Is Catholicism and Buddhism compatible?


This is shows the illogical notion of Buddhism. How can they claim there is no God and no soul; yet believe in reincarnation?

Philosophy tells me that in order to have reincarnation, there has to be something that actually gets reincarnated … aka the soul.

And if there is an internal “life force” that keeps getting reincarnated, there must have been outside force that started that cycle … aka God.


That’s the problem I had with Buddhist reincarnation: If there’s no Self; then what suffers dukkha and reincarnates?


The Buddhist concept of detachment and the Jesuit concept of spiritual detachment are not compatible. For the Buddhist detachment means separation from the suffering of life (and all life is suffering, according to Siddhartha). Spiritual detachment is more akin to the attitude expressed by Mary’s Fiat - we are abandoned to God’s will and neither seeking or wanting any physical or spiritual state simply for its own sake.

Buddhist meditation is also not compatible with Catholicism. If you enjoy their methods of meditation I strongly urge you to look into prayer methods like those outlined by St. Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual Exercises. Furthermore, on a theological level Buddhism is ultimately atheistic, despite being wrapped up some general principals which we as Catholics can appreciate but ultimately hold initial rights to.

There are admirable qualities to Buddhism, but no, the two are not compatible or complimentary.


Hmm. Could you give me some basic principles of Ignatian prayer? If I remember right; it involves a lot of picturing scenes in the mind. You can PM me if you want. I’ve read the Spiritual Exercises and I use some of the discernment techniques.


I’d be happy to. I’ll PM you asap.


Cool; RKS89. :blush: I appreciate it.


Absolutely not. Anyone who claims they are similar is spreading heresy. It’s like saying that two people who run in different directions, are running in the same direction, because their movements look similar. Look, they both run in a similar way!

It’s one of the biggest lies, spread mostly by the modern New Age aka “Spirituality without religion” types of thinking. If you really desire truth about those subjects, I encourage you to read “Riders of the Cosmic Circuit” by Tal Brooke (he’s a Prot but this is the best book, I’ve ever read on those subjects. Nobody seems as competent as this guy, most of them can’t lay their fingers on what exactly is it that happens to majority of the modern “Gurus”)

To sum up, those are two different paths leading elsewhere. One leads to a relationship with Personal Absolute, and the other leads to being dissolved in Impersonal Absolute, which according to one Orthodox monk is actually the created Absolute. His teaching didn’t convince me though so that’s why I reccomended the book above, which actually did. He convinced another man though, but he was practicing black magic as well as Buddhism, so the testimony is biased. You may check him out on YouTube nonetheless - Kenneth Klaus. He practiced both Hinduism, and Buddhism. Both of those could coexist with his black magic, and his pride. No teachers said anything.

From a Christian perspective therefore, Buddhism may be demonic. And despite the fact it contains certain truths, the path, the destination is self-annihilation, to be dissolved into an Impersonal Absolute.

If you were talking about Hinduism however, we could have a more interesting conversation. But in the case of Buddhism versus Christianity, they are pretty much completely opposed to each other.


I don’t see being opposed; but I agree that anything outside of Christianity is possibly demonic. Nirvana is about freedom from suffering and illusion; not self annihilation.


The underlying Buddhist philosophy, which is at the heart of Buddhist meditation,is incompatible. As regards meditation, there is nothing in Buddhism that is not also in Christianity.
Mindfulness is one area that can and has been adapted to Christianity. But it’s also something that the Church Father’s would have been aware of. Essentially it’s being aware of yourself and the present moment.


That’s one of the things I practice.


Yeah, me too. It can be very good for calming yourself or just preparing yourself for the day.

But there is nothing in it that is at odds with Christianity. You can also make it into a prayer if you like.


According to Buddhism freedom comes through absolute self-annihilation. Then the only thing that remains is the Absolute. When you really get the gist of the teaching, you get why those who supposedly reached the goal of those eastern paths say that “you really don’t want this”

I’m afraid you might have been lied to by those who spread those ideas in the Western culture. Which is actually a good thing, only those who have a certain zeal in the self-annihilation path, can actually get to the end of it. You are safe :slight_smile:


Hmm… There’s some to what you say.


There is something which reincarnates, but it is not the same thing every time, it is a different thing, conditioned by the previous reincarnation and your actions in life. A chain has many links. Each link connects to the next link and the previous link, but it is not the same as the links to which it is connected.

You cannot annihilate what does not exist. The goal is to realise that what you thought was your “self” actually has not more reality than the “water” in a mirage. That realisation is a large part of attaining nirvana.

