Author Topic: The Church's interaction with Buddhism  (Read 2088 times)

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Offline Skydive

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The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« on: November 30, 2014, 12:54:06 AM »
Does anyone have some good recommendations on this subject?

Offline LBK

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2014, 03:03:08 AM »
Does anyone have some good recommendations on this subject?

Yes. The two faiths have little in common, and, in some aspects, are diametrically opposite.
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Offline sakura95

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2014, 07:02:16 PM »
I suggest researching the beliefs and philosophical ideas of Buddhism. In all honesty, I find myself agreeing with the Buddha himself on quite a number of subjects from Samsara(Without the Reincarnation part), Dukkha, Interdependent/Dependent Arising and even Nirvana(Though in the light of Theosis). However though there are aspects of Buddhism that I have to disagree with such as its Functionalist approach to human identity and impermanence(Though agreeable in regards to the material world). Of course do note that there are a variety of Schools in Buddhism which can differ from each other. Some schools of Buddhism for example are actually Theistic in the sense that there's a "Primordial Buddha" or as they call it, the Adi-Buddha which is eternal. It is however Theistic in the Hindu sense so I cannot agree with this.

In short, there's much to be admired and even learned from Buddhism, aspects which are compatible with Orthodoxy that is whilst as LBK had mentioned, there's just some aspects we cannot agree with and are in fact in opposition to Orthodoxy being opposites. Still, that shouldn't stop you from reading into Buddhist doctrine if you are interested. Just be prepared to take things with a grain of salt and do some juggling to accommodate Buddhist doctrine with Orthodoxy.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2014, 07:13:45 PM by sakura95 »
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Offline WPM

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2014, 07:33:11 PM »
Two different subjects really, ... I've been interested in Buddhism
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2014, 07:44:11 PM »
Without any hint of syncretism, Buddhism has a fair amount of material that can be supportive of an Orthodox Christian perspective and is a worthy subject of inquiry for those who have the time.

Unfortunately almost all of the Orthodox discussions of Buddhism I have seen are plagued with misunderstandings, such as equating Buddhism with nihilism. Probably the most intelligent Orthodox discussion of Buddhism I have seen is this one by Patriarch Bartholomew: http://orthodoxwayoflife.blogspot.com/2009/11/on-india-and-buddhism-ecumenical.html

A lot of the basic Buddhist concepts are complementary to a Christian worldview... for instance, impermanence facilitates our meditation on death and non-self can be helpful in an apophatic approach to theology and psychology.

One of these days, I would like to write an article discussing the many parallels I saw between the thought of St. Maximus the Confessor and the Hua-Yan Buddhist discussion of interdependence and interpenetration of phenomena.

Your best bet is, with a solid foundation in Christianity, to look at foundational Buddhist texts and see the parallels and differences for yourself. Once you've familiarized yourself with the basics of Buddhist doctrine and history, I find the following books to be very helpful:

In the Buddha's Words, a collection of Pali sutra material, edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi
The Way to Buddhahood by the monk Yin Shun
Hoofprint of the Ox by Sheng-Yen (if you're curious about Zen/ Chan)
 
« Last Edit: November 30, 2014, 07:47:29 PM by Iconodule »
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Offline WPM

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2014, 07:46:39 PM »
Buddhism in India is definitely a interesting subject.
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2014, 07:52:03 PM »
There seem to be a lot of people who convert to Orthodoxy after having previously been Buddhist. This website has some articles written by them detailing their journeys.
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Offline sakura95

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2014, 08:02:50 PM »
One of these days, I would like to write an article discussing the many parallels I saw between the thought of St. Maximus the Confessor and the Hua-Yan Buddhist discussion of interdependence and interpenetration of phenomena.

This is interesting. I didn't know the Buddhist doctrine of the Interdependent Arising/Conditioned Arising have similarities with Orthodoxy through the thought of St Maximus the Confessor. I would be interested in reading your article if you decided to write it.
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Offline Antonious Nikolas

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« Last Edit: November 30, 2014, 08:15:29 PM by Antonious Nikolas »
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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2014, 08:27:13 PM »
I'm surprised no one mentioned the lives of SS Barlaam and Joasaph.

