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Author Topic: Article considering common Ground for Orthodoxy and Buddhism - Anyone read it?  (Read 4897 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 11, 2010, 11:48:20 PM »

Has anyone read this article titled Marking Out Common Ground for Eastern Orthodoxy and Mahāyāna Buddhism: Correspondences in the Works of Gregory of Nyssa and the Mahāparinirvāna Sūtra , by David K. Goodin?

http://www.theandros.com/orthomahayana.html

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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2010, 12:06:45 AM »

Well, in answer to your question no, I had not read it but now since you posted the link, yes, now I have read it.  Is there perhaps a further question you wanted to ask other than if I have read it?  

laugh  Wink
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2010, 12:13:09 AM »

Well, in answer to your question no, I had not read it but now since you posted the link, yes, now I have read it.  Is there perhaps a further question you wanted to ask other than if I have read it?  

laugh  Wink

Wow, that was quick reading. Did you do a speed reading course, or something. It takes me ages to digest stuff I read online.

As to the article, I assumed asking people if they had read the article would automatically engender responses regarding opinions. Silly me, I should be more pedantic in stating specifics, I suppose.  Wink

So what is your opinion of the article?
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2010, 12:41:58 AM »

Wow, that was quick reading. Did you do a speed reading course, or something. It takes me ages to digest stuff I read online.

As to the article, I assumed asking people if they had read the article would automatically engender responses regarding opinions. Silly me, I should be more pedantic in stating specifics, I suppose.  Wink

So what is your opinion of the article?

I started reading at the age of 2 and this talent has stayed with me throughout my life ... I am not sure why but I can absorb what I am reading online much faster than what I read in print ... but that is not the topic of this thread.

I was being cheeky with you and am glad that you were cheeky with me in your response (rather than taking an offense), this is good!!  Cool

What do I think? I am thinking many things but I dont want to express them yet as I still wish to digest.
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2010, 01:12:46 AM »

Wow, that was quick reading. Did you do a speed reading course, or something. It takes me ages to digest stuff I read online.

As to the article, I assumed asking people if they had read the article would automatically engender responses regarding opinions. Silly me, I should be more pedantic in stating specifics, I suppose.  Wink

So what is your opinion of the article?

I started reading at the age of 2 and this talent has stayed with me throughout my life ... I am not sure why but I can absorb what I am reading online much faster than what I read in print ... but that is not the topic of this thread.

I was being cheeky with you and am glad that you were cheeky with me in your response (rather than taking an offense), this is good!!  Cool

What do I think? I am thinking many things but I dont want to express them yet as I still wish to digest.


Righto. Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2010, 01:14:54 AM »

Righto. Smiley

It is a very comprehensive and complex topic to compare Buddhism with EO, one needs to be a specialist in both - which I am not.

What did YOU think of the article?
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2010, 01:23:15 AM »

I'm afraid I'll have to go over the Buddhist section later, it's been a few years. Some of the Orthodox section is new to me. Did I read right or was the soul part of this world after we die, that it sinks into the ground, until the time when all is restored?
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2010, 01:28:44 AM »

Righto. Smiley

It is a very comprehensive and complex topic to compare Buddhism with EO, one needs to be a specialist in both - which I am not.

What did YOU think of the article?

Well, I'm still trying to get my head around it. I can see the parralels between St Gregory's worldview and that of Mahayana Buddhism - and that really doesn't surprise me - the one seeking and achieving "blessed passionlessness" by the intellect and self-improvement (for want of a better term) and one through the sacraments/Grace/Christ. But as you say, it's very complex and I had hoped that someone on here had read it and had a better grasp on the topic than I have! I think I have to read it again!  laugh
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2010, 01:38:14 AM »

I'm afraid I'll have to go over the Buddhist section later, it's been a few years. Some of the Orthodox section is new to me. Did I read right or was the soul part of this world after we die, that it sinks into the ground, until the time when all is restored?

