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Thread: Buddhism and GODthingy?

  1. #1

    Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Hi.

    One thing that struck me was the buddhism and GODthingy.
    As i live in a city which is pretty much into christianity and it's different sect (jehovas witness and other christian variations), i've often been confronted with the question if you can be a buddhist and a christian.
    And i think the answer is something like this...
    Yes, because buddhism isn't a belief that raises the question of GOD, buddha never spoke about it really...
    No, if your definition of god is something separate and "not subject to the law of karma and suchlike".
    Yes, buddhism isn't a religion per se, it's more "a way of life"...
    No, If you believe your "GOD" to be the "creator" of it all (ok, has some "loopholes")
    ...

    And so, my question to the forum is this, have you got any more arguments for the either side?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  2. #2

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Hi.

    Brad warner had a chapter in "sit down and shut up" about GOD...

    http://www.amazon.com/Sit-Down-Shut-Up- ... 257&sr=8-1

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  3. #3

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    buddha spoke about it.. i dont know why people like to say he didnt but he did
    here's a few things he's said about it

    "The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God." MN II 68.

    'As far as the suns and moons extend their courses and the regions of the sky shine in splendour, there is a thousandfold world system. In each single one of these there are a thousand suns, moons, Meru Mountains, four times a thousand continents and oceans, a thousand heavens of all stages of the realm of sense pleasure, a thousand Brahma worlds. As far as a thousandfold world system reaches in other words, the universe], the Great God is the highest being. But even the Great God is subject to coming-to-be and ceasing-to-be.' Anguttara-Nikaya X 29

    "God truthfully answers [the questions of the Buddha] in succession: 'Good sir, those views I previously held are not mine; I see the radiance the world of God as passing; how could I say that I am permanent and eternal?'" 83rd discourse of the Middle Length Sayings

    "Again, monks, I [the Buddha] approached those ascetic and brahmins and said to them: 'Is it true, as they say, that you venerable ones teach and hold the view that whatever a person experiences...all that is caused by God's creation?' When they affirmed it, I said to them: 'If that is so, venerable sirs, then it is due to God's creation that people kill, steal ...[and otherwise act badly]. But those who have recourse to God's creation as the decisive factor, will lack the impulse and the effort doing this or not doing that. Since for them, really and truly, no (motive) obtains that this or that ought to be done or not be done...."' Anguttara Nikaya 3.61

  4. #4

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    theres also a sutra/sutta where he calls those who preach about god being true, without ever having seen him, fools

  5. #5

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Hi.

    I stand somewhat corrected, but that's why i said

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Yes, because buddhism isn't a belief that raises the question of GOD, buddha never spoke about it really...
    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  6. #6

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Interesting question,

    I have no answer of course. I don' want to hear about God and the likes anymore so I suppose it is convenient for me to see Buddhism as a religion without God if you see God as a creator, outside the whole world. And I don't buy the whole thing about a super hero or daddy saving the whole mess we make. But you may object that I believe in Jizo and Kannon, yes i do but not as separate entities from this world, I seee them as metaphors of what happens in me and outside of me, so i meet Kannon everyday in the flesh, I meet Jizo everyday not just carved in stone but as you do, all of you. Selfless actions is Kannon itself. Fro drinking coffee to pissing it in the stream. From commuting to working. And even in my selfish actions, imperfect as they are Kannon is still there as an unconditionnal display of Big mind. Anyway I only see Kannon in the great and not so great people I meet and things changing around. The one thousand activities of each day are manifested through this. So Maitreya perceived as a saviour or Christ or anybody else is not my cup of tea, and not in my cup of tea. Trungpa used to really insist on this, you may not like him or agree with his conduct, but he had a great point. Deshimaru used to repeat endlessly that God and Buddha were one and the same...He also had a point.
    Take care

    Taigu

  7. #7

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Hello!

    Sorry to quote myself here, but I guess what I wrote in the Nichiren-Shu chanting thread fits in rather nicely here:

    "The theme of mixing traditions is one of my favourites...so if you ever want to see me waffle on about one single subject for hours and hours without end (and strangely enough with no one else in the room... ) just tell me "Hans how do you feel about mixing Zen practice with Christianity?" and enjoy the boring ride. That's why I shut up about this most of the time...let me just briefly say that I think that many configurations of religous/practice are of course possible on a personal level, they do exist anyway...however, one does not have to be a puritan dogmatist to see that certain key themes and also certain goals are vastly different and mutually exclusive when it comes down to mixing stuff (watch me use some of them fancy words: ontology, soteriology!!).

