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Source: (consider it) Thread: Dharmaphobia
Joesaphat
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And when the rich man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him: You know the commandments, DO this and you will live, then added, give up everything and follow me.

[ 21. December 2016, 06:56: Message edited by: Joesaphat ]

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ThunderBunk

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Let's try a close reading of the parable of the prodigal son.

When he initially leaves his father's house, he takes with him everything that bolsters his sense of self, i.e. his riches. He lives on those, using them in particular to attract the social status which likewise bolsters his sense of self.

When those riches are exhausted, he then lives in the ashes of that same sense of self, tending it at the same time as he tends the pigs. He is unclean in his own judgement because that self is not being fed by the markers of social status his wealth had purchased.

To return to his father requires him to give up everything of that self for which he has sacrificed so much, living under its judgement when his capacity to sustain it was exhausted. When he sets off, he is still determined to live under its judgement, becoming his father's slave in the way that his failure to live up to his own estimation of his former status requires. Instead, his father insists that he give up everything to do with that self and its judgement of him, becoming again what the father's love makes him, i.e. a true son. This requires the construction of a new self, one which is a pure gift from the father.

This is absolutely and definitively a death of the self, of the constant pursuit of brownie points which defines so much religious "life" as well as the materialistic version which entirely possesses so much of life. It is also a clear depiction of union with God as a condition of receiving our true self.

The same of course is true of baptism, and indeed the eucharist: something has to die - our sense of self-reliance, our hold on ourselves, our determination to remain individuated in relation to God, in order for any of the sacraments to work, because they require us to live in God and to allow God to live in us in order for them to carry out their work. That is the closest I come to having an account of salvation, and to me it is found precisely in the death of the self, and the birth of a new, received, newly given self.

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ThunderBunk

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Sorry, but I didn't get that quite right. Something closer to what I meant is that we see a death of the self, a sacrifice of the self, in return for the finding of authentic, eternal life in union with the Father, i.e. God. That, to my mind, is salvation, God's loving purpose, at work. It is entirely consistent with the message of the incarnation and the ascension, since they envisage a (re)union of humanity and divinity, and an expression of divinity in humanity (in reverse order).

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mdijon
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We've had this discussion of faith and works and whether particular strands within Christianity emphasize one over the other. And a similar discussion regarding sacraments.

My take is that it is a foolish quest combing scripture for parables or proof-texts to answer the question "What are the minimum sets of things/beliefs/practices that I need to be saved?"

Whoever put the bible together doesn't want us to live like that.

Having said that I'm not sure how we get from any of these to debates to Buddhism. I'm still left wondering what the problem is in Christianity to which Buddhism is the answer.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
... Having said that I'm not sure how we get from any of these to debates to Buddhism. I'm still left wondering what the problem is in Christianity to which Buddhism is the answer.

Yes, I've still got the same question in my mind.

I can see that we may be restricted when we try to present Christian faith to Buddhists and people from a Buddhist background by the simple fact that most of us know next to nothing about Buddhism or its world view. I can see also that it's possible that there may be ways in which our faith is answering questions Buddhists just aren't asking. It would be helpful to know what those are.

But is it being said that there are questions we are asking to which Buddhism provides an answer which might strengthen our faith? If so, which questions are they and what is the Buddhist answer that we don't know? Are they answers, or are they just different versions of 'this is a mystery', or 'accept'.

If the question is the perennial 'why does God allow suffering?' and the answer is 'there is no God - he is an illusion - now accept', that strikes me as a weaker answer than our own attempts. But, I've no idea whether that's what Buddhism actually says

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Dafyd
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On the subject of Calvinism and Buddhism, from all I've heard of Amida Buddhism, it is essentially Calvinism with the name changed.

Within Christianity salvation by faith alone is by no means restricted to Calvinism. Even Roman Catholicism holds the doctrine (with heavy amounts of 'on the other hand').

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
We've had this discussion of faith and works and whether particular strands within Christianity emphasize one over the other. And a similar discussion regarding sacraments.

My take is that it is a foolish quest combing scripture for parables or proof-texts to answer the question "What are the minimum sets of things/beliefs/practices that I need to be saved?"

