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Author Topic: Buddha - What would you do if there was a Buddha in a Chinese Restaurant?  (Read 5487 times) Average Rating: 0
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Maria
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« on: September 17, 2012, 12:56:44 AM »

I have a very devout Catholic friend who has asked me to post here as she does not have Internet service.

To put mods at ease: she has never been a member here.

Anyway, sometimes she asks me to accompany her to visit a fellow Catholic who is in the hospital (more in than out due to ongoing health issues).

We usually stop at a restaurant on the way back home, but the pickings are not that great.

The food at Denny's and Coco's is not even freshly prepared except for the salads and those are GMOs, which she cannot have. So, all we can have there is tea.

However, Chinese food seems to be the only place where one can get freshly prepared veggies that taste good. The only problem she has is that the Thai and Chinese restaurants around here seem to have a Buddha prominently displayed. Some even have food offerings placed in front of it.

She wants to know if there are any Holy Canons in the Church (Catholic and/or Orthodox) which forbid one from entering those restaurants because of the Buddha.
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2012, 03:08:07 AM »

Make the sign of the cross and eat. The Buddha statue is probably just a decoration anyway without any real meaning.
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2012, 04:19:38 AM »

Well, I love Japanese food, I'll say that.

The other thing is, I'm fairly sure none of the food we have been eating is intended as an offering to a/the Buddha (or however it works). Otherwise, wasn't it St. Paul who said "Ask not for conscience's sake"?

Maybe I'm getting this wrong. I am just an Inquirer trying to go deeper into Orthodoxy. Please correct me if I am.
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2012, 05:00:50 AM »

I wouldn't worry about it and enjoy the meal.  If it were a problem there wouldn't be an Orthodox Christian who could eat anywhere in China, Japan or a similar nation.
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2012, 07:56:36 AM »

Make the sign of the cross and eat. The Buddha statue is probably just a decoration anyway without any real meaning.
^ This, the Sign of the Cross can defeat any pagan ritual.
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2012, 08:24:10 AM »

I have a jade laughing Buddha which I brought back from
China before I was Orthodox.. My Spiritual Father
said that it was primarily an ornament...and suggested that
I lift it from its position and scratch a cross on to its base.
It now sits where it was and it doesnt bother me...its one of
the more ludicrous type the  'laughing Buddha'
I have done that to a few Buddhas I have encountered
in settings such as restaurants..just a small scratch..I
always feel better for it... Cool
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2012, 08:27:40 AM »

By the way....the query seems a bit weird to me...like
how does that person cope with a 'world' where the
more clearly satanic...for example in the form of overtly
semi pornographic sexual advertising or adverts which promote
greed etc exist??
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2012, 09:26:13 AM »

My favorite Chinese restaurant in Philadelphia has a rather large Buddha with dollar bills affixed to it at the back of the restaurant. 

I pray before I eat, asking God to bless the food (thereby making it holy and clean in a spiritual sense) and keep my eyes and soul on my food and my wife (and anyone else we happen to be eating with when visiting) and don't worry about the Buddha. 

Far more distracting are the huge Chinese families that eat at the big tables.  Although their presence is always a good sign, some families can get quite loud just because there are 15+ people eating and talking at the same time eight feet away from you. Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2012, 09:30:15 AM »

Don't worry about it!  The food they place on their altars are not the same food they will serve to you.  So no matter how you interpret St. Paul's writings, rest assured you are not getting any food sacrificed to idols.

Most Chinese restaurants I go to has the Lucky Cat instead.  My kid loves them.  Well, he likes all kinds of cats both real and fictional.
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Maria
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2012, 10:57:22 AM »

Good responses. Please keep them coming.

I will go to an internet cafe with her so that she can read your responses.
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2012, 12:05:33 PM »

Sounds like you have a choice between less fresh food and eating in the presence of idols. 

Which one bothers you more, the fact that the pancake might have been frozen or that you have to share your dining experience with a leering Buddha?

For what it's worth, I eat at both sorts of places on a regular basis. 
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2012, 12:14:32 PM »

I would suggest looking up David Withun's video on Buddha and Buddhism on YouTube. Definitely worth a gander.
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2012, 12:26:00 PM »

This isn't the same as halal meat (or meat offered to idols), right?
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2012, 01:32:12 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2012, 02:00:48 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

Proof? I am sure the statue depicts him as a saint with a halo and all.  Roll Eyes

What would Father Vasily of 18th Century Holy Russia say? Is outrage!
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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2012, 02:53:37 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

Even if Buddha was St. Josaphat, contemporary Buddha statues have nothing to do with St. Josaphat.
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« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2012, 02:55:21 PM »

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

Order the Pepper Chicken Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2012, 03:09:10 PM »

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

Order the Pepper Chicken Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie

That's the best advice.
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« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2012, 03:13:21 PM »

Make the sign of the cross and eat. The Buddha statue is probably just a decoration anyway without any real meaning.

And don't forget to rub his belly for good luck.
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« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2012, 03:27:15 PM »

Make the sign of the cross and eat. The Buddha statue is probably just a decoration anyway without any real meaning.

And don't forget to rub his belly for good luck.

And what do y'all think of this practice? A group I'm in (school play) has a little idol of Buddha they bring around to do this to before every show. Thus far I've excused myself from rubbing it.
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« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2012, 03:28:49 PM »

Make the sign of the cross and eat. The Buddha statue is probably just a decoration anyway without any real meaning.

And don't forget to rub his belly for good luck.

What if it is one of those thinner Buddhas? Tongue
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« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2012, 03:31:59 PM »

A thin Buddha is like a beardless priest or Ganesh without his mouse - it's just wrong.

Make the sign of the cross and eat. The Buddha statue is probably just a decoration anyway without any real meaning.

And don't forget to rub his belly for good luck.

What if it is one of those thinner Buddhas? Tongue
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« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2012, 04:17:08 PM »

Make the sign of the cross and eat. The Buddha statue is probably just a decoration anyway without any real meaning.

And don't forget to rub his belly for good luck.

And what do y'all think of this practice? A group I'm in (school play) has a little idol of Buddha they bring around to do this to before every show. Thus far I've excused myself from rubbing it.
The round Buddha is actually a Chinese Buddhist monk, Budai (Hotei, in Japanese), who is often identified with the future Buddha Maitreya. In any event, Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha of circa 500 BCE, is never depicted in a "round" manner, and His belly is never rubbed for good luck.
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« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2012, 04:33:35 PM »

I wouldn't worry about it and enjoy the meal.  If it were a problem there wouldn't be an Orthodox Christian who could eat anywhere in China, Japan or a similar nation.
Your 666th post! Shocked

Anyway, --Subscribed--
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« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2012, 04:36:37 PM »

I would suggest looking up David Withun's video on Buddha and Buddhism on YouTube. Definitely worth a gander.

Oof! Disagree!
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« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2012, 05:35:51 PM »

I wouldn't worry about it and enjoy the meal.  If it were a problem there wouldn't be an Orthodox Christian who could eat anywhere in China, Japan or a similar nation.
Your 666th post! Shocked

Anyway, --Subscribed--

Proof:

Quote
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« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2012, 07:47:27 PM »

I wouldn't worry about it and enjoy the meal.  If it were a problem there wouldn't be an Orthodox Christian who could eat anywhere in China, Japan or a similar nation.
Your 666th post! Shocked

Anyway, --Subscribed--
Oops!  I hadn't realized, but now it's fixed.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 08:13:18 PM by Kerdy » Logged
Maria
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« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2012, 08:09:08 PM »

I wouldn't worry about it and enjoy the meal.  If it were a problem there wouldn't be an Orthodox Christian who could eat anywhere in China, Japan or a similar nation.
Your 666th post! Shocked

Anyway, --Subscribed--
Oops!  I hadn't realize, but now it's fixed.

Good job, but now I cannot edit my post with your profile quote.  Roll Eyes  LOL
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« Reply #28 on: September 25, 2012, 07:44:09 AM »

I wouldn't worry about it and enjoy the meal.  If it were a problem there wouldn't be an Orthodox Christian who could eat anywhere in China, Japan or a similar nation.
Your 666th post! Shocked

Anyway, --Subscribed--

Well that's scary.
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« Reply #29 on: September 25, 2012, 07:46:37 AM »

I have a very devout Catholic friend who has asked me to post here as she does not have Internet service.

To put mods at ease: she has never been a member here.

Anyway, sometimes she asks me to accompany her to visit a fellow Catholic who is in the hospital (more in than out due to ongoing health issues).

We usually stop at a restaurant on the way back home, but the pickings are not that great.

The food at Denny's and Coco's is not even freshly prepared except for the salads and those are GMOs, which she cannot have. So, all we can have there is tea.

However, Chinese food seems to be the only place where one can get freshly prepared veggies that taste good. The only problem she has is that the Thai and Chinese restaurants around here seem to have a Buddha prominently displayed. Some even have food offerings placed in front of it.

She wants to know if there are any Holy Canons in the Church (Catholic and/or Orthodox) which forbid one from entering those restaurants because of the Buddha.

Does your friend have qualms about it even in the cases where there aren't food offerings placed in front of the Buddha?
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« Reply #30 on: September 25, 2012, 01:30:09 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

Proof? I am sure the statue depicts him as a saint with a halo and all.  Roll Eyes

What would Father Vasily of 18th Century Holy Russia say? Is outrage!

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic
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« Reply #31 on: September 25, 2012, 02:07:09 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

Proof? I am sure the statue depicts him as a saint with a halo and all.  Roll Eyes

What would Father Vasily of 18th Century Holy Russia say? Is outrage!

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Wow. Is there some context to this, or was St Nikolai really being a complete syncretist here? I know he had an early liberal ecumenist phase until after WW1, when he turned around and became very conservative and traditional. Is this quote from one of his early writings?
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« Reply #32 on: September 25, 2012, 02:15:58 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

Proof? I am sure the statue depicts him as a saint with a halo and all.  Roll Eyes

What would Father Vasily of 18th Century Holy Russia say? Is outrage!

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Wow. Is there some context to this, or was St Nikolai really being a complete syncretist here? I know he had an early liberal ecumenist phase until after WW1, when he turned around and became very conservative and traditional. Is this quote from one of his early writings?
It's not syncretism to note that a non-Christian can inspire you in your Christian walk.
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« Reply #33 on: September 25, 2012, 02:22:48 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

Proof? I am sure the statue depicts him as a saint with a halo and all.  Roll Eyes

What would Father Vasily of 18th Century Holy Russia say? Is outrage!

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Wow. Is there some context to this, or was St Nikolai really being a complete syncretist here? I know he had an early liberal ecumenist phase until after WW1, when he turned around and became very conservative and traditional. Is this quote from one of his early writings?
It's not syncretism to note that a non-Christian can inspire you in your Christian walk.

Two things:

1) There is no mention of Christianity or Christ in that quotation.
2) He is looking forward to experiencing nirvana, which is not the goal of the Christian life.

That's why I was hoping for some context, since otherwise this quote makes St Nikolai out to be a complete Buddhist, not a Christian.
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« Reply #34 on: September 25, 2012, 02:33:12 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

Proof? I am sure the statue depicts him as a saint with a halo and all.  Roll Eyes

What would Father Vasily of 18th Century Holy Russia say? Is outrage!

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Wow. Is there some context to this, or was St Nikolai really being a complete syncretist here? I know he had an early liberal ecumenist phase until after WW1, when he turned around and became very conservative and traditional. Is this quote from one of his early writings?
It's not syncretism to note that a non-Christian can inspire you in your Christian walk.

Two things:

1) There is no mention of Christianity or Christ in that quotation.
2) He is looking forward to experiencing nirvana, which is not the goal of the Christian life.

That's why I was hoping for some context, since otherwise this quote makes St Nikolai out to be a complete Buddhist, not a Christian.
St. Nikolai says: "The royal son of India teaches my soul...." St. Nikolai is clearly pointing to the Buddha inspiring his own practice of Christianity.

"Nirvana" has many meanings, the most basic meaning being the abandoning of lust, anger, and delusion. It seems to me that one of the aims of theosis is the abandoning of lust, anger, and delusion.
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If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
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« Reply #35 on: September 25, 2012, 02:51:09 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

Proof? I am sure the statue depicts him as a saint with a halo and all.  Roll Eyes

What would Father Vasily of 18th Century Holy Russia say? Is outrage!

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Wow. Is there some context to this, or was St Nikolai really being a complete syncretist here? I know he had an early liberal ecumenist phase until after WW1, when he turned around and became very conservative and traditional. Is this quote from one of his early writings?
It's not syncretism to note that a non-Christian can inspire you in your Christian walk.

Two things:

1) There is no mention of Christianity or Christ in that quotation.
2) He is looking forward to experiencing nirvana, which is not the goal of the Christian life.