    Here comes my personal slice of dogma-cake: The three jewels are the ultimate refuge for a buddhist, to accept Jesus as a refuge of equal importance is contrary to nearly 95% of all buddhist schools that ever existed on this planet. To accept the three jewels as a refuge of equal importance to Jesus as your personal saviour makes you a non Chrisitan according to 95% of all major Christian traditions.

    One can be a "cultural" anything and still practice Zazen, no problem. If your personal belief system includes clinging to and serving (a term that appears time and again in all Chritianity) any kind of personal God (other than a respectful nod here and then) , then you're not lettin it all "drop". If you drop everything in Zazen , even Buddhism, you are not doing anything wrong. If you dare to drop God (or some mantra that's supposedly all important), you're really off the rails in mainstream Christian terms. I really like the wisdom of people like Willigis-Jäger and some of the other modern monk-mystics, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking that what they represent is in fact representative of Christianity as a whole.

    Those were jsut some thoughts and I am happy to discuss and even embrace other points of view, I could be dead wrong after all. Whatever works for you is my bottom line...just don't anyone tell me that the exception is the rule."

    .... and a little while later: the issue does not stop with personal practice but goes beyond that and ends up firmly in the political and social realities of people's lives. Most people who call themselves XYZ support not only their own practice, but whole organisations through giving money or simply through belonging to them and thus confirming the status quo. In the case of catholicism (and yes we can find dodgy examples within our own buddhist ranks as well), you can sit all the Zazen you like, as long as you're still an official member paying church tax, your "fringe definition" of catholicism-Zazen strengthens an organisation that actively keeps people in thrid world countries from using contraception etc. etc."


    IMHO it's important for people to define what they mean by the Godthingy....because Einstein and other people of whom it is often said that they believed in a GOD, did not believe in a personal God, but rather some non-personal mysterious WOWness. Believing in a personal God is the main defining factor of abrahamitic monotheisms.

    Whether you believe in a personal God or not when you practice Buddhism and/or Zazen is not really the issue IMHO, however once you are attached to your own belief in God you're definitley off the middle way and not a Buddhist anymore (in my book that is....and yes, my "book" can be wrong and I try not to be too attached to my own stupid opinions)...at least that's how it seems to be to me. In the western world you can call yourself whatever you want. Whatever works for you. So I guess it's okay to worship great Cthulhu and offer him the souls of innocent humanoids to celebrate his glory and still call yourself a Buddhist....it's only when the cthulhuoid interpretation of Buddhism tries to tell me that this syncretism fits the genereally accepted definitions of mainstream Buddhism that developed over 2500 years that I may raise my eyebrow.

    Gassho,

    Mongen

  8. #8
    Senior Member Martin's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Can one believe in God and be Buddhist?

    Well, "God" is just a word, "Dog" spelled backwards.

    Whether one can be a "Buddhist" (which is just another word) depends entirely on what belief system or experience one hides behind the label "God". Goethe put the question of what one means by God much better than I ever could: http://german.about.com/library/nblgretchen.htm .

    For my part, I can't get my head round the concept of something that might be a first cause (nor around the concept of a universe without a first cause, come to that) so I'm left firmly in the "don't know" camp.

    To return to Fugen's original, and subtlely different question, can one be a Buddhist and a Christian? Well, of course, "Christian" is just another word. I guess it depends on the particular Christian grouping one has in mind, but most of them seem to require adherence to a particular verbal formula about what the "truth" is (they call them "creeds"). I'm guessing that it might be difficult to practice Zen, at least, whilst adhering to a particular verbal formula since in zazen there are no verbal formulas, at least not as standing for the Truth that is always right in front of us.