It seems that for St Gregory, death represents a return of the body to the dust of the earth; which is all connected with the created order. But there's something confusing like a world-soul to which the soul joins and awaits resurrection. I'm not guaranteeing that I have comprehended this concept correctly!  Undecided
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« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2010, 01:40:51 AM »

Buddhism=idolatry.
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« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2010, 01:49:16 AM »

Well, I'm still trying to get my head around it. I can see the parralels between St Gregory's worldview and that of Mahayana Buddhism - and that really doesn't surprise me - the one seeking and achieving "blessed passionlessness" by the intellect and self-improvement (for want of a better term) and one through the sacraments/Grace/Christ. But as you say, it's very complex and I had hoped that someone on here had read it and had a better grasp on the topic than I have! I think I have to read it again!  laugh


What annoys me with papers is that the author studying the material usually has to make certain assumptions ... in this paper the assumption is (without being able to verify this assumption with the original author) that St Gregory has drawn his theology from the Buddhist ... that is quite dangerous in my opinion. To me, St Gregory wrote his poetry and work through divine inspiration and grace, that is of a higher authority than "cheating" using "other religious" material ...

Like you said, to be an expert to comment on the parallels one really does need to have studied Buddhism through the eyes of the Eastern Buddhist and not the contemporary West view of Buddhism ...

Think about it ... we have contemporary western ideas about Eastern Orthodoxy and these often do not truly represent the mystical eastern thinking of the ascetical fathers ...
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« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2010, 01:51:22 AM »

Buddhism=idolatry.

An astute and helpful observation.
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« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2010, 01:56:36 AM »

What annoys me with papers is that the author studying the material usually has to make certain assumptions ... in this paper the assumption is (without being able to verify this assumption with the original author) that St Gregory has drawn his theology from the Buddhist ... that is quite dangerous in my opinion. To me, St Gregory wrote his poetry and work through divine inspiration and grace, that is of a higher authority than "cheating" using "other religious" material ...

Like you said, to be an expert to comment on the parallels one really does need to have studied Buddhism through the eyes of the Eastern Buddhist and not the contemporary West view of Buddhism ...

Think about it ... we have contemporary western ideas about Eastern Orthodoxy and these often do not truly represent the mystical eastern thinking of the ascetical fathers ...

Well then the burden would also fall on the PhD candidate to prove that whatever texts he sees as being influential were translated and readily available to the saint, and that the saint was able to contextualize the writing properly by having at least some interaction with a teacher.  I haven't read the article, and likely won't have time for a week or so, but if he really makes that claim, it's pretty far-reaching and had better be based on more than some kind of a hunch because of similarity between the material.
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« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2010, 02:02:16 AM »

Well then the burden would also fall on the PhD candidate to prove that whatever texts he sees and being influential were translated and readily available to the saint, and that the saint was able to contextualize the writing properly by having at least some interaction with a teacher.  I haven't read the article, and likely won't have time for a week or so, but if he really makes that claim, it's pretty far-reaching and had better be based on more than some kind of a hunch because of similarity between the material.

Then I look forward to your review of the paper ... it is my feeling he bases it on "hunches" due to similarities and proceeds to prove that by comparison of the philosophies ... Perhaps I should re-read.
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« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2010, 02:06:51 AM »

Well, I'm still trying to get my head around it. I can see the parralels between St Gregory's worldview and that of Mahayana Buddhism - and that really doesn't surprise me - the one seeking and achieving "blessed passionlessness" by the intellect and self-improvement (for want of a better term) and one through the sacraments/Grace/Christ. But as you say, it's very complex and I had hoped that someone on here had read it and had a better grasp on the topic than I have! I think I have to read it again!  laugh


What annoys me with papers is that the author studying the material usually has to make certain assumptions ... in this paper the assumption is (without being able to verify this assumption with the original author) that St Gregory has drawn his theology from the Buddhist ... that is quite dangerous in my opinion. To me, St Gregory wrote his poetry and work through divine inspiration and grace, that is of a higher authority than "cheating" using "other religious" material ...