That's why I was hoping for some context, since otherwise this quote makes St Nikolai out to be a complete Buddhist, not a Christian.
St. Nikolai says: "The royal son of India teaches my soul...." St. Nikolai is clearly pointing to the Buddha inspiring his own practice of Christianity.

"Nirvana" has many meanings, the most basic meaning being the abandoning of lust, anger, and delusion. It seems to me that one of the aims of theosis is the abandoning of lust, anger, and delusion.

I don't see how you get from "my soul" to Christianity. Buddhists believe in souls, too, and in fact they are thoroughly dualistic in a way Christians are not, e.g. they believe in the possibility of reincarnation.

Nirvana means loss of personal existence. It's more than just purification from passions. You might get away with saying the method is the same for Christians and Buddhists, but the aims are radically different. In this quote, I see no reason to think St Nikolai has specifically Christian aims in mind.
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« Reply #36 on: September 25, 2012, 03:23:21 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

Proof? I am sure the statue depicts him as a saint with a halo and all.  Roll Eyes

What would Father Vasily of 18th Century Holy Russia say? Is outrage!

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Wow. Is there some context to this, or was St Nikolai really being a complete syncretist here? I know he had an early liberal ecumenist phase until after WW1, when he turned around and became very conservative and traditional. Is this quote from one of his early writings?
It's not syncretism to note that a non-Christian can inspire you in your Christian walk.

Two things:

1) There is no mention of Christianity or Christ in that quotation.
2) He is looking forward to experiencing nirvana, which is not the goal of the Christian life.

That's why I was hoping for some context, since otherwise this quote makes St Nikolai out to be a complete Buddhist, not a Christian.
St. Nikolai says: "The royal son of India teaches my soul...." St. Nikolai is clearly pointing to the Buddha inspiring his own practice of Christianity.

"Nirvana" has many meanings, the most basic meaning being the abandoning of lust, anger, and delusion. It seems to me that one of the aims of theosis is the abandoning of lust, anger, and delusion.

I don't see how you get from "my soul" to Christianity. Buddhists believe in souls, too, and in fact they are thoroughly dualistic in a way Christians are not, e.g. they believe in the possibility of reincarnation.

Nirvana means loss of personal existence. It's more than just purification from passions. You might get away with saying the method is the same for Christians and Buddhists, but the aims are radically different. In this quote, I see no reason to think St Nikolai has specifically Christian aims in mind.

Here's the quote from St. Nikolai:

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic

It seems pretty clear that St. Nikolai is saying that the royal son of India (the Buddha) teaches St. Nikolai ("teaches my soul"), or inspires St. Nikolai, to renounce the trappings of worldly bondage. Since St. Nikolai is a Christian when he wrote this, it's thus also clear that St. Nikolai felt that the Buddha could teach him something. Still, this doesn't mean that the Buddha can teach St. Nikolai everything that St. Nikolai might need to know.

One of the terms for nirvana is the "highest happiness". Theosis also involves "the highest happiness." To note that both Buddhists and Christians are aiming for a goal that has some degree of similarity, is not to say that both of them are aiming for a goal that is exactly the same. St. Nikolai recognizes that both are aiming for the highest happiness, and he believes,  naturally, that only theosis can truly give the highest happiness -- but that doesn't mean that the Buddhist aspiration for that highest happiness cannot inspire St. Nikolai or any other Christian.

As a side note, when you say nirvana is the lost of personal existence, I note that you did not refer to any Buddhist source when you said that.
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« Reply #37 on: September 25, 2012, 03:41:04 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

Proof? I am sure the statue depicts him as a saint with a halo and all.  Roll Eyes

What would Father Vasily of 18th Century Holy Russia say? Is outrage!

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Wow. Is there some context to this, or was St Nikolai really being a complete syncretist here? I know he had an early liberal ecumenist phase until after WW1, when he turned around and became very conservative and traditional. Is this quote from one of his early writings?
It's not syncretism to note that a non-Christian can inspire you in your Christian walk.

Two things:

1) There is no mention of Christianity or Christ in that quotation.
2) He is looking forward to experiencing nirvana, which is not the goal of the Christian life.

That's why I was hoping for some context, since otherwise this quote makes St Nikolai out to be a complete Buddhist, not a Christian.
St. Nikolai says: "The royal son of India teaches my soul...." St. Nikolai is clearly pointing to the Buddha inspiring his own practice of Christianity.

"Nirvana" has many meanings, the most basic meaning being the abandoning of lust, anger, and delusion. It seems to me that one of the aims of theosis is the abandoning of lust, anger, and delusion.

I don't see how you get from "my soul" to Christianity. Buddhists believe in souls, too, and in fact they are thoroughly dualistic in a way Christians are not, e.g. they believe in the possibility of reincarnation.

Nirvana means loss of personal existence. It's more than just purification from passions. You might get away with saying the method is the same for Christians and Buddhists, but the aims are radically different. In this quote, I see no reason to think St Nikolai has specifically Christian aims in mind.

Here's the quote from St. Nikolai:

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic

It seems pretty clear that St. Nikolai is saying that the royal son of India (the Buddha) teaches St. Nikolai ("teaches my soul"), or inspires St. Nikolai, to renounce the trappings of worldly bondage. Since St. Nikolai is a Christian when he wrote this, it's thus also clear that St. Nikolai felt that the Buddha could teach him something. Still, this doesn't mean that the Buddha can teach St. Nikolai everything that St. Nikolai might need to know.

One of the terms for nirvana is the "highest happiness". Theosis also involves "the highest happiness." To note that both Buddhists and Christians are aiming for a goal that has some degree of similarity, is not to say that both of them are aiming for a goal that is exactly the same. St. Nikolai recognizes that both are aiming for the highest happiness, and he believes,  naturally, that only theosis can truly give the highest happiness -- but that doesn't mean that the Buddhist aspiration for that highest happiness cannot inspire St. Nikolai or any other Christian.

As a side note, when you say nirvana is the lost of personal existence, I note that you did not refer to any Buddhist source when you said that.

And I note that all these Christian thoughts you attribute to St Nikolai nowhere appear in that quotation of yours. Please stop putting words into his mouth. Can you provide some context for this quotation where he himself demonstrates how he relates this to his Christian faith? I still maintain that the quotation makes him out to be a Buddhist.

For the record, I believe St Nikolai was a saint, and obviously that means he didn't die as a syncretist. I suspect this quotation is from some early work of his, when he was still influenced by ecumenist thought, and is not representative of his later, Orthodox thought. If you can provide any relevant information I think it would be appropriate.

Personally, I find the sentiments expressed here confusing and scandalous. Firstly, Christians don't need Buddhism to learn about purification from passions; we have the Fathers for that. The only effect this syncretism has is to make Christians think that Buddhism is just the same thing, that you can be Buddhist and still be saved, and so on. I'm sure St Nikolai, even at his most ecumenist, would have denied that he was making Christ out to be unimportant, but it's hard to see what other effect there could be, when you talk about how much Buddha teaches you about how to achieve nirvana, with no mention of Christ!
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« Reply #38 on: September 25, 2012, 05:17:29 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

Proof? I am sure the statue depicts him as a saint with a halo and all.  Roll Eyes

What would Father Vasily of 18th Century Holy Russia say? Is outrage!

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Wow. Is there some context to this, or was St Nikolai really being a complete syncretist here? I know he had an early liberal ecumenist phase until after WW1, when he turned around and became very conservative and traditional. Is this quote from one of his early writings?
It's not syncretism to note that a non-Christian can inspire you in your Christian walk.

Two things:

1) There is no mention of Christianity or Christ in that quotation.
2) He is looking forward to experiencing nirvana, which is not the goal of the Christian life.

That's why I was hoping for some context, since otherwise this quote makes St Nikolai out to be a complete Buddhist, not a Christian.
St. Nikolai says: "The royal son of India teaches my soul...." St. Nikolai is clearly pointing to the Buddha inspiring his own practice of Christianity.

"Nirvana" has many meanings, the most basic meaning being the abandoning of lust, anger, and delusion. It seems to me that one of the aims of theosis is the abandoning of lust, anger, and delusion.

I don't see how you get from "my soul" to Christianity. Buddhists believe in souls, too, and in fact they are thoroughly dualistic in a way Christians are not, e.g. they believe in the possibility of reincarnation.

Nirvana means loss of personal existence. It's more than just purification from passions. You might get away with saying the method is the same for Christians and Buddhists, but the aims are radically different. In this quote, I see no reason to think St Nikolai has specifically Christian aims in mind.

Here's the quote from St. Nikolai:

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic

It seems pretty clear that St. Nikolai is saying that the royal son of India (the Buddha) teaches St. Nikolai ("teaches my soul"), or inspires St. Nikolai, to renounce the trappings of worldly bondage. Since St. Nikolai is a Christian when he wrote this, it's thus also clear that St. Nikolai felt that the Buddha could teach him something. Still, this doesn't mean that the Buddha can teach St. Nikolai everything that St. Nikolai might need to know.

One of the terms for nirvana is the "highest happiness". Theosis also involves "the highest happiness." To note that both Buddhists and Christians are aiming for a goal that has some degree of similarity, is not to say that both of them are aiming for a goal that is exactly the same. St. Nikolai recognizes that both are aiming for the highest happiness, and he believes,  naturally, that only theosis can truly give the highest happiness -- but that doesn't mean that the Buddhist aspiration for that highest happiness cannot inspire St. Nikolai or any other Christian.

As a side note, when you say nirvana is the lost of personal existence, I note that you did not refer to any Buddhist source when you said that.

And I note that all these Christian thoughts you attribute to St Nikolai nowhere appear in that quotation of yours. Please stop putting words into his mouth. Can you provide some context for this quotation where he himself demonstrates how he relates this to his Christian faith? I still maintain that the quotation makes him out to be a Buddhist.

For the record, I believe St Nikolai was a saint, and obviously that means he didn't die as a syncretist. I suspect this quotation is from some early work of his, when he was still influenced by ecumenist thought, and is not representative of his later, Orthodox thought. If you can provide any relevant information I think it would be appropriate.

Personally, I find the sentiments expressed here confusing and scandalous. Firstly, Christians don't need Buddhism to learn about purification from passions; we have the Fathers for that. The only effect this syncretism has is to make Christians think that Buddhism is just the same thing, that you can be Buddhist and still be saved, and so on. I'm sure St Nikolai, even at his most ecumenist, would have denied that he was making Christ out to be unimportant, but it's hard to see what other effect there could be, when you talk about how much Buddha teaches you about how to achieve nirvana, with no mention of Christ!

I agree with Jonathan Gress.

Jetavan, do you have a reference for this quote that includes the date when it was first published, spoken, or written? That would answer our questions. Thanks.
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« Reply #39 on: September 25, 2012, 05:20:53 PM »

The St. Nikolai quote is from Prayers By the Lake. The entire poem is a praise of various pre-Christian prophets who reinforce aspects of the Christian worldview. There is nothing syncretistic about this poem, IMO, and what he does for Buddha is no different than what the Fathers did for Plato.
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« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2012, 05:30:03 PM »

The St. Nikolai quote is from Prayers By the Lake. The entire poem is a praise of various pre-Christian prophets who reinforce aspects of the Christian worldview. There is nothing syncretistic about this poem, IMO, and what he does for Buddha is no different than what the Fathers did for Plato.

Exactly. You guys want to assert like closed-minded buffoons that nothing can be learned from non-Christians? Then go throw away your Justin Martyr, Athanasius, Cyril, Basil, Maximus, John of Damascus, etc., all of whom incorporated the thought of pagan philosophers into their theology.
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« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2012, 05:32:07 PM »

The St. Nikolai quote is from Prayers By the Lake. The entire poem is a praise of various pre-Christian prophets who reinforce aspects of the Christian worldview. There is nothing syncretistic about this poem, IMO, and what he does for Buddha is no different than what the Fathers did for Plato.

I really think it needs context, though. If St Nikolai is not intending anything by "nirvana" other than something like "virtue", your point would be valid. When it comes to Plato, for instance, the Fathers accept what's true and reject what isn't. With Buddhism, the same should apply. Maybe someone of St Nikolai's stature can say these things about nirvana without falling into error, but I think ordinary people are likely to be misled. As far as I know, the Buddhist conception of nirvana, understood in its entirety, is not compatible with Orthodox teaching about purification, illumination and theosis. So endorsement of nirvana in the way St Nikolai put it needs some qualification.
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« Reply #42 on: September 25, 2012, 05:36:16 PM »

The St. Nikolai quote is from Prayers By the Lake. The entire poem is a praise of various pre-Christian prophets who reinforce aspects of the Christian worldview. There is nothing syncretistic about this poem, IMO, and what he does for Buddha is no different than what the Fathers did for Plato.

