Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian

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Dorje Shedrub
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Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:48 pm

A thoughtful, illuminating, and adventuresome interfaith journey by a respected Christian theologian and advocate of religious double belonging.
Those with an interest in both Buddhism and Christianity (particularly Catholicism) may enjoy thus book and author who is a former Roman Catholic priest, a professor of theology, and a practicing Buddhist Christian

Here is a review:
http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/ ... -christian
Last edited by Dorje Shedrub on Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I, too, abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
- Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

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Dorje Shedrub
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Re: Without Buddha I could Not Be a Christian

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:01 pm

An interview of the author about double belonging. The author notes that Christianity is short on method, which is a key teaching in Buddhism.
In your book you speak of “double belonging.” Just what does that mean?

Double belonging is being talked about more and more now, both in the theological academy and in the area of Christian spirituality. I think it’s the term that is used when more and more people are finding that they can be genuinely nourished by more than one religious tradition, by more than their home tradition or their native tradition.

Why such a broad interest today in Buddhism among Christians?

There’s no one answer. In the book, I quote a friend of mine, Fr. Michael O’Halloran, who is formerly a Carthusian monk and now a priest here in the New York archdiocese. He is also a Zen teacher. Michael once told me that Christianity is long on content but short on method and technique. So I think Buddhism is providing Christians with practices, with techniques, by which they can enter more experientially into the content of what they believe.

What are the needs among Christian believers that you think Buddhism is addressing?

I hope I’m not generalizing here too much, but I think a lot of it has to do with the dissatisfaction that many of us Christians feel with a God who is all out there, a God who is totally other than I, the God who stands outside of me and confronts me. I think we’re searching for ways of realizing the mystery of the divine of God in a way in which it is more a part of our very selves.

I think Christians are searching more for a way of experiencing and understanding God in a unitive way, or what I say in the book is a “non-dual way,” where God becomes a reality that is certainly different than I am, but is part of my very being.
[More] https://www.ncronline.org/news/double-b ... 1516157948
For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I, too, abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
- Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

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Karma_Yeshe
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Re: Without Buddha I could Not Be a Christian

Post by Karma_Yeshe » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:29 pm

Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:01 pm
An interview of the author about double belonging. The author notes that

Why such a broad interest today in Buddhism among Christians?

There’s no one answer. In the book, I quote a friend of mine, Fr. Michael O’Halloran, who is formerly a Carthusian monk and now a priest here in the New York archdiocese. He is also a Zen teacher. Michael once told me that Christianity is long on content but short on method and technique. So I think Buddhism is providing Christians with practices, with techniques, by which they can enter more experientially into the content of what they believe.

What are the needs among Christian believers that you think Buddhism is addressing?

I hope I’m not generalizing here too much, but I think a lot of it has to do with the dissatisfaction that many of us Christians feel with a God who is all out there, a God who is totally other than I, the God who stands outside of me and confronts me. I think we’re searching for ways of realizing the mystery of the divine of God in a way in which it is more a part of our very selves.

I think Christians are searching more for a way of experiencing and understanding God in a unitive way, or what I say in the book is a “non-dual way,” where God becomes a reality that is certainly different than I am, but is part of my very being.

[More] https://www.ncronline.org/news/double-b ... 1516157948
Only problem with this concept is that Buddhadharma is not about understanding god. It is also not short on content. :roll:

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Tiago Simões
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Re: Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian

Post by Tiago Simões » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:48 pm

So he's a Hindu now? :tongue:

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Karma_Yeshe
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Re: Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian

Post by Karma_Yeshe » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:05 pm

Tiago Simões wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:48 pm
So he's a Hindu now? :tongue:
A christian-buddhist hindu at least :mrgreen:

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Dorje Shedrub
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Re: Without Buddha I could Not Be a Christian

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:14 pm

Karma_Yeshe wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:29 pm
problem with this concept is that Buddhadharma is not about understanding god. It is also not short on content. :roll:
The author said neither of those things.
For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I, too, abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
- Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

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The Cicada
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Re: Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian

Post by The Cicada » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:03 am

Without Buddha I could not be a Buddhist.

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Quay
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Re: Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian

Post by Quay » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:12 am

It seems Thomas Merton covered a lot of the same ground, but was at the point where he found both paths not to be congruent.
"Knowledge is as infinite as the stars in the sky;
There is no end to all the subjects one could study.
It is better to grasp straight away their very essence--
The unchanging fortress of the Dharmakaya."

– Longchenpa.

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Karma_Yeshe
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Re: Without Buddha I could Not Be a Christian

Post by Karma_Yeshe » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:19 pm

Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:14 pm
Karma_Yeshe wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:29 pm
problem with this concept is that Buddhadharma is not about understanding god. It is also not short on content. :roll:
The author said neither of those things.
I think Christians are searching more for a way of experiencing and understanding God

This combined with:

So I think Buddhism is providing Christians with practices, with techniques, by which they can enter more experientially into the content of what they believe.

is really absurd. You cannot use methods that have nothing to do with the concept of a god and think that they help you to unterstand god. Also reducing Buddharma to its methods and techniques is quite ignorant of the content and context in which those methods are embedded.

Don't get me wrong: Of course you can have your way and believe whatever you want, but a buddhist forum may not be the exactly right place for such rather strange concepts from a buddhist POV.

