Buddhism retreat


#1

Hi,

Is it acceptable as a Catholic to attend a Buddhist retreat? And possibly to learn more about Buddhist spirituality, yet remain a practising Catholic?

Thanks.

:confused:


#2

In my opinion if you just want to educate yourself about the Buddhist religion that shouldn’t be a problem (if you just want to learn about meditation there are several books that cover the topic). I must say though, if you do go to this retreat, hold on to your Catholic beliefs like grim death. I’m not sure what the Church says about things like this, I’m sure someone with canonical knowledge will come along and post. :wink:


#3

There’s nothing wrong with it, despite the tone that some people take on these forums about issues like this.

It could be an interesting, eye opening experience that helps you understand another set of beliefs, and make you more confident in your own. There is no substitute for personal experience, and this experience could help communicate with others more compassionately.

On the other hand, if your faith is so brittle that you can’t handle exposure to ideas that compete with Catholicism, then you should definitely stay away.

Pete


#4

If you have the time to attend a retreat, your time would be better spent strengthening your catholic faith by attending a catholic retreat. In my humble opinion, it makes little sense to attend a Buddist anything.There is much within our oiwn faith that can be explored and experienced.


#5

Buddhism seems like a fairly safe retreat even on the grounds of conflicting religions. I mean, it’s Buddhism. It’s one of the least evangelical religions on Earth – if you don’t want to be Buddhist, Buddhists are fine with that. This is the religion whose founder told his followers not to believe anything he said unless it made sense to them.

So you probably won’t get any of the high pressure selling techniques to try to convert you that you might get at, say, a Baptist retreat.


#6

What would be the point, exactly? How is a greater knowledge about Buddhism going to sanctify you?


#7

[quote=SamCA]Buddhism seems like a fairly safe retreat even on the grounds of conflicting religions. I mean, it’s Buddhism. It’s one of the least evangelical religions on Earth – if you don’t want to be Buddhist, Buddhists are fine with that. This is the religion whose founder told his followers not to believe anything he said unless it made sense to them.

So you probably won’t get any of the high pressure selling techniques to try to convert you that you might get at, say, a Baptist retreat.
[/quote]

John Paul II also called it one of the msot dangerous religions to (Christians Crossing the Threshold of Hope) because not only does it deny God, but also the inherent goodness of Creation.


#8

As a Buddhist I am slightly puzzled why you would want to go on a retreat. There are easier ways to learn about Buddhism that will be less boring.

One of the many short summaries of Buddhism is “Do good, cease to do evil, meditate”.

Do good - “Love others as you love yourself” (Bhadramayakaravyakarana sutra 91).

Cease to do evil - Just follow the ten commandments and you will be close enough.

Meditate - There are some perfectly good meditation practices within Christianity, I usually suggest the saying the Jesus Prayer, not strictly Catholic, more Eastern Orthodox, but I don’t see that there is much that you can object to as a Catholic. Please note the warning in the web page I referenced:

Bishop Kallistos Ware has sound advice for those who simply can’t find a suitable guide. “But those who have no personal contact with starets my still practice the Prayer without any fear, so long as they do so only for limited periods - initially, for no more than ten or fifteen minutes at a time - and so long as they make no attempt to interfere with the body’s natural rhythms.”

This is wise advice, and any good Buddhist teacher will say the same.

rossum


#9

Thanks everyone for your comments. I appreciate it.

My Catholic faith is very strong and will take a lot to break it. I have also been on a few Catholic retreats and am inspried by the Churches mystics. And yes the Catholic church has and had incredibly spiritual people, St. Augustine, St Francis, St Gregory, the list doesn’t end.

I was just wondering what it would be like to experience the spirituality of buddhism. The thing that worried me is being in the temple and worshipping Buddha, is that not worshipping idols? I mean we also have a lit of statues in our churches?

I look forward to your comments.

Thanks and God bless.
:thumbsup:


#10

[quote=RobertinRSA]Thanks everyone for your comments. I appreciate it.

My Catholic faith is very strong and will take a lot to break it. I have also been on a few Catholic retreats and am inspried by the Churches mystics. And yes the Catholic church has and had incredibly spiritual people, St. Augustine, St Francis, St Gregory, the list doesn’t end.

I was just wondering what it would be like to experience the spirituality of buddhism. The thing that worried me is being in the temple and worshipping Buddha, is that not worshipping idols? I mean we also have a lit of statues in our churches?