I don't see that the writer claims that St Gregory drew his ideas from Buddhism, but that the ideas grew simultaneously - perhaps with contact - and yet probably without contact at all. If there is truth in what St Gregory teaches and what St Gregory teaches is Orthodox - and if those teachings correlate to certain teachings of Buddhism than it is a truth that is from God; albeit it incomplete because it hadn't received full revelation (if you know what I mean). Just like the truths that the ancient Greek Philosophers come to acknowledge without ever being Christian believers. Therefore, the thrust of the article is that we can use the common ground between the areas of thought; Orthodoxy and Buddhism - in other words using what God has given both to bring those outside into the Church.
  
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« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2010, 02:30:39 AM »

Buddhism=idolatry.

An astute and helpful observation.

Thankyou. No problems.
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« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2010, 02:30:39 AM »

Mahayana Buddhism is the extreme messianic type of Buddhism , the type which says Buddha had a virgin birth and ascended to become a "divine master" and will re-appear in the end of times as Maitreya Buddha by the way.
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« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2010, 02:47:54 AM »

Interesting read. Thanks Riddikulus!
I've always seen paralells between Orthodoxy and Mahayana Buddhism, and especially Amidism or "Pure Land" Buddhism which is a branch of it. There are striking similarities between the "Buddha Nature" and "The Image and Likeness of God" as well as the journey of Theosis and the journey towards "Enlightenment".
Even the Buddhist idea of Universalism is not entirely forgeign to Christianity, as the author points out, and it may surprise us to learn that "apokatastasis" is actually a term from the New Testament:
"whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration [Gk: "apokatastaseos"] of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:21)
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« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2010, 02:53:02 AM »

Mahayana Buddhism is the extreme messianic type of Buddhism , the type which says Buddha had a virgin birth and ascended to become a "divine master" and will re-appear in the end of times as Maitreya Buddha by the way.


Ohhhh , Maitreya ... I did research into this character two years ago. Bad, very bad.
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« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2010, 02:58:02 AM »

Interesting read. Thanks Riddikulus!
I've always seen paralells between Orthodoxy and Mahayana Buddhism, and especially Amidism or "Pure Land" Buddhism which is a branch of it. There are striking similarities between the "Buddha Nature" and "The Image and Likeness of God" as well as the journey of Theosis and the journey towards "Enlightenment".
Even the Buddhist idea of Universalism is not entirely forgeign to Christianity, as the author points out, and it may surprise us to learn that "apokatastasis" is actually a term from the New Testament:
"whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration [Gk: "apokatastaseos"] of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:21)

Thank you George, this was very enlightening. Actually, since I am also reading the biography of Father Seraphim Rose all of this is quite relevant to my study. "Eugene" went through a period where he was inspired by Chinese mysticism, buddhism but I dont know if the type of Buddhism he studied is the same as Mahayana ... the book really does explain how Buddhism can help put foundations in Eastern Orthodox mysticism (wheras other religions like Hinduism etc can not) because of how closely it parallels with Eastern Orthodox asceticism and after-death theories.

Specificaly, Fr Rose was Chinese philosophy and Taoism in the end ... not sure how closely tied that is to Buddhism.
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« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2010, 03:14:27 AM »

Specificaly, Fr Rose was Chinese philosophy and Taoism in the end ... not sure how closely tied that is to Buddhism.
Taoism or "Daoism" is a different philosophy to Buddhism. "Tao" means "Way", and the similarities to Christianity which is the Faith of those who follow "The Way" are also interesting, and I would recommend the book "Christ the Eternal Tao" By Heiromonk Damascene which explores this. In Chinese versions of the Gospel, the word "Logos" is translated as "Tao", so the opening of St. John's Gospel reads: "In the beginning was the Tao, and the Tao was with God......".
There is a famous Chinese allegorical painting called "The Vinegar Tasters" which shows three men tasting the "vinegar" of life out of a pot. One man has a sour look on his face, one has an indifferent look, and the third is smiling. The man with the sour look represents Confucianism, the man with the indifferent look represents Buddhism, and the man who is smiling represents Taoism.

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« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2010, 03:46:52 AM »




You know, some people may find this information as a source of scandal or may want to debate till the cows come home ... inside me, I have a smile. That was beautiful ... it really is something special to see ancient culture and wonder ... yes, these religions do not fit within the canonical realms of Orthodoxy (just like paganism) but their is an inner beauty and depth that the ancients carried that we really should open our eyes to and draw from ...