    I'm conscious, rereading this, that I may sound as if I'm quibbling about the meaning of words and verbal formula. But actually for me this goes to the heart of the matter: Christianity, at least as practised by most of the Christians I have the honour and privilege to know, is fundamentally a matter of adhering to a set of beliefs, of subscribing to a particular formula. It's a religion of belief. I have some beliefs, actually, but I don't feel that my Zen practice requires those beliefs, or indeed any beliefs of me. There wasn't a precept requiring "Belief in the Truth as imparted to Jundo". We just sit, and just live our lives as best as we can if there is no God, and if there is one, well, we just sit and live our lives just the same. It seems to me that it is our attitude to belief itself, our attitude to the question of whether there is a God, and a Jesus, that would disqualify us from being Christian as well as Buddhist, at least as most Christians understand the term. Now, it may be that I can find room in my beliefs for a God and a Jesus, and also no God and no Jesus, and I do, but to say that this makes me a Christian would be to redefine the word so it has no meaning to most who call themselves Christians. Which, to us, might not matter, because it's just a word, but to my Christian friends would very much matter.

    Gassho

    Martin

  9. #9

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    This is my opinion about God things.....

    God has no relation with Buddhist teaching or Zen....

    You believe or not, it has no relation with your practice at all.
    So, please don't be confuse....

    If you don't believe it, it's OK, just continue your practice.

    I my self believe about Gods, but I don't believe about Gods who determine human's fate, create the universe, and a God who determine whether you go down to the hell, or bring you to the heaven.

    In my belief, Gods is just like a human, but with different form and power (once again... this is my belief, it's not Zen at all)...

    Gods has greater power than human because of their good deeds. Every one can become a god if they have a lot of good deeds. So, I believe there are a lot of Gods (but I do not believe the Gods who control the whole universe)

    But for me, becoming a God is not the purpose of Buddhism at all. A lot of Gods also learn about Buddhism like us (once again, it's my belief).

    I some times go to the temple to give respect to the gods. Why not? is it fault to give respect to a good person? They can become a God, so they must be a good person with a different form. And Buddha said that respect to a good thing is good. Just like I respect to Jundo.

    But it doesn't mean that I only respect the God, and disrespect to another. I respect Gods as a part of the universe, not as the boss and the creator of the universe. The original face of Gods and human and the whole universe has no different at all.

    What I disagree is
    when person think that their fate is in God's hand.


    But that's my belief.

    Whether you believe the existence of Gods or not, you still have to drink and eat, go to office to work, and sleep at night. So, It has no different at all.

    Zen is not about God thing. Zen is just as it is. Just the life is self.

    Gassho, Mujo

  10. #10

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans
    So I guess it's okay to worship great Cthulhu and offer him the souls of innocent humanoids to celebrate his glory and still call yourself a Buddhist....it's only when the cthulhuoid interpretation of Buddhism tries to tell me that this syncretism fits the genereally accepted definitions of mainstream Buddhism that developed over 2500 years that I may raise my eyebrow.
    I knew I had it all wrong! Think I'll go back to chanting Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn ..

    :twisted: :twisted:

  11. #11

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Inside joke coming:

    IÄ IÄ Shub Niggurath, the goat with the thousand young!

    P.S. Should we ever meet in person I shall show you the secret Cthulhu greeting...until then...fthagn.....

  12. #12

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Hi.

    Commercial break.



    And now back to the question, can you be a buddhist and a christian at the same time?
    Why/why not?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  13. #13

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Hi Fugen,

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    And now back to the question, can you be a buddhist and a christian at the same time?
    Why/why not?
    Shouldn't you ask someone who actually considers themselves both Buddhist and Christian how they reconcile the two?

    Gassho
    Bansho

  14. #14

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi Fugen,

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    And now back to the question, can you be a buddhist and a christian at the same time?
    Why/why not?
    Shouldn't you ask someone who actually considers themselves both Buddhist and Christian how they reconcile the two?
    Maybe email this guy?

    http://www.mkzc.org/about-mkzc.htm

    I'm not too familiar w/them but it seems he was a Jesuit priest before he started studying Zen .. I've brought up this center before and if I can remember correctly Jundo stated he was a nice fella.

