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« on: January 12, 2012, 07:32:53 PM »

Any specific opinion contrasting Christianity with Buddhism? thanks . .
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2012, 08:47:52 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

As much as they'd hate to admit it, Buddhism is a legalistic religion like most of the Old World faiths.

Essentially, the Buddha taught that human beings are caught in a struggle of desire (self-will) and this is similar to the fracture observed by the Orthodox Fathers.  This desire entangles us until we die continually, and each successive life cycle we work out more and more of the tangles of desire, the bad kharma (wages of sin) and inevitably achieve a God-like state of stillness, silence, eternal bliss, instead of the chaos of sin and desire.

This is realitistically similar to Moses' Law if we condense all the life-cycles of the Buddhists into a single human life-span.  These are discussing the same concepts, the internal consequences of negative free-will decisions.  The problem, much like with the Law, no one of us can willfully cease the chaos of Sin. 

Jesus Christ came precisely to send Grace through the Divine Mysteries and by His power heal us from Sin, and keep us from Sin, and give us Eternal Life in His Kingdom by His merits, not our own. 

The Buddhists have a lot of valuable philosophical insights about life, spirituality, and the human condition, we shouldn't reject their observations outright, however when it comes to Salvation, we know only can Jesus Christ give us this by His gift.

The Buddhists would say that is fine, that Christianity is how we may have discovered to remove our kharma.

I like a recent statement by the Dali Lhama:

Religion, he says, is like tea, and compassion and ethics are like water.  Water is the foundation for tea, and so religion is compassionate and ethical.  However, tea is spiced with Grace which heals, warms, sustains.  This is the key part, he explains that while mankind can live on water alone, that is, without religion.  Of course, just like water, while man may be able to survive (barely) without the tea of religion, we absolutely need to water of compassion and ethics to survive.  It is these kinds of insights that the Buddhists have which are invaluable Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 09:55:49 PM »

I don't care For the Dali Lhama ,or what he has to say.... police

I Watched several Yrs. Back, a Interview of the Dali Lhama on the public  broadcast station Ch. 11 Chicago..The Interviewer asked him if he believed in God...His Answer was absolutely Not, Nada ,Nine ,Ne , He was very disturbed by the Question, then he mentioned ,Some of the temples in his country are infected with Statues of Hindu Gods, that have to be cleansed, out of there temples....There,s no room for Other God's ,or  God in his temples......
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2012, 08:59:09 PM »

Contrasting Buddhism and Christianity is like contrasting the differences of a hershey bar with a diesel engine.

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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2012, 01:52:58 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

As much as they'd hate to admit it, Buddhism is a legalistic religion like most of the Old World faiths.

Essentially, the Buddha taught that human beings are caught in a struggle of desire (self-will) and this is similar to the fracture observed by the Orthodox Fathers.  This desire entangles us until we die continually, and each successive life cycle we work out more and more of the tangles of desire, the bad kharma (wages of sin) and inevitably achieve a God-like state of stillness, silence, eternal bliss, instead of the chaos of sin and desire.

This is realitistically similar to Moses' Law if we condense all the life-cycles of the Buddhists into a single human life-span.  These are discussing the same concepts, the internal consequences of negative free-will decisions.  The problem, much like with the Law, no one of us can willfully cease the chaos of Sin. 

Jesus Christ came precisely to send Grace through the Divine Mysteries and by His power heal us from Sin, and keep us from Sin, and give us Eternal Life in His Kingdom by His merits, not our own. 

The Buddhists have a lot of valuable philosophical insights about life, spirituality, and the human condition, we shouldn't reject their observations outright, however when it comes to Salvation, we know only can Jesus Christ give us this by His gift.

The Buddhists would say that is fine, that Christianity is how we may have discovered to remove our kharma.

I like a recent statement by the Dali Lhama:

Religion, he says, is like tea, and compassion and ethics are like water.  Water is the foundation for tea, and so religion is compassionate and ethical.  However, tea is spiced with Grace which heals, warms, sustains.  This is the key part, he explains that while mankind can live on water alone, that is, without religion.  Of course, just like water, while man may be able to survive (barely) without the tea of religion, we absolutely need to water of compassion and ethics to survive.  It is these kinds of insights that the Buddhists have which are invaluable Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I don't buy into the whole Buddhism as compatible to other religions anymore.  Maybe, they evolved into that, but original Buddhism in India incorporated models of Hinduism into it, including reincarnation.  The only difference is that there is a compassionate reincarnation, for people who "willingly reincarnate" to lead others to the right path.  At least that's the impression I get when reading some of their short stories that a friend of mine was unfortunately forced to read as part of his pediatrics rotations (I don't know why).
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2012, 02:33:36 PM »

