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Source: (consider it) Thread: Dharmaphobia
Joesaphat
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And what do you mean by 'the type of God that Christianity espouses'? why is it incompatible?

'That which will be all in all,' as Paul says, strikes me as quite similar to what Buddhism envisages. As is the notion that 'it is no longer 'I' who lives but Christ/God in me.'

[ 08. December 2016, 16:06: Message edited by: Joesaphat ]

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quetzalcoatl
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Also, cf. kenosis, Christ emptied himself, or in some paraphrases, became nothing. And in the end, is abandoned.

[ 08. December 2016, 16:24: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]

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no path

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Ricardus
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Never mind the existence of God, the existence of the self seems pretty fundamental to most forms of Christianity. I don't see how that can be reconciled with anatta.

From that perspective, ISTM Christianity would be a pretty serious obstacle to a good Buddhist trying to observe the dhamma.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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quetzalcoatl
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Also Jewish tzimtzum, God contracts himself so as to make room for the universe; I suppose God is in exile, or in a vacated space. Emptiness and fullness.

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no path

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Never mind the existence of God, the existence of the self seems pretty fundamental to most forms of Christianity. I don't see how that can be reconciled with anatta.

From that perspective, ISTM Christianity would be a pretty serious obstacle to a good Buddhist trying to observe the dhamma.

Where or when has Christianity ever pronounced on the existence of a 'self'?

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Ricardus
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I vaguely remember hearing something about souls once or twice.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
I vaguely remember hearing something about souls once or twice.

Honestly, Ricardus, where? I won't deny that some Fathers were all enamoured with Plato but where the Hebrew Scriptures and the NT mention the soul, they just mean 'life' or 'breath,' and the Buddha would not deny that you and I are alive. The soul as pilot of the ship that is the body and shoots up to heaven at its disintegration is not Christian anthropology, it's pagan. Furthermore, the church has not declared any particular form of anthropology authoritative.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
That's a hugely Western kind of Buddhism, lilBuddha,

I disagree. That some eastern Buddhists incorporate divine beings in their worship does not make it correct.
Worship is problematic anyway. Immortal beings existing and being acknowledged is not the same thing as worshipping.

quote:
Western Buddhists however tend to have Christian chips on their shoulders and desperately want the Dharma to be non-theistic.

Not sure how universal that is, but many want a "spiritual" experience with no strings. This involves tailoring whatever they choose to suite themselves. Not sure it is a chip.
quote:

I regularly read the Sutras, this morning's had Gautama paying a visit to Brahma himself 'ascending there as quick as one flexes one's forearm.'

The sutras are not literal, not are they complete. They are meant to be used in conjunction with teaching and/or a greater understanding. They are not an independent, complete instruction manual.
quote:

Most of the Koreans here in my parish (and there are thousands of them) have no qualms revering Christ as a great bodhisattva. This is not my view, but it's far removed from a-theism.

Christ as a bodhisattva, no issue. Christ as divine is a different matter.
The Christian God has agency in human lives, this is at odds with Buddhism.
BTW; atheism =\= non-theism
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Also, cf. kenosis, Christ emptied himself, or in some paraphrases, became nothing. And in the end, is abandoned.

Jesus empties himself of divinity, not everything. And then becomes fully God again, so, yeah.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
I vaguely remember hearing something about souls once or twice.

Honestly, Ricardus, where? I won't deny that some Fathers were all enamoured with Plato but where the Hebrew Scriptures and the NT mention the soul, they just mean 'life' or 'breath,' and the Buddha would not deny that you and I are alive. The soul as pilot of the ship that is the body and shoots up to heaven at its disintegration is not Christian anthropology, it's pagan. Furthermore, the church has not declared any particular form of anthropology authoritative.
Google any historic Christian liturgy and do a text-search for the word 'soul'.

You might want to argue that souls *shouldn't* be in Christianity, but the reality of the situation is that they are.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
I vaguely remember hearing something about souls once or twice.

Honestly, Ricardus, where? I won't deny that some Fathers were all enamoured with Plato but where the Hebrew Scriptures and the NT mention the soul, they just mean 'life' or 'breath,' and the Buddha would not deny that you and I are alive. The soul as pilot of the ship that is the body and shoots up to heaven at its disintegration is not Christian anthropology, it's pagan. Furthermore, the church has not declared any particular form of anthropology authoritative.
Google any historic Christian liturgy and do a text-search for the word 'soul'.

You might want to argue that souls *shouldn't* be in Christianity, but the reality of the situation is that they are.

I won't deny that Christian liturgies mention souls, only that they do not specify what they mean by it, and certainly not that souls constitute a 'self.'

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Opening my mouth and removing all doubt, online.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
Jewishness is both a religious identity and an ethnic-cultural identity. One can be a religiously non-observant Jew, or a Jew who engages in religious practices other than Judaism, and still be Jewish.

Well yes, but the context of this thread is compatibility of different religious strands, so I was talking about being a religiously observant Jew and also following Christ, which most of Judaism says is not possible.
I'm not quite sure it actually is that clear in the context of this thread, where the OP specifically talked about the compatibility of Buddhism and Christianity. I think it's fair to say that Buddhism is not quite like many other religions; I know Buddhists who prefer to describe it as a philosophy rather than a religion. It took that to be part of what Joesaphat was getting at by the references to Aristotle and Plato. And as seen from some of the discussion here, Buddhist expressions around the world co-exist with a variety of understandings the divine, partially because the role of the divine doesn't (as I understand it) really come into play in Buddhism.