Thank you George, again! You have no idea how edifying this little paragraph and image was.

Glory to God for his tolerance of us!
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« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2010, 04:03:21 AM »

Interesting read. Thanks Riddikulus!
I've always seen paralells between Orthodoxy and Mahayana Buddhism, and especially Amidism or "Pure Land" Buddhism which is a branch of it. There are striking similarities between the "Buddha Nature" and "The Image and Likeness of God" as well as the journey of Theosis and the journey towards "Enlightenment".
Even the Buddhist idea of Universalism is not entirely forgeign to Christianity, as the author points out, and it may surprise us to learn that "apokatastasis" is actually a term from the New Testament:
"whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration [Gk: "apokatastaseos"] of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:21)

Yes, I agree. I've always seen similarities and I remember our priest from earlier times commenting on the parallels between Orthodoxy and Buddhism when we were watching a film (Himalaya, IIRC) at our house. I really need to read more about it, though, to understand the parallels properly.
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« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2010, 08:42:49 AM »

The man with the sour look represents Confucianism, the man with the indifferent look represents Buddhism, and the man who is smiling represents Taoism.

I'm almost arfaid to ask... why is he smiling?
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« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2010, 09:12:28 AM »

The man with the sour look represents Confucianism, the man with the indifferent look represents Buddhism, and the man who is smiling represents Taoism.

I'm almost arfaid to ask... why is he smiling?
LOL! Cheesy Nothing to be afraid of! Its about how the three philosophies work. In Confucianism, proper order is first and foremost. There is a Confucian saying which gives you an idea of this: "If the mat is not straight, the Master will not sit". So to a Confucian, the taste of the vinegar is just "wrong", hence the sour look. The Buddhist seeks detachment from all desire and aversion, thus no reaction to the taste of the vinegar. The Taoist knows that everything must follow the Dao (the Way), and each thing in itself has its own inner Way to follow, thus he allows the vinegar to be vinegar and appreciates it for what it is, allowing the vinegar to follow the Dao (its Way).
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« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2010, 09:15:12 AM »

Ok, fair enough. I read a bit on Taoism and found it to be... well, what's the right wording here... intentionally confusing? My first inclination for why a Taoist might be smiling wasn't exactly a charitable one  Undecided
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« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2010, 09:20:11 AM »

Ok, fair enough. I read a bit on Taoism and found it to be... well, what's the right wording here... intentionally confusing? My first inclination for why a Taoist might be smiling wasn't exactly a charitable one  Undecided
I had a feeling that's what you thought! No, he didn't pee in the pot!
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« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2010, 09:45:18 AM »

Mahayana Buddhism is the extreme messianic type of Buddhism , the type which says Buddha had a virgin birth and ascended to become a "divine master" and will re-appear in the end of times as Maitreya Buddha by the way.


Ohhhh , Maitreya ... I did research into this character two years ago. Bad, very bad.

You're probably thinking of one of several people who have claimed to be Maitreya, but not the Buddhist concept of Maitreya himself, who isn't supposed to appear for another few thousand years.

It's worth noting that, according to the Buddha's own predictions (if the sutras are to be trusted), we are now in the age of "Dharma decline" (beginning 2000 years after the Buddha's passing) where the Buddha's teaching no longer has saving power and will not be restored until the coming of Maitreya. Most Buddhist sects pass over this in silence; the ones that don't tend to come up with pretty weird solutions to the problem (e.g., Nichiren Buddhism).
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« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2010, 10:40:12 AM »

The man with the sour look represents Confucianism, the man with the indifferent look represents Buddhism, and the man who is smiling represents Taoism.

I'm almost arfaid to ask... why is he smiling?
LOL! Cheesy Nothing to be afraid of! Its about how the three philosophies work. In Confucianism, proper order is first and foremost. There is a Confucian saying which gives you an idea of this: "If the mat is not straight, the Master will not sit". So to a Confucian, the taste of the vinegar is just "wrong", hence the sour look. The Buddhist seeks detachment from all desire and aversion, thus no reaction to the taste of the vinegar. The Taoist knows that everything must follow the Dao (the Way), and each thing in itself has its own inner Way to follow, thus he allows the vinegar to be vinegar and appreciates it for what it is, allowing the vinegar to follow the Dao (its Way).

