What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Will » Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:41 am

Wesley1982 wrote:
Will wrote:What was your impression based on?


That since most Buddhists are spiritual, that the spirituality was from God. (but I was wrong)


Many Xtians think if God is not the source of Buddhists' inspiration, then it must be the Evil One, Satan. What says Wesley?
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby LastLegend » Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:44 am

Buddhism is not a religion because it teaches liberation from suffering.
Christianity is a religion.
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby catmoon » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:27 am

Seishin wrote:I think it can be argued that a "supremediety" can be found in Buddhism, but it's form and function differs to the likes of Christianity. For many Pureland buddhists, Amida is a "supremebeing" but he is not a god. I think what also can be confusing is the word "diety". For a buddhist a "diety" is much different to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, but to non-buddhists they see no difference (out of ignorance).

Also, when you travel to Asian countries a lot of people see Buddha as a god. However, although these people consider themselves buddhists, quite often they have never read a sutra or taken the precepts. Also, some countries like Japan & China will freely mix their native religions with buddhism, and in such case Buddha is usually portrayed as a god.

Just my two pennies for you.

Gassho,
Seishin


Wups. My Tibetan-oriented parochialism has been exposed! Again. I keep forgetting what a huge chunk of Buddhism Pureland is. All the same, common practice and official dogma may differ. Are these things ever clear-cut?
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Wesley1982 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:02 am

Will wrote:
Wesley1982 wrote:
Will wrote:What was your impression based on?


That since most Buddhists are spiritual, that the spirituality was from God. (but I was wrong)


Many Xtians think if God is not the source of Buddhists' inspiration, then it must be the Evil One, Satan. What says Wesley?


I don't think that is the case. "Satan" or the "Evil One" are terms used in the Christian bible.

I also think there is a misunderstanding about the golden statues which some Christians could call "idols" . .
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Wesley1982 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:19 am

conebeckham wrote:Next question?


What exactly is samsara? . .
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:42 am

The golden images of the Buddha are to remind us of His life and teachings, the way we're to try to live ours.
Seeking the Truth and living in peace.
In Buddhism we don't worship the image of the Buddha, we respect it.

Samsara is suffering, in this existence we all suffer. Being poor is suffering, having riches is suffering, all we do is suffering. There are happy moments, but for the most part life is suffering. Studying the Teachings of the Buddha, and practicing them, we strive to attain Enlightenment which is the freedom from suffering/samsara

This is my understanding.

Kindest wishes, Dave
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
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If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
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One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Will » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:33 am

Wesley1982 wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Next question?


What exactly is samsara? . .


The word is Sanskrit and means cyclic existence, round after round of same-o same-o
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby kirtu » Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:00 am

Wesley1982 wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Next question?


What exactly is samsara? . .


The unending rounds of birth and rebirth (or another way of answering this is the unending rounds of experience). Unending until we attain final Buddhahood. So birth after birth propelled by ignorance and karma.

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Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Seishin » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:26 am

catmoon wrote: Are these things ever clear-cut?


I don't think so :tongue: But for others, things are completely black and white. I think this is when arguments and dissagreements occur.

Gassho,
Seishin.
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby LastLegend » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:40 am

Samsara means the cycle of death and rebirth. That is how we experience what we think and do and all that is created by the mind. So we suffer because of what we think and do. Buddha is the one who no longer thinks and does what leads to rebirth. So we whatever we think and do, we will not get away with it afterall the mind is the creation of everything including our suffering. So karma is the work of the mind on itself. Like you grow apple, you will have apple.

:anjali:
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:13 pm

My mistake, posting while very tired.
But as I understand it Samsara is the cyclic existence of suffering. No matter which of the six realms we're reborn in, we suffer.

So in each rebirth, if we created merit and good karma in the previous existence, we will suffer less until we reach Buddhahood.
Am I understanding this correctly?

Thanks :namaste:
Kindest wishes, Dave
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Bonsai Doug » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:36 pm

Wesley1982 wrote:What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist? . .

Others have given you good direction for reading/study.

