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Author Topic: Are Muslims/Buddhists/etc saved?  (Read 10086 times) Average Rating: 0
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TryingtoConvert
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« on: January 09, 2011, 09:57:03 PM »

Wanted to ask the Orthodox take on this so if these people are grown up in whatever religion (Islam, Buddhism) what is their salvation? Will they be rejected come after death?

And also what is the judgment of one who starts a religion and cult? Does that person also gets judged for the damage that is caused in the future as well?
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2011, 10:03:56 PM »

The Orthodox don't tend to make pronouncement on these sorts of matters.  God is a merciful and man-loving God who desires that all be saved. 
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2011, 02:22:31 AM »

Maybe. And if you asked "Are Orthodox going to be saved" I think many Orthodox could still answer with a maybe. If Orthodoxy is what it says it is, then it offers tools for getting closer to salvation; but formal membership is not a guarantee of salvation. And on the other side of the coin, while those outside Orthodox lack certain spiritual tools, they are not necessarily damned. Some Orthodox even hope and pray that no one, or at least none except perhaps the Hitler/Stalin types, are headed for damnation. An important factor here is that the Orthodox do not see salvation as a one-time-event... e.g. you say a prayer or get dunked in baptism and --POOF-- you're saved. The Orthodox, and traditional Christians in general, see salvation as a process--one that, according to some, continues even after death in a number of potential ways.

Regarding people who start religions/cults, and being judged about damage that is caused, that's an interesting question. I don't know the answer, but I have often wondered that myself. For example, was Origen condemned because he believed wrongly, or at least partly because he had such an influence and his beliefs created controversy long after his death? St. Photius speaks of ignoring the theological errors of people (e.g. St. Augustine), why was this "covering of the nakedness" not done for Origen's perceived errors? From an Orthodox perspective, did not St. Augustine's teachings cause more trouble through the centuries than Origen's? I don't know.
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2011, 02:27:23 AM »

No.


All Non-Christians, and all those those claimed to be Christian but did not fullfill their requied duties delineated by the Lord Jesus Christ and his Holy Apostles (all of them...this includes taking valid sacraments) are placed Sheol, and then in the Final Judgment are condemned to Hell perpetually. Death and Sheol are thrown into the lake of fire :


Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire This is the second death, the lake of fire.

And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.


Revelation 20:14

This is the teaching of the Assyrian Church of the East which had Jesus Christ's relatives preside over it.

I am not sure what the Eastern Orthodox Church teaches...


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that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2011, 02:32:18 AM »

No.

Why is that?

And a note for TryingtoConvert, Rafa is not Eastern Orthodox (as for my own religious affiliation, that's up in the air, but I think my response was orthodox in content).
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2011, 04:35:23 AM »

Wanted to ask the Orthodox take on this so if these people are grown up in whatever religion (Islam, Buddhism) what is their salvation? Will they be rejected come after death?

And also what is the judgment of one who starts a religion and cult? Does that person also gets judged for the damage that is caused in the future as well?
Why do you want to know?
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 04:39:51 AM »

Wanted to ask the Orthodox take on this so if these people are grown up in whatever religion (Islam, Buddhism) what is their salvation? Will they be rejected come after death?

And also what is the judgment of one who starts a religion and cult? Does that person also gets judged for the damage that is caused in the future as well?
Why do you want to know?
oh just curious because if say someone started a new religion like Muhammad did and the billion that follow it, are those that follow it condemned and shouldn't Muhammad be condemned for his action on deceiving the flock?

And let's say that after Muhammad dies, faces judgment from God...does GOD take account for the future events in how big Islam gets and applies it to his judgment (future events influence the judgment??)
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 10:49:16 AM »

Wanted to ask the Orthodox take on this so if these people are grown up in whatever religion (Islam, Buddhism) what is their salvation? Will they be rejected come after death?

And also what is the judgment of one who starts a religion and cult? Does that person also gets judged for the damage that is caused in the future as well?
Why do you want to know?
oh just curious because if say someone started a new religion like Muhammad did and the billion that follow it, are those that follow it condemned and shouldn't Muhammad be condemned for his action on deceiving the flock?

And let's say that after Muhammad dies, faces judgment from God...does GOD take account for the future events in how big Islam gets and applies it to his judgment (future events influence the judgment??)
I'm just curious because you started this thread while you were donning your atheist hat and poo-pooing our Christian faith on a few other threads you started on the Free-For-All boards. I'm just trying to figure out how to respond to you. Do you really care to know what we think, or do you intend to eventually use what you learn here against us in another of your atheistic rants?
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 02:38:31 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 10:55:55 AM »

Wanted to ask the Orthodox take on this so if these people are grown up in whatever religion (Islam, Buddhism) what is their salvation? Will they be rejected come after death?

And also what is the judgment of one who starts a religion and cult? Does that person also gets judged for the damage that is caused in the future as well?
Why do you want to know?
oh just curious because if say someone started a new religion like Muhammad did and the billion that follow it, are those that follow it condemned and shouldn't Muhammad be condemned for his action on deceiving the flock?

And let's say that after Muhammad dies, faces judgment from God...does GOD take account for the future events in how big Islam gets and applies it to his judgment (future events influence the judgment??)

Orthodox eschatology tells us that Mohammad has not yet been judged. Actually, no one has been resurrected...save Christ and his Most Pure Mother.


As for the salvation of those outside the Church, we truly believe that God desires none should perish but that all should come to repentence, including the "Hilter/Stalin types." some, mostly monastics, have taken up the aceticism to pray for the ultimate salvation of all, even Satan himself.
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2011, 03:58:35 PM »

I think this has been pretty well covered from the various posts, but just to chime in a brief comment.

We are not God, nor are we the Judge.  As has been mentioned, Orthodox believe that God "does not desire the death of the sinner, but that he should repent and live."  As I understand it, and different than it is in many Western sects, that even extends beyond physical death.  Rather than focus on "who gets to go to heaven," I think the Orthodox approach is more about theosis and communion with God now - today.
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2011, 01:46:58 AM »

well what about those that may have heard Christ then reject it based on a Christian? Guess that guy is damned eh?
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2011, 02:06:38 AM »

well what about those that may have heard Christ then reject it based on a Christian? Guess that guy is damned eh?


"In the name of Thy all-forgiving love we make bold to pray to our Heavenly Father for the eternal repose of Thy enemies and ours"

"we believe that even beyond the grave Thy loving kindness, which is merciful even to all rejected sinners, does not fail."

"We grieve for hardened and wicked blasphemers of Thy Holiness.  May Thy saving and gracious will be over them.  Forgive, O Lord, those who have died without repentance."

"Save those who have committed suicide in the darkness of their mind, that the flame of their sinfulness may be extinguished in the ocean of Thy grace.

"O Lord of unutterable Love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep."

These are some phrases from the Akathist for Those Who Have Fallen Asleep
http://users.sisqtel.net/williams/akathist-repose.html
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2011, 12:07:54 PM »

well what about those that may have heard Christ then reject it based on a Christian? Guess that guy is damned eh?

I am a little confused by the nature of this comment.  Most of the Orthodox replies on this thread have indicated that God's desire is for the salvation of all and this His mercy is greater than any of us.  I do not know how "Guess that guy is damned, eh?" fits in with the comments thus far.  Most of the people on hear are not willing to judge anyone's (including their own) eternal salvation - why would we agree with that statement?

As to the comment itself: I, too, have met 'Christians' whose teachings would push me away from Christ, not towards Him.  There are versions of Christianity that people rightly reject.  There are people who profess to follow Christ but know nothing about His mercy or love.  I know people who have left various 'Christian' groups and become Buddhist or atheist because of the hyperjudgmental God they learned about in sermons and experienced in the life of the congregation.  Does God "damn" them for that?  As a human father, who is sinful and full of passions, that idea repulses me. 

God is not "damning" people, but saving them.  God is not working to send people to hell (nor, it is argued, does He 'send' anyone to hell), but rather in His love and mercy, He desires that all enter paradise.
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2011, 12:08:54 PM »

well what about those that may have heard Christ then reject it based on a Christian? Guess that guy is damned eh?


"In the name of Thy all-forgiving love we make bold to pray to our Heavenly Father for the eternal repose of Thy enemies and ours"

"we believe that even beyond the grave Thy loving kindness, which is merciful even to all rejected sinners, does not fail."

"We grieve for hardened and wicked blasphemers of Thy Holiness.  May Thy saving and gracious will be over them.  Forgive, O Lord, those who have died without repentance."

"Save those who have committed suicide in the darkness of their mind, that the flame of their sinfulness may be extinguished in the ocean of Thy grace.

"O Lord of unutterable Love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep."

These are some phrases from the Akathist for Those Who Have Fallen Asleep
http://users.sisqtel.net/williams/akathist-repose.html

Amen.  I love that Akathist...
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2011, 12:22:03 PM »

well what about those that may have heard Christ then reject it based on a Christian? Guess that guy is damned eh?

St. Paul speaks about such people that he knew personally and loved:
Quote from: Romans 9 (NIV)
1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel.

Whether or not you reject Christ, there's always room for love and prayer and hope for that person's salvation.  We leave the judgment up to God, but we don't and we can't judge ourselves.
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« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2011, 02:13:42 PM »

Wanted to ask the Orthodox take on this so if these people are grown up in whatever religion (Islam, Buddhism) what is their salvation? Will they be rejected come after death?

And also what is the judgment of one who starts a religion and cult? Does that person also gets judged for the damage that is caused in the future as well?
Why do you want to know?
oh just curious because if say someone started a new religion like Muhammad did and the billion that follow it, are those that follow it condemned and shouldn't Muhammad be condemned for his action on deceiving the flock?

And let's say that after Muhammad dies, faces judgment from God...does GOD take account for the future events in how big Islam gets and applies it to his judgment (future events influence the judgment??)

IMHO, as Christians we know some things God does and has done. I think it is a little arrogant for mere humans to assume we know ALL that God does and has done throughout the entire universe and for all time. How, when, and by what means God brings humans to salvation is up to God. What is up to me is to follow the way God has outlined for me.

Of course I believe Orthodoxy is the right way. I am simply saying God may have more going on than my little brain can grasp, infinity and the universe being the rather large factors that they are.
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redwood81
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2011, 02:20:43 PM »

I think maybe is the most appropriate reply
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« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2011, 03:37:25 PM »

No.
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« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2011, 03:48:42 PM »

Only God can judge.
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« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2011, 04:57:47 PM »

Wanted to ask the Orthodox take on this so if these people are grown up in whatever religion (Islam, Buddhism) what is their salvation? Will they be rejected come after death?

They will be judged on the basis of their disposition towards God.

I know that is a somewhat vague statement, but the point is, no, their religious affiliation will not be an ultimate determinant of their fate.

And also what is the judgment of one who starts a religion and cult? Does that person also gets judged for the damage that is caused in the future as well?

Yes, they will. Whether that means they will be judged for torment or not, I don't know.
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« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2011, 05:01:33 PM »

Maybe. And if you asked "Are Orthodox going to be saved" I think many Orthodox could still answer with a maybe. If Orthodoxy is what it says it is, then it offers tools for getting closer to salvation; but formal membership is not a guarantee of salvation. And on the other side of the coin, while those outside Orthodox lack certain spiritual tools, they are not necessarily damned. Some Orthodox even hope and pray that no one, or at least none except perhaps the Hitler/Stalin types, are headed for damnation. An important factor here is that the Orthodox do not see salvation as a one-time-event... e.g. you say a prayer or get dunked in baptism and --POOF-- you're saved. The Orthodox, and traditional Christians in general, see salvation as a process--one that, according to some, continues even after death in a number of potential ways.

Regarding people who start religions/cults, and being judged about damage that is caused, that's an interesting question. I don't know the answer, but I have often wondered that myself. For example, was Origen condemned because he believed wrongly, or at least partly because he had such an influence and his beliefs created controversy long after his death? St. Photius speaks of ignoring the theological errors of people (e.g. St. Augustine), why was this "covering of the nakedness" not done for Origen's perceived errors? From an Orthodox perspective, did not St. Augustine's teachings cause more trouble through the centuries than Origen's? I don't know.

Nice post. 'Cept:

Some Orthodox even hope and pray that no one, or at least none except perhaps the Hitler/Stalin types, are headed for damnation.

No, I hope that even for them.

For example, was Origen condemned because he believed wrongly, or at least partly because he had such an influence and his beliefs created controversy long after his death? St. Photius speaks of ignoring the theological errors of people (e.g. St. Augustine), why was this "covering of the nakedness" not done for Origen's perceived errors? From an Orthodox perspective, did not St. Augustine's teachings cause more trouble through the centuries than Origen's?

I think intention is a pretty significant point to consider here that may acquit Origen and Augustine somewhat. Someone like Arius, OTOH...
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« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2011, 05:02:44 PM »

No.


All Non-Christians, and all those those claimed to be Christian but did not fullfill their requied duties delineated by the Lord Jesus Christ and his Holy Apostles (all of them...this includes taking valid sacraments) are placed Sheol, and then in the Final Judgment are condemned to Hell perpetually. Death and Sheol are thrown into the lake of fire :


Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire This is the second death, the lake of fire.

And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.


Revelation 20:14

This is the teaching of the Assyrian Church of the East which had Jesus Christ's relatives preside over it.

Good grief.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2011, 05:04:23 PM »

Orthodox eschatology tells us that Mohammad has not yet been judged.

...  Undecided

You're telling me you've never heard of the particular judgment?
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« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2011, 05:05:30 PM »

well what about those that may have heard Christ then reject it based on a Christian? Guess that guy is damned eh?

Not necessarily.
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« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2011, 05:27:15 PM »

Wanted to ask the Orthodox take on this so if these people are grown up in whatever religion (Islam, Buddhism) what is their salvation?
Their Saviour is Christ, as it is for all of us, and being the Almighty God Who loves His Creation, He wants the Salvation of all, and therefore if He can find any way to save anyone, He will. In the the 10th Chapter of the Book of Acts, we read about Cornelius, a Gentile centurion in the Roman Army who was neither Jewish nor Christian, yet he is described as: "a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.." (Acts 10:2) So this was a non-Christian, non-Jewish righteous man who cared for the poor and worshipped God as he understood Him. And he is assured by an Angel from God that "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God." (Acts 10:4). Note that Cornelius' prayers and alms were remembered by God even before he was a Christian or had even heard of Christ.
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« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2011, 07:02:50 PM »

Nice post. 'Cept:

...No, I hope that even for them.


I do as well, but I have come across people who make exceptions for the "really really bad people". I guess it's an attempt to keep justice as a part of the equation, without actually changing how exactly you look at the concept of justice. As I look back at what I wrote, I see that it was phrased horribly, and perhaps I should have said something more along the lines of: "Some Orthodox even hope and pray that no one is headed for damnation (though at least some that I've met make exceptions for the Hitler/Stalin types, who are just considered to be too evil)".
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« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2011, 08:34:27 PM »

If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. - 1 Corinthians 16:22
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« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2011, 08:44:11 PM »

It is an almost demonic protestant innovation to deal with the scriptures in single-line "strikes", completely out of context.
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« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2011, 09:33:28 PM »

It is an almost demonic protestant innovation to deal with the scriptures in single-line "strikes", completely out of context.

For sure. But if I we as gonna run with it the koran seems to express love for jesus the messiah while denying his divinity although in a battle of out of context scripture quotes  jesus ( im paraphraasing because im on the ocean withouy my bible typing on my phone) says something to the effect of blaspheming him is forgivable bit not blblasphemimg the.holy.ghost.   Ssoooo a pius muslim woulf still re side in the mayne category
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« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2011, 09:55:48 PM »

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one come to the Father except through Me." - John 14:6

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. - Acts 4:12

A man cannot otherwise enter into the kingdom of God than by the name of His beloved Son. - Hermas (150 A.D)

Open your heart to the Lord, believing that you can be saved by no other name than by His great and glorious name. - Hermas (150 A.D.)

But there is no other [way] than this: to become acquainted with this Christ, to be washed in the fountain spoken of by Isaiah for the remission of sins, and for the rest, to live sinless lives. - Justin Martyr (160 A.D.)

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« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2011, 01:26:49 AM »

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one come to the Father except through Me." - John 14:6

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. - Acts 4:12

A man cannot otherwise enter into the kingdom of God than by the name of His beloved Son. - Hermas (150 A.D)

Open your heart to the Lord, believing that you can be saved by no other name than by His great and glorious name. - Hermas (150 A.D.)

But there is no other [way] than this: to become acquainted with this Christ, to be washed in the fountain spoken of by Isaiah for the remission of sins, and for the rest, to live sinless lives. - Justin Martyr (160 A.D.)


So, how do you interpret this? What do you want us to understand? In your own words...
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« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2011, 01:35:09 AM »

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one come to the Father except through Me." - John 14:6

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. - Acts 4:12

A man cannot otherwise enter into the kingdom of God than by the name of His beloved Son. - Hermas (150 A.D)

Open your heart to the Lord, believing that you can be saved by no other name than by His great and glorious name. - Hermas (150 A.D.)

But there is no other [way] than this: to become acquainted with this Christ, to be washed in the fountain spoken of by Isaiah for the remission of sins, and for the rest, to live sinless lives. - Justin Martyr (160 A.D.)


So, how do you interpret this? What do you want us to understand? In your own words...





a person might not know who christ is but if they happen to make it to heaven then it was on;ly but clearance of Jesus kinda like the sun shine on the blind weather they know it or not
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« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2011, 10:57:34 AM »

Orthodox eschatology tells us that Mohammad has not yet been judged.

...  Undecided

You're telling me you've never heard of the particular judgment?

That's not what I meant. The particular judgment surely has occurred for Mohammad. Still, the Final Judgment is yet to come.
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« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2011, 12:41:18 PM »

I'm curious how many people here actually know what either Buddha or Mohammed taught? I can't imagine a Muslim Christian, perhaps because of my narrow and ignorant view. But I can certainly imagine a Buddhist Christian. In Zen, to take one example, there's really nothing to contradict the teachings of Christ. Zen teachers simply do not cover the same ground. It is a non-scriptural tradition that emphasizes experience over understanding and traditionally doesn't seek to verbalize much about even that--much like the apophatic (sp?) tradition of the hesychasts. And much of what they teach about the the nature of mind and the craft of concentration, if you will, could be useful to us in our own practices of prayer and meditation.
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« Reply #34 on: January 15, 2011, 01:45:45 PM »

^
I think it is difficult for you to imagine a Muslim Christian because it really isn't possible to be one.  Someone who follows the teachings of Islam clearly does not give credence to Christian tradition and scripture and certainly denies the divinity of Christ.

I don't claim to be an authority on Buddhism, but there are some posters on this forum who are extremely knowledgeable on the subject.  My opinion, however, is that the major Buddhist traditions (I'm most familiar with Theravada and Mahayana) are, in some ways, incompatible with practicing Christianity, in large part due to their perspective on the world, chronology, soul, etc.  I have read arguments that Christ is, in fact, the Great Bodhisattva, or something along those lines, but that is not a particularly orthodox understanding.  I guess, in a very similar vein as a recent Tai Chi/Yoga thread related to this, my question would be: Is Zen, removed from particularly Buddhist spiritual understandings, still really Buddhism?