Given that, I think there may be some parallels with ethnic or cultural Jewishness as distinct from cultural Judaism.


quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
What do people object to in Mr Sid. Gautama’s teaching? Which of the noble truths, which bit of the eightfold path? What’s the worry?

I suspect that part of the answer is that many people don't really understand those teachings. I'm not saying that if people just understood, they would not object. But I think that for many, objection is at least partially rooted in misunderstanding.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Joesaphat:
[qb]That's a hugely Western kind of Buddhism, lilBuddha,

I disagree. That some eastern Buddhists incorporate divine beings in their worship does not make it correct.
Worship is problematic anyway. Immortal beings existing and being acknowledged is not the same thing as worshipping.

Here's the daily offering to Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of compassion, in Kyoto's main temple: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0oJ0BxTCLw

and yes, the fact that millions, absolutely millions of Buddhists do worship (make offerings, pray, praise etc.) in forms that would be quite recognisable by Christians does show that they have little problem with it. You may think it's not 'correct' Buddhism, but assuming that like me you are a westerner, it's a staggeringly arrogant thing to say. Mind you, most Western Buddhists claim as much. There's an amusing website called 'Angry Asian Buddhist' almost entirely devoted to the topic

quote:
Western Buddhists however tend to have Christian chips on their shoulders and desperately want the Dharma to be non-theistic.

Not sure how universal that is, but many want a "spiritual" experience with no strings. This involves tailoring whatever they choose to suite themselves. Not sure it is a chip.
quote:


Admittedly, it's mere personal experience, but none of my Asian Buddhist friends have a problem with Christianity, loads of new western Dharma groups however can feel pretty hostile.

I regularly read the Sutras, this morning's had Gautama paying a visit to Brahma himself 'ascending there as quick as one flexes one's forearm.'

The sutras are not literal, not are they complete. They are meant to be used in conjunction with teaching and/or a greater understanding. They are not an independent, complete instruction manual.

Yes they are, but they're still supposed to be Buddhavacana, and they are quite revered except, again, by Western Zen groups. Most Japanese zen practitioners I know read them assiduously. Most do in fact recite the Heart Sutra several times daily.

quote:

Most of the Koreans here in my parish (and there are thousands of them) have no qualms revering Christ as a great bodhisattva. This is not my view, but it's far removed from a-theism.

Christ as a bodhisattva, no issue. Christ as divine is a different matter.
The Christian God has agency in human lives, this is at odds with Buddhism.

Depends what you mean by agency. Miracles?

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:

and yes, the fact that millions, absolutely millions of Buddhists do worship (make offerings, pray, praise etc.) in forms that would be quite recognisable by Christians does show that they have little problem with it.

Millions of Christians in South America worship Mary and the saints. That this is syncretistic rather than pure Christianity is rarely of any debate.
And this may be the source of the issue. Veneration =/= worship, but they can be difficult to distinguish from the outside.
quote:

You may think it's not 'correct' Buddhism, but assuming that like me you are a westerner, it's a staggeringly arrogant thing to say.

I can certainly be arrogant, but I don't think this is. I am saying that my understanding of the texts and history and teaching say that actual worshipping of gods is not consistent with what the Buddha taught.

quote:

Admittedly, it's mere personal experience, but none of my Asian Buddhist friends have a problem with Christianity, loads of new western Dharma groups however can feel pretty hostile.

There is a world of difference between thinking that Christianity and Buddhism are not completely compatible and having a problem with Christianity.

quote:
originally posted by lilBuddha:
The sutras are not literal, not are they complete. They are meant to be used in conjunction with teaching and/or a greater understanding. They are not an independent, complete instruction manual.

quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat
Yes they are, but they're still supposed to be Buddhavacana, and they are quite revered except, again, by Western Zen groups. Most Japanese zen practitioners I know read them assiduously. Most do in fact recite the Heart Sutra several times daily.

None of this seems to contradict what I said. At all.

NB: Your coding made this much more difficult than it needed to be.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Joesaphat
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"Millions of Christians in South America worship Mary and the saints. That this is syncretistic rather than pure Christianity is rarely of any debate."

Gosh, you're talking about the immense majority of Christians worldwide and through history, bar some Protestants. I cannot make sense of what you mean by 'pure Christianity' if you disregard them.

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat
I won't deny that Christian liturgies mention souls, only that they do not specify what they mean by it, and certainly not that souls constitute a 'self.' [/QB]

Even if one accepts that it is technically possible to interpret the liturgies in a way that is consistent with anatta - and I don't believe this is true of the catechisms - that is not how they are generally interpreted, and I don't think it is consistent to complain about lilBuddha ignoring the religious practices of most Buddhists while simultaneously claiming a minority and idealised Christianity as the only authentic kind.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
"Millions of Christians in South America worship Mary and the saints. That this is syncretistic rather than pure Christianity is rarely of any debate."