Jeff H
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Re: Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian

Post by Jeff H » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:38 pm

My mother-in-law gave me this book years ago when I was still transitioning from Christianity to Buddhism. I found it to be a marvelous exercise of introspection at a time when the author was having some unanswered questions about his Christian faith. He wrote down his questions then tackled them one by one in a kind of dialectical process. First he reflected deeply on the Christian tenet he found problematic (thesis), then considered how Buddhism responded to the same matter (antithesis, sort of), and finally, considered how the interjection of a living God synthesized the two views.

I’m writing this from memory, so I might be off on the specifics, but I remember my reaction. I found him to be quite fair and reasonable in his presentation of the two views (insofar as I understood Buddhism at the time), but I always found the synthesis completely unnecessary (and for that reason I only got through about half the book). By the time he’d stated the Christian view and the Buddhist view for each issue, I personally thought the addition of God was totally arbitrary.

As we all know, HHDL is deeply ecumenical in matters of Buddhism and all religions. I have heard him say that he enjoys discussing with his friends in Christianity and other religions. They can debate specific tenets, but only up to a certain point. When he is speaking with a theist and the discussion turns to emptiness or the existence of God he says, “No, no. This is not your concern. Ha ha ha!” He believes that people can practice more than one religion at a time, but again, only up to a point. At a certain level of understanding and realization, one eventually must choose definitively. He calls himself “a staunch Buddhist”, but he reminds people of how deep their ties are to the religion of their birth. He cautions people not to change religions lightly.

So, in light of HHDL's perspective, I guess I could say that without Knitter's reflections, I might not have separated myself from Christianity in favor of Buddhism.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

DGA
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Re: Without Buddha I could Not Be a Christian

Post by DGA » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:18 pm

Karma_Yeshe wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:19 pm
Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:14 pm
Karma_Yeshe wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:29 pm
problem with this concept is that Buddhadharma is not about understanding god. It is also not short on content. :roll:
The author said neither of those things.
I think Christians are searching more for a way of experiencing and understanding God

This combined with:

So I think Buddhism is providing Christians with practices, with techniques, by which they can enter more experientially into the content of what they believe.

is really absurd. You cannot use methods that have nothing to do with the concept of a god and think that they help you to unterstand god. Also reducing Buddharma to its methods and techniques is quite ignorant of the content and context in which those methods are embedded.

Don't get me wrong: Of course you can have your way and believe whatever you want, but a buddhist forum may not be the exactly right place for such rather strange concepts from a buddhist POV.
What makes a Buddhist practice a specifically Buddhist practice? I think it's the context in which one practices (Buddhist teachings) and the intention with which one practices (bodhicitta). In the absence of both those things, seated meditation (to give an example) is not a Buddhist practice even if it is learned from a Buddhist teacher.

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Karma_Yeshe
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Re: Without Buddha I could Not Be a Christian

Post by Karma_Yeshe » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:55 pm

DGA wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:18 pm
What makes a Buddhist practice a specifically Buddhist practice? I think it's the context in which one practices (Buddhist teachings) and the intention with which one practices (bodhicitta). In the absence of both those things, seated meditation (to give an example) is not a Buddhist practice even if it is learned from a Buddhist teacher.
I also understood the Mahayana-POV in the way you described it. :good:

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Wayfarer
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Re: Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:49 am

I like Paul Knitter's approach, although I don't know if I will buy his book, as I already have so many books on related topics. But I am also respectful of the Catholic Zen teachers, such as Robert Kennedy, Ama Samy and Rueben Habito. They are able to integrate perspectives from both Christian and Buddhist traditions in a way that I find meaningful. I have found the insights I have arrived at through practice of Buddhist meditation has helped me to understand Christian principles in a new way. I'm not inclined to want to return to a Christian church, although my own practice has a Christian side to it. I honestly don't see any real contradiction between the teachings of Christ, and those of Buddhism, although there are obviously many divergences on the level of the institutional faiths.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

narhwal90
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Re: Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian

Post by narhwal90 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:27 am

This evening I attended a meditation session at a local episcopalian church for the 2nd time. Its a wonderful space in their small chapel, only marred by the noise from the heater which I expect will abate in the spring. Their practice is meditating on the word "maranatha", with a candle for focus.

No bell, they begin the 30-ish minute session with a minute of a recorded choral hymm, then conclude with a bit more of the same. They generally run about 8-10 people from various denominations & churches, a few of "us" too. Its an interesting and motivated crowd, one of the regulars is a minister at the church- after the session she, I and a friend of mine starting talking about vestments, history, fashions which was a fun nerd session. As part of the conversation she mentioned she views herself as an "episcobuddhist" and suggested that is not an uncommon attitude, I have the impression that is more about meditation methods than doctrine.

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PuerAzaelis
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Re: Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian

Post by PuerAzaelis » Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:31 am

Eventually if it becomes about only meditation methods I wonder if the doctrine would disappear entirely ...
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

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narhwal90
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Re: Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian

Post by narhwal90 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:00 pm

I think the minister in question might say the meditation makes the doctrine more personally relevant. She arrived with a doctrinal student of hers and spoke about how into the breadth and scope of church doctrine the student was. We spoke briefly along those lines, I was curious if working with the attentive student had (re)taught her concepts which she most emphatically agreed with. She is a most energetic lady, going to keep her student busy I think :)

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