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Christian value in Buddha Dharma

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Christian value in Buddha Dharma
Answer
7/1/09 2:25 PM
Author: EnikhanJohorns
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

I don’t need something such as an item, ergo a piece of art to embody ideal virtue for me. I do not believe that the spirit of Buddha is in a statue: How can I honor the Truth and simultaneously not bow to a statue, nor practice idolatry. How can I practice at temple, without prostrations to statues and not show disrespect for virtue?

RE: Christian value in Buddha Dharma
Answer
7/1/09 9:04 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I don't know man, you'll have to just keep banging your head against the floor on this one.
: )
I think everything in this world is holy and profane at the same time. How do you stop from ducking when you get in your car?

It's about respect, respect for culture, for tradition, for people, to shake hands to not shake hands, whatever. Honor all or honor none. Good luck.

I think that the sentiment 'GOD ALMIGHTY' expressed was to 'Have no Gods, before me.' So the other gods are what they are, the other people are what they are, and this guy, the one who needs to balance the score card and has a bit of a thing for holding rank over everyone else is demanding max deference. So, buck up I guess, max cred to the big guy for keeping the peace and whatnot.

Christ set you free from the old law. Love your brother as yourself man. That's all, love God, love creation, with all your heart and mind. Just nod if you understand, there, you just bowed. R E S P E C T . It's that easy. You're forgiven for thinking it was a problem.

The Buddha is simply wise to all this, untraceable, free, no soul to burn, gotta respect that perfect wisdom too.

peace out.

RE: Christian value in Buddha Dharma
Answer
7/1/09 10:12 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi EnikhanJohorns

Like Triplethink wrote, showing respect is not the same as idolatry.

Since there are strong sentiments connected to this subject, why not make a practice object of it, investigate, find out more?

When bowing (or thinking about bowing), what arises? Verbalized thought (tough to investigate, because it tends to draw one in)? Emotions? Memories? Physical feelings (easiest to investigate)? How does the stomach feel? Forehead? These can be observed, traced, looked at from all kinds of angles.

That's just a suggestion for a little exercise in distinguishing "content" or "stuff" from the things that make up the content. This doesn't mean the content, in this case, reservations about expressing respect by bowing to an object, should not be dealt with on its own level. Just that there is an opportunity for insight practice even when confronted with stuff like this.

And even though looking at the component sensations making up the worry about idolatry doesn't deal with it on the content level, sometimes the same component sensations can be recognized in other "stuff", and interesting parallels can be drawn on the content, "stuff" level. Can be quite revealing.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Christian value in Buddha Dharma
Answer
7/2/09 1:58 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I suppose you could nod awkwardly or bow clumsily like a Westerner in Japan, displaying both difference and respect! Being deviant, internationalist, anti-tribal, and anarchical I've had this problem all my life, but refusing to stand during national anthems, debating whether to open a door for another person,whether to celebrate Christmas, or light a candle for my dead Catholic mother in a church eventually became too much effort. I decided that all these (and many more quarrels I have with the status quo or with ritualized power dynamics) could mostly be resolved by what I could call the Namaste principle. If I bow to a statue of the Buddha or to you for that matter I am recognizing that Awareness that exists within and beyond my closely held personal identity. I am recognizing my own Path and yours. I am asserting interdependence (not independence, which, believe me, I really don't need to assert any more than I already have). I am proclaiming my belief in the sentient universe.

RE: Christian value in Buddha Dharma
Answer
7/2/09 2:07 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: msj123

I don't see any conflict between Buddhism and Christianity. The difference lies in the methodology.

In Christianity, there are three Baptisms: water for repentance, fire for power, and cloud (air) for wisdom. It does not take a great leap to correlate these Baptisms with sila, samadhi, and panna. Modern Christianity tends to focus only on the first Baptism.