Gosh, you're talking about the immense majority of Christians worldwide and through history, bar some Protestants. I cannot make sense of what you mean by 'pure Christianity' if you disregard them.

No. the veneration of Mary and the saints is not the same as worship of them, despite what some hyper-protestnata would like to believe.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Millions of Christians in South America worship Mary and the saints. That this is syncretistic rather than pure Christianity is rarely of any debate.

Only if you get your definition of 'pure Christianity' from the Orange Lodge.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat
I won't deny that Christian liturgies mention souls, only that they do not specify what they mean by it, and certainly not that souls constitute a 'self.'

Even if one accepts that it is technically possible to interpret the liturgies in a way that is consistent with anatta - and I don't believe this is true of the catechisms - that is not how they are generally interpreted, and I don't think it is consistent to complain about lilBuddha ignoring the religious practices of most Buddhists while simultaneously claiming a minority and idealised Christianity as the only authentic kind. [/QB]
I must agree that my Christianity may appear idiosyncratic, but I certainly would not claim it's the only authentic or pure form, I also think that an awful lot of what passes for orthodoxy or 'mere Christianity' in Britain is actually Western or Greco-Roman cultural accretions. The 'soul' is a good example: what is it then? The form of the body, as Aquinas would have it? A little sprite? The ghost in the machine? The real self? The mind? The Biblical 'breath of life'? I'm not aware of any catechism having even attempted to define it let alone equated with the human 'self'

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quetzalcoatl
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This thread reminds me of a lot of discussions I've had over 40 years, with people of different faiths, Sufi, Buddhist, Christian, and of course, atheists. They have often centred around the notion of transcendence, by which I mean, letting go, going beyond, especially of the self/other duality.

This tends to happen on Zen retreats, not because one is told to follow that line, but that if one follows certain techniques, a letting go seems to happen naturally, and in the end a letting go of self. And of course, as the old Zen bastards say, letting go of letting go. Yeah, yeah, yeah, grandad.

Religions are a bit like ducks, they seem to hybridize at the drop of a hat. I suppose conservative members of those faiths object to this - for example, Sufis are cruelly persecuted by some Muslims.

But this meeting point for me over all those years has been rewarding. Thanks to Joesaphat for this thread.

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no path

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Millions of Christians in South America worship Mary and the saints. That this is syncretistic rather than pure Christianity is rarely of any debate.

Only if you get your definition of 'pure Christianity' from the Orange Lodge.
OK, kinda going sideways but I'm talking about going beyond the idea of veneration and into actual worship. Santa Muerte is on the extreme end, but in the middle is a level of worship not within the boundaries of Catholicism.
This is not limited to either mesoamerica or Catholicism, of course.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:

Religions are a bit like ducks, they seem to hybridize at the drop of a hat.

At a certain point, though, a mallard will no longer the appropriate thing to call the new duck.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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hatless

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:

Religions are a bit like ducks, they seem to hybridize at the drop of a hat.

At a certain point, though, a mallard will no longer the appropriate thing to call the new duck.
Not at a certain point. There are many points that are well beyond mallard, but the point where mallard stops is impossible to be certain about.

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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
As was said, in its Mahayana forms, the ideal is to become a bodhisattva and achieve boundless compassion, mama karuna.

That's not quite the ideal as I understand it. The bodhisattva deliberately gives up on or delays the ideal for themselves in order to help other people to the ideal.
There's something of a similar tension in any system in which compassion and goodwill are preconditions of one's own flourishing or salvation, which Mahayana here makes explicit. Nevertheless the Bodhisattva out of the qualities that attain the ideal renounces the ideal.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
Yes, we must, and if we cling too tightly to the Greco-Roman packaging of our faith, we won't be able to talk to the world.

I don't think we should want to swap a Greco-Roman packaging for an Indio-Japanese packaging.
The point of taking Greek thought or Buddhist thought on board is because we think there is valuable substance and wisdom in that those traditions. The reason for taking on board Greco-Roman ideas was because they seemed to have truth to them - a different and complementary perspective that helped see Jesus and God more in the round. Any interest in Buddhism should be to add another perspective, not to replace one.

The adoption of the Greco-Roman perspective is it seems to me the model for Christian inter-religious dialogue, not something that needs to be undone.

[ 08. December 2016, 20:20: Message edited by: Dafyd ]

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Martin60
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So India and Japan must adopt a Greco-Roman perspective before they can receive Christ? Turkey and Saudi too?

That's gone SO well hasn't it?

I'm sure I'm misunderstanding you as ever Dafyd. Not your level.

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Love wins

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
Yes, we must, and if we cling too tightly to the Greco-Roman packaging of our faith, we won't be able to talk to the world.

I don't think we should want to swap a Greco-Roman packaging for an Indio-Japanese packaging.
The point of taking Greek thought or Buddhist thought on board is because we think there is valuable substance and wisdom in that those traditions. The reason for taking on board Greco-Roman ideas was because they seemed to have truth to them - a different and complementary perspective that helped see Jesus and God more in the round. Any interest in Buddhism should be to add another perspective, not to replace one.

The adoption of the Greco-Roman perspective is it seems to me the model for Christian inter-religious dialogue, not something that needs to be undone.