Whoever put the bible together doesn't want us to live like that.

Having said that I'm not sure how we get from any of these to debates to Buddhism. I'm still left wondering what the problem is in Christianity to which Buddhism is the answer.

There's no problem, as far as I'm concerned. I was merely asking whether Buddhist philosophy is an acceptable or legitimate way of approaching Christianity, rather than the Platonism or Aristotelianism of the Fathers. The only 'problem' I would see is the delusion that Christianity can stand on its own, the New Testament having next to nothing to say about philosophical matters or hermeneutics.

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
On the subject of Calvinism and Buddhism, from all I've heard of Amida Buddhism, it is essentially Calvinism with the name changed.

Within Christianity salvation by faith alone is by no means restricted to Calvinism. Even Roman Catholicism holds the doctrine (with heavy amounts of 'on the other hand').

Yes, it is. Their distinction between ji-riki and ta-riki, self and other-power, is amazingly similar to salvation by grace alone... now that form, I'd say, would be squarely incompatible with the Christian faith, as it places faith in another divine or supernatural power.

And yes again, I was not concerned with ditching salvation by faith alone, but 'salvation by faith only,' as someone wrote: "We are saved through him, by believing in him, not by believing in any of the specifics of what he did or taught per se.' Not by believing in what he did or taught is a pretty thorough kind of denial, let alone denying salvation by 'what he did or taught.'

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
The only 'problem' I would see is the delusion that Christianity can stand on its own, the New Testament having next to nothing to say about philosophical matters or hermeneutics.

Well that could be a substantial problem. However, it seems to me that isn't what people mean when they say that Christianity can stand on its own. It doesn't tell me much about science, linguistics or musical theory either, but I wouldn't look for those in a religion.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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quetzalcoatl
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Interesting stuff about grace. One of my Zen teachers used to talk about it a lot. He had the image of sitting outside the palace of truth, after long and arduous periods of meditation (or maybe not, in some cases), and now you want to get inside. However, it is apparent that your own efforts to do that actually serve as an impediment.

So how does one do it? Well, by giving up 'how', giving up trying, and some people find themselves inside, by that letting go, which obviously also involves giving up ego, and, he said, grace also comes into it.

However, this seems different from salvation, about which I am more puzzled now than before. I can't see what it is that is saved, but there you are, I must have a screw loose and missing. Unless, that self-abandonment is salvation?

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Golden Key
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Joesaphat--

quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
Their distinction between ji-riki and ta-riki, self and other-power, is amazingly similar to salvation by grace alone... now that form, I'd say, would be squarely incompatible with the Christian faith, as it places faith in another divine or supernatural power.

Is that related to Pure Land Buddhism, by any chance? From what little I understand, PLB seems like the kind of born-again Christianity where you simply ask Jesus to save you, and you're in. In PLB, AIUI, you ask Buddha or Quan Yin (are there others?) to take you to their Pure Land when you die.

Thanks in advance.

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Joesaphat--

quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
Their distinction between ji-riki and ta-riki, self and other-power, is amazingly similar to salvation by grace alone... now that form, I'd say, would be squarely incompatible with the Christian faith, as it places faith in another divine or supernatural power.

Is that related to Pure Land Buddhism, by any chance? From what little I understand, PLB seems like the kind of born-again Christianity where you simply ask Jesus to save you, and you're in. In PLB, AIUI, you ask Buddha or Quan Yin (are there others?) to take you to their Pure Land when you die.

Thanks in advance.

It's the same thing, Mr Key. It's mainly focused on Amida Buddha. Kannon (Quuan Yin, Avalokiteshvara, aka the Buddha of Compassion) grants no such favours, I'm afraid, neither does Shaka Butsu (the historical Buddha) only Amida, allegedly, but many Japanese people go for it. I'd go so far as to say it's the main sect over there.

