Buddha and his teachings


#1

The following is a list of questions asked of me considering my interest in Buddhism and practice thereof.

Q1. Did this Buddha fella ever have a real job, or career, or did he just ride blissfully on inherited wealth?

Answer: He was born as the prince of a small “tribe” in what is now modern-day Nepal. He was wealthy by the standards of his day. He left his home at 29 years old because of experiences that led him to seek after an end to the cycle of birth and death.

Q2. Did this buddha ever claim divine authority to teach, or was he just a really neat homeless fella?

Answer: He claimed he attained enlightenment by direct, determined will to do so. He did not seek or obtain “divine authority”. Coming from a Hindu background - he sought to change his own circumstances and obtain his own freedom from death instead of relying on a god that he could not directly experience.

Q3. If some things are too strict, are they objectively too strict for all humans or just certain humans? Same with loose?

Answer: Let me give you an example: a man who followed the Buddha named “Sona” came to Buddha and claimed he had tried very hard to reach enlightenment and meditate well, but was becoming frustrated with his results. Buddha asked Sona about his previous experiences playing a musical instrument. He asked him if his strings were too tight on his instrument did it give a good sound - Sona replied no. And so he asked him if the strings were too loose,would they give a good sound then? Sona replied no. So, as the Buddha explained, it is not by being too tight or too loose that one achieves his goals.

Q4. Did buddha rise from the dead?

Answer: In the sense you are speaking of - no. He was not divine.

Q5. Did all those Apostles and others lie about Christ rising from the dead?

Answer: I don’t believe they lied. I believe Christ rose from the dead. Since the Buddha was alive 500± years before Christ he knew nothing of Him but I’m sure he would have like Him.

Q6. If so, how do you know this with certainty?

Answer: See above answer.

I am a life-long Baptist who attends Sunday worship and who reads Buddhist teachings and meditate regularly.

I find no dichotomy in this practice. I find that the Buddha’s teachings are beneficial and can lead to the end of suffering - to the endless cycle of birth and death. Of course to most Catholics and devout protestants this approach to life is absurd. It is contradictory.
So, the questions are:

Can we learn anything from Buddhism and its founder, Siddhartha Guatama (the Buddha - “enlightened one”) and apply it to our lives today as Christians or is it complete nonsense that isn’t even worth a second look? I will post a second time and give parallel beliefs of both Buddhism and Christianity that most if not all of us could agree on.

Peace…


#2

Here is a small short list of comparable teachings from Buddhism and Christianity:

In Buddhism there are 5 minimum precepts lay followers must vow to uphold:

  1. Vow to abstain from killing
  2. Vow to abstain from stealing
  3. Vow to abstain from sexual immorality
  4. Vow to use right speech (no lying)
  5. Vow to abstain from becoming intoxicated

In Christianity (of course) you have the same principles.

Killing, stealing, lying, sexual immorality and drunkenness are all either part of the ten commandments or spoken by Christ or spoken by apostles and/or Holy Scriptures.

Some other interesting parallels:

Buddha taught to love your enemies
Christ taught the same thing

Buddha taught morality
Christ taught the same thing

Buddha taught to be a giving person
Christ taught the same thing

Buddha taught selfless love
Christ taught the same thing

These are just examples of similar teachings. I could get the references for either or both if someone wishes. I just thought I would post them here to give some topics for discussion.

Peace…


#3

Even during the time of Buddha, the proffacies of Jesus were being proclaimed. The similarities between Christanity and Buddahism that are simular, to include but not limited to the the great commandments, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength and all your soul.” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” NOW before you say these are New Testiment teachings, let me point out that both commandment come from the Old Testiment, thousands of years before Buddha. SO for this “enlightened one” to achieve Nirvana one must love God and Neighbor before self. Would you not agree?

That goes against the teachings of Buddah which states that in order to reach Nirvana one must focus on the self in order to deny the self. Buddah’s are always looking in ward trying to improve oneself, Christians are always looking outwards trying to improve the world we live in.

Let’s look at the Four Noble Truths
1. Life means suffering.We only suffer when we try to run things ourselves. We get frustrated and angry because we either can not figure sometning out or we fail in our attempts.