Perhaps a little levity for a Saturday morning:

Q: What's the difference between a Buddhist and a non-Buddhist?
A: The non-Buddhist thinks there's a difference. :smile:
Now having obtained a precious human body,
I do not have the luxury of remaining on a distracted path.

~ Tibetan Book of the Dead
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:53 pm

There are several main points in which Buddhists and Christians diverge.

Christians believe that there's a world out there, a Creation, that has solid, ultimate existence. We are part of that creation. God, an omnipotent, all perfect and eternal being created everything. This bares two significant differences, one ontological and other epistemological.
In terms of ontology, things ultimately exist and are real by their own and so do we. The same goes for God. In terms of epistemology, we can understand the Creator by studying his creation. This were the first steps of science and then God ended up being excluded from the equation, but that's a different matter. The worldview is nearly the same with the exception that the later excludes the first cause, God, and replaces it by a natural event, the Big Bang. God's laws are replaced by the laws of nature, and everything that exists is said to be physical and not needing the interference, past, present or future, of any supramundane being (physicalism and the principle of closure).
Among scientists and Christians there are divergences about all this, but I believe this is the mainstream opinion.

There's also a difference soteriologically speaking. We were born in sin and need to save ourselves through Christ. The purpose is to elevate our immortal soul to heaven and live there forever. If we fail, and that can be just by believing in things we shouldn't, we are doomed to hell forever. For that matter our beliefs are very important, perhaps even more than our actions.

In Buddhism there are different ways of seeing reality, but it's always considered an illusion. We don't see things as they are. Everything is empty. So things lack true existence and are always dependent of other factors. Our own self is just that, an illusion that we take for real. This self we grasp doesn't exist as something of its own. This bares two opposite views in terms of ontology and epistemology. There's no Creation, but a set of processes that generate our experience and shared experience of what we think to be truly real (samsaric experience) and even if studying nature can be helpful, this doesn't allow the practitioner to reach Nirvana or Enlightenment. To do so he needs to follow the Noble Eight-fold Path.
Soteriologically speaking, our main problem is innate ignorance. Due to it we see a warped version of reality. This ignorance branches in a myriad of factors that lead us to act in a way that is not in accordance to our best interests. So our actions generate future consequences (this is karma) and we end up binding ourselves more and more to this corrupt experience of reality. This deluded cyclic experience is called samsara. Life and death are inside samsara. Although we can't say there's a being, a soul, changing bodies through several rebirths, one life succeeds the former as a consequence of all the previous actions. What remains is a mental continuum, not a thing independently existent. A continuum of causes and consequences. We may reborn as beings other than human. Human rebirth is considered the most favorable for the practice of Dharma. Nirvana or Enlightenment is the way out of samsara, out of delusion.
Here there are some major differences between schools and traditions.

You'll find very different versions of Buddhism. The interpretation of the meaning of emptiness and the consequences of this vary. So does the definition of Enlightenment and this too has consequences. So you can have a school considering that all we see are appearances and there's nothing real about them while others will say that there are small entities that do have existence, even if only by a very short period of time. Some will say that the end of the path is Arhatship while others will say it's perfect Buddhahood. Some will prescribe a set of methods emphacizing mainly conduct while others will put more emphazis on transcendent wisdom. As some Buddhist schools developed nearly or completely isolated for many centuries, you'll find some major differences. Still, there are things in which they all agree.
You can see a list of these points here.

That's it in a nutshell, I guess. It's very hard to speak of "Christianity" and "Buddhism" as wholes, because of the differences that exist between movements encompassed by these two broad labels.
Last edited by Dechen Norbu on Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:08 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Reason: Further clarification and correction of a few mistakes. Sorry for the broken English. :-)
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Wesley1982 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:22 pm

Is Karma like the consequences of your good or bad deeds? . .
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby LastLegend » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:24 pm

If you are angry, you are one who suffers. That is karma.
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:28 pm

Wesley1982 wrote:Is Karma like the consequences of your good or bad deeds? . .

Both bad and good. There's negative and favorable karma.
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:28 pm

LastLegend wrote:If you are angry, you are one who suffers. That is karma.