I'm sorry but I would have to highly disagree with you. I used to be a Buddhist before for a little while before my conversion when I was 'experimenting' with other religions and I tried to make it compatible with Christianity but the more I tried to combine them, the more I realized that I was not getting the full experience from either of them and that one was always calling me and telling me to leave the other. Now, that I am an Orthodox Christian who has been saved from delusions like Buddhism and Protestant cults, I realize that Buddhism and Orthodoxy are not really compatible at all. The main purpose of Buddhism, at least Thereavada, the school I used to follow, is to end suffering and liberate the soul from the chains of suffering to beat the cycle of death and reincarnation. We do this through adhering to the Eightfold Path, Four Noble Truths and through meditation. In Christianity, we are also trying to save our souls by gaining Jesus Christ's grace through Theosis, however, we are taught that suffering is a natural part of the process and that some suffering can even be good for our benefit because it teaches us and shows that God is disciplining us. But in Buddhism the main point is to become free from earthly suffering and therefore is in violation with Orthodoxy. Going even further, Orthodoxy is a collective faith; we do nothing alone. We worship collectively as a Holy family with our visible congregation and the Heavenly congregation of the Saints and those who have passed away. When we read scriptures we read them collectively by bringing in the Saints to help us interpret them through their Homilies and we try to study 'in the mind of the Church'. Even during prayer, we do not do this alone but collectively by asking for the intercessions of the Saints and praying with our Parish. Likewise, Jesus said that where more than one person is united in His name, that is where He dwells. The Church, by definition then, is a collective Kingdom. In contrast with all of this, Buddhism is an individualistic religion that teaches that a person can only achieve Nirvana and enlightment by themselves. That they should not rely on other people or any God or gods to aid you, but that it has to be a personal experience. And this is in violation to the collective nature of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2012, 10:46:47 PM »

Do you mean something official or what people here have?

To me the biggest difference is that in Buddhism people reach enlightenment or the "ultimate" by themselves apart from others. Especially Theravada, but even in Mahayana that espouses the Bodhisattva ideal, sort of a "Enlightener Hero," for Buddhists. Its ultimately up to you. Christianity is exactly the opposite, we need someone else, Christ, and each other. Though some forms of Buddhism, such as Pureland, espouse "other power" (faith in Amitabha Buddha) and kinda seem similar.
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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2012, 01:04:09 AM »

the "breaking the cycle" aspect is very similar, but in buddhism it's reincarnation, in Christianity it is sin. Detachment from worldly possessions, meditation/prayer, etc...I can't really compare the two, though, because I don't think reincarnation/karma is anything I can understand growing up in a Western society. I think they have a lot of aspects in common, though for different purposes.
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2012, 01:06:03 AM »

Any specific opinion contrasting Christianity with Buddhism? thanks . .

dang i was just going to ask this the other day! how about similarities between the two?
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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2012, 01:15:44 AM »

how about apatheia in Orthodoxy and Buddhism?
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« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2012, 02:26:48 AM »

how about apatheia in Orthodoxy and Buddhism?

There has been contact between the Greeks and Buddhism. The Greeks in India (from Alexander the Great's conquests) were the first to portray Buddha. Early Buddha statues look very Hellenistic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhist_art.

Now don't get this people group interaction twisted to think Christianity is not from God's revelation to man. Jesus is the Truth not Buddha. If anything I want to point out that Buddhism has been influenced by Western philosophies (This is my speculation).
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« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2012, 03:48:11 AM »

Any specific opinion contrasting Christianity with Buddhism? thanks . .
Both are manipulation fodder for New Agers.
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« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2012, 03:53:30 AM »

Any specific opinion contrasting Christianity with Buddhism? thanks . .
Both are manipulation fodder for New Agers.

Lol. More like fodder for anyone with half a brain on the shoulders, and a way with words....

Charisma goes a long way when you're attempting to persuade people who already possess a predisposition towards incomplete ideologies.
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« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2012, 04:25:04 AM »

Any specific opinion contrasting Christianity with Buddhism? thanks . .
Both are manipulation fodder for New Agers.

Lol. More like fodder for anyone with half a brain on the shoulders, and a way with words....
I'm not so much talking about the witty demagogues, as I am the DIY crypto-monadic auto-gurus that populate American college campuses and who attend "retreats" in the Arizona desert because of its superb access to the lay-lines.
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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2012, 04:53:15 AM »

Any specific opinion contrasting Christianity with Buddhism? thanks . .
Both are manipulation fodder for New Agers.

Lol. More like fodder for anyone with half a brain on the shoulders, and a way with words....
I'm not so much talking about the witty demagogues, as I am the DIY crypto-monadic auto-gurus that populate American college campuses and who attend "retreats" in the Arizona desert because of its superb access to the lay-lines.

Indeed, but along the same vein of what i said above. Personality and willed-influence (whether it be "God's" will, or the lower, finite human will) over those who are already susceptible to it's power- will inevitably be successful in molding the flock of clay.