You have a wonderful way with words George. Have you ever considered becoming a writer?
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« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2010, 12:46:40 PM »

You have a wonderful way with words George. Have you ever considered becoming a writer?

If he hadn't wasted all of him time writing on here he could have written several by now!
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« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2010, 01:08:41 PM »

You have a wonderful way with words George. Have you ever considered becoming a writer?

If he hadn't wasted all of him time writing on here he could have written several by now!

True. But given that his name isn't Met. Kallistos or Jaroslav Pelikan or Fr. Alexander Schmemann, he probably has been read by more people while writing on here than he would have had he written books and had them published. Theological books from an Orthodox perspective don't exactly sell like hot cakes Wink
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« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2010, 01:12:28 PM »

You have a wonderful way with words George. Have you ever considered becoming a writer?

If he hadn't wasted all of him time writing on here he could have written several by now!

True. But given that his name isn't Met. Kallistos or Jaroslav Pelikan or Fr. Alexander Schmemann, he probably has been read by more people while writing on here than he would have had he written books and had them published. Theological books from an Orthodox perspective don't exactly sell like hot cakes Wink

Who buys hot cakes?
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« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2010, 02:36:22 PM »

Has anyone read this article titled Marking Out Common Ground for Eastern Orthodoxy and Mahāyāna Buddhism: Correspondences in the Works of Gregory of Nyssa and the Mahāparinirvāna Sūtra , by David K. Goodin?

http://www.theandros.com/orthomahayana.html


It's a very interesting article, pointing to the similarities between religions that have (apparently) radically different starting points. I would disagree with several characterizations of Buddhism in the article, but overall the author is quite fair.

I would point out that not all forms of Buddhism teach that everyone will definitely realize "salvation" (in Buddhism, the realization of nirvana). Theravada Buddhism simply leaves that question open -- which, it seems, is what Orthodoxy also does.
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« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2010, 04:15:50 PM »



A student organization that I'm in recently made a fortune selling Korean hot cakes. All going to charity of course.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2010, 04:16:53 PM by samkim » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2010, 04:18:06 PM »

This article sounds right up my alley. Personally, I find more common ground between my own Confucian tradition with Christianity, then Buddhism, then Daoism.
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« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2010, 04:23:33 PM »

Ok, fair enough. I read a bit on Taoism and found it to be... well, what's the right wording here... intentionally confusing?

I think Taoism being intentionally confusing was Lao Tzu's point.




You know, some people may find this information as a source of scandal or may want to debate till the cows come home ... inside me, I have a smile. That was beautiful ... it really is something special to see ancient culture and wonder ... yes, these religions do not fit within the canonical realms of Orthodoxy (just like paganism) but their is an inner beauty and depth that the ancients carried that we really should open our eyes to and draw from ...

Thank you George, again! You have no idea how edifying this little paragraph and image was.

Glory to God for his tolerance of us!

I agree with you, I think it is a great image and explanation to go along with it. It does have beauty to it.
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« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2010, 04:32:13 PM »



A student organization that I'm in recently made a fortune selling Korean hot cakes. All going to charity of course.

I'd support charity via Korean cuisine any day! I wish I could support it in my daily korean black fermented garlic habit!
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« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2010, 04:40:47 PM »

Bishop BASIL, commenting on a trip to a Buddhist monastery, said it was like being on Mount Athos.
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« Reply #38 on: February 12, 2010, 04:48:35 PM »

It seems like the article overemphasizes the similarities and ignores some key differences. The fact that the author says there are "seemingly" irreconcilable differences makes me very suspicious that we are dealing with some kind of syncretism. For instance, Buddha-nature is immanent and is the nature of every sentient being- this is different from God who is active in his creatures but ultimately transcendent and unattainable. No one can become God in his essence, but in Buddhism, human beings can become fully Buddhas. Also, Buddhist cosmology is cyclical- there are infinite cycles of time, and infinite beings being reborn, in infinite worlds, through both the past and future. The Christian cosmology is basically geocentric and understands that the universe (and time) were created at a particular point in time, and will end at a later point.
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« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2010, 10:08:13 AM »