Others suffer too, in many cases.
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:43 pm

Karma just means action, karma vipakka is the outcomes of your action. Basically negative actions give negative outcomes, positive actions give positive outcomes. This is a good place to begin http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el248.html

Up to know you have amassed a considerable number of links to extremely good sources of information. It would pay to read them and then come back and ask more detailed questions.

Buddhanet Basic Buddhism Guide
A Five Minute Introduction

• What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is a religion to about 300 million people around the world. The word comes from 'budhi', 'to awaken'. It has its origins about 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened (enlightened) at the age of 35.

• Is Buddhism a Religion?

To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or 'way of life'. It is a philosophy because philosophy 'means love of wisdom' and the Buddhist path can be summed up as:

(1) to lead a moral life,
(2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and
(3) to develop wisdom and understanding.

• How Can Buddhism Help Me?

Buddhism explains a purpose to life, it explains apparent injustice and inequality around the world, and it provides a code of practice or way of life that leads to true happiness.

• Why is Buddhism Becoming Popular?

Buddhism is becoming popular in western countries for a number of reasons, The first good reason is Buddhism has answers to many of the problems in modern materialistic societies. It also includes (for those who are interested) a deep understanding of the human mind (and natural therapies) which prominent psychologists around the world are now discovering to be both very advanced and effective.

• Who Was the Buddha?

Siddhartha Gotama was born into a royal family in Lumbini, now located in Nepal, in 563 BC. At 29, he realised that wealth and luxury did not guarantee happiness, so he explored the different teachings religions and philosophies of the day, to find the key to human happiness. After six years of study and meditation he finally found 'the middle path' and was enlightened. After enlightenment, the Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching the principles of Buddhism — called the Dhamma, or Truth — until his death at the age of 80.

• Was the Buddha a God?

He was not, nor did he claim to be. He was a man who taught a path to enlightenment from his own experience.

• Do Buddhists Worship Idols?

Buddhists sometimes pay respect to images of the Buddha, not in worship, nor to ask for favours. A statue of the Buddha with hands rested gently in its lap and a compassionate smile reminds us to strive to develop peace and love within ourselves. Bowing to the statue is an expression of gratitude for the teaching.

• Why are so Many Buddhist Countries Poor?

One of the Buddhist teachings is that wealth does not guarantee happiness and also wealth is impermanent. The people of every country suffer whether rich or poor, but those who understand Buddhist teachings can find true happiness.

• Are There Different Types of Buddhism?

There are many different types of Buddhism, because the emphasis changes from country to country due to customs and culture. What does not vary is the essence of the teaching — the Dhamma or truth.

• Are Other Religions Wrong?

Buddhism is also a belief system which is tolerant of all other beliefs or religions. Buddhism agrees with the moral teachings of other religions but Buddhism goes further by providing a long term purpose within our existence, through wisdom and true understanding. Real Buddhism is very tolerant and not concerned with labels like 'Christian', 'Moslem', 'Hindu' or 'Buddhist'; that is why there have never been any wars fought in the name of Buddhism. That is why Buddhists do not preach and try to convert, only explain if an explanation is sought.

• Is Buddhism Scientific?

Science is knowledge which can be made into a system, which depends upon seeing and testing facts and stating general natural laws. The core of Buddhism fit into this definition, because the Four Noble truths (see below) can be tested and proven by anyone in fact the Buddha himself asked his followers to test the teaching rather than accept his word as true. Buddhism depends more on understanding than faith.

• What did the Buddha Teach?

The Buddha taught many things, but the basic concepts in Buddhism can be summed up by the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

• What is the First Noble Truth?

The first truth is that life is suffering i.e., life includes pain, getting old, disease, and ultimately death. We also endure psychological suffering like loneliness frustration, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger. This is an irrefutable fact that cannot be denied. It is realistic rather than pessimistic because pessimism is expecting things to be bad. lnstead, Buddhism explains how suffering can be avoided and how we can be truly happy.

• What is the Second Noble Truth?