  15. #15

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Hahaha. Cthulhu was a bodhisattva. I think I read that in the Avatamsaka Sutra, or something. :lol:

    -Chris

  16. #16

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Here comes my personal slice of dogma-cake: The three jewels are the ultimate refuge for a buddhist, to accept Jesus as a refuge of equal importance is contrary to nearly 95% of all buddhist schools that ever existed on this planet. To accept the three jewels as a refuge of equal importance to Jesus as your personal saviour makes you a non Chrisitan according to 95% of all major Christian traditions.
    I think this (from Hans) hits the nail on the head for the whole topic... You can call yourself a Buddhist or a Christian, and you can call yourself both, but to be sincere in the belief of either one, you cannot be sincere in both at the same time. To try to rationalize a dual identity like this will surely undermine the best of both.

    BTW, I definitely love that Cthulhu graphic

  17. #17

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    I've been thinking about this all day (it was slow at work) and for what it's worth I don't think one can be both Christian and Buddhist BUT one can use Buddhism to enhance their Christianity and it would improve the latter. Here's the way I see it, religion is a sort of cultural furniture, it's used to feel mentally comfortable in a hostile world. All religions are basically the same in major points (I'm leaving out various animistic beliefs but including humanism) e.g. the Golden Rule, The Precepts, Ten Commandments, et al. The study of any of the other major religions can only benefit your faith by understanding and gaining tolerance. This is also under the assumption that you are a tolerant person to begin with. Buddhism to me seems not only the most benevolent of all the major religions but also the most stripped down. In Zen especially it's faith that has been stripped of dogma. It's like taking religion and getting rid of all the extras, including God in some ways. I realize even in Zen there is dogma but it seems less oppressive. Buddhism therefore feels to me to be a most basic of all sorts of faiths, sort of a proto-monotheism. It came as a reform to Hindu and was one of the first non-polytheistic faiths which seems to be part of the evolution of society. This is not meant to be belittling to Hindu in any way, it like so many other faiths can be wonderful but has many dark elements to it. True Buddhism became more of a religion as it spread and was assimilated in various cultures. Those cultures made it resemble other faiths with actual worship and deities. This is one of the things that I like about Zen so much, especially Soto, is it goes back to the source, sitting, and says you can save yourself the same way The Buddha did. Many of the great religious leaders that are loved by the people had many Buddhist qualities, Thomas Merton, St. Francis, Gandhi, Jesus Christ, George Fox, the list could go on. It's these qualities that make faith live and breathe and have love, not be stodgy old beliefs wrapped up in nice binding. I think it's these contemplatives that renew the good qualities of their respective faiths and the source that they draw from is the same that we do when we sit, that eternal emptiness in which all things are possible. This source is called many names but it's really all the same. This is why I see Zen as having stripped away all those trappings because it points directly to that source and tells you how to experience it. Now, if any of what I said made sense I'll wipe the sweat from my brow and smile.

    Alan

  18. #18

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Quote Originally Posted by emptyzen
    The non-dual advaita view on god is pretty much the same thing as emptiness that buddhists talk about.

    Same thing, different label.
    You know, you would have to ask god if that is so. I don't know. Maybe yes, maybe no, maybe something completely else altogether, something beyond the farthest reaches of small human minds.

    Here is what I always say when asked about this ...

    Is there a "God named 'Jehovah'"? Jesus? Or the "non-dual advaita view"? .......... If so, live human life, fetch wood and carry water.

    Is there not some "God named 'Jehovah'"? No "Jesus"? And not the "non-dual advaita view"? .......... If not, live human life, fetch wood and carry water.


    I recently have been doing a series of postings on topics like this, called tongue in cheek "Jundo Tackles the BIG Questions". Have a chuckle, and maybe look at a couple. This one may be most on point ...

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1236&p=17297&hilit=god+wood+wa ter#p17297

    and then there's these two ...

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1206&p=16855&hilit=god+wood+wa ter#p16855

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1205&p=16830&hilit=god+wood+wa ter#p16830

    But, personally, I think that someone can practice Zen Buddhism with Judaism or Christianity, if one has the right perspective on it all. I choose not to, and to just fetch wood and carry water.

    Gassho, Jundo

  19. #19
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Maybe, just maybe, God is the ultimate koan, and the only way to solve this koan is to become God. But even if you succeed, everyone else is still struggling with it, so what's the point? Chop wood, fetch water, and live life well according to the precepts/commandments, etc.