I really think it needs context, though. If St Nikolai is not intending anything by "nirvana" other than something like "virtue", your point would be valid. When it comes to Plato, for instance, the Fathers accept what's true and reject what isn't. With Buddhism, the same should apply. Maybe someone of St Nikolai's stature can say these things about nirvana without falling into error, but I think ordinary people are likely to be misled. As far as I know, the Buddhist conception of nirvana, understood in its entirety, is not compatible with Orthodox teaching about purification, illumination and theosis. So endorsement of nirvana in the way St Nikolai put it needs some qualification.

The fathers didn't reject everything that isn't true, they rejected everything that contradicts the Scriptures. In many cases, however, they accepted plenty of philosophical conjectures made by certain pagan philosophers which are nowhere mentioned in the Scriptures, and may or may not be true.
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« Reply #43 on: September 25, 2012, 05:37:10 PM »

Perhaps St. Nikolai is connecting nirvana to apatheia (another pagan concept incorporated in Orthodox spirituality.)
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« Reply #44 on: September 25, 2012, 05:44:18 PM »

Perhaps St. Nikolai is connecting nirvana to apatheia (another pagan concept incorporated in Orthodox spirituality.)

That would certainly make sense. But is that all there is to nirvana? I thought nirvana implied something more, such as a kind of abrogation of the will to exist, which I think is a strange and foreign concept to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #45 on: September 25, 2012, 05:46:30 PM »

The St. Nikolai quote is from Prayers By the Lake. The entire poem is a praise of various pre-Christian prophets who reinforce aspects of the Christian worldview. There is nothing syncretistic about this poem, IMO, and what he does for Buddha is no different than what the Fathers did for Plato.

I really think it needs context, though. If St Nikolai is not intending anything by "nirvana" other than something like "virtue", your point would be valid. When it comes to Plato, for instance, the Fathers accept what's true and reject what isn't. With Buddhism, the same should apply. Maybe someone of St Nikolai's stature can say these things about nirvana without falling into error, but I think ordinary people are likely to be misled. As far as I know, the Buddhist conception of nirvana, understood in its entirety, is not compatible with Orthodox teaching about purification, illumination and theosis. So endorsement of nirvana in the way St Nikolai put it needs some qualification.

The fathers didn't reject everything that isn't true, they rejected everything that contradicts the Scriptures. In many cases, however, they accepted plenty of philosophical conjectures made by certain pagan philosophers which are nowhere mentioned in the Scriptures, and may or may not be true.

I would say that if these philosophical concepts weren't true, the Fathers wouldn't have used them. What are you thinking of when you say this?
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« Reply #46 on: September 25, 2012, 05:54:33 PM »

Perhaps St. Nikolai is connecting nirvana to apatheia (another pagan concept incorporated in Orthodox spirituality.)

That would certainly make sense. But is that all there is to nirvana? I thought nirvana implied something more, such as a kind of abrogation of the will to exist, which I think is a strange and foreign concept to Orthodoxy.

In all the classic Buddhist presentations of the concept, nirvana is neither existent nor non-existent. Because the Buddha (at least in the Hinayana texts) was unwilling to name any positive features of nirvana, only saying what it wasn't, this has led to many people misinterpreting Buddhist nirvana as a self-annihilation. This misinterpretation is regularly rejected in the classic Buddhist texts as the heresy of "annihilationism."

EDIT: I should clarify that Buddhists believe that nirvana is attainable during life. I am referring above specifically to what happens to someone after death who has attained nirvana.
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« Reply #47 on: September 25, 2012, 05:55:33 PM »

Make the sign of the cross and eat. The Buddha statue is probably just a decoration anyway without any real meaning.
Fat Buddha would be offensive to actual Buddhists I would think as he is said to have lived a very aesthetic life.
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« Reply #48 on: September 25, 2012, 05:58:13 PM »

this touches on something I have always wondered about. Is it a sin to have statues of deities know to be false (Thor, Zeus)? I have always liked classic mythology. On the other hand, since some people actually think that Orthodox Christians maintain a degree of Greek Mythology (seriously) I tend to avoid keeping those things around, lest I give the Enemy fodder to use
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« Reply #49 on: September 25, 2012, 06:00:24 PM »

Make the sign of the cross and eat. The Buddha statue is probably just a decoration anyway without any real meaning.
Fat Buddha would be offensive to actual Buddhists I would think as he is said to have lived a very aesthetic life.

Like someone mentioned above, the fat Buddha statues are actually not of Gautama Buddha but of a legendary Chinese monk. He is genuinely revered in East Asian Buddhism but he is not to be confused with the Buddha. He is sometimes identified as an emanation of Maitreya (the future Buddha).
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« Reply #50 on: September 25, 2012, 06:01:16 PM »

The St. Nikolai quote is from Prayers By the Lake. The entire poem is a praise of various pre-Christian prophets who reinforce aspects of the Christian worldview. There is nothing syncretistic about this poem, IMO, and what he does for Buddha is no different than what the Fathers did for Plato.

I really think it needs context, though. If St Nikolai is not intending anything by "nirvana" other than something like "virtue", your point would be valid. When it comes to Plato, for instance, the Fathers accept what's true and reject what isn't. With Buddhism, the same should apply. Maybe someone of St Nikolai's stature can say these things about nirvana without falling into error, but I think ordinary people are likely to be misled. As far as I know, the Buddhist conception of nirvana, understood in its entirety, is not compatible with Orthodox teaching about purification, illumination and theosis. So endorsement of nirvana in the way St Nikolai put it needs some qualification.

The fathers didn't reject everything that isn't true, they rejected everything that contradicts the Scriptures. In many cases, however, they accepted plenty of philosophical conjectures made by certain pagan philosophers which are nowhere mentioned in the Scriptures, and may or may not be true.

I would say that if these philosophical concepts weren't true, the Fathers wouldn't have used them. What are you thinking of when you say this?

Just look at Basil's understanding of how rational beings encounter things. We encounter something's energies and form a mental understanding of the thing. Then we mentally interact with our understanding of the thing, forming what he calls epinoiai (meaning that they are processes above the primary noetic process of experiencing something), which are best translated as conceptualizations. Now surely he did not learn this sophisticated understanding of the mind from the Scriptures. He surely would have picked up on it from his education in Athens. However, despite the fact that it is not demonstrable purely through the scriptures nor was it universally accepted as a theory of mind at the time, Basil's concept of epinoiai forms a bulk of his argument against Eunomius. Even to this day, however, I don't think there is any way to show that this model of how we encounter things can be demonstrated to be true.
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« Reply #51 on: September 25, 2012, 06:34:25 PM »

this touches on something I have always wondered about. Is it a sin to have statues of deities know to be false (Thor, Zeus)? I have always liked classic mythology. On the other hand, since some people actually think that Orthodox Christians maintain a degree of Greek Mythology (seriously) I tend to avoid keeping those things around, lest I give the Enemy fodder to use
I would tend to think that if you just believe that these are just images of your ethnic and cultural past and not actually revere them as actual deities, it's not a sin, as a matter of fact, they could be shown for just what they were, myths.

I actually love a good statue of the Roman gods as a show of the talent from my ancestral talents.

I also think the Norse and Greeks produced many notable images from their mythology.
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« Reply #52 on: September 25, 2012, 06:59:38 PM »

Perhaps St. Nikolai is connecting nirvana to apatheia (another pagan concept incorporated in Orthodox spirituality.)

That would certainly make sense. But is that all there is to nirvana? I thought nirvana implied something more, such as a kind of abrogation of the will to exist, which I think is a strange and foreign concept to Orthodoxy.
Buddhists distinguish "craving" (tanha) from "desire" (chanda). Craving is what leads to suffering. The craving for existence and the craving for non-existence both lead to suffering.

However, the desire to exist, and to do what needs to be done in order to create the greatest happiness for oneself and others, is necessary in order for nirvana (the end of suffering, and, thus, the "highest happiness") to be realized. Nirvana is impossible without the exercise of the will, the desire, in a positive direction, rather than in a craving direction.

What is remarkable about St. Nikolai is that, unlike many other Europeans at the time, it seems that he realized that nirvana was not a mere extinction, a mere going out of existence, that the Buddha did not often speak about exactly what nirvana was, because the Buddha was taking an apophatic approach, since words could never describe nirvana in any event.
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« Reply #53 on: September 25, 2012, 07:24:17 PM »

Perhaps St. Nikolai is connecting nirvana to apatheia (another pagan concept incorporated in Orthodox spirituality.)

That would certainly make sense. But is that all there is to nirvana? I thought nirvana implied something more, such as a kind of abrogation of the will to exist, which I think is a strange and foreign concept to Orthodoxy.
Buddhists distinguish "craving" (tanha) from "desire" (chanda). Craving is what leads to suffering. The craving for existence and the craving for non-existence both lead to suffering.

However, the desire to exist, and to do what needs to be done in order to create the greatest happiness for oneself and others, is necessary in order for nirvana (the end of suffering, and, thus, the "highest happiness") to be realized. Nirvana is impossible without the exercise of the will, the desire, in a positive direction, rather than in a craving direction.

What is remarkable about St. Nikolai is that, unlike many other Europeans at the time, it seems that he realized that nirvana was not a mere extinction, a mere going out of existence, that the Buddha did not often speak about exactly what nirvana was, because the Buddha was taking an apophatic approach, since words could never describe nirvana in any event.

Thanks! I see I had been laboring under the same misunderstandings about Nirvana as many others. Directing of the will in the right direction is certainly something that plays a big role in Orthodox tradition. I suppose one would need to unpack this idea of not "craving" existence. It seems to me that in Orthodoxy, our attitude to existence is not itself something to concern ourselves about, but rather our attachment to our earthly, carnal life is what we try to extricate ourselves from. Our spiritual life, on the other hand, is our primary focus, but it doesn't really address the soul's existence, which is taken for granted, but its orientation towards God. Does Buddhism make this kind of distinction as well?
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« Reply #54 on: September 25, 2012, 07:30:33 PM »

The St. Nikolai quote is from Prayers By the Lake. The entire poem is a praise of various pre-Christian prophets who reinforce aspects of the Christian worldview. There is nothing syncretistic about this poem, IMO, and what he does for Buddha is no different than what the Fathers did for Plato.

I really think it needs context, though. If St Nikolai is not intending anything by "nirvana" other than something like "virtue", your point would be valid. When it comes to Plato, for instance, the Fathers accept what's true and reject what isn't. With Buddhism, the same should apply. Maybe someone of St Nikolai's stature can say these things about nirvana without falling into error, but I think ordinary people are likely to be misled. As far as I know, the Buddhist conception of nirvana, understood in its entirety, is not compatible with Orthodox teaching about purification, illumination and theosis. So endorsement of nirvana in the way St Nikolai put it needs some qualification.

The fathers didn't reject everything that isn't true, they rejected everything that contradicts the Scriptures. In many cases, however, they accepted plenty of philosophical conjectures made by certain pagan philosophers which are nowhere mentioned in the Scriptures, and may or may not be true.

I would say that if these philosophical concepts weren't true, the Fathers wouldn't have used them. What are you thinking of when you say this?

Just look at Basil's understanding of how rational beings encounter things. We encounter something's energies and form a mental understanding of the thing. Then we mentally interact with our understanding of the thing, forming what he calls epinoiai (meaning that they are processes above the primary noetic process of experiencing something), which are best translated as conceptualizations. Now surely he did not learn this sophisticated understanding of the mind from the Scriptures. He surely would have picked up on it from his education in Athens. However, despite the fact that it is not demonstrable purely through the scriptures nor was it universally accepted as a theory of mind at the time, Basil's concept of epinoiai forms a bulk of his argument against Eunomius. Even to this day, however, I don't think there is any way to show that this model of how we encounter things can be demonstrated to be true.

That's very interesting. Actually, from what I know about linguistic semantics, this model of conceptualization makes much sense: we have a range of conceptual representations in our mind that is distinct both from the words that refer to or denote these concepts, and the objects in the real world that the concepts represent. But I don't know to what extent these epinoiai correspond to the models of modern cognitive science.
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« Reply #55 on: September 25, 2012, 07:55:42 PM »

Perhaps St. Nikolai is connecting nirvana to apatheia (another pagan concept incorporated in Orthodox spirituality.)

That would certainly make sense. But is that all there is to nirvana? I thought nirvana implied something more, such as a kind of abrogation of the will to exist, which I think is a strange and foreign concept to Orthodoxy.
Buddhists distinguish "craving" (tanha) from "desire" (chanda). Craving is what leads to suffering. The craving for existence and the craving for non-existence both lead to suffering.