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Joesaphat
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To be perfectly fair, however, he does not 'save you,' not quite, he grants you re-birth in his own paradise where you can then practise unimpeded and one day reach Nirvana/satori. You'll still have to do the hard work, only in a real nice place, with lots of guidance and help from Amida. I'm not sure. In order to buy it you have to believe that our world has entered Mapo, the age of degradation, where practicing the dharma has become impossible and therefore futile... it's not that different from the doctrine of 'total depravation in Calvin. get humankind to seriously doubt its abilities and feel terribly guilty at the smallest mistake then you can sell them anything, really. Hate the guy.'

[ 21. December 2016, 13:37: Message edited by: Joesaphat ]

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quetzalcoatl
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I thought that was the key to Christianity - feel guilty, then rise to the bait of being forgiven, instead of condemned, when in fact, you had condemned yourself.

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mousethief

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It seems to me from what's been said in the last page or so, before we can answer the question "Is Christian compatible with Buddhism?" we must first specify which Buddhism we're referring to. It seems like there are a legion of different belief systems or religions or whatever-you-want-to-call-them that go by the same name. (We might make a similar point about Christianity, of course.)

Oh, re. Calvinism: it's really about neither works nor faith. It's about God reaching inside your soul and flipping the "believe" switch, whether you want Him to or not. Then all the belief and works and shit follow from the in-built program that God has set in motion. You can do a little to hinder the program. But if you do too much it's proof that God never flipped the switch in the first place. It's amazing how God flips the switch of the children and grandchildren of Calvinists so much more often than those of other believers. But hey, that's their bailiwick.


quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
Before I say anything that comes across as too heretical let me hasten to add that I confess Christ's full divinity too; this being said, if this is the be all and end all of Christian salvation, to require a God to become incarnate to teach what others, thoroughly human, have taught, to die as others, thoroughly human, have also died... does cheapen the idea of divinity a little, don't you think?

There's that little resurrection thing you're missing. There's grounds for a charge of heresy hiding there. Also that he didn't die as a man, he died as the sinless God-man, which no other human being had ever done before.

[ 21. December 2016, 15:27: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
To be perfectly fair, however, he does not 'save you,' not quite, he grants you re-birth in his own paradise where you can then practise unimpeded and one day reach Nirvana/satori. You'll still have to do the hard work, only in a real nice place, with lots of guidance and help from Amida. I'm not sure. In order to buy it you have to believe that our world has entered Mapo, the age of degradation, where practicing the dharma has become impossible and therefore futile... it's not that different from the doctrine of 'total depravation in Calvin. get humankind to seriously doubt its abilities and feel terribly guilty at the smallest mistake then you can sell them anything, really. Hate the guy.'

From your description, and from the perspective of having been pretty fairly seeped in Calvin and Westminster my entire life, it does sound somewhat different from "total depravity." Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but it seems the alternative to what you portray as "total depravity" is more akin to Pelagianism than to other major non-Calvinistic forms of Christianity.

Given that much of the dynamic of this thread has involved possible misunderstandings and misconceptions about what the Buddha taught and what various schools of Buddhism teach, might I invite consideration of the possibility that the same dynamic may occur with Calvin and with the various forms of what people describe as Calvinism.

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I thought that was the key to Christianity - feel guilty, then rise to the bait of being forgiven, instead of condemned, when in fact, you had condemned yourself.

So what's the bait in Buddhism?

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
It seems to me from what's been said in the last page or so, before we can answer the question "Is Christian compatible with Buddhism?" we must first specify which Buddhism we're referring to. It seems like there are a legion of different belief systems or religions or whatever-you-want-to-call-them that go by the same name. (We might make a similar point about Christianity, of course.)

Any system of belief large enough and around long enough will generate variation. Even to the point of contradicting the original source.
So, yes, which form of Buddhism and which form of Christianity can vary the verdict somewhat. However, I do think it is as simple as the stated end game makes Buddhism and Christianity incompatible as wholes, even though pieces match.

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I thought that was the key to Christianity - feel guilty, then rise to the bait of being forgiven, instead of condemned, when in fact, you had condemned yourself.

So what's the bait in Buddhism?
You're not supposed to say that. You're supposed to deny that there is Christian bait.

