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Thread: Buddha and Christ

  1. #1
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Buddha and Christ

    Hi,
    For those of you that follow both the Buddha way and the Christian path, a new film is out that may interest you. It figures Robert Kennedy SJ, an American Catholic priest and Zen Roshi in the White Plum lineage. He teaches here in Ireland sometimes and has an association with Black Mountain Zen Centre in Belfast.

    More info here:
    http://buddhisttrends.com/jesus-budd...aditions/1261/

    Gassho
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  2. #2
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    Looks interesting -- thanks for sharing. It'll have to go on my Christmas list. I'm always happy to see substantive inter-faith dialogue, especially as I live in a part of my country where it's a rare thing.

    Gassho,
    Shujin

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Sounds very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  4. #4
    A review of a recent book on the subject, with interviews with several non-two practitioners of both ways ...

    Buddhist and Christian?: An Exploration of Dual Belonging
    By Rose Drew
    http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/web-a...nd-christ.html
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    My father, who has flirted with Buddhism in the past, very much enjoyed this book which in the end confirmed to him his status as a Christian:

    http://www.amazon.com/Without-Buddha.../dp/1851686738

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Ordained Priest -In-Training
    Please take what I say with a grain of salt,
    especially in matters of the Dharma!

  6. #6
    I read a bit about Father Kennedy and his understanding and practice of both Christianity and Buddhism. While the two religions differ on the after life, I think they are very similar. I remember Father Kennedy talking about how Zen has helped him develop a better understanding of Christianity. All in all, two roads up the same mountain.
    Gassho,
    Onken

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    May I drop a word here and heartily recommend two books I have found wonderfully relative to spmeone breathing with both lungs. Benedict's Dharma: Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of Saint Benedict edited by Patrick Henry. and Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian by Paul F. Knitter. The latter book I found in the bookstore of a Benedictine retreat center. Both books truly spoke to my heart as a "Buddhadictine" )as my cousin calls me.

    Gassho

    Seishin Kyrill

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrillos View Post
    May I drop a word here and heartily recommend two books I have found wonderfully relative to spmeone breathing with both lungs. Benedict's Dharma: Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of Saint Benedict edited by Patrick Henry. and Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian by Paul F. Knitter. The latter book I found in the bookstore of a Benedictine retreat center. Both books truly spoke to my heart as a "Buddhadictine" )as my cousin calls me.

    Gassho

    Seishin Kyrill
    Thank you, Fr. K.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrillos View Post
    May I drop a word here and heartily recommend two books I have found wonderfully relative to spmeone breathing with both lungs. Benedict's Dharma: Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of Saint Benedict edited by Patrick Henry. and Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian by Paul F. Knitter. The latter book I found in the bookstore of a Benedictine retreat center. Both books truly spoke to my heart as a "Buddhadictine" )as my cousin calls me.

    Gassho

    Seishin Kyrill
    Thank you - I have ordered the first book

    Gassho

    Willow

  10. #10
    Thank you Myozan ... I was just having a chit chat with my good friend last night about this. He was always curious about whether the two could blend or work together, so I shared the link with him.

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  11. #11

  12. #12
    Stephanie
    Guest
    I sat a few times with Robert Kennedy's group in Jersey City, and he comes across as very impressive - charismatic, clear-minded, and welcoming (I recall the way after the morning's sitting and talk were over, the cushions were cleared and a table was set up for folks to eat, drink tea, and connect in conversation) without trying to sell any particular point of view. I have also since spent time with Dharma heirs of his of whom I have a good impression also. But I retain a skepticism about how anyone could still embrace some of the Christian tenets of faith after spending time sincerely practicing Zen.

    Now, the Christian moral vision - or at least the ideal form of it - of emphasizing love, healing, and forgiveness, is one I can embrace wholeheartedly. I find Christ to be a very inspirational figure. However, where I leave off is Christian metaphysics; this notion of the whole point of your faith being to ask for forgiveness so that, no matter how terrible what you did was, you can go to heaven and look down on the unfortunate ones who did not share your belief system and are burning in hell. I find this unethical; how could you enjoy heaven knowing that people are burning in hell? How can you worship a God that would punish anyone for eternity, much less those who simply believed the wrong thing? Plus I find the popular idea of the Christian afterlife to be very childish and ego-serving, and completely incompatible with teachings on impermanence and non-self in Buddhism. And yes, we can say, "Oh, but these things are meant metaphorically," but I find that a cop-out and patronizing to the majority of Christians in this world for whom these notions of eternity are at the center of their faith and are not taken as only metaphor.

    I also have problems with the concept of God as most people who use that word seem to understand it - a cosmic father figure with "a plan for me." I think that this notion is actually an obstacle to spiritual maturity, which in my view requires the radical realization of responsibility and aloneness. No, we are not alone in the sense that we are a part of this world, part of humanity, and part of the "greater whole" of life and the cosmos. But we are alone in the sense that there is nothing greater than me that can absolve me of the responsibility for my own life and choices, or relieve me of the discomfort of realizing that none of us know the reasons for which we came, if any, and the place to which we are headed - if any. And yes, this view is very much part of traditional Buddhist teaching, where it is taught that there is no god or gods who have the answers for us.