However, the desire to exist, and to do what needs to be done in order to create the greatest happiness for oneself and others, is necessary in order for nirvana (the end of suffering, and, thus, the "highest happiness") to be realized. Nirvana is impossible without the exercise of the will, the desire, in a positive direction, rather than in a craving direction.

What is remarkable about St. Nikolai is that, unlike many other Europeans at the time, it seems that he realized that nirvana was not a mere extinction, a mere going out of existence, that the Buddha did not often speak about exactly what nirvana was, because the Buddha was taking an apophatic approach, since words could never describe nirvana in any event.

Thanks! I see I had been laboring under the same misunderstandings about Nirvana as many others. Directing of the will in the right direction is certainly something that plays a big role in Orthodox tradition. I suppose one would need to unpack this idea of not "craving" existence. It seems to me that in Orthodoxy, our attitude to existence is not itself something to concern ourselves about, but rather our attachment to our earthly, carnal life is what we try to extricate ourselves from. Our spiritual life, on the other hand, is our primary focus, but it doesn't really address the soul's existence, which is taken for granted, but its orientation towards God. Does Buddhism make this kind of distinction as well?
I think the "craving" for existence might reflect the attempt to stay alive no matter what happens, the attempt to save one's bodily life even at the expense of violating what is right. But that's just my guess.

Buddhists distinguish dhamma-chanda from kama-chanda. Dhamma-chanda is will/desire ("chanda") directed towards what is right ("dhamma"). It is essentially the life of spirituality and non-bondage (or "non-attachment").

Kama-chanda is will/desire that is governed by lust, anger, and delusion. It (ultimately) only leads to more suffering and bondage, though it does often "feel" good at the moment.
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« Reply #56 on: September 25, 2012, 09:11:47 PM »

The St. Nikolai quote is from Prayers By the Lake. The entire poem is a praise of various pre-Christian prophets who reinforce aspects of the Christian worldview. There is nothing syncretistic about this poem, IMO, and what he does for Buddha is no different than what the Fathers did for Plato.

I really think it needs context, though. If St Nikolai is not intending anything by "nirvana" other than something like "virtue", your point would be valid. When it comes to Plato, for instance, the Fathers accept what's true and reject what isn't. With Buddhism, the same should apply. Maybe someone of St Nikolai's stature can say these things about nirvana without falling into error, but I think ordinary people are likely to be misled. As far as I know, the Buddhist conception of nirvana, understood in its entirety, is not compatible with Orthodox teaching about purification, illumination and theosis. So endorsement of nirvana in the way St Nikolai put it needs some qualification.

The fathers didn't reject everything that isn't true, they rejected everything that contradicts the Scriptures. In many cases, however, they accepted plenty of philosophical conjectures made by certain pagan philosophers which are nowhere mentioned in the Scriptures, and may or may not be true.

I would say that if these philosophical concepts weren't true, the Fathers wouldn't have used them. What are you thinking of when you say this?

Just look at Basil's understanding of how rational beings encounter things. We encounter something's energies and form a mental understanding of the thing. Then we mentally interact with our understanding of the thing, forming what he calls epinoiai (meaning that they are processes above the primary noetic process of experiencing something), which are best translated as conceptualizations. Now surely he did not learn this sophisticated understanding of the mind from the Scriptures. He surely would have picked up on it from his education in Athens. However, despite the fact that it is not demonstrable purely through the scriptures nor was it universally accepted as a theory of mind at the time, Basil's concept of epinoiai forms a bulk of his argument against Eunomius. Even to this day, however, I don't think there is any way to show that this model of how we encounter things can be demonstrated to be true.

That's very interesting. Actually, from what I know about linguistic semantics, this model of conceptualization makes much sense: we have a range of conceptual representations in our mind that is distinct both from the words that refer to or denote these concepts, and the objects in the real world that the concepts represent. But I don't know to what extent these epinoiai correspond to the models of modern cognitive science.

The three Cappadocian Fathers in general are just interesting for study, because their philosophical background is hard to put into a neat category. It is hard to say that they were Neoplatonists, Platonists, Aristotelians, Stoics, Epicurians, etc., because it seems that they took ideas from several different schools of philosophy combined with a heavy grounding in the Scriptures and made a genuinely Christian synthesis of them (given the education two of them received at the academy in Athens, they would easily have been in a position to make such a synthesis). I sometimes wonder if they will become a more popular topic of study in the years to come, given some of the contemporary scholarship that has been done on them.
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« Reply #57 on: September 25, 2012, 09:24:48 PM »

The St. Nikolai quote is from Prayers By the Lake. The entire poem is a praise of various pre-Christian prophets who reinforce aspects of the Christian worldview. There is nothing syncretistic about this poem, IMO, and what he does for Buddha is no different than what the Fathers did for Plato.

I really think it needs context, though. If St Nikolai is not intending anything by "nirvana" other than something like "virtue", your point would be valid. When it comes to Plato, for instance, the Fathers accept what's true and reject what isn't. With Buddhism, the same should apply. Maybe someone of St Nikolai's stature can say these things about nirvana without falling into error, but I think ordinary people are likely to be misled. As far as I know, the Buddhist conception of nirvana, understood in its entirety, is not compatible with Orthodox teaching about purification, illumination and theosis. So endorsement of nirvana in the way St Nikolai put it needs some qualification.

The fathers didn't reject everything that isn't true, they rejected everything that contradicts the Scriptures. In many cases, however, they accepted plenty of philosophical conjectures made by certain pagan philosophers which are nowhere mentioned in the Scriptures, and may or may not be true.

I would say that if these philosophical concepts weren't true, the Fathers wouldn't have used them. What are you thinking of when you say this?

Just look at Basil's understanding of how rational beings encounter things. We encounter something's energies and form a mental understanding of the thing. Then we mentally interact with our understanding of the thing, forming what he calls epinoiai (meaning that they are processes above the primary noetic process of experiencing something), which are best translated as conceptualizations. Now surely he did not learn this sophisticated understanding of the mind from the Scriptures. He surely would have picked up on it from his education in Athens. However, despite the fact that it is not demonstrable purely through the scriptures nor was it universally accepted as a theory of mind at the time, Basil's concept of epinoiai forms a bulk of his argument against Eunomius. Even to this day, however, I don't think there is any way to show that this model of how we encounter things can be demonstrated to be true.

That's very interesting. Actually, from what I know about linguistic semantics, this model of conceptualization makes much sense: we have a range of conceptual representations in our mind that is distinct both from the words that refer to or denote these concepts, and the objects in the real world that the concepts represent. But I don't know to what extent these epinoiai correspond to the models of modern cognitive science.

The three Cappadocian Fathers in general are just interesting for study, because their philosophical background is hard to put into a neat category. It is hard to say that they were Neoplatonists, Platonists, Aristotelians, Stoics, Epicurians, etc., because it seems that they took ideas from several different schools of philosophy combined with a heavy grounding in the Scriptures and made a genuinely Christian synthesis of them (given the education two of them received at the academy in Athens, they would easily have been in a position to make such a synthesis). I sometimes wonder if they will become a more popular topic of study in the years to come, given some of the contemporary scholarship that has been done on them.
What are some good books to buy of the writings of the Cappdocian Fathers. How are the translations?

I need some new reading material instead of posting on here while I'm at "work".
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« Reply #58 on: September 25, 2012, 09:27:43 PM »

The St. Nikolai quote is from Prayers By the Lake. The entire poem is a praise of various pre-Christian prophets who reinforce aspects of the Christian worldview. There is nothing syncretistic about this poem, IMO, and what he does for Buddha is no different than what the Fathers did for Plato.

I really think it needs context, though. If St Nikolai is not intending anything by "nirvana" other than something like "virtue", your point would be valid. When it comes to Plato, for instance, the Fathers accept what's true and reject what isn't. With Buddhism, the same should apply. Maybe someone of St Nikolai's stature can say these things about nirvana without falling into error, but I think ordinary people are likely to be misled. As far as I know, the Buddhist conception of nirvana, understood in its entirety, is not compatible with Orthodox teaching about purification, illumination and theosis. So endorsement of nirvana in the way St Nikolai put it needs some qualification.

The fathers didn't reject everything that isn't true, they rejected everything that contradicts the Scriptures. In many cases, however, they accepted plenty of philosophical conjectures made by certain pagan philosophers which are nowhere mentioned in the Scriptures, and may or may not be true.

I would say that if these philosophical concepts weren't true, the Fathers wouldn't have used them. What are you thinking of when you say this?

Just look at Basil's understanding of how rational beings encounter things. We encounter something's energies and form a mental understanding of the thing. Then we mentally interact with our understanding of the thing, forming what he calls epinoiai (meaning that they are processes above the primary noetic process of experiencing something), which are best translated as conceptualizations. Now surely he did not learn this sophisticated understanding of the mind from the Scriptures. He surely would have picked up on it from his education in Athens. However, despite the fact that it is not demonstrable purely through the scriptures nor was it universally accepted as a theory of mind at the time, Basil's concept of epinoiai forms a bulk of his argument against Eunomius. Even to this day, however, I don't think there is any way to show that this model of how we encounter things can be demonstrated to be true.

That's very interesting. Actually, from what I know about linguistic semantics, this model of conceptualization makes much sense: we have a range of conceptual representations in our mind that is distinct both from the words that refer to or denote these concepts, and the objects in the real world that the concepts represent. But I don't know to what extent these epinoiai correspond to the models of modern cognitive science.

The three Cappadocian Fathers in general are just interesting for study, because their philosophical background is hard to put into a neat category. It is hard to say that they were Neoplatonists, Platonists, Aristotelians, Stoics, Epicurians, etc., because it seems that they took ideas from several different schools of philosophy combined with a heavy grounding in the Scriptures and made a genuinely Christian synthesis of them (given the education two of them received at the academy in Athens, they would easily have been in a position to make such a synthesis). I sometimes wonder if they will become a more popular topic of study in the years to come, given some of the contemporary scholarship that has been done on them.
What are some good books to buy of the writings of the Cappdocian Fathers. How are the translations?

I need some new reading material instead of posting on here while I'm at "work".

Christology of the Later Fathers edited by Edward R. Hardy. Recommended to me by Iconodule. It's got stuff by each Cappadocian, On the Incarnation, and every doctrinal declaration from the first six ecumenical councils.
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« Reply #59 on: September 25, 2012, 09:58:24 PM »

Oh good, it's 45% off at Amazon.com.

I usually purchase books at my parish's bookstore, regardless of the ridiculous markup just to support them. But they don't have that volume.
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« Reply #60 on: September 26, 2012, 12:02:56 AM »

Buddha - What would you do if there was a Buddha in a Chinese Restaurant?

Not order from the right side of the menu............
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« Reply #61 on: September 26, 2012, 12:06:04 AM »

Buddha - What would you do if there was a Buddha in a Chinese Restaurant?

Not order from the right side of the menu............

My nephew who is a practicing Buddhist has a Buddhist shrine in his home.  We sometimes have dinner at his house and it simply doesnt bother me at all. 
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« Reply #62 on: September 26, 2012, 10:28:44 AM »

I have a very devout Catholic friend who has asked me to post here as she does not have Internet service.

To put mods at ease: she has never been a member here.

Anyway, sometimes she asks me to accompany her to visit a fellow Catholic who is in the hospital (more in than out due to ongoing health issues).

We usually stop at a restaurant on the way back home, but the pickings are not that great.

The food at Denny's and Coco's is not even freshly prepared except for the salads and those are GMOs, which she cannot have. So, all we can have there is tea.

However, Chinese food seems to be the only place where one can get freshly prepared veggies that taste good. The only problem she has is that the Thai and Chinese restaurants around here seem to have a Buddha prominently displayed. Some even have food offerings placed in front of it.

She wants to know if there are any Holy Canons in the Church (Catholic and/or Orthodox) which forbid one from entering those restaurants because of the Buddha.