What remains is almost certainly not what you expect it to be. In this area our expectations are all too often wrong.

Penetrating to the depths of being, we find ourselves back on the surface of things and so discover that there is nothing, after all, beneath those deceptive surfaces. Moreover, what is deceptive about them is simply the fact that we assume ontological depth lurking just beneath.

– Jay Garfield



But that still doesn’t explain what reincarnates. It’s a paradox.


Everyone who studies lives of those that attained Nirvana knows that it’s always the last step, before that every other desire has to burn itself out, or has to be conquered, only then there is the last step - to “realize you don’t exist” or as I would call it - to finally commit spiritual suicide and leap into the “unknown”. What boggled me always is why people believe that New Age “sudden enlightenment” bulls*it, because there are really no proofs of anyone reaching genuine state of Nirvana and remaining in it, who was entangled in hundreds of different desires seconds before they attained Nirvana (forever, not a glimpse).

It’s always the last step. Show me at least one person who “realized they don’t exist” while they were involved in at least a few worldly desires and didn’t even indulge in anything spiritual. Why are there no people that attain it spontaneously and forever? It’s always a glimpse for those, and usually those who have glimpses are already such types of people to be able to drop every worldly desire and pursue Nirvana, so it’s really difficult to defend the point that it’s a realization of a truth, because it’s more of a process. It never happens to those deeply entangled in the world.

It’s just a wordplay what you’re doing, I hope you understand that. Buddha might have said it doesn’t exist, for him it became true, for us it isn’t.


Still; the No Self thing is confusing as heck.


Here is Thomas Merton:

[At Polonnaruwa] I am able to approach the Buddhas barefoot and undisturbed, my feet in wet grass, wet sand. Then the silence of the extraordinary faces. The great smiles. Huge and yet subtle. Filled with every possibility, questioning nothing, knowing everything, rejecting nothing, the peace not of emotional resignation but of sunyata, that has seen through every question without trying to discredit anyone or anything – without refutation – without establishing some argument. For the doctrinaire, the mind that needs well established positions, such peace, such silence, can be frightening.

I was knocked over with a rush of relief and thankfulness at the obvious clarity of the figures, the clarity and fluidity of shape and line, the design of the monumental bodies composed into the rock shape and landscape, figure rock and tree. And the sweep of bare rock slopping away on the other side of the hollow, where you can go back and see different aspects of the figures. Looking at these figures I was suddenly, almost forcibly, jerked clean out of the habitual, half-tied vision of things, and an inner clearness, clarity, as if exploding from the rocks themselves, became evident and obvious. The queer evidence of the reclining figure, the smile, the sad smile of Ananda standing with arms folded (much more “imperative” than Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa because completely simple and straightforward).

The thing about all this is that there is no puzzle, no problem and really no “mystery.” All problems are resolved and everything is clear, simply because what matters is clear. The rock, all matter, all life is charged with dharmakaya … everything is emptiness and everything is compassion. I don’t know when in my life I have ever had such a sense of beauty and spiritual validity running together in one aesthetic illumination. … I mean, I know and have seen what I was obscurely looking for. I don’t know what else remains, but I have now seen and have pierced through the surface and have got beyond the shadow and the disguise. …

It says everything, it needs nothing. And because it needs nothing it can afford to be silent, unnoticed, undiscovered. It does not need to be discovered. It is we who need to discover it.

From: The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton



That is just the beginning. Wait until you get on to Nagarjuna. :smiley:



Merton proves my point, he didn’t attain it forever, maybe we have different definitions of those, but to me those who attained the eastern enlightenment, are those who REALLY seem to have no self, not those who repeat some romantic ideas.

Also, to me Merton was a heretic, and he was deep into eastern traditions apparently. He almost published a book on Tibetan Buddhism (I think he might have gotten initiated into it…), which to me is a ridiculous thing that he claimed being a Christian after something like that. I didn’t even like the guy when I was into eastern religions.

"What Martin Luther King was to the civil rights movement and what Henry Ford was to the automobile, Thomas Merton is to contemplative prayer. Although this prayer movement existed centuries before he came along, Merton took it out of its monastic setting and made it available to and popular with the masses. It is interesting to me that many people still think celebrity star Shirley MacLaine was the greatest influence in the New Age. But for me, hands down, Thomas Merton has influenced New Age thinking more than any person of recent decades. Merton penned one of the most classic descriptions of New Age spirituality I have ever come across. He explained:

“It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, … now I realize what we all are … If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are …I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other … At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth … This little point …is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody.”

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