I mean, i won't dare say that this applies to Orthodoxy (on these forums anyways,as i'm well aware of the consequences of open textual dissent) but the point is that ideology is something that seemingly everyone in modern society yearns to embrace, whether they realize it or not. Even new-agey, sedona desert, christianized-buddhist "retreats" who claim to assimilate the apparently diverse view points into one clean package, have created a rigid ideology.

Accepting any ideology automatically precludes you from accepting its opposite. Which also categorizes it as an enemy of "truth" or at the very least, an enemy of possibility for "change of mind".

This is basic stuff.
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2012, 06:37:24 PM »

Do you mean something official or what people here have?

To me the biggest difference is that in Buddhism people reach enlightenment or the "ultimate" by themselves apart from others. Especially Theravada, but even in Mahayana that espouses the Bodhisattva ideal, sort of a "Enlightener Hero," for Buddhists. Its ultimately up to you. Christianity is exactly the opposite, we need someone else, Christ, and each other. Though some forms of Buddhism, such as Pureland, espouse "other power" (faith in Amitabha Buddha) and kinda seem similar.


The "Original Buddhism" is probably very pure, very holy.

Did order a neat & awesome book on it (Just in Case)  - - Does contrast with Christianity which calls us to faith and obedience.
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« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2012, 06:41:32 PM »

Do you mean something official or what people here have?

To me the biggest difference is that in Buddhism people reach enlightenment or the "ultimate" by themselves apart from others. Especially Theravada, but even in Mahayana that espouses the Bodhisattva ideal, sort of a "Enlightener Hero," for Buddhists. Its ultimately up to you. Christianity is exactly the opposite, we need someone else, Christ, and each other. Though some forms of Buddhism, such as Pureland, espouse "other power" (faith in Amitabha Buddha) and kinda seem similar.


The "Original Buddhism" is probably very pure, very holy.


Why on earth would you assume that?  The original Buddhism is too far in the past for us to really know much at all about it.
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« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2012, 06:43:25 PM »

Buddhism branched off from Hinduism. The Hindu caste system at one time held that only certain people could attain enlightenment; for lower caste people, it was almost impossible. Buddhists held that this was not true, anyone could become enlightened and break the cycle.
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« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2012, 07:18:18 PM »

Do you mean something official or what people here have?

To me the biggest difference is that in Buddhism people reach enlightenment or the "ultimate" by themselves apart from others. Especially Theravada, but even in Mahayana that espouses the Bodhisattva ideal, sort of a "Enlightener Hero," for Buddhists. Its ultimately up to you. Christianity is exactly the opposite, we need someone else, Christ, and each other. Though some forms of Buddhism, such as Pureland, espouse "other power" (faith in Amitabha Buddha) and kinda seem similar.


The "Original Buddhism" is probably very pure, very holy.


Why on earth would you assume that?  The original Buddhism is too far in the past for us to really know much at all about it.

It's only 500 years older than Christianity.
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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2012, 07:22:40 PM »

Do you mean something official or what people here have?

To me the biggest difference is that in Buddhism people reach enlightenment or the "ultimate" by themselves apart from others. Especially Theravada, but even in Mahayana that espouses the Bodhisattva ideal, sort of a "Enlightener Hero," for Buddhists. Its ultimately up to you. Christianity is exactly the opposite, we need someone else, Christ, and each other. Though some forms of Buddhism, such as Pureland, espouse "other power" (faith in Amitabha Buddha) and kinda seem similar.


The "Original Buddhism" is probably very pure, very holy.


Why on earth would you assume that?  The original Buddhism is too far in the past for us to really know much at all about it.

It's only 500 years older than Christianity.

And how long after Buddha were the first documents - that we still have - written?
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« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2012, 07:58:13 PM »

Do you mean something official or what people here have?

To me the biggest difference is that in Buddhism people reach enlightenment or the "ultimate" by themselves apart from others. Especially Theravada, but even in Mahayana that espouses the Bodhisattva ideal, sort of a "Enlightener Hero," for Buddhists. Its ultimately up to you. Christianity is exactly the opposite, we need someone else, Christ, and each other. Though some forms of Buddhism, such as Pureland, espouse "other power" (faith in Amitabha Buddha) and kinda seem similar.


The "Original Buddhism" is probably very pure, very holy.


Why on earth would you assume that?  The original Buddhism is too far in the past for us to really know much at all about it.

It's only 500 years older than Christianity.

And how long after Buddha were the first documents - that we still have - written?

"According to the scriptures, a council was held shortly after the Buddha's passing to collect and preserve his teachings. It was recited orally from the 5th century BCE to the first century BCE, when it was written down."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C4%81li_Canon
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« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2012, 08:11:15 PM »

That's four hundred years of oral recitation.
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« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2012, 08:18:57 PM »

Yep.

You said: "The original Buddhism is too far in the past for us to really know much at all about it."