Well, I'm not a Buddhist, but I suppose long hours in the meditation room, a breaking back, days and days of utter emptiness, meagre food, a splitting headache, well, I thought this is a fine way to spend several days. Then all the emptiness seemed grand.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
Let's try a close reading of the parable of the prodigal son.

When he initially leaves his father's house, he takes with him everything that bolsters his sense of self, i.e. his riches. He lives on those, using them in particular to attract the social status which likewise bolsters his sense of self.

When those riches are exhausted, he then lives in the ashes of that same sense of self, tending it at the same time as he tends the pigs. He is unclean in his own judgement because that self is not being fed by the markers of social status his wealth had purchased.

To return to his father requires him to give up everything of that self for which he has sacrificed so much, living under its judgement when his capacity to sustain it was exhausted. When he sets off, he is still determined to live under its judgement, becoming his father's slave in the way that his failure to live up to his own estimation of his former status requires. Instead, his father insists that he give up everything to do with that self and its judgement of him, becoming again what the father's love makes him, i.e. a true son. This requires the construction of a new self, one which is a pure gift from the father.

This is absolutely and definitively a death of the self, of the constant pursuit of brownie points which defines so much religious "life" as well as the materialistic version which entirely possesses so much of life. It is also a clear depiction of union with God as a condition of receiving our true self.

The same of course is true of baptism, and indeed the eucharist: something has to die - our sense of self-reliance, our hold on ourselves, our determination to remain individuated in relation to God, in order for any of the sacraments to work, because they require us to live in God and to allow God to live in us in order for them to carry out their work. That is the closest I come to having an account of salvation, and to me it is found precisely in the death of the self, and the birth of a new, received, newly given self.

I'm not sure we can really say that the parable is about the death of the self and the birth of a newly-given self. I think it's more about the death of a false self and the discovery of ones true self.

The key, it seems to me, is what Jesus says at the son's turning point—"and when he had come to himself." Then there's the Father referring to him as the son who was lost but now is found, who was dead but now lives.

It seems to me that Jesus is not so much saying that the old self has died, but that the son has remembered his true self—who he really is, his father's son—and that his false idea of his self has died. Of course, the full implications of that aren't realized until he experiences his father's welcome.

In other words, I don't think the Father in the parable offers a "new" self. He affirms the "true" self that was always there.

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quetzalcoatl
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What is the true self?

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
There's no problem, as far as I'm concerned. I was merely asking whether Buddhist philosophy is an acceptable or legitimate way of approaching Christianity, rather than the Platonism or Aristotelianism of the Fathers. The only 'problem' I would see is the delusion that Christianity can stand on its own, the New Testament having next to nothing to say about philosophical matters or hermeneutics.

I can see the point of looking at this if one came from a Buddhist background. I would be a bit like St Paul quoting Greek poets to evangelise the Athenians. However, would there be any point in learning about Buddhist philosophy just so that one could approach Christianity through it, if one already has a Christian background?

I accept that this might sound a bit abrupt. Please do not be offended by this question or by the way I'm expressing it. I regret I can't find a better way of putting it.

From a position of more or less complete ignorance of Buddhism, what ingredients does it have that would enhance my Christian life if I did but know about them?

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
What is the true self?

Good question. I'd say that it's the self that bears the image of God, that is loved by God and that can receive and reflect that love.

Which may be one reason that the idea that the key to Christianity is being made to feel guilty and surely condemned, but come to us and we can offer forgiveness, sounds strange to me. I'm sure it is the experience of some, but it's not my experience. For me, the key was being taught I am a child of God who is loved by God, as is everyone else.

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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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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
What is the true self?

Good question. I'd say that it's the self that bears the image of God, that is loved by God and that can receive and reflect that love.

Which may be one reason that the idea that the key to Christianity is being made to feel guilty and surely condemned, but come to us and we can offer forgiveness, sounds strange to me. I'm sure it is the experience of some, but it's not my experience. For me, the key was being taught I am a child of God who is loved by God, as is everyone else.

That sounds nice. But when you say 'the self that ...', I don't know what you mean by that. Do you mean your personality?