The second truth is that suffering is caused by craving and aversion. We will suffer if we expect other people to conform to our expectation, if we want others to like us, if we do not get something we want,etc. In other words, getting what you want does not guarantee happiness. Rather than constantly struggling to get what you want, try to modify your wanting. Wanting deprives us of contentment and happiness. A lifetime of wanting and craving and especially the craving to continue to exist, creates a powerful energy which causes the individual to be born. So craving leads to physical suffering because it causes us to be reborn.

• What is the Third Noble Truth?

The third truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness can be attained; that true happiness and contentment are possible. lf we give up useless craving and learn to live each day at a time (not dwelling in the past or the imagined future) then we can become happy and free. We then have more time and energy to help others. This is Nirvana.

• What is the Fourth Noble Truth?

The fourth truth is that the Noble 8-fold Path is the path which leads to the end of suffering.

• What is the Noble 8-Fold Path?

In summary, the Noble 8-fold Path is being moral (through what we say, do and our livelihood), focussing the mind on being fully aware of our thoughts and actions, and developing wisdom by understanding the Four Noble Truths and by developing compassion for others.

• What are the 5 Precepts?

The moral code within Buddhism is the precepts, of which the main five are: not to take the life of anything living, not to take anything not freely given, to abstain from sexual misconduct and sensual overindulgence, to refrain from untrue speech, and to avoid intoxication, that is, losing mindfulness.

• What is Karma?

Karma is the law that every cause has an effect, i.e., our actions have results. This simple law explains a number of things: inequality in the world, why some are born handicapped and some gifted, why some live only a short life. Karma underlines the importance of all individuals being responsible for their past and present actions. How can we test the karmic effect of our actions? The answer is summed up by looking at (1) the intention behind the action, (2) effects of the action on oneself, and (3) the effects on others.

• What is Wisdom?

Buddhism teaches that wisdom should be developed with compassion. At one extreme, you could be a goodhearted fool and at the other extreme, you could attain knowledge without any emotion. Buddhism uses the middle path to develop both. The highest wisdom is seeing that in reality, all phenomena are incomplete, impermanent and do no constitute a fixed entity. True wisdom is not simply believing what we are told but instead experiencing and understanding truth and reality. Wisdom requires an open, objective, unbigoted mind. The Buddhist path requires courage, patience, flexibility and intelligence.

• What is Compassion?

Compassion includes qualities of sharing, readiness to give comfort, sympathy, concern, caring. In Buddhism, we can really understand others, when we can really understand ourselves, through wisdom.

• How do I Become a Buddhist?

Buddhist teachings can be understood and tested by anyone. Buddhism teaches that the solutions to our problems are within ourselves not outside. The Buddha asked all his followers not to take his word as true, but rather to test the teachings for themselves. ln this way, each person decides for themselves and takes responsibility for their own actions and understanding. This makes Buddhism less of a fixed package of beliefs which is to be accepted in its entirety, and more of a teaching which each person learns and uses in their own way.

Prepared by Brian White 1993, with thanks to Ven S. Dhammika
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/5minbud.htm
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby asunthatneversets » Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:35 pm

Wesley1982 wrote:I also think there is a misunderstanding about the golden statues which some Christians could call "idols" . .


They can be called idols(although i wouldn't call them that) as long as it's clear that any image of Jesus or crucifixion statues etc are idols as well... Any image the mind can relate to is technically an idol. The difference between buddhism and christianity is that most buddhists don't "worship" anything, much less any images of Buddha. Unlike christians who clearly worship an idol but like to pretend they don't, and are so insecure that they actually claim everyone else is idol worshipping so they can get a false sense of legitimacy in their practices. It's bizarre. When Jesus said thou shalt not worship false idols that means any image the mind can conceive, including himself... which leads to a more apophatic form of theology, and would actually be more akin to Buddhism in some ways. But christianity went a different route altogether. Christians nowadays are clearly cataphatic idol worshippers gone wild.
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Re: What is the difference between a Christian and a Buddhist?

Postby Wesley1982 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:15 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Up to know you have amassed a considerable number of links to extremely good sources of information. It would pay to read them and then come back and ask more detailed questions.


The last link for reading was 75 pages.

I think I understand the basic stuff. The other question is ~ do we really understand what we read? . .
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