I do what all the great saints would have done: smash the thing to bits while proclaiming the Word of the Lord!  Though, I should say I haven't been in a pagan restaurant or other business in some months; the fines just became way too much.
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« Reply #63 on: September 26, 2012, 01:50:40 PM »

The only problem she has is that the Thai and Chinese restaurants around here seem to have a Buddha prominently displayed.
Is the Buddha made out of meteorite? It might be worth something:

Quote
It sounds like an artifact from an Indiana Jones film: a 1,000-year-old ancient Buddhist statue which was first recovered by a Nazi expedition in 1938 has been analyzed by scientists and has been found to be carved from a meteorite. The findings, published in Meteoritics and Planetary Science, reveal the priceless statue to be a rare ataxite class of meteorite.
....
The statue was discovered in 1938 by an expedition of German scientists led by renowned zoologist Ernst Schäfer. It is unknown how the statue was discovered, but it is believed that the large swastika carved into the centre of the figure may have encouraged the team to take it back to Germany. Once it arrived in Munich it became part of a private collection and only became available for study following an auction in 2009.
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« Reply #64 on: September 26, 2012, 01:59:10 PM »

Far more distracting are the huge Chinese families that eat at the big tables.  Although their presence is always a good sign, some families can get quite loud just because there are 15+ people eating and talking at the same time eight feet away from you. Smiley

 Shocked racist!  laugh
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« Reply #65 on: September 26, 2012, 01:59:52 PM »

Far more distracting are the huge Chinese families that eat at the big tables.  Although their presence is always a good sign, some families can get quite loud just because there are 15+ people eating and talking at the same time eight feet away from you. Smiley

 Shocked racist!  laugh
Maybe Schultz is Chinese? Roll Eyes
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« Reply #66 on: September 26, 2012, 02:33:21 PM »

One of our favorites restaurants has a Buddha in the foyer.  I usually avert my eyes,  cross myself and say softly "Lord, have mercy."  Then I enjoy my meal.
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« Reply #67 on: September 26, 2012, 02:55:55 PM »

I wouldn't worry. I mean heck, if Buddha were Orthodox he would probably be a Saint. And I do seldomnly believe that Siddhartha is in Orthodox Heaven right now hearing intercessions.
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« Reply #68 on: September 26, 2012, 03:01:47 PM »

And I do seldomnly believe that Siddhartha is in Orthodox Heaven right now hearing intercessions.
No.
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« Reply #69 on: September 26, 2012, 03:26:51 PM »

I wouldn't worry. I mean heck, if Buddha were Orthodox he would probably be a Saint. And I do seldomnly believe that Siddhartha is in Orthodox Heaven right now hearing intercessions.
Maybe he is. See the story of St. Josaphat.
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« Reply #70 on: September 26, 2012, 04:00:33 PM »

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Buddha - What would you do if there was a Buddha in a Chinese Restaurant?

Personally, I would order Szechuan chicken and salt and pepper squid.
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« Reply #71 on: September 26, 2012, 04:27:52 PM »

I have a very devout Catholic friend who has asked me to post here as she does not have Internet service.

To put mods at ease: she has never been a member here.

Anyway, sometimes she asks me to accompany her to visit a fellow Catholic who is in the hospital (more in than out due to ongoing health issues).

We usually stop at a restaurant on the way back home, but the pickings are not that great.

The food at Denny's and Coco's is not even freshly prepared except for the salads and those are GMOs, which she cannot have. So, all we can have there is tea.

However, Chinese food seems to be the only place where one can get freshly prepared veggies that taste good. The only problem she has is that the Thai and Chinese restaurants around here seem to have a Buddha prominently displayed. Some even have food offerings placed in front of it.

She wants to know if there are any Holy Canons in the Church (Catholic and/or Orthodox) which forbid one from entering those restaurants because of the Buddha.

I do what all the great saints would have done: smash the thing to bits while proclaiming the Word of the Lord! 

Exactly.  Cheesy
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« Reply #72 on: September 26, 2012, 05:45:52 PM »

I have a very devout Catholic friend who has asked me to post here as she does not have Internet service.

To put mods at ease: she has never been a member here.

Anyway, sometimes she asks me to accompany her to visit a fellow Catholic who is in the hospital (more in than out due to ongoing health issues).

We usually stop at a restaurant on the way back home, but the pickings are not that great.

The food at Denny's and Coco's is not even freshly prepared except for the salads and those are GMOs, which she cannot have. So, all we can have there is tea.

However, Chinese food seems to be the only place where one can get freshly prepared veggies that taste good. The only problem she has is that the Thai and Chinese restaurants around here seem to have a Buddha prominently displayed. Some even have food offerings placed in front of it.

She wants to know if there are any Holy Canons in the Church (Catholic and/or Orthodox) which forbid one from entering those restaurants because of the Buddha.

I do what all the great saints would have done: smash the thing to bits while proclaiming the Word of the Lord!  Though, I should say I haven't been in a pagan restaurant or other business in some months; the fines just became way too much.

This is too funny. I won't add any further comment.
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« Reply #73 on: September 26, 2012, 05:48:30 PM »

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Buddha - What would you do if there was a Buddha in a Chinese Restaurant?

Personally, I would order Szechuan chicken and salt and pepper squid.

I LOVE THE SALT AND PEPPER SQUID!!!
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« Reply #74 on: September 26, 2012, 05:49:09 PM »

Christology of the Later Fathers edited by Edward R. Hardy. Recommended to me by Iconodule. It's got stuff by each Cappadocian, On the Incarnation, and every doctrinal declaration from the first six ecumenical councils.

I got this, too, after seeing his recommendation. It's a party--can't wait till I get to read the whole thing.
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« Reply #75 on: September 26, 2012, 06:07:25 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

Proof? I am sure the statue depicts him as a saint with a halo and all.  Roll Eyes

What would Father Vasily of 18th Century Holy Russia say? Is outrage!

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Wow. Is there some context to this, or was St Nikolai really being a complete syncretist here? I know he had an early liberal ecumenist phase until after WW1, when he turned around and became very conservative and traditional. Is this quote from one of his early writings?
It's not syncretism to note that a non-Christian can inspire you in your Christian walk.

And from the end of St. Nikolai's same prayer:
Quote
Be wise, my virgin, and cordially receive the precious gifts of the wise men from the East, intended for your Son. Do not glance back toward the West, where the sun sets, and do not crave gifts that are figmental and false.
http://www.manastir-lepavina.org/arhiva/novosti/index.php/engtext/detaljnije/prayers_by_the_lake/

Interesting.
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« Reply #76 on: September 26, 2012, 06:48:47 PM »

I believe the traditional explanation behind the wise men is that they inherited prophetic traditions from Prophet Daniel when he was in Persia, i.e. no prophetic powers were attributed to the followers of Zoroastrianism per se. In fact, Tradition seems generally silent about the existence of any prophecy or revelation outside of the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets. Non-Israelite religions seem to be treated more as true to the extent that they reflect the kind of truth about God that can be understood simply from observing the world, but it is not the source of any supernatural revelation. So I'm not aware that Plato or Aristotle were ever considered saints. Exactly what happened to them when Christ preached in Hades only He knows. I know there's this one church with "icons" (without halos) of Plato and other philosophers, but that really doesn't seem representative to me.

I still feel the Prayers by the Lake to be kind of dubious. I note that it was endorsed by St Justin Popovic, but again this was in 1922. St Justin's anti-ecumenist polemics seem to date from much later, and this still appears to fall into St Nikolai's early, ecumenist period. I imagine St Justin was always under the influence of St Nikolai, and parroted whatever his master believed. This work seems to be the product of a certain Orientalist "traditionalist" mania that you see in e.g. Frithjof Schuon. They like to reject Western religion as too "rational", while anything Eastern, whether Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Taoist, is considered to reflect the same "perennial religion", because it's "mystical".
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« Reply #77 on: September 26, 2012, 08:23:44 PM »

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Buddha - What would you do if there was a Buddha in a Chinese Restaurant?

Personally, I would order Szechuan chicken and salt and pepper squid.

I LOVE THE SALT AND PEPPER SQUID!!!

I would just get their tofu. General tsos tofu is good Smiley (Even though general tsos anything is not traditional Chinese cuisine, and was created in Manhattan  laugh ).
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 08:24:25 PM by Eastern Mind » Logged

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« Reply #78 on: September 27, 2012, 02:35:24 PM »

If it is blessed/offered to any gods (including halal meat), we’re not supposed to eat it *at lease in Tewahedo Orthodoxy*. If you do, you need to confess.

If you don’t know how the animals are slaughtered/prepared, then just cross the food and enjoy.
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« Reply #79 on: September 27, 2012, 02:43:04 PM »

Another potentially inane thread made quite interesting by more than a few posters.

Thanks.
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« Reply #80 on: September 28, 2012, 12:15:47 AM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.

The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the Scripture says. People can offer whatever they want to whomever they want, but they are the ones who err, not that which is offered. No one but God can, ultimately, receive offerings because it is the nature of the Giver of Life to receive back from his creatures.
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« Reply #81 on: September 28, 2012, 01:38:11 AM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

Proof? I am sure the statue depicts him as a saint with a halo and all.  Roll Eyes

What would Father Vasily of 18th Century Holy Russia say? Is outrage!

"The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!" --St. Nikolai Velimirovic
Would you please post a link to the source for this material some time within the next 72 hours? Send it to me in a private message, and I'll even append it to your post.  Thank you.

-PtA
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« Reply #82 on: September 28, 2012, 09:38:39 AM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.

The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the Scripture says. People can offer whatever they want to whomever they want, but they are the ones who err, not that which is offered. No one but God can, ultimately, receive offerings because it is the nature of the Giver of Life to receive back from his creatures.

Buddhists do not worship Buddha as a god. However, some Vaishnava Hindus worship Buddha as one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu.
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« Reply #83 on: September 28, 2012, 09:51:24 AM »

The Buddha definitely gets worship in Buddhism... whether it's "as a god" is a complicated question.
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« Reply #84 on: September 28, 2012, 01:33:41 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.
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« Reply #85 on: September 28, 2012, 08:44:17 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.
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« Reply #86 on: September 28, 2012, 09:00:44 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.

It's a highly dubious enterprise to distinguish between a supposedly pure Buddhism and a corrupted Buddhism. It is certainly "mainline" among Mahayana Buddhists to see the Buddha as the eternal, underlying reality (and thus, comparable to concepts of God). It is also very "mainline" for Hindu, Chinese, and Shinto deities to be revered by Buddhists as "dharma protectors" or even as emanations of Buddhas. For example, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is revered in Tibet as a bodhisattva. Rather than completely supplanting local cults, the usual Buddhist practice was to bind the gods as protectors of the dharma, and this is a very orthodox Buddhist practice.

Also, while there are many different strands of Buddhism, I think it's safe to say that they are far more unified in fundamental beliefs than the various Hindu or Christian sects.
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« Reply #87 on: September 28, 2012, 10:33:12 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.

It's a highly dubious enterprise to distinguish between a supposedly pure Buddhism and a corrupted Buddhism. It is certainly "mainline" among Mahayana Buddhists to see the Buddha as the eternal, underlying reality (and thus, comparable to concepts of God). It is also very "mainline" for Hindu, Chinese, and Shinto deities to be revered by Buddhists as "dharma protectors" or even as emanations of Buddhas. For example, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is revered in Tibet as a bodhisattva. Rather than completely supplanting local cults, the usual Buddhist practice was to bind the gods as protectors of the dharma, and this is a very orthodox Buddhist practice.

Also, while there are many different strands of Buddhism, I think it's safe to say that they are far more unified in fundamental beliefs than the various Hindu or Christian sects.

I doubt that.

Have you been to various strands of Buddhism and tried to present their variations as normal?

I think you would be very unwelcome unless you happened to present their particular beliefs without any deviations.

There are religious zealots in all religions. I am sure that Buddhism has their zealots too.
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« Reply #88 on: September 28, 2012, 10:56:44 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.

It's a highly dubious enterprise to distinguish between a supposedly pure Buddhism and a corrupted Buddhism. It is certainly "mainline" among Mahayana Buddhists to see the Buddha as the eternal, underlying reality (and thus, comparable to concepts of God). It is also very "mainline" for Hindu, Chinese, and Shinto deities to be revered by Buddhists as "dharma protectors" or even as emanations of Buddhas. For example, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is revered in Tibet as a bodhisattva. Rather than completely supplanting local cults, the usual Buddhist practice was to bind the gods as protectors of the dharma, and this is a very orthodox Buddhist practice.

Also, while there are many different strands of Buddhism, I think it's safe to say that they are far more unified in fundamental beliefs than the various Hindu or Christian sects.

I doubt that.

Have you been to various strands of Buddhism and tried to present their variations as normal?

That is the basic principle behind "skillful means" in Mahayana Buddhism. The varied practices and doctrines are considered fundamentally unified. There have been different schemes as to how this unification pans out and which teaching is most fundamental, but they all agree that the many Buddhist dharmas are one.

Might I politely ask that you restrict your opinions to subjects you actually know something about?
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« Reply #89 on: September 28, 2012, 11:01:49 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.

It's a highly dubious enterprise to distinguish between a supposedly pure Buddhism and a corrupted Buddhism. It is certainly "mainline" among Mahayana Buddhists to see the Buddha as the eternal, underlying reality (and thus, comparable to concepts of God). It is also very "mainline" for Hindu, Chinese, and Shinto deities to be revered by Buddhists as "dharma protectors" or even as emanations of Buddhas. For example, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is revered in Tibet as a bodhisattva. Rather than completely supplanting local cults, the usual Buddhist practice was to bind the gods as protectors of the dharma, and this is a very orthodox Buddhist practice.