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
To be perfectly fair, however, he does not 'save you,' not quite, he grants you re-birth in his own paradise where you can then practise unimpeded and one day reach Nirvana/satori. You'll still have to do the hard work, only in a real nice place, with lots of guidance and help from Amida. I'm not sure. In order to buy it you have to believe that our world has entered Mapo, the age of degradation, where practicing the dharma has become impossible and therefore futile... it's not that different from the doctrine of 'total depravation in Calvin. get humankind to seriously doubt its abilities and feel terribly guilty at the smallest mistake then you can sell them anything, really. Hate the guy.'

From your description, and from the perspective of having been pretty fairly seeped in Calvin and Westminster my entire life, it does sound somewhat different from "total depravity." Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but it seems the alternative to what you portray as "total depravity" is more akin to Pelagianism than to other major non-Calvinistic forms of Christianity.

Given that much of the dynamic of this thread has involved possible misunderstandings and misconceptions about what the Buddha taught and what various schools of Buddhism teach, might I invite consideration of the possibility that the same dynamic may occur with Calvin and with the various forms of what people describe as Calvinism.

I'm a semi-Pelagian to be precise, I do not deny the reality of grace, merely that the work of our salvation is utterly and entirely dependant on it. I'm with the orthodox and the East on this: synergy, with the caveat that it's rather difficult to figure who does what, God or you. It's awfully difficult to say, I'm not sure how Augustine managed it.

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I thought that was the key to Christianity - feel guilty, then rise to the bait of being forgiven, instead of condemned, when in fact, you had condemned yourself.

quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
So what's the bait in Buddhism?

quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
You're not supposed to say that. You're supposed to deny that there is Christian bait.

Just trying to fit it into my framework.

quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Well, I'm not a Buddhist, but I suppose long hours in the meditation room, a breaking back, days and days of utter emptiness, meagre food, a splitting headache, well, I thought this is a fine way to spend several days. Then all the emptiness seemed grand.

Sounds great. I guess if I was a real seeker after truth I wouldn't be put off at all, but as it is I'd prefer a nice dinner, a cup of tea and an early night.

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
It seems to me from what's been said in the last page or so, before we can answer the question "Is Christian compatible with Buddhism?" we must first specify which Buddhism we're referring to. It seems like there are a legion of different belief systems or religions or whatever-you-want-to-call-them that go by the same name. (We might make a similar point about Christianity, of course.)

Any system of belief large enough and around long enough will generate variation. Even to the point of contradicting the original source.
So, yes, which form of Buddhism and which form of Christianity can vary the verdict somewhat. However, I do think it is as simple as the stated end game makes Buddhism and Christianity incompatible as wholes, even though pieces match.

I'd say Theravada or Zen (Chan, Seon, etc), which do after all account for the vast majority. Vajrayana (Tibet and Shingon sect in Japan) and Pure-land (Japan only) are minorities, much as I love them. As are Calvinists, after all. To answer Nick Tamen, as with sin so with Calvinism: hate the doctrine, love the believer. Some of my best friends are Calvinists.
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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
I'm a semi-Pelagian to be precise, I do not deny the reality of grace, merely that the work of our salvation is utterly and entirely dependant on it. I'm with the orthodox and the East on this: synergy, with the caveat that it's rather difficult to figure who does what, God or you.

We are certainly in tune here.

quote:
It's awfully difficult to say, I'm not sure how Augustine managed it.
I'm not sure he did. He rejected anything that sounded even vaguely Pelagian. Or what he called Pelagian -- since virtually all we know of Pelagius we get through Augustine, who used him as a whipping boy. Augustine created the false dichotomy of 100% God or 100% man. Then again he was never the subtle one.

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I thought that was the key to Christianity - feel guilty, then rise to the bait of being forgiven, instead of condemned, when in fact, you had condemned yourself.

It would be quite interesting to understand where and how this whole Christian affliction of guilt came about. The disciples didn't seem to suffer from it. From what we can glean from the Gospel they left their families to follow the New experience and never looked back.
The theology of St. Paul might be where it came from .The fact that Saul had done a lot of persecution of the very thing he succumbed to might have fostered a deep personal desire to make amends as it were.

