Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby mindyourmind » Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:39 pm

Yonten Nyima wrote:This is a touchy subject in my life so I feel I must contribute to this. But first Id like to thank the person who began this thread because its a serious issue facing Buddhist practitioners all over the world, and maybe more so in traditional buddhist cultures.
My father is an Evangelical christian, who believes HH Tenzin Gyatso and HH Ogyen Trinley are going to burn in hell, that Buddha will be there waiting, and we'll all have a seat with eachother there.
However he says it helps me so its good.
Every time I meet a buddhist, they ask about my practice and how I started, and it always comes to this.

Christians believe without accepting Jesus, no virtue we practice will matter in the eyes of god. I cant accept this, which is contrary to what bedhisattvas do, as buddhists we're taught its the correct path to accept all things and hold all things as possible as an antidote to the view of duality.
I dont understand these people, and I cant figure out how to reconcile these differences and uneasy feelings, other than feeling like, "well if that makes you happy, and makes you feel safe, then good for you. But its not for me." But its no good.
:tantrum:


Thank you for the detailed response. I generally try to be very diplomatic and "Buddhist" about this reality in my life, but there are times when it is difficult. I have studied Christianity, as being "my" religion, in tremendous depth, and I can take part in the most updated, intricate theological discussions. I know as a fact that I know more about it than most pastors and reverends, and yet I choose to follow the beautiful, real path of Buddhism. Still, I quite often have to defend it, or bite my tongue in public discussions. The whole Christian evangelical mess sometimes irritate me tremendously. I should not be saying this, I suppose, but I am actually quite glad to see how Christianity is losing ground in the West.

In these days of weapons of mass destruction, of mass violence always a heartbeat away, I for one can certainly do with a lot less theism around me.

My apologies if I have offended anyone here, I am aware of the fact that I should not get so irritated with this at times. It's a practice :shrug:
As bad as bad becomes its not a part of you

Talk Talk
User avatar
mindyourmind
 
Posts: 459
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:11 am
Location: South Africa

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby KeithBC » Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:29 am

Yonten Nyima wrote:I cant figure out how to reconcile these differences

I believe that there are fundamental differences between Christianity and Buddhism that cannot be reconciled. I think it is a waste of time to try.

It is not a waste of time to try to understand and reconcile with individual Christians who are respectful and open to Buddhism. I have even had positive and fruitful discussions with Christians who believed I was going to hell, because, having established that we differed on that point, they chose not to push the point, and I chose not to emphasize that I thought they were wrong. We simply agreed to differ on the point and get on with discussions of more interesting things.

But, had we chosen to argue about it, we would surely have made enemies of one another, so we didn't. That does not mean that we reconciled the issue. We certainly did not.

There are many other such irreconcilable issues between the two religions. And yet, there are enough areas of commonality, such as the whole field of applied morality, that ecumenical discussions among mutually respectful believers can be a wonderful thing.

Om mani padme hum
Keith
User avatar
KeithBC
 
Posts: 416
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:22 pm
Location: East Coast of Canada

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby Jikan » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:01 pm

Well spoken, Keith. Your experience matches mine very nearly.

I'm familiar with the kinds of attitudes Yonten N mentioned in this thread, and it's true that many people who identify as Christians, who believe themselves to be Christians and make their identity all about their Christian-ness (you see where this is going in Buddhist terms...) hold that kind of attitude. It's also true that such people are suffering as a consequence of their constipated habits and hence very difficult to hang out with. Interpretations differ, but the Christians I've enjoyed spending time with are ones who take seriously the injunction Jesus is reported to have made against judging others and instead focus on the goodwill-towards-men trip.

I think ron's half right when he says that people suck. People do manifest in all kinds of crappy ways. However, I'm firmly convinced that in spite of all this acting out and self-destructive behavior on the part of our friends within and without the Buddhist community, at bottom everyone's nature is that of the Buddha. If you take a dump on your neighbor, in the last analysis, you're using for a bedpan a being inevitably to be enlightened. Things go better if you try to see the buddha-potential in others instead of taking their asshole behavior at face value, as if it's something permanent or real.
Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=13727
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5665
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:30 am

Ron's 100% right.

When the buddha became realized he did not become a human realized....when quaried what he was, he declined human....awake that is what he was.

Human suck, ingnorant bastards, every one of them.
When buddha nature is realized one is not human. It is the nature of all sentient beings even leeches and things of that sort, maggots that live in africa and breed in humans eyeballs causing them blindness, it is their nature as well, all.....and all suck.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
User avatar
ronnewmexico
 
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby mindyourmind » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:31 am

Jikan wrote:Well spoken, Keith. Your experience matches mine very nearly.