2. The origin of suffering is attachment. We only suffer through attachment when our attachment or our greed towards material items, home, car, etc. is stronger than our attachment towards our family and our God.

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable. We both agree on this. Only when we relize that the material items is not the source of joy can we start to find an end to our suffering.
4. The path to the cessation of suffering. When we stop focusing on the “STUFF” in our lives, can we start to improve our lifes and improve the lives of those around us.

Bless you,


#4

[quote=dhgray]Even during the time of Buddha, the proffacies of Jesus were being proclaimed. The similarities between Christanity and Buddahism that are simular, to include but not limited to the the great commandments, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength and all your soul.” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” NOW before you say these are New Testiment teachings, let me point out that both commandment come from the Old Testiment, thousands of years before Buddha. SO for this “enlightened one” to achieve Nirvana one must love God and Neighbor before self. Would you not agree?

That goes against the teachings of Buddah which states that in order to reach Nirvana one must focus on the self in order to deny the self. Buddah’s are always looking in ward trying to improve oneself, Christians are always looking outwards trying to improve the world we live in.

Let’s look at the Four Noble Truths
1. Life means suffering.We only suffer when we try to run things ourselves. We get frustrated and angry because we either can not figure sometning out or we fail in our attempts.

2. The origin of suffering is attachment. We only suffer through attachment when our attachment or our greed towards material items, home, car, etc. is stronger than our attachment towards our family and our God.

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable. We both agree on this. Only when we relize that the material items is not the source of joy can we start to find an end to our suffering.
4. The path to the cessation of suffering. When we stop focusing on the “STUFF” in our lives, can we start to improve our lifes and improve the lives of those around us.

Bless you,
[/quote]

Hello dear friend.

Yes, God had already spoken to Moses, Noah, Abraham, David and through the prophets.

I don’t see the great commandments in Buddhism - per se.

“Love the Lord your God” would not be suitable as a Buddhist precept. Buddha didn’t speak much of gods or God. When he did, he reiterated basic Hindu concepts of gods. He saw clinging to gods as part of the problem and not the solution. He valued direct experience over perceptions of deities.

Actually, to acheive Nirvana depends on the school of Buddhism one adheres to. The traditional school of Theravada is the oldest and closest to Buddha’s original teachings. They assert that it is by morality, meditation and wisdom that one achieves nirvana. And the eightfold path - which is the fourth noble truth is encapsulated under this morality, meditation and wisdom.

Nirvana is hard to describe. It can be described as uncreated, unmoving, the absolute, extinguishing of desires/craving.

Achieving nirvana means different things to different schools of Buddhism. The Zen approach is intense meditation. The Tibetan approach is recitation of mantras, etc. It is a looking beyond the experiences of our five sense faculties and seeing things differently.

Actually, I would summarize the four noble truths thus:

  1. Suffering exists - life, birth, death,
  2. The cause of suffering is greed, hatred and delusion
  3. There is a path that leads to the end of suffering
  4. That path is the noble eightfold path:
    right views, right thoughts, right speech, right actions, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

In Buddhism, there is no “self” - no permanent self. All things are manifestations of consciousness. There is no “me” or “you”. There is consciousness. Distinctions of “me” and “you” are the delusion aspect of no. 2 above.

The later schools of Buddhism emphasize compassion and lovingkindness as part and parcel of the Buddhist way.

Peace…


#5

[quote=ahimsaman72]Here is a small short list of comparable teachings from Buddhism and Christianity:

In Buddhism there are 5 minimum precepts lay followers must vow to uphold:

  1. Vow to abstain from killing
  2. Vow to abstain from stealing
  3. Vow to abstain from sexual immorality
  4. Vow to use right speech (no lying)
  5. Vow to abstain from becoming intoxicated

In Christianity (of course) you have the same principles.

Killing, stealing, lying, sexual immorality and drunkenness are all either part of the ten commandments or spoken by Christ or spoken by apostles and/or Holy Scriptures.