I look forward to your comments.

Thanks and God bless.
:thumbsup:
[/quote]

Gosh I hope you’re not worshipping those statues in the Catholic Church either!! :wink: The difference for me would be our statues are of people who were faithful to God - the True God - and their lives are a good example for me to follow. I don’t know anything about the Buddist statues, but what is the point of them?

I do not think you should attend a Buddist retreat. Just as I would advise against attending a Kingdom Hall or a Mormon Temple. Yes, your faith should be strong enough to withstand… but the devil is crafty & clever and he would like nothing more than for you to abandon your Faith. This question was recently asked in the Ask an Apologist… and I believe Father said, “no way.” I agree with his answer.


#11

You might be interested in the Trappist Monastary at www.monks.org

I’ve a dear friend (non-Catholic) who makes retreats there.


#12

If you have accepted Christianity that means you have rejected all other religions and embraced a spirituality centered upon Jesus Christ. To explore any other “spirituality” is to turn your back on Him and on His Church. I am puzzled why you would consider such a thing, rather than pursue retreat opportunities to deepen your Christian faith and learn more about the great tradition of Christian spirituality and pursuit of union with God?


#13

[quote=RobertinRSA]The thing that worried me is being in the temple and worshipping Buddha, is that not worshipping idols? I mean we also have a lit of statues in our churches?
[/quote]

Since the Buddha was made a saint by the Catholic Church (see Barlaam and Josaphat) you can always treat the Buddha as you would any other Catholic saint.

rossum


#14

He he you are right carol marie, puzzleannie and everyone - this is what makes this site so great, the valuable contribution that everyone gives. Thanks :thumbsup:

At least I already know the basics about Buddhism from the responses, to be able to answer correctly if another Christian asks me a similar question.

God bless you all.
:slight_smile:


#15

[quote=rossum]Meditate
[/quote]

  • There are some perfectly good meditation practices within Christianity, I usually suggest the saying the Jesus Prayer, not strictly Catholic, more Eastern Orthodox, but I don’t see that there is much that you can object to as a Catholic. Please note the warning in the web page I referenced:

Some genuinely good advice. However, the Jesus Prayer definitely is Catholic. Our Eastern Catholic brethren use it all the time with the Chotki.


#16

[quote=rossum]Since the Buddha was made a saint by the Catholic Church (see Barlaam and Josaphat) you can always treat the Buddha as you would any other Catholic saint.

rossum
[/quote]

clarify? if he was a Christian at the time, then how did we canonize the ‘Buddha’ a saint?


#17

[quote=emsvetich]If you have the time to attend a retreat, your time would be better spent strengthening your catholic faith by attending a catholic retreat. In my humble opinion, it makes little sense to attend a Buddist anything.There is much within our oiwn faith that can be explored and experienced.
[/quote]

Exactly right!

I dabbled in Buddism as a teenager. I stopped going to church shortly thereafter and did not come back for several years. These are years I deeply regret. Buddism can be very seductive. Approach with caution and please do not immerse yourself in it. Please DON’T go to this retreat.


#18

[quote=marvin] These are years I deeply regret. Buddism can be very seductive. Approach with caution and please do not immerse yourself in it. Please DON’T go to this retreat.
[/quote]

I’m just curious: what makes Buddhism seductive?


#19

[quote=Semper Fi]clarify? if he was a Christian at the time, then how did we canonize the ‘Buddha’ a saint?
[/quote]

The story of the Buddha traveled from India to the Middle East to Europe. By the time it got to Europe, the story had been changed quite a bit, but the basic structure (of a person leaving home and renouncing all worldly things, in order to find God) remained the same. The Buddha’s name “Bodhisattva” became altered to “Bodisaf” then “Joasaf” and “Jehosafat”. By this time (c. 700 CE), the story had changed sufficiently and its origins lost in the midst of time, so that Christians could claim that someone who had given up all to find God, was obviously a Christian; and so Jehosafat became seen as a Christian Saint who lived sometime after Christ, rather than the time of the real Buddha (c. 500 BCE).

My understanding, though, is that Jehosafat has been “de-sanctified” by the modern Church.


#20

[quote=Ahimsa]I’m just curious: what makes Buddhism seductive?
[/quote]

The lack of distinction between good and evil. It offers the possibility to view the world dispassionately without judgement or consequence. It allows the practicioner to look upon the material world as a passing distraction on one’s way to higher consciousness thereby negating a sense of responsibility.


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