I'm familiar with the kinds of attitudes Yonten N mentioned in this thread, and it's true that many people who identify as Christians, who believe themselves to be Christians and make their identity all about their Christian-ness (you see where this is going in Buddhist terms...) hold that kind of attitude. It's also true that such people are suffering as a consequence of their constipated habits and hence very difficult to hang out with. Interpretations differ, but the Christians I've enjoyed spending time with are ones who take seriously the injunction Jesus is reported to have made against judging others and instead focus on the goodwill-towards-men trip.

I think ron's half right when he says that people suck. People do manifest in all kinds of crappy ways. However, I'm firmly convinced that in spite of all this acting out and self-destructive behavior on the part of our friends within and without the Buddhist community, at bottom everyone's nature is that of the Buddha. If you take a dump on your neighbor, in the last analysis, you're using for a bedpan a being inevitably to be enlightened. Things go better if you try to see the buddha-potential in others instead of taking their asshole behavior at face value, as if it's something permanent or real.


"Constipated habits" :jumping:
As bad as bad becomes its not a part of you

Talk Talk
User avatar
mindyourmind
 
Posts: 459
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:11 am
Location: South Africa

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby zengammon » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:10 pm

[quote="mindyourmind"
So, how do you experience life and practice in such a Christian society? Do you feel outcast, are you prepared / happy to speak up about your religion? Do you feel culturally disconnected, alien, out of the mainline, a bit of a loner as far as Buddhism is concerned? Are you sometimes tempted to simply go with the flow and do as others do?
:namaste:[/quote]

Hi mym,

Culturally disconnected? Yes. But I experience it more broadly in relation to mainstream values, not specifically Christian values, especially the direction of mainstream values over recent years. And I get more flack from mainstream people and thinking than I do from religious people and perspectives.

My friends are mostly artists or artistic types, broadly speaking. None of my intimate associations are intolerant, Christian or not.

But these things are now only related to when I visit home: I have lived outside my home country of the U.S. for eight years--since six months after 9-11. I return once a year or so for a few weeks, which seems to be enough.

John
zengammon
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:57 am
Location: Seoul, Korea. Sometimes California

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:49 pm

My personal opinion if you think things are on the up and up in the US as regards the christian view on things and the opposition to other religions...you really are walking around but have your head in the sand.

Islam at this very moment is considered a religious inspiration for terrorism while no substantiation of such beliefs is found at all in the koran. A billionare construction business owners son is considered to be providing a "correct" interpretation of Islam. Yet a David Koresch or a JIm JOnes who claimed christainity as their own were not considered in the same context to be representing christiantiy....oh no not that equality, they will not accept that.

So we have a temple not considered to be allowable within two blocks of the world trade center because and solely because it is Islamic. And the majority, vast majority of americans, agree it should not be built there. As islam, not one concerted group of idiotic people led by a construction workers son and his particular interpretation of islam, is found to be the cause of 9/11.

What should not be built is the attitude islam caused 9/11.

What is obviously clear is america is one step away from facism and the imposition by overt and covert or subtle means their choice of religion.
Theis cumbaya stuff...save it for a place and time it is appropriate...not here not in the US.
Hitler and his idiots held only about 1/3rd of the germans populations agreement in their day and time.
The threat that is this fundamental christian viewpoint in the US holds roughly the same.
One more overt terrorist attack with success is all it takes to make this 1/3rd into a majority and the US into as JOhn McCain stated....a christian nation.

IN god we trust....one nation under god....being buddhist we are very lucky we can remain buddhist openly. Nothing in history suggests religious tolerance is the norm, in the US and elsewhere.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
User avatar
ronnewmexico
 
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby Dana » Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:32 pm

Hi,
One thing I have noticed about this one is how the word god is pervasive in N/A to the point that even those who profess not to own one, say, "Oh, my God!" I heard that once come from a young Tibetan, very much a Buddhist who had married a N/A raised Buddhist. It made me laugh to myself as none there believe in a creator god.
I have long been training myself to substitute the word Lord for the g word as a positive influence rather than an exclamation indicating something negative. ( for me it becomes, how can I understand this issue thru dharma)

Yes, it is easier to gloss over the contentious issues but theists don't like if I disagree with their statements that it is all the same thing no matter what it is called.
Too many differences yes and it seems that it is most often the Buddhist who gives way in these conversations for the sake of harmony, perhaps because we are outnumbered.
Dana
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:02 pm

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:16 pm

Agree with you on the god thing generally but I wouldn't make to much of the verbal response such as...oh mygod.

I often after doing things like hitting my finger with a hammer will say F@#$ or what the F@#$..but do not equate that with doing something dispicable even in a unconscious form. I retain only the habit of saying it. The automatic connotation which arose the saying in such context does not exist. Probably it had origins in a debaseing consideration of the act perhaps from puritanical or other religious influence.