Some other interesting parallels:

Buddha taught to love your enemies
Christ taught the same thing

Buddha taught morality
Christ taught the same thing

Buddha taught to be a giving person
Christ taught the same thing

Buddha taught selfless love
Christ taught the same thing

These are just examples of similar teachings. I could get the references for either or both if someone wishes. I just thought I would post them here to give some topics for discussion.

Peace…
[/quote]

Have you looked into the writings of Thomas Merton? I think you would find him interesting.

Peace


#6

[quote=dennisknapp]Have you looked into the writings of Thomas Merton? I think you would find him interesting.

Peace
[/quote]

I’ve not read his writings, but he and Thich Nhat Hanh (my favorite Zen monk :slight_smile: ) are/were friends and Merton said that they “see things in exactly the same way”.

I am going to sit down and read Merton soon!!! Thanks for posting - and for being kind. All blasting is considered NOT NICE.

Thanks again and God bless…


#7

[quote=ahimsaman72]I’ve not read his writings, but he and Thich Nhat Hanh (my favorite Zen monk :slight_smile: ) are/were friends and Merton said that they “see things in exactly the same way”.

I am going to sit down and read Merton soon!!! Thanks for posting - and for being kind. All blasting is considered NOT NICE.

Thanks again and God bless…
[/quote]

The reason why I think some on this forum get a little fired up is because Catholicism and Buddhism offer different truths. For a Catholic who believes in ultimate truth there cannot be two truths, or three or four, just one.

The Buddha and Christ offer two different truth claims. For Buddhism is at its core atheistic and Catholicism, theistic. With this in mind, both claims cannot be true at the same time and in the same sense. According to the Law of non-contradiction one of the opposing truth claims has to be false.

This does not mean that we cannot value those things that we do share in common, as you have previously posted. But we cannot hold both worldviews to be on the same footing because they are at their core contradictory.

Peace


#8

May I inquire about Buddism?

  1. Is Buddism a religion?
  2. Your posts on the other thread did not treat “life after death”. What did the Budda teach about our post-death experience?
  3. In Buddism, is there a forgiveness of sin?
    :dancing:

#9

[quote=dennisknapp]The reason why I think some on this forum get a little fired up is because Catholicism and Buddhism offer different truths. For a Catholic who believes in ultimate truth there cannot be two truths, or three or four, just one.

The Buddha and Christ offer two different truth claims. For Buddhism is at its core atheistic and Catholicism, theistic. With this in mind, both claims cannot be true at the same time and in the same sense. According to the Law of non-contradiction one of the opposing truth claims has to be false.

This does not mean that we cannot value those things that we do share in common, as you have previously posted. But we cannot hold both worldviews to be on the same footing because they are at their core contradictory.

Peace
[/quote]

I don’t mind (too much) if people get heated. I understand passion. I recognize it when I see it and accept it. I was being a little devil in bringing that up.

Buddhism is at least agnostic. It really isn’t atheistic. Buddha never declared, “There is no God”. He declined to speculate on the existence of an almighty God because it was an obstacle on the path to enlightenment.

In Buddhist cosmology there are 6 levels or realms of existence. And those are subdivided into a total of 31 planes/levels/realms of existence. There are “god realms” in this cosmology. So, there’s not a denial of gods just a shying away from attachment to gods.

As has been noted, there are core principles and teachings within both faith traditions. It is the practice and approach to living their faith that is different. Christianity isn’t Buddhism and Buddhism isn’t Christianity. Never will be. But, there are enough similarities that I find the practice of both possible.

I don’t believe in this law of non-contradiction. It’s a concept that is foreign in Eastern philosophy and religion. It is a Western philosophical view. An apple is not an orange, but both have acid and are fruits. Though they are different outwardly they are in essence the same.

Duality is another concept beyond Buddhist teaching. There is no duality. Duality is the delusion that all things that exist are separate entities when in reality there is a oneness to all things. When one looks beyond duality and realizes that all things are:

  1. impermanent (always changing)
  2. egoless (no self)
  3. suffering

Enlightenment is possible.

These concepts are not confined to Buddhist teaching.

For example for 1. impermanence: winter isn’t 12 months long. In the cycle of a year there are of course four seasons. If things were permanent, winter would be all there is - seasons would not exist. This is easily verifiable.