  20. #20

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    I want to get a bit more into this one, but for now I just want to comment on Alan's comment.

    If you were to become "god" would you know that you are "god"? :twisted:

  21. #21

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Hi.

    Interesting discussion, here's something to add to the stew.
    Is it any difference between being a buddhist christian and a christian buddhist?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  22. #22

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    A Buddhist Christian would be an original Christian who took up some Buddhist practice as a supplement to their life, possibly (though I don't see how) as a supplement to their faith.

    A Christan Buddhist would be a convert. I don't think you could call yourself a Christian without actually converting, at which point your sincerity would immediately be questioned by your new Christian friends: "But why do you need that Buddha statue and that incense when you have God? Don't you know sitting like that with your head empty will invite the Devil into your heart?"

    I'm not meaning to be disrespectful to Christians here, but most would agree that the acceptance issues between Buddhists and Christians is not a two-way street. I've read about the Dalai Llama telling Christians that if that's the faith they were raised with, for most it would be better to stick with it. I can't imagine Benny Hinn even inviting the Buddha to lunch.

    (No, I don't consider ol' Benny to be a representative example of Christianity, but the metaphor needed some punch!)

  23. #23

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Is it any difference between being a buddhist christian and a christian buddhist?
    Different their location in the Yellow Pages is.

  24. #24

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiah
    A Buddhist Christian would be an original Christian who took up some Buddhist practice as a supplement to their life, possibly (though I don't see how) as a supplement to their faith.

    A Christan Buddhist would be a convert. I don't think you could call yourself a Christian without actually converting, at which point your sincerity would immediately be questioned by your new Christian friends: "But why do you need that Buddha statue and that incense when you have God? Don't you know sitting like that with your head empty will invite the Devil into your heart?"
    This is an interesting topic indeed, and one that touches on my life...

    My wife is okay with my being Buddhist, so long as I am still Christian at the same time, and I have to refer to myself as a "Christian-Buddhist" if forced to explain. She thought it was more important to have the word "Christian" first so that is what sticks in peoples minds. She's really worried about what everyone thinks, and I don't completely blame her either given our family, friends and town we live in.

    We left the religion of our youth (LDS aka Mormon) and so we're already looked down on, and now we have Buddha statues in our house, which when asked why my wife simply says "we're going for an asian theme" though there is much deeper meaning for me (not her) obviously. With that in mind, a month ago my brother-in-law at a family dinner asks a question, and here's how it played out:

    BIL - "So are you guys Buddhists now?"
    Wife - "No, why would you think that?"
    BIL - "Well you have Buddha statues in your house, and everyone is saying you are now"
    Wife - "They're just for decoration, that's all...and who is everyone and why would they say that?"
    BIL - "Nevermind, it doesn't matter...we all just wondered as you're not LDS anymore"
    Wife - "What does not being LDS have to do with it?"
    BIL - "Well, you know how it is when people leave the church, they forget about God and become atheists, so I guess Buddhist would fit."
    Wife - "We're still Christian, just not LDS, and we are NOT Buddhists"
    (awkward silence)

    It gets really annoying after a short while. I'm really not concerned with what people think about my practice or not, though clearly my wife is and is very adamant that "we are NOT Buddhists!" when asked...I just keep my mouth shut to keep the peace with everyone.

    PS: I'm on a Christian-Buddhist mailing list, and there are some very interesting discussions on there. Everyone on the list are Christian, though are interested in, or incorporate Buddhist thinking and practice into their lives...they are very much still Christians though. (most anyway).

  25. #25

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Its interesting that some people can combine the two, and its good if it works for them... just doesn't work for me.

    ScottyDoo, don't feel bad about being in the Buddha closet with friends & family- I haven't worked up the cojones to tell anyone but my brother.

  26. #26

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiah
    Its interesting that some people can combine the two, and its good if it works for them... just doesn't work for me.
    The way that these people talk about it, I can see how it works for them, though I can't say it completely works for me either. Then again, I don't consider myself Christian, other than to keep the peace in my home and with my family. I joined the list in hopes of finding a balance to keep all parties happy...though I wouldn't say it's helping, nor is it really hurting either though...just not my cup of tea.