So I just wanted to point out that it's not much older than Christianity. That's all.  Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2012, 10:53:27 PM »

Fundamentally at odds with each other on the purpose of life.

Buhdism - To Avoid Suffering so as to reach a higher state

Christianity - To be redeemed and be with God, even including suffering and suffering for God is not a bad thing.
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« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2012, 09:24:17 AM »

Fundamentally at odds with each other on the purpose of life.

Buhdism - To Avoid Suffering so as to reach a higher state

Christianity - To be redeemed and be with God, even including suffering and suffering for God is not a bad thing.
That was a bit incorrect:

Buddhism: to penetrate and understand (not "avoid") dukkha (often translated "suffering" but really meaning "the deep sense of dissatisfaction that pervades the un-awakened life"), in order to understand that craving for that which is impermanent is the cause of dissatisfaction, such that one can live as the Buddha and the Sangha live, the embodiments of Dharma, free from craving, free from lust, hatred, and ignorance, committed to generosity, compassion, and wisdom.

Christianity: to recognize that the felt sense of incompleteness is the result of continually "missing the mark", the "mark" being a life lived within the context of the Sinaic revelation, a revelation whose fulfillment is the life of Christ, a revelation summarized and essentialized as loving Abba, loving one's neighbor, and sacrificing of one's own willfulness in the fire of commitment to the will of Abba-in-Christ, such that one becomes one with Abba, Christ, and the Paraclete.
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« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2012, 12:21:26 PM »

From Jainism to Orthodoxy:

Pilgrimage attracts intriguing people the world over, and it was on a Serbian pilgrim bus that
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« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2012, 04:52:08 PM »

St. Jerome on the "virgin birth" of the Buddha:

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42. To come to the Gymnosophists of India, the opinion is authoritatively handed down that Budda, the founder of their religion, had his birth through the side of a virgin.

We may disregard (for now, at least) the question of whether the Buddhist tradition actually teaches that the Buddha was born of a virgin. My question is: is Jerome saying that it's possible, within a Christian understanding of the world, that other individuals, besides Jesus, were born of virgins; and that such a situation would not detract from Jesus's Divinity?
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« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2012, 04:56:30 PM »

St. Jerome on the "virgin birth" of the Buddha:

Quote
42. To come to the Gymnosophists of India, the opinion is authoritatively handed down that Budda, the founder of their religion, had his birth through the side of a virgin.

We may disregard (for now, at least) the question of whether the Buddhist tradition actually teaches that the Buddha was born of a virgin. My question is: is Jerome saying that it's possible, within a Christian understanding of the world, that other individuals, besides Jesus, were born of virgins; and that such a situation would not detract from Jesus's Divinity?
I dont think it would detract it. Jesus was Savior not because he was born of a virgin, but the virgin birth was used so we would know that he is the messiah, as the prophesy stated the messiah would be born of a virgin.


Afterall, I think sooner or later with technology, we will have virgin births, but that does not make those future people divine.

PP
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« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2012, 05:07:46 PM »

St. Jerome on the "virgin birth" of the Buddha:

Quote
42. To come to the Gymnosophists of India, the opinion is authoritatively handed down that Budda, the founder of their religion, had his birth through the side of a virgin.

We may disregard (for now, at least) the question of whether the Buddhist tradition actually teaches that the Buddha was born of a virgin. My question is: is Jerome saying that it's possible, within a Christian understanding of the world, that other individuals, besides Jesus, were born of virgins; and that such a situation would not detract from Jesus's Divinity?
I dont think it would detract it. Jesus was Savior not because he was born of a virgin, but the virgin birth was used so we would know that he is the messiah, as the prophesy stated the messiah would be born of a virgin.


Afterall, I think sooner or later with technology, we will have virgin births, but that does not make those future people divine.

PP

Excellent point; I really like the clarity in your thinking.
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« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2012, 05:10:07 PM »

St. Jerome on the "virgin birth" of the Buddha:

Quote
42. To come to the Gymnosophists of India, the opinion is authoritatively handed down that Budda, the founder of their religion, had his birth through the side of a virgin.

We may disregard (for now, at least) the question of whether the Buddhist tradition actually teaches that the Buddha was born of a virgin. My question is: is Jerome saying that it's possible, within a Christian understanding of the world, that other individuals, besides Jesus, were born of virgins; and that such a situation would not detract from Jesus's Divinity?
I dont think it would detract it. Jesus was Savior not because he was born of a virgin, but the virgin birth was used so we would know that he is the messiah, as the prophesy stated the messiah would be born of a virgin.


Afterall, I think sooner or later with technology, we will have virgin births, but that does not make those future people divine.