Offline Minnesotan

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2014, 08:34:52 PM »
I'm sure that by "the Church" the OP intends Orthodoxy, but he might find a study of the Church of the East's interaction with Buddhism to be edifying.  The following would make for a decent start in that regard:

http://www.aina.org/articles/tcatl.pdf
http://www.academia.edu/470368/The_Encounter_of_Nestorian_Christianity_with_Tantric_Buddhism_in_Medieval_China
http://earlytibet.com/2007/12/02/christianity-in-early-tibet/
http://people.opposingviews.com/influence-assyrian-church-east-tibetan-buddhism-9404.html
http://archive.org/stream/nestorianmove00saekuoft/nestorianmove00saekuoft_djvu.txt


Ecclesial boundaries were quite fluid back then, too. The Church of the East was still in communion with the EO (though not with the OO) well into the 600s. St. Isaac of Syria lived at that time. The earliest missionaries to China were contemporaries of his.
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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2014, 08:36:16 PM »
I'm sure that by "the Church" the OP intends Orthodoxy, but he might find a study of the Church of the East's interaction with Buddhism to be edifying.  The following would make for a decent start in that regard:

http://www.aina.org/articles/tcatl.pdf
http://www.academia.edu/470368/The_Encounter_of_Nestorian_Christianity_with_Tantric_Buddhism_in_Medieval_China
http://earlytibet.com/2007/12/02/christianity-in-early-tibet/
http://people.opposingviews.com/influence-assyrian-church-east-tibetan-buddhism-9404.html
http://archive.org/stream/nestorianmove00saekuoft/nestorianmove00saekuoft_djvu.txt


Ecclesial boundaries were quite fluid back then, too. The Church of the East was still in communion with the EO (though not with the OO) well into the 600s. St. Isaac of Syria lived at that time. The earliest missionaries to China were contemporaries of his.

Aha! What more proof do we need that the wretched Chalcedonians are crypto-Nestorians?

Offline Minnesotan

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2014, 08:48:31 PM »
Yeah, there's a lot more info about the historical relations between the two at the East Meets East blog.
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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2014, 08:52:52 PM »
Yeah, there's a lot more info about the historical relations between the two at the East Meets East blog.

I remember reading parts of that blog a couple of years ago, but forgot about it.  Thanks for sharing.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2014, 10:44:19 PM »
I'm sure that by "the Church" the OP intends Orthodoxy, but he might find a study of the Church of the East's interaction with Buddhism to be edifying.  The following would make for a decent start in that regard:

http://www.aina.org/articles/tcatl.pdf
http://www.academia.edu/470368/The_Encounter_of_Nestorian_Christianity_with_Tantric_Buddhism_in_Medieval_China
http://earlytibet.com/2007/12/02/christianity-in-early-tibet/
http://people.opposingviews.com/influence-assyrian-church-east-tibetan-buddhism-9404.html
http://archive.org/stream/nestorianmove00saekuoft/nestorianmove00saekuoft_djvu.txt


Ecclesial boundaries were quite fluid back then, too. The Church of the East was still in communion with the EO (though not with the OO) well into the 600s. St. Isaac of Syria lived at that time. The earliest missionaries to China were contemporaries of his.

Aha! What more proof do we need that the wretched Chalcedonians are crypto-Nestorians?

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Offline LBK

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2014, 01:43:04 PM »
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Still, that shouldn't stop you from reading into Buddhist doctrine if you are interested. Just be prepared to take things with a grain of salt and do some juggling to accommodate Buddhist doctrine with Orthodoxy.

Why juggle? Why not simply accept Orthodoxy as Truth, full and complete?
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Offline sakura95

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Re: The Church's interaction with Buddhism
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2014, 04:21:54 PM »
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Still, that shouldn't stop you from reading into Buddhist doctrine if you are interested. Just be prepared to take things with a grain of salt and do some juggling to accommodate Buddhist doctrine with Orthodoxy.

Why juggle? Why not simply accept Orthodoxy as Truth, full and complete?

Because Orthodoxy did the same with Platonism and it didn't change the fact that it is the Truth, full and complete. So I don't see anything wrong with using certain aspects of Buddhism or juggling it to conform to Orthodoxy. Still, accepting Orthodoxy as Truth works just as well.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2014, 04:28:25 PM by sakura95 »
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