It seems like the article overemphasizes the similarities and ignores some key differences. The fact that the author says there are "seemingly" irreconcilable differences makes me very suspicious that we are dealing with some kind of syncretism. For instance, Buddha-nature is immanent and is the nature of every sentient being- this is different from God who is active in his creatures but ultimately transcendent and unattainable. No one can become God in his essence, but in Buddhism, human beings can become fully Buddhas. Also, Buddhist cosmology is cyclical- there are infinite cycles of time, and infinite beings being reborn, in infinite worlds, through both the past and future. The Christian cosmology is basically geocentric and understands that the universe (and time) were created at a particular point in time, and will end at a later point.
You're comparing apples and oranges. Buddha-nature would be analogous to the "image and likeness" of God in humanity. The manifestation of one's Buddha-nature would be analogous to the process of theosis. "Nirvana" would be roughly analogous to the transcendental God of Christianity.

In Buddhism, no one can "become" Nirvana. Nirvana simply is, and one may realize Nirvana.

The cyclical cosmology of Buddhism is only cyclical for those still bound by cravings, fears, and delusions. Once one steps "off" the wheel of samsara, the cycle ends. The presumed beginning of this cycle, in Theravada Buddhism, is simply "not to be seen", "not visible" -- implying that it's completely beyond human understanding.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2010, 10:13:23 AM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2010, 10:32:53 AM »

I just has two quirky experiences with this topic.

At my sons swim meet, a father had a shirt with some quotes attributed to Buddha, about you are what you think and thinking creates reality, etc. What struck me was that the shirt intended that to be a good, motivation thing, whereas Buddhism sees it as a bad thing and devotes itself to ceasing to think.
What the Buddha taught By Walpola Rāhula
http://books.google.com/books?id=_WduwVbiLSsC&pg=PA26&dq=What+the+Buddha+taught+I+think+therefore+I+am&cd=1#v=onepage&q=What%20the%20Buddha%20taught%20I%20think%20therefore%20I%20am&f=false

Yesterday I offered to take a neighbor to and from the pharmacy when I bumped into him in the hall way and I told him I tried to find him last week, to take him to vote if he wanted (real charity: he is a retired episcopal priest and a firm progressive, so I knew he would be voting wrong).  On the way back he said that me committing random acts of kindness would make me a good Buddhist, and he added "at heart, that's what I am really, a Buddhist" (seems that most episcopalian priests are something else at heart.  No complaints, that's how my present pastor became Orthodox). I replied that I'd rather be a good Orthodox Christian, especially with Lent coming.  That pleased him none, and he stated that "Buddhists aren't like Christians. They don't kill anyone.  Buddhists don't hurt anyone." I brought up the Japanese.  The discussion then went to "the Christian parables are just rip offs of Buddhist stories."  I pointed out that there wasn't enough influence of Buddhism in Palestine to make that likely, and started to show that Buddhism did have centers in Iran and Alexandria, but...the time for me to drop him off came.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2010, 10:49:50 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #41 on: February 13, 2010, 10:44:23 AM »

I just has too quirky experiences with this topic.

At my sons swim meet, a father had a shirt with some quotes attributed to Buddha, about you are what you think and thinking creates reality, etc. What struck me was that the shirt intended that to be a good, motivation thing, whereas Buddhism sees it as a bad thing and devotes itself to ceasing to think.
What the Buddha taught By Walpola Rāhula
http://books.google.com/books?id=_WduwVbiLSsC&pg=PA26&dq=What+the+Buddha+taught+I+think+therefore+I+am&cd=1#v=onepage&q=What%20the%20Buddha%20taught%20I%20think%20therefore%20I%20am&f=false
Actually, "thinking creates reality" is a mistranslation (surprise) of a Buddhist verse that refers to how one's conscious choices affect one's well-being.

