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Re: interfaith christenity and buddhism

Postby Heruka » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:12 am

KeithBC wrote:I have heard various rationalizations to make the Christian god palatable to Buddhists, such as that he isn't really the creator, he just thinks he is. That is fine if it makes it easier to relate to your Christian friends. But is is not what Christians believe.


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tashi delek keith, its hard enough to get a modern christian to accept that it is just a morph of ancient egyptian sun worship.

Amun [i mean Ahmen....cough....] et all.
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Re: interfaith christenity and buddhism

Postby Heruka » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:17 am

Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu (also spelled Amon, Amoun, Amen, and rarely Imen or Yamun, Greek Ἄμμων Ammon, and Ἅμμων Hammon), was a God in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt. Whilst remaining hypostatic deities, Amun represented the essential and hidden, whilst in Ra he represented revealed divinity. As the creator deity "par excellence", he was the champion of the poor and central to personal piety. Amun was self created, without mother and father, and during the New Kingdom he became the greatest expression of transcendental deity in Egyptian theology. He was not considered to be immanent within creation nor was creation seen as an extension of himself. Amun-Ra did not physically engender the universe. His position as King of Gods developed to the point of virtual monotheism where other Gods became manifestations of him. With Osiris, Amun-Ra is the most widely recorded of the Egyptian gods.[1] He was also widely worshipped in the neighboring regions of Ancient Libya and Nubia.
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Re: interfaith christenity and buddhism

Postby Kyosan » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:14 pm

Many Christians interpret the the bible literally, but perhaps to a large extent it's meant to be interpreted metaphorically. God is thought of as a supernatural being but I suspect that there is a deeper meaning.

When I looked at Christian and Islamic mysticism (the internal practice of these religions), I was amazed at the similarities between their practices and Buddhist practices. They seek to directly experience God. What do they mean by God? I'm not sure but suspect that they don't see God as a supernatural being.
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Re: interfaith christenity and buddhism

Postby meindzai » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:53 pm

Is the Christian god subject to birth, old age, and death? Such are all beings in Samsara, including the heavens.

-M
"The Dharma is huge." - Rael
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Re: interfaith christenity and buddhism

Postby Dexing » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:21 am

meindzai wrote:Is the Christian god subject to birth, old age, and death? Such are all beings in Samsara, including the heavens.

-M


The Christian god is not a sentient being, but merely an idea they hold. Such mental events as we know go through similar states of arising, persisting, and eventual passing away. They cannot hold it for one lifetime, much less forever.

:namaste:
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Re: interfaith christenity and buddhism

Postby Kyosan » Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:57 am

Dexing wrote:
meindzai wrote:Is the Christian god subject to birth, old age, and death? Such are all beings in Samsara, including the heavens.

-M


The Christian god is not a sentient being, but merely an idea they hold. Such mental events as we know go through similar states of arising, persisting, and eventual passing away. They cannot hold it for one lifetime, much less forever.

:namaste:


Most Christians see God as a sentient being who does not experience birth, old age and death. But I agree with Dexing that this God is merely an idea they hold.
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Re: interfaith christenity and buddhism

Postby Tree » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:00 pm

I've just cast off the last shackles of Christianity. I've decided to dedicate myself to Buddhism from now on. Really I'm returning after a 5 year break from Buddha Dharma.

I grew tired of being expected to hate homosexuals and discriminate against this and that person. I got tire of the denominational battles for superiority.

Any fundamentalist or literalist thought is abusive in my opinion. Whether that's Christian or Buddhist. It definitely exists in Buddhism. I just no longer associate with Dharma-mentalists.
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Re: interfaith christenity and buddhism

Postby meindzai » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:26 pm

Kyosan wrote:Most Christians see God as a sentient being who does not experience birth, old age and death. But I agree with Dexing that this God is merely an idea they hold.


Yes, but a truly powerful and often dangerous idea.

-M
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Re: interfaith christenity and buddhism

Postby Kyosan » Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:01 pm

meindzai wrote:
Kyosan wrote:Most Christians see God as a sentient being who does not experience birth, old age and death. But I agree with Dexing that this God is merely an idea they hold.


Yes, but a truly powerful and often dangerous idea.

-M

When I talk to Christians about this I just say that God can be understood in different ways and I suspect that God is more than some fellow who thinks "I'm going to do this" or "I'm going to do that".