I don't doubt that practices such as Zen, Yoga, Tai-Chi, etc have beneficial qualities, but I find it peculiar (please note that I did not write "wrong") that people want to somehow integrate these practices into Orthodox Christianity.  I recognize the similarities between Zen and Hesychasm, but Hesychasm is also very different and was developed strictly within the confines of Christianity.  



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« Reply #35 on: January 15, 2011, 02:22:32 PM »

^
I think it is difficult for you to imagine a Muslim Christian because it really isn't possible to be one.  Someone who follows the teachings of Islam clearly does not give credence to Christian tradition and scripture and certainly denies the divinity of Christ.

I don't claim to be an authority on Buddhism, but there are some posters on this forum who are extremely knowledgeable on the subject.  My opinion, however, is that the major Buddhist traditions (I'm most familiar with Theravada and Mahayana) are, in some ways, incompatible with practicing Christianity, in large part due to their perspective on the world, chronology, soul, etc.  I have read arguments that Christ is, in fact, the Great Bodhisattva, or something along those lines, but that is not a particularly orthodox understanding.  I guess, in a very similar vein as a recent Tai Chi/Yoga thread related to this, my question would be: Is Zen, removed from particularly Buddhist spiritual understandings, still really Buddhism?

I don't doubt that practices such as Zen, Yoga, Tai-Chi, etc have beneficial qualities, but I find it peculiar (please note that I did not write "wrong") that people want to somehow integrate these practices into Orthodox Christianity.  I recognize the similarities between Zen and Hesychasm, but Hesychasm is also very different and was developed strictly within the confines of Christianity.  





Well,I have a particular perspective, having been a Zen monk for 16 years. I don't believe Zen practices could be integrated into Orthodox Christianity, but some of them could possibly be practiced parallel to it. Or some of the techniques of mind training translated into an Orthodox vernacular, as it were. Some Tibetan teachings, such as the Mahayana Lojong, might lend themselves to that adaptation as well. (I'm not saying this would be desirable; I'm only saying it might be possible.) Some traditions--the Vajrayana traditions in particular--I would say are incompatible with Christianity. BTW--When you say "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism," you've included essentially all of the world's Buddhists. But within those designations there are just as many divisions as there are within the Christian world (broadly defined), if not more. It's important to be quite specific. Zen, Nichiren, Pure Land, and Tibetan practices are all Mahayana, yet they are very different from each other, both from the standpoint of praxis and, to a certain extent, epistemologically.
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« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2011, 05:22:48 PM »

BTW--When you say "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism," you've included essentially all of the world's Buddhists. But within those designations there are just as many divisions as there are within the Christian world (broadly defined), if not more.


Thank you for the perspective and clarification.  There are differing opinions regarding some classifications, but I certainly defer to your knowledge on the subject.  I was unable to judge your level of familiarity from your post, and there are countless people who are "in to" Zen, who are relatively clueless about Buddhist teachings.  Obviously, you are not one of them.  Grin

Quote
It's important to be quite specific. Zen, Nichiren, Pure Land, and Tibetan practices are all Mahayana, yet they are very different from each other, both from the standpoint of praxis and, to a certain extent, epistemologically.

Most certainly, were I trying to explain or discuss the merits of Buddhism.  However, as egregiously oversimplified as my statement was, the intricacies of Buddhism's diversity are not particularly relevant or necessary to my primary point: that Buddhism's philosophies and teachings are outside of and, in many cases, contrary to the Christian tradition.
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« Reply #37 on: January 15, 2011, 07:02:03 PM »

Nice post. 'Cept:

...No, I hope that even for them.


I do as well, but I have come across people who make exceptions for the "really really bad people". I guess it's an attempt to keep justice as a part of the equation, without actually changing how exactly you look at the concept of justice. As I look back at what I wrote, I see that it was phrased horribly, and perhaps I should have said something more along the lines of: "Some Orthodox even hope and pray that no one is headed for damnation (though at least some that I've met make exceptions for the Hitler/Stalin types, who are just considered to be too evil)".

Ah.  Smiley
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« Reply #38 on: January 15, 2011, 07:03:52 PM »

Orthodox eschatology tells us that Mohammad has not yet been judged.

...  Undecided

You're telling me you've never heard of the particular judgment?

That's not what I meant. The particular judgment surely has occurred for Mohammad. Still, the Final Judgment is yet to come.

Then Muhammad has been judged. You said he hadn't been.
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« Reply #39 on: January 15, 2011, 07:05:21 PM »

I'm curious how many people here actually know what either Buddha or Mohammed taught? I can't imagine a Muslim Christian, perhaps because of my narrow and ignorant view. But I can certainly imagine a Buddhist Christian. In Zen, to take one example, there's really nothing to contradict the teachings of Christ. Zen teachers simply do not cover the same ground. It is a non-scriptural tradition that emphasizes experience over understanding and traditionally doesn't seek to verbalize much about even that--much like the apophatic (sp?) tradition of the hesychasts. And much of what they teach about the the nature of mind and the craft of concentration, if you will, could be useful to us in our own practices of prayer and meditation.

One of the main issues is that one cannot really commit to the Three Refuges and really be a Christian.
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« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2011, 02:31:32 PM »


Quote

One of the main issues is that one cannot really commit to the Three Refuges and really be a Christian.

Care to elaborate?
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« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2011, 02:34:32 PM »

well what about those that may have heard Christ then reject it based on a Christian? Guess that guy is damned eh?


"In the name of Thy all-forgiving love we make bold to pray to our Heavenly Father for the eternal repose of Thy enemies and ours"

"we believe that even beyond the grave Thy loving kindness, which is merciful even to all rejected sinners, does not fail."

"We grieve for hardened and wicked blasphemers of Thy Holiness.  May Thy saving and gracious will be over them.  Forgive, O Lord, those who have died without repentance."

"Save those who have committed suicide in the darkness of their mind, that the flame of their sinfulness may be extinguished in the ocean of Thy grace.

"O Lord of unutterable Love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep."

These are some phrases from the Akathist for Those Who Have Fallen Asleep
http://users.sisqtel.net/williams/akathist-repose.html

Amen.  I love that Akathist...

Seconded. Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: January 17, 2011, 02:41:06 PM »

I think this question is very essentially Protestant. Like others have said, our Church does not teach us, Orthodox, that we all are already "saved" because of this or that. AFAIK, in Orthodox theology, salvation is not something that happens instantaneously so that a person can say, "I was saved on Monday, February the 15th, 19..., at 3:30 p.m." Salvation is our entire life. It is a long, long road that does not end even when we die (because our final fate can still be changed by the prayers of the Church). Whether or not God decides during the Final Judgment that a particular individual Muslim or a particular individual Buddhist was actually moving up this salvation "road" or the other way, is entirely His prerogative, on which we have no comment. We only know that He is so merciful that He can and will save everyone who can be saved (while some people perhaps cannot be saved because they don't want it, and God does not oppose an individual's free will).
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« Reply #43 on: January 17, 2011, 03:11:28 PM »

I'm curious how many people here actually know what either Buddha or Mohammed taught? I can't imagine a Muslim Christian, perhaps because of my narrow and ignorant view. But I can certainly imagine a Buddhist Christian. In Zen, to take one example, there's really nothing to contradict the teachings of Christ. Zen teachers simply do not cover the same ground. It is a non-scriptural tradition that emphasizes experience over understanding and traditionally doesn't seek to verbalize much about even that--much like the apophatic (sp?) tradition of the hesychasts. And much of what they teach about the the nature of mind and the craft of concentration, if you will, could be useful to us in our own practices of prayer and meditation.

One of the main issues is that one cannot really commit to the Three Refuges and really be a Christian.
Well, that's your claim. Whether anyone (from that person's perspective) has actually done it, is another question.
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« Reply #44 on: January 17, 2011, 03:20:12 PM »


Quote

One of the main issues is that one cannot really commit to the Three Refuges and really be a Christian.
Well, that's your claim. Whether anyone (from that person's perspective) has actually done it, is another question.
[/quote]

Certainly they have. That's why I asked for a little amplification.
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« Reply #45 on: January 17, 2011, 04:08:38 PM »

I have a question by how God works in the lives of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc. Let's take for example they don't know the Gospel and keep practicing whatever belief that they have; does God forsake them because they worship a false idol or prophet...or how does He work in the lives of those that are in those religions?

Sorry if I missed the post explaining this.
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« Reply #46 on: January 17, 2011, 04:13:08 PM »

I have a question by how God works in the lives of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc. Let's take for example they don't know the Gospel and keep practicing whatever belief that they have; does God forsake them because they worship a false idol or prophet...or how does He work in the lives of those that are in those religions?
The Holy Spirit blows where it wills.
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« Reply #47 on: January 17, 2011, 05:21:34 PM »

I have a question by how God works in the lives of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc. Let's take for example they don't know the Gospel and keep practicing whatever belief that they have; does God forsake them because they worship a false idol or prophet...or how does He work in the lives of those that are in those religions?

Sorry if I missed the post explaining this.

There is no straightforward answer to this question.  The only sure answer we have is go and preach the gospel.
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« Reply #48 on: January 17, 2011, 05:47:05 PM »

^
I think it is difficult for you to imagine a Muslim Christian because it really isn't possible to be one.  Someone who follows the teachings of Islam clearly does not give credence to Christian tradition and scripture and certainly denies the divinity of Christ.

I don't claim to be an authority on Buddhism, but there are some posters on this forum who are extremely knowledgeable on the subject.  My opinion, however, is that the major Buddhist traditions (I'm most familiar with Theravada and Mahayana) are, in some ways, incompatible with practicing Christianity, in large part due to their perspective on the world, chronology, soul, etc.  I have read arguments that Christ is, in fact, the Great Bodhisattva, or something along those lines, but that is not a particularly orthodox understanding.  I guess, in a very similar vein as a recent Tai Chi/Yoga thread related to this, my question would be: Is Zen, removed from particularly Buddhist spiritual understandings, still really Buddhism?

I don't doubt that practices such as Zen, Yoga, Tai-Chi, etc have beneficial qualities, but I find it peculiar (please note that I did not write "wrong") that people want to somehow integrate these practices into Orthodox Christianity.  I recognize the similarities between Zen and Hesychasm, but Hesychasm is also very different and was developed strictly within the confines of Christianity.  





Keeping in mind that there are may different types of Buddhism, in general Buddhism has a far different World View.

Take the Buddhist vs. the Christian view of Time. For a Buddhist all time is cyclical. Great circles that always come back around. In Christianity we understand time to be linear. There is a beginning, a middle and there will be an end.

This sort of presuppostion has great effect upon how to conduct ones spritual development. If I am to work off my Karma over many cycles of lifetimes, I can approach things one way. If I think I have one life and will face Judgement at the end of it, I will proceed a different way.

Like that.
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« Reply #49 on: January 17, 2011, 05:54:50 PM »

^
I think it is difficult for you to imagine a Muslim Christian because it really isn't possible to be one.  Someone who follows the teachings of Islam clearly does not give credence to Christian tradition and scripture and certainly denies the divinity of Christ.

I don't claim to be an authority on Buddhism, but there are some posters on this forum who are extremely knowledgeable on the subject.  My opinion, however, is that the major Buddhist traditions (I'm most familiar with Theravada and Mahayana) are, in some ways, incompatible with practicing Christianity, in large part due to their perspective on the world, chronology, soul, etc.  I have read arguments that Christ is, in fact, the Great Bodhisattva, or something along those lines, but that is not a particularly orthodox understanding.  I guess, in a very similar vein as a recent Tai Chi/Yoga thread related to this, my question would be: Is Zen, removed from particularly Buddhist spiritual understandings, still really Buddhism?

I don't doubt that practices such as Zen, Yoga, Tai-Chi, etc have beneficial qualities, but I find it peculiar (please note that I did not write "wrong") that people want to somehow integrate these practices into Orthodox Christianity.  I recognize the similarities between Zen and Hesychasm, but Hesychasm is also very different and was developed strictly within the confines of Christianity.  
Keeping in mind that there are may different types of Buddhism, in general Buddhism has a far different World View.

Take the Buddhist vs. the Christian view of Time. For a Buddhist all time is cyclical. Great circles that always come back around. In Christianity we understand time to be linear. There is a beginning, a middle and there will be an end.

This sort of presuppostion has great effect upon how to conduct ones spritual development. If I am to work off my Karma over many cycles of lifetimes, I can approach things one way. If I think I have one life and will face Judgement at the end of it, I will proceed a different way.

Like that.
It isn't quite that simple. Buddhist time isn't cyclical -- if by cyclical you mean a process that proceeds to some point, then starts over again and repeats itself in the exact same fashion. Even the process of rebirth isn't cyclical in that sense -- you never simply repeat what you did in a past life. Likewise, in Orthodox Christianity, there is no end to time, because the process of theosis involves becoming more and more God-as-given-by-Grace. I can see Protestants arguing for an end to time, but not a theosis-based Christianity. Theosis has a beginning, but it has no end.

In Buddhism, at least in Theravada, the beginning of the whole process of one's life (and by "life" I mean all of one's series of existences, all of one's rebirths) is said to be "unknowable" or "unsee-able", and the realization of nibbana (which is the "end" of one's enslavement to greed, hatred, and delusion) is the transcendence, the end, of the whole process altogether, and entry into the indescribable nature of nibbana.

So, in Buddhism, there is an "end", and in Christianity, there is an "endlessness"; and, of course, vice versa is true as well. Traditions like Christianity and Buddhism escape any easy categorization of cyclical or non-cyclical, ending or non-ending.
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« Reply #50 on: January 17, 2011, 06:47:32 PM »

^
I think it is difficult for you to imagine a Muslim Christian because it really isn't possible to be one.  Someone who follows the teachings of Islam clearly does not give credence to Christian tradition and scripture and certainly denies the divinity of Christ.

I don't claim to be an authority on Buddhism, but there are some posters on this forum who are extremely knowledgeable on the subject.  My opinion, however, is that the major Buddhist traditions (I'm most familiar with Theravada and Mahayana) are, in some ways, incompatible with practicing Christianity, in large part due to their perspective on the world, chronology, soul, etc.  I have read arguments that Christ is, in fact, the Great Bodhisattva, or something along those lines, but that is not a particularly orthodox understanding.  I guess, in a very similar vein as a recent Tai Chi/Yoga thread related to this, my question would be: Is Zen, removed from particularly Buddhist spiritual understandings, still really Buddhism?

I don't doubt that practices such as Zen, Yoga, Tai-Chi, etc have beneficial qualities, but I find it peculiar (please note that I did not write "wrong") that people want to somehow integrate these practices into Orthodox Christianity.  I recognize the similarities between Zen and Hesychasm, but Hesychasm is also very different and was developed strictly within the confines of Christianity.  
Keeping in mind that there are may different types of Buddhism, in general Buddhism has a far different World View.

Take the Buddhist vs. the Christian view of Time. For a Buddhist all time is cyclical. Great circles that always come back around. In Christianity we understand time to be linear. There is a beginning, a middle and there will be an end.

This sort of presuppostion has great effect upon how to conduct ones spritual development. If I am to work off my Karma over many cycles of lifetimes, I can approach things one way. If I think I have one life and will face Judgement at the end of it, I will proceed a different way.

Like that.
It isn't quite that simple. Buddhist time isn't cyclical -- if by cyclical you mean a process that proceeds to some point, then starts over again and repeats itself in the exact same fashion. Even the process of rebirth isn't cyclical in that sense -- you never simply repeat what you did in a past life. Likewise, in Orthodox Christianity, there is no end to time, because the process of theosis involves becoming more and more God-as-given-by-Grace. I can see Protestants arguing for an end to time, but not a theosis-based Christianity. Theosis has a beginning, but it has no end.

In Buddhism, at least in Theravada, the beginning of the whole process of one's life (and by "life" I mean all of one's series of existences, all of one's rebirths) is said to be "unknowable" or "unsee-able", and the realization of nibbana (which is the "end" of one's enslavement to greed, hatred, and delusion) is the transcendence, the end, of the whole process altogether, and entry into the indescribable nature of nibbana.

So, in Buddhism, there is an "end", and in Christianity, there is an "endlessness"; and, of course, vice versa is true as well. Traditions like Christianity and Buddhism escape any easy categorization of cyclical or non-cyclical, ending or non-ending.

Like I said, there are many different types of Buddhism. I am not very familiar with Hinayana ( Lesser Vehicle) Buddhism. My limited understanding is the goal is to save yourself and break the chain of rebirth finally in this lifetime. I can see how that is more like the Christian view.

 However, most Buddhism taught in the World today is Mahayana (Great Vehicle), Buddhism. Time is seen as cyclical. That does not necessarily mean the exact same things occur again and again, it is more like Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. No two Winters are exactly the same but Winter will come again. A person goes through repeated cycles of birth and death, ever refining his Karma as he goes with the goal of saving all sentient beings, not just himself.
Unlike the Hinayanist, He refuses to break the chain of rebirth but rather keeps coming back to help others.
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« Reply #51 on: January 18, 2011, 10:40:01 AM »

I would also think that when Christ says, "My sheep here my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27) includes many He knows and we may not necessarily comprehend. Is not someone like  the good Samaritan an ongoing example of one outside the known fold but known by God? Also, what about all sins & blasphemies (except against the Holy Spirit) being forgiven?; who can presume to define such a threshold intellectually? I think these mysteries are good since they would seem to teach us humility, fear of the Lord, obediance to His commandments, the future promise of answred prayers even when misery abounds in the present tense etc.
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« Reply #52 on: January 18, 2011, 12:07:45 PM »

Of course Christian position is that Christ's NT teaching tells us that all authority in heaven and earth are given to Christ. Christ is the truth the way and the life and no-one comes to the Father God except by Him.
So we cant judge who is saved except by their testimony, and only Christ will know the heart of people.
Obviously Buddhism and Islam doesnt have the knowledge of God for people to have faith in Christ, so all we can say is there is no salvation in Buddism or Islam.
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« Reply #53 on: January 18, 2011, 01:00:59 PM »

^
I think it is difficult for you to imagine a Muslim Christian because it really isn't possible to be one.  Someone who follows the teachings of Islam clearly does not give credence to Christian tradition and scripture and certainly denies the divinity of Christ.

I don't claim to be an authority on Buddhism, but there are some posters on this forum who are extremely knowledgeable on the subject.  My opinion, however, is that the major Buddhist traditions (I'm most familiar with Theravada and Mahayana) are, in some ways, incompatible with practicing Christianity, in large part due to their perspective on the world, chronology, soul, etc.  I have read arguments that Christ is, in fact, the Great Bodhisattva, or something along those lines, but that is not a particularly orthodox understanding.  I guess, in a very similar vein as a recent Tai Chi/Yoga thread related to this, my question would be: Is Zen, removed from particularly Buddhist spiritual understandings, still really Buddhism?

I don't doubt that practices such as Zen, Yoga, Tai-Chi, etc have beneficial qualities, but I find it peculiar (please note that I did not write "wrong") that people want to somehow integrate these practices into Orthodox Christianity.  I recognize the similarities between Zen and Hesychasm, but Hesychasm is also very different and was developed strictly within the confines of Christianity.  
Keeping in mind that there are may different types of Buddhism, in general Buddhism has a far different World View.

