Buddhadharma and Christdharma

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Buddhadharma and Christdharma

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: MinnieGardenia
Forum: Practical Dharma

Is there anyone else out there who practices both Buddhism and Christianity? I practice insight meditation and am an Episcopalian and would like to connect with others on this path.
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RE: Buddhadharma and Christdharma

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

Minnie, it's a really interesting question, the relationship between Christianity and Buddhist meditative practice. It's not really my area, but I'm interested to know what other people have to say about it.

It may be worth starting a new thread for a fresh start.
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RE: Buddhadharma and Christdharma

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Yes, I sort of do both, not because I want to but because it is my kamma to do so. I have a good working understanding of both traditions so I can try to draw comparisons or answer questions about possible similarities, differences and points of possible contact.
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RE: Buddhadharma and Christdharma

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Interesting combination, Buddhism and Christianity. I was raised Catholic, then investigated other Christian denominations... then other religions and beliefs (it grew to be a pretty big list). Although, my search lead me to my current practice of both Buddhism and Daoism, I continue to have interest in Christian Mysticism (particularly Meister Johann Eckhart, Dionysius the Areopagite, and St. John of The Cross).
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RE: Buddhadharma and Christdharma

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: MinnieGardenia

I'm interested in the tension between the two traditions' approaches to personal identity. In Buddhism, ego, personal identity, is deconstructed. In Xty (X=Christ), too much (my opinion) energy is invested in constructing ego. Of course the mystics transcend ego on a good day, but mystics are (for that reason) outsiders, literally as "heretics" or figuratively as those the church just doesn't know what to do with but doesn't want to wholly reject.
My practice includes regular attendance at Eucharist. This is my heritage. I find the ceremony to be incomparably beautiful. I like my Christian practice fancy (give me Real Presence or there's no point) and my Buddhist practice plain (no statues, deities, tantra for me).
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RE: Buddhadharma and Christdharma

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
As far as books are concerned, I recommend "The Good Heart" where the Dalai Lama looks into the Gospels in discussion with Christian brothers and sisters.
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RE: Buddhadharma and Christdharma

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Minnie,
I wouldn't say that Buddhist practice aims at deconstructing the ego. Superficially it may seem so, of course, but I find the term "separate self" more useful than "ego" (which could be taken to mean anything from a Freudian Ego to consciousness to pride etc.) The sense of self arises from sensations, can't arise independent from them, and thus is not "separate" or "sovereign". Similarly, in Christianity, the Fall, Sin and all that is very much connected to the idea of separation from God, rebellion (declaring independence...) Same theme, in my opinion: in Buddhism, it's called "not-self".

The Eucharist, commemorating Christ's self-sacrifice and suffering, shares the theme of compassion and suffering with Buddhism. Presence of Christ can again be understood to be congruent with Buddhist concepts like the "knower of the world" - who is it that knows, recognizes, acknowledges what's going on around us? The larger "observer", etc.

Whether you prefer the personification like in theist religion, or the stark impersonal framework of Theravada, is a matter of taste, I think. I tend to associate a position in space and time with personal conceptions of God (and thus implicitly, god-free places and times), which is not useful to me. But then, I have a hard time with devotional practices, too, metta practice being the closest I can get.

Finally, the catholic church's strange relationship to mystics: the eastern orthodox churches seem to be much more relaxed in that respect.

Have you read Daniel's essay (chapter of his book) on "not-self vs true self"?

http://tinyurl.com/lps7ch

Cheers,
Florian
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RE: Buddhadharma and Christdharma

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Hi Minnie,

Would you mind unpacking this statement a bit? I can see how modern/contemporary Christianity is all about ego, particularly in the prosperity messages ("Name it and claim it!"). It would seem that the message the New Testament writers is hardly self-centered or ego-gratifying. It's all about loving your neighbor as yourself, being a functioning member of the Body of Christ, developing spiritual gifts to serve others, giving your possessions to those in need, and getting over the hang ups of your own religious tradition in order to be more inclusive of others (i.e. don't try to circumcise everyone, for god's sake!).

I in no way think that Christianity and Buddhism are identical in aim, or that they're even all that similar at their core. But I think these two traditions are compatible because of their differences, not in spite of them. In other words, I can't imagine an enlightened person being a dysfunctional citizen of the Kingdom of God.

Your thoughts?
~Jackson

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