Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:29 pm

wisdom wrote:... No need to identify as this or that or worry about what hat you are wearing.


Perhaps. But there's value to commitment to one path and sticking to it.
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:03 pm

The fact that people haven't come out and said "hey I feel compassion for this guy" on an internet form means little to nothing, and the attempt to analyze the thoughts and states of others based on what they write on this thread about him strikes me as a little questionable. Should I also be telling everyone I disagree with on the forum that I feel compassion for them? What things can I discuss without needing to reassure people of my compassion, or should I just state emphatically in my sig file that I have compassion?

Anyway, public displays of compassion on an internet forum probably aren't the best way to judge people's adherence to Buddhist principles..if that's even something that's worth doing.

For sure though, there is an element of the story that strikes doubt (I know it did in me..and I was not even raised Christian), that is true.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby uan » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:51 pm

Huseng wrote:I think he's grasping onto a personal identity that isn't there. He's afraid he'll lose it, wherein there really is nothing to lose.


Easy to say ... if you're already enlightened.

I for one respect his reasoning. Sometimes we (myself) can be rather glib about things, but he's actually thought deeply about what it means to take rebirth for billions and billions of years. Those "incalculable eons". This in a time when many people melt down if they need to sit on the tarmac in a cramp plane for an hour if their flight is delayed, or if their computer takes an extra 20 seconds to boot up. Or get passionate about any number of things (who wins the Super Bowl, how long the Chinese will be in Tibet) when a billion years from now, those things will have the same meaning they do today - nothing.

Namaste to Mr. Williams.
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby ocean_waves » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:55 pm

uan wrote:
Huseng wrote:I think he's grasping onto a personal identity that isn't there. He's afraid he'll lose it, wherein there really is nothing to lose.


Easy to say ... if you're already enlightened.

I for one respect his reasoning. Sometimes we (myself) can be rather glib about things, but he's actually thought deeply about what it means to take rebirth for billions and billions of years. Those "incalculable eons". This in a time when many people melt down if they need to sit on the tarmac in a cramp plane for an hour if their flight is delayed, or if their computer takes an extra 20 seconds to boot up. Or get passionate about any number of things (who wins the Super Bowl, how long the Chinese will be in Tibet) when a billion years from now, those things will have the same meaning they do today - nothing.

Namaste to Mr. Williams.


We think that when we arrive at a certain point we die, but that is not the way it is. We are already present in all corners of the universe. What is it that dies? The dead body is just our insignificant remains. We are already in all corners of the universe. We are present in our children, students, friends, readers--all the people we have made happy and all the people we have made suffer. We are in a cycle of rebirth in every instant. To say that it is only when we arrive at a certain point we die and begin to to enter the cycle of rebirth is oversimplified.... The cycle of birth and death is achieved in every moment. Self and nonself are not two distinctive entities; they are not separate.
...When we understand this and our understanding expresses itself in our life, we reach the state of non-fear. If we see it only as a theory, it will not bring us to the state of fearlessness. The state of non-fear is the state of no birth no death, of not many and not one. Without this living insight we will live in fear.

UNDERSTANDING OUR MIND, Thich Nhat Hanh


by no means do I consider myself a scholar or expert on the sutras, in fact, I do not even identify myself as a buddhist. I practice the dhamma, which for me means following the noble eightfold path, so I may complete the three turnings of the four noble truths. this is why I often hesitate to quote my teachers or any teachers... because if what I am talking about is not my experience then I don't really know what I am talking about.

I am quoting Thich Nhat Hanh above because he provides such a very clear perception of the "idea/notion/concept/mental formation of the cycle of birth and death that is the crux of Mr. Williams concern, and because his explanation has been my experience.

Mr. Williams is free to convert, re-convert, extrovert, introvert... whatever "vert" floats his boat. How he approaches or doesn't approach the dhamma is his karma... how we choose to react or not react is ours. enlightenment is not a result of "being"... your, mine, Mr. Williams, or Siddhartha Gautama [aka the Buddha].

I could be wrong, but... it seems many are staring at the Buddha's finger, totally losing sight of the moon!
Where is this "middle way" Shakyamuni Buddha talked about so much? Why do so many of these discussions end up "This or That"?

