Catholic Prayer originally Buddhist


#1

In the New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book (2001; Nihil obstat and Imprimatur given; available at your local Books-A-Million), there’s a section named “Prayers from Other Religions”, where prayers from other religions are transformed so that they become usable for Catholics. One such prayer comes from Buddhism (other prayers are from Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc.):

For the sake of all sentient beings on earth,
I aspire for the abode of enlightenment,
which is the Most High;
in all-embracing love awakened
and with heart steadily firm,
even my life I will sacrifice,
dear as it is.

(This prayer is probably originally a vow made by a Bodhisattva, a Buddhist who vows to lead all others to enlightenment before she herself enters final enlightenment.)

I personally think this is a positive move, but I was curious as to what Catholics in the forum think about it.


#2

"For the sake of all sentient beings on earth,
*I aspire for the abode of enlightenment, *
which is the Most High;
in all-embracing love awakened
and with heart steadily firm,
even my life I will sacrifice,
dear as it is."
*Well I can see the prayer seems to surrender to God Almighty alone,so I don’t find a problem,if I am wrong I will gladly accept correction.I believe as the Church teaches that there is truth in other Religions the fullness of truth resides in Holy Mother Church:) *


#3

I’ve always liked the similarity between the idea of a Catholic Saint interceding for the people of God, and a Bodhisattva interceding for people’s enlightenment. They seem very similar.

God bless.


#4

One difference I see though. Final enlightenment for Buddhist basically means Nirvana where you are freed from “self.” Am I right about this? Catholics believe in eternal life. The self is created for this eternal life, which is heaven when eternal life is united with God, and hell when separated from God. I guess the difference is that there is no freedom from self in Christianity. Our ultimate purpose is to see and love God and live in His light for eternity.

Is this a fair comparison?

God bless.


#5

This prayer states that one would sacrifice his life “for the sake of all sentient beings on earth,” I would want a pretty clear definition of “sentient being.” Of course, one could understand this globally: if earth becomes uninhabitable for sentient beings through some human abuse, then giving one’s life to prevent that would be justified. But in the normal order, and on a local scale, most Christians would find it unacceptable to sacrifice any human life – their own or that of another – for, say, the life of a cow. By my definition, mammals, birds, even certain reptiles are “sentient beings” because they function by both learning and instinct and are capable of identifiable emotions.


#6

Of course,

Would we appreciate an Hindu redo of the Lord’s prayer? :stuck_out_tongue:


#7

[quote=utunumsint]One difference I see though. Final enlightenment for Buddhist basically means Nirvana where you are freed from “self.” Am I right about this? Catholics believe in eternal life. The self is created for this eternal life, which is heaven when eternal life is united with God, and hell when separated from God. I guess the difference is that there is no freedom from self in Christianity. Our ultimate purpose is to see and love God and live in His light for eternity.

Is this a fair comparison?

God bless.
[/quote]

It depends upon what you mean by ‘self’, which has very different meanings according to whom you talk to.

If ‘self’ means ‘selfishness’, then I would think both Buddhism and Christianity aim toward the self’s demise.

If ‘self’ means ‘the sense of being an entity that is totally separate and different from the world and God/Source’, then, yes, Christianity tends to accept the eternal existence of self, whereas Buddhism tends to deny that any entity is totally separate and different from any other entity.


#8

I have to admit that Buddhist teachings provide something sorely needed in our western world. Self restraint. Temperance. Or just plain moderation.

However, I have this impression that Buddhist spirituality has a negative perspective on nature. Creation is something we need to escape from and make ourselves entirely indifferent to.

One of the reasons I converted to Catholicism is the beauty and order I see in nature. Its not an illusion, but something real and wonderful pointing to an even greater creator.

God bless.


#9

As I recall the Buddhists don’t believe in God. To whom is their prayer directed? Or is it just a pledge of personal goals?


#10

It depends on what kind of Buddhism your talking about. There are two major streams. Theravada, which is closest to what Buddha taught (more like a philosophy), and Mahayana, which has Buddhist saints whom they can pray to. They are called Bodhisattvas.