  27. #27
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Hi all,

    I don't have anything profound to say here, but as someone who didn't grow up with a particular faith I find many of the stories told here to be heartbreaking. I am very fortunate to have a wife who completely supports me in learning about buddhism and zen and I'm realizing how rare that can be. So many of you persist in "going against the grain" to further your knowledge and practice of buddhism and I do find much inspiration in your struggle.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  28. #28
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    ScottyDoo and Tobiah,
    I am grateful for your thoughts here... I was raised in a Greek Orthodox family - uncles and relatives - priests the lot of them - my wife, sons and brother know that I have taken the precepts. I have not told my parents - the excuse I have convinced myself with is they're old (early 80s), it will upset them, they won't understand, etc. My uncle is a Greek Orthodox priest of some almost 60 years service - I would like nothing more than to have a long conversation with him about my experience, as well as his own. I can imagine the response: "why have you forsaken your culture and your family?" (I heard this remark when I married my wife, who is Unitarian Universalist and not Greek Orthodox) Culture, religion, and family are bonded together very closely and powerfully... what is the honest and compassionate thing to do? Is an attitude of peace-at-any-price honest or compassionate? This is a question I ask myself on a daily basis.

    Gassho,
    Alex

  29. #29

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Quote Originally Posted by alex
    Is an attitude of peace-at-any-price honest or compassionate? This is a question I ask myself on a daily basis.
    Excellent, yet difficult question to answer.

    A question that Cheri Huber asks in one of her books has really got me thinking, and it fits this situation.

    "Are you willing to give up your life for what you think other people might be thinking?"

    I worry a lot about how my family would take the news, and if they would be accepting, etc, etc, etc. The problem is that I feel that I am holding myself and my practice back in many ways. I want to be open and compassionate with everyone, but I am constantly finding myself holding back when I feel like I have to worry about what I say.

    Is this my issue more than theirs? Probably...why do I make it a problem?

  30. #30

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    It is sad that many cannot openly talk about their Buddhist beliefs. I feel so privileged that I have a family that accept my Buddhism. My wife is not a regular meditator & does not like me going on retreats (thank whatever for Treeleaf) but when asked she will say she is a Buddhist and has said she wants a Buddhist funeral. I have often felt (usually when I feel anger rising) that my wife is a better Buddhist in some ways than me ops: .

    I work a few hours a week as Buddhist Chaplain in a local prison & for some years was chaplain for three prisons. I gave two up a couple of years ago and handed over to someone else. This was partly due to becoming weary in my old age of the obstructive tactics of some of the evangelical people in charge. I did feel however, that I made many friends among the other religions and look forward to meeting them at our area meetings.

    The prison I still work in has a much more relaxed attitude and I can go around and do much as I wish without obstruction and in fact with considerable support. They even paid me the honour of presenting me with the award of "Chaplain of the Year" at our annual Christmas lunch! They have even recently appointed a Pagan chaplain who it is said is a witch, much to the amusement of our Coordinating Chaplain and the horror of fundamentalists in the other prisons. She is in fact a lovely person with an interest and respect for Buddhism.

    However difficult it may be, we should try gently to get others to accept our point of view and show them respect for theirs.

    Lastly this may be of interest. It is Juyu Kennet`s take on the Godthingy.

    http://www.obcon.org/Dhrmatlk/RM%20Jiyu ... aining.mp3

    Gassho,
    Daiku

  31. #31
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott
    Hi all,

    I don't have anything profound to say here, but as someone who didn't grow up with a particular faith I find many of the stories told here to be heartbreaking. I am very fortunate to have a wife who completely supports me in learning about buddhism and zen and I'm realizing how rare that can be. So many of you persist in "going against the grain" to further your knowledge and practice of buddhism and I do find much inspiration in your struggle.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    damn near word for word what i was going to post... Dosho... quit reading my mind! :lol:

    I wasn't raised with any faith, although I think my parents believed in a "god" they never went to church with us as kids or really ever discussed the ideas. I always assumed there was none and it was "useful stories and teachings to keep thinking beasts being nice to each other" As a teen i really got fired up if some one suggested I needed to join their "Crew" so I could be one of the 100,000+ to reserve a spot in heaven as an angel or let Jesus in my heart or Id burn in a fiery hell!!?? (perhaps a tad more work on brochure and ad package would help their cause with me! :roll