If someone asks you, What is called darkness, reply that light is the cause, darkness the condition: when light disappears, there is darkness. Darkness is revealed by light, light is revealed by darkness. Their coming and going are relative, creating the meaning of the middle way.

from "The Sutra of Hui-Neng Grand Master of Zen, translated by Thomas Cleary

:cheers:
"True seeing is called transcendence;
False seeing is worldliness:
Set aside both right and wrong,
And the nature of enlightenment is clear."
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby randomseb » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:07 am

ocean_waves wrote:
To say that it is only when we arrive at a certain point we die and begin to to enter the cycle of rebirth is oversimplified.... The cycle of birth and death is achieved in every moment.

UNDERSTANDING OUR MIND, Thich Nhat Hanh




This is an important point that seems to often be missed: Every moment is essentially a "birth", "growth", "decline" and "death" of a "self". The sense of continuity we seem to have over time is an illusion! A neurologist might be able to explain the specific details of this process, but in summary it's more or less something like: when you encounter a form, that form causes the data stuffed in your brain related to that form to emerge as the primary element of your mind, so for example if you are looking at a tree, then for that time you are a tree-concept agglomeration, let's say the tree is like the spark that initiates a "you" form as your brain conceptualizes around that dharma. This happens instantly and I am supposing the more "mindful" you are of your environment, including your internal mindscape, the more totalness of this environment sparks off a more complete mind-entity kind of form, or the reverse process of voidness to abolish fully the "selfness".

The Buddha in the Surangama sutra explains how people in general have an "inverted" view of things, where said people see "self" as something "inside" and everything else is "outside", but that in reality it's the other way around, "outside" causes the "inside" (and ultimately the outside/inside separation doesn't make any sense. "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."). If you think about this from a biological perspective (how the senses work and how the brain deals with this data), you'll perhaps see what I am trying to get at.

Lastly, you could think of an individual as a collection of form-initiated "selfs", or in other words a big pile of "sentient beings". Chapter 6 of the Sutra of Hui-neng touches briefly on this.

So now, the purpose of "not being attached to forms" might make some sense, if the dear reader of this text understands what I am trying to get at. Dear reader of this text, how many selfs has been generated in your mind from your reading of this text?

In conclusion, many, such as the scholar Paul Williams, relate to buddhism in the same way that, let's say, a christian relates to christ, or god in general, worshiping some concept-deity in the hopes of some future reward, or just worshiping in general for no particular reason, and this worship ensures the continuity of a worship-self, which is counter-productive to the Dharma teachings of the various masters :shrug:

If this post makes no sense, this is my fault.
:namaste:
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby ocean_waves » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:58 am

:bow: that is a beautiful , clarifying post randomseb!!!
"True seeing is called transcendence;
False seeing is worldliness:
Set aside both right and wrong,
And the nature of enlightenment is clear."
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby wisdom » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:11 am

I think the sad thing is that he seems to have been studying a different Buddhism than me. I don't know, maybe I'm the one who doesn't understand. The Buddhism I read about says that if you do meritorious deeds and accumulate good karma in this life, you have reason to hope for a good future rebirth (even if you have some that are not good). The Buddhism I read says that even if you go to hell it is not forever, but only until your negative karma is used up. The Buddhism I read says that you can achieve enlightenment in this very life, that enlightenment is part of your innate nature, and that there are methods whereby you might even reach enlightenment instantly in this very moment. The Buddhism I read teaches that you may remember your past lives, thereby remembering your past "selves" and so you don't really lose anything. His conclusions are all the opposite of this.

Oddly the Bible I know says that only 144,000 people will go to heaven. This means that less than 1% of the world population has any hope of not going to hell. If you go to hell, its forever and there is no hope of redemption. Furthermore good works and deeds are far more meaningless, the main thing is to accept Christ. Failure to do this and yet be a very good person will not get you into heaven, but doing this and yet being a generally bad person will somehow still get you into heaven. So not only are his chances far greater that he would go to hell as a catholic, but that it would be a permanent state without any hope.

In other words Buddhism holds out a lot more hope for the future than Catholicism from my view. Even though the goal is to go beyond hope and fear, nevertheless conventionally it appears that Buddhism is more hopeful of the future than Catholicism is.

If anything I think he just didn't make a connection with the right teachers. But maybe I'm wrong.