Neither of them believe in God. At least not in the way Christians do. Buddhism is more about seeking liberation from suffering.

Correct me if I’m wrong Ahimsa.

God Bless.


#11

[quote=utunumsint]It depends on what kind of Buddhism your talking about. There are two major streams. Theravada, which is closest to what Buddha taught (more like a philosophy), and Mahayana, which has Buddhist saints whom they can pray to. They are called Bodhisattvas.

Neither of them believe in God. At least not in the way Christians do. Buddhism is more about seeking liberation from suffering.

Correct me if I’m wrong Ahimsa.

God Bless.
[/quote]

Since Theravada Buddhism is probably closest to the original teachings of Buddhism, I’ll refer to how Theravada scripture handles the issue of “God”.

What the Buddha denied was the existence of an entity that is both (1) all-loving and (2) all-powerful. The reason was that if such a being existed, then it wasn’t really all-loving, since it allowed suffering and pain to exist. So, in Buddhism, there are supernatural beings of immense power and so forth, and supernatural beings of immense compassion and so forth, but no being is both all-powerful and all-compassionate.

But – I’m told – the idea that God is not exactly all-powerful, is not foreign to either Judaism or Christianity. So maybe there are some Christians out there who also deny the type of God that the Buddha denied.

On the issue of Buddhism’s response to nature, most of what one hears about concerning nature and Buddhism, is language directed towards monks and nuns, not to lay-people. Monks and nuns – if they want to do their job properly and not get fired :smiley: – can’t afford to develop attachments to sensual worlds…even if us lay-people are enjoying a day at the beach or being mall-rats.


#12

[quote=Joe Kelley]As I recall the Buddhists don’t believe in God. To whom is their prayer directed? Or is it just a pledge of personal goals?
[/quote]

The Buddhas are always present (or so I’m told).:smiley:


#13

Grace & Peace!

[quote=Ahimsa]What the Buddha denied was the existence of an entity that is both (1) all-loving and (2) all-powerful. The reason was that if such a being existed, then it wasn’t really all-loving, since it allowed suffering and pain to exist. So, in Buddhism, there are supernatural beings of immense power and so forth, and supernatural beings of immense compassion and so forth, but no being is both all-powerful and all-compassionate.

But – I’m told – the idea that God is not exactly all-powerful, is not foreign to either Judaism or Christianity. So maybe there are some Christians out there who also deny the type of God that the Buddha denied.
[/quote]

Ahimsa, these are interesting points, but I don’t think they quite match up. God in the Judeo-Christian tradition is all-powerful and all-loving. And the secret here is–God’s Power is not separate from God’s Love. Regarding suffering and its presence in the world, the ability to love, which God gives to all people, requires the ability to reject love. The rejection of love is suffering (though in the act–sin–it can be pleasurable). In Buddhist/Hindu terms, this rejection, this false pleasure, is Maya, Illusion, the giving up of the Self (which is only found in Christ), for the ego (which is the soul under the sway of the self-serving flesh–not to be confused with the body which is good). God in God’s compassion will not force anyone to love–and God will allow those who chose not to love to see the consequences of their choice. But God does not remove God’s own love from that person, nor does God keep from anyone the ability to turn to him. Grace is constantly showered on all people–we may accept it, or reject it. That is our choice.

It may be said that God limits Godself on our behalf in order to allow us to love. But Love is the nature of Deity and God gives Godself in all of God’s Potency in every act of Love. Creation itself is the result of God’s superabundance of love. This does not reduce God’s omnipotence, nor does it reduce God’s compassion. If there is suffering in the world, it is because we ourselves have designed and re-inforced obstacles to the never-ending stream of grace flowing from the Being of God.

God does not allow suffering in the world–We do–and God loves us enough to allow us to reap what we sow.

Under the Mercy,
Mark

Deo Gratias!


#14

i think its crazy that this is even being debated. While yes, there are rays of truth in all faiths insomuch as they conform to Catholicism, our faith is in NO WAY lacking anything. if it has all fullness, then what is the point of using prayers adapted by other faiths? we have nothing to learn from them. this reminds me of how at my Jesuis (sigh…how far they have fallen) we would say prayers from other religions to start the class. the whole idea is so opposed to authentic Catholicism. Can anyone really imagine the early Catholics saints who gave their lives for the Faith ever using revised pagan prayers?


