9962Re: [Buddhism_101] Re: Jesus was Buddhist!
- Oct 2, 2008Good morning Bev,
I tend to agree to a certain point with your comments. While these discussions may seem to be an effort to support one's unique point of view, however, there is a strong history and acceptance of debate and
discussion in Buddhism. We need to remember that the Buddha encouraged
discussion as a means of teaching the Dharma. The sutras in the
Tripataka are replete with this type of discourse in its record. This
is one aspect that makes Buddhism unique as a "religion" (a hotly
contested word usage among some Buddhists on various websites). We need
to remember the Buddha Shakyamuni encouraged thinking-out-of-the-box.
"Do not go by oral tradition, by lineage of teaching, by hearsay, by a
collection of texts, by logic, by inferential reasoning, by reasoned
cogitation, by the acceptance of a view after pondering it, by the
seeming competence of a speaker, or because you think, 'The ascetic is
our teacher.' But when you know for yourselves, 'These things are
unwholesome; these things are blamable; these things are censured by
the wise; these things, if undertaken and practiced, lead to harm and
suffering,' then you should abandon them." ("In the Buddha's Words"
edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi) I can only quote the words of the sutras or those of greater knowledge than myself and extrapolate what I understand.
If you follow the thread to its earliest source you'll find that it was
initiated to some degree by Bhikkhu Samahita (a Buddhist monk) who postulated that Jesus
had been exposed to Buddhist concepts in the so-called "lost" years.
Again, I find that concept somewhat far fetched; to date in the archaeological record there has been no evidence of Buddhism found in Middle Eastern areas (other than the Silk Road area in present
day Afghanistan [see http://www.ess.uci.edu/~oliver/silk.html ]) of which I am aware. At the same time, I'm fully aware
that Buddhism has and will continue to adapt to the specific culture to
which it spreads, We see this in each of the Buddhist traditions in the
Far East: China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, etc. People are apt to
insert their unique societal and cultural traditions into any practice
as it migrates.
I, too, am somewhat concerned that there will be (perhaps "is" is more accurate) a hybridization of Buddhism as it gains popularity in Western cultures: that it will assimilate Judeo-Christian concepts into it's structure.
I am reminded of the Vietnamese Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh who states in his book "Living Buddha, Living Christ" that he has incorporated "…on the altar of my hermitage in France…statues of Buddhas and bodhisattvas and also an image of Jesus Christ. I do not feel any conflict within me. Instead I feel stronger because I have more than one root." Personally, I find this somewhat contradictory but I look at the more subtle concept and wonder what harm if any does it create.
In regard to your inquiry that you "...have been asked...to join a group that meets for a few hours a week. I would, but I'm not sure of protocol for entering, talking, manners, etc. in a more formal setting. If someone would be able to help me with this, I would be supremely appreciative." A lot will depend upon the tradition that the group is following. You're best to contact one of the group leaders and ask him or her what is the protocol to which they adhere. Many groups have a pamphlet available for newcomers that outlines their ceremony if any. More formal groups may have a ceremony including prayers and prostrations. If the group meets in a shrine room typically shoes are removed before entering as a sign of respect. More informal groups may have a text they are reading as a group followed by a discussion of how the text relates to each of them. In any respect take advantage of the offer. Don't allow your uncertainty to keep you from
attending what will probably be a positive experience. I hope this is of some help.
May all be at peace.
If for company you find a wise and prudent friend
who leads a good life,
you should, overcoming all impediments,
keep his company joyously and mindfully.
(The Dhammapada 22:328
----- Original Message ----
From: "bjpnest@..." <bjpnest@...>
I have been reading this thread with interest. What comes across to me are
writers trying to explain their own beliefs and hoping to mesh or weave them
into a universality. It will keep going around and around in circles with no
concrete resolution as each tries to "promote" his or her own case. It is a
good thing that we do not all believe the same way. Having said that,
there are only so many ways we can say the same thing, as I am beginning to
understand these messages. We must agree to disagree since none of us will ever
be able to positively say, "This is the answer." And is that so bad? I
think, Yes. Because it keeps us embroiled in mini debates that can not be proved
or disproved. It keeps us from following the path we chose when we joined
this group. It keeps us from living NOW, in this moment. What cannot be
answered with any surety might be better left for a Koan or for our personal
meditation. I am much more interested in hearing what members have been through
with the general public or teachers or any experience as it pertains to the
here and now. I also have been sitting solitarily for a long time, but have
been asked if I'd like to join a group that meets for a few hours a week. I
would, but I'm not sure of protocol for entering, talking, manners, etc. in a
more formal setting. If someone would be able to help me with this, I would
be supremely appreciative.
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