So ohmygod may be uttered by anyone without the automatic unconscious consideration similiarily.
However in the US we have to go only as far as looking into our change pocket or wallets holding currency, to see god firmly expressed in government.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
User avatar
ronnewmexico
 
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby Heruka » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:00 am

religion is a geographical heredity national firewall.
Heruka
 
Posts: 1069
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:34 am

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:42 pm

H

You are speaking in error. You may perhaps qualify your answer so it represents formal religion or organized religion. It may be that or it may not be depending upon context of displayal.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
User avatar
ronnewmexico
 
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:36 pm

"Our purpose is not to make more Buddhists, it is to make more enlightened beings. If teaching Buddhism, don't encourage people to become Buddhists; just encourage them to cultivate the qualities of love, compassion, universal responsibility and wisdom within themselves. If some people with strong karmic connections want to formally become Buddhist then that is acceptable; but in general the emphasis should be on a commitment to inner spiritual values, not to any specific religious tradition."

-- His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama


BFS, thanks for sharing this quote. It's so fitting.
The sentiment is ver much in agreement with how I feel about other faiths and people :)

Best,
Laura
Ngawang Drolma
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2230
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:44 pm

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby fragrant herbs » Sun Oct 10, 2010 5:32 pm

deleted
Last edited by fragrant herbs on Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
fragrant herbs
 
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:22 am

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby Luke » Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:30 pm

Hi Josey,

To my highly-biased, unenlightened mind, you sound like quite a sweetheart. I suppose most western Buddhists are at least left-leaning in their political views, and I'm no exception. I suppose that when one follows a religion which emphasizes kindness to all beings, it becomes much harder to say, "To hell with the poor! To hell with foreigners and minorities!" Although I guess we need to avoid falling into the trap of hating people who hold opposing viewpoints (sometimes not easy!).

If you get really sick of all the Christian chatter, just move to a country where you don't speak the language well. Then (when you don't need to get something done) you'll have peace. A lot of people retire in South and Central America. Jesse Ventura lives in Mexico for half the year in a house which is self-sufficient with solar panels.

Moving to Hungary has given me a lot of mental peace. I completely ignore the US media now.
User avatar
Luke
 
Posts: 1703
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 pm

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby fragrant herbs » Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:14 pm

deleted
Last edited by fragrant herbs on Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
fragrant herbs
 
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:22 am

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby Luke » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:35 am

josey wrote:
I suppose that when one follows a religion which emphasizes kindness to all beings, it becomes much harder to say, "To hell with the poor! To hell with foreigners and minorities!"

Ah, as we know, Christianity teaches the same, but they have failed to notice this.

Well, I don't know about that. Christianity only teaches kindness to people. They don't emphasize kindness to animals and vegetarianism usually.

Most people will always end up a bit short of what they aim for. When Buddhists aim high for kindness to all beings, maybe they come up a bit short at first and are just kind to most animals or are just kind to most people. But Christians only aim to be kind to people (perhaps sometimes they only aim to be kind to other Christians), so when they fall short of their goal, they end up only being kind to a few people.
User avatar
Luke
 
Posts: 1703
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 pm

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby fragrant herbs » Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:17 pm

deleted
Last edited by fragrant herbs on Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
fragrant herbs
 
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:22 am

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby Luke » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:49 pm

josey wrote:Sometimes I think Christians just don't realize what Christ taught, but even in the first few chapters of Acts Christians are being told to share all of their belongings with each other. Christ said to feed the poor. I just think they don't get it or don't want to get it.

Yes, if Christians acted more like Jesus and less like Rush Limbaugh, they would be far easier for us Buddhists to get along with. But enemies can also be our teachers...
User avatar
Luke
 
Posts: 1703
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 pm

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby fragrant herbs » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:56 pm

True, and they can be some of our best teachers.
User avatar
fragrant herbs
 
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:22 am

Re: Being a Buddhist in a Christian society

Postby Jikan » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:57 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:Ron's 100% right.

When the buddha became realized he did not become a human realized....when quaried what he was, he declined human....awake that is what he was.

Human suck, ingnorant bastards, every one of them.
When buddha nature is realized one is not human. It is the nature of all sentient beings even leeches and things of that sort, maggots that live in africa and breed in humans eyeballs causing them blindness, it is their nature as well, all.....and all suck.


I'm sorry to disagree, Ron, but I don't think you suck. I assume you're a human being behind the digital interface. Consequently, I can't accept the position that all human beings suck all the time.

People are deluded and sometimes act like assholes. It's a fact.

People are also inherently and by nature Buddha-able. Including Ron Mexico, Ron New Mexico, all the Rons in fact. And that doesn't suck one bit.
Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=13727
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5665
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Personal Experience

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests

>