Can all of humanity's guilt be laid squarely at the door of Christian institutions? I wonder if Buddhists ever get burdened with guilt.

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
What is the true self?

It's very difficult to define self in a satisfactory sense biologically. Some things are definitely in (like our bones) and some things are definitely out (the pet dog). But at what point does shed skin stop being self, at what point do colonizing bacteria that our immune systems tolerate become self, what about food and material we breathe in and out.

But in the end in can be very simple. This is me, I'm my body, it is so because I say so and no other molecular, biochemical or psychological definition is going to improve on that. And then I can get on with my life.

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
There's no problem, as far as I'm concerned. I was merely asking whether Buddhist philosophy is an acceptable or legitimate way of approaching Christianity, rather than the Platonism or Aristotelianism of the Fathers. The only 'problem' I would see is the delusion that Christianity can stand on its own, the New Testament having next to nothing to say about philosophical matters or hermeneutics.

I can see the point of looking at this if one came from a Buddhist background. I would be a bit like St Paul quoting Greek poets to evangelise the Athenians. However, would there be any point in learning about Buddhist philosophy just so that one could approach Christianity through it, if one already has a Christian background?

I accept that this might sound a bit abrupt. Please do not be offended by this question or by the way I'm expressing it. I regret I can't find a better way of putting it.

From a position of more or less complete ignorance of Buddhism, what ingredients does it have that would enhance my Christian life if I did but know about them?

Well, I did take care to point out that I fell into the magic potion as a child in the OP. This being said, I think Buddhism would have a thing or two to teach Christians. Most contemplative practices (unless you're an athonite monk) are moribund in Christianity. It's not our fault, it's the Reformation/Aufklarung/Revolution dissolving monasteries everywhere. Most of our monastic communities, if not all, are Victorian re-foundations. Also, most contemplative practices taught these days (I'm looking at you, John Main etc), centering prayer and the like, are actually based on Buddhist practice. Why not go to the source? It also would provide a philosophical background less inimical to modern physics, psychology or biology, if you ask me.

[ 21. December 2016, 17:24: Message edited by: Joesaphat ]

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I thought that was the key to Christianity - feel guilty, then rise to the bait of being forgiven, instead of condemned, when in fact, you had condemned yourself.

It would be quite interesting to understand where and how this whole Christian affliction of guilt came about. The disciples didn't seem to suffer from it. From what we can glean from the Gospel they left their families to follow the New experience and never looked back.
The theology of St. Paul might be where it came from .The fact that Saul had done a lot of persecution of the very thing he succumbed to might have fostered a deep personal desire to make amends as it were.

Can all of humanity's guilt be laid squarely at the door of Christian institutions? I wonder if Buddhists ever get burdened with guilt.

This Buddhist is. It's no use asking Western converts, they generally try to escape, but ask any east Asian: conjugated with confucian respect for family and elders, it's a powerful cocktail. It's a gateway cocktail to despondency.

Here's a well known joke: (Japanese) grand -dad asks grand-daughter: 'How old are you?'

'I'm six'

'By your age, I was seven.'

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
What is the true self?

Good question. I'd say that it's the self that bears the image of God, that is loved by God and that can receive and reflect that love.

Which may be one reason that the idea that the key to Christianity is being made to feel guilty and surely condemned, but come to us and we can offer forgiveness, sounds strange to me. I'm sure it is the experience of some, but it's not my experience. For me, the key was being taught I am a child of God who is loved by God, as is everyone else.

That sounds nice. But when you say 'the self that ...', I don't know what you mean by that. Do you mean your personality?
Yes, what is it that is the image-bearer. It's a fairly important question and I've never been able to understand it. Rationality, Aquinas says, which sounds awfully limiting. Also, where does it begin, where does it stop? Are clever people more in His image? Are severely mentally impaired people not?

[ 21. December 2016, 17:33: Message edited by: Joesaphat ]

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quetzalcoatl
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The boundaries of the self - good grief. I suppose for a lot of people the skin, although that seems limiting, and strangely reductionist. Maybe I just am what there is, and the separations are mind forg'd manacles. Can we be free from them?

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mousethief

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What body? The body is illusory. All there is is the self, and other selves.