    It is very scary to contemplate the possibility that my life may have no greater meaning, that there may not be any "plan" or purpose for my life, that I, like many others, could simply suffer misfortunes that were not sent by a divine parent as lessons for me. I think our consolation as Buddhists is that we don't need to be special - there does not need to be a preordained meaning or a cosmic parent with a lesson plan for us, because our individual lives are simply an expression of, and chance to experience, something that is greater than the happenstance of one individual life - the chance to be conscious, to love, to have the courage to do what is right and change the world for the better, to taste a strawberry. Well, some apologists may say, that is what I mean when I say "God" (I suspect Robert Kennedy may be one of them but I cannot say for certain) but I think that is true of only a very small minority of people for whom a Christian faith is important, who believe on some level that death is not a final goodbye to those we love and the efforts we put into our lives.

    I have been struck more than once by Jundo's willingness to take on what he sees as fairy tales and "hokum" as far as more "woo-woo" elements of Buddhist tradition or things like "chi," but how he is very cautious and hands-off regarding the beliefs and faith that Christians who want to "dual practice" Buddhism and Christianity bring with them. I've got no evangelical fever with Buddhism that I need to go out and "convert" non-Buddhists, but I do feel uncomfortable when Christians come into the Buddhist arena and do not have any of their metaphysics questioned in the same way that Zen practice asks us to question everything we believe or want to believe. For me, this practice has never been about choosing comfort over the search for truth, and I do not think it true Zen practice if one refuses to question or examine what they think and believe.
    Last edited by Stephanie; 09-09-2012 at 06:57 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie View Post

    I have been struck more than once by Jundo's willingness to take on what he sees as fairy tales and "hokum" as far as more "woo-woo" elements of Buddhist tradition or things like "chi," but how he is very cautious and hands-off regarding the beliefs and faith that Christians who want to "dual practice" Buddhism and Christianity bring with them.
    Well, I might say that my attitude is to question possible "hokkum" and "woo-woo" wherever found ... be it in some elements of Buddhism, elements of Judeo-Christianity, New Age beliefs, UFO hunting, quack medical cures, or even an overly religious faith in "science has all the answers". Science does not have all the answers, only some very useful and informative ones.

    On the other hand, I also say that "one man's 'hokkum' is another man's 'Holy Truth'" What is 'woo-woo' for one may be good medicine for another! So, I do not shut my mind, and I am always willing to say that some things many be true or right for another. Maybe the Buddhist and Christian saints did perform miracles seemingly challenging the laws of physics, maybe crop circles are made by aliens, maybe laetrile does cure cancer, maybe Loch Ness has a monster. I have my doubts (to the point of not believing really), the evidence seems questionable, but who knows?

    What is more, not everyone approaches their faith in Jesus, Jehovah or (the very similar) Amida Buddha and the like in a simple, cartoonish way. At a more subtle level, Amida Buddha and the "Pure Land" have been found quite compatible with Zen Practice ... so why not Jesus? Searching for inner power ... searching for outer power ... yet beyond all thought of "in" or "out".

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-10-2012 at 03:03 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  14. #14
    Yeah, I agree with that as well. There is so little that we know about the universe, let alone who or what or anything created it. But I'm a product of nurture and nature as we all are. I was raised in a Judeo Christian culture, and I belive in a Judeo Christian God.

    I don't have a need to defend or promote that belief because I don't feel threatened about it. I love God, and I love Christ. I don't picture God as a father figure sitting on a throne with a long white beard. I'm not that naive. That isn't Christianity to me either. Neither is the sort of Christianity that separates others into different groups and judges them. Neither are the large organizations that use the name but do not practice the spirit of it. But I'm an iconoclast. I was confirmed in the Greek Orthodox church, married in a Catholic church. I don't go to Church, but I love God.. no doubt about it. I pray for others and myself regularly on a daily basis. Faith is an integral part of my life.

    I don't believe being Gay or not believing what I believe or anything will get you into Heaven or Hell. In fact, I don't know anything about Heaven or Hell, but I do know that I don't feel it's my place to even consider who is qualified for those places, if in fact those places exist. And believing in such places is not key in believing in Christ. Because, like Zen, I feel that Christianity is about finding oneself in their love and service to others rather than searching for some fabled reward after we meet our end.

    Faith is very personal, and sure there are contradictions. But life is rife with contradiction. Like I said, I can't defend my beliefs. I have them, and I try to live up to them. That includes my path in the Buddhadharma and my faith in Christ.

    Personally, I don't find any conflict with those two things, and I'm really glad that Kyrillos is part of this sangha; he's been an absolute inspiration for me.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  15. #15
    Zen is the direct pointing path. For a Christian practicing Zen, it may be pointing directly at god. This pointing may change one's view of god forever, or even make one drop all views regarding god.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Last edited by Omoi Otoshi; 09-11-2012 at 06:53 PM.
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  16. #16
    “I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong.”