It's also a common misunderstanding that Buddhism sees thinking as a bad thing. Such misunderstanding arises from trying to apply directions specifically given to renunciate monks (who engage in intensive meditation) to people in general, whether renunciate or not. Lay people, those with families, have their own spiritual practice to engage in, and "not thinking" is not a wise rule for the general population.

Quote
Yesterday I offered to take a neighbor to and from the pharmacy when I bumped into him in the hall way and I told him I tried to find him last week, to take him to vote if he wanted (real charity: he is a retired episcopal priest and a firm progressive, so I knew he would be voting wrong).  On the way back he said that me committing random acts of kindness would make me a good Buddhist, and he added "at heart, that's what I am really, a Buddhist" (seems that most episcopalian priests are something else at heart.  No complaints, that's how my present pastor became Orthodox). I replied that I'd rather be a good Orthodox Christian, especially with Lent coming.  That pleased him none, and he stated that "Buddhists aren't like Christians. They don't kill anyone.  Buddhists don't hurt anyone." I brought up the Japanese.  The discussion then went to "the Christian parables are just rip offs of Buddhist stories."  I pointed out that there wasn't enough influence of Buddhism in Palestine to make that likely, and started to show that Buddhism did have centers in Iran and Alexandria, but...the time for me to drop him off came.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
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If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
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« Reply #42 on: February 13, 2010, 10:52:30 AM »

I just has too quirky experiences with this topic.

At my sons swim meet, a father had a shirt with some quotes attributed to Buddha, about you are what you think and thinking creates reality, etc. What struck me was that the shirt intended that to be a good, motivation thing, whereas Buddhism sees it as a bad thing and devotes itself to ceasing to think.
What the Buddha taught By Walpola Rāhula
http://books.google.com/books?id=_WduwVbiLSsC&pg=PA26&dq=What+the+Buddha+taught+I+think+therefore+I+am&cd=1#v=onepage&q=What%20the%20Buddha%20taught%20I%20think%20therefore%20I%20am&f=false
Actually, "thinking creates reality" is a mistranslation (surprise) of a Buddhist verse that refers to how one's conscious choices affect one's well-being.

It's also a common misunderstanding that Buddhism sees thinking as a bad thing. Such misunderstanding arises from trying to apply directions specifically given to renunciate monks (who engage in intensive meditation) to people in general, whether renunciate or not. Lay people, those with families, have their own spiritual practice to engage in, and "not thinking" is not a wise rule for the general population.

The problem is that ultimately, according to Gautama, those families etc. don't exist.


Quote
Yesterday I offered to take a neighbor to and from the pharmacy when I bumped into him in the hall way and I told him I tried to find him last week, to take him to vote if he wanted (real charity: he is a retired episcopal priest and a firm progressive, so I knew he would be voting wrong).  On the way back he said that me committing random acts of kindness would make me a good Buddhist, and he added "at heart, that's what I am really, a Buddhist" (seems that most episcopalian priests are something else at heart.  No complaints, that's how my present pastor became Orthodox). I replied that I'd rather be a good Orthodox Christian, especially with Lent coming.  That pleased him none, and he stated that "Buddhists aren't like Christians. They don't kill anyone.  Buddhists don't hurt anyone." I brought up the Japanese.  The discussion then went to "the Christian parables are just rip offs of Buddhist stories."  I pointed out that there wasn't enough influence of Buddhism in Palestine to make that likely, and started to show that Buddhism did have centers in Iran and Alexandria, but...the time for me to drop him off came.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
I wonder what he "learned" in seminary.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
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if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #43 on: February 13, 2010, 10:57:54 AM »

I just has too quirky experiences with this topic.

At my sons swim meet, a father had a shirt with some quotes attributed to Buddha, about you are what you think and thinking creates reality, etc. What struck me was that the shirt intended that to be a good, motivation thing, whereas Buddhism sees it as a bad thing and devotes itself to ceasing to think.
What the Buddha taught By Walpola Rāhula
http://books.google.com/books?id=_WduwVbiLSsC&pg=PA26&dq=What+the+Buddha+taught+I+think+therefore+I+am&cd=1#v=onepage&q=What%20the%20Buddha%20taught%20I%20think%20therefore%20I%20am&f=false
Actually, "thinking creates reality" is a mistranslation (surprise) of a Buddhist verse that refers to how one's conscious choices affect one's well-being.