May his work for Dharma in this life provide him with a fortunate rebirth!
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:13 am

wisdom wrote:Oddly the Bible I know says that only 144,000 people will go to heaven.
You'd think Christians would stop trying to convert others since the more Christians = the lower their odds of going to heaven. Heck, if I was a Christian, I'd encourage people to convert away from Christianity.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby jeeprs » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:23 am

wisdom wrote:I think the sad thing is that he seems to have been studying a different Buddhism than me. I don't know, maybe I'm the one who doesn't understand. The Buddhism I read about says that if you do meritorious deeds and accumulate good karma in this life, you have reason to hope for a good future rebirth (even if you have some that are not good). The Buddhism I read says that even if you go to hell it is not forever, but only until your negative karma is used up. The Buddhism I read says that you can achieve enlightenment in this very life, that enlightenment is part of your innate nature, and that there are methods whereby you might even reach enlightenment instantly in this very moment. The Buddhism I read teaches that you may remember your past lives, thereby remembering your past "selves" and so you don't really lose anything. His conclusions are all the opposite of this.


That is how I feel too and why I wrote the post in the first place. I don't understand how he could have written all those perceptive books, and then somehow arrived at the views that he did. And when he says 'what about me?'

What is my point here? My point is this: What is so terrifying about my being executed at dawn and reborn as a cockroach is that it is simply, quite straightforwardly, the end of me. I cannot imagine being reborn as a cockroach because there is nothing to imagine. I quite simply would not be there at all. If rebirth is true, neither I nor any of my loved ones survive death. With rebirth, for me – the actual person I am – the story really is over. There may be another being living its life in some sort of causal connection with the life that was me (influenced by my karma), but for me there is no more. That is it – end of it. There is no more to be said about me.


He seems to be overlooking a fundamental teaching of Jesus which is 'He who saves his own life will loose it; he who looses his life for My sake will be saved'. Not much room for 'me' in that equation, I would have thought. The point of the teaching would seem to be self-sacrifice, rather than preserving 'me'.

Besides I don't feel completely estranged from Christianity. I don't think i could tolerate actually becoming a member of a Christian church, because I wouldn't get along with them. But the life and teaching of Jesus still rings true to me. I don't perceive much of a conflict between the core teachings of Christ and Buddha. (In truth I am equally poor at enacting either of them.)

One thing am very sceptical about with Christian teaching is the emphasis put on 'believing'. Belief plays its part, because you have to believe that a spiritual teaching is worth making an effort for. But if you believe it, then the belief is useful insofar as it motivates you to walk the walk. A lot of Christianity seems an excuse not to have to make that effort, as if belief alone is sufficient. The major difference with the Buddhist teaching is that it is not only about believing, but about what you actually do. I say this even as someone who is conscious of their own inability to properly enact the course of action prescribed by the Buddha. But I am not scared to be responsible for that.
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby uan » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:33 am

Konchog1 wrote:
wisdom wrote:Oddly the Bible I know says that only 144,000 people will go to heaven.
You'd think Christians would stop trying to convert others since the more Christians = the lower their odds of going to heaven. Heck, if I was a Christian, I'd encourage people to convert away from Christianity.


it is silly when we listen to Christians (or Muslims, etc.) talk as if they have full and complete knowledge of Buddhism. It is just as silly in the opposite direction. The 144,000 deals with the Book of Revelations and the end times. Not that these are the only people that will ever get to heaven. I'm being overly simple here, not having been raised a Christian, though raised in a Christian country.
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby wisdom » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:55 am

uan wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:
wisdom wrote:Oddly the Bible I know says that only 144,000 people will go to heaven.
You'd think Christians would stop trying to convert others since the more Christians = the lower their odds of going to heaven. Heck, if I was a Christian, I'd encourage people to convert away from Christianity.


it is silly when we listen to Christians (or Muslims, etc.) talk as if they have full and complete knowledge of Buddhism. It is just as silly in the opposite direction. The 144,000 deals with the Book of Revelations and the end times. Not that these are the only people that will ever get to heaven. I'm being overly simple here, not having been raised a Christian, though raised in a Christian country.


This is true. I actually have a Gnostic and Kabbalistic perspective on the Bible and think most of the book is misunderstood.
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby Nighthawk » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:04 am

The "144 000" people only go to heaven is a jehova's witness belief. A minority sect within Christianity.
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby futerko » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:41 am

jeeprs wrote:
wisdom wrote:I think the sad thing is that he seems to have been studying a different Buddhism than me. I don't know, maybe I'm the one who doesn't understand. The Buddhism I read about says that if you do meritorious deeds and accumulate good karma in this life, you have reason to hope for a good future rebirth (even if you have some that are not good). The Buddhism I read says that even if you go to hell it is not forever, but only until your negative karma is used up. The Buddhism I read says that you can achieve enlightenment in this very life, that enlightenment is part of your innate nature, and that there are methods whereby you might even reach enlightenment instantly in this very moment. The Buddhism I read teaches that you may remember your past lives, thereby remembering your past "selves" and so you don't really lose anything. His conclusions are all the opposite of this.