PP

Excellent point; I really like the clarity in your thinking.
I appreciate the compliment...your check is in the mail  laugh laugh

PP
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« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2012, 06:03:00 PM »

St. Jerome on the "virgin birth" of the Buddha:

Quote
42. To come to the Gymnosophists of India, the opinion is authoritatively handed down that Budda, the founder of their religion, had his birth through the side of a virgin.

We may disregard (for now, at least) the question of whether the Buddhist tradition actually teaches that the Buddha was born of a virgin. My question is: is Jerome saying that it's possible, within a Christian understanding of the world, that other individuals, besides Jesus, were born of virgins; and that such a situation would not detract from Jesus's Divinity?

It seems to me that St. Jerome is attacking any ridicule by Gentiles on the Virgin Birth of Christ.  Remember Julian the Apostate who became pagan again and attacked that the Theotokos was a prostitute, and questioning the absurdity of the virgin birth?  St. Jerome seems to show that it wasn't absurd to pagans or Indians, so why all of a sudden attack the Christian beliefs of it?  So I don't think St. Jerome is saying that it's possible, but that pagans are hypocrites for questioning the virgin birth.
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« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2012, 07:58:17 PM »

Fundamentally at odds with each other on the purpose of life.

Buhdism - To Avoid Suffering so as to reach a higher state

Christianity - To be redeemed and be with God, even including suffering and suffering for God is not a bad thing.
That was a bit incorrect:

Buddhism: to penetrate and understand (not "avoid") dukkha (often translated "suffering" but really meaning "the deep sense of dissatisfaction that pervades the un-awakened life"), in order to understand that craving for that which is impermanent is the cause of dissatisfaction, such that one can live as the Buddha and the Sangha live, the embodiments of Dharma, free from craving, free from lust, hatred, and ignorance, committed to generosity, compassion, and wisdom.

Christianity: to recognize that the felt sense of incompleteness is the result of continually "missing the mark", the "mark" being a life lived within the context of the Sinaic revelation, a revelation whose fulfillment is the life of Christ, a revelation summarized and essentialized as loving Abba, loving one's neighbor, and sacrificing of one's own willfulness in the fire of commitment to the will of Abba-in-Christ, such that one becomes one with Abba, Christ, and the Paraclete.

Thanks for this!

Personally, I've been intrigued by Buddhism. The fact that monastic and ascetical life before St. Antonius was largely a Buddhist (and Hindu) thing, should make you think. The ideal of apatheia for so many Orthodox saints is extremely similar to the Buddhist struggle for Nirvana. Yes, there are very, very important differences. Yet, there are so many similarities.

Given the fact that Far-Eastern religions are becoming increasingly popular in the West, there should be big opportunities in showing those people how Christianity has a long tradition that has valued the ascetical, mystical and more dynamic "Way-approach" of the East, while still not succumbing into the ultimate de-personalized ideals of the Far Eastern religions.

Personally, I see Buddhism as containing a "Logos-spark" which was not even developed within Judaism at that point. The fight against the passions is at least much more implicit in the Old Testament, and to me it seems like it's not until New Testament times that revelation reaches the "inner struggle" point that it has been aiming towards throughout salvation history. I'm not trying to idealize Buddhism here, but I can't ignore the glaring similarities when I've read the Philokalia with what I've studied of Buddhism...

What do you think?
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« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2012, 08:17:08 PM »

Fundamentally at odds with each other on the purpose of life.

Buhdism - To Avoid Suffering so as to reach a higher state

Christianity - To be redeemed and be with God, even including suffering and suffering for God is not a bad thing.
That was a bit incorrect:

Buddhism: to penetrate and understand (not "avoid") dukkha (often translated "suffering" but really meaning "the deep sense of dissatisfaction that pervades the un-awakened life"), in order to understand that craving for that which is impermanent is the cause of dissatisfaction, such that one can live as the Buddha and the Sangha live, the embodiments of Dharma, free from craving, free from lust, hatred, and ignorance, committed to generosity, compassion, and wisdom.

Christianity: to recognize that the felt sense of incompleteness is the result of continually "missing the mark", the "mark" being a life lived within the context of the Sinaic revelation, a revelation whose fulfillment is the life of Christ, a revelation summarized and essentialized as loving Abba, loving one's neighbor, and sacrificing of one's own willfulness in the fire of commitment to the will of Abba-in-Christ, such that one becomes one with Abba, Christ, and the Paraclete.

Thanks for this!

Personally, I've been intrigued by Buddhism. The fact that monastic and ascetical life before St. Antonius was largely a Buddhist (and Hindu) thing, should make you think. The ideal of apatheia for so many Orthodox saints is extremely similar to the Buddhist struggle for Nirvana. Yes, there are very, very important differences. Yet, there are so many similarities.

Given the fact that Far-Eastern religions are becoming increasingly popular in the West, there should be big opportunities in showing those people how Christianity has a long tradition that has valued the ascetical, mystical and more dynamic "Way-approach" of the East, while still not succumbing into the ultimate de-personalized ideals of the Far Eastern religions.