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
What body? The body is illusory. All there is is the self, and other selves.

Hey, that's my line.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
This being said, I think Buddhism would have a thing or two to teach Christians. Most contemplative practices (unless you're an athonite monk) are moribund in Christianity. It's not our fault, it's the Reformation/Aufklarung/Revolution dissolving monasteries everywhere.

Yay! I'm exempt! I'm exempt! No Thomas Merton Buddhism for me. I've got Hesychasm.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
What body? The body is illusory. All there is is the self, and other selves.

Hey, that's my line.
Gottfriend Willhelm? Is that you?

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
What body? The body is illusory. All there is is the self, and other selves.

Hey, that's my line.
Gottfriend Willhelm? Is that you?
Getting warm.

I worked for 30 years in a meditation group on 'What am I?' and the number one experience is that I am what there is; also I am the I am; also, I am complete.

Well, call me a foolish fond old man, but I like being those things, and now, I just can't stop.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
[qb] What is the true self?

Good question. I'd say that it's the self that bears the image of God, that is loved by God and that can receive and reflect that love.

Which may be one reason that the idea that the key to Christianity is being made to feel guilty and surely condemned, but come to us and we can offer forgiveness, sounds strange to me. I'm sure it is the experience of some, but it's not my experience. For me, the key was being taught I am a child of God who is loved by God, as is everyone else.

That sounds nice. But when you say 'the self that ...', I don't know what you mean by that. Do you mean your personality?

Yes, what is it that is the image-bearer. It's a fairly important question and I've never been able to understand it. Rationality, Aquinas says, which sounds awfully limiting. Also, where does it begin, where does it stop? Are clever people more in His image? Are severely mentally impaired people not?
i suppose it is a rather important question to some, and I'm sure I don't have an answer that will be satisfactory, because to me it's really not that important. Perhaps I just lack proper aptitude and/or patience for much philosophical thought, but the reality is get bored with these questions pretty quickly. I'm quite happy to affirm the mystery of the imago Dei and entertain a variety of ways that it might be manifest or experienced without trying to pinpoint exactly where it resides. To me, that question really isn't important. The important question to me is what does being created in the image of God, and knowing that every other human is equally created in the image of God, mean for how I live my life?

Likewise, it's enough for me to say that my "self" is what makes me "me" and not anyone else. That includes body, mind, soul—all that is me.

But clearly, that's not enough for everyone. We all have different itches that need scratching.

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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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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
To answer Nick Tamen, as with sin so with Calvinism: hate the doctrine, love the believer. Some of my best friends are Calvinists.

[Big Grin] I can live with that, I think. (I wonder if the Lutherans will feel left out on the whole justification by grace through faith thing, though, since we got it from them. [Biased] )

I keep thinking that I need to ask you if you've read Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. It's definitely not for everyone, but I think you might like it.

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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 Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
To answer Nick Tamen, as with sin so with Calvinism: hate the doctrine, love the believer. Some of my best friends are Calvinists.

[Big Grin] I can live with that, I think. (I wonder if the Lutherans will feel left out on the whole justification by grace through faith thing, though, since we got it from them. [Biased] )

I keep thinking that I need to ask you if you've read Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. It's definitely not for everyone, but I think you might like it.

Oooh, thanks for the suggestion, but I'll get it from Wordery. God rot Amazon and the way they treat their little elves.

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
[qb] What is the true self?

Good question. I'd say that it's the self that bears the image of God, that is loved by God and that can receive and reflect that love.

Which may be one reason that the idea that the key to Christianity is being made to feel guilty and surely condemned, but come to us and we can offer forgiveness, sounds strange to me. I'm sure it is the experience of some, but it's not my experience. For me, the key was being taught I am a child of God who is loved by God, as is everyone else.

That sounds nice. But when you say 'the self that ...', I don't know what you mean by that. Do you mean your personality?