For 3. suffering: we all can experience that life is frustrating, disappointing and has hardships. That’s easily verifiable as well.

So, two of the three are common to both faiths.

2. Is trickier. We can see that there are horizontal and vertical relationships. Loving God is equal to loving others. I think you would agree with that. Also, we are told in the Bible to esteem others higher than ourselves. So, the practice of Christianity is as dhgray pointed out - love God - love others. When you do one you will do the other. If one lives in this way, there is no “self”.

I admit that the teaching of “no-self” is much deeper and crosses over the line a bit, but at least superficially “no-self” is consistent with both traditions.

Peace…


#10

After watching a Discovery series program about landmines that were left behind in Vietnam. I learned if Vietnamese person steps on a land mind, and is lucky enough to live, but looses a limb, they are shunned. They did something in a past life to warrent the loss of limb and no one wants the bad karma.
I don’t know if that is a teaching from Buddha but that is one way it is practiced.


#11

[quote=Exporter]May I inquire about Buddism?

  1. Is Buddism a religion?
  2. Your posts on the other thread did not treat “life after death”. What did the Budda teach about our post-death experience?
  3. In Buddism, is there a forgiveness of sin?
    :dancing:
    [/quote]

It is both a religion and a philosophy. Depends on who you talk to :slight_smile:

Buddha espoused the karma and rebirth concepts found in Hinduism. Karma is ones “actions” and depending on those actions (wholesome or unwholesome) in their present life determines the status of one’s rebirth. One is reborn into either lower hell realms or into higher god realms.

Some posit that these realms are not the same reality as our present reality. Some feel these are all mental realities and not physical realities. This is the only easy way to explain those concepts.

Sin is not easily transferable between the faiths. In Buddhism there are wholesome and unwholesome actions. Unwholesome actions are those which either hurt “yourself” or “others”. Wholesome actions are those which are beneficial to either “yourself” or “others”. So, that’s the only relation to sin there is in Buddhism. So, there’s no forgiveness of sin from a divine viewpoint. However, if one does harm to another one is expected to make it right - so that would be forgiveness.

Peace…


#12

[quote=Lilyofthevalley]After watching a Discovery series program about landmines that were left behind in Vietnam. I learned if Vietnamese person steps on a land mind, and is lucky enough to live, but looses a limb, they are shunned. They did something in a past life to warrent the loss of limb and no one wants the bad karma.
I don’t know if that is a teaching from Buddha but that is one way it is practiced.
[/quote]

Yes, this is practiced by some. It is unfortunate that others use this as an excuse to not be loving. Buddha taught lovingkindness and I’m afraid he would hate to see that happening. Buddha also taught to focus on one’s own shortcomings and failings instead of others. So, this would apply to the case you mentioned.

Thanks for sharing.

Peace…


#13

I don’t see my replies I made to Lily or Exporter. All day the forum has had problems so maybe it is that. If you don’t see my posts, please be patient as there’s some technical difficulty.

Peace…


#14

[quote=ahimsaman72]I don’t mind (too much) if people get heated. I understand passion. I recognize it when I see it and accept it. I was being a little devil in bringing that up.

Buddhism is at least agnostic. It really isn’t atheistic. Buddha never declared, “There is no God”. He declined to speculate on the existence of an almighty God because it was an obstacle on the path to enlightenment.

In Buddhist cosmology there are 6 levels or realms of existence. And those are subdivided into a total of 31 planes/levels/realms of existence. There are “god realms” in this cosmology. So, there’s not a denial of gods just a shying away from attachment to gods.

As has been noted, there are core principles and teachings within both faith traditions. It is the practice and approach to living their faith that is different. Christianity isn’t Buddhism and Buddhism isn’t Christianity. Never will be. But, there are enough similarities that I find the practice of both possible.

I don’t believe in this law of non-contradiction. It’s a concept that is foreign in Eastern philosophy and religion. It is a Western philosophical view. An apple is not an orange, but both have acid and are fruits. Though they are different outwardly they are in essence the same.