    ― John Lennon
    I like this quote a lot. I use have really strong unmoving opinions about God and religions, but recently, all of those ideas and opinions never really helped me. They just gave me something to hold on to and defend, the whole "my idea is right and your just an idiot" thing is such an addictive ego boost.

    For me, as Pontus has said, Zen is direct pointing. Direct point to reality itself. When we get in touch with reality, we get in touch with that that may be called God.

    ...or...

    just some ramblings of mine.
    Humbly,
    Seiryu

  17. #17
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    hallenging the laws of physics, maybe crop circles are made by aliens, maybe laetrile does cure cancer, maybe Loch Ness has a monster. I have my doubts (to the point of not believing really), the evidence seems questionable, but who knows?

    What is more, not everyone approaches their faith in Jesus, Jehovah or (the very similar) Amida Buddha and the like in a simple, cartoonish way. At a more subtle level, Amida Buddha and the "Pure Land" have been found quite compatible with Zen Practice ... so why not Jesus? Searching for inner power ... searching for outer power ... yet beyond all thought of "in" or "out".

    Gassho, J
    Jundo,

    Are they compatible with your interpretation of Zen practice? I'm not talking about the historical links or what others believe, but are you actually comfortable with Amida and Pure Land having sway in your own personal practice?

    Chet

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    ... I don't picture God as a father figure sitting on a throne with a long white beard. I'm not that naive. That isn't Christianity to me either. Neither is the sort of Christianity that separates others into different groups and judges them. Neither are the large organizations that use the name but do not practice the spirit of it. But I'm an iconoclast. I was confirmed in the Greek Orthodox church, married in a Catholic church. I don't go to Church, but I love God.. no doubt about it. I pray for others and myself regularly on a daily basis. Faith is an integral part of my life. ... Because, like Zen, I feel that Christianity is about finding oneself in their love and service to others rather than searching for some fabled reward after we meet our end. ... Faith is very personal, and sure there are contradictions. But life is rife with contradiction.
    Risho, your words ring my bell! (praying hands or Gassho) Some contradictions, but ultimately no contradictions.

    Chet asked ...

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post
    Jundo,

    Are they compatible with your interpretation of Zen practice? I'm not talking about the historical links or what others believe, but are you actually comfortable with Amida and Pure Land having sway in your own personal practice?
    Me, no. I do not chant to Amida or pray to Jesus myself, as that is not my door. Some people prefer tomato soup, some split pea ... some make a lovely tomato pea soup.

    For the real "policy wonks" around here ... here is the best article I know on how in China the Zen Folks philosophically wrestled with, and actually came to terms with/merged with, Amida Buddhism. In China and Vietnam for the last several hundred years, the two are basically all mixed together. In fact, Amida Buddhism, and its central messianic figure and image of a "pie in the sky" heaven when we die (or here right now when we come to see the "Pure Land" even amid Samsara) is so similar to the Christian model, that basically the same debate might apply.

    WARNING: For true "history/doctrine" wonks and those seriously interested in these questions only! (PDF)
    https://sites.google.com/site/jundot...edirects=0&d=1

    By the way, our little Buddha statue on the Altar in the Zendo may be Shakyamuni ... or it may be Amida (more likely) ...but it is so old, scarred and rubbed down that I can't tell.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    ... I don't picture God as a father figure sitting on a throne with a long white beard. I'm not that naive. That isn't Christianity to me either. Neither is the sort of Christianity that separates others into different groups and judges them. Neither are the large organizations that use the name but do not practice the spirit of it. But I'm an iconoclast. I was confirmed in the Greek Orthodox church, married in a Catholic church. I don't go to Church, but I love God.. no doubt about it. I pray for others and myself regularly on a daily basis. Faith is an integral part of my life. ... Because, like Zen, I feel that Christianity is about finding oneself in their love and service to others rather than searching for some fabled reward after we meet our end. ... Faith is very personal, and sure there are contradictions. But life is rife with contradiction.
    Risho, your words ring my bell! (praying hands or Gassho) Some contradictions, but ultimately no contradictions.

    Chet asked ...

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post
    Jundo,

    Are they compatible with your interpretation of Zen practice? I'm not talking about the historical links or what others believe, but are you actually comfortable with Amida and Pure Land having sway in your own personal practice?
    Me, no. I do not chant to Amida or Jesus myself, as that is not my door. Some people prefer tomato soup, some split pea ... some make a luscious tomato-pea soup.

    For the real "policy wonks" around here ... here is the best article I know on how in China the Zen Folks philosophically wrestled with, and actually came to terms with/merged with, Amida Buddhism. In China and Vietnam for the last several hundred years, the two are basically all mixed together. In fact, Amida Buddhism, and its central messianic figure and image of a "pie in the sky" heaven when we die (or here right now when we open our eyes to see the "Pure Land" even in ugly Samsara) is so similar to the Christian model, that basically the same debate might apply.

