|isms in respect to religions
||[Jan. 25th, 2005|11:55 pm]
I'm taking this class: Beatniks, Bongos, and Buddhists. It's a literature/philosophy integrated study. I've only been in one class thus far and it has been amazing.
We got right down to discussing today, starting off with excerpts of Kerouac's Mexico City Blues (If you want to read some of these to see what I'm talking about leave me a message and I'll either post 'em here or email them to you).
We began with discussing the concept of "nothing being everything" and attempting to define the "essence" of something. It later turned into a somewhat lively debate on whether or not one can be of a practicing Judeo-Christian faith (Jewish/Christian/Muslim) and still practice Buddhism. Now, it seems to me that in this class, buddhism falls under a working definition of religion, which has yet to be clarified and something I intend on bringing up in class at a later point in time.
A girl in my class claimed to be a practicing Christian and a student of Buddhism, which led to some people question her about how she could consider herself to be a practitioner of two sort of dissimilar faiths. (reincarnation in buddhism, the fact that there is no belief of a god with a capital G; both concepts negated by Christianity, proper-modernised*). Now, I have absolutely no problem with this girl being a Christian Buddhist because to most extents, I don't consider buddhism to be a religion but a philosophy, a set of rules that people deduced would lead to a good, rewarding way of life.
Granted, the key to Buddhism is that life is suffering and that the teachings of the Buddha are the way to happiness... doesn't seem all that different from the other faiths now does it?
Ideologically, I don't think that any religion or world faith differs too much from another. It seems, essentially, that it's just all about being the best person that you know to be.
So I guess the question I'm posing here to you guys is that do you believe that one can be a practicing Christian (insert any other Judeo-Christian faith here) and a Buddhist (insert any other world faith here)?
i don't see anything wrong with someone being a christian (and when i say that here i mean anybody who believes that jesus died on the cross for their sins...thats it)living according to buddhist teachings. like you said: there is no (G)od in buddhism because the buddha demanded he not be transformed into a divine being, so...anyone who tells you that buddhist followers are meant to worship buddha is mistaken. much of buddhism is about meditation and detachment from desires and possessions. this is all over the bible, but it is not apparent in america (predominately christian) today. the point i make is...sometimes, i think, buddhists in their detachment from material possessions and extreme dedication to meditation, are leading lives closer to the bibles code of ethics than some people who claim to be christian, certainly closer than i am.
i don't agree that one can be an all out follower or Christ and an all out follower of buddhism. one of the issues i have trouble with is syncretism. this is warned against multiple times in the bible. and, the two issues that you raised-no God in buddhism and the belief in reincarnation. i don't know much (and by much i mean nothing) about buddhism, but from my understanding it is a very introspective belief system in which a person earns his way to nirvana (if that's the right word?)? there are good things about this, i.e. you don't act like a prick. but, the christian faith relies solely on Jesus' blood sacrifice to reach heaven (nirvana?). to do both you'd have to be able to live with a lot of dissonance.
i guess you're right about having some dissonance in being an "all-out" follower of both religions. simply because buddhism doesn't stress our rewards for the blood of jesus. what i'm saying is that, if there be someone who is a christian (again, here i mean one who believes in jesus' death for their forgiveness...no strings attached) who wants to follow the ethical code of buddhism as well, there is little contradiction here. or even if one thinks that heaven is closer to "nirvana", this shouldn't serve as a point of conflict. the bible describes heaven, amont other things, as having "streets of gold"; i take for granted most christians surely don't believe heaven is a physical place with streets made of something we ascribe material worth to here on earth. the point i hope i make is, neither christians nor buddhists know what heaven/nirvana is like...what i think is going on is that we have the idea of the same place and we're calling it two seperate names. another collaboration one could make between buddhism and christianity involves their meditation. as you said, buddhism is very introspective; buddhism stresses to meditate on nothing at all, or on a spiritual idea close to your heart. so anyone, a christian for example, could simply study buddhism meditation techniques to meditate on: a)nothing b)jesus c)their concept of heaven, or virtually anything, without, correct me if i'm wrong because you know more of the bible than i, this meditation contradicting any bible verses. well, thats about it, see ya saturday bud.
hope things are going well... i remember being enchanted by the concept of being a "christian buddhist.".... and i think it just all depends what you mean by the phrase... it is not, by any means, some kind of religious stock phrase....... for me, when i considered myself a "buddhist christian".... i meant that i practiced christianity through buddhist techniques... (i mediated using beads, etc.)... while i'm not entirely sure what i would label myself right now.... i think that it all depends on what the person means by "christian buddhist" or "buddhist christian"...... there's no glossing it over.... i just think it honestly goes person-to-person... but, in my opinion, it's totally permissible.... i agree with k5 in that buddhism seems more like a school of thought/philosophy....... but that's just my opinion.... it's all in how you look at things, i guess.
I agree with Sara. I find technique to be very transferrable between religions, as long as they don't contradict dogma. I've got a post coming with a related topic so I won't go into details. But as for my advice, "Religion is yours and solely yours. It is your connection with the infinite, relate to it in anyway you see fit. To compromise to strict doctrine/dogma's that are not your own is to compromise your relationship to the infinite, be it the divine within or without."