Some people might think that being a Buddhist, Kyosan's opinion of who/what God is doesn't count. Well, I was raised as a Christian and latter became a Buddhist so I think it does count some.
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Re: interfaith christenity and buddhism

Postby Kyosan » Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:27 pm

Tree wrote:I've just cast off the last shackles of Christianity. I've decided to dedicate myself to Buddhism from now on.


Same here. I no longer care about Christianity except I sometimes think about it when interacting with Christians.

Tree wrote:Any fundamentalist or literalist thought is abusive in my opinion. Whether that's Christian or Buddhist. It definitely exists in Buddhism. I just no longer associate with Dharma-mentalists.


People attach to Buddhism the same way that they attack to other things. One thing that I like about Buddhism is that ultimately all attachments are to be dropped and that includes attachment to Buddhism itself. Ultimately one becomes a more humane person, a person who cares about all sentient beings including people of other religious/political beliefs and homosexuals.
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Re: interfaith christenity and buddhism

Postby Tree » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:10 pm

Kyosan wrote:People attach to Buddhism the same way that they attack to other things. One thing that I like about Buddhism is that ultimately all attachments are to be dropped and that includes attachment to Buddhism itself. Ultimately one becomes a more humane person, a person who cares about all sentient beings including people of other religious/political beliefs and homosexuals.


Well said. :applause: :buddha2:
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God in Buddhism

Postby Serenity509 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:31 am

I am a Westerner raised in a Christian household. I've been attracted to Buddhist principles for some time, especially as it relates to making oneself a more peaceful and compassionate person. This Sunday, I attended a Buddhist service for the first time, and was surprised to hear its supplications to the Buddha. I've always heard that Buddhism is a nontheistic religion that doesn't regard Siddhārtha Gautama as a divine figure. Are these supplications interpreted in a non-literal sense, in which "I take refuge in the Buddha" really means "I take refuge in your teaching"?

While I believe in a higher power, I am very open and loose in terms of defining It. I believe that there is a compassionate Spirit that pervades the universe and indwells us all. Whether one terms this Spirit as the cosmic Buddha or the cosmic Christ doesn't make too much of a difference to me. I believe that the historical Buddha and the historical Jesus were in contact with the same spiritual reality.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Tara » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:43 am

Serenity509 wrote:I am a Westerner raised in a Christian household. I've been attracted to Buddhist principles for some time, especially as it relates to making oneself a more peaceful and compassionate person. This Sunday, I attended a Buddhist service for the first time, and was surprised to hear its supplications to the Buddha. I've always heard that Buddhism is a nontheistic religion that doesn't regard Siddhārtha Gautama as a divine figure. Are these supplications interpreted in a non-literal sense, in which "I take refuge in the Buddha" really means "I take refuge in your teaching"?

While I believe in a higher power, I am very open and loose in terms of defining It. I believe that there is a compassionate Spirit that pervades the universe and indwells us all. Whether one terms this Spirit as the cosmic Buddha or the cosmic Christ doesn't make too much of a difference to me. I believe that the historical Buddha and the historical Jesus were in contact with the same spiritual reality.


Hi Serenity509,

You might find some of the posts in this thread (which incidentally has the same title as this one) interesting.

Regards,
rt
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:33 am

Serenity509 wrote:I am a Westerner raised in a Christian household. I've been attracted to Buddhist principles for some time, especially as it relates to making oneself a more peaceful and compassionate person. This Sunday, I attended a Buddhist service for the first time, and was surprised to hear its supplications to the Buddha. I've always heard that Buddhism is a nontheistic religion that doesn't regard Siddhārtha Gautama as a divine figure. Are these supplications interpreted in a non-literal sense, in which "I take refuge in the Buddha" really means "I take refuge in your teaching"?

While I believe in a higher power, I am very open and loose in terms of defining It. I believe that there is a compassionate Spirit that pervades the universe and indwells us all. Whether one terms this Spirit as the cosmic Buddha or the cosmic Christ doesn't make too much of a difference to me. I believe that the historical Buddha and the historical Jesus were in contact with the same spiritual reality.


Buddha is on record having rejected the existence of a creator god. That being said, there are gods in Buddhist cosmology, but they are subject to birth and death, and one does not take refuge in them.

