on the country), the Americas, and Oceania (along with sub-Saharan Africa and other not so Western places). Not only would it be hard to write a history of Western civilization without it, even to attempt such a thing would represent the kind of politicized viewpoint that you are complaining about.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby conebeckham » Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:40 pm

Tewi wrote:
Is Buddhism so dogmatic there is no shades of grey or possibilities of grey areas? Any input here?


In a way, there is no such thing as "Buddhism"--there are only a great variety of Buddhists. If Buddhism makes you wiser, kinder, and more open-minded, then I guess that's the main thing. (It can be hard finding a whole group like that, I know.)


Although I understand what you're saying, Tewi, to a degree, and appreciate the sentiment in which I think you said it--I will disagree. For, if there were no such "thing" as Buddhism (on the conventional level of appearances, mind you, where we will be able to discuss such things), then anyone could call themselves a Buddhist. Right? I mean, there are some criteria by which we can identify Buddhists--and we can discuss those criteria, of course--see the Steven Batchelor "Buddhism Without Beliefs" thread for examples--but there are lines to be drawn.

On a very basic level, Buddhism has distinguishing characteristics which set it apart from other Religious Traditions. First, whether or not Buddhists are theists--some are, some are not, and there are shades of grey -no Buddhist subscribes to the notion of a Creator God, who is singular, All-Powerful, Etc, and especially, Salvific. This basic characteristic distinguishes Buddhists from followers or adherents of Monotheistic religious traditions. Further, whatever "Jesus," the historical person, preached or believed, the mainstream teachings of all the Christian sects agree that Jesus was the "Son of God," and the prophet of God. "Jesus," regardless of who he REALLY was, has become symbolic. I think the definition of a Christian, simply stated, is someone who believes that "accepting Jesus" as savior is a defining factor, no matter what the sect. These views are, frankly, antithetical to the VAST majority of Buddhists, of whatever sect. There are a multitude of other factors, issues, and examples that we could discuss, but I don't think "compare and contrast" is really the function of Dharma Wheel, or of this thread. For the record, though, the Four Noble Truths, D.O., and the Truth of Enlightenment of the Buddha, are issues on which all Buddhists are pretty much in agreement. Rebirth, too, despite what Batchelor and his supporters would claim.

So, no, Jesus was not a Buddhist. Even if he were familiar with Buddhism, even if he studied Buddhism, he did not teach Buddhism, and there is no evidence whatsoever that he practiced Buddhism. Wishing does not make it so.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Tewi » Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:49 pm

The term "Buddhism" can be used normatively or descriptively. Suppose I find someone who calls himself a Buddhist, and yet believes in a Creator God or some such. (No doubt such a person could be produced.) Would you say they are "not really" a Buddhist (i.e., a normative use), or that Buddhism is broader than you supposed (a descriptive use)? It is difficult to identify much of anything that would be accepted by all putative adherents of a religion. For example, Peter A. Jackson often posts in protest of the assumption that the Four Noble Truths represent a basic Buddhist teaching--and he has some arguments on his side. Many Chinese people call themselves "Buddhists," but believe things that you would likely find bewildering. Perhaps "Buddhism" is more of a discussion than a (dare I say it? yes, I think I shall) permenent immutable essence!
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby conebeckham » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:15 am

If you were a Buddhist, and you found someone who believed in a Creator God, with the characteristics as outlined in my post, you would likely define that person as someone who may be more of a Christian than a Buddhist, no matter what that person calls him or herself. If possible, it may be possible to engage said person in discussion--though for the vast majority of us, such unsolicited sorts of discussions are a bad idea. Skillful means is paramount--I wouldn't recommend running around for people who call themselves Buddhist and sussing them out on their understanding.

But here, on Dharma Wheel, people come to read about Buddhism. When people ask questions about otehr religious figures and their relation to Buddhism, I think it's reasonable to engage in the sort of discussion we're having, and, specifically, for me to make the points I'm making.

After all, it is a process of learning---but learning can only occur if one is willing to investigate for oneself. Or so Buddha said. Don't just believe it because it's "the normative," but--more importantly, don't believe yourself to be something when you have not investigated what that "something" is.

Plenty of Putative Buddhists are not, based on my understanding of the terms, and I'm not afraid to say so. But that doesn't mean I think any less of any of them.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Distorted » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:18 am

conebeckham wrote:
Don't just believe it because it's "the normative," but--more importantly, don't believe yourself to be something when you have not investigated what that "something" is.



excellent
"Sona, before you became a monk you were a musician". Sona said that was true. So the Buddha said, "As a musician which string of the lute produces a pleasant and harmonious sound. The over-tight string?" "No," said Sona, "The over-tight string produces an unpleasant sound and is moreover likely to break at any moment." "The string that is too loose?" Again, "No, the string that is too loose does not produce a tuneful sound. The string that produces a tuneful sound is the string that is not too tight and not too loose."
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Tewi » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:46 am

You are of course free to do that. Just as Christians fret about being undermined from the inside by John Spong, so with Buddhists and Stephen Batchelor! But this would be an expression of religious faith, not of an objective fact about the religion of Buddhism. (Plenty of religious groups think that some of their supposed co-religionists don't really belong "within the circle.")
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby conebeckham » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:00 am

Not sure who John Spong is--but it doesn't matter.