Duality is another concept beyond Buddhist teaching. There is no duality. Duality is the delusion that all things that exist are separate entities when in reality there is a oneness to all things. When one looks beyond duality and realizes that all things are:

  1. impermanent (always changing)
  2. egoless (no self)
  3. suffering

Enlightenment is possible.

These concepts are not confined to Buddhist teaching.

For example for 1. impermanence: winter isn’t 12 months long. In the cycle of a year there are of course four seasons. If things were permanent, winter would be all there is - seasons would not exist. This is easily verifiable.

For 3. suffering: we all can experience that life is frustrating, disappointing and has hardships. That’s easily verifiable as well.

So, two of the three are common to both faiths.

2. Is trickier. We can see that there are horizontal and vertical relationships. Loving God is equal to loving others. I think you would agree with that. Also, we are told in the Bible to esteem others higher than ourselves. So, the practice of Christianity is as dhgray pointed out - love God - love others. When you do one you will do the other. If one lives in this way, there is no “self”.

I admit that the teaching of “no-self” is much deeper and crosses over the line a bit, but at least superficially “no-self” is consistent with both traditions.

Peace…
[/quote]

The Law of Non-contradiction is not a Western concept it is as Aristotle would say, “saying of what is that it is, and what is not what it is not.” It is not something we use to judge between apples and oranges but apples and not apples and oranges and not oranges. For an apple can not be an apple and a non-apple at the same time and in the same sense.

Everyone uses the Law of Non-contradiction everyday no matter if they live in London or China. For 2+2=4 no matter where you live or what your cultural background. 2+2=4 will never be 5 or 6, it will always be 4. Likewise, I cannot both exist and not exist at the same time and in the same sense. I either exist or I don’t but I can’t do both.

Therefore, if what Jesus says is true what Buddha says that contradicts what Jesus teaches has to be false. To embrace a contradiction is to lose all meaning. This is simple logic.

Peace


#15

There is at least a small amount of truth in all of the major religions. Now I am the first to shun any diluting of Christianity to mix it with other religions. But if what you are saying is that Buddah’s theology/philosophy was on the right track, to some extent, I guess I cannot deny this. On the other hand, if your faith is becoming some gnostic mixture of the two, then I shall pray for you.


#16

ahimsaman72,

You are presenting Buddhism well. It is understandable and your answers are to the point.

This concept of Nirvana is fuzzy. If there is no individualism then how can there be the idea of going to a higher plane or into lower hell.

I think I read about 31 levels of ? how did the old boy come up with 31. Thats an odd number.


I spent two years in Japan and 23 mos. in Korea. I was attracted to Bushido. Try this to aid concentration:

Go into a dimly lit room and light a candle ( open candle not in a glass.) Put it about 2 to 3 feet fron your eyes. If on a table it is better. Put the arms on the table and stare intently into the center of the candle’s flame. Think about “going into” the candle while you try to think you see what you would see if standing 2 inches in front of a sheet (white). If you digress or loose it. Start over. Stay there for 8 to 10 minutes. You should GO into the flame mentally and your mind will clear. Only simple thoughts will be present. It will relaxyou tremendously. Let me know with e-mail or PM.


#17

[quote=dennisknapp]The Law of Non-contradiction is not a Western concept it is as Aristotle would say, “saying of what is that it is, and what is not what it is not.” It is not something we use to judge between apples and oranges but apples and not apples and oranges and not oranges. For an apple can not be an apple and a non-apple at the same time and in the same sense.

Everyone uses the Law of Non-contradiction everyday no matter if they live in London or China. For 2+2=4 no matter where you live or what your cultural background. 2+2=4 will never be 5 or 6, it will always be 4. Likewise, I cannot both exist and not exist at the same time and in the same sense. I either exist or I don’t but I can’t do both.

Therefore, if what Jesus says is true what Buddha says that contradicts what Jesus teaches has to be false. To embrace a contradiction is to lose all meaning. This is simple logic.

Peace
[/quote]

Religion defies logic in many ways. Many things in the Christian faith are not logical. Is it logical for Christ to perform miracles? No. It’s beyond logic. Is it logical for Christ to raise from the dead? No, not in the mathematical, logical way.