Take the Buddhist vs. the Christian view of Time. For a Buddhist all time is cyclical. Great circles that always come back around. In Christianity we understand time to be linear. There is a beginning, a middle and there will be an end.

This sort of presuppostion has great effect upon how to conduct ones spritual development. If I am to work off my Karma over many cycles of lifetimes, I can approach things one way. If I think I have one life and will face Judgement at the end of it, I will proceed a different way.

Like that.
It isn't quite that simple. Buddhist time isn't cyclical -- if by cyclical you mean a process that proceeds to some point, then starts over again and repeats itself in the exact same fashion. Even the process of rebirth isn't cyclical in that sense -- you never simply repeat what you did in a past life. Likewise, in Orthodox Christianity, there is no end to time, because the process of theosis involves becoming more and more God-as-given-by-Grace. I can see Protestants arguing for an end to time, but not a theosis-based Christianity. Theosis has a beginning, but it has no end.

In Buddhism, at least in Theravada, the beginning of the whole process of one's life (and by "life" I mean all of one's series of existences, all of one's rebirths) is said to be "unknowable" or "unsee-able", and the realization of nibbana (which is the "end" of one's enslavement to greed, hatred, and delusion) is the transcendence, the end, of the whole process altogether, and entry into the indescribable nature of nibbana.

So, in Buddhism, there is an "end", and in Christianity, there is an "endlessness"; and, of course, vice versa is true as well. Traditions like Christianity and Buddhism escape any easy categorization of cyclical or non-cyclical, ending or non-ending.

Except that Buddhism is non-echatalogical.
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« Reply #54 on: January 18, 2011, 01:28:54 PM »

Of course Christian position is that Christ's NT teaching tells us that all authority in heaven and earth are given to Christ. Christ is the truth the way and the life and no-one comes to the Father God except by Him.
So we cant judge who is saved except by their testimony, and only Christ will know the heart of people.
Obviously Buddhism and Islam doesnt have the knowledge of God for people to have faith in Christ, so all we can say is there is no salvation in Buddism or Islam.

But as Christ is the Eternal Word of God, "the True Light that lighteth every man", can we matter-of-factly limit His saving grace only to the historical life of Jesus Christ the Nazarene?  According to Professor James S. Cutsinger, also an Orthodox Christian, St. Athanasius and other church fathers said that Christ, the eternal Logos, "was not confined by his body even during his earthly ministry" (see link below if you want to investigate these ideas further).  Perhaps the Logos works in ways we cannot comprehend, who, while being most fully incarnate in the Person of Jesus Christ, also works through other religious traditions (eg Buddhism and Islam) to affect individual salvation?

Either way, I think it's safe to say that it is beyond us as individuals to definitively declare who will and will not be saved.

http://www.cutsinger.net/pdf/perennial_philosophy_and_christianity.pdf
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« Reply #55 on: January 18, 2011, 04:16:12 PM »

Except that Buddhism is non-echatalogical.
If by that you mean that in Buddhism, there is no definitive goal to which the physical universe as a whole is arriving at, I would disagree. It's true that Buddhism doesn't speak of an "end time" in the same way that, say, Christianity does, but Buddhism's eschatology (from a dzogchen perspective) is based on the vision of awakening, in which the universe is transformed from a place of dissatisfaction, to a realm of conscious light. The Buddhist "end time" is when all beings are awakened to this reality, and since the number of beings is potentially infinite, then the "end time" is "without end". I find this somewhat similar to the everlastingly, never-finally-arrived-at process of theosis.
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« Reply #56 on: January 20, 2011, 12:46:21 AM »


Quote

One of the main issues is that one cannot really commit to the Three Refuges and really be a Christian.

Care to elaborate?

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.
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« Reply #57 on: January 20, 2011, 09:11:49 AM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.
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« Reply #58 on: January 20, 2011, 04:46:28 PM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.

I highly suspect that's not the full story.
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« Reply #59 on: January 20, 2011, 04:58:26 PM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.

I highly suspect that's not the full story.

Some simple people worship him, just as some simple people worship Catholic saints. Ever seen some of those Spanish or Italian parades with the big statues of saints? A lot more is going on there than simple devotion. Same thing with relics. People with less elaborate intellects than yours regard relics as being inmbued with all kinds of magical powers, rather than as simple objects of devotion. But the historical buddha is not regarded by any Buddhist sect as anything other than a human being--a very extraordinary human being, but one who lived and died nonetheless.
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« Reply #60 on: January 20, 2011, 05:22:18 PM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.

I highly suspect that's not the full story.

Some simple people worship him, just as some simple people worship Catholic saints. Ever seen some of those Spanish or Italian parades with the big statues of saints? A lot more is going on there than simple devotion. Same thing with relics. People with less elaborate intellects than yours regard relics as being inmbued with all kinds of magical powers, rather than as simple objects of devotion. But the historical buddha is not regarded by any Buddhist sect as anything other than a human being--a very extraordinary human being, but one who lived and died nonetheless.

My sense is that many (perhaps the majority of) Buddhists regard Sidhattha as having been human by nature, yet the perfect embodiment of the Buddanature in his personality, and thus a Supreme Teacher and Mediator in a way similar to Jesus, to the point where there could be some truth to referring to him as "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" for them.
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« Reply #61 on: January 21, 2011, 11:29:33 AM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.

I highly suspect that's not the full story.

Some simple people worship him, just as some simple people worship Catholic saints. Ever seen some of those Spanish or Italian parades with the big statues of saints? A lot more is going on there than simple devotion. Same thing with relics. People with less elaborate intellects than yours regard relics as being inmbued with all kinds of magical powers, rather than as simple objects of devotion. But the historical buddha is not regarded by any Buddhist sect as anything other than a human being--a very extraordinary human being, but one who lived and died nonetheless.

My sense is that many (perhaps the majority of) Buddhists regard Sidhattha as having been human by nature, yet the perfect embodiment of the Buddanature in his personality, and thus a Supreme Teacher and Mediator in a way similar to Jesus, to the point where there could be some truth to referring to him as "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" for them.

I am afraid you do not understand what is meant by buddhanature. It is perfectly embodied by every being, and by every one of us. Shakyamuni didn't embody it any more perfectly than you do. What he maybe did do was manifest that nature more clearly or completely, i.e., with less delusion.
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« Reply #62 on: January 21, 2011, 12:21:04 PM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.

Once again, you must be extremely careful to recognize that there are different forms of Buddhism that have far different idea's from one to another. You can never simply state that "Buddhism" teaches so and so.

For example in the Lotus Sutra based Sects it is understood that the Buddha was NOT merely a human. The LS teaches that his enlightement under the Bohdai Tree was an expedient means of teaching and that his disappearance ( death) was only to prevent people from being too attached to him.

In fact,  his "real " identity is as the "Eternal Buddha" ( chapter 15-16 LS)  and he is referred to in the commentaries by St. Nichiren and others as... "Our Father, the Eternally Living Lord Shakyamuni"..... That sort of representation is far closer to how one referrers to someone Divine than it is to Lord Wellington ( with my apologies to the General who was a great hero Smiley

Revisionist LS Buddhist groups like the Soka Gakkai often  take the original language and shorten or delete all the honorifics leaving just "Lord Shakyamuni" or simply "Shakyamuni".
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 12:23:54 PM by Marc1152 » Logged

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« Reply #63 on: January 21, 2011, 01:23:56 PM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.

I highly suspect that's not the full story.

Some simple people worship him, just as some simple people worship Catholic saints. Ever seen some of those Spanish or Italian parades with the big statues of saints? A lot more is going on there than simple devotion. Same thing with relics. People with less elaborate intellects than yours regard relics as being inmbued with all kinds of magical powers, rather than as simple objects of devotion. But the historical buddha is not regarded by any Buddhist sect as anything other than a human being--a very extraordinary human being, but one who lived and died nonetheless.

My sense is that many (perhaps the majority of) Buddhists regard Sidhattha as having been human by nature, yet the perfect embodiment of the Buddanature in his personality, and thus a Supreme Teacher and Mediator in a way similar to Jesus, to the point where there could be some truth to referring to him as "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" for them.

Buddha-nature was not really an early Buddhist concept but something that developed later. The original teachings have the Buddha (Siddhartha Gotema) denying that he is a god or any kind of celestial being, but simply awake.

Quote
No Innate Nature

...This is why the Buddha never advocated attributing an innate nature of any kind to the mind — good, bad, or Buddha. The idea of innate natures slipped into the Buddhist tradition in later centuries, when the principle of freedom was forgotten. Past bad kamma was seen as so totally deterministic that there seemed no way around it unless you assumed either an innate Buddha in the mind that could overpower it, or an external Buddha who would save you from it. But when you understand the principle of freedom — that past kamma doesn't totally shape the present, and that present kamma can always be free to choose the skillful alternative — you realize that the idea of innate natures is unnecessary: excess baggage on the path.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/freedomfrombuddhanature.html

You are probably right in that most (Mahayana) Buddhists throughout the world, especially lay persons, do see the Buddha more like a god or embodiment of Buddha-nature than merely as an awakened man, as the early Buddhists did (and Theravada Buddhists still do). My experience living in Korea, where Mahayana Buddhism is practiced, was that most lay people knew less about the original teachings of the Buddha than I did! Many of them go to the temples on the weekends, bow to the Buddha, and pray for their kids to get into the best Universities. Only the monks and nuns really seemed to meditate. I'm sure there were exceptions, of course.  Smiley

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« Reply #64 on: January 21, 2011, 08:03:08 PM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.

I highly suspect that's not the full story.

Some simple people worship him, just as some simple people worship Catholic saints. Ever seen some of those Spanish or Italian parades with the big statues of saints? A lot more is going on there than simple devotion. Same thing with relics. People with less elaborate intellects than yours regard relics as being inmbued with all kinds of magical powers, rather than as simple objects of devotion. But the historical buddha is not regarded by any Buddhist sect as anything other than a human being--a very extraordinary human being, but one who lived and died nonetheless.

My sense is that many (perhaps the majority of) Buddhists regard Sidhattha as having been human by nature, yet the perfect embodiment of the Buddanature in his personality, and thus a Supreme Teacher and Mediator in a way similar to Jesus, to the point where there could be some truth to referring to him as "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" for them.

Buddha-nature was not really an early Buddhist concept but something that developed later. The original teachings have the Buddha (Siddhartha Gotema) denying that he is a god or any kind of celestial being, but simply awake.

Quote
No Innate Nature

...This is why the Buddha never advocated attributing an innate nature of any kind to the mind — good, bad, or Buddha. The idea of innate natures slipped into the Buddhist tradition in later centuries, when the principle of freedom was forgotten. Past bad kamma was seen as so totally deterministic that there seemed no way around it unless you assumed either an innate Buddha in the mind that could overpower it, or an external Buddha who would save you from it. But when you understand the principle of freedom — that past kamma doesn't totally shape the present, and that present kamma can always be free to choose the skillful alternative — you realize that the idea of innate natures is unnecessary: excess baggage on the path.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/freedomfrombuddhanature.html

You are probably right in that most (Mahayana) Buddhists throughout the world, especially lay persons, do see the Buddha more like a god or embodiment of Buddha-nature than merely as an awakened man, as the early Buddhists did (and Theravada Buddhists still do). My experience living in Korea, where Mahayana Buddhism is practiced, was that most lay people knew less about the original teachings of the Buddha than I did! Many of them go to the temples on the weekends, bow to the Buddha, and pray for their kids to get into the best Universities. Only the monks and nuns really seemed to meditate. I'm sure there were exceptions, of course.  Smiley



There are two ways to look at it. One is that the early Sutra's are True because they are ...earlier.  The other way is that the early Sutra's contained only a partial Truth and that the Later Wisdom Sutra's and finally the Lotus Sutra tells the rest of the story, the whole Truth. 

The theory is that as we get further away from when then Buddha lived, it is harder to practice. Therefore, in early times one could accept all kinds of precepts and follow a Hinyanna type path and get results. But spiritual capacity has diminished over time, so now people need a direct method and the full Truth since we live in a spiritually degenerate age ( "Mappo"),   
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« Reply #65 on: January 24, 2011, 09:58:39 AM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.

Once again, you must be extremely careful to recognize that there are different forms of Buddhism that have far different idea's from one to another. You can never simply state that "Buddhism" teaches so and so.

For example in the Lotus Sutra based Sects it is understood that the Buddha was NOT merely a human. The LS teaches that his enlightement under the Bohdai Tree was an expedient means of teaching and that his disappearance ( death) was only to prevent people from being too attached to him.

In fact,  his "real " identity is as the "Eternal Buddha" ( chapter 15-16 LS)  and he is referred to in the commentaries by St. Nichiren and others as... "Our Father, the Eternally Living Lord Shakyamuni"..... That sort of representation is far closer to how one referrers to someone Divine than it is to Lord Wellington ( with my apologies to the General who was a great hero Smiley

Revisionist LS Buddhist groups like the Soka Gakkai often  take the original language and shorten or delete all the honorifics leaving just "Lord Shakyamuni" or simply "Shakyamuni".

Thanks. I get tired of making this same point over and over. One can no more refer to Buddhism, as if it were something monolithic, than one can derive accurate understanding of Christianity from a children's Bible. On that basis, one would probably conclude than all Christians were like Methodists or Presbyterians.
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« Reply #66 on: January 24, 2011, 11:55:51 AM »

Let me state for the original post that I am not Orthodox, so I am not giving what would be a traditional Orthodox answer.

I would think that the Bible and majority of early Church teachings (save for Origen and possibly Gregory of Nyssa) would be quite clear on the subject - one who knows of Christ as Christ and willfully rejects Him cannot inherit eternal life. This is because the rejection of Christ is actually the utmost immoral act.

Now, for those who don't hear I would say the Bible implicitly says that those who still seek after God will be saved, but even among those who never hear are some of the condemned. I know it's not a pleasant thought, but the Bible does seem to say that there will be people thrown into Hell and even into the Lake of Fire after the Final Judgment. Perhaps this isn't so, and how wonderful it would be if it were not, but Scripture doesn't seem to paint such a picture.
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« Reply #67 on: January 24, 2011, 02:32:54 PM »

Let me state for the original post that I am not Orthodox, so I am not giving what would be a traditional Orthodox answer.

I would think that the Bible and majority of early Church teachings (save for Origen and possibly Gregory of Nyssa) would be quite clear on the subject - one who knows of Christ as Christ and willfully rejects Him cannot inherit eternal life. This is because the rejection of Christ is actually the utmost immoral act.

Now, for those who don't hear I would say the Bible implicitly says that those who still seek after God will be saved, but even among those who never hear are some of the condemned. I know it's not a pleasant thought, but the Bible does seem to say that there will be people thrown into Hell and even into the Lake of Fire after the Final Judgment. Perhaps this isn't so, and how wonderful it would be if it were not, but Scripture doesn't seem to paint such a picture.

What if someone is the victim of violence perpetrated by Christians in the name of Christ, such as a pogrom or inquisition?

Someone may willfully reject faith in Christ after seeing family and friends lynched..etc.

I think God will do what is right without being bound by a narrow rule book.


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« Reply #68 on: January 24, 2011, 02:45:58 PM »

Let me state for the original post that I am not Orthodox, so I am not giving what would be a traditional Orthodox answer.

I would think that the Bible and majority of early Church teachings (save for Origen and possibly Gregory of Nyssa) would be quite clear on the subject - one who knows of Christ as Christ and willfully rejects Him cannot inherit eternal life. This is because the rejection of Christ is actually the utmost immoral act.

Now, for those who don't hear I would say the Bible implicitly says that those who still seek after God will be saved, but even among those who never hear are some of the condemned. I know it's not a pleasant thought, but the Bible does seem to say that there will be people thrown into Hell and even into the Lake of Fire after the Final Judgment. Perhaps this isn't so, and how wonderful it would be if it were not, but Scripture doesn't seem to paint such a picture.

What if someone is the victim of violence perpetrated by Christians in the name of Christ, such as a pogrom or inquisition?

Someone may willfully reject faith in Christ after seeing family and friends lynched..etc.

I think God will do what is right without being bound by a narrow rule book.




But He wrote the rules. Smiley

Notice that I said those who reject "Christ as Christ." Someone rejecting Christ because of a misrepresentation of Christ wouldn't be rejecting Christ; they'd be rejecting an idol.
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« Reply #69 on: January 24, 2011, 03:19:28 PM »

reply to philosopher (#68). God is sovereign and if we pray for others as we are commanded (1 Timothy 2:1), according to what we are commanded (love God with all our heart, soul, & mind & our neighbor as ourself), the golden rule, calling upon Christ as our savior (Romans 10:9-13), the Beatitudes, the law God gives to the individual conscience (Romans 2), recalling God's sovereignty (Romans 9:14-18), the Son asking the Father to forgive (Luke 23:34) the fear of the Lord & the final judgement (matthew 25:31-46) etc. how are we to presume to define where God extends His mercy?
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« Reply #70 on: January 24, 2011, 05:11:50 PM »

reply to philosopher (#68). God is sovereign and if we pray for others as we are commanded (1 Timothy 2:1), according to what we are commanded (love God with all our heart, soul, & mind & our neighbor as ourself), the golden rule, calling upon Christ as our savior (Romans 10:9-13), the Beatitudes, the law God gives to the individual conscience (Romans 2), recalling God's sovereignty (Romans 9:14-18), the Son asking the Father to forgive (Luke 23:34) the fear of the Lord & the final judgement (matthew 25:31-46) etc. how are we to presume to define where God extends His mercy?

Amen, and again, amen. That we little humans should presume to think we understand God's will perfectly, even with an instruction book, is pretty funny. Or would be if the history of the church weren't so littered with the remains of those it condemned.
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« Reply #71 on: January 24, 2011, 06:26:26 PM »

Let me state for the original post that I am not Orthodox, so I am not giving what would be a traditional Orthodox answer.

I would think that the Bible and majority of early Church teachings (save for Origen and possibly Gregory of Nyssa) would be quite clear on the subject - one who knows of Christ as Christ and willfully rejects Him cannot inherit eternal life. This is because the rejection of Christ is actually the utmost immoral act.

Now, for those who don't hear I would say the Bible implicitly says that those who still seek after God will be saved, but even among those who never hear are some of the condemned. I know it's not a pleasant thought, but the Bible does seem to say that there will be people thrown into Hell and even into the Lake of Fire after the Final Judgment. Perhaps this isn't so, and how wonderful it would be if it were not, but Scripture doesn't seem to paint such a picture.

What if someone is the victim of violence perpetrated by Christians in the name of Christ, such as a pogrom or inquisition?

Someone may willfully reject faith in Christ after seeing family and friends lynched..etc.

I think God will do what is right without being bound by a narrow rule book.




But He wrote the rules. Smiley

Notice that I said those who reject "Christ as Christ." Someone rejecting Christ because of a misrepresentation of Christ wouldn't be rejecting Christ; they'd be rejecting an idol.

Really? How good is his penmanship? Don't you mean he inspired the Men who wrote scripture? And generally Orthodox don't look at scripture as a book of rules..Therefore, there is some wiggle room for reasonableness and God's Mercy.