    WARNING: For true "history/doctrine" wonks and those seriously interested in these questions only! (PDF)
    https://sites.google.com/site/jundot...edirects=0&d=1
    (i just replaced the original link for higher resolution)

    By the way, our little wooden Buddha statue on the Altar in the Zendo may be Shakyamuni ... or it may be Amida (more likely) ... or just a piece of wood ... but it is so old, scarred and rubbed down that I can't tell.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-12-2012 at 04:41 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  20. #20
    I guess I consider myself both a Buddhist and a Christian. I do not believe in Christian metaphysics. I do not believe in hell or anti-scientific miracles. I do not believe in a father-figure God. So, I guess some Christians would not consider me Christian, but a lot of Christians I know feel the same way I do.

    For me, Christianity, is the parable of the love in the New Testament--it is in following the way of a person. Rather like following in the way of Buddha, but not believing in the rather religious elements of Buddhism introduced after Buddha nor in any miracles such as blossoming trees or a thousand Buddhas. In my life, I try to follow what I believe is at the heart of the teachings of Buddha, and I try to follow what I believe is at the heart of the teachings of Christ, which is not all of what may have been written hundreds of years thereafter, but of which I think I still get a sense when I read and follow the teachings of both of these teachers.

    Maybe the other thing I identify with from Christianity is forgiveness. I feel if the world practiced forgiveness, we would go a long way. In fact, I think forgiveness may be, even more than understanding, the key to peace.

    As for God, I believe everything is all One. That is God to me, if you must put an image to one. Gassho and Peace Be With You, Grace.
    Last edited by Graceleejenkins; 09-15-2012 at 12:02 AM. Reason: spaces keep missing

  21. #21
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graceleejenkins View Post
    I guess I consider myself both a Buddhist and a Christian. I do not believe in Christian metaphysics. I do not believe in hell or anti-scientific miracles. I do not believe in a father-figure God. So, I guess some Christians would not consider me Christian, but a lot of Christians I know feel the same way I do.

    For me, Christianity, is the parable of the love in the New Testament--it is in following the way of a person. Rather like following in the way of Buddha, but not believing in the rather religious elements of Buddhism introduced after Buddha nor in any miracles such as blossoming trees or a thousand Buddhas. In my life, I try to follow what I believe is at the heart of the teachings of Buddha, and I try to follow what I believe is at the heart of the teachings of Christ, which is not all of what may have been written hundreds of years thereafter, but of which I think I still get a sense when I read and follow the teachings of both of these teachers.

    Maybe the other thing I identify with from Christianity is forgiveness. I feel if the world practiced forgiveness, we would go a long way. In fact, I think forgiveness may be, even more than understanding, the key to peace.

    As for God, I believe everything is all One. That is God to me, if you must put an image to one. Gassho and Peace Be With You, Grace.
    Very inspiring Grace.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie View Post
    to taste a strawberry.
    This is the truth.

    What a great country I live in. I can be a Christian and a Buddhist at the same time.

    Whatever I am, living in delusion and awakening is happening all the time. But I don't wallow in the delusions, I vow to cut thru them and taste a strawberry.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  23. #23
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Brilliant writing Stephanie.


    gassho

    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 09-15-2012 at 12:22 PM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie View Post
    It is very scary to contemplate the possibility that my life may have no greater meaning, that there may not be any "plan" or purpose for my life, that I, like many others, could simply suffer misfortunes that were not sent by a divine parent as lessons for me. I think our consolation as Buddhists is that we don't need to be special - there does not need to be a preordained meaning or a cosmic parent with a lesson plan for us, because our individual lives are simply an expression of, and chance to experience, something that is greater than the happenstance of one individual life - the chance to be conscious, to love, to have the courage to do what is right and change the world for the better, to taste a strawberry. Well, some apologists may say, that is what I mean when I say "God" (I suspect Robert Kennedy may be one of them but I cannot say for certain) but I think that is true of only a very small minority of people for whom a Christian faith is important, who believe on some level that death is not a final goodbye to those we love and the efforts we put into our lives.
    The idea that Life has an Ultimate Meaning does not hold . This has meaning relative to that, and this has purpose in the context of that, but this and that together have no external reference......no context in which to take measure. Life at once cannot be contained in meaning. This is not the same as saying life is meaningless, because to say "meaningless" is to assign negative meaning. Maybe it is better to say that it is inherently free of either meaning, or absence of meaning.

    An Ultimate Cosmic Purpose, no matter how gloriously concieved, is a nightmare scenario where everything is bound, subordinated, and ultimately reduced to that purpose alone. It is the absolutizing of relative and contingent purpose, the fraction consuming the whole.


    There is within given relationships, such as "me and my world", deeply valued meanings, but if these meanings becomes absolutized and fixed, the unconditioned joy and freeplay giving rise to the whole picture goes into eclipse. The world in eclipse is an endless reaching for lost Joy, one compensation after another. I know that too well.

    Gassho.
    Last edited by Daizan; 09-15-2012 at 12:45 PM.
    大山

  25. #25
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Thank you all for the kind feedback and replies.