Nobody (not me anyway) mentioned a swap, just allowing people to make sense of the mystery of Christ with their own hermeneutical tools. This being said, and though Buddhist philosophy has its own set of problems, the kind of Aristotelian 'natural law' theories that are now only peddled in our churches does not help our dialogue with the hard sciences. Talking for instance of teleology or of the created 'purpose' of certain organs (mostly the sexual ones), when they are demonstrably adaptations and many such adaptations were unsuccessful is doomed. I cannot see of what use Plato can still be today either. Buddhism however is a living tradition that still makes sense to millions.

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
So India and Japan must adopt a Greco-Roman perspective before they can receive Christ? Turkey and Saudi too?

That's gone SO well hasn't it?

I'm sure I'm misunderstanding you as ever Dafyd. Not your level.

I understand him to mean that the church once engaged in dialogue with the main philosophical schools of the day, fruitfully, to articulate her message. If it has been done once, it can be done again.

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Lyda*Rose

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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
And what about multiple reincarnations vs. one afterlife? And that finding nirvana in those reincarnations seems to be works-based rather than grace-based? Or do we look at Buddhist exercises as means of sanctification as opposed to salvation? Enquiring minds...

The Buddha taught rebirth, one of the three main tenets of his teaching is anatta/anatman (no self or no soul), there is no soul that transmigrates, though he did teach that your 'attachments' would cause other lives to happen, till you finally free yourself from all defilements... not that different from purgatory, really.
Except that Purgatory involves a soul. If there is no self or soul, what exactly is being reborn and what "yourself" is being freed?

Sorry, IMO, when you get down to it, it seems Buddhism and Christianity are too widely parted to meet in much other than morality and ethics. But I wouldn't have a problem with listening to a talk about the similarities and differences from a pulpit or learning Buddhist meditation techniques.

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Martin60
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J. I'll get me coat.

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Millions of Christians in South America worship Mary and the saints. That this is syncretistic rather than pure Christianity is rarely of any debate.

Only if you get your definition of 'pure Christianity' from the Orange Lodge.
OK, kinda going sideways but I'm talking about going beyond the idea of veneration and into actual worship. Santa Muerte is on the extreme end, but in the middle is a level of worship not within the boundaries of Catholicism.
This is not limited to either mesoamerica or Catholicism, of course.

OK I see what you mean, fair enough!

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
I certainly would not claim it's the only authentic or pure form, I also think that an awful lot of what passes for orthodoxy or 'mere Christianity' in Britain is actually Western or Greco-Roman cultural accretions.

I'm not convinced the first half of that sentence is compatible with the second ...

Anyway ISTM the Greco-Roman part of Christianity has been there from the beginning. It's a feature, not a bug.
quote:

The 'soul' is a good example: what is it then? The form of the body, as Aquinas would have it? A little sprite? The ghost in the machine? The real self? The mind? The Biblical 'breath of life'? I'm not aware of any catechism having even attempted to define it let alone equated with the human 'self'

The Catholic Catechism uses Aquinas' definition.

How would you understand the doctrine of the resurrection of the body without reference to either soul or self? ISTM to presuppose some kind of continuity between the person who dies and whatever is resurrected, and that continuity is necessarily incorporeal.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
And what about multiple reincarnations vs. one afterlife? And that finding nirvana in those reincarnations seems to be works-based rather than grace-based? Or do we look at Buddhist exercises as means of sanctification as opposed to salvation? Enquiring minds...

The Buddha taught rebirth, one of the three main tenets of his teaching is anatta/anatman (no self or no soul), there is no soul that transmigrates, though he did teach that your 'attachments' would cause other lives to happen, till you finally free yourself from all defilements... not that different from purgatory, really.
Except that Purgatory involves a soul. If there is no self or soul, what exactly is being reborn and what "yourself" is being freed?

Sorry, IMO, when you get down to it, it seems Buddhism and Christianity are too widely parted to meet in much other than morality and ethics. But I wouldn't have a problem with listening to a talk about the similarities and differences from a pulpit or learning Buddhist meditation techniques.

Purgatory does not require a 'soul.' Where do you all read this, people? Even medieval RC councils did not try to describe purgatory, except to say that a 'time' of purification will be needed for most of us after death. Last I checked , we believe in the resurrection of the body/flesh; not the survival of the soul. This is what I mean: whenever faced with a hermeneutic they feel unfamiliar with, non-Western, Christians (still majoritarian Western) tend to overemphasize their distinctiveness. Jesus never, ever speaks of a soul. The only mention I can think of in the NT is the conclusion of 1Thessalonians with its talk of being preserved 'body, soul and spirit.'

Even the brand new RC catechism talks of the soul as the 'spiritual principle' in men and women, which is to say: it says nothing.

[ 09. December 2016, 06:45: Message edited by: Joesaphat ]

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Joesaphat
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And anyway, some Buddhist schools don't mind envisaging the existence of a soul, they just deny that it constitutes a 'self.' The tradition is older and even more diverse than Christianity.

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
I certainly would not claim it's the only authentic or pure form, I also think that an awful lot of what passes for orthodoxy or 'mere Christianity' in Britain is actually Western or Greco-Roman cultural accretions.