All that we experience on earth is phenomena. All that is above is noumena. We can’t adequately put those two together and expect one to have the same laws and principles as the other. God is not subject to laws of the earth - He is beyond time, science, logic.

Peace…


#18

[quote=Sowndog]There is at least a small amount of truth in all of the major religions. Now I am the first to shun any diluting of Christianity to mix it with other religions. But if what you are saying is that Buddah’s theology/philosophy was on the right track, to some extent, I guess I cannot deny this. On the other hand, if your faith is becoming some gnostic mixture of the two, then I shall pray for you.
[/quote]

I agree that there is a small amount of truth in all of the major religions - even minor ones :slight_smile: . There is truth in Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. I could point out simple things in each that we could agree on.

I’m saying that he was indeed on the right track. He saw by simple observation that the world just isn’t “right”. There’s something wrong. He saw it for what it was. He saw people suffering, dying, dejected, hurt. He knew there must be a way out of this cycle of suffering. He was determined to find that way out.
So, he meditated in the “wilderness” for 6 years and became enlightened.

He wasn’t a metaphysical god. When asked if he was a god - he categorically denied it. He admitted his entire life that he was a human - with no divinity. Buddha means “enlightened one”. That’s what he was. Nothing more, nothing less.

There can be no ChristiBuddhism or BuddhiChristianity. They can’t be mixed. Both (as a philosophy at least), however can be used as a practice in life - for both have principles similar to each other and in essence view life as one of service to others.

Peace…


#19

Good morning Ahimsaman72,
Do you practice Zen in your form?
I know that Zen is an ascetic philosophy and that some of the Japanese (national) martial artists practice it.

How is it different and in what way does it complement Buddhism?


#20

[quote=Exporter]ahimsaman72,

You are presenting Buddhism well. It is understandable and your answers are to the point.

This concept of Nirvana is fuzzy. If there is no individualism then how can there be the idea of going to a higher plane or into lower hell.

I think I read about 31 levels of ? how did the old boy come up with 31. Thats an odd number.


I spent two years in Japan and 23 mos. in Korea. I was attracted to Bushido. Try this to aid concentration:

Go into a dimly lit room and light a candle ( open candle not in a glass.) Put it about 2 to 3 feet fron your eyes. If on a table it is better. Put the arms on the table and stare intently into the center of the candle’s flame. Think about “going into” the candle while you try to think you see what you would see if standing 2 inches in front of a sheet (white). If you digress or loose it. Start over. Stay there for 8 to 10 minutes. You should GO into the flame mentally and your mind will clear. Only simple thoughts will be present. It will relaxyou tremendously. Let me know with e-mail or PM.
[/quote]

Thanks friend.

Okay, the 31 planes first - here’s a link that discusses those (it’s pretty intense) accesstoinsight.org/ptf/loka.html

Basically, though there are 6 basic realms of existence in order from lower to higher: hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human, demigods and gods. The human realm is the only one where enlightenment can be achieved, so it is a precious condition to be a human.

Now for nirvana. This is a difficult one. What it is not: not equivalent to heaven - not a paradise - not something that can be adequately “explained”. It has to be “experienced”. We can point to it, but not grasp it fully. What it is: the Buddha himself in the Sutta Nipata (part of Buddhist scriptures) said that it is the extinction of greed, hatred and delusion. It’s the extinction of craving - of desires. It is an experience of peace and freedom from entanglements in the world.

Without going into terrible detail - all things are objects of consciousness. Your consciousness (being) sees an apple on the table. The apple is the object of your visual consciousness. The singing of a bird out your window is the object of your hearing part of consciousness, etc. There’s no permanent entity that survives one existence to go to another. There’s no transmigration of soul. There’s only consciousness that exists in different forms.

Imagine a candle that is lit. You blow out the candle. The flame ceases to be a flame but transforms into heat energy in the air. It is a similar concept.

Yes, concentration is a meditation practice especially used in martial arts and in Tibetan Buddhism. And heck, you can still be a Christian and concentrate! There’s no law against that, is there?

Peace and blessings to you…


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