It's also a common misunderstanding that Buddhism sees thinking as a bad thing. Such misunderstanding arises from trying to apply directions specifically given to renunciate monks (who engage in intensive meditation) to people in general, whether renunciate or not. Lay people, those with families, have their own spiritual practice to engage in, and "not thinking" is not a wise rule for the general population.

The problem is that ultimately, according to Gautama, those families etc. don't exist.
Actually, they exist, from one perspective, and don't exist, from another.


Quote
Quote
Quote
Yesterday I offered to take a neighbor to and from the pharmacy when I bumped into him in the hall way and I told him I tried to find him last week, to take him to vote if he wanted (real charity: he is a retired episcopal priest and a firm progressive, so I knew he would be voting wrong).  On the way back he said that me committing random acts of kindness would make me a good Buddhist, and he added "at heart, that's what I am really, a Buddhist" (seems that most episcopalian priests are something else at heart.  No complaints, that's how my present pastor became Orthodox). I replied that I'd rather be a good Orthodox Christian, especially with Lent coming.  That pleased him none, and he stated that "Buddhists aren't like Christians. They don't kill anyone.  Buddhists don't hurt anyone." I brought up the Japanese.  The discussion then went to "the Christian parables are just rip offs of Buddhist stories."  I pointed out that there wasn't enough influence of Buddhism in Palestine to make that likely, and started to show that Buddhism did have centers in Iran and Alexandria, but...the time for me to drop him off came.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
I wonder what he "learned" in seminary.
I shudder at the thought.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2010, 11:01:10 AM by Jetavan » Logged

If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
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« Reply #44 on: February 13, 2010, 11:29:39 AM »

It seems like the article overemphasizes the similarities and ignores some key differences. The fact that the author says there are "seemingly" irreconcilable differences makes me very suspicious that we are dealing with some kind of syncretism. For instance, Buddha-nature is immanent and is the nature of every sentient being- this is different from God who is active in his creatures but ultimately transcendent and unattainable. No one can become God in his essence, but in Buddhism, human beings can become fully Buddhas. Also, Buddhist cosmology is cyclical- there are infinite cycles of time, and infinite beings being reborn, in infinite worlds, through both the past and future. The Christian cosmology is basically geocentric and understands that the universe (and time) were created at a particular point in time, and will end at a later point.
You're comparing apples and oranges. Buddha-nature would be analogous to the "image and likeness" of God in humanity. The manifestation of one's Buddha-nature would be analogous to the process of theosis. "Nirvana" would be roughly analogous to the transcendental God of Christianity.

You are evidently not familiar with the rather pantheistic conceptions of "Buddha-nature" and Tathagatagharba which developed in the Mahayana, which posit the Buddha as the ground of being. How can Buddha-nature be analagous to the image of God when there is no God to imprint his image? Buddha-nature is Buddha.

Quote
In Buddhism, no one can "become" Nirvana. Nirvana simply is, and one may realize Nirvana.

In Mahayaha, the principle of nirvana is somewhat overshadowed by the more personal conception of the eternal, cosmic Buddha.

Quote
The cyclical cosmology of Buddhism is only cyclical for those still bound by cravings, fears, and delusions. Once one steps "off" the wheel of samsara, the cycle ends. The presumed beginning of this cycle, in Theravada Buddhism, is simply "not to be seen", "not visible" -- implying that it's completely beyond human understanding.

The cycle ends only for one individual consciousness- the cyclical character of existence continues to still, provisionally, exist. The Buddha, having attained nirvana, manifests in the samsaric world for the enlightenment of beings. The form of Buddhism under discussion here is Mahayana, which proposes, among other things, that samsara and nirvana are the same state. The divergent teachings of Hinayana schools are kind of irrelevant since the article is a comparison of Orthodoxy with the system expounded in the Mahaparinirvana sutra.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2010, 11:30:40 AM by Iconodule » Logged

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