Personally, I see Buddhism as containing a "Logos-spark" which was not even developed within Judaism at that point. The fight against the passions is at least much more implicit in the Old Testament, and to me it seems like it's not until New Testament times that revelation reaches the "inner struggle" point that it has been aiming towards throughout salvation history. I'm not trying to idealize Buddhism here, but I can't ignore the glaring similarities when I've read the Philokalia with what I've studied of Buddhism...

What do you think?

I see a lot of "glaring similarities" as well, but I don't know if I could ever learn enough about Buddhism to say for sure without actually practicing it (which, of course, I'm not willing to do).

It's intersting that you describe Eastern religion as having a "Way-approach"...after all, Christianity was originally called The Way. I think that the Eastern Churches, with their emphasis on ascetic practice, have more of a "Way mentality" than our Western counterparts, although that doesn't necessarily make us any closer to the Way of the Book of Acts (the Apostles, after all, were not ascetics, at least not by monastic standards).

I'm sure that this would be an attractive feature of Eastern Christianity to a modern Westerner. What worries me is the observation that popular interest in Eastern religion is rarely for the sake of actually practicing religions such as Buddhism, but rather a mere appendage of the hedonism and self-worship that is all-too-common in our society. People are "interested" in Buddhism, so they dabble in it superficially, harmonize it with their materialist worldview, and reject anything about it that they don't like. Then they think that they're practicing Buddhists. I sometimes think I see the same trend in American pop-Orthodoxy.

Anyway, yeah, Buddhism is seems fascinating.
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« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2012, 08:29:36 PM »

I see a lot of "glaring similarities" as well, but I don't know if I could ever learn enough about Buddhism to say for sure without actually practicing it (which, of course, I'm not willing to do).

It's intersting that you describe Eastern religion as having a "Way-approach"...after all, Christianity was originally called The Way. I think that the Eastern Churches, with their emphasis on ascetic practice, have more of a "Way mentality" than our Western counterparts, although that doesn't necessarily make us any closer to the Way of the Book of Acts (the Apostles, after all, were not ascetics, at least not by monastic standards).

I'm sure that this would be an attractive feature of Eastern Christianity to a modern Westerner. What worries me is the observation that popular interest in Eastern religion is rarely for the sake of actually practicing religions such as Buddhism, but rather a mere appendage of the hedonism and self-worship that is all-too-common in our society. People are "interested" in Buddhism, so they dabble in it superficially, harmonize it with their materialist worldview, and reject anything about it that they don't like. Then they think that they're practicing Buddhists. I sometimes think I see the same trend in American pop-Orthodoxy.

Anyway, yeah, Buddhism is seems fascinating.

Heh, you're definitely right - the interest in the West is often less about actually following a religion than it is about finding anything that... isn't Western Catholicism or Protestantism. While there are many, many cynical and sad things that could be said about our generation, in whose sins I must tremblingly confess to share to a larger extent than I am even aware, I have some hope there might be some hints of purer motives for it as well. I think after millenia of legal and superficially focused faith, the encounter with Eastern tradition has awakened a true longing for mystery, emphasis on real change, and for holism. Those three characteristics all lead East, to "Way-oriented" faiths. While the majority settle for DIY-Cosmopolitan-hedonist-coffee-table New Age approaches, that's probably more to our culture's enslavement to materialism, hedonism and narcissism, than a total lack of pure longing for change.

I try to see something positive where most people, including myself, focus on the negative.
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« Reply #34 on: April 19, 2012, 08:41:33 PM »

My dogma peed on your karma.  Wink
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« Reply #35 on: April 19, 2012, 08:57:43 PM »

I see a lot of "glaring similarities" as well, but I don't know if I could ever learn enough about Buddhism to say for sure without actually practicing it (which, of course, I'm not willing to do).

It's intersting that you describe Eastern religion as having a "Way-approach"...after all, Christianity was originally called The Way. I think that the Eastern Churches, with their emphasis on ascetic practice, have more of a "Way mentality" than our Western counterparts, although that doesn't necessarily make us any closer to the Way of the Book of Acts (the Apostles, after all, were not ascetics, at least not by monastic standards).

I'm sure that this would be an attractive feature of Eastern Christianity to a modern Westerner. What worries me is the observation that popular interest in Eastern religion is rarely for the sake of actually practicing religions such as Buddhism, but rather a mere appendage of the hedonism and self-worship that is all-too-common in our society. People are "interested" in Buddhism, so they dabble in it superficially, harmonize it with their materialist worldview, and reject anything about it that they don't like. Then they think that they're practicing Buddhists. I sometimes think I see the same trend in American pop-Orthodoxy.

Anyway, yeah, Buddhism is seems fascinating.

