Simlarities: Buddhism and Christianity

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Sky Dancer, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. Sky Dancer
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    At first glance, Buddhism seems vastly different from Christianity. Christianity is a religion about God, while the Absolute in Buddhism is never personalized, and seldom described, except as being beyond description. Most Christian denominations see the Bible as being of paramount importance (particularly in conservative Protestantism), while the vastly larger collection of Buddhist scriptures are seldom considered as an infallible authority except for a handful of smaller sects.

    But delving deeper, the differences become much smaller. For instance, many of the early Church Fathers taught that in his true essence, God is unknowable and unfathomable, beyond all words and all descriptions. This inability to speak of the divine nature is known as apophatic (unspeakable) mysticism, which recognizes God is beyond all words and concepts, and anything we use to say what God is falls short. God's essence (ousia), is within all things, but ever beyond all. Similarly, the Buddhist scriptures refer to the ultimate reality as "the Uncreated," or "the Unmanifest," an absolute Reality which is everywhere present, but beyond this perceived world, resulting from no cause, and limited by no conditions.
    The Lotus and the Cross: comparing Christian and Buddhist worldviews

    We often focus on our differences in religious debate but we can just as easily reflect on our similarities.
     
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    I'd say the basic ethics are also very similiar, Sky Dancer, and not merely for these two religions.

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    Conduct or ethics is one part of Buddhist equation. View and meditation are the others. Buddhism does not simply prescribe rules to people but more importantly, it provides practical methods to achieve results.
     
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    Yes, there are clearly differences. All I meant was, every major system of spiritual belief seems to have adopted some version of the Golden Rule as a principle. I'd imagine there are other such similarities.

    Does Buddism condemn the behavior condemned by the 10 Commandments (insofar as they apply)?
     
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    We talk about purifying the five poisons of the mind: desire/attachment, aversion/anger/hatred, jealousy, pride and ignorance.

    We undertake five trainings called precepts.
    Not to harm living beings.
    Not to take things not freely given.
    Not to engage in harmful sexual misconduct.
    Not to speak falsely.
    To avoid the use of intoxicants.

    Great care is taken especially in speech. To give you an example and what personally makes posting on internet forums quite challenging for me is this elaboration of the precept concerning right speech:

    "Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticise or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small."

    You can see that the Buddhist bar is set quite high.
     
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    How interesting that Buddism directs followers to guard their tongues. And not merely to avoid harming others, but also to create positivity. I can't think of any christian principle that is analogous and yet, how much misery has been caused by the wrong words? Worth pondering.
     
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    Yes. Worth pondering.

    I thought you might enjoy this one on sexual misconduct too:

    "Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I am determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct."
     
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    That one is a stunner.
     
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    Yes. They are all like that. As you can see they are not just rules but deep reflections to use in meditation.
     
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    Christian/ Buddhist differences:

    Jesus came to this world as a man and fulfilled all the prophecies concerning the Messiah. Buddha could not reconcile the existence of suffering with an all-powerful, loving God and so rejected the teachings of Hinduism.

    Buddha has shown his way to live: his Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

    God shows us His way; He has revealed His truth and has told us how we are to live. "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6).

    Comparison - Christianity and Buddhism
     

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