That is how I feel too and why I wrote the post in the first place. I don't understand how he could have written all those perceptive books, and then somehow arrived at the views that he did. And when he says 'what about me?'
Exactly, he doesn't claim that his practice will make any "objective" difference, he just chooses a self-centred approach on the premise that it suits his own ego-clinging.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:19 pm

The phenomenon of Westerners who struggle to practice and then give up after some time is not so uncommon. It doesn't surprise me even when it is a scholar like Paul Williams. That is because the practice of dharma is difficult and it takes A LONG TIME to make real progress in the context of the Buddhist path.

We should remember number five of the six recognitions:

The recognition that the dharma is to be stayed with for a long time.


Due to our habituation with the afflictions it will take great effort over a long period for most of us to make real progress. We need to be realistic but also have faith that what we are doing does make a difference, even if the results can't be seen immediately.

Geshe Sonam mentioned to me that IN GENERAL, in his experience, for Tibetan and Viet Namese/Chinese practitioners, it seems they are from the beginning committed to dharma although not so serious about cultivating to really change the mind. Westerners, he said, are very fickle in that because they are so result driven of 10 who come through the doors of a dharma centre, maybe 1 will stay for the long term. However, Geshe la noted that the ones who do stay tend to be very serious practitioners who came to have faith through their own study and practice, so that is what gives him hope to continue teaching in the West.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby randomseb » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:49 pm

jeeprs wrote: But the life and teaching of Jesus still rings true to me. I don't perceive much of a conflict between the core teachings of Christ and Buddha. (In truth I am equally poor at enacting either of them.)


Although this is a completely different topic which I am sure there is some long threads about already, I'll say that to me, the evidence is pretty strong that Jesus traveled to India in his younger days and studied the dharma there before returning in his 30's and trying to teach said teachings using a jewish faith based support framework (so as to use the language and metaphors the locals were familiar with as opposed to India's language and metaphors). There used to be two flavors of christianity, one which was very similar to teachings about the dharma, and there was the more socio-political faction that eventually became the sole one due to the support of an Emperor (and this makes sense from a political standpoint, taking over an organization and eradicating the competition, you know?) and the gnostic version was mostly destroyed.

Either way, the bible contains a few examples of "meditation retreat" resulting in "enlightenment". They call it "40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness". They even have somewhat of an attempt at describing the feeling of this "enlightenment" when Jesus did it when he was first getting baptized by John in some river, in Matthews I think.

Like any religion, most people end up worshiping the finger instead of realizing the moon the finger is pointing to.
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby wayland » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:04 pm

it is simply, quite straightforwardly, the end of me.

That sums it up. He is scared of his annihilation and Christianity promises him a 'life after death'. I can understand his concern and hope he is happy now. Wrong view but his call.
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby jeeprs » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:37 pm

randomseb wrote: There used to be two flavors of christianity, one which was very similar to teachings about the dharma, and there was the more socio-political faction that eventually became the sole one due to the support of an Emperor (and this makes sense from a political standpoint, taking over an organization and eradicating the competition, you know?) and the gnostic version was mostly destroyed.


That is true. When I studied comparative religion many years ago, we looked into the Gnostic gospels and the Nag Hammadi discoveries that provided a lot of new information about the gnostics. It is a bit dangerous to generalize, because the gnostic teachings themselves were very diverse, and not a consistent and homogenous set of ideas. But in them was a kind of 'higher wisdom teaching' which was very 'eastern' in orientation, but that was ultimately suppressed in the formation of what became orthodoxy. This has been explored by Elaine Pagels in books such as Beyond Belief.

JKhedrup wrote:Due to our habituation with the afflictions it will take great effort over a long period for most of us to make real progress. We need to be realistic but also have faith that what we are doing does make a difference, even if the results can't be seen immediately.