Heh, you're definitely right - the interest in the West is often less about actually following a religion than it is about finding anything that... isn't Western Catholicism or Protestantism. While there are many, many cynical and sad things that could be said about our generation, in whose sins I must tremblingly confess to share to a larger extent than I am even aware, I have some hope there might be some hints of purer motives for it as well. I think after millenia of legal and superficially focused faith, the encounter with Eastern tradition has awakened a true longing for mystery, emphasis on real change, and for holism. Those three characteristics all lead East, to "Way-oriented" faiths. While the majority settle for DIY-Cosmopolitan-hedonist-coffee-table New Age approaches, that's probably more to our culture's enslavement to materialism, hedonism and narcissism, than a total lack of pure longing for change.

I try to see something positive where most people, including myself, focus on the negative.

Indeed. I think that there are a lot of really spiritual people in our generation who have simply been "left in the dark" by the non-religious culture around them.
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« Reply #36 on: April 19, 2012, 10:44:16 PM »

St. Jerome on the "virgin birth" of the Buddha:

Quote
42. To come to the Gymnosophists of India, the opinion is authoritatively handed down that Budda, the founder of their religion, had his birth through the side of a virgin.

We may disregard (for now, at least) the question of whether the Buddhist tradition actually teaches that the Buddha was born of a virgin. My question is: is Jerome saying that it's possible, within a Christian understanding of the world, that other individuals, besides Jesus, were born of virgins; and that such a situation would not detract from Jesus's Divinity?

It seems to me that St. Jerome is attacking any ridicule by Gentiles on the Virgin Birth of Christ.  Remember Julian the Apostate who became pagan again and attacked that the Theotokos was a prostitute, and questioning the absurdity of the virgin birth?  St. Jerome seems to show that it wasn't absurd to pagans or Indians, so why all of a sudden attack the Christian beliefs of it?  So I don't think St. Jerome is saying that it's possible, but that pagans are hypocrites for questioning the virgin birth.
Sure, Jerome is doing that (attacking pagan Roman/Greek ridicule of Christian beliefs). But did Jerome or any other Church Fathers deny that virgin births had occurred elsewhere or did they accept such births as part of the cosmic structure?
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« Reply #37 on: May 25, 2012, 12:22:42 PM »

St. Jerome on the "virgin birth" of the Buddha:

Quote
42. To come to the Gymnosophists of India, the opinion is authoritatively handed down that Budda, the founder of their religion, had his birth through the side of a virgin.

We may disregard (for now, at least) the question of whether the Buddhist tradition actually teaches that the Buddha was born of a virgin. My question is: is Jerome saying that it's possible, within a Christian understanding of the world, that other individuals, besides Jesus, were born of virgins; and that such a situation would not detract from Jesus's Divinity?

It seems to me that St. Jerome is attacking any ridicule by Gentiles on the Virgin Birth of Christ.  Remember Julian the Apostate who became pagan again and attacked that the Theotokos was a prostitute, and questioning the absurdity of the virgin birth?  St. Jerome seems to show that it wasn't absurd to pagans or Indians, so why all of a sudden attack the Christian beliefs of it?  So I don't think St. Jerome is saying that it's possible, but that pagans are hypocrites for questioning the virgin birth.
Sure, Jerome is doing that (attacking pagan Roman/Greek ridicule of Christian beliefs). But did Jerome or any other Church Fathers deny that virgin births had occurred elsewhere or did they accept such births as part of the cosmic structure?
in some monastic literature it is claimed that parents of saints conceive miraculously.  Such literature sees the never consumated marriage as ideal.

Btw, I was reminded of this thread when I saw this:
Quote
BUDDHISM AND EASTERN ASCETICISM COMPARED TO ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN ASCETICISM

It is unfortunate that there is widespread confusion, not to mention delusion, in the inexperienced, whereby the Jesus Prayer is thought to be equivalent to yoga in Buddhism, or 'transcendental meditation', and other such Eastern exotica. Any similarity, however, is mostly external, and any inner convergence does not rise beyond the natural 'anatomy' of the human soul. The fundamental difference between Christianity and other beliefs and practices lies in the fact that the Jesus Prayer is based on the revelation of the One true living and personal God as Holy Trinity No other path admits any possibility of a living relationship between God and the person who prays.

Eastern asceticism aims at divesting the mind of all that is relative and transitory, so that man may identify with the impersonal Absolute. This Absolute is believed to be man's original 'nature', which suffered degradation and degeneration by entering a multiform and ever-changing earth-bound life. Ascetic practice like this is, above all, centred upon the self, and is totally dependent on man's will. Its intellectual character betrays the fullness of human nature, in that it takes no account of the heart. Man's main struggle is to return to the anonymous Supra-personal Absolute and to be dissolved in it. He must therefore aspire to efface the soul (Atman) in order to be one with this anonymous ocean of the Suprapersonal Absolute, and in this lies its basically negative purpose.