I'm not convinced the first half of that sentence is compatible with the second ...

Anyway ISTM the Greco-Roman part of Christianity has been there from the beginning. It's a feature, not a bug.
quote:

The 'soul' is a good example: what is it then? The form of the body, as Aquinas would have it? A little sprite? The ghost in the machine? The real self? The mind? The Biblical 'breath of life'? I'm not aware of any catechism having even attempted to define it let alone equated with the human 'self'

The Catholic Catechism uses Aquinas' definition.

How would you understand the doctrine of the resurrection of the body without reference to either soul or self? ISTM to presuppose some kind of continuity between the person who dies and whatever is resurrected, and that continuity is necessarily incorporeal.

No, the RC does not. Aquinas believed, after Aristotle, that the soul is merely the form of the body. I don't feel like searching through the Summa, but he basically said that the 'soul is to the body what sight is to the eye,' a mere function and purpose. To talk, as the RC does, of a 'spiritual principle' in man is to say exactly nothing. What the heck is a 'spiritual principle'?

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
And what about multiple reincarnations vs. one afterlife? And that finding nirvana in those reincarnations seems to be works-based rather than grace-based? Or do we look at Buddhist exercises as means of sanctification as opposed to salvation? Enquiring minds...

The Buddha taught rebirth, one of the three main tenets of his teaching is anatta/anatman (no self or no soul), there is no soul that transmigrates, though he did teach that your 'attachments' would cause other lives to happen, till you finally free yourself from all defilements... not that different from purgatory, really.
Except that Purgatory involves a soul. If there is no self or soul, what exactly is being reborn and what "yourself" is being freed?

Sorry, IMO, when you get down to it, it seems Buddhism and Christianity are too widely parted to meet in much other than morality and ethics. But I wouldn't have a problem with listening to a talk about the similarities and differences from a pulpit or learning Buddhist meditation techniques.

Sorry, Lyda, I was feeling defensive. Your question has exercised Buddhist thinkers for more than two millennia and a variety of answers has been offered. The best I can do is to say that whatever is re-born is a non-self. The Buddha himself talks in parables on the matter. He talks of 'three fires' or 'three poisons,' and asserts the ignorance, hatred and delusion that have fuelled your existence will cause another one to be born. He's not much given to metaphysics. In fact, he preached that such speculations are a sure symptom of the aforementioned attachments.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
Sorry, Lyda, I was feeling defensive. Your question has exercised Buddhist thinkers for more than two millennia and a variety of answers has been offered. The best I can do is to say that whatever is re-born is a non-self. The Buddha himself talks in parables on the matter. He talks of 'three fires' or 'three poisons,' and asserts the ignorance, hatred and delusion that have fuelled your existence will cause another one to be born. He's not much given to metaphysics. In fact, he preached that such speculations are a sure symptom of the aforementioned attachments.

I apologise in advance for naivety, but how do you square the Christian idea of an afterlife with the (apparently universal) Buddhist idea of multiple lives?

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
Sorry, Lyda, I was feeling defensive. Your question has exercised Buddhist thinkers for more than two millennia and a variety of answers has been offered. The best I can do is to say that whatever is re-born is a non-self. The Buddha himself talks in parables on the matter. He talks of 'three fires' or 'three poisons,' and asserts the ignorance, hatred and delusion that have fuelled your existence will cause another one to be born. He's not much given to metaphysics. In fact, he preached that such speculations are a sure symptom of the aforementioned attachments.

I apologise in advance for naivety, but how do you square the Christian idea of an afterlife with the (apparently universal) Buddhist idea of multiple lives?
I don't, Cheesy. I'm agnostic on the matter. Buddhists claim that Gautama Buddha himself, of course, only became aware of his countless past lives on the night of his enlightenment (another shitty translation). Non-enlightened people cannot be aware of them. This being said, I'm equally unable to know that life and after-life is one big, smooth continuum. It seems to me the platonic speculations of a soul detaching then being re-united with a physical body, only shinier, that the church has gotten itself into (in the RC catechism, at least) has precious little to do with Christ's teaching or Jewish teaching for that matter. Quite a few orthodox forms of Judaism do believe in 'transmigration' (gilgul, and no, not just the Kabbalists), so did Origen.... they too read their Bibles. The only thing I'm painfully aware of is the fact that my present sorry sinful state will not allow me to commune with the divine presence immediately. Of that, I'm sure. What Purgatory will be like, however... how could I know? how could anyone for that matter?

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
I don't, Cheesy. I'm agnostic on the matter. Buddhists claim that Gautama Buddha himself, of course, only became aware of his countless past lives on the night of his enlightenment (another shitty translation). Non-enlightened people cannot be aware of them. This being said, I'm equally unable to know that life and after-life is one big, smooth continuum. It seems to me the platonic speculations of a soul detaching then being re-united with a physical body, only shinier, that the church has gotten itself into (in the RC catechism, at least) has precious little to do with Christ's teaching or Jewish teaching for that matter. Quite a few orthodox forms of Judaism do believe in 'transmigration' (gilgul, and no, not just the Kabbalists), so did Origen.... they too read their Bibles. The only thing I'm painfully aware of is the fact that my present sorry sinful state will not allow me to commune with the divine presence immediately. Of that, I'm sure. What Purgatory will be like, however... how could I know? how could anyone for that matter?