Yes, what is it that is the image-bearer. It's a fairly important question and I've never been able to understand it. Rationality, Aquinas says, which sounds awfully limiting. Also, where does it begin, where does it stop? Are clever people more in His image? Are severely mentally impaired people not?
i suppose it is a rather important question to some, and I'm sure I don't have an answer that will be satisfactory, because to me it's really not that important. Perhaps I just lack proper aptitude and/or patience for much philosophical thought, but the reality is get bored with these questions pretty quickly. I'm quite happy to affirm the mystery of the imago Dei and entertain a variety of ways that it might be manifest or experienced without trying to pinpoint exactly where it resides. To me, that question really isn't important. The important question to me is what does being created in the image of God, and knowing that every other human is equally created in the image of God, mean for how I live my life?

Likewise, it's enough for me to say that my "self" is what makes me "me" and not anyone else. That includes body, mind, soul—all that is me.

But clearly, that's not enough for everyone. We all have different itches that need scratching.

I cannot help asking myself questions, all the time. If I'm to be saved, what is it that will be saved, as I'm unlikely to carry on in my current physical form. At least I hope I won't, an eternity of this would not be nice. Then again, the same is probably true of my mind and I don't think God will zap our minds so that we suddenly become eternally blissful. So what will endure? How will we be transformed? What must I do? Sooo many questions. Think I'd better go and meditate because one thing's sure: we'll die without the answers.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
I cannot help asking myself questions, all the time. If I'm to be saved, what is it that will be saved, as I'm unlikely to carry on in my current physical form. At least I hope I won't, an eternity of this would not be nice. Then again, the same is probably true of my mind and I don't think God will zap our minds so that we suddenly become eternally blissful. So what will endure? How will we be transformed? What must I do? Sooo many questions. Think I'd better go and meditate because one thing's sure: we'll die without the answers.

And we'll die with them. I am willing to bet that nobody was ever saved by knowing the answer to religio-philosophical brain-busters. Better to go serve the least of these.

--------------------
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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I am willing to bet that nobody was ever saved by knowing the answer to religio-philosophical brain-busters. Better to go serve the least of these.

Which is why (IMHO) belief, not knowledge is key to faith. Otherwise, at mousethief suggests, one's brain will explode.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I am willing to bet that nobody was ever saved by knowing the answer to religio-philosophical brain-busters. Better to go serve the least of these.

Which is why (IMHO) belief, not knowledge is key to faith. Otherwise, at mousethief suggests, one's brain will explode.
I'd say it's not belief but trust and obedience. Even the devils believe.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I am willing to bet that nobody was ever saved by knowing the answer to religio-philosophical brain-busters. Better to go serve the least of these.

Which is why (IMHO) belief, not knowledge is key to faith. Otherwise, at mousethief suggests, one's brain will explode.
I'd say it's not belief but trust and obedience. Even the devils believe.
Yes.

--------------------
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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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
I keep thinking that I need to ask you if you've read Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. It's definitely not for everyone, but I think you might like it.

Oooh, thanks for the suggestion, but I'll get it from Wordery. God rot Amazon and the way they treat their little elves.
Let me know what you think of it.

--------------------
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 mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
I cannot help asking myself questions, all the time. If I'm to be saved, what is it that will be saved, as I'm unlikely to carry on in my current physical form. At least I hope I won't, an eternity of this would not be nice. Then again, the same is probably true of my mind and I don't think God will zap our minds so that we suddenly become eternally blissful. So what will endure? How will we be transformed? What must I do? Sooo many questions. Think I'd better go and meditate because one thing's sure: we'll die without the answers.

And we'll die with them. I am willing to bet that nobody was ever saved by knowing the answer to religio-philosophical brain-busters. Better to go serve the least of these.
Indeed, better serve those Christ loves, this being said, we must not rubbish the brain too much lest we all become scientologist or Islamists or what have you. I'v never claimed to be saved by solving metaphysical conundrums but fideism is equally undesirable IMO

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
Indeed, better serve those Christ loves, this being said, we must not rubbish the brain too much lest we all become scientologist or Islamists or what have you.

A straw man. You conflate doing theology with doing the kind of mental gymnastics you are promoting. They are not the same thing.

quote:
I'v never claimed to be saved by solving metaphysical conundrums but fideism is equally undesirable IMO
See above comment.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

Posts: 63202 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged



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