In his struggle to divest himself of all suffering and instability connected with transient life, the eastern ascetic immerses himself in the abstract and intellectual sphere of so-called pure Existence, a negative and impersonal sphere in which no vision of God is possible, only man's vision of himself. There is no place for the heart in this practice. Progress in this form of asceticism depends only on one's individual will to succeed. The Upanishads do not say anywhere that pride is an obstacle to spiritual progress, or that humility is a virtue. The positive dimension of Christian asceticism, in which self-denial leads to one's clothing with the heavenly man, to the assumption of a supernatural form of life, the Source of which is the One True, Self-revealing God, is obviously and totally absent. Even in its more noble expressions, the self-denial in Buddhism is only the insignificant half of the picture. In the mind's desire to return to its merely 'natural' self, it beholds its own nakedness in a 'cloud of divestiture'. But at this point there is a grave risk of obsession with itself, of its marvelling at its own luminous but created beauty, and worshipping the creature more than the Creator (Rom. 1:25). The mind has by now begun to deify or idolise its self and then, according to the words of the Lord, 'the last state of that man is worse than the first' (Matt. 12:45)....
http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/7423.htm
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« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2012, 05:58:01 AM »

Thank you, ialmisry. I was explaining to a confirmand who was interested in Buddhism exactly this: Buddhism has grasped some truths about asceticism and self-knowing/mindfulness, but lacks the most central thing a Christian can believe in: an ultimately Personal existence, and relationship to Him being the center-point of it all. What Buddhism has learned that is true, in terms of asceticm self-knowing, is fully accessible within Christianity, whereas that is not true the other way around.
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« Reply #39 on: June 10, 2012, 06:09:33 PM »

  I think the Dalai Lama has summed it up best, being a Buddhist is about having a heart that feels the suffering of all beings and a will that yearns to help them.  This is what is meant by Bodhichitta in Buddhism.  Bodhichitta means the awakened mind, a mind of understanding and compassion.

  I am a humanistic Buddhist from the humanistic east Asian tradition.  Skepticism is the heart of Buddhism, but so is faith.  Faith that people have walked the path before, that there are countless Buddha's and bodhisattvas and teachers in our lives, and faith in the goodness of the Buddha-Nature in every being.

   Christianity is theistic and very different from Buddhism.  In Buddhism the concept of an external, transcendent Creator is nonsensical, the "All Creator King" is ones own mind, the Buddha himself says this in the Dhammapada- "With our thoughts we make the world".  If anyone deserves the most profound respect and worship, it is not a deity far remove from the human condition but the countless ordinary people who benefit us greatly and deserve our gratitude- the enlightened beings and teachers, our ancestors, our family, our fellow sentient beings, all part of the 4 Great Gracious Kindnesses.  Human beings are not evil creatures fallen from grace and twisted beyond recognition, but sometimes foolish beings who forget their own basic goodness.
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« Reply #40 on: June 10, 2012, 06:30:56 PM »

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If anyone deserves the most profound respect and worship, it is not a deity far remove from the human condition
So the God who became man, ate, drank and slept among humans, who was tortured, crucified and killed for our sake is far removed from the human condition?
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« Reply #41 on: June 10, 2012, 06:34:45 PM »

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If anyone deserves the most profound respect and worship, it is not a deity far remove from the human condition
So the God who became man, ate, drank and slept among humans, who was tortured, crucified and killed for our sake is far removed from the human condition?

Depends who you ask and how you ask it.

I wouldn't ask it too carefully of the many on this board, you might find yourself disappointed with the result.

See every thread on Christology.
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« Reply #42 on: June 10, 2012, 06:38:28 PM »

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If anyone deserves the most profound respect and worship, it is not a deity far remove from the human condition
So the God who became man, ate, drank and slept among humans, who was tortured, crucified and killed for our sake is far removed from the human condition?
No.

But then again how do we define the "human condition"? Couldn't we say everyone has a different human condition but perhaps the universal is in suffering?
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« Reply #43 on: June 10, 2012, 06:40:54 PM »

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If anyone deserves the most profound respect and worship, it is not a deity far remove from the human condition
So the God who became man, ate, drank and slept among humans, who was tortured, crucified and killed for our sake is far removed from the human condition?

He only permitted those things to happen for didactic purposes. The properties of Christ's humanity only exist in contemplation, but were suppressed by the Logos unless they were convenient.

He slept among humans to show that he could sleep, not because he was tired. He only permitted his suppressed humanity to experience grief in order to teach us the proper way to be sad in a manly fashion.

See St. Plotinus the Thrice-Emanated for more on this point.
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« Reply #44 on: June 10, 2012, 07:01:16 PM »

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He only permitted his suppressed humanity to experience grief in order to teach us the proper way to be sad in a manly fashion.


But if God allowed His humanity to experience grief, wouldn't He then still have understand why we grief if He created us?
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