I'm not sure that's really answering the question in any sense or form. I'm not here discussing the nature of the soul, the nature of the resurrection, the nature of the afterlife or any of these other points you are making here.

I'm simply asking about multiple verses a single earthly existence. Kindly address that point not all these others.

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
I don't, Cheesy. I'm agnostic on the matter. Buddhists claim that Gautama Buddha himself, of course, only became aware of his countless past lives on the night of his enlightenment (another shitty translation). Non-enlightened people cannot be aware of them. This being said, I'm equally unable to know that life and after-life is one big, smooth continuum. It seems to me the platonic speculations of a soul detaching then being re-united with a physical body, only shinier, that the church has gotten itself into (in the RC catechism, at least) has precious little to do with Christ's teaching or Jewish teaching for that matter. Quite a few orthodox forms of Judaism do believe in 'transmigration' (gilgul, and no, not just the Kabbalists), so did Origen.... they too read their Bibles. The only thing I'm painfully aware of is the fact that my present sorry sinful state will not allow me to commune with the divine presence immediately. Of that, I'm sure. What Purgatory will be like, however... how could I know? how could anyone for that matter?

I'm not sure that's really answering the question in any sense or form. I'm not here discussing the nature of the soul, the nature of the resurrection, the nature of the afterlife or any of these other points you are making here.

I'm simply asking about multiple verses a single earthly existence. Kindly address that point not all these others.

I'm simply asking about multiple verses a single earthly existence. Kindly address that point not all these others. [/QB][/QUOTE]

OK, don't tell the bishop: I'd err on the side of multiple. I don't preach about it. I don't assert it to be Christian orthodoxy, clearly it's not. And I'll readily acknowledge it's a critical point in articulating the Buddhist dharma with Christianity. This being said, Scripture is utterly inconsistent on the matter as well.

'Are you Elijah?' And the Baptist answered: "I am not.'
Jesus (Mt 11): 'And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.'
Did either lie?

Similarly, we see in the answer to the Lord's question: 'Who do you say that I am,' and in Herod's private speculations about the same, that the NT writers witnessed to what seems to be the embryo of the Jewish doctrine of transmigration: 'You are one of the prophets who has come back.'

All things considered, I am unable to articulate the two: but it was a big stumbling block in my converting to Christianity: not the other way around. I still have reservations.

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Joesaphat
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And to be fair, Buddhists envisage a single beginning-less thread, or 'existence' taking many forms, not all of them earthly. The Vedic/Hindu concept of a transmigration of souls was exactly what the Buddha was against.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:

OK, don't tell the bishop: I'd err on the side of multiple. I don't preach about it. I don't assert it to be Christian orthodoxy, clearly it's not.

Indeed not, and I suspect if you did tell the bishop you'd have an interesting conversation which might lead to you being defrocked.

Bizarrely the Anglican church is often keener on keeping (at least some aspects of) theological orthodoxy over and above other things we might prefer it to take notice of.

For me, I'm afraid, belief in reincarnation is inconsistent with the Anglican priesthood. Of course, it matters not a jot what I think, but perhaps illustrates where there is something of an inconsistency (at least in perception from the pews if not in practice from the centre of the CofE) in being a Buddhist Christian.

quote:
And I'll readily acknowledge it's a critical point in articulating the Buddhist dharma with Christianity. This being said, Scripture is utterly inconsistent on the matter as well.

'Are you Elijah?' And the Baptist answered: "I am not.'
Jesus (Mt 11): 'And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.'
Did either lie?

Similarly, we see in the answer to the Lord's question: 'Who do you say that I am,' and in Herod's private speculations about the same, that the NT writers witnessed to what seems to be the embryo of the Jewish doctrine of transmigration: 'You are one of the prophets who has come back.'

All things considered, I am unable to articulate the two: but it was a big stumbling block in my converting to Christianity: not the other way around. I still have reservations.

Mmm. I suppose for me there is quite a difference between being a believer who can't quite match all the pieces together and in being a Christian minister who is supposed to be teaching the orthodox position.

Which, if it helps, is one of many reasons why I'm not a minister!

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
[qb]Jewishness is both a religious identity and an ethnic-cultural identity. One can be a religiously non-observant Jew, or a Jew who engages in religious practices other than Judaism, and still be Jewish.

Well yes, but the context of this thread is compatibility of different religious strands, so I was talking about being a religiously observant Jew and also following Christ, which most of Judaism says is not possible.
I'm not quite sure it actually is that clear in the context of this thread, where the OP specifically talked about the compatibility of Buddhism and Christianity. I think it's fair to say that Buddhism is not quite like many other religions; I know Buddhists who prefer to describe it as a philosophy rather than a religion. It took that to be part of what Joesaphat was getting at by the references to Aristotle and Plato. And as seen from some of the discussion here, Buddhist expressions around the world co-exist with a variety of understandings the divine, partially because the role of the divine doesn't (as I understand it) really come into play in Buddhism.

Yes, this was exactly my question, only better put.

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:

OK, don't tell the bishop: I'd err on the side of multiple. I don't preach about it. I don't assert it to be Christian orthodoxy, clearly it's not.