    Grace (how fitting a name for this thread, ha!) - I share your view almost exactly but think of myself as an atheist (well, I think of myself as Buddhist, but as far as theist/non-theist goes, that is). So isn't that interesting? I am very curious if the other Christian-identifying folks you know who share your views go to church? If so, which church(es)? I have wondered at times how many Christians - especially how many "dual practicing" Buddhist-Christians - do not really believe in an afterlife or personal God.

    This is a highly energized topic for me for a couple of reasons. One is that I live in the so-called Bible Belt and pretty much have to keep my religious views "in the closet" in almost every sector of my life to avoid political fallout that could hurt both my professional and personal life. So I admit I have a little resentment that I have to work so diligently to keep my religious views quiet in just about every other area of my life, and then come into the actual arena of my own "faith" and find again that politicized kow-towing to Christian beliefs.

    The other is that, even in the case of people who do not hold the views of God and afterlife I am surrounded by where I live - and find so distasteful - I find the use of the term "God" problematic in a Zen Buddhist context. Yes, we can say, "When I say 'God', I am referring to the Absolute," or whatever, but I think the term still carries with it the sense of an entity. I know from personal experience the longing for some great being to know and care about me and my struggles, and I think it is easy when using the word "God" to let the sense of that into the back door. I find this to be a problem, personally, in my practice, because I cannot accept a false reassurance. I want to push beyond that, to freedom from fooling myself into feeling better about my loneliness because "God cares." I too easily see how it is a trick of my own mind to contemplate a God. I just don't feel like anything like God is really there, in terms of an entity. And I feel the same way about Amida Buddha, Allah, or any other similar religious system.

    Actually, the theological views that I find least in conflict with my sensibility are polytheistic views, not that I believe in gods either, but at least polytheistic views tend to reflect the sense of a universe full of many different forces that are neutral toward humanity, rather than parental and nurturing. As an avid fan of nature documentaries, I see the forces that promote life in completely unsentimental terms. And I find more and more I like it that way - it makes life far more mysterious and awe-inspiring to contemplate, when I see it as reflecting some tendency or law of the universe, rather than something planned by a parental entity.

    I do think that there is a huge shift between seeing a universe directed by God and seeing a godless universe. I think even some professed atheists hold what I would see as a theistic view - this feeling that there is a plan, a meaning, and a purpose for us to find and follow. The second you start to shift away from that, there is the feeling of a cold wind, a chill - "I really am alone and I really do have to figure this out for myself. There is no parent, waiting for me at the end of my recital to give me a hug. Maybe little Johnny really did just die for no reason, and all of his parents' terrible suffering goes unheard by anyone or anything else other than just us humans." There is of course a deep melancholy in this view which is why I have no agenda to try to sway people from what they need to get through the night. But just as on the savannah, in the zendo there is no sentimentality. A lion kills another lion's cubs, one person kills another - what do we do? Do we reach for "God" or do we meet each other in this moment without anything extra?

    The interesting subtext for me of my strong sense of a Godless universe is my just as strong sense of the power and centrality of love in the human experience. The way this sense of love as a powerful and guiding force is expressed in Christianity resonates strongly with my own experience. I believe love is the only thing that saves us, in the end. And love sometimes does feel to me like it comes from something "outside" - how in times I feel so lost, love arises and shows me the way. But even with this experience, I just don't feel this has anything to do with God, with an entity that is guiding me. I find it altogether more mysterious than that. So I can see how some can feel Christian strongly while also sharing my allergy to the metaphysics. But I do think this matter is more than just a matter of terminology.

  26. #26
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    An Ultimate Cosmic Purpose, no matter how gloriously concieved, is a nightmare scenario where everything is bound, subordinated, and ultimately reduced to that purpose alone. It is the absolutizing of relative and contingent purpose, the fraction consuming the whole.
    Beautifully put. This captures exactly my sense of how life and the universe are actually more mysterious and awe-inspiring without it all revolving around one single, preconceived "purpose." Whatever it all is, we are all it, not socks in a cosmic washing machine where God is the sole "it" around which everything else spins, stupidly, throughout eternity.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie View Post

    Grace (how fitting a name for this thread, ha!) - I share your view almost exactly but think of myself as an atheist (well, I think of myself as Buddhist, but as far as theist/non-theist goes, that is). So isn't that interesting? I am very curious if the other Christian-identifying folks you know who share your views go to church? If so, which church(es)? I have wondered at times how many Christians - especially how many "dual practicing" Buddhist-Christians - do not really believe in an afterlife or personal God.
    Hi, Stephanie. Now that you mention it and I‘ve been thinking about it, I seem to find the right church by just walking into different churches and trying them out. Kind of like how I found Treeleaf. I just tried places. For instance, I walked into one new Buddhist temple, and the monk wouldn’t shake my hand. Although he was nice about it and arranged someone to stand-in , still, I knew it wasn’t going to be the place for me. Another temple had a female priest, but the atmosphere was a little scary to me. I just happened to try Treeleaf and found that the general openness, inclusiveness, and philosophy fit my needs.