But I do like very much your explanation that to reject a false representation of Christ is not really a rejection of Jesus Christ. Thanks for that
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« Reply #72 on: January 27, 2011, 06:21:58 AM »

Hi Stavros_388,
Quote
But as Christ is the Eternal Word of God, "the True Light that lighteth every man", can we matter-of-factly limit His saving grace only to the historical life of Jesus Christ the Nazarene? 
No we cant limit His saving grace, but His saving grace is in Him and what He has done, which other religions limit.
Quote
Perhaps the Logos works in ways we cannot comprehend, who, while being most fully incarnate in the Person of Jesus Christ, also works through other religious traditions (eg Buddhism and Islam) to affect individual salvation?
Or perhaps not as the evidence shows, particuallry with Islam withnits denial of Christ as the risen Son of God.   

Quote
Either way, I think it's safe to say that it is beyond us as individuals to definitively declare who will and will not be saved.
I agree with you there, we are not to judge those who havent heard the truth, or who have been blinded by their religion to the truth.
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« Reply #73 on: January 27, 2011, 07:01:37 AM »

I have a question by how God works in the lives of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc. Let's take for example they don't know the Gospel and keep practicing whatever belief that they have; does God forsake them because they worship a false idol or prophet...or how does He work in the lives of those that are in those religions?

Sorry if I missed the post explaining this.

We need to differentiate “religion” from “religion as religion teaching” and “religion as religious organisation”.


1.   hard to except there are people who not heard about “bible” and “Christianity”.
2.   God work 24/7 about each of as.
3.   to be orthodox is not mean nor equal “to be saved.” It is to know right road to salvation, and most of  us would die on this road.




Also few words about “beliefs”:

Beliefs – is form of perception.
If some one perceiving green as blue and salted as sweet ….What you called them? 
And if some one presenting glass as diamond and play with your perception…. What you called them? 
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« Reply #74 on: January 27, 2011, 09:34:10 AM »

I'm curious how many people here actually know what either Buddha or Mohammed taught? I can't imagine a Muslim Christian, perhaps because of my narrow and ignorant view. But I can certainly imagine a Buddhist Christian. In Zen, to take one example, there's really nothing to contradict the teachings of Christ. Zen teachers simply do not cover the same ground. It is a non-scriptural tradition that emphasizes experience over understanding and traditionally doesn't seek to verbalize much about even that--much like the apophatic (sp?) tradition of the hesychasts. And much of what they teach about the the nature of mind and the craft of concentration, if you will, could be useful to us in our own practices of prayer and meditation.

No, genuine Zen is not compatible with Christianity, since it assumes all of the doctrines taught in traditional Mahayana Buddhism. Zen's "nonscriptural" approach, which can be traced to the Lankavatara Sutra, among other scriptures,  goes beyond the scriptures, but that can only be done if one has actually studied their contents. Zen teachers in the US immediately want to jump to the "nonscriptural" part without taking the time to understand the Buddhist tradition. That's why American Zen is generally a dumbed down grab bag of cliches serving as a cover for whatever the "Zen Master" believes on a given day. This "nondogmatic" Zen is a product of 1960's America, not China or Japan, though teachers from those countries have certainly exploited it when they came here.  Some American Zen teachers have seen the problem in this and are emphasizing rigorous study again, like in the Mountains and Rivers Order. Then there are some of the Chinese orders, like Sheng Yen's, which always emphasized a thorough grounding in Buddhist teaching.
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« Reply #75 on: January 27, 2011, 09:51:14 AM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.

I highly suspect that's not the full story.

Some simple people worship him, just as some simple people worship Catholic saints. Ever seen some of those Spanish or Italian parades with the big statues of saints? A lot more is going on there than simple devotion. Same thing with relics. People with less elaborate intellects than yours regard relics as being inmbued with all kinds of magical powers, rather than as simple objects of devotion. But the historical buddha is not regarded by any Buddhist sect as anything other than a human being--a very extraordinary human being, but one who lived and died nonetheless.

I can say from experience that the Buddha is definitely "worshipped", and not just by the "simple" folk, in Mahayana Buddhism and also Tibetan Buddhism. He is considered eternal, immortal, omnipotent, etc. One prostrates before him and treats statues of him as if they were the Buddha himself. The merits gained by praising the name of the Buddha, making offereings to him, making statues, or circumambulating stupas are not some folk accretion but are written out very explicitly in certain texts, in sutras (Lotus Sutra, for instance) and also core texts like Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation.
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« Reply #76 on: January 27, 2011, 09:56:11 AM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.

Once again, you must be extremely careful to recognize that there are different forms of Buddhism that have far different idea's from one to another. You can never simply state that "Buddhism" teaches so and so.

For example in the Lotus Sutra based Sects it is understood that the Buddha was NOT merely a human. The LS teaches that his enlightement under the Bohdai Tree was an expedient means of teaching and that his disappearance ( death) was only to prevent people from being too attached to him.

In fact,  his "real " identity is as the "Eternal Buddha" ( chapter 15-16 LS)  and he is referred to in the commentaries by St. Nichiren and others as... "Our Father, the Eternally Living Lord Shakyamuni"..... That sort of representation is far closer to how one referrers to someone Divine than it is to Lord Wellington ( with my apologies to the General who was a great hero Smiley

Revisionist LS Buddhist groups like the Soka Gakkai often  take the original language and shorten or delete all the honorifics leaving just "Lord Shakyamuni" or simply "Shakyamuni".

Thanks. I get tired of making this same point over and over. One can no more refer to Buddhism, as if it were something monolithic, than one can derive accurate understanding of Christianity from a children's Bible. On that basis, one would probably conclude than all Christians were like Methodists or Presbyterians.

Buddhism may not be monolithic, but some describe it as "holographic"- the different traditions reflect each other. There is rarely a significant contradiction in doctrine between the different sects- it's usually more a matter of making different emphases or adding some layers to the common cosmology. In China and Japan there were big-tent sects (Tiantai/ Tendai, Hua Yen/ Kegon) that sought to unify all the teachings into one. When Chan became dominant in China, it didn't wipe out the other teachings but absorbed them, no now it is common in Chan to practice Pure Land nian fo and other practices not commonly associated with Chan. The only really radical departures tha I know of would be some of the crazier mappo sects like Nichiren.
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« Reply #77 on: January 27, 2011, 02:31:13 PM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.

I highly suspect that's not the full story.

Some simple people worship him, just as some simple people worship Catholic saints. Ever seen some of those Spanish or Italian parades with the big statues of saints? A lot more is going on there than simple devotion. Same thing with relics. People with less elaborate intellects than yours regard relics as being inmbued with all kinds of magical powers, rather than as simple objects of devotion. But the historical buddha is not regarded by any Buddhist sect as anything other than a human being--a very extraordinary human being, but one who lived and died nonetheless.

I can say from experience that the Buddha is definitely "worshipped", and not just by the "simple" folk, in Mahayana Buddhism and also Tibetan Buddhism. He is considered eternal, immortal, omnipotent, etc.
I would like to see where Tibetan Buddhism argues that the Buddha (e.g., Shakyamuni) is "eternal" and "immortal" (in the way that God is considered "eternal" and "immortal" in the Abrahamic traditions), and "omnipotent" (being all-powerful, implying Abrahamically total creation of the cosmos).
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« Reply #78 on: January 27, 2011, 04:24:36 PM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.

I highly suspect that's not the full story.

Some simple people worship him, just as some simple people worship Catholic saints. Ever seen some of those Spanish or Italian parades with the big statues of saints? A lot more is going on there than simple devotion. Same thing with relics. People with less elaborate intellects than yours regard relics as being inmbued with all kinds of magical powers, rather than as simple objects of devotion. But the historical buddha is not regarded by any Buddhist sect as anything other than a human being--a very extraordinary human being, but one who lived and died nonetheless.

I can say from experience that the Buddha is definitely "worshipped", and not just by the "simple" folk, in Mahayana Buddhism and also Tibetan Buddhism. He is considered eternal, immortal, omnipotent, etc.
I would like to see where Tibetan Buddhism argues that the Buddha (e.g., Shakyamuni) is "eternal" and "immortal" (in the way that God is considered "eternal" and "immortal" in the Abrahamic traditions), and "omnipotent" (being all-powerful, implying Abrahamically total creation of the cosmos).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_Buddha
The Buddha is very plainly taught to be eternal in key Mahayana texts like the Lotus Sutra. Sometimes the Buddha is described as the ground of all existence.  Is it the same way as the Christian God? I'd say no. The devotions to Shakyamuni and to other beings are done as if these Buddhas are still present. The "omnipotent" thing I'm not as clear on- I remember reading and hearing about how the Buddha was all-powerful but in exactly what sense I'm not sure. All the same, the Buddha is definitely not an ordinary mortal in any Mahayana narrative.  
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« Reply #79 on: January 27, 2011, 06:56:00 PM »


Quote

The Three Refuges essentially set up the Buddha as one's Lord (made even more clear by the fact that many Buddhists refer to Siddhattha Gotama as "the Lord Buddha") in a way that cannot be reconciled with Christ's Lordship. Sure, certain concepts and practices of Buddhism may be able to be incorporated into a Christian life, but I think it's clear that one cannot be a full Christian and a full Buddhist.

The historical Buddha was a human. he's referred to as Lord Budddha in the same way as one might refer to Lord Wellington, as a mark of respect.

I highly suspect that's not the full story.

Some simple people worship him, just as some simple people worship Catholic saints. Ever seen some of those Spanish or Italian parades with the big statues of saints? A lot more is going on there than simple devotion. Same thing with relics. People with less elaborate intellects than yours regard relics as being inmbued with all kinds of magical powers, rather than as simple objects of devotion. But the historical buddha is not regarded by any Buddhist sect as anything other than a human being--a very extraordinary human being, but one who lived and died nonetheless.

I can say from experience that the Buddha is definitely "worshipped", and not just by the "simple" folk, in Mahayana Buddhism and also Tibetan Buddhism. He is considered eternal, immortal, omnipotent, etc.
I would like to see where Tibetan Buddhism argues that the Buddha (e.g., Shakyamuni) is "eternal" and "immortal" (in the way that God is considered "eternal" and "immortal" in the Abrahamic traditions), and "omnipotent" (being all-powerful, implying Abrahamically total creation of the cosmos).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_Buddha
The Buddha is very plainly taught to be eternal in key Mahayana texts like the Lotus Sutra. Sometimes the Buddha is described as the ground of all existence.  Is it the same way as the Christian God? I'd say no. The devotions to Shakyamuni and to other beings are done as if these Buddhas are still present.
Ok. I see what you mean. I agree that the Buddha, in Buddhism, is not a mere "man" (even in Theravada, let alone Mahayana). But I think we have to distinguish the two ways in which the Buddha, in Mahayana, might be described as "eternal". The first way is to make "Buddha" synonymous with "Nirvana" or "Dharmakaya", which are more 'impersonal' labels. Insofar as the Buddha embodies Nirvana or Dharmakaya, then you could speak of the Buddha as "eternal". The second way is to say that, since the Buddha (in Mahayana) actually achieved Enlightenment eons and eons ago (and thus Shakyamuni Buddha, the Buddha of 2500 years ago, was a "manifestation" of an already-Enlightened Buddha), the "eons and eons ago" time-span is, for practical human purposes, "eternal".
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« Reply #80 on: January 28, 2011, 05:34:11 PM »

I'm curious how many people here actually know what either Buddha or Mohammed taught? I can't imagine a Muslim Christian, perhaps because of my narrow and ignorant view. But I can certainly imagine a Buddhist Christian. In Zen, to take one example, there's really nothing to contradict the teachings of Christ. Zen teachers simply do not cover the same ground. It is a non-scriptural tradition that emphasizes experience over understanding and traditionally doesn't seek to verbalize much about even that--much like the apophatic (sp?) tradition of the hesychasts. And much of what they teach about the the nature of mind and the craft of concentration, if you will, could be useful to us in our own practices of prayer and meditation.

No, genuine Zen is not compatible with Christianity, since it assumes all of the doctrines taught in traditional Mahayana Buddhism. Zen's "nonscriptural" approach, which can be traced to the Lankavatara Sutra, among other scriptures,  goes beyond the scriptures, but that can only be done if one has actually studied their contents. Zen teachers in the US immediately want to jump to the "nonscriptural" part without taking the time to understand the Buddhist tradition. That's why American Zen is generally a dumbed down grab bag of cliches serving as a cover for whatever the "Zen Master" believes on a given day. This "nondogmatic" Zen is a product of 1960's America, not China or Japan, though teachers from those countries have certainly exploited it when they came here.  Some American Zen teachers have seen the problem in this and are emphasizing rigorous study again, like in the Mountains and Rivers Order. Then there are some of the Chinese orders, like Sheng Yen's, which always emphasized a thorough grounding in Buddhist teaching.

Well, I practice "genuine Zen" and am a believing Orthodox Christian. You are right about the poor preparation of most american Zen students, wanting as they do to avoid the Hinayana altogether--manifestly impossible. But I believe you've misunderstood the expression "a teaching outside the scriptures."  It is the direct experience of fundamental reality. What could that be but God? The point is that rigorous study or the application of sequential logic do not lead to that direct experience. That is the problem with many of Shihfu Sheng Yen's teachings. They do not go deep enough.

Of course you can find people who "worship" the historical Buddha, just as you can find savior figures, such as Amitabha, in movements like the Pure Land schools. You can find the same wide variety in Christianity. Mary the Virgin Mother of God--yes or no? You'll get a quite different answer from an Orthodox than from a Pentecostal. What's your point? That Buddhism manifests in many forms? No one argues against this.
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« Reply #81 on: January 30, 2011, 10:40:14 PM »

Wow that is some plagarism regarding Nichiren Shoshu.
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« Reply #82 on: January 30, 2011, 10:42:29 PM »

Wow that is some plagarism regarding Nichiren Shoshu.

How so?
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« Reply #83 on: January 30, 2011, 11:03:28 PM »

Quote
The Buddha actually exists as a Divine Supreme Being who has eternal life.

All people have the ability to become enlightend, not just a seperate class of Monks

The Word ( The Sutra) and the Person are for all intents and purposes identical in merit.

You achieve enlightenment by communion with this Supreme Being and by his grace alone.     

You commune by hearing the Dharma encapsulated in an easy to use form, the Title of the Hokkeyo .

The Buddha thereby indwells within your life and transforms you..

Sound at all familiar ?... Nichiren was a smart cookie. He got an awful lot right. 

If this came out in the 1400s then wouldn't be classified as being derived from the EO church?
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« Reply #84 on: January 30, 2011, 11:07:23 PM »

Quote
The Buddha actually exists as a Divine Supreme Being who has eternal life.

All people have the ability to become enlightend, not just a seperate class of Monks

The Word ( The Sutra) and the Person are for all intents and purposes identical in merit.

You achieve enlightenment by communion with this Supreme Being and by his grace alone.     

You commune by hearing the Dharma encapsulated in an easy to use form, the Title of the Hokkeyo .

The Buddha thereby indwells within your life and transforms you..

Sound at all familiar ?... Nichiren was a smart cookie. He got an awful lot right. 

If this came out in the 1400s then wouldn't be classified as being derived from the EO church?

Similar ideas can be found in earlier expressions of Buddhism. I seriously doubt Nichiren or any of his forebears had any knowledge of Orthodox Christianity.

Chalk it up to that guidance which God, in his mercy, gives to all the best pagan philosophers.
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« Reply #85 on: January 30, 2011, 11:12:19 PM »

Quote
The Buddha actually exists as a Divine Supreme Being who has eternal life.

All people have the ability to become enlightend, not just a seperate class of Monks

The Word ( The Sutra) and the Person are for all intents and purposes identical in merit.

You achieve enlightenment by communion with this Supreme Being and by his grace alone.      

You commune by hearing the Dharma encapsulated in an easy to use form, the Title of the Hokkeyo .

The Buddha thereby indwells within your life and transforms you..

Sound at all familiar ?... Nichiren was a smart cookie. He got an awful lot right.  

If this came out in the 1400s then wouldn't be classified as being derived from the EO church?

I think you are confused. We are taking about a Japanese Buddhist Sect.

Nichiren Shoshu was a very small branch of Nichiren Buddhism through the centuries. They had a big uproar internally in the 1400's and adopted all kinds of idea's not originally taught by Nichiren..By World War Two they were moribund but were lifted up by  lay leaders who eventually organized the Soka Gakkai. They teach a Health, Wealth and Happiness form of "Humanism" which has scant resemblance to anything Nichiren would recognize. They were hugely successful and are now the largest Buddhist sect in Japan by far.

I didnt plagiarizer anything. I just wrote this while watching TV.
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« Reply #86 on: January 30, 2011, 11:15:54 PM »

Quote
The Buddha actually exists as a Divine Supreme Being who has eternal life.

All people have the ability to become enlightend, not just a seperate class of Monks

The Word ( The Sutra) and the Person are for all intents and purposes identical in merit.

You achieve enlightenment by communion with this Supreme Being and by his grace alone.     

You commune by hearing the Dharma encapsulated in an easy to use form, the Title of the Hokkeyo .

The Buddha thereby indwells within your life and transforms you..

Sound at all familiar ?... Nichiren was a smart cookie. He got an awful lot right. 

If this came out in the 1400s then wouldn't be classified as being derived from the EO church?

Similar ideas can be found in earlier expressions of Buddhism. I seriously doubt Nichiren or any of his forebears had any knowledge of Orthodox Christianity.

Chalk it up to that guidance which God, in his mercy, gives to all the best pagan philosophers.

Exactly. That was my point. All on his own without benefit of knowing anything of Christianity Nichiren gleaned some basic Metaphysics that hold up well by Orthodox standards. He was obviously a well developed spiritual person.
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« Reply #87 on: January 30, 2011, 11:43:19 PM »

I didnt plagiarizer anything. I just wrote this while watching TV.
I didn't mean you plagarized anything but rather I thought Nichiren did, sorry for my bad sentence structure that accused you

Exactly. That was my point. All on his own without benefit of knowing anything of Christianity Nichiren gleaned some basic Metaphysics that hold up well by Orthodox standards. He was obviously a well developed spiritual person.
Wow that is pretty remarkable actually.
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« Reply #88 on: January 31, 2011, 12:32:41 AM »

Actually Christianity has a rather long history in Japan, dating back to the 700s.  It died out in the 1100s…devolving and being mixed with bit of Daoism and Buddhism and the like.  The largest Buddhist monastery in Japan is built on the ruins of one of the last Nestorian churches in Japan in the 11th century. One of its timbers still survives with a few words of Syrian script, a Gospel portion, visible upon it and can be seen in the national museum.

So even though Nestorian Christianity died out, a lot of its ideas lingered and took root in Japanese popular religious culture:

http://www.syriacstudies.com/AFSS/Syriac_Articles_in_English/Entries/2009/5/6_SYRIAN_NESTORIANISM_IN_JAPAN__.html
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« Reply #89 on: January 31, 2011, 12:24:04 PM »

Actually Christianity has a rather long history in Japan, dating back to the 700s.  It died out in the 1100s…devolving and being mixed with bit of Daoism and Buddhism and the like.  The largest Buddhist monastery in Japan is built on the ruins of one of the last Nestorian churches in Japan in the 11th century. One of its timbers still survives with a few words of Syrian script, a Gospel portion, visible upon it and can be seen in the national museum.