See the following quotes:

'As far as the suns and moons extend their courses and the regions of the sky shine in splendour, there is a thousandfold world system. In each single one of these there are a thousand suns, moons, Meru Mountains, four times a thousand continents and oceans, a thousand heavens of all stages of the realm of sense pleasure, a thousand Brahma worlds. As far as a thousandfold world system reaches in other words, the universe], the Great God is the highest being. But even the Great God is subject to coming-to-be and ceasing-to-be.' -- Anguttara-Nikaya X 29

"God truthfully answers [the questions of the Buddha] in succession: 'Good sir, those views I previously held are not mine; I see the radiance the world of God as passing; how could I say that I am permanent and eternal?'" MN 83

"There are some ascetics and brahmins who declare as their doctrine that all things began with the creation by God, or Brahma."

Anguttara Nikaya 3.61: "Again, monks, I [the Buddha] approached those ascetic and brahmins and said to them: 'Is it true, as they say, that you venerable ones teach and hold the view that whatever a person experiences...all that is caused by God's creation?' When they affirmed it, I said to them: 'If that is so, venerable sirs, then it is due to God's creation that people kill, steal ...[and otherwise act badly]. But those who have recourse to God's creation as the decisive factor, will lack the impulse and the effort doing this or not doing that. Since for them, really and truly, no (motive) obtains that this or that ought to be done or not be done...."'

"If the pleasure and pain that beings feel are caused the creative act of a Supreme God [Issara-nimmana-hetu], then the Niganthas [Jains] surely must have been created by an evil Supreme God." MajjhimaNikaya II 222.

"The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God." MN II 68.

"He who eyes can see the sickening sight, why does not God set his creatures right? If his wide power no limits can restrain, why is his hand so rarely spread to bless? Why are his creatures all condemned to pain? Why does he not to all give happiness? Why do fraud, lies, and ignorance prevail? Why triumphs falsehood, -truth and justice fail? I count your God unjust in making a world in which to shelter wrong." J VI.208

"If God designs the life of the entire world -- the glory and the misery, the good and the evil acts, man is but an instrument of his will and God alone is responsible." J V.238.



There is no room for an omnipotent creator god in Buddhism.

Are these supplications interpreted in a non-literal sense, in which "I take refuge in the Buddha" really means "I take refuge in your teaching"?


The refuges include refuge in the Buddha, his dharma (teaching) and his community (the sangha). Taking refuge in the Buddha is an acknowledgement that one believes the Buddha is the best of teachers, his teaching the best of teachings and his community a manifestation of those teachings.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:23 am

Serenity509 wrote:I am a Westerner raised in a Christian household. I've been attracted to Buddhist principles for some time, especially as it relates to making oneself a more peaceful and compassionate person. This Sunday, I attended a Buddhist service for the first time, and was surprised to hear its supplications to the Buddha. I've always heard that Buddhism is a nontheistic religion that doesn't regard Siddhārtha Gautama as a divine figure. Are these supplications interpreted in a non-literal sense, in which "I take refuge in the Buddha" really means "I take refuge in your teaching"?

While I believe in a higher power, I am very open and loose in terms of defining It. I believe that there is a compassionate Spirit that pervades the universe and indwells us all. Whether one terms this Spirit as the cosmic Buddha or the cosmic Christ doesn't make too much of a difference to me. I believe that the historical Buddha and the historical Jesus were in contact with the same spiritual reality.


Hi Serenity. Perhaps you would like to read some introductory books on Buddhist teachings.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:25 am

Thank you for such a nice post. There are many schools of Buddhism, and, as I am sure you know in Christianity, faith in Jesus of means different things to different people. Likewise, the different schools of Buddhism emphasize different things.

You asked, "Are these supplications interpreted in a non-literal sense, in which "I take refuge in the Buddha" really means "I take refuge in your teaching"? and the short answer is yes -and no. The Buddha was a person who lived about 2500 years ago. "Buddha" means someone who has awakened to the truth of how things are. When Buddhists "take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha" it means that the buddha is the example. What he awakened to, you or I can also awaken to. The Dharma is the path to that awakening, and the Sangha is the family of all others who are on this path.

Strictly speaking, there is no god in Buddhsim, the way you would think of god in the Christian sense, as a divine creator, and the Buddha is not the same as a god. So, taking refuge in the Buddha is not the same thing as 'accepting Christ as my personal savior'.