Indeed not, and I suspect if you did tell the bishop you'd have an interesting conversation which might lead to you being defrocked.

Bizarrely the Anglican church is often keener on keeping (at least some aspects of) theological orthodoxy over and above other things we might prefer it to take notice of.

For me, I'm afraid, belief in reincarnation is inconsistent with the Anglican priesthood. Of course, it matters not a jot what I think, but perhaps illustrates where there is something of an inconsistency (at least in perception from the pews if not in practice from the centre of the CofE) in being a Buddhist Christian.

quote:
And I'll readily acknowledge it's a critical point in articulating the Buddhist dharma with Christianity. This being said, Scripture is utterly inconsistent on the matter as well.

'Are you Elijah?' And the Baptist answered: "I am not.'
Jesus (Mt 11): 'And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.'
Did either lie?

Similarly, we see in the answer to the Lord's question: 'Who do you say that I am,' and in Herod's private speculations about the same, that the NT writers witnessed to what seems to be the embryo of the Jewish doctrine of transmigration: 'You are one of the prophets who has come back.'

All things considered, I am unable to articulate the two: but it was a big stumbling block in my converting to Christianity: not the other way around. I still have reservations.

Mmm. I suppose for me there is quite a difference between being a believer who can't quite match all the pieces together and in being a Christian minister who is supposed to be teaching the orthodox position.

Which, if it helps, is one of many reasons why I'm not a minister!

I don't know, MrCheesy, one is always heterodox in someone else's eyes: evangelicals are beyond the pale as far as Catholics are concerned. The self-styled orthodox thinks Romans are deluded. Romans think we Anglicans are not even a church, but a mere ecclesial community. Baptists believe we're all wrong... whose orthodoxy? The 39 articles? I cannot think of many Anglican clergy who'll confess them wholeheartedly. But yes, you're right: this is not Christian orthodoxy, which is why I keep schtum about it, generally. If that's any comfort, many, many Buddhists cannot bring themselves to believe in rebirth either and think the whole thing is just the Buddha explaining himself using the Vedic categories of his day.

Orthodoxy is mightily difficult to achieve, unless one is the type that takes everything on board unquestioningly. I cannot understand how anyone can 'simply believe' all +2500 or so articles of the new catechism without flinching.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
I don't know, MrCheesy, one is always heterodox in someone else's eyes: evangelicals are beyond the pale as far as Catholics are concerned. The self-styled orthodox thinks Romans are deluded. Romans think we Anglicans are not even a church, but a mere ecclesial community. Baptists believe we're all wrong... whose orthodoxy? The 39 articles? I cannot think of many Anglican clergy who'll confess them wholeheartedly. But yes, you're right: this is not Christian orthodoxy, which is why I keep schtum about it, generally.

Well first of all, I'm an Anglican not all of those other things (not that it matters in this instance, I'm pretty sure belief in reincarnation would be rather a ministry-killer in most Baptist as well as Roman Catholic circles).

Second of all, you appear to be aware of an inconsistency in terms of being a Buddhist Christian in that you're saying that you are keeping schtum about a fairly major part of the Buddhist understanding in the church setting.

And third of all, I'm absolutely disapproving of keeping schtum about something that is a fundamental part of what you believe. If it isn't, that's fine - but if it is then it seems inconsistent (to put it mildly) to be in the priesthood of the Anglican church only because you don't talk about it.

quote:
If that's any comfort, many, many Buddhists cannot bring themselves to believe in rebirth either and think the whole thing is just the Buddha explaining himself using the Vedic categories of his day.
Yes, but the point that I'm trying to make is that there is an inconsistency between Anglican Christianity - which in effect is your employer - and Buddhism.

It may indeed be the case that there is also an inconsistency the other way around which would prevent an Anglican priest becoming a leader in a Buddhist community - I have no idea. I'm not sure why that is relevant anyway, you were asking in the OP why Christians think that Buddhism is objectionable. I don't know and can't speak for how other Buddhist communities behave or believe.

quote:
Orthodoxy is mightily difficult to achieve, unless one is the type that takes everything on board unquestioningly. I cannot understand how anyone can 'simply believe' all +2500 or so articles of the new catechism without flinching.
Herein is madness. Either you (and the church!) decide that you match the belief profile of the organisation that employs you or you don't.

[ 09. December 2016, 08:52: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
... Jesus never, ever speaks of a soul. The only mention I can think of in the NT is the conclusion of 1Thessalonians with its talk of being preserved 'body, soul and spirit.' ...

Eh? What about:-

"Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this:
‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. ...'
"

Or Lk 10:27
"27   “Now my soul is troubled. ....".

I accept that the biblical concept of what a soul is, or how the various components of human identity relate to each other is different from how most people assume it to be. But to write off the whole lot as Greco-Latin syncretic accretions is not defensible.


Going back to the OP, I can see that if one is preaching the gospel to Buddhists, one needs to understand of Buddhism, of what can be Christianised and what has to be repudiated, but when we have such a rich tradition of our own, why should those of us who are not Buddhists feel any need to go pingling soupçons of Buddhism to titivate our taste buds? What does it offer that some, possibly less familiar, part of our own spiritual landscape doesn't do better?