    I realize I have done the same thing with Christian churches. I stay completely away from any that stress, evangelism. If I walk in and the sermon is about how we aren’t “descended from monkeys” or that women should be submissive to men, I leave. However, if I glean something from the service or sermon, I may stay awhile to see if there is a fit. By odd chance, I have found the most inclusion and tolerance in the Methodist church, although there have been other denominations, too. And definitely not all Methodist churches have been churches where I could stay, but at least three of them have been.

    To answer your question, in these churches, I would saythat about 5% of the members are almost in complete alignment with my views, another 5% are mostly in agreement, and the other 90% are more traditional to varying degrees, but most are still very open, inclusive, and kind, and most accept my belief in the love and example of Christ as being enough. (Which is funny, because I once saw a television comedy depict the Methodist Church as very strict and unyielding and ridiculous, and I couldn’t even recognize it as such—I guess it has everything to do with the minister and the particular church congregation.)
    This is about the same percentage that I would guess I would find at Treeleaf to be mostly in alignment with my beliefs because only a small percent are Christian and many of our members would probably have differing beliefs regarding Karma and reincarnation. But nonetheless, most accept my belief in the teachings of Buddha and in the importance of Zazen as enough and graciously accommodate other, different beliefs I may have from them.

    I’m thinking that it may be harder to find such a shurch in theSouth, but I don’t know because I have only belonged to churches in the North. I guess you just keep trying until you find a place where you can both thrive and contribute. And sometimes, even after finding such a place, it or you may change and you have to begin the search anew.

    I hope you find that Treeleaf fits into your needs, because I know that I enjoy your contributions. Gassho, Grace.

  28. #28
    Hi again Stephanie,
    Thank you and please let me share a few reflections. I agree with most of what your write, but there are some things I don't quite agree with, so I thought I'd throw my thoughts out here. Just ideas, so don't mistake them for claiming to have any answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie View Post
    Even in the case of people who do not hold the views of God and afterlife I am surrounded by where I live - and find so distasteful - I find the use of the term "God" problematic in a Zen Buddhist context.
    I find your distaste in other people's beliefs somewhat distasteful...
    But also very human and understandable. Thanks for being honest.

    Zen is the direct pointing path and what I like with this path is the "see for yourself" approach. We don't have to blindly accept what we're told. We can experience, realize emptiness directly. But countless thousands have realized God too. They will never be able to describe their experience of God in words and neither will I be able to express my experience of emptiness, other than in action, by making the Buddha's truth real in my own life. We expect christians to be tolerant of our views and get annoyed when they aren't, but are we always so tolerant ourselves? For me, the proof is in the pudding, not in the books. And although I fail miserably quite often in this regard, I believe there is wisdom in minding one's own practice.

    Emptiness was not what I thought it would be (and I don't claim to have realized emptiness completely, far from it!) And I suspect many people who realized God didn't find what they thought they would either. So it all comes down to what we mean by God. But trying to define God seems futile. As futile as trying to define Buddha nature, emptiness, the Unborn.

    In a Zen buddhist context the term God may be problematic. But in a Christian context, emptiness is also very problematic. Who got it right? Who has the answer? We must have some faith in this path, or we wouldn't walk it. But personally, I don't think buddhists have the whole answer and other religions don't. As buddhists, we can respect other people's views and try not to see our own views as the truth. Also, let's not forget that the vast majority of buddhists world wide worship Buddhas as god-like dieties. And the Lotus sutra if taken literally isn't very close the views of most people here. Are we a small "elite" among buddhists who got it? Maybe, but I'm not so sure. When the ego has left the building and there is only the one moon, none of this matters anyway. There is only the spring outside of time, where flowers bloom on a withered tree. No Buddha, no God. The question only exists when there are two moons.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  29. #29
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Suzuki, in ZMBM has a chapter called God Giving. The creator of all there is (emptiness, and the expanse there of). He uses the god framing to make a case for giving... 'To give is nonattachment, (in his words) that is, just not to attach to anything is to give'.

    In a christian sense, she created All, and how can we attach to anything, if we are only borrowing it for this short space in time called life. He fits the god essence into the sense that we create nothing, it came form nowhere and no where to be taken, and we should only be totally in that grace of gratitude and the continual bow.

    He sees zazen, as god, from there everything is created, no ownership needed. When we stand from sitting, that process of creating begins anew.

    It seems most of us probably have a bad taste in our mouths of what Western christianity has become, not `this god thing, so much. So it seems that if god is the creator of all, then she is also creating this so-called unchristian christianity, and the lessons that come from that. After all, students of zen, can, or could be grateful for this same thing for helping to bring us to this presence.
    Last edited by galen; 09-23-2012 at 06:26 PM.
    Nothing Special

  30. #30
    Thanks Galen,
    I had to take that wonderful book down from the book shelf and just reread that chapter! That's a very interesting way of looking at Zazen, God and emptiness.