Also, while there are many different strands of Buddhism, I think it's safe to say that they are far more unified in fundamental beliefs than the various Hindu or Christian sects.

Tell that to the Dalai Lama or the Hardcore Theravada Monks in Thailand, Im sure they wont agree that worshiping these deities or the Buddha would be acceptable according to what Buddha preached. However, these practices are well accepted by a very large number of Buddhists.
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« Reply #90 on: September 28, 2012, 11:14:07 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.

It's a highly dubious enterprise to distinguish between a supposedly pure Buddhism and a corrupted Buddhism. It is certainly "mainline" among Mahayana Buddhists to see the Buddha as the eternal, underlying reality (and thus, comparable to concepts of God). It is also very "mainline" for Hindu, Chinese, and Shinto deities to be revered by Buddhists as "dharma protectors" or even as emanations of Buddhas. For example, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is revered in Tibet as a bodhisattva. Rather than completely supplanting local cults, the usual Buddhist practice was to bind the gods as protectors of the dharma, and this is a very orthodox Buddhist practice.

Also, while there are many different strands of Buddhism, I think it's safe to say that they are far more unified in fundamental beliefs than the various Hindu or Christian sects.

Tell that to the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama, as a Gelugpa teacher, naturally upholds all of the dharma protectors and yidams of his sect (except for the retired Dorje Shugden, which is a whole other can o' worms). Here is a prayer to the goddess Palden Lhamo which he composed himself. I'm not sure what makes you think he would do otherwise. Devotion toward the various Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and dharma-protector gods is central to all forms of Tibetan Buddhism.

Quote
or the Hardcore Theravada Monks in Thailand

"Hardcore" or not, it is standard practice for Theravadins to prostrate before the Buddha, sing his praises, make offerings, and take refuge in him. These practices are all sanctioned and enjoined in the Buddhist scriptures and are not merely some folk customs which have accrued. Maybe that's not "worship" in your book?
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« Reply #91 on: September 28, 2012, 11:32:00 PM »

My favorite Chinese restaurant in Philadelphia has a rather large Buddha with dollar bills affixed to it at the back of the restaurant. 

I pray before I eat, asking God to bless the food (thereby making it holy and clean in a spiritual sense) and keep my eyes and soul on my food and my wife (and anyone else we happen to be eating with when visiting) and don't worry about the Buddha. 

Far more distracting are the huge Chinese families that eat at the big tables.  Although their presence is always a good sign, some families can get quite loud just because there are 15+ people eating and talking at the same time eight feet away from you. Smiley

My son took karate for many years at a dojo run by a Greek Orthodox fellow. He had a Japanese style kami-dan ( deity house) up on the wall.

It rather bothered me. I never said anything.
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« Reply #92 on: September 28, 2012, 11:38:20 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.

It's a highly dubious enterprise to distinguish between a supposedly pure Buddhism and a corrupted Buddhism. It is certainly "mainline" among Mahayana Buddhists to see the Buddha as the eternal, underlying reality (and thus, comparable to concepts of God). It is also very "mainline" for Hindu, Chinese, and Shinto deities to be revered by Buddhists as "dharma protectors" or even as emanations of Buddhas. For example, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is revered in Tibet as a bodhisattva. Rather than completely supplanting local cults, the usual Buddhist practice was to bind the gods as protectors of the dharma, and this is a very orthodox Buddhist practice.

Also, while there are many different strands of Buddhism, I think it's safe to say that they are far more unified in fundamental beliefs than the various Hindu or Christian sects.

Tell that to the Dalai Lama or the Hardcore Theravada Monks in Thailand, Im sure they wont agree that worshiping these deities or the Buddha would be acceptable according to what Buddha preached. However, these practices are well accepted by a very large number of Buddhists.

Um, I saw five of the Dalai Lama's monks pray to Buddha last week. What are you talking about?
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« Reply #93 on: September 28, 2012, 11:40:52 PM »

I'd probably just ignore it; besides, I usually get takeout when I eat Chinese food, so I'd be eating it at home, where there is no Buddha statue present. Smiley
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« Reply #94 on: September 29, 2012, 12:07:52 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.

It's a highly dubious enterprise to distinguish between a supposedly pure Buddhism and a corrupted Buddhism. It is certainly "mainline" among Mahayana Buddhists to see the Buddha as the eternal, underlying reality (and thus, comparable to concepts of God). It is also very "mainline" for Hindu, Chinese, and Shinto deities to be revered by Buddhists as "dharma protectors" or even as emanations of Buddhas. For example, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is revered in Tibet as a bodhisattva. Rather than completely supplanting local cults, the usual Buddhist practice was to bind the gods as protectors of the dharma, and this is a very orthodox Buddhist practice.

Also, while there are many different strands of Buddhism, I think it's safe to say that they are far more unified in fundamental beliefs than the various Hindu or Christian sects.

Tell that to the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama, as a Gelugpa teacher, naturally upholds all of the dharma protectors and yidams of his sect (except for the retired Dorje Shugden, which is a whole other can o' worms). Here is a prayer to the goddess Palden Lhamo which he composed himself. I'm not sure what makes you think he would do otherwise. Devotion toward the various Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and dharma-protector gods is central to all forms of Tibetan Buddhism.

Quote
or the Hardcore Theravada Monks in Thailand

"Hardcore" or not, it is standard practice for Theravadins to prostrate before the Buddha, sing his praises, make offerings, and take refuge in him. These practices are all sanctioned and enjoined in the Buddhist scriptures and are not merely some folk customs which have accrued. Maybe that's not "worship" in your book?


Does anyone remember the Evangelical Christian lady on "Survivor" who refused to offer a pinch of incense in front of a Buddhist altar?

The setting was in Thailand I think. At the start of the series the contestants were to participate in a "Buddhist Welcoming Ceremony"
Thye were to walk up a long flight of steps and go into a Buddhist Temple with the monks chanting a sutra. They were to then bow all the way down in front of the altar and then get up and offer a pinch of incense.

She refused.. got up and left.   

Jeff Probst was annoyed and kept saying to her that it was only a "Welcoming Ceremony"..She explained that she was not comfortable and that it looked too much like worship and that she didn't care if it hurt her chances in the game..
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« Reply #95 on: September 29, 2012, 12:23:15 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.

It's a highly dubious enterprise to distinguish between a supposedly pure Buddhism and a corrupted Buddhism. It is certainly "mainline" among Mahayana Buddhists to see the Buddha as the eternal, underlying reality (and thus, comparable to concepts of God). It is also very "mainline" for Hindu, Chinese, and Shinto deities to be revered by Buddhists as "dharma protectors" or even as emanations of Buddhas. For example, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is revered in Tibet as a bodhisattva. Rather than completely supplanting local cults, the usual Buddhist practice was to bind the gods as protectors of the dharma, and this is a very orthodox Buddhist practice.

Also, while there are many different strands of Buddhism, I think it's safe to say that they are far more unified in fundamental beliefs than the various Hindu or Christian sects.

Tell that to the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama, as a Gelugpa teacher, naturally upholds all of the dharma protectors and yidams of his sect (except for the retired Dorje Shugden, which is a whole other can o' worms). Here is a prayer to the goddess Palden Lhamo which he composed himself. I'm not sure what makes you think he would do otherwise. Devotion toward the various Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and dharma-protector gods is central to all forms of Tibetan Buddhism.

Quote
or the Hardcore Theravada Monks in Thailand

"Hardcore" or not, it is standard practice for Theravadins to prostrate before the Buddha, sing his praises, make offerings, and take refuge in him. These practices are all sanctioned and enjoined in the Buddhist scriptures and are not merely some folk customs which have accrued. Maybe that's not "worship" in your book?


Does anyone remember the Evangelical Christian lady on "Survivor" who refused to offer a pinch of incense in front of a Buddhist altar?

The setting was in Thailand I think. At the start of the series the contestants were to participate in a "Buddhist Welcoming Ceremony"
Thye were to walk up a long flight of steps and go into a Buddhist Temple with the monks chanting a sutra. They were to then bow all the way down in front of the altar and then get up and offer a pinch of incense.

She refused.. got up and left.   

Jeff Probst was annoyed and kept saying to her that it was only a "Welcoming Ceremony"..She explained that she was not comfortable and that it looked too much like worship and that she didn't care if it hurt her chances in the game..

The lady was right, though I wonder how she would feel about an icon of Christ.

A lot of times from American Buddhists, I will hear them try to explain away bowing to statues of Buddha. They'll say, "You're really bowing to yourself," or "your own Buddha nature," or "reality"- anything to make it other than a religious practice. Protestant and atheist hang-ups are really prevalent in American Buddhism.
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« Reply #96 on: September 29, 2012, 01:15:05 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.

It's a highly dubious enterprise to distinguish between a supposedly pure Buddhism and a corrupted Buddhism. It is certainly "mainline" among Mahayana Buddhists to see the Buddha as the eternal, underlying reality (and thus, comparable to concepts of God). It is also very "mainline" for Hindu, Chinese, and Shinto deities to be revered by Buddhists as "dharma protectors" or even as emanations of Buddhas. For example, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is revered in Tibet as a bodhisattva. Rather than completely supplanting local cults, the usual Buddhist practice was to bind the gods as protectors of the dharma, and this is a very orthodox Buddhist practice.

Also, while there are many different strands of Buddhism, I think it's safe to say that they are far more unified in fundamental beliefs than the various Hindu or Christian sects.

Tell that to the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama, as a Gelugpa teacher, naturally upholds all of the dharma protectors and yidams of his sect (except for the retired Dorje Shugden, which is a whole other can o' worms). Here is a prayer to the goddess Palden Lhamo which he composed himself. I'm not sure what makes you think he would do otherwise. Devotion toward the various Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and dharma-protector gods is central to all forms of Tibetan Buddhism.

Quote
or the Hardcore Theravada Monks in Thailand

"Hardcore" or not, it is standard practice for Theravadins to prostrate before the Buddha, sing his praises, make offerings, and take refuge in him. These practices are all sanctioned and enjoined in the Buddhist scriptures and are not merely some folk customs which have accrued. Maybe that's not "worship" in your book?


Does anyone remember the Evangelical Christian lady on "Survivor" who refused to offer a pinch of incense in front of a Buddhist altar?

The setting was in Thailand I think. At the start of the series the contestants were to participate in a "Buddhist Welcoming Ceremony"
Thye were to walk up a long flight of steps and go into a Buddhist Temple with the monks chanting a sutra. They were to then bow all the way down in front of the altar and then get up and offer a pinch of incense.

She refused.. got up and left.   

Jeff Probst was annoyed and kept saying to her that it was only a "Welcoming Ceremony"..She explained that she was not comfortable and that it looked too much like worship and that she didn't care if it hurt her chances in the game..

The lady was right, though I wonder how she would feel about an icon of Christ.

A lot of times from American Buddhists, I will hear them try to explain away bowing to statues of Buddha. They'll say, "You're really bowing to yourself," or "your own Buddha nature," or "reality"- anything to make it other than a religious practice. Protestant and atheist hang-ups are really prevalent in American Buddhism.

In Japanese Buddhism that is called "Hongaku Shi-so" , everyone is a Buddha "inherently" deep down inside and all you need to do is realize it. So you are bowing to yourself etc. It does come from a strain within Buddhism dating from around the 14th century but wholly inauthentic. Americans glomed onto it and the Japanese figure it's the only way to convert us barbarians.
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« Reply #97 on: September 29, 2012, 01:27:11 PM »

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

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.

It's a highly dubious enterprise to distinguish between a supposedly pure Buddhism and a corrupted Buddhism. It is certainly "mainline" among Mahayana Buddhists to see the Buddha as the eternal, underlying reality (and thus, comparable to concepts of God). It is also very "mainline" for Hindu, Chinese, and Shinto deities to be revered by Buddhists as "dharma protectors" or even as emanations of Buddhas. For example, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is revered in Tibet as a bodhisattva. Rather than completely supplanting local cults, the usual Buddhist practice was to bind the gods as protectors of the dharma, and this is a very orthodox Buddhist practice.

Also, while there are many different strands of Buddhism, I think it's safe to say that they are far more unified in fundamental beliefs than the various Hindu or Christian sects.

Tell that to the Dalai Lama or the Hardcore Theravada Monks in Thailand, Im sure they wont agree that worshiping these deities or the Buddha would be acceptable according to what Buddha preached. However, these practices are well accepted by a very large number of Buddhists.

Um, I saw five of the Dalai Lama's monks pray to Buddha last week. What are you talking about?