So even though Nestorian Christianity died out, a lot of its ideas lingered and took root in Japanese popular religious culture:

http://www.syriacstudies.com/AFSS/Syriac_Articles_in_English/Entries/2009/5/6_SYRIAN_NESTORIANISM_IN_JAPAN__.html

That is very interesting. I makes you wonder.

I have never seen anything to indicate Nichiren had any contact with Christians but as you said, some idea's may have crept into the general population. However, I think my teacher ( who is a famous translator of Nichiren) would reject the suggestion.

For one thing the idea of the Buddha actually existing ( Actual Manifestation Ji-Kempon) was the common thought during Nichiren's lifetime. Only after his death do we see everything interpreted as a Metaphor ( Ri-kempon) for your own life.. Buddha Nature becomes the inherent Buddha within your own life ( Hongaku thought) rather than the capacity for Buddhahood.

So the stage was well set for Nichiren's method without Christian influence. It resembles Christian idea's of salvation because an advanced Spiritual Person can somehow be led to or glean the Truth, IMHO.  
« Last Edit: January 31, 2011, 12:24:54 PM by Marc1152 » Logged

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« Reply #90 on: January 31, 2011, 04:53:19 PM »

Well, I practice "genuine Zen" and am a believing Orthodox Christian.

If you are not a Buddhist, you don't practice Zen. Maybe you practice some neat mental tricks you learned in your Zen monastery, but if it's divorced from Buddhism, it's not Zen.

Quote
But I believe you've misunderstood the expression "a teaching outside the scriptures."  It is the direct experience of fundamental reality. What could that be but God?

Of course God is the fundamental reality. However, to recognize this is to overthrow Zen and all Buddhist doctrine. All the Zen practices and teachings, including the "outside the scriptures" stuff, is based on Buddhist principles... which are in the scriptures. A lot of the distinctive Zen approaches came from the Lankavatara Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, etc. Much of Dogen's craziness can be traced to the Avatamsaka Sutra. Maybe they left the raft behind, but Buddha-Dharma was still the only raft.

Quote
The point is that rigorous study or the application of sequential logic do not lead to that direct experience. That is the problem with many of Shihfu Sheng Yen's teachings. They do not go deep enough.

Buddhism, including Zen, doesn't go deep enough. It's not Sheng Yen's fault. But terms of Zen and Buddhism, Sheng Yen is miles above most of the narcissists peddling "Zen" in the West. If you have an edge over Sheng yen, it's not because of your Zen insights but because you are a Christian.

Quote
Of course you can find people who "worship" the historical Buddha,

Yes, they're called Buddhists, especially Mahayana Buddhists, all of whom recognize the Lotus Sutra and other scriptures that advocate the worship of the Buddha. In Zen temples incense is burned and offerings are made before statues of the Buddha, just like in every other Buddhist temple.
 
Quote
just as you can find savior figures, such as Amitabha, in movements like the Pure Land schools. You can find the same wide variety in Christianity. Mary the Virgin Mother of God--yes or no?

Amitabha is not a matter of "yes" or "no." All Mahayana Buddhists revere him- whether that manifests in Pure Land practice or not does not indicate a division in any way as deep as the one between Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism.

Quote
You'll get a quite different answer from an Orthodox than from a Pentecostal.  What's your point?

Pure Land and Chan are completely compatible currents ("skillful means") within Buddhism. Chan Buddhists recognize the Pure Land scriptures as legitimate, even if some of them think the practice is not as advanced as Chan. Sure, individual teachers of the sects bickered amongst each other, but the practices became integrated for many (the lines between the sects were never so hardened in China as they were in Japan). Nowadays Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Chan routinely integrate Pure Land practice. I think you're thinking about Buddhism in general through the distorted lens of Japanese sectarian division. Even in Japan, though,  the Obaku Zen sect integrates Pure Land as a Zen practice. D.T. Suzuki came to believe that Zen and Pure Land are essentially the same.

Quote
That Buddhism manifests in many forms? No one argues against this.

Those many forms are mostly not mutually contradictory, unlike Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy. They are recognized as legitimate and often complementary paths to enlightenment. Is that how you view Pentecostalism?

You cannot believe how tired I am of arrogant people presuming to tell me what I am or am not doing, or what is or is not possible. Unless you have walked my same path, you cannot possibly know what you are talking about.
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« Reply #91 on: January 31, 2011, 05:26:46 PM »

Well, I practice "genuine Zen" and am a believing Orthodox Christian.

If you are not a Buddhist, you don't practice Zen. Maybe you practice some neat mental tricks you learned in your Zen monastery, but if it's divorced from Buddhism, it's not Zen.

Quote
But I believe you've misunderstood the expression "a teaching outside the scriptures."  It is the direct experience of fundamental reality. What could that be but God?

Of course God is the fundamental reality. However, to recognize this is to overthrow Zen and all Buddhist doctrine. All the Zen practices and teachings, including the "outside the scriptures" stuff, is based on Buddhist principles... which are in the scriptures. A lot of the distinctive Zen approaches came from the Lankavatara Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, etc. Much of Dogen's craziness can be traced to the Avatamsaka Sutra. Maybe they left the raft behind, but Buddha-Dharma was still the only raft.

Quote
The point is that rigorous study or the application of sequential logic do not lead to that direct experience. That is the problem with many of Shihfu Sheng Yen's teachings. They do not go deep enough.

Buddhism, including Zen, doesn't go deep enough. It's not Sheng Yen's fault. But terms of Zen and Buddhism, Sheng Yen is miles above most of the narcissists peddling "Zen" in the West. If you have an edge over Sheng yen, it's not because of your Zen insights but because you are a Christian.

Quote
Of course you can find people who "worship" the historical Buddha,

Yes, they're called Buddhists, especially Mahayana Buddhists, all of whom recognize the Lotus Sutra and other scriptures that advocate the worship of the Buddha. In Zen temples incense is burned and offerings are made before statues of the Buddha, just like in every other Buddhist temple.
 
Quote
just as you can find savior figures, such as Amitabha, in movements like the Pure Land schools. You can find the same wide variety in Christianity. Mary the Virgin Mother of God--yes or no?

Amitabha is not a matter of "yes" or "no." All Mahayana Buddhists revere him- whether that manifests in Pure Land practice or not does not indicate a division in any way as deep as the one between Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism.

Quote
You'll get a quite different answer from an Orthodox than from a Pentecostal.  What's your point?

Pure Land and Chan are completely compatible currents ("skillful means") within Buddhism. Chan Buddhists recognize the Pure Land scriptures as legitimate, even if some of them think the practice is not as advanced as Chan. Sure, individual teachers of the sects bickered amongst each other, but the practices became integrated for many (the lines between the sects were never so hardened in China as they were in Japan). Nowadays Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Chan routinely integrate Pure Land practice. I think you're thinking about Buddhism in general through the distorted lens of Japanese sectarian division. Even in Japan, though,  the Obaku Zen sect integrates Pure Land as a Zen practice. D.T. Suzuki came to believe that Zen and Pure Land are essentially the same.

Quote
That Buddhism manifests in many forms? No one argues against this.

Those many forms are mostly not mutually contradictory, unlike Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy. They are recognized as legitimate and often complementary paths to enlightenment. Is that how you view Pentecostalism?

You cannot believe how tired I am of arrogant people presuming to tell me what I am or am not doing, or what is or is not possible. Unless you have walked my same path, you cannot possibly know what you are talking about.

I have always found this line of thinking to be silly, that people cannot know or understand something they have not experienced. It's true to a point, but when it's used to shut down legitimate criticism it's rather juvenile.

I think it's a valid question: Orthodox Christianity is the fullness of truth. Why do you need pagan imitation religious practices when you have the real thing in Orthodoxy?

It's not about whether anyone here can understand you; it is about whether you are thinking clearly and logically, or whether your thinking is fogged by your experiences and you are unable to be objective. Since you have an obvious emotional attachment to Zen religious practices, you do not have the objectivity to be able to reject them in favor of Christian truth.

Not that anyone can blame you for that; you have made an emotional investment in Zen. But the fact is, you are not coming at this objectively. From an objective standpoint, Christians have no reason to use pagan religious practices.

Heck, Judaism was the forerunner to Christianity, and the Apostles in Acts 15 did away with almost all the Jewish practices. Why would it be acceptable to practice paganism as an Orthodox Christian?
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« Reply #92 on: January 31, 2011, 05:39:03 PM »

Well, I practice "genuine Zen" and am a believing Orthodox Christian.

If you are not a Buddhist, you don't practice Zen. Maybe you practice some neat mental tricks you learned in your Zen monastery, but if it's divorced from Buddhism, it's not Zen.

Quote
But I believe you've misunderstood the expression "a teaching outside the scriptures."  It is the direct experience of fundamental reality. What could that be but God?

Of course God is the fundamental reality. However, to recognize this is to overthrow Zen and all Buddhist doctrine. All the Zen practices and teachings, including the "outside the scriptures" stuff, is based on Buddhist principles... which are in the scriptures. A lot of the distinctive Zen approaches came from the Lankavatara Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, etc. Much of Dogen's craziness can be traced to the Avatamsaka Sutra. Maybe they left the raft behind, but Buddha-Dharma was still the only raft.

Quote
The point is that rigorous study or the application of sequential logic do not lead to that direct experience. That is the problem with many of Shihfu Sheng Yen's teachings. They do not go deep enough.

Buddhism, including Zen, doesn't go deep enough. It's not Sheng Yen's fault. But terms of Zen and Buddhism, Sheng Yen is miles above most of the narcissists peddling "Zen" in the West. If you have an edge over Sheng yen, it's not because of your Zen insights but because you are a Christian.

Quote
Of course you can find people who "worship" the historical Buddha,

Yes, they're called Buddhists, especially Mahayana Buddhists, all of whom recognize the Lotus Sutra and other scriptures that advocate the worship of the Buddha. In Zen temples incense is burned and offerings are made before statues of the Buddha, just like in every other Buddhist temple.
 
Quote
just as you can find savior figures, such as Amitabha, in movements like the Pure Land schools. You can find the same wide variety in Christianity. Mary the Virgin Mother of God--yes or no?

Amitabha is not a matter of "yes" or "no." All Mahayana Buddhists revere him- whether that manifests in Pure Land practice or not does not indicate a division in any way as deep as the one between Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism.

Quote
You'll get a quite different answer from an Orthodox than from a Pentecostal.  What's your point?

Pure Land and Chan are completely compatible currents ("skillful means") within Buddhism. Chan Buddhists recognize the Pure Land scriptures as legitimate, even if some of them think the practice is not as advanced as Chan. Sure, individual teachers of the sects bickered amongst each other, but the practices became integrated for many (the lines between the sects were never so hardened in China as they were in Japan). Nowadays Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Chan routinely integrate Pure Land practice. I think you're thinking about Buddhism in general through the distorted lens of Japanese sectarian division. Even in Japan, though,  the Obaku Zen sect integrates Pure Land as a Zen practice. D.T. Suzuki came to believe that Zen and Pure Land are essentially the same.

Quote
That Buddhism manifests in many forms? No one argues against this.

Those many forms are mostly not mutually contradictory, unlike Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy. They are recognized as legitimate and often complementary paths to enlightenment. Is that how you view Pentecostalism?

You cannot believe how tired I am of arrogant people presuming to tell me what I am or am not doing, or what is or is not possible. Unless you have walked my same path, you cannot possibly know what you are talking about.

Last I checked, you were basing the alleged compatibility of Zen and Christianity on some (erroneous) assumptions about Buddhism (e.g. the division between Pure Land and Zen is just like that between Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism). You were using reasoning and your understanding of the facts to support your argument. But now you want to shut the discussion down by invoking your personal experience.

Fair enough. It's true, I was never an enlightened Zen master- certainly no one so advanced that he could declare that Shifu Sheng Yen doesn't go "deep enough."  I'll leave you to your enlightenment.
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« Reply #93 on: February 02, 2011, 11:38:39 PM »

From what I know, we know where The Church is but not where it is not. Salvation is for God to decide. We can attend church every day, keep to the traditions and still not be saved in the end. In contrast, a righteous man who has never stepped into a church can be saved based on how he lives his life and what acts he does. There are many saints we do not know of. In the end only God decides.
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« Reply #94 on: February 02, 2011, 11:50:53 PM »

omg...are we actually going back to topic  Shocked
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« Reply #95 on: February 03, 2011, 12:13:15 AM »

There are healthy and unhealthy religions or you could say some religions are sufficiently sober..

 To be Sober and  Healthy does not necessarily mean that it leads to salvation. It may just mean that your soul is preserved while you are in it and God Willing it will lead you to Orthodox Christianity. I believe this was Fr. Seraphim Rose's view of Buddhism which he practiced for awhile.
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« Reply #96 on: February 03, 2011, 12:22:15 AM »

Two beautiful conversion stories from Tibetan Buddhism to Orthodox Christianity.

I imagine if you tracked down their e-mail addresses they would correspond with you about their experiences.

See message 41 at

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,23747.msg470225/topicseen.html#msg470225
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« Reply #97 on: February 12, 2011, 02:53:06 PM »

Well, I practice "genuine Zen" and am a believing Orthodox Christian.

If you are not a Buddhist, you don't practice Zen. Maybe you practice some neat mental tricks you learned in your Zen monastery, but if it's divorced from Buddhism, it's not Zen.

Quote
But I believe you've misunderstood the expression "a teaching outside the scriptures."  It is the direct experience of fundamental reality. What could that be but God?

Of course God is the fundamental reality. However, to recognize this is to overthrow Zen and all Buddhist doctrine. All the Zen practices and teachings, including the "outside the scriptures" stuff, is based on Buddhist principles... which are in the scriptures. A lot of the distinctive Zen approaches came from the Lankavatara Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, etc. Much of Dogen's craziness can be traced to the Avatamsaka Sutra. Maybe they left the raft behind, but Buddha-Dharma was still the only raft.

Quote
The point is that rigorous study or the application of sequential logic do not lead to that direct experience. That is the problem with many of Shihfu Sheng Yen's teachings. They do not go deep enough.

Buddhism, including Zen, doesn't go deep enough. It's not Sheng Yen's fault. But terms of Zen and Buddhism, Sheng Yen is miles above most of the narcissists peddling "Zen" in the West. If you have an edge over Sheng yen, it's not because of your Zen insights but because you are a Christian.

Quote
Of course you can find people who "worship" the historical Buddha,

Yes, they're called Buddhists, especially Mahayana Buddhists, all of whom recognize the Lotus Sutra and other scriptures that advocate the worship of the Buddha. In Zen temples incense is burned and offerings are made before statues of the Buddha, just like in every other Buddhist temple.
 
Quote
just as you can find savior figures, such as Amitabha, in movements like the Pure Land schools. You can find the same wide variety in Christianity. Mary the Virgin Mother of God--yes or no?

Amitabha is not a matter of "yes" or "no." All Mahayana Buddhists revere him- whether that manifests in Pure Land practice or not does not indicate a division in any way as deep as the one between Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism.

Quote
You'll get a quite different answer from an Orthodox than from a Pentecostal.  What's your point?

Pure Land and Chan are completely compatible currents ("skillful means") within Buddhism. Chan Buddhists recognize the Pure Land scriptures as legitimate, even if some of them think the practice is not as advanced as Chan. Sure, individual teachers of the sects bickered amongst each other, but the practices became integrated for many (the lines between the sects were never so hardened in China as they were in Japan). Nowadays Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Chan routinely integrate Pure Land practice. I think you're thinking about Buddhism in general through the distorted lens of Japanese sectarian division. Even in Japan, though,  the Obaku Zen sect integrates Pure Land as a Zen practice. D.T. Suzuki came to believe that Zen and Pure Land are essentially the same.

Quote
That Buddhism manifests in many forms? No one argues against this.

Those many forms are mostly not mutually contradictory, unlike Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy. They are recognized as legitimate and often complementary paths to enlightenment. Is that how you view Pentecostalism?

You cannot believe how tired I am of arrogant people presuming to tell me what I am or am not doing, or what is or is not possible. Unless you have walked my same path, you cannot possibly know what you are talking about.

I have always found this line of thinking to be silly, that people cannot know or understand something they have not experienced. It's true to a point, but when it's used to shut down legitimate criticism it's rather juvenile.

I think it's a valid question: Orthodox Christianity is the fullness of truth. Why do you need pagan imitation religious practices when you have the real thing in Orthodoxy?

It's not about whether anyone here can understand you; it is about whether you are thinking clearly and logically, or whether your thinking is fogged by your experiences and you are unable to be objective. Since you have an obvious emotional attachment to Zen religious practices, you do not have the objectivity to be able to reject them in favor of Christian truth.

Not that anyone can blame you for that; you have made an emotional investment in Zen. But the fact is, you are not coming at this objectively. From an objective standpoint, Christians have no reason to use pagan religious practices.

Heck, Judaism was the forerunner to Christianity, and the Apostles in Acts 15 did away with almost all the Jewish practices. Why would it be acceptable to practice paganism as an Orthodox Christian?

I've been a Christian my entire life. I've practiced and studied Buddhism for nearly 50 of my 60 years, practice that has included priest ordination and Dharma transmission. That's why I feel my perspective may be better informed than yours. Especially with Zen, which defines and describes itself as experiential in nature, a lack of substantial first-hand experience would be so serious a deficit as to render invalid almost any observation one might make or any opinion one might hold hold, except by accident or coincidence.

And I'll mention in passing what many have commented on: Thousands of Roman Catholics, including dozens of priests and religious, practice Zen. Many are fully credentialed teachers who have received Shiho. I personally know several of these, one of whom has a Dharma heir who's a Strict Observance Cistercian. Granted, Catholics aren't Orthodox. But no one can describe OCSO Cistercians as lax or cavalier about their theology. If they can see a benefit to working the Zen field, so to say, we might be smart to at least find out why they think so. This can't be accomplished by reading or discussion, by the way. You have to actually do it.
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Marc1152
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« Reply #98 on: February 12, 2011, 03:05:15 PM »

Well, I practice "genuine Zen" and am a believing Orthodox Christian.

If you are not a Buddhist, you don't practice Zen. Maybe you practice some neat mental tricks you learned in your Zen monastery, but if it's divorced from Buddhism, it's not Zen.

Quote
But I believe you've misunderstood the expression "a teaching outside the scriptures."  It is the direct experience of fundamental reality. What could that be but God?

Of course God is the fundamental reality. However, to recognize this is to overthrow Zen and all Buddhist doctrine. All the Zen practices and teachings, including the "outside the scriptures" stuff, is based on Buddhist principles... which are in the scriptures. A lot of the distinctive Zen approaches came from the Lankavatara Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, etc. Much of Dogen's craziness can be traced to the Avatamsaka Sutra. Maybe they left the raft behind, but Buddha-Dharma was still the only raft.

Quote
The point is that rigorous study or the application of sequential logic do not lead to that direct experience. That is the problem with many of Shihfu Sheng Yen's teachings. They do not go deep enough.