    /Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  31. #31
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    Thanks Galen,
    I had to take that wonderful book down from the book shelf and just reread that chapter! That's a very interesting way of looking at Zazen, God and emptiness.

    /Pontus

    Hi Pontus... while I am relatively new to this `Leaf, and more of a straight line to and hopefully through Zen, Suzuki has an incredible way of presenting Zen for laymen, for the more modern Westerners (my perspective of course). Probably many who have been more in this straight line feel they are above this small, short chapter-ed book. This is my second time through, and of course the lights are blinking much louder. In his own way, he is very profound and he found so much delight in the American mind. You put me up to some of those thoughts from your post. Realizing my post was my take on his, does not necessarily make it so for others... and thank you.
    Nothing Special

  32. #32
    This might be off topic and may sound completely crazy, but but just for fun:
    While the buddha was a historical figure that really existed,

    Jesus was a mushroom

    https://www.google.be/#q=jesus+was+a+mushroom

    zq4f777ecc.jpg

    Some suggest that jesus was not a historical person but a metaphor for an experience, based on a very ancient mushroom cult.

    The holy grail

    When the hallucogenic fly agaric reaches its final stage it forms a cup where rain water is collected. The rain water then contains hallucogenic compounds from the red pigment of the mushroom. Taking a drink from the holy grail would then bring one in a 'jesus' like or 'non-self' state. You'd be drinking the blood of Jesus.

    Amanita_muscaria_Pa112042.jpg

    The golden chalice

    l.jpg

    Mushroom-Cult-1[1].jpg

    The pope dresses like a magic mushroom

    :-)
    Last edited by Run_CMD; 10-02-2012 at 03:42 PM.

  33. #33
    Hello,

    just a bit food for contemplative thought.

    How could one ever hope to drop off ALL, meaning body of mind, whilst still pursuing one's own limited ideas?

    How could one dare to approach the Mysterium Tremendum without being willing to drop one's cultural shackles, be they Christian or Buddhist?

    Does one strive to realise Christ, or Christianity? Does one strive realise awakening, or Buddhism.

    The Isms of this world will always find ways to disagree. The source whence the waters of life originate, now that is a different story. Most drunkards seem the same, no matter how they found their way into the tavern. Christians, Buddhists, sons of widows....once they describe the taste of the wine on their lips, they seem to have become brothers and sisters.

    Now some would disagree. Do not worry about "some", worry about your striving.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    How could one ever hope to drop off ALL, meaning body of mind, whilst still pursuing one's own limited ideas?
    Good questions Hans!

    /Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Run_CMD View Post
    This might be off topic and may sound completely crazy, but but just for fun:
    While the buddha was a historical figure that really existed,

    Jesus was a mushroom
    Sounds like someone has eaten too many magic mushrooms.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  36. #36
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    Good questions Hans!

    /Pontus


    Seemingly, give up the ideas.
    Nothing Special

  37. #37
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Sounds like someone has eaten too many magic mushrooms.

    Gassho, J


    Or not enough!
    Nothing Special

  38. #38
    I ate a small piece of a poisonous mushroom when I was a kid, just because I had heard vikings used them to go berserk. I puked for hours and had a headache for two days. I gained much insight from that experience.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    I ate a small piece of a poisonous mushroom when I was a kid, just because I had heard vikings used them to go berserk. I puked for hours and had a headache for two days. I gained much insight from that experience.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    I am glad you decided not to eat a BIG piece!!!!
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  40. #40
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    I ate a small piece of a poisonous mushroom when I was a kid, just because I had heard vikings used them to go berserk. I puked for hours and had a headache for two days. I gained much insight from that experience.

    Gassho,
    Pontus


    I ate many magic ones by choice in my past. One of the cleanest chemically-natural `highs there is. Many years of smoking the erb also, just the thought of it makes me want a puff , but haven't for quite awhile, but probably will again.
    Nothing Special

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    Seemingly, give up the ideas.
    Ideas can be very useful. Nothing wrong with ideas in my opinion! But sometimes we cling to them, identify too strongly with them. Let them throw us around in life, instead of dancing freely with them. Take ourselves, our ideas, too seriously. If our ideas are not who we are, who are we?

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  42. #42
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    Ideas can be very useful. Nothing wrong with ideas in my opinion! But sometimes we cling to them, identify too strongly with them. Let them throw us around in life, instead of dancing freely with them. Take ourselves, our ideas, too seriously. If our ideas are not who we are, who are we?

    Gassho,
    Pontus


    You make good points, Pontus, but I will take a shot at it...

    Are they not, of the small mind, a human construct? It seems we all have ideas about this and that, which is fine, but can they be of the Boundless Expanse of the Big Mind? Do we need some idea for having an idea of a larger more real place of boundlessness? Do we need ideas to `sit, to sit on, or contrive and think about ideals, during these moments of total presence, when that moment of total amercement arrives? It seems not..... but who in the hell am I to say, this Is my idea while sitting with my small mindedness.