I have always found there are some immediate results, but at the same time many of the afflictions persist. They might even lay dormant for a long while but they re-surface. But it is still possible to sense progress. I think it is a matter of having realistic expectations, which is basically abandoning expectations.
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:25 pm

randomseb wrote:
jeeprs wrote: But the life and teaching of Jesus still rings true to me. I don't perceive much of a conflict between the core teachings of Christ and Buddha. (In truth I am equally poor at enacting either of them.)


Although this is a completely different topic which I am sure there is some long threads about already, I'll say that to me, the evidence is pretty strong that Jesus traveled to India in his younger days and studied the dharma there before returning in his 30's and trying to teach said teachings using a jewish faith based support framework (so as to use the language and metaphors the locals were familiar with as opposed to India's language and metaphors). There used to be two flavors of christianity, one which was very similar to teachings about the dharma, and there was the more socio-political faction that eventually became the sole one due to the support of an Emperor (and this makes sense from a political standpoint, taking over an organization and eradicating the competition, you know?) and the gnostic version was mostly destroyed.

Either way, the bible contains a few examples of "meditation retreat" resulting in "enlightenment". They call it "40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness". They even have somewhat of an attempt at describing the feeling of this "enlightenment" when Jesus did it when he was first getting baptized by John in some river, in Matthews I think.

Like any religion, most people end up worshiping the finger instead of realizing the moon the finger is pointing to.
Or as Nietzsche put it: "there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross."
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby PorkChop » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:01 am

wisdom wrote:In other words Buddhism holds out a lot more hope for the future than Catholicism from my view. Even though the goal is to go beyond hope and fear, nevertheless conventionally it appears that Buddhism is more hopeful of the future than Catholicism is.

If anything I think he just didn't make a connection with the right teachers. But maybe I'm wrong.

May his work for Dharma in this life provide him with a fortunate rebirth!


Call me crazy, naive, or uneducated, but I think he probably should've given Pure Land (or buddhanusatti from the Pali Suttas) another look...
He was obviously interested in Buddhist ethics & philosophy, so not sure why he'd want to give that up.
I know he made these comments, but I think he has some misunderstandings of Mind, Buddha-Nature, Emptiness, and Thus-ness.
He also doesn't seem to like the character of Amitabha/Dharmakara, which is why I mention the Pali Sutta version - in to satisfy his need for the historicity of the Buddha.
If he wanted a heaven to hope for, the Pure Lands (and the Pure Abodes of the Pali Suttas) are just as good as anything in Catholicism.
Hrmm... sit around and study Dharma all day? or sit around, playing a harp & singing the praises of God with the angels all day? Tough call.
Didn't need to become enlightened (or achieve liberation) in this lifetime, this is true even in the Pali Suttas - where householders who can't renounce but have faith in the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, & Devas while practicing buddhanusatti, sila, and mind training go to a Pure Abode & realize Nirvana right away; even if they die from alcoholism.
As you pointed out, becoming enlightened involves the 3 knowledges, which includes past lives so there is no annihilation...
The only issue I see is whether or not bodhisattas can ever be born there (Pure Abodes in the Pali), the fact that the old Mahayana masters recommend it makes me think maybe they can.
Or maybe he also really needs the idea of a creator God.

On the other hand, sometimes I do see how it's hard to have hope in Buddhism - but I'm not really sure that hopelessness is the message the Buddha intended.
He definitely didn't go around telling everyone that everything short of Nirvana was pointless (just that it was not the highest level of attainment or ultimate freedom):
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ksw0.html
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Re: Buddhist Scholar Paul Williams Conversion to Catholicism

Postby jeeprs » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:44 am

I think it all depends on your archetypes, deep unconscious structures which dictate a lot of what you see in life. The types of interpretation that Paul Williams reaches are based on something happening at that level. He simply is more the 'archetypical Christian'. Sounds cliched, but it might be the simple truth of that matter. In one of the linked interviews from this thread, he speaks about how he never really 'converted' to Buddhism, and this is probably another simple truth. 'Conversion' is something that happens on a deep level. When that happens it is a much deeper type of change than an intellectual conviction. 'Conversion' really means a kind of re-configuration, a turning in the deep seat of the mind.

So perhaps in Mr Williams case, what has happened is that a deep encounter with Buddhist spirituality actually re-awakened his latent Christian archetypes, and helped him to realize his identity as Christian. And I don't think anyone here would begrudge him that. HH The Dalai Lama frequently recommends that Western people who are drawn to Buddhism should be thoroughly certain that they might not be better off in their ancestral religion first.
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