At the same time, you have mentioned some similarities in terms of a 'compassionate spirit'. Buddhism does not maintain any idea of a soul or permanent spirit, but it is generally held that all beings want to be free from suffering, to have peace of mind, to feel loved and so forth. Even tiny insects struggle to live, to not get eaten and so forth. Of course, there are a lot of differences between Christianity and Buddhism, and there is no shortage of experts here who can point out all the technical reasons why the two belief systems are not the same.

I think what you realize is that it doesn't really matter a whole lot what kind of label you put on something. What matters is what you actually do. Christ's "dharma" was the path of forgiveness, and he based that on the idea that we are all not perfect. "Let him without sin cast the first stone" and so forth. "Sin" is not really a factor in Buddhism either. There are things to do and things not to do, but these are there to help one stay focused and end suffering. Forgiveness is not really emphasized specifically in Buddhism, but as I understand it, Christ based his path of forgiveness on the premise that all people are equal (as he would say, "in the eyes of God" --Buddhists wouldn't add that) and in general, this idea of equanimity is shared in the various Buddhist teachings, but based on different sets of premises.

That "'same spiritual reality" you mentioned is compassion-- true compassion, which is unlimited.
It isn't one shape or color, it extends effortlessly to all beings.

I am interested to know what type of Buddhist thing it was that you visited.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:49 am

Serenity509 wrote:I am a Westerner raised in a Christian household. I've been attracted to Buddhist principles for some time, especially as it relates to making oneself a more peaceful and compassionate person. This Sunday, I attended a Buddhist service for the first time, and was surprised to hear its supplications to the Buddha. I've always heard that Buddhism is a nontheistic religion that doesn't regard Siddhārtha Gautama as a divine figure. Are these supplications interpreted in a non-literal sense, in which "I take refuge in the Buddha" really means "I take refuge in your teaching"?

While I believe in a higher power, I am very open and loose in terms of defining It. I believe that there is a compassionate Spirit that pervades the universe and indwells us all. Whether one terms this Spirit as the cosmic Buddha or the cosmic Christ doesn't make too much of a difference to me. I believe that the historical Buddha and the historical Jesus were in contact with the same spiritual reality.


Taking refuge in the Buddha means through reading/listening to his teachings and contemplating them, one has come to be convinced that he realized the real condition of his "self" and of all phenomena and therefore became enlightened and transcended suffering, and that he - and other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and individuals thoroughly trained in his teachings - is therefore uniquely qualified as a guide to help one realize the same. So one turns to him (and the other enlightened and trained ones I mentioned) as one's ultimate guide to one's own enlightenment.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Serenity509 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:41 am

My belief in God is similar to Hinduism. It could also be termed panentheism. I believe that God is the oversoul of the universe. I believe that God, while ultimately transpersonal, can be related to on a personal level. I believe that there is a piece of God within us all and the purpose of Enlightenment is to become one with God. This video is similar to what I believe:

Meher Baba and the Evolution of Consciousness
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNEkQmxM4d0

I've been reading about the Shin Buddhist concept of Amida Buddha and it seems similar to how I would view God. The temple that I visited is Shin Buddhist.

http://www.bcahq.org/index.php/about-us/shin-buddhism

For what it's worth, this is my result on the Beliefomatic quiz:

1. Mahayana Buddhism (100%)
2. Hinduism (94%)
3. Theravada Buddhism (93%)
4. Liberal Quakers (92%)
5. Jainism (91%)
6. Neo-Pagan (89%)
7. Unitarian Universalism (89%)
8. New Age (88%)
9. Sikhism (84%)
10. Baha'i Faith (82%)
11. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (75%)
12. Orthodox Quaker (74%)
13. Taoism (69%)
14. Reform Judaism (58%)
15. New Thought (53%)
16. Orthodox Judaism (53%)
17. Seventh Day Adventist (52%)
18. Scientology (49%)
19. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (46%)
20. Islam (43%)
21. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (42%)
22. Secular Humanism (42%)
23. Eastern Orthodox (39%)
24. Roman Catholic (39%)
25. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (37%)
26. Jehovah's Witness (35%)
27. Nontheist (24%)
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:47 am

So you have been reading about Shin Buddhism? That's good.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Serenity509 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:52 am

LastLegend wrote:So you have been reading about Shin Buddhism? That's good.


The books I am currently reading are Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh, The Way to Freedom: Core Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism by the Dalai Lama, and The Dhammapada.
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