Buddhism, including Zen, doesn't go deep enough. It's not Sheng Yen's fault. But terms of Zen and Buddhism, Sheng Yen is miles above most of the narcissists peddling "Zen" in the West. If you have an edge over Sheng yen, it's not because of your Zen insights but because you are a Christian.

Quote
Of course you can find people who "worship" the historical Buddha,

Yes, they're called Buddhists, especially Mahayana Buddhists, all of whom recognize the Lotus Sutra and other scriptures that advocate the worship of the Buddha. In Zen temples incense is burned and offerings are made before statues of the Buddha, just like in every other Buddhist temple.
 
Quote
just as you can find savior figures, such as Amitabha, in movements like the Pure Land schools. You can find the same wide variety in Christianity. Mary the Virgin Mother of God--yes or no?

Amitabha is not a matter of "yes" or "no." All Mahayana Buddhists revere him- whether that manifests in Pure Land practice or not does not indicate a division in any way as deep as the one between Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism.

Quote
You'll get a quite different answer from an Orthodox than from a Pentecostal.  What's your point?

Pure Land and Chan are completely compatible currents ("skillful means") within Buddhism. Chan Buddhists recognize the Pure Land scriptures as legitimate, even if some of them think the practice is not as advanced as Chan. Sure, individual teachers of the sects bickered amongst each other, but the practices became integrated for many (the lines between the sects were never so hardened in China as they were in Japan). Nowadays Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Chan routinely integrate Pure Land practice. I think you're thinking about Buddhism in general through the distorted lens of Japanese sectarian division. Even in Japan, though,  the Obaku Zen sect integrates Pure Land as a Zen practice. D.T. Suzuki came to believe that Zen and Pure Land are essentially the same.

Quote
That Buddhism manifests in many forms? No one argues against this.

Those many forms are mostly not mutually contradictory, unlike Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy. They are recognized as legitimate and often complementary paths to enlightenment. Is that how you view Pentecostalism?

You cannot believe how tired I am of arrogant people presuming to tell me what I am or am not doing, or what is or is not possible. Unless you have walked my same path, you cannot possibly know what you are talking about.

I have always found this line of thinking to be silly, that people cannot know or understand something they have not experienced. It's true to a point, but when it's used to shut down legitimate criticism it's rather juvenile.

I think it's a valid question: Orthodox Christianity is the fullness of truth. Why do you need pagan imitation religious practices when you have the real thing in Orthodoxy?

It's not about whether anyone here can understand you; it is about whether you are thinking clearly and logically, or whether your thinking is fogged by your experiences and you are unable to be objective. Since you have an obvious emotional attachment to Zen religious practices, you do not have the objectivity to be able to reject them in favor of Christian truth.

Not that anyone can blame you for that; you have made an emotional investment in Zen. But the fact is, you are not coming at this objectively. From an objective standpoint, Christians have no reason to use pagan religious practices.

Heck, Judaism was the forerunner to Christianity, and the Apostles in Acts 15 did away with almost all the Jewish practices. Why would it be acceptable to practice paganism as an Orthodox Christian?

I've been a Christian my entire life. I've practiced and studied Buddhism for nearly 50 of my 60 years, practice that has included priest ordination and Dharma transmission. That's why I feel my perspective may be better informed than yours. Especially with Zen, which defines and describes itself as experiential in nature, a lack of substantial first-hand experience would be so serious a deficit as to render invalid almost any observation one might make or any opinion one might hold hold, except by accident or coincidence.

And I'll mention in passing what many have commented on: Thousands of Roman Catholics, including dozens of priests and religious, practice Zen. Many are fully credentialed teachers who have received Shiho. I personally know several of these, one of whom has a Dharma heir who's a Strict Observance Cistercian. Granted, Catholics aren't Orthodox. But no one can describe OCSO Cistercians as lax or cavalier about their theology. If they can see a benefit to working the Zen field, so to say, we might be smart to at least find out why they think so. This can't be accomplished by reading or discussion, by the way. You have to actually do it.

How do you feel about a Christian bowing before a statue of Kannon upon entering a Zendo?
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« Reply #99 on: February 12, 2011, 04:09:31 PM »

Well, I practice "genuine Zen" and am a believing Orthodox Christian.

If you are not a Buddhist, you don't practice Zen. Maybe you practice some neat mental tricks you learned in your Zen monastery, but if it's divorced from Buddhism, it's not Zen.

Quote
But I believe you've misunderstood the expression "a teaching outside the scriptures."  It is the direct experience of fundamental reality. What could that be but God?

Of course God is the fundamental reality. However, to recognize this is to overthrow Zen and all Buddhist doctrine. All the Zen practices and teachings, including the "outside the scriptures" stuff, is based on Buddhist principles... which are in the scriptures. A lot of the distinctive Zen approaches came from the Lankavatara Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, etc. Much of Dogen's craziness can be traced to the Avatamsaka Sutra. Maybe they left the raft behind, but Buddha-Dharma was still the only raft.

Quote
The point is that rigorous study or the application of sequential logic do not lead to that direct experience. That is the problem with many of Shihfu Sheng Yen's teachings. They do not go deep enough.

Buddhism, including Zen, doesn't go deep enough. It's not Sheng Yen's fault. But terms of Zen and Buddhism, Sheng Yen is miles above most of the narcissists peddling "Zen" in the West. If you have an edge over Sheng yen, it's not because of your Zen insights but because you are a Christian.

Quote
Of course you can find people who "worship" the historical Buddha,

Yes, they're called Buddhists, especially Mahayana Buddhists, all of whom recognize the Lotus Sutra and other scriptures that advocate the worship of the Buddha. In Zen temples incense is burned and offerings are made before statues of the Buddha, just like in every other Buddhist temple.
 
Quote
just as you can find savior figures, such as Amitabha, in movements like the Pure Land schools. You can find the same wide variety in Christianity. Mary the Virgin Mother of God--yes or no?

Amitabha is not a matter of "yes" or "no." All Mahayana Buddhists revere him- whether that manifests in Pure Land practice or not does not indicate a division in any way as deep as the one between Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism.

Quote
You'll get a quite different answer from an Orthodox than from a Pentecostal.  What's your point?

Pure Land and Chan are completely compatible currents ("skillful means") within Buddhism. Chan Buddhists recognize the Pure Land scriptures as legitimate, even if some of them think the practice is not as advanced as Chan. Sure, individual teachers of the sects bickered amongst each other, but the practices became integrated for many (the lines between the sects were never so hardened in China as they were in Japan). Nowadays Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Chan routinely integrate Pure Land practice. I think you're thinking about Buddhism in general through the distorted lens of Japanese sectarian division. Even in Japan, though,  the Obaku Zen sect integrates Pure Land as a Zen practice. D.T. Suzuki came to believe that Zen and Pure Land are essentially the same.

Quote
That Buddhism manifests in many forms? No one argues against this.

Those many forms are mostly not mutually contradictory, unlike Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy. They are recognized as legitimate and often complementary paths to enlightenment. Is that how you view Pentecostalism?

You cannot believe how tired I am of arrogant people presuming to tell me what I am or am not doing, or what is or is not possible. Unless you have walked my same path, you cannot possibly know what you are talking about.

I have always found this line of thinking to be silly, that people cannot know or understand something they have not experienced. It's true to a point, but when it's used to shut down legitimate criticism it's rather juvenile.

I think it's a valid question: Orthodox Christianity is the fullness of truth. Why do you need pagan imitation religious practices when you have the real thing in Orthodoxy?

It's not about whether anyone here can understand you; it is about whether you are thinking clearly and logically, or whether your thinking is fogged by your experiences and you are unable to be objective. Since you have an obvious emotional attachment to Zen religious practices, you do not have the objectivity to be able to reject them in favor of Christian truth.

Not that anyone can blame you for that; you have made an emotional investment in Zen. But the fact is, you are not coming at this objectively. From an objective standpoint, Christians have no reason to use pagan religious practices.

Heck, Judaism was the forerunner to Christianity, and the Apostles in Acts 15 did away with almost all the Jewish practices. Why would it be acceptable to practice paganism as an Orthodox Christian?

I've been a Christian my entire life. I've practiced and studied Buddhism for nearly 50 of my 60 years, practice that has included priest ordination and Dharma transmission. That's why I feel my perspective may be better informed than yours. Especially with Zen, which defines and describes itself as experiential in nature, a lack of substantial first-hand experience would be so serious a deficit as to render invalid almost any observation one might make or any opinion one might hold hold, except by accident or coincidence.

And I'll mention in passing what many have commented on: Thousands of Roman Catholics, including dozens of priests and religious, practice Zen. Many are fully credentialed teachers who have received Shiho. I personally know several of these, one of whom has a Dharma heir who's a Strict Observance Cistercian. Granted, Catholics aren't Orthodox. But no one can describe OCSO Cistercians as lax or cavalier about their theology. If they can see a benefit to working the Zen field, so to say, we might be smart to at least find out why they think so. This can't be accomplished by reading or discussion, by the way. You have to actually do it.

How do you feel about a Christian bowing before a statue of Kannon upon entering a Zendo?

Depends why they're doing it and who they think Kannon is. If Kannon is a representation of the teaching or goal of universal compassion and the bow is a sign of respect for that teaching, I don't see any problem. If Kannon is a goddess and the bow is some form of worship, obviously that is different. Wouldn't we say something similar about icons? It's a fine line sometimes between respect and idolatry. "The kingdom of God is within you."

See, this is what Christians do. They home in on ways that Buddhism is different, which of course it is--some sects more different than others. Pointing out the ways that Buddhism isn't Christianity is like shooting fish in a barrel. Instead of asking why a devout Christian might find strength and support along the Zen path, they simply dismiss it as impossible, since Buddhism isn't Christianity. It's like a cat chasing her tail. They almost never try to see the way in which the two teachings are similar or try to imagine how one might support another. This division of self and other is at the root of human suffering.

Let me give a concrete example. As Christians, we do not tend to speak much about the nature of the mind or the process of thinking. The way or process by which the enlightened mind might be revealed is often left almost to serendipity. Now, this is practically the No. 1 topic for philosophers and teachers of the Madyamika school. The early church fathers, of course, were more interested in this than their later colleagues, and you will find patristic writings that are often very similar to some of the contemporaneous Madyamika writings. So a text such as Nagarjuna's Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way could be extremely helpful in clarifying some epistemological issues. You would have to translate some of it into a Christian idiom, but by and large I think it would provide a useful perspective. Some of the mind-training texts could be helpful, too, in building concentration. I don't know any Orthodox who don't complain about how hard meditation is and how if they can stay still for 10 minutes it's a lot; yet nearly every experienced Zen student is able to meditate for hours or even days at a time, interrupted only by brief periods of walking meditation. Do you not think that skill might be useful to our Orthodox brothers and sisters? And it would be pretty easy to translate the teaching manuals into Christian terms.
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« Reply #100 on: February 13, 2011, 06:41:45 PM »

Well, I practice "genuine Zen" and am a believing Orthodox Christian.

If you are not a Buddhist, you don't practice Zen. Maybe you practice some neat mental tricks you learned in your Zen monastery, but if it's divorced from Buddhism, it's not Zen.

Quote
But I believe you've misunderstood the expression "a teaching outside the scriptures."  It is the direct experience of fundamental reality. What could that be but God?

Of course God is the fundamental reality. However, to recognize this is to overthrow Zen and all Buddhist doctrine. All the Zen practices and teachings, including the "outside the scriptures" stuff, is based on Buddhist principles... which are in the scriptures. A lot of the distinctive Zen approaches came from the Lankavatara Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, etc. Much of Dogen's craziness can be traced to the Avatamsaka Sutra. Maybe they left the raft behind, but Buddha-Dharma was still the only raft.

Quote
The point is that rigorous study or the application of sequential logic do not lead to that direct experience. That is the problem with many of Shihfu Sheng Yen's teachings. They do not go deep enough.

Buddhism, including Zen, doesn't go deep enough. It's not Sheng Yen's fault. But terms of Zen and Buddhism, Sheng Yen is miles above most of the narcissists peddling "Zen" in the West. If you have an edge over Sheng yen, it's not because of your Zen insights but because you are a Christian.

Quote
Of course you can find people who "worship" the historical Buddha,

Yes, they're called Buddhists, especially Mahayana Buddhists, all of whom recognize the Lotus Sutra and other scriptures that advocate the worship of the Buddha. In Zen temples incense is burned and offerings are made before statues of the Buddha, just like in every other Buddhist temple.
 
Quote
just as you can find savior figures, such as Amitabha, in movements like the Pure Land schools. You can find the same wide variety in Christianity. Mary the Virgin Mother of God--yes or no?

Amitabha is not a matter of "yes" or "no." All Mahayana Buddhists revere him- whether that manifests in Pure Land practice or not does not indicate a division in any way as deep as the one between Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism.

Quote
You'll get a quite different answer from an Orthodox than from a Pentecostal.  What's your point?

Pure Land and Chan are completely compatible currents ("skillful means") within Buddhism. Chan Buddhists recognize the Pure Land scriptures as legitimate, even if some of them think the practice is not as advanced as Chan. Sure, individual teachers of the sects bickered amongst each other, but the practices became integrated for many (the lines between the sects were never so hardened in China as they were in Japan). Nowadays Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Chan routinely integrate Pure Land practice. I think you're thinking about Buddhism in general through the distorted lens of Japanese sectarian division. Even in Japan, though,  the Obaku Zen sect integrates Pure Land as a Zen practice. D.T. Suzuki came to believe that Zen and Pure Land are essentially the same.

Quote
That Buddhism manifests in many forms? No one argues against this.

Those many forms are mostly not mutually contradictory, unlike Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy. They are recognized as legitimate and often complementary paths to enlightenment. Is that how you view Pentecostalism?

You cannot believe how tired I am of arrogant people presuming to tell me what I am or am not doing, or what is or is not possible. Unless you have walked my same path, you cannot possibly know what you are talking about.

I have always found this line of thinking to be silly, that people cannot know or understand something they have not experienced. It's true to a point, but when it's used to shut down legitimate criticism it's rather juvenile.

I think it's a valid question: Orthodox Christianity is the fullness of truth. Why do you need pagan imitation religious practices when you have the real thing in Orthodoxy?

It's not about whether anyone here can understand you; it is about whether you are thinking clearly and logically, or whether your thinking is fogged by your experiences and you are unable to be objective. Since you have an obvious emotional attachment to Zen religious practices, you do not have the objectivity to be able to reject them in favor of Christian truth.

Not that anyone can blame you for that; you have made an emotional investment in Zen. But the fact is, you are not coming at this objectively. From an objective standpoint, Christians have no reason to use pagan religious practices.

Heck, Judaism was the forerunner to Christianity, and the Apostles in Acts 15 did away with almost all the Jewish practices. Why would it be acceptable to practice paganism as an Orthodox Christian?

I've been a Christian my entire life. I've practiced and studied Buddhism for nearly 50 of my 60 years, practice that has included priest ordination and Dharma transmission. That's why I feel my perspective may be better informed than yours. Especially with Zen, which defines and describes itself as experiential in nature, a lack of substantial first-hand experience would be so serious a deficit as to render invalid almost any observation one might make or any opinion one might hold hold, except by accident or coincidence.

And I'll mention in passing what many have commented on: Thousands of Roman Catholics, including dozens of priests and religious, practice Zen. Many are fully credentialed teachers who have received Shiho. I personally know several of these, one of whom has a Dharma heir who's a Strict Observance Cistercian. Granted, Catholics aren't Orthodox. But no one can describe OCSO Cistercians as lax or cavalier about their theology. If they can see a benefit to working the Zen field, so to say, we might be smart to at least find out why they think so. This can't be accomplished by reading or discussion, by the way. You have to actually do it.

How do you feel about a Christian bowing before a statue of Kannon upon entering a Zendo?

Then we have a difference of opinion ( FYI, I also have a Dharma transmission and ordination).

First of all, I can detect a different philosophical point of view between us. On the one hand you emphasize intent, do you "Understand" what you are doing when you bow before a Pagen Statue. Do you have a complicated understanding of the Bodhisattva of Compassion ( Kannon) or are you willfully engaged in some sort of worship.

I would prefer not to split those hairs. You have bowed before a Pagan Statue. I am not trying to be overly strict but I see an insidious effect from this bowing ( and often offering a bit of incense) that is not mitigated by what you have in your mind at the time.

In most forms of Buddhism there are a few very pivotal events in life. Being born a human (who has a Buddha Nature ie capacity to become enlightened) is the first. The next is coming into actual contact with the Dharma ( The Buddha's teaching. "Buddha-Dharma" ).

When Buddhists get you to do something very simple, like bowing before Kannon and offering a speck of incense, you have you accomplished what is to the Buddhist, a great passage in life. You may have live thousands of prior lives ( in their way of thinking) without ever once coming into contact with the Buddha-Dharma, and now finally you have. It's a big deal.

This is a form of initiation. Fr. Seraphim Rose ( who was a Buddhist in his youth) specifically warns of this sort of thing.

A few seasons back the TV show "Survivor" took place in Burma ( maybe it was Thailand). During the opening show they took the contestants to a Buddhist Temple for a "Welcoming Ceremony". They were to walk into the Temple with hands folded and then make a deep bow all the way to the floor. They were to then offer a bit of incense in front of the alter where there were Statues of all kinds of Buddhist Deities.

One of the contestants was a Woman who was an Evangelical Christian.. She walked into the Temple looked around and saw what they wanted her to do. To her great credit, she turned on her heals and walked out.

Jeff Probst the host was bewildered by this and argued with her a bit. He was clearly annoyed and kept saying "It's only a Welcoming Ceremony"...."It's only a Welcoming Ceremony" But by her good Christian sense, she could understand that this is not something a Christian should ever do.

You do understand that Christians were put to death in the Arena, torn apart by wild animals or hacked up by soldiers or burned alive for refusing to bow before Statues of Roman God's and offer a speck of incense to them.
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« Reply #101 on: February 13, 2011, 06:48:17 PM »

Was that woman kicked off the show or did she eventually bow down to it?
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« Reply #102 on: February 13, 2011, 08:29:40 PM »

Was that woman kicked off the show or did she eventually bow down to it?

No, they let her have her way. 

I found the You Tube Clip. It was "Survivor China"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGiw4RJVrcA&playnext=1&list=PLB9DF7421B54181D0

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« Reply #103 on: February 13, 2011, 08:32:32 PM »

I have also seen the same thing in reverse. I knew a Buddhist Priest who decided to put a Statue of Jesus on his alter.

He said it was Jesus in his "Good Shepherd" representation. His idea was that Buddhists should include the "Local" Deities. It was an attempt to co-opt Jesus to make Buddhism more acceptable to Americans.
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« Reply #104 on: February 13, 2011, 09:07:00 PM »

I have also seen the same thing in reverse. I knew a Buddhist Priest who decided to put a Statue of Jesus on his alter.

He said it was Jesus in his "Good Shepherd" representation. His idea was that Buddhists should include the "Local" Deities. It was an attempt to co-opt Jesus to make Buddhism more acceptable to Americans.
ROFL. Just helping out the New Age Movement nothing to see here folks.
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« Reply #105 on: February 14, 2011, 01:21:48 PM »

Well, I practice "genuine Zen" and am a believing Orthodox Christian.