Are you saying Buddhism has no "objective facts?" Within the realm of conventional truth, of course...!!
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby conebeckham » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:02 am

..and, for the record, though I think SB is wrong in some ways, I don't feel threatened or undermined by him, at all...nor do I think the majority of us here, even those who disagree with him.

So many approaches to the Dharma--connections are established, and if people are wise, they will continue to question, study, learn, and practice.....or not.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby muni » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:51 am

Nosta wrote:Jesus was a great teacher for christians. In fact, some things he said are good: he told us to love everybody, even the enemy; he told us that we should follow a life without luxury and excessive wealth...etc.

Could Jesus be a buddhist? Or, could he be someone using buddhist teachings to creat a new movement/religion?

If we read some old christian texts not accepted in the bible (like the book of Tome, etc) we may even "feel" some buddhist ideas on them.

Also, some people claim that Jesus entered in India and learned buddhism.

What do you think about these ideas?

He thaught to love enemies. Oh well! there must be an insight of the source of enemies, not?

The few I heard about Jesus, if my life could be like that, what a blessing it should be to dissolve in such instead of merely 'using buddhist teachings'.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Tewi » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:08 am

Yes there are facts, plenty of them. "Buddha taught reincarnation" is a fact, or at least a factual issue. "If you do not believe in reincarnation, then you are not a true Buddhist" is a matter of opinion rather than fact.

John Spong : Christianity = Stephen Batchelor : Buddhism. (Spong, a retired U.S. Episcopal bishop, wrote several books questioning what others regarded as basic Christian doctrines, such as the virgin birth or the efficacy of prayer.) To say that Spong is "not really" a Christian is a matter of theological opinion which should not be presented as fact.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby muni » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:39 am

How Jesus' teaching is, useful or not, *depends*.

When one is considering own being "buddhist", how then about labels and separating? Phenomena must be modelated till they fit or I reject them...
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Blue Garuda » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:55 am

Paul wrote:
It's not possible to insult or annoy a buddha. So Buddhist sacrilege is not possible. Disrespecting the Dharma is a source of negative karma though.


Although Buddhas do not take offence, Buddhists certainly do, and 'sacrilege' accusations are often made about this or that practice or sect, leading to actions such as smashing statues, etc. - actions which the attacked sect may perceive as sacrilegious acts. Buddhists are not perfect beings and some attack the path of others with anger and commit violence.

Disrespecting the Dharma IS negative karma, and I agree it may lead to more.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Distorted » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:30 pm

Blue Garuda wrote:
Paul wrote:
It's not possible to insult or annoy a buddha. So Buddhist sacrilege is not possible. Disrespecting the Dharma is a source of negative karma though.


Although Buddhas do not take offence, Buddhists certainly do, and 'sacrilege' accusations are often made about this or that practice or sect, leading to actions such as smashing statues, etc. - actions which the attacked sect may perceive as sacrilegious acts. Buddhists are not perfect beings and some attack the path of others with anger and commit violence.

Disrespecting the Dharma IS negative karma, and I agree it may lead to more.



I wanted to ask this the first time I seen this posted, "Disrespecting the Dharma IS negative Karma". How did disrespecting the Dharma come into all this and also how does one disrespect the Dharma when it seems Buddha wanted us to question even his own teachings, right?

I know you can't be thinking someone saying... Hey Yo, Dharma... You and your friends, you all are a bunch of ..... or perhaps do you mean people who are close minded and say the Buddhist Dharma is a prescription to death and damnation? How could a teaching be insulted but not a Buddha?

Perhaps you guys mean the human ability to twist a teaching for ones own self gain? That is the only thing I find offensive with humans teaching religion.

:namaste:
"Sona, before you became a monk you were a musician". Sona said that was true. So the Buddha said, "As a musician which string of the lute produces a pleasant and harmonious sound. The over-tight string?" "No," said Sona, "The over-tight string produces an unpleasant sound and is moreover likely to break at any moment." "The string that is too loose?" Again, "No, the string that is too loose does not produce a tuneful sound. The string that produces a tuneful sound is the string that is not too tight and not too loose."
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby conebeckham » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:18 pm

Tewi wrote:Yes there are facts, plenty of them. "Buddha taught reincarnation" is a fact, or at least a factual issue. "If you do not believe in reincarnation, then you are not a true Buddhist" is a matter of opinion rather than fact.

John Spong : Christianity = Stephen Batchelor : Buddhism. (Spong, a retired U.S. Episcopal bishop, wrote several books questioning what others regarded as basic Christian doctrines, such as the virgin birth or the efficacy of prayer.) To say that Spong is "not really" a Christian is a matter of theological opinion which should not be presented as fact.



Understood.
I get what you're saying--there's no "legally binding contract" one must sign, agreeing to a certain set of "beliefs," in order to be a "card-carrying genuine Buddhist."

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