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
I don't know, MrCheesy, one is always heterodox in someone else's eyes: evangelicals are beyond the pale as far as Catholics are concerned. The self-styled orthodox thinks Romans are deluded. Romans think we Anglicans are not even a church, but a mere ecclesial community. Baptists believe we're all wrong... whose orthodoxy? The 39 articles? I cannot think of many Anglican clergy who'll confess them wholeheartedly. But yes, you're right: this is not Christian orthodoxy, which is why I keep schtum about it, generally.

Well first of all, I'm an Anglican not all of those other things (not that it matters in this instance, I'm pretty sure belief in reincarnation would be rather a ministry-killer in most Baptist as well as Roman Catholic circles).

Second of all, you appear to be aware of an inconsistency in terms of being a Buddhist Christian in that you're saying that you are keeping schtum about a fairly major part of the Buddhist understanding in the church setting.

And third of all, I'm absolutely disapproving of keeping schtum about something that is a fundamental part of what you believe. If it isn't, that's fine - but if it is then it seems inconsistent (to put it mildly) to be in the priesthood of the Anglican church only because you don't talk about it.

quote:
If that's any comfort, many, many Buddhists cannot bring themselves to believe in rebirth either and think the whole thing is just the Buddha explaining himself using the Vedic categories of his day.
Yes, but the point that I'm trying to make is that there is an inconsistency between Anglican Christianity - which in effect is your employer - and Buddhism.

It may indeed be the case that there is also an inconsistency the other way around which would prevent an Anglican priest becoming a leader in a Buddhist community - I have no idea. I'm not sure why that is relevant anyway, you were asking in the OP why Christians think that Buddhism is objectionable. I don't know and can't speak for how other Buddhist communities behave or believe.

quote:
Orthodoxy is mightily difficult to achieve, unless one is the type that takes everything on board unquestioningly. I cannot understand how anyone can 'simply believe' all +2500 or so articles of the new catechism without flinching.
Herein is madness. Either you (and the church!) decide that you match the belief profile of the organisation that employs you or you don't.

Thank you for the rebuke. That's exactly what I was trying to point out in my initial question. I don't think I'll write anything further, it invariably seems to trigger animosity.

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
... Jesus never, ever speaks of a soul. The only mention I can think of in the NT is the conclusion of 1Thessalonians with its talk of being preserved 'body, soul and spirit.' ...

Eh? What about:-

"Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this:
‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. ...'
"


Or Lk 10:27
"27   “Now my soul is troubled. ....".

I accept that the biblical concept of what a soul is, or how the various components of human identity relate to each other is different from how most people assume it to be. But to write off the whole lot as Greco-Latin syncretic accretions is not defensible.


Going back to the OP, I can see that if one is preaching the gospel to Buddhists, one needs to understand of Buddhism, of what can be Christianised and what has to be repudiated, but when we have such a rich tradition of our own, why should those of us who are not Buddhists feel any need to go pingling soupçons of Buddhism to titivate our taste buds? What does it offer that some, possibly less familiar, part of our own spiritual landscape doesn't do better?

Yes, you're translating nephesh or hayah by soul, it need not mean that it's some sort of eternal incorporeal principle. But what the heck, I'll shut up now. No one is asking you to 'feel any need to go pingling soupçons of Buddhism to titivate our taste buds?' I merely asked what people see as a problem for those of us who do come from that tradition.

pease. Enjoy your perfectly coherent faith.

[ 09. December 2016, 09:41: Message edited by: Joesaphat ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
Thank you for the rebuke. That's exactly what I was trying to point out in my initial question. I don't think I'll write anything further, it invariably seems to trigger animosity.

You appear to be taking disagreement and discussion of the points in your OP for animosity. I think reincarnation isn't consistent with Anglican Christianity - but I'm not in an position within the church and it doesn't matter what I think.

More to the point you asked the question on a discussion board and then didn't like an answer I gave.

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
Thank you for the rebuke. That's exactly what I was trying to point out in my initial question. I don't think I'll write anything further, it invariably seems to trigger animosity.

You appear to be taking disagreement and discussion of the points in your OP for animosity. I think reincarnation isn't consistent with Anglican Christianity - but I'm not in an position within the church and it doesn't matter what I think.

More to the point you asked the question on a discussion board and then didn't like an answer I gave.

No, I did not like the fact that you assert that I should not be a minister and you went all censorious about what you deem incompatible with the Christian faith. Furthermore, let me repeat a third time: I do not 'believe in reincarnation.' I wrote that I was agnostic about re-birth. I'm wondering how you actually know all these things about the afterlife or the soul, personally. I'm just saying I don't know or understand what a 'soul' is or how it constitutes a self.
If you think your post does not drip with animus, think again.

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And I rather dislike the fact that you're not even trying to tell me what kind of philosophical background a so-called orthodox Anglican minister should adopt. I'm not denying the creed or any major doctrinal pronouncement. Of course one keeps schtum about the bits of doctrine one cannot make sense of. That's the only decent thing to do. It's called trying to honour the doctrine of the church. Do you sincerely think that all vicars can tick all the boxes? that even if at some point in their vocation they could, nothing ever changes?

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