These pray to the Buddha like we pray to Saints, Lord have His mercy I expect such conflations from Protestants but in Orthodox?



All doctrines and theology aside, the Dali Lama is a great man, a wise teacher, and a simply wonderful person.  In fact, with is wicked sense of humor he often reminds me of my favorite Ethiopian priest Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #98 on: September 29, 2012, 01:57:30 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.

It's a highly dubious enterprise to distinguish between a supposedly pure Buddhism and a corrupted Buddhism. It is certainly "mainline" among Mahayana Buddhists to see the Buddha as the eternal, underlying reality (and thus, comparable to concepts of God). It is also very "mainline" for Hindu, Chinese, and Shinto deities to be revered by Buddhists as "dharma protectors" or even as emanations of Buddhas. For example, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is revered in Tibet as a bodhisattva. Rather than completely supplanting local cults, the usual Buddhist practice was to bind the gods as protectors of the dharma, and this is a very orthodox Buddhist practice.

Also, while there are many different strands of Buddhism, I think it's safe to say that they are far more unified in fundamental beliefs than the various Hindu or Christian sects.

Tell that to the Dalai Lama or the Hardcore Theravada Monks in Thailand, Im sure they wont agree that worshiping these deities or the Buddha would be acceptable according to what Buddha preached. However, these practices are well accepted by a very large number of Buddhists.
If by "worship" you mean "honor, venerate", then the "worship" of the deities (powerful spiritual beings who can inspire one to practice dharma) is part of traditional Theravada practice.

The Theravada scriptures refer to the different subjects of meditation that are possible, the "ten recollections". In addition to meditating on the Buddha, or the Dhamma, or the Samgha, one can meditate on the Deities (the "Devas"), the sixth recollection. The Devas achieved their status because of their faith/conviction, virtue/ethics, learning/knowledge, generosity/charity, and discernment/wisdom. Recollecting, remembering, meditating on, and venerating the Devas can inspire one's own practice.

The Buddha told Mahanama: "Mahanama, you should develop this recollection of the devas while you are walking, while you are standing, while you are sitting, while you are lying down, while you are busy at work, while you are resting in your home crowded with children."
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« Reply #99 on: September 29, 2012, 02:11:02 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.

It's a highly dubious enterprise to distinguish between a supposedly pure Buddhism and a corrupted Buddhism. It is certainly "mainline" among Mahayana Buddhists to see the Buddha as the eternal, underlying reality (and thus, comparable to concepts of God). It is also very "mainline" for Hindu, Chinese, and Shinto deities to be revered by Buddhists as "dharma protectors" or even as emanations of Buddhas. For example, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is revered in Tibet as a bodhisattva. Rather than completely supplanting local cults, the usual Buddhist practice was to bind the gods as protectors of the dharma, and this is a very orthodox Buddhist practice.

Also, while there are many different strands of Buddhism, I think it's safe to say that they are far more unified in fundamental beliefs than the various Hindu or Christian sects.

Tell that to the Dalai Lama or the Hardcore Theravada Monks in Thailand, Im sure they wont agree that worshiping these deities or the Buddha would be acceptable according to what Buddha preached. However, these practices are well accepted by a very large number of Buddhists.
If by "worship" you mean "honor, venerate", then the "worship" of the deities (powerful spiritual beings who can inspire one to practice dharma) is part of traditional Theravada practice.

The Theravada scriptures refer to the different subjects of meditation that are possible, the "ten recollections". In addition to meditating on the Buddha, or the Dhamma, or the Samgha, one can meditate on the Deities (the "Devas"), the sixth recollection. The Devas achieved their status because of their faith/conviction, virtue/ethics, learning/knowledge, generosity/charity, and discernment/wisdom. Recollecting, remembering, meditating on, and venerating the Devas can inspire one's own practice.

The Buddha told Mahanama: "Mahanama, you should develop this recollection of the devas while you are walking, while you are standing, while you are sitting, while you are lying down, while you are busy at work, while you are resting in your home crowded with children."

And in the Lotus Sutra which Theraveda does not accept it preaches the eternal life span of the Buddha who is omniscient and omni present and eternally living. "I will always be with you"........And the practice by many is to seek a sort of communion with this Eternal Being and have him dwell within you.

Go figure
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« Reply #100 on: September 29, 2012, 02:13:18 PM »

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

Thank you Jetavan and Marc1152, I ALWAYS appreciate an intelligent and substantive discussion on Buddhism and Indian philosophies Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #101 on: September 29, 2012, 02:18:16 PM »

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

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.  
Buddhist theology defines a "god" as a person living in the higher spiritual realms, composed of a spiritual body, and having a limited (even if eon-long) lifetime. Buddhist cosmology posits that many, if not all, humans have, at some point, taken rebirth as a "god", due to their practice of dharma, or "what is right". The Buddha's previous lives included many lifetimes as a "god".

However, it is true that the Buddha's final lifetime, was spent as a human. A human can realize the end of suffering ("nirvana"), whereas a "god", in general, can't. It would be more accurate to say that Buddhists worship/venerate Shakyamuni as a Buddha; to worship/venerate him as a mere "god" would be to insult him.

What many people dont understand is that Buddhism is a very diverse philosophy with many schools of thought (denominations). The most authentic Buddhists dont worship a God. There are some Buddhists who are Polytheistic such as those who worship Hindu Gods or those who worship Shinto or Chinese Gods in addition to those who practice ancestor worship. There are also some Buddhists who have deified the Buddha and worship him, but thats not the mainline teaching of Buddhism.

It's a highly dubious enterprise to distinguish between a supposedly pure Buddhism and a corrupted Buddhism. It is certainly "mainline" among Mahayana Buddhists to see the Buddha as the eternal, underlying reality (and thus, comparable to concepts of God). It is also very "mainline" for Hindu, Chinese, and Shinto deities to be revered by Buddhists as "dharma protectors" or even as emanations of Buddhas. For example, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is revered in Tibet as a bodhisattva. Rather than completely supplanting local cults, the usual Buddhist practice was to bind the gods as protectors of the dharma, and this is a very orthodox Buddhist practice.

Also, while there are many different strands of Buddhism, I think it's safe to say that they are far more unified in fundamental beliefs than the various Hindu or Christian sects.

Tell that to the Dalai Lama or the Hardcore Theravada Monks in Thailand, Im sure they wont agree that worshiping these deities or the Buddha would be acceptable according to what Buddha preached. However, these practices are well accepted by a very large number of Buddhists.

Um, I saw five of the Dalai Lama's monks pray to Buddha last week. What are you talking about?

These pray to the Buddha like we pray to Saints, Lord have His mercy I expect such conflations from Protestants but in Orthodox?



All doctrines and theology aside, the Dali Lama is a great man, a wise teacher, and a simply wonderful person.  In fact, with is wicked sense of humor he often reminds me of my favorite Ethiopian priest Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Even if that were true (and it isn't) it wouldn't be a conflation based on what Krishnich said in his post.
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« Reply #102 on: September 29, 2012, 02:26:21 PM »

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



Even if that were true (and it isn't) it wouldn't be a conflation based on what Krishnich said in his post.

Have you ever asked a Tibetan Buddhist yourself? I can only assume that is what you said isn't true, because surely we can all agree that His Holiness the Dali Lama is a wonderful man Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #103 on: September 29, 2012, 07:48:24 PM »

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



Even if that were true (and it isn't) it wouldn't be a conflation based on what Krishnich said in his post.

Have you ever asked a Tibetan Buddhist yourself? I can only assume that is what you said isn't true, because surely we can all agree that His Holiness the Dali Lama is a wonderful man Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Having been a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism I can definitely tell you that it is not at all like our veneration of the saints.
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« Reply #104 on: September 29, 2012, 08:01:10 PM »

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



Having been a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism I can definitely tell you that it is not at all like our veneration of the saints.

My mistake Smiley

Do we all at least have a consensus about the HH the Dali Lama being a delightful man?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #105 on: September 29, 2012, 08:07:32 PM »

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



Having been a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism I can definitely tell you that it is not at all like our veneration of the saints.

My mistake Smiley

Do we all at least have a consensus about the HH the Dali Lama being a delightful man?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I like the Dalai Lama but, as far as a Buddhist teacher goes, he leaves much to be desired. If an Orthodox hierarch were to have a similar attitude toward his own tradition, he would be rightly censured as skirting heresy. The Tibetan Buddhists though are in a tough position because the Dalai Lama is supposed to be a reincarnate enlightened master and an emanation of Chenrezig.
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« Reply #106 on: September 29, 2012, 08:10:14 PM »

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





Having been a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism I can definitely tell you that it is not at all like our veneration of the saints.

My mistake Smiley

Do we all at least have a consensus about the HH the Dali Lama being a delightful man?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I like the Dalai Lama but, as far as a Buddhist teacher goes, he leaves much to be desired. If an Orthodox hierarch were to have a similar attitude toward his own tradition, he would be rightly censured as skirting heresy. The Tibetan Buddhists though are in a tough position because the Dalai Lama is supposed to be a reincarnate enlightened master and an emanation of Chenrezig.

I can agree, but in relative terms I think we could at best consider HH approach to be rather ecumenist Smiley

As Buddhists are taught to revere the Dali Lama in even a higher loyalty than Jains and Brahmans are to revere their gurus, then shouldn't folks accept HH personality and teaching as legit rather then critical? Either it is empty superstition then or folks should accept it as valid and reflect on what HH is teaching.  Personally I feel in Orthodox we should be the same way about our priests and bishops when we challenge their traditionalism, perhaps we should be challenging ourselves instead?

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« Reply #107 on: September 29, 2012, 08:16:53 PM »

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





Having been a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism I can definitely tell you that it is not at all like our veneration of the saints.

My mistake Smiley

Do we all at least have a consensus about the HH the Dali Lama being a delightful man?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I like the Dalai Lama but, as far as a Buddhist teacher goes, he leaves much to be desired. If an Orthodox hierarch were to have a similar attitude toward his own tradition, he would be rightly censured as skirting heresy. The Tibetan Buddhists though are in a tough position because the Dalai Lama is supposed to be a reincarnate enlightened master and an emanation of Chenrezig.

I can agree, but in relative terms I think we could at best consider HH approach to be rather ecumenist Smiley

As Buddhists are taught to revere the Dali Lama in even a higher loyalty than Jains and Brahmans are to revere their gurus, then shouldn't folks accept HH personality and teaching as legit rather then critical? Either it is empty superstition then or folks should accept it as valid and reflect on what HH is teaching.  Personally I feel in Orthodox we should be the same way about our priests and bishops when we challenge their traditionalism, perhaps we should be challenging ourselves instead?

stay blessed,
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To an extent, you are right. Often we perceive wrongs in others when it is really in ourselves, and criticism of clergy and hierarchs is something to be wary of. That said, we do not consider our bishops to be supremely enlightened beings, and that spares us some of the cognitive dissonance that I'm sure many Buddhists feel when, for example, they look at the Karmapa controversy, where there are two rival Karmapas, both of them recognized by very powerful reincarnate gurus. Why is an emanation of Amitabha squabbling with an emanation of Manjushri? When our clergy screw up, we don't get too surprised, because they're human. The Buddhists have to explain it some other way. They might say, "there only seems to be a conflict because of our delusion", or "the guru is testing our humility." This thinking can get very dangerous when the gurus start exploiting their adoring disciples for money, sex, etc. and the usual response is to blame the victim for not adopting a pure view of what's happening.
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« Reply #108 on: September 30, 2012, 10:31:56 AM »

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



Having been a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism I can definitely tell you that it is not at all like our veneration of the saints.

My mistake Smiley

Do we all at least have a consensus about the HH the Dali Lama being a delightful man?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I like the Dalai Lama but, as far as a Buddhist teacher goes, he leaves much to be desired. If an Orthodox hierarch were to have a similar attitude toward his own tradition....
Are you referring here specifically to the Dorje Shugden controversy?
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« Reply #109 on: September 30, 2012, 11:48:35 AM »

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



Having been a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism I can definitely tell you that it is not at all like our veneration of the saints.

My mistake Smiley

Do we all at least have a consensus about the HH the Dali Lama being a delightful man?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I like the Dalai Lama but, as far as a Buddhist teacher goes, he leaves much to be desired. If an Orthodox hierarch were to have a similar attitude toward his own tradition....
Are you referring here specifically to the Dorje Shugden controversy?