If you are not a Buddhist, you don't practice Zen. Maybe you practice some neat mental tricks you learned in your Zen monastery, but if it's divorced from Buddhism, it's not Zen.

Quote
But I believe you've misunderstood the expression "a teaching outside the scriptures."  It is the direct experience of fundamental reality. What could that be but God?

Of course God is the fundamental reality. However, to recognize this is to overthrow Zen and all Buddhist doctrine. All the Zen practices and teachings, including the "outside the scriptures" stuff, is based on Buddhist principles... which are in the scriptures. A lot of the distinctive Zen approaches came from the Lankavatara Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, etc. Much of Dogen's craziness can be traced to the Avatamsaka Sutra. Maybe they left the raft behind, but Buddha-Dharma was still the only raft.

Quote
The point is that rigorous study or the application of sequential logic do not lead to that direct experience. That is the problem with many of Shihfu Sheng Yen's teachings. They do not go deep enough.

Buddhism, including Zen, doesn't go deep enough. It's not Sheng Yen's fault. But terms of Zen and Buddhism, Sheng Yen is miles above most of the narcissists peddling "Zen" in the West. If you have an edge over Sheng yen, it's not because of your Zen insights but because you are a Christian.

Quote
Of course you can find people who "worship" the historical Buddha,

Yes, they're called Buddhists, especially Mahayana Buddhists, all of whom recognize the Lotus Sutra and other scriptures that advocate the worship of the Buddha. In Zen temples incense is burned and offerings are made before statues of the Buddha, just like in every other Buddhist temple.
 
Quote
just as you can find savior figures, such as Amitabha, in movements like the Pure Land schools. You can find the same wide variety in Christianity. Mary the Virgin Mother of God--yes or no?

Amitabha is not a matter of "yes" or "no." All Mahayana Buddhists revere him- whether that manifests in Pure Land practice or not does not indicate a division in any way as deep as the one between Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism.

Quote
You'll get a quite different answer from an Orthodox than from a Pentecostal.  What's your point?

Pure Land and Chan are completely compatible currents ("skillful means") within Buddhism. Chan Buddhists recognize the Pure Land scriptures as legitimate, even if some of them think the practice is not as advanced as Chan. Sure, individual teachers of the sects bickered amongst each other, but the practices became integrated for many (the lines between the sects were never so hardened in China as they were in Japan). Nowadays Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Chan routinely integrate Pure Land practice. I think you're thinking about Buddhism in general through the distorted lens of Japanese sectarian division. Even in Japan, though,  the Obaku Zen sect integrates Pure Land as a Zen practice. D.T. Suzuki came to believe that Zen and Pure Land are essentially the same.

Quote
That Buddhism manifests in many forms? No one argues against this.

Those many forms are mostly not mutually contradictory, unlike Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy. They are recognized as legitimate and often complementary paths to enlightenment. Is that how you view Pentecostalism?

You cannot believe how tired I am of arrogant people presuming to tell me what I am or am not doing, or what is or is not possible. Unless you have walked my same path, you cannot possibly know what you are talking about.

I have always found this line of thinking to be silly, that people cannot know or understand something they have not experienced. It's true to a point, but when it's used to shut down legitimate criticism it's rather juvenile.

I think it's a valid question: Orthodox Christianity is the fullness of truth. Why do you need pagan imitation religious practices when you have the real thing in Orthodoxy?

It's not about whether anyone here can understand you; it is about whether you are thinking clearly and logically, or whether your thinking is fogged by your experiences and you are unable to be objective. Since you have an obvious emotional attachment to Zen religious practices, you do not have the objectivity to be able to reject them in favor of Christian truth.

Not that anyone can blame you for that; you have made an emotional investment in Zen. But the fact is, you are not coming at this objectively. From an objective standpoint, Christians have no reason to use pagan religious practices.

Heck, Judaism was the forerunner to Christianity, and the Apostles in Acts 15 did away with almost all the Jewish practices. Why would it be acceptable to practice paganism as an Orthodox Christian?

I've been a Christian my entire life. I've practiced and studied Buddhism for nearly 50 of my 60 years, practice that has included priest ordination and Dharma transmission. That's why I feel my perspective may be better informed than yours. Especially with Zen, which defines and describes itself as experiential in nature, a lack of substantial first-hand experience would be so serious a deficit as to render invalid almost any observation one might make or any opinion one might hold hold, except by accident or coincidence.

And I'll mention in passing what many have commented on: Thousands of Roman Catholics, including dozens of priests and religious, practice Zen. Many are fully credentialed teachers who have received Shiho. I personally know several of these, one of whom has a Dharma heir who's a Strict Observance Cistercian. Granted, Catholics aren't Orthodox. But no one can describe OCSO Cistercians as lax or cavalier about their theology. If they can see a benefit to working the Zen field, so to say, we might be smart to at least find out why they think so. This can't be accomplished by reading or discussion, by the way. You have to actually do it.

How do you feel about a Christian bowing before a statue of Kannon upon entering a Zendo?

Then we have a difference of opinion ( FYI, I also have a Dharma transmission and ordination).

First of all, I can detect a different philosophical point of view between us. On the one hand you emphasize intent, do you "Understand" what you are doing when you bow before a Pagen Statue. Do you have a complicated understanding of the Bodhisattva of Compassion ( Kannon) or are you willfully engaged in some sort of worship.

I would prefer not to split those hairs. You have bowed before a Pagan Statue. I am not trying to be overly strict but I see an insidious effect from this bowing ( and often offering a bit of incense) that is not mitigated by what you have in your mind at the time.

In most forms of Buddhism there are a few very pivotal events in life. Being born a human (who has a Buddha Nature ie capacity to become enlightened) is the first. The next is coming into actual contact with the Dharma ( The Buddha's teaching. "Buddha-Dharma" ).

When Buddhists get you to do something very simple, like bowing before Kannon and offering a speck of incense, you have you accomplished what is to the Buddhist, a great passage in life. You may have live thousands of prior lives ( in their way of thinking) without ever once coming into contact with the Buddha-Dharma, and now finally you have. It's a big deal.

This is a form of initiation. Fr. Seraphim Rose ( who was a Buddhist in his youth) specifically warns of this sort of thing.

A few seasons back the TV show "Survivor" took place in Burma ( maybe it was Thailand). During the opening show they took the contestants to a Buddhist Temple for a "Welcoming Ceremony". They were to walk into the Temple with hands folded and then make a deep bow all the way to the floor. They were to then offer a bit of incense in front of the alter where there were Statues of all kinds of Buddhist Deities.

One of the contestants was a Woman who was an Evangelical Christian.. She walked into the Temple looked around and saw what they wanted her to do. To her great credit, she turned on her heals and walked out.

Jeff Probst the host was bewildered by this and argued with her a bit. He was clearly annoyed and kept saying "It's only a Welcoming Ceremony"...."It's only a Welcoming Ceremony" But by her good Christian sense, she could understand that this is not something a Christian should ever do.

You do understand that Christians were put to death in the Arena, torn apart by wild animals or hacked up by soldiers or burned alive for refusing to bow before Statues of Roman God's and offer a speck of incense to them.
Jehovah's Witnesses must be the only true Christians then. They refuse to "pledge allegiance" to any flag.
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« Reply #106 on: February 14, 2011, 02:05:12 PM »

Well, I practice "genuine Zen" and am a believing Orthodox Christian.

If you are not a Buddhist, you don't practice Zen. Maybe you practice some neat mental tricks you learned in your Zen monastery, but if it's divorced from Buddhism, it's not Zen.

Quote
But I believe you've misunderstood the expression "a teaching outside the scriptures."  It is the direct experience of fundamental reality. What could that be but God?

Of course God is the fundamental reality. However, to recognize this is to overthrow Zen and all Buddhist doctrine. All the Zen practices and teachings, including the "outside the scriptures" stuff, is based on Buddhist principles... which are in the scriptures. A lot of the distinctive Zen approaches came from the Lankavatara Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, etc. Much of Dogen's craziness can be traced to the Avatamsaka Sutra. Maybe they left the raft behind, but Buddha-Dharma was still the only raft.

Quote
The point is that rigorous study or the application of sequential logic do not lead to that direct experience. That is the problem with many of Shihfu Sheng Yen's teachings. They do not go deep enough.

Buddhism, including Zen, doesn't go deep enough. It's not Sheng Yen's fault. But terms of Zen and Buddhism, Sheng Yen is miles above most of the narcissists peddling "Zen" in the West. If you have an edge over Sheng yen, it's not because of your Zen insights but because you are a Christian.

Quote
Of course you can find people who "worship" the historical Buddha,

Yes, they're called Buddhists, especially Mahayana Buddhists, all of whom recognize the Lotus Sutra and other scriptures that advocate the worship of the Buddha. In Zen temples incense is burned and offerings are made before statues of the Buddha, just like in every other Buddhist temple.
 
Quote
just as you can find savior figures, such as Amitabha, in movements like the Pure Land schools. You can find the same wide variety in Christianity. Mary the Virgin Mother of God--yes or no?

Amitabha is not a matter of "yes" or "no." All Mahayana Buddhists revere him- whether that manifests in Pure Land practice or not does not indicate a division in any way as deep as the one between Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism.

Quote
You'll get a quite different answer from an Orthodox than from a Pentecostal.  What's your point?

Pure Land and Chan are completely compatible currents ("skillful means") within Buddhism. Chan Buddhists recognize the Pure Land scriptures as legitimate, even if some of them think the practice is not as advanced as Chan. Sure, individual teachers of the sects bickered amongst each other, but the practices became integrated for many (the lines between the sects were never so hardened in China as they were in Japan). Nowadays Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Chan routinely integrate Pure Land practice. I think you're thinking about Buddhism in general through the distorted lens of Japanese sectarian division. Even in Japan, though,  the Obaku Zen sect integrates Pure Land as a Zen practice. D.T. Suzuki came to believe that Zen and Pure Land are essentially the same.

Quote
That Buddhism manifests in many forms? No one argues against this.

Those many forms are mostly not mutually contradictory, unlike Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy. They are recognized as legitimate and often complementary paths to enlightenment. Is that how you view Pentecostalism?

You cannot believe how tired I am of arrogant people presuming to tell me what I am or am not doing, or what is or is not possible. Unless you have walked my same path, you cannot possibly know what you are talking about.

I have always found this line of thinking to be silly, that people cannot know or understand something they have not experienced. It's true to a point, but when it's used to shut down legitimate criticism it's rather juvenile.

I think it's a valid question: Orthodox Christianity is the fullness of truth. Why do you need pagan imitation religious practices when you have the real thing in Orthodoxy?

It's not about whether anyone here can understand you; it is about whether you are thinking clearly and logically, or whether your thinking is fogged by your experiences and you are unable to be objective. Since you have an obvious emotional attachment to Zen religious practices, you do not have the objectivity to be able to reject them in favor of Christian truth.

Not that anyone can blame you for that; you have made an emotional investment in Zen. But the fact is, you are not coming at this objectively. From an objective standpoint, Christians have no reason to use pagan religious practices.

Heck, Judaism was the forerunner to Christianity, and the Apostles in Acts 15 did away with almost all the Jewish practices. Why would it be acceptable to practice paganism as an Orthodox Christian?

I've been a Christian my entire life. I've practiced and studied Buddhism for nearly 50 of my 60 years, practice that has included priest ordination and Dharma transmission. That's why I feel my perspective may be better informed than yours. Especially with Zen, which defines and describes itself as experiential in nature, a lack of substantial first-hand experience would be so serious a deficit as to render invalid almost any observation one might make or any opinion one might hold hold, except by accident or coincidence.

And I'll mention in passing what many have commented on: Thousands of Roman Catholics, including dozens of priests and religious, practice Zen. Many are fully credentialed teachers who have received Shiho. I personally know several of these, one of whom has a Dharma heir who's a Strict Observance Cistercian. Granted, Catholics aren't Orthodox. But no one can describe OCSO Cistercians as lax or cavalier about their theology. If they can see a benefit to working the Zen field, so to say, we might be smart to at least find out why they think so. This can't be accomplished by reading or discussion, by the way. You have to actually do it.

How do you feel about a Christian bowing before a statue of Kannon upon entering a Zendo?

Then we have a difference of opinion ( FYI, I also have a Dharma transmission and ordination).

First of all, I can detect a different philosophical point of view between us. On the one hand you emphasize intent, do you "Understand" what you are doing when you bow before a Pagen Statue. Do you have a complicated understanding of the Bodhisattva of Compassion ( Kannon) or are you willfully engaged in some sort of worship.

I would prefer not to split those hairs. You have bowed before a Pagan Statue. I am not trying to be overly strict but I see an insidious effect from this bowing ( and often offering a bit of incense) that is not mitigated by what you have in your mind at the time.

In most forms of Buddhism there are a few very pivotal events in life. Being born a human (who has a Buddha Nature ie capacity to become enlightened) is the first. The next is coming into actual contact with the Dharma ( The Buddha's teaching. "Buddha-Dharma" ).

When Buddhists get you to do something very simple, like bowing before Kannon and offering a speck of incense, you have you accomplished what is to the Buddhist, a great passage in life. You may have live thousands of prior lives ( in their way of thinking) without ever once coming into contact with the Buddha-Dharma, and now finally you have. It's a big deal.

This is a form of initiation. Fr. Seraphim Rose ( who was a Buddhist in his youth) specifically warns of this sort of thing.

A few seasons back the TV show "Survivor" took place in Burma ( maybe it was Thailand). During the opening show they took the contestants to a Buddhist Temple for a "Welcoming Ceremony". They were to walk into the Temple with hands folded and then make a deep bow all the way to the floor. They were to then offer a bit of incense in front of the alter where there were Statues of all kinds of Buddhist Deities.

One of the contestants was a Woman who was an Evangelical Christian.. She walked into the Temple looked around and saw what they wanted her to do. To her great credit, she turned on her heals and walked out.

Jeff Probst the host was bewildered by this and argued with her a bit. He was clearly annoyed and kept saying "It's only a Welcoming Ceremony"...."It's only a Welcoming Ceremony" But by her good Christian sense, she could understand that this is not something a Christian should ever do.

You do understand that Christians were put to death in the Arena, torn apart by wild animals or hacked up by soldiers or burned alive for refusing to bow before Statues of Roman God's and offer a speck of incense to them.
Jehovah's Witnesses must be the only true Christians then. They refuse to "pledge allegiance" to any flag.

The way to make something bad look better is to compare it with something that is worse.

I don't think we need to all the way to Jehovah's Witnesses to understand that bowing to a Pagan Idol goes against core Christian values and Holy Tradition.

I fully understand that Buddhist meditation practices can be seen as spiritually neutral. I am just not too convinced when it is presented like it is Jogging or working out at a Gym: "Better Concentration".. "Feel Better"... "Tastes Great too"

I think Buddhism is a religion. I think there is a particular World View that dove tails all Buddhist Practices that does not line up with the Christian World View. I dont think we should mix religions. If the Catholics want to do that sort of thing, then good luck to them. I'd advise against it.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2011, 02:06:02 PM by Marc1152 » Logged

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« Reply #107 on: February 15, 2011, 11:49:34 AM »

Well, I practice "genuine Zen" and am a believing Orthodox Christian.

If you are not a Buddhist, you don't practice Zen. Maybe you practice some neat mental tricks you learned in your Zen monastery, but if it's divorced from Buddhism, it's not Zen.

Quote
But I believe you've misunderstood the expression "a teaching outside the scriptures."  It is the direct experience of fundamental reality. What could that be but God?

Of course God is the fundamental reality. However, to recognize this is to overthrow Zen and all Buddhist doctrine. All the Zen practices and teachings, including the "outside the scriptures" stuff, is based on Buddhist principles... which are in the scriptures. A lot of the distinctive Zen approaches came from the Lankavatara Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, etc. Much of Dogen's craziness can be traced to the Avatamsaka Sutra. Maybe they left the raft behind, but Buddha-Dharma was still the only raft.

Quote
The point is that rigorous study or the application of sequential logic do not lead to that direct experience. That is the problem with many of Shihfu Sheng Yen's teachings. They do not go deep enough.

Buddhism, including Zen, doesn't go deep enough. It's not Sheng Yen's fault. But terms of Zen and Buddhism, Sheng Yen is miles above most of the narcissists peddling "Zen" in the West. If you have an edge over Sheng yen, it's not because of your Zen insights but because you are a Christian.

Quote
Of course you can find people who "worship" the historical Buddha,

Yes, they're called Buddhists, especially Mahayana Buddhists, all of whom recognize the Lotus Sutra and other scriptures that advocate the worship of the Buddha. In Zen temples incense is burned and offerings are made before statues of the Buddha, just like in every other Buddhist temple.
 
Quote
just as you can find savior figures, such as Amitabha, in movements like the Pure Land schools. You can find the same wide variety in Christianity. Mary the Virgin Mother of God--yes or no?

Amitabha is not a matter of "yes" or "no." All Mahayana Buddhists revere him- whether that manifests in Pure Land practice or not does not indicate a division in any way as deep as the one between Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism.

Quote
You'll get a quite different answer from an Orthodox than from a Pentecostal.  What's your point?

Pure Land and Chan are completely compatible currents ("skillful means") within Buddhism. Chan Buddhists recognize the Pure Land scriptures as legitimate, even if some of them think the practice is not as advanced as Chan. Sure, individual teachers of the sects bickered amongst each other, but the practices became integrated for many (the lines between the sects were never so hardened in China as they were in Japan). Nowadays Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Chan routinely integrate Pure Land practice. I think you're thinking about Buddhism in general through the distorted lens of Japanese sectarian division. Even in Japan, though,  the Obaku Zen sect integrates Pure Land as a Zen practice. D.T. Suzuki came to believe that Zen and Pure Land are essentially the same.

Quote
That Buddhism manifests in many forms? No one argues against this.

Those many forms are mostly not mutually contradictory, unlike Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy. They are recognized as legitimate and often complementary paths to enlightenment. Is that how you view Pentecostalism?

You cannot believe how tired I am of arrogant people presuming to tell me what I am or am not doing, or what is or is not possible. Unless you have walked my same path, you cannot possibly know what you are talking about.

I have always found this line of thinking to be silly, that people cannot know or understand something they have not experienced. It's true to a point, but when it's used to shut down legitimate criticism it's rather juvenile.

I think it's a valid question: Orthodox Christianity is the fullness of truth. Why do you need pagan imitation religious practices when you have the real thing in Orthodoxy?

It's not about whether anyone here can understand you; it is about whether you are thinking clearly and logically, or whether your thinking is fogged by your experiences and you are unable to be objective. Since you have an obvious emotional attachment to Zen religious practices, you do not have the objectivity to be able to reject them in favor of Christian truth.

Not that anyone can blame you for that; you have made an emotional investment in Zen. But the fact is, you are not coming at this objectively. From an objective standpoint, Christians have no reason to use pagan religious practices.

Heck, Judaism was the forerunner to Christianity, and the Apostles in Acts 15 did away with almost all the Jewish practices. Why would it be acceptable to practice paganism as an Orthodox Christian?

I've been a Christian my entire life. I've practiced and studied Buddhism for nearly 50 of my 60 years, practice that has included priest ordination and Dharma transmission. That's why I feel my perspective may be better informed than yours. Especially with Zen, which defines and describes itself as experiential in nature, a lack of substantial first-hand experience would be so serious a deficit as to render invalid almost any observation one might make or any opinion one might hold hold, except by accident or coincidence.