    It just seems an idea about anything keeps it unreal, an illusion. We have some idea or ideal of objects and forms, but it seems this is a projected picture, so does it miss the mark of emptiness, which is the other side side of the side-less coin, the whole?
    Nothing Special

  43. #43
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Our discussion here, speaking of my posts mainly, could fall under the category of what Taigu has yelled out to a thread, of the eloquent bla bla blas. But the same could be said for some of Taigu and Jundos posts, in their humanness. I would like both or either to enter here and give their view of 'ideas' as such, that would be appreciated.
    Nothing Special

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    I would like both or either to enter here and give their view of 'ideas' as such, that would be appreciated.
    All our Practice around here is about our "ideas". We need 'em to live, we need to get past and thoroughly free of them (including all idea of our "us"), we need to then again live in a world of ideas without being their prisoner and knowing Buddha in each one.

    Simple as pie.

    That's my eloquent bla bla bla for today.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  45. #45
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    He who in order to relinquish all views
    Taught the true Dharma
    By compassionate means -
    To him, to Gautama, I pay homage..


    Last words of Nagarjuna in his famous work...


    That gives you an idea, galen.

    That is also my favorite blablabla as true words come and lead to this.
    Wordly words are made of opinions and are nothing but noise.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  46. #46
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Useless blablabla
    Last edited by Taigu; 10-03-2012 at 09:25 AM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    You make good points, Pontus, but I will take a shot at it...

    Are they not, of the small mind, a human construct? It seems we all have ideas about this and that, which is fine, but can they be of the Boundless Expanse of the Big Mind? Do we need some idea for having an idea of a larger more real place of boundlessness? Do we need ideas to `sit, to sit on, or contrive and think about ideals, during these moments of total presence, when that moment of total amercement arrives? It seems not..... but who in the hell am I to say, this Is my idea while sitting with my small mindedness.

    It just seems an idea about anything keeps it unreal, an illusion. We have some idea or ideal of objects and forms, but it seems this is a projected picture, so does it miss the mark of emptiness, which is the other side side of the side-less coin, the whole?
    I have this idea that not all that is of human construct is small minded. What mind constructs our ideas? The small mind out of greed, aversion and delusion? Or the big mind, out of wisdom, clarity, compassion? The big mind (Buddha mind, empty mind, beginner's mind), can also arise while fully interacting with the world, in the midst of thoughts, ideas, emotions, not only in some special state of profound samadhi, outside of time and space. The middle way is integrating both halves of the truth, the absolute and the relative, into one truth, one reality, one beautiful way of living. Everything said about this this truth is not true, misses the mark. That's why all words are only pointing to the moon. The middle way has to be realized directly, which is the aimless aim of Zen buddhist practice. So should we all just sit down and shut up? Sometimes yes, but not always. I think the exchange of ideas is vitally important. When we get stuck, unconsciously clinging to an idea, another idea, another point of view, may be what is needed, the correct medicine, what sets us free. Right then, for that person, in that moment, that is Right View. I'm not sure you can say that the idea of emptiness is generally less delusional than the idea of an eternal true self, or even god. Buddhists say it a lot. Out of wisdom or ignorance? What is pointed at is beyond description. Buddhism is also just an idea. Relinquishing all views, Buddha dies, Atman dies, God dies. And everything comes alive.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  48. #48
    disastermouse
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Hello,

    just a bit food for contemplative thought.

    How could one ever hope to drop off ALL, meaning body of mind, whilst still pursuing one's own limited ideas?

    How could one dare to approach the Mysterium Tremendum without being willing to drop one's cultural shackles, be they Christian or Buddhist?

    Does one strive to realise Christ, or Christianity? Does one strive realise awakening, or Buddhism.

    The Isms of this world will always find ways to disagree. The source whence the waters of life originate, now that is a different story. Most drunkards seem the same, no matter how they found their way into the tavern. Christians, Buddhists, sons of widows....once they describe the taste of the wine on their lips, they seem to have become brothers and sisters.

    Now some would disagree. Do not worry about "some", worry about your striving.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    If your 'ism' causes you to drop your sword instead of picking it up and charging into the everpresent 'other', your 'ism' has validity in my opinion. No war for me anymore (I hope), not even war with war or warriors.

    Chet

  49. #49
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    All our Practice around here is about our "ideas". We need 'em to live, we need to get past and thoroughly free of them (including all idea of our "us"), we need to then again live in a world of ideas without being their prisoner and knowing Buddha in each one.

    Simple as pie.

    That's my eloquent bla bla bla for today.

    That was good, and probably more to the point that Pontus made/took. It seems we have to use them to get beyond them, as the same has been said of concepts, there is a need to study and learn from them, to get beyond them to better know our true nature. The same with teachers, thoroughly through and through.
    Nothing Special

  50. #50
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    He who in order to relinquish all views
    Taught the true Dharma
    By compassionate means -
    To him, to Gautama, I pay homage..


    Last words of Nagarjuna in his famous work...


    That gives you an idea, galen.

    That is also my favorite blablabla as true words come and lead to this.
    Wordly words are made of opinions and are nothing but noise.


    Thank you for that, Taigu.
    Nothing Special

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