RE: Christian value in Buddha Dharma
Answer
7/10/09 7:18 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: EnikhanJohorns

Dear Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche,

I wasn't raised Christian by my parents; they wanted me to choose to practice religion (any religion) or to choose not to. I went to Catholic school because it seemed a more safe environment than inner-city public high schooling. In order to not be closed off to a spiritual way of being I had to defend my mind from catholic influence. This ingrained in me a great notion of not looking outside myself for the leader. I did not take refuge with Master Long Hui. I have yet to experience "cherry picking" as resulting in only confusion as an effect. It seems I must have an affinity for my own path no matter what that path is. It always seemed that I can see things others do not. I don't find it hard to believe that what "virtue" is can be understood by someone who doesn't know and hasn't experienced the effect of "absolute righteousness", whatever that is (more than rags I imagine). I meant to ask about how I can still show respect for the vows of the monastics without giving prostrations to an item. What I don't see is how a statue is necessarily any more important than even a cricket. Perhaps I am coming from my own ego, but I don't take anything personally. I prefer to let go of the shore when I'm sure that Angel Falls isn't the distance of a musket shot down stream. If I can't see the truth, than what is it?

Sincerely,
John Erik Hanson

RE: Christian value in Buddha Dharma
Answer
7/10/09 8:28 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Please forgive me for jumping in here but all we can do is offer our own truth, the truth of our experience be it past or present. You with your truth of uncertainties and discomfort and I with my gratitude.

In keeping with that gratitude, what I really appreciate is the opportunity to bow to actual living members of the Sangha who are well trained, learned, skilled, accomplished and wise. Those who are sincere in their aims embody the very enlightened states of mind that I and others here seek. They do this not only for their own well being but for the additional benefits of others who are then also exposed to these states of mind and 'pick them up' to one extent or another. So for me, the Buddha rupas simply represent someone and something to which I accord the highest respect. All that arises is a gratitude simply to have arrived at sufficient understanding to be completely humbled. With that sentiment bowing comes entirely naturally.

All I can suggest is that you continue to listen to your heart and continue to follow everything with your mind.

metta & upekkha
nathan

RE: Christian value in Buddha Dharma
Answer
7/13/09 8:46 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: EnikhanJohorns

Although it is unnecessary to assume that I have a truth of uncertainties and discomfort, there is no need to forgive you. Gratitude is important to give to monastics and others from whom one may soak up wisdom. Make no mistakes about the perspective I am trying to represent here: the Dharma deserves the highest respect and humility is too uncommon. Although they may convey some aspect of the truth as it is perceived, and are usually underrated, works of art are not living beings. I doubt that they are not a distraction from where the highest respect is due: those qualified living beings who live the true purpose of the Dharma. Although it may be aesthetically pleasing, I cannot learn from a statue, and alone, a statue cannot change your heart, improve your morality, nor save your life.
In all conscience,
John Hanson

RE: Christian value in Buddha Dharma
Answer
7/13/09 9:19 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I have. I've actually learned quite a lot from statues. Maybe you will too someday, maybe not.

What I'm saying, and I've had my own struggles with the same issues, is have that struggle and let it take it's course. It will shake out in the end. Personally, I'm not into statues, I don't bow to them or set up shrines for them or anything like that at home. If you check the record, the Buddha was not into the statues either and said so. But people are, as they are. So when I am with others, I try to get along with them. That is simple courtesy and it costs me nothing. I don't have to consider it idolatry because I know it is simply a representation of something else that many people, for whatever reasons, apparently cannot make a meaningful connection with in any other way. On the other hand the statue may have come to represent, in one icon, a vast array of meaningful connections to something much more meaningful than a statue could ever be. The same could be said for crosses, holy water, sacraments of one kind or another, etc., etc..

I agree, make it a priority to keep the conscience alive, and let the rest work itself out over time in your actual experience and in the mind that reflects on that. Still, it can be very healthy to question that conscience, to continue to ask it what it's basis is and if or why that changes and how and if that is for better or for worse.