And I'll mention in passing what many have commented on: Thousands of Roman Catholics, including dozens of priests and religious, practice Zen. Many are fully credentialed teachers who have received Shiho. I personally know several of these, one of whom has a Dharma heir who's a Strict Observance Cistercian. Granted, Catholics aren't Orthodox. But no one can describe OCSO Cistercians as lax or cavalier about their theology. If they can see a benefit to working the Zen field, so to say, we might be smart to at least find out why they think so. This can't be accomplished by reading or discussion, by the way. You have to actually do it.

How do you feel about a Christian bowing before a statue of Kannon upon entering a Zendo?

Then we have a difference of opinion ( FYI, I also have a Dharma transmission and ordination).

First of all, I can detect a different philosophical point of view between us. On the one hand you emphasize intent, do you "Understand" what you are doing when you bow before a Pagen Statue. Do you have a complicated understanding of the Bodhisattva of Compassion ( Kannon) or are you willfully engaged in some sort of worship.

I would prefer not to split those hairs. You have bowed before a Pagan Statue. I am not trying to be overly strict but I see an insidious effect from this bowing ( and often offering a bit of incense) that is not mitigated by what you have in your mind at the time.

In most forms of Buddhism there are a few very pivotal events in life. Being born a human (who has a Buddha Nature ie capacity to become enlightened) is the first. The next is coming into actual contact with the Dharma ( The Buddha's teaching. "Buddha-Dharma" ).

When Buddhists get you to do something very simple, like bowing before Kannon and offering a speck of incense, you have you accomplished what is to the Buddhist, a great passage in life. You may have live thousands of prior lives ( in their way of thinking) without ever once coming into contact with the Buddha-Dharma, and now finally you have. It's a big deal.

This is a form of initiation. Fr. Seraphim Rose ( who was a Buddhist in his youth) specifically warns of this sort of thing.

A few seasons back the TV show "Survivor" took place in Burma ( maybe it was Thailand). During the opening show they took the contestants to a Buddhist Temple for a "Welcoming Ceremony". They were to walk into the Temple with hands folded and then make a deep bow all the way to the floor. They were to then offer a bit of incense in front of the alter where there were Statues of all kinds of Buddhist Deities.

One of the contestants was a Woman who was an Evangelical Christian.. She walked into the Temple looked around and saw what they wanted her to do. To her great credit, she turned on her heals and walked out.

Jeff Probst the host was bewildered by this and argued with her a bit. He was clearly annoyed and kept saying "It's only a Welcoming Ceremony"...."It's only a Welcoming Ceremony" But by her good Christian sense, she could understand that this is not something a Christian should ever do.

You do understand that Christians were put to death in the Arena, torn apart by wild animals or hacked up by soldiers or burned alive for refusing to bow before Statues of Roman God's and offer a speck of incense to them.
Jehovah's Witnesses must be the only true Christians then. They refuse to "pledge allegiance" to any flag.

The way to make something bad look better is to compare it with something that is worse.

I don't think we need to all the way to Jehovah's Witnesses to understand that bowing to a Pagan Idol goes against core Christian values and Holy Tradition.

I fully understand that Buddhist meditation practices can be seen as spiritually neutral. I am just not too convinced when it is presented like it is Jogging or working out at a Gym: "Better Concentration".. "Feel Better"... "Tastes Great too"

I think Buddhism is a religion. I think there is a particular World View that dove tails all Buddhist Practices that does not line up with the Christian World View. I dont think we should mix religions. If the Catholics want to do that sort of thing, then good luck to them. I'd advise against it.

Thank you for telling me. I don't know too much about the Nichiren schools. But I know enough to understand that our perspectives on Buddhism could be significantly different. The "real buddha within" and "originally enlightened" teachings are difficult for many to see. I'll tell you a funny story sometime about my Dharma grandfather's conversation with a Thai Mahathera.

You may be surprised to read that I agree with you on the subject of mixing religions. I, however, grew up with both and have experienced then truth of both. The form of Buddhism I practice does not contradict Orthodox Christianity; in fact, it is sometimes so similar as to astonish me.

I was estranged from my Christian roots for many, many lonely years. I still came to church from time to time and Christ was always close. (I went to confession once between the ages of 12 and 55.) But I simply couldn't wrap my mind (and more important, my heart) around the prevailing materialist, literalist view of Christianity. What made it possible for me to return? Zen. The basic primary teaching of "Only Don't Know" (to use Ven. Seung Sanh's formulation), combined with some of the patristic writings that seemed to echo similar themes about God;'s fundamental unknowability, finally made it possible for me to come back in through the door of Orthodoxy. It's my personal belief that God was guiding me all the time, and that my Zen practice was a way of keeping me connected to something. And of course it was more than just something.

It's a little ironic that I'd be having this conversation with a Nichiren Buddhist. (I suppose you've been wondering when or if this shoe would drop). I know some Nichiren sects are regarded as more or less mainstream, while others, though, are regarded as outright heretical. I don't know enough about the ins and outs of late Heian religious politics to say which was which.                     q                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
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Marc1152
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« Reply #108 on: February 15, 2011, 12:02:22 PM »

Well, I practice "genuine Zen" and am a believing Orthodox Christian.

If you are not a Buddhist, you don't practice Zen. Maybe you practice some neat mental tricks you learned in your Zen monastery, but if it's divorced from Buddhism, it's not Zen.

Quote
But I believe you've misunderstood the expression "a teaching outside the scriptures."  It is the direct experience of fundamental reality. What could that be but God?

Of course God is the fundamental reality. However, to recognize this is to overthrow Zen and all Buddhist doctrine. All the Zen practices and teachings, including the "outside the scriptures" stuff, is based on Buddhist principles... which are in the scriptures. A lot of the distinctive Zen approaches came from the Lankavatara Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, etc. Much of Dogen's craziness can be traced to the Avatamsaka Sutra. Maybe they left the raft behind, but Buddha-Dharma was still the only raft.

Quote
The point is that rigorous study or the application of sequential logic do not lead to that direct experience. That is the problem with many of Shihfu Sheng Yen's teachings. They do not go deep enough.

Buddhism, including Zen, doesn't go deep enough. It's not Sheng Yen's fault. But terms of Zen and Buddhism, Sheng Yen is miles above most of the narcissists peddling "Zen" in the West. If you have an edge over Sheng yen, it's not because of your Zen insights but because you are a Christian.

Quote
Of course you can find people who "worship" the historical Buddha,

Yes, they're called Buddhists, especially Mahayana Buddhists, all of whom recognize the Lotus Sutra and other scriptures that advocate the worship of the Buddha. In Zen temples incense is burned and offerings are made before statues of the Buddha, just like in every other Buddhist temple.
 
Quote
just as you can find savior figures, such as Amitabha, in movements like the Pure Land schools. You can find the same wide variety in Christianity. Mary the Virgin Mother of God--yes or no?

Amitabha is not a matter of "yes" or "no." All Mahayana Buddhists revere him- whether that manifests in Pure Land practice or not does not indicate a division in any way as deep as the one between Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism.

Quote
You'll get a quite different answer from an Orthodox than from a Pentecostal.  What's your point?

Pure Land and Chan are completely compatible currents ("skillful means") within Buddhism. Chan Buddhists recognize the Pure Land scriptures as legitimate, even if some of them think the practice is not as advanced as Chan. Sure, individual teachers of the sects bickered amongst each other, but the practices became integrated for many (the lines between the sects were never so hardened in China as they were in Japan). Nowadays Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Chan routinely integrate Pure Land practice. I think you're thinking about Buddhism in general through the distorted lens of Japanese sectarian division. Even in Japan, though,  the Obaku Zen sect integrates Pure Land as a Zen practice. D.T. Suzuki came to believe that Zen and Pure Land are essentially the same.

Quote
That Buddhism manifests in many forms? No one argues against this.

Those many forms are mostly not mutually contradictory, unlike Pentecostalism and Orthodoxy. They are recognized as legitimate and often complementary paths to enlightenment. Is that how you view Pentecostalism?

You cannot believe how tired I am of arrogant people presuming to tell me what I am or am not doing, or what is or is not possible. Unless you have walked my same path, you cannot possibly know what you are talking about.

I have always found this line of thinking to be silly, that people cannot know or understand something they have not experienced. It's true to a point, but when it's used to shut down legitimate criticism it's rather juvenile.

I think it's a valid question: Orthodox Christianity is the fullness of truth. Why do you need pagan imitation religious practices when you have the real thing in Orthodoxy?

It's not about whether anyone here can understand you; it is about whether you are thinking clearly and logically, or whether your thinking is fogged by your experiences and you are unable to be objective. Since you have an obvious emotional attachment to Zen religious practices, you do not have the objectivity to be able to reject them in favor of Christian truth.

Not that anyone can blame you for that; you have made an emotional investment in Zen. But the fact is, you are not coming at this objectively. From an objective standpoint, Christians have no reason to use pagan religious practices.

Heck, Judaism was the forerunner to Christianity, and the Apostles in Acts 15 did away with almost all the Jewish practices. Why would it be acceptable to practice paganism as an Orthodox Christian?

I've been a Christian my entire life. I've practiced and studied Buddhism for nearly 50 of my 60 years, practice that has included priest ordination and Dharma transmission. That's why I feel my perspective may be better informed than yours. Especially with Zen, which defines and describes itself as experiential in nature, a lack of substantial first-hand experience would be so serious a deficit as to render invalid almost any observation one might make or any opinion one might hold hold, except by accident or coincidence.

And I'll mention in passing what many have commented on: Thousands of Roman Catholics, including dozens of priests and religious, practice Zen. Many are fully credentialed teachers who have received Shiho. I personally know several of these, one of whom has a Dharma heir who's a Strict Observance Cistercian. Granted, Catholics aren't Orthodox. But no one can describe OCSO Cistercians as lax or cavalier about their theology. If they can see a benefit to working the Zen field, so to say, we might be smart to at least find out why they think so. This can't be accomplished by reading or discussion, by the way. You have to actually do it.

How do you feel about a Christian bowing before a statue of Kannon upon entering a Zendo?

Then we have a difference of opinion ( FYI, I also have a Dharma transmission and ordination).

First of all, I can detect a different philosophical point of view between us. On the one hand you emphasize intent, do you "Understand" what you are doing when you bow before a Pagen Statue. Do you have a complicated understanding of the Bodhisattva of Compassion ( Kannon) or are you willfully engaged in some sort of worship.

I would prefer not to split those hairs. You have bowed before a Pagan Statue. I am not trying to be overly strict but I see an insidious effect from this bowing ( and often offering a bit of incense) that is not mitigated by what you have in your mind at the time.

In most forms of Buddhism there are a few very pivotal events in life. Being born a human (who has a Buddha Nature ie capacity to become enlightened) is the first. The next is coming into actual contact with the Dharma ( The Buddha's teaching. "Buddha-Dharma" ).

When Buddhists get you to do something very simple, like bowing before Kannon and offering a speck of incense, you have you accomplished what is to the Buddhist, a great passage in life. You may have live thousands of prior lives ( in their way of thinking) without ever once coming into contact with the Buddha-Dharma, and now finally you have. It's a big deal.

This is a form of initiation. Fr. Seraphim Rose ( who was a Buddhist in his youth) specifically warns of this sort of thing.

A few seasons back the TV show "Survivor" took place in Burma ( maybe it was Thailand). During the opening show they took the contestants to a Buddhist Temple for a "Welcoming Ceremony". They were to walk into the Temple with hands folded and then make a deep bow all the way to the floor. They were to then offer a bit of incense in front of the alter where there were Statues of all kinds of Buddhist Deities.

One of the contestants was a Woman who was an Evangelical Christian.. She walked into the Temple looked around and saw what they wanted her to do. To her great credit, she turned on her heals and walked out.

Jeff Probst the host was bewildered by this and argued with her a bit. He was clearly annoyed and kept saying "It's only a Welcoming Ceremony"...."It's only a Welcoming Ceremony" But by her good Christian sense, she could understand that this is not something a Christian should ever do.

You do understand that Christians were put to death in the Arena, torn apart by wild animals or hacked up by soldiers or burned alive for refusing to bow before Statues of Roman God's and offer a speck of incense to them.
Jehovah's Witnesses must be the only true Christians then. They refuse to "pledge allegiance" to any flag.

The way to make something bad look better is to compare it with something that is worse.

I don't think we need to all the way to Jehovah's Witnesses to understand that bowing to a Pagan Idol goes against core Christian values and Holy Tradition.

I fully understand that Buddhist meditation practices can be seen as spiritually neutral. I am just not too convinced when it is presented like it is Jogging or working out at a Gym: "Better Concentration".. "Feel Better"... "Tastes Great too"

I think Buddhism is a religion. I think there is a particular World View that dove tails all Buddhist Practices that does not line up with the Christian World View. I dont think we should mix religions. If the Catholics want to do that sort of thing, then good luck to them. I'd advise against it.

Thank you for telling me. I don't know too much about the Nichiren schools. But I know enough to understand that our perspectives on Buddhism could be significantly different. The "real buddha within" and "originally enlightened" teachings are difficult for many to see. I'll tell you a funny story sometime about my Dharma grandfather's conversation with a Thai Mahathera.

You may be surprised to read that I agree with you on the subject of mixing religions. I, however, grew up with both and have experienced then truth of both. The form of Buddhism I practice does not contradict Orthodox Christianity; in fact, it is sometimes so similar as to astonish me.

I was estranged from my Christian roots for many, many lonely years. I still came to church from time to time and Christ was always close. (I went to confession once between the ages of 12 and 55.) But I simply couldn't wrap my mind (and more important, my heart) around the prevailing materialist, literalist view of Christianity. What made it possible for me to return? Zen. The basic primary teaching of "Only Don't Know" (to use Ven. Seung Sanh's formulation), combined with some of the patristic writings that seemed to echo similar themes about God;'s fundamental unknowability, finally made it possible for me to come back in through the door of Orthodoxy. It's my personal belief that God was guiding me all the time, and that my Zen practice was a way of keeping me connected to something. And of course it was more than just something.

It's a little ironic that I'd be having this conversation with a Nichiren Buddhist. (I suppose you've been wondering when or if this shoe would drop). I know some Nichiren sects are regarded as more or less mainstream, while others, though, are regarded as outright heretical. I don't know enough about the ins and outs of late Heian religious politics to say which was which.                     q                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

I have consistently seen Orthodox like Fr. Rose who converted from Buddhism say not to worry too much if a relative is a Buddhist. They say Buddhism is a"sober" religion and can preserve the soul of the person until they are ready for more.
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« Reply #109 on: February 15, 2011, 03:30:07 PM »

Marc, the doctrine of rebirth as traditionally believed is not compatible with Orthodox Christianity. Therefore, the concept of a bodhisatva according to the common definition (as someone who voluntarily suffers the cycle of rebirths to assist all other beings to nirvana) is not compatible with Orthodox Christianity. Therefore, why even venerate a statue of Avalokiteshvara? There's nothing to venerate. Bodhisatvas don't exist.
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« Reply #110 on: February 15, 2011, 04:07:16 PM »

Marc, the doctrine of rebirth as traditionally believed is not compatible with Orthodox Christianity. Therefore, the concept of a bodhisatva according to the common definition (as someone who voluntarily suffers the cycle of rebirths to assist all other beings to nirvana) is not compatible with Orthodox Christianity. Therefore, why even venerate a statue of Avalokiteshvara? There's nothing to venerate. Bodhisatvas don't exist.

Mars, the God of War does not exist. Please dont ever bow before his statue though.

The Holy Martyrs accepted death in the Roman Arena before doing so. Were they fools?
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« Reply #111 on: February 16, 2011, 11:24:55 AM »

Marc, the doctrine of rebirth as traditionally believed is not compatible with Orthodox Christianity. Therefore, the concept of a bodhisatva according to the common definition (as someone who voluntarily suffers the cycle of rebirths to assist all other beings to nirvana) is not compatible with Orthodox Christianity. Therefore, why even venerate a statue of Avalokiteshvara? There's nothing to venerate. Bodhisatvas don't exist.
Could a statue of a Buddha be venerated, since Buddhas are -- quite literally -- not rebirthed?
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« Reply #112 on: February 16, 2011, 11:56:39 AM »

Could a statue of a Buddha be venerated, since Buddhas are -- quite literally -- not rebirthed?

The Buddha's only worth venerating if you buy into his teachings, and those are not compatible with Orthodox Christianity. A case could be made that the Buddha was a righteous person like Socrates who revealed glimpses of God's order before the Incarnation, but that still wouldn't make a case for venerating an image.

Most Orthodox theologians I've seen comment on Thomas Merton disapprove strongly, exceedingly strongly, of his trip to the East where he bowed to Buddha. I therefore wouldn't point to Roman Catholic monks and their syncretic habits for defence.
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« Reply #113 on: February 16, 2011, 01:48:47 PM »

Could a statue of a Buddha be venerated, since Buddhas are -- quite literally -- not rebirthed?

The Buddha's only worth venerating if you buy into his teachings, and those are not compatible with Orthodox Christianity.
Outside of the Vedic world view of karma and rebirth/reincarnation within which the Buddha formulated his teachings, how are his teachings incompatible with Orthodox Christianity?
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« Reply #114 on: February 16, 2011, 04:03:28 PM »

Outside of the Vedic world view of karma and rebirth/reincarnation within which the Buddha formulated his teachings, how are his teachings incompatible with Orthodox Christianity?

That's like saying "Outside of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, how is Christianity incompatible with Islam?" Buddhism is so centered around those Vedic views that it cannot be considered separate from them, in spite of some westerners' attempts at a "Buddhism without beliefs" that is about as valid as, say, the Jefferson Bible or Jesus Seminar in Christianity.

The view of the senses as delusion is also an issue, as the Church has recognized at least since the era of Hesychasm that union with the Divine can be achieved through the senses.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2011, 04:06:46 PM by CRCulver » Logged
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« Reply #115 on: February 16, 2011, 04:46:55 PM »

Outside of the Vedic world view of karma and rebirth/reincarnation within which the Buddha formulated his teachings, how are his teachings incompatible with Orthodox Christianity?

There is no God.
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« Reply #116 on: February 16, 2011, 11:59:09 PM »

Outside of the Vedic world view of karma and rebirth/reincarnation within which the Buddha formulated his teachings, how are his teachings incompatible with Orthodox Christianity?

That's like saying "Outside of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, how is Christianity incompatible with Islam?" Buddhism is so centered around those Vedic views that it cannot be considered separate from them, in spite of some westerners' attempts at a "Buddhism without beliefs" that is about as valid as, say, the Jefferson Bible or Jesus Seminar in Christianity.
I see you making more assertions here, but I don't find them particularly convincing as arguments to support your previous assertions. How is Buddhism so centered around those Vedic views that it cannot be considered separate from them?
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« Reply #117 on: March 03, 2011, 01:11:52 AM »

This comparative analysis of the various forms of Buddhism, an analysis that has deviated from the original topic of whether Buddhists and Muslims are saved, has been moved to Religious Topics.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=34133.0
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 01:14:14 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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