#15

[quote=Deo Volente]Grace & Peace!

Ahimsa, these are interesting points, but I don’t think they quite match up. God in the Judeo-Christian tradition is all-powerful and all-loving.
[/quote]

Hi Mark,

I should clarify myself. What I should have said is that, yes, orthodox Christianity generally argues for an all-powerful Deity, but that there are some streams of Christian thought (such as Process Theology, or Open Theology) where an all-powerful Deity is not part of the picture.

Greetings


#16

[quote=Ahimsa]In the New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book (2001; Nihil obstat and Imprimatur given; available at your local Books-A-Million), there’s a section named “Prayers from Other Religions”, where prayers from other religions are transformed so that they become usable for Catholics. One such prayer comes from Buddhism (other prayers are from Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc.):

For the sake of all sentient beings on earth,
*I aspire for the abode of enlightenment, *
which is the Most High;
in all-embracing love awakened
and with heart steadily firm,
even my life I will sacrifice,
dear as it is.

(This prayer is probably originally a vow made by a Bodhisattva, a Buddhist who vows to lead all others to enlightenment before she herself enters final enlightenment.)

I personally think this is a positive move, but I was curious as to what Catholics in the forum think about it.
[/quote]

If a prayer can be used by a Christian, I don’t think its origin matters - as long as it contains nothing that does not savour of piety by being untrue or inconsistent with being Christian.

And I would not want to offend adherents of other religions by using prayers which they considered Christians had no right to use.

I’ve wondered at times whether perhaps religions now extinct might not have something to offer in the way of prayers. ##


#17

[quote=Deo Volente]Grace & Peace!

Ahimsa, these are interesting points, but I don’t think they quite match up. God in the Judeo-Christian tradition is all-powerful and all-loving. And the secret here is–God’s Power is not separate from God’s Love. Regarding suffering and its presence in the world, the ability to love, which God gives to all people, requires the ability to reject love. The rejection of love is suffering (though in the act–sin–it can be pleasurable). In Buddhist/Hindu terms, this rejection, this false pleasure, is Maya, Illusion, the giving up of the Self (which is only found in Christ), for the ego (which is the soul under the sway of the self-serving flesh–not to be confused with the body which is good). God in God’s compassion will not force anyone to love–and God will allow those who chose not to love to see the consequences of their choice. But God does not remove God’s own love from that person, nor does God keep from anyone the ability to turn to him. Grace is constantly showered on all people–we may accept it, or reject it. That is our choice.

It may be said that God limits Godself on our behalf in order to allow us to love. But Love is the nature of Deity and God gives Godself in all of God’s Potency in every act of Love. Creation itself is the result of God’s superabundance of love. This does not reduce God’s omnipotence, nor does it reduce God’s compassion. If there is suffering in the world, it is because we ourselves have designed and re-inforced obstacles to the never-ending stream of grace flowing from the Being of God.

God does not allow suffering in the world–We do–and God loves us enough to allow us to reap what we sow.

Under the Mercy,
Mark

Deo Gratias!
[/quote]

God does allow suffering, that a greater good should come from it. God does not cause any suffering. This is Satan’s time and we choose divine will or our own.


#18

Grace & Peace!

[quote=cyprian]God does allow suffering, that a greater good should come from it. God does not cause any suffering. This is Satan’s time and we choose divine will or our own.
[/quote]

Thank you, cyprian, for the opportunity to clarify my thoughts on this! I don’t think God allows suffering for its own sake–and that’s my point. God allows suffering as a consequence of not choosing him–it is for us that suffering is allowed (to lead us to repentence in many cases), not for the sake of suffering that it is allowed. It is God’s grace, of course, that can draw from our suffering a great good–but I do not think that suffering is necessary for the good–i.e., it is not necessary that there first be suffering in order for there to be a consequent good. We’ve asked for it, we’ve got it, but God transforms it in God’s mercy.

Under the Mercy,
Mark

Deo Gratias!


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