    Here is the kicker that I didn't really see then. Those people were not trying to be mean. They were doing what the thought was right - and it is Right for them so it must be Good for all! Thing is I was mean in response for sure. They may have been "disrespecting" my choice not to choose but they were just trying to offer their help. They want me to be as comfy cozy, safe and headed to what ever heaven /free from hell that they were going too, and believed to be true. My tune has changed significantly since then ops: The teachings may be different to a degree but most are aimed to help, I think. All of em can be twisted to suit the greedy, hateful and power hungry -Buddhism too. The Human factor can fudge even the purest teachings. And even the fudgiest (yeah - i made it up :P) human can find refuge in those teachings so we have to try to be the acceptance we seek from others too. If it works for them WICKED COOL as long as it doesn't cause harm to others I'm perfectly fine with it (broad statement and I'm aware there is myriad of possible situations where my logic there breaks down)

    Any who I have a wonderfully open and accepting, often teasing light-hearted tormenting, kind wife who actually gave "just sitting" a try. My parents and my inlaws are very accepting. I really don't talk alot about it with them. My mom came to our Jukai ceremony as did my wife and little one. I am doing this for them as much as me and as mentioned I really am lucky to be able to practice openly.

    I really appreciate all the post here, lots to Think on. excuse my rambling post ops:
    Gassho, Shohei

  32. #32

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    A bit late.
    A bit off topic.

    When reading this thread I am reminded of that word that shows the blurriness of the "lines" that demark faiths: Religious syncretism

    From wiki

    Religious syncretism exhibits blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions. This can occur for many reasons, and the latter scenario happens quite commonly in areas where multiple religious traditions exist in proximity and function actively in the culture, or when a culture is conquered, and the conquerors bring their religious beliefs with them, but do not succeed in entirely eradicating the old beliefs or, especially, practices.
    Here. In McAllen, Texas. There is a small store owned by Pure Land Chinese immigrants that is divided in half. One half is "regular" merchandise. Knickknacks of all types. The other half is dedicated to selling Pure Land Buddhist/Feng Shui materials. Good luck ornaments. Scrolls. Kwan Yi's. Maitreya ("Fat Buddha"), etc. They also sell items that are meant as good luck w/i the Mexican community. The store gets good business around christmas and new year's day. So they sell a lot of good luck soap, red underwear, red candles, and good luck ornaments from China.

    A couple of days before New Year's Day, I happened to go into store while it was packed with my pips. I caught a conversation that made think about syncretism

    Customer - Which Buddha's are good?
    Store Owner- All Buddha's are good.
    C- I need something for love and good luck.
    SO-These scrolls are for love. $3.00. Put them in your door. They will call Love to you.
    C- OK. Give me two. Also, I'll take the underwear and the soap. How about this "budita" (small Budda)? Is he good?
    SO--All Buddha's are good. That one for good luck. Very strong.
    C--Ah. OK. I'll take this one. How about this one? Who is this.

    So. I looked and noticed she had picked a Kwan Yin like this one:



    SO--That's another Buddha. Strong Buddha. Kwan Yi. Good Buddha.
    C-What's does he do?
    SO--Buddha brings compassion.
    C-- :?:
    SO--She is like mother. Compassion. She is same as Virgen de Guadalupe. Same thing. Both very good. Both same.

    I can see the customer visualize the Virgin Mary...Mexican style:



    C--OK. OK. Good. I'll take one.
    SO--Yes. All Buddha's good!

  33. #33
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Shohei - I may have read your mind and posted first, but you elaborated much more on those thoughts than I was able to. I guess great minds think alike!

  34. #34

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    what was here was so pathetic, it shames me. sorry if you got to read it.

  35. #35

    Re: Buddhism and GODthingy?

    Hi.

    Don't feel bad about it.
    I've been studying Buddhism for about 15 years, and still some of my friends don't know (or do know but doesn't realise it...).

    It's a tricky thing sometimes what to tell and what not to tell.
    If they ask, i tell.
    If not, i usually let it slip...
    But it is somewhat vital in all "social relations" to "know" when to speak and when not.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

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