Not particularly- Shugden is a sticking point for the very sectarian Gelukpas who still think their sect is superior to the others. I think most "red hats" are quite happy that the Dalai Lama has proscribed the Shugden cult. I'm thinking more the Dalai Lama's fawning over secularism and modern science, and his various hints that the Buddha-dharma may not have the ultimate truth.
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« Reply #110 on: September 30, 2012, 11:56:33 AM »

The Dalai Lama seems like a very nice, peaceful man, but I think anyone who says "the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether" is at the very best foolish, and at worst quite dangerous. I find it pretty disturbing that a so-called religious or holy man would make such a statement, apparently not seeing that the conflicts that have inspired him to come to this kind of thinking are the result of exactly what he advocates.
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« Reply #111 on: September 30, 2012, 03:59:29 PM »

The Dalai Lama seems like a very nice, peaceful man, but I think anyone who says "the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether" is at the very best foolish, and at worst quite dangerous. I find it pretty disturbing that a so-called religious or holy man would make such a statement, apparently not seeing that the conflicts that have inspired him to come to this kind of thinking are the result of exactly what he advocates.
I think what he's saying is that, in the 21st century, large numbers of people adhere to some form of materialism/naturalism, especially those enamored by the successes of modern science. If religious people want to work together with the non-religious on pressing issues of modernity (poverty, injustice, environmental degradation, etc.), then a good way to do that would be to establish some basis for an ethics that does not require adherence to a non-materialistic/naturalistic framework. This doesn't mean that religious people give up their beliefs, but it means that "ethics" need not have a supernaturalistic foundation in order for it to inspire ethical action. Of course, from a Buddhist perspective, or a Christian perspective, the fullest form of ethics is not based on materialism/naturalism, but for the non-believer, a materialist/naturalist ethics is a good place to start.
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« Reply #112 on: September 30, 2012, 04:10:14 PM »

I do not care to entertain the materialist atheist in his morality as though it is outside of God just because he doesn't recognize God, though. The atheist may have his morality, similarly, without having to think of it in explicitly religious terms (obviously). I do not believe that working with any atheist or pagan or whatever should require us, as religious people, to have to rethink anything, just as I do not believe that any atheist who is committed to his belief should necessarily have to rethink that belief because others disagree. So I still find this a problematic statement. The solution to increasing atheism is not for religious people to begin to think atheistically.
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« Reply #113 on: September 30, 2012, 06:04:16 PM »

I'm not convinced Chinese restauranteurs even consider their restaurant Buddha statues to be idols, so I don't see why we should. Regardless, they aren't offering customers' food to them as sacrifices, and even if they did, the Devil has no power anyway.

The Devil can only use what we give him, and I dare say the Devil has a stronger foothold in the gluttony that occurs at Chinese buffets than in the statue in the lobby.

this touches on something I have always wondered about. Is it a sin to have statues of deities know to be false (Thor, Zeus)? I have always liked classic mythology. On the other hand, since some people actually think that Orthodox Christians maintain a degree of Greek Mythology (seriously) I tend to avoid keeping those things around, lest I give the Enemy fodder to use

If they're just pieces of ancient art, I don't see the problem. I personally have a fascination for the religious art of ancient Egypt, and to my knowledge, my Anubis statue has never caused me to sin even once. Grin

(I don't keep them in the same room as my icons though, so I suppose I draw the line there. It's not a scrupulous fear of spiritual interactions or anything, rather it just seems improper to pray in their presence.)
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« Reply #114 on: September 30, 2012, 08:52:33 PM »

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





Having been a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism I can definitely tell you that it is not at all like our veneration of the saints.

My mistake Smiley

Do we all at least have a consensus about the HH the Dali Lama being a delightful man?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I like the Dalai Lama but, as far as a Buddhist teacher goes, he leaves much to be desired. If an Orthodox hierarch were to have a similar attitude toward his own tradition, he would be rightly censured as skirting heresy. The Tibetan Buddhists though are in a tough position because the Dalai Lama is supposed to be a reincarnate enlightened master and an emanation of Chenrezig.

I can agree, but in relative terms I think we could at best consider HH approach to be rather ecumenist Smiley

As Buddhists are taught to revere the Dali Lama in even a higher loyalty than Jains and Brahmans are to revere their gurus, then shouldn't folks accept HH personality and teaching as legit rather then critical? Either it is empty superstition then or folks should accept it as valid and reflect on what HH is teaching.  Personally I feel in Orthodox we should be the same way about our priests and bishops when we challenge their traditionalism, perhaps we should be challenging ourselves instead?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

While he seems to be an engaging personality he does have a reputation for extreme ecumenism which does not sit will with more militant Buddhists.

For example there is a practice in some corners of Japanese Buddhism called Fuju Fuse, "No giving, No Taking"..from heretics.

Many a brave Buddhist Monk has endured torture and banishment or lost their heads ( literally) for not giving in and going along with the crowd. The Dali Lama's approach to religion, while it does have a certain appeal, is not well respected by some sects that have been persecuted and have suffered for their beliefs. 
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« Reply #115 on: December 05, 2012, 02:32:48 PM »

Make the sign of the cross and eat. The Buddha statue is probably just a decoration anyway without any real meaning.

called feng shui. The Buddha symbolizes prosperity, and they use it for good energy and to attract more business. Just like some christians who have the same theory but use an icon of the virgin with the baby jesus.
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« Reply #116 on: December 05, 2012, 02:34:18 PM »

Most Chinese restaurants I go to have the lucky cat.  My kid loves them (well, he loves cats), so I consider it a blessing of some sorts as it keeps him occupied while my wife and I eat.
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« Reply #117 on: December 05, 2012, 02:35:46 PM »

Most Chinese restaurants I go to have the lucky cat. 
You mean, a real, live cat?
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« Reply #118 on: December 05, 2012, 02:37:54 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

buddha is a saint? where is this coming from.?
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« Reply #119 on: December 05, 2012, 02:42:12 PM »

Buddha - What would you do if there was a Buddha in a Chinese Restaurant?

Not order from the right side of the menu............

My nephew who is a practicing Buddhist has a Buddhist shrine in his home.  We sometimes have dinner at his house and it simply doesnt bother me at all. 

you amaze me. Your son is a buddhist and you are cool with it? I rarely see that from a christian. However I would be cool too. Everyone has rights, and if we want them to respect ours, we need to respect theirs.
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« Reply #120 on: December 05, 2012, 02:43:09 PM »

Most Chinese restaurants I go to have the lucky cat. 
You mean, a real, live cat?

No, it is a ceramic statue of a cat, usually there is some mechanism to have its raised paw to wave, which in their belief is calling in luck to their establishment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maneki-neko

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« Reply #121 on: December 05, 2012, 02:46:17 PM »

Uh, the Buddha is a saint.

buddha is a saint? where is this coming from.?
All your questions are answered.
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« Reply #122 on: December 05, 2012, 02:48:30 PM »

I didn't know Buddhists worshipped Buddha as a god. He certainly claimed he was no deity at all.

The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the Scripture says. People can offer whatever they want to whomever they want, but they are the ones who err, not that which is offered. No one but God can, ultimately, receive offerings because it is the nature of the Giver of Life to receive back from his creatures.

now were talking
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« Reply #123 on: December 05, 2012, 05:59:12 PM »

I think if I saw a statue of Buddha, I would take time to pray for him. Not to the statue, of course. But, I would pray that God would have mercy on him.

The historical one, that is. Not the fat one. Heh.
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« Reply #124 on: December 05, 2012, 06:26:35 PM »

I was in Chinese diner which had an image of Buddha on top of an image of Christ and the Theotokos (there were crystal blocks, so they could stack).  Waiting to pay the check, I rectified that by taking him off.  Next time I was there, the owner pointed out that nothing was on top of the Christ and Mary images.  I've patronized the establish as often as possible since then.
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« Reply #125 on: December 05, 2012, 06:31:32 PM »

Buddha - What would you do if there was a Buddha in a Chinese Restaurant?

Not order from the right side of the menu............

My nephew who is a practicing Buddhist has a Buddhist shrine in his home.  We sometimes have dinner at his house and it simply doesnt bother me at all. 

you amaze me. Your son is a buddhist and you are cool with it? I rarely see that from a christian. However I would be cool too. Everyone has rights, and if we want them to respect ours, we need to respect theirs.
Says who?
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« Reply #126 on: December 05, 2012, 07:31:10 PM »

Buddha - What would you do if there was a Buddha in a Chinese Restaurant?

Not order from the right side of the menu............

My nephew who is a practicing Buddhist has a Buddhist shrine in his home.  We sometimes have dinner at his house and it simply doesnt bother me at all. 

you amaze me. Your son is a buddhist and you are cool with it? I rarely see that from a christian. However I would be cool too. Everyone has rights, and if we want them to respect ours, we need to respect theirs.
Says who?

I misread. It's a nephew, sorry about that.
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« Reply #127 on: December 06, 2012, 12:39:23 PM »

Buddha - What would you do if there was a Buddha in a Chinese Restaurant?

Not order from the right side of the menu............

My nephew who is a practicing Buddhist has a Buddhist shrine in his home.  We sometimes have dinner at his house and it simply doesnt bother me at all. 

you amaze me. Your son is a buddhist and you are cool with it? I rarely see that from a christian. However I would be cool too. Everyone has rights, and if we want them to respect ours, we need to respect theirs.
Says who?

I misread. It's a nephew, sorry about that.
I meant the "respecting of rights."
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« Reply #128 on: December 06, 2012, 01:02:40 PM »

Japanese restaurants often have a "Kami-Dan" ( Deity house). The "Kami" are the local Deities, DemiGods of sorts that watch over you, your business etc.. I know one Buddhist Priest who tries to promote Jesus as a Kami, a Locally Venerated Deity and includes a Statue of The Lord on his Buddhist Altar... Go figure.
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« Reply #129 on: December 06, 2012, 01:09:03 PM »

Japanese restaurants often have a "Kami-Dan" ( Deity house). The "Kami" are the local Deities, DemiGods of sorts that watch over you, your business etc.. I know one Buddhist Priest who tries to promote Jesus as a Kami, a Locally Venerated Deity and includes a Statue of The Lord on his Buddhist Altar... Go figure.
That's a not-so-rare Hindu practice, too.
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« Reply #130 on: December 08, 2012, 10:10:06 AM »

Everyone has rights, and if we want them to respect ours, we need to respect theirs.
Says who?
Well, if taken literally, then certainly not. Not respecting someone else's rights doesn't guarantee that he/she won't respect our rights. (Can I assume that you knew that tweety234 didn't mean it literally?)
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« Reply #131 on: December 08, 2012, 04:45:46 PM »

Buddha - What would you do if there was a Buddha in a Chinese Restaurant?

Not order from the right side of the menu............

My nephew who is a practicing Buddhist has a Buddhist shrine in his home.  We sometimes have dinner at his house and it simply doesnt bother me at all. 

you amaze me. Your son is a buddhist and you are cool with it? I rarely see that from a christian. However I would be cool too. Everyone has rights, and if we want them to respect ours, we need to respect theirs.
Says who?

I misread. It's a nephew, sorry about that.
I meant the "respecting of rights."

what about them?
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« Reply #132 on: December 08, 2012, 04:49:43 PM »

I wouldn't worry. I mean heck, if Buddha were Orthodox he would probably be a Saint. And I do seldomnly believe that Siddhartha is in Orthodox Heaven right now hearing intercessions.

buddha lived many many years before christ. How could he be an orthodox? and buddha talks about nirvana. Jesus talked about paradise. Now just because I disagree with many traditional things regarding christianity, doesn't mean I find mixing religions to be a healthy thing. I don't believe in nothingness which is buddhas nirvana. I believe in Heaven.
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« Reply #133 on: December 08, 2012, 09:49:40 PM »

I wouldn't worry. I mean heck, if Buddha were Orthodox he would probably be a Saint. And I do seldomnly believe that Siddhartha is in Orthodox Heaven right now hearing intercessions.

buddha lived many many years before christ. How could he be an orthodox? and buddha talks about nirvana. Jesus talked about paradise. Now just because I disagree with many traditional things regarding christianity, doesn't mean I find mixing religions to be a healthy thing.
I think James's point is that the Buddha, if he is saved, is Orthodox, not a Buddhist -- so there's no issue of "mixing religions".
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« Reply #134 on: January 30, 2013, 12:48:15 PM »

MANILA, Philippines - Can Christians adhere to traditional Chinese practices without going against their faith? A Catholic priest of Chinese ancestry thinks so, under certain conditions.
....
Liao, who spent decades in Hong Kong and Taiwan for pastoral ministry, also thinks there is practical science behind feng shui, believed to attract positive life energies through the physical arrangement of one’s surroundings.

“The popularity of feng shui cannot be denied and the practice of this ‘living skill’ undoubtedly requires study, time, patience, and money. Certainly we can admit that feng shui always improves one's living condition,” Liao said.
....
“I often tell people [feng shui] is allowed as long as one does not exchange it for prayer and trust in the divine providence,” he said.
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