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Buddhist Christianity


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"When you are a truly happy Christian, you are also a Buddhist. And vice versa."

- Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha Living Christ

 

I haven't actually read the book but I stumbled across that quote yesterday and that motivated me to make this thread.

 

My younger brother (22) is a hardcore Christian but his take on the religion is quite different and I haven't really seen it elsewhere. His emphasis is on complete freedom in Christ. Rather than explain it (which I can't) I'm just going to post some stuff from his FB.

 

 

"

Sometimes I forget the greatness and gloriousness of where I am until I am reminded of the darkness of where I was.

 

I've been reading some more of my journals from a few years ago, and I'm being reminded of how my high school and early college life was riddled with struggles with sin. I repeatedly went through the cycle of being tempted, giving in, feeling overwhelming guilt, the feelings of guil

t and fear wearing off, then being tempted again. Worst of all, I believed I was tempting myself, that is, the "sinful nature" that was a part of my being tempted me. Actually, I was only imagining my "sinful nature" and it really was Satan all along. But he deliberately lied to me, because he really wanted me to think it was me; it makes his job a lot easier when I think I have to fight myself!

 

Sin is intimately related to our happiness. God did no create an arbitrary set of rules for us to obey, some kind of test to see if we really "love" him. No. God wants everyone to be happy; even better, he wants everyone to be filled with joy all the time, because he is. Sin is what will lead to our being less joyful and thus less happy. What Jesus did on the cross on our behalf is precisely what has enabled us to live completely free from that junk. We have been given the freedom to be able to choose that which will ultimately bring us the greatest pleasure!

 

I'm so very thankful, Jesus

:)

"

 

 

"

If somebody wants to sin, they're probably not a Christian (or at best they're confused and they are believing a lie of the enemy). We're Christians because we've repented (which in the Greek simply means a changing of mind) and decided that what God says is more fun is more fun than sin. I literally have no desire to sin. And if I do fall, God has already taken care of it, so I refuse to worry.

"

 

 

I don't know exactly how he views sin but in our last conversation he revealed that he didn't believe in absolute morality in the sense of there being moral codes. I'm not a Buddhist but I do see some parallels with this kind of Christianity and Buddhism. When people turn to Jesus they no longer have a sin nature and attain liberation, just as people can embark on the noble eightfold path to end dukkah and be enlightened.

 

Anyways, I just wanted to throw this idea out there. I'll dig through his FB a little more...

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Yes, Christianity can resemble Buddhism, if you remove everything but the gospels. Also, see Gnostic Christianity for a much closer kinship to Buddhism.

 

Still, one can be Buddhist and not believe in any gods, and you can't say the same about Christianity.

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Its possible to reconcile them because both of these religions are very flexible. Buddhism has 81,000 doors to the dharma - you can find a practice that fits with Christianity.

 

However, there are some forms of Buddhism that are not compatible with most types of Christianity.

 

I will return to this subject, but don't have time right now.

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Revisiting this question -

 

Both Christianity and Buddhism see life as problematic in some way - sin for Christians - ignorance for Buddhists.

 

The remedy is quite different though. Buddhism is a do-it-yourself project to unlearn the conditioning and part the veils of ignorance that overlay the true nature. The true nature being flawless. However, with Christianity the human being is seen as fundamentally flawed by sin, at least those Christians who accept original sin. I was certainly raised with this idea. So the only remedy is to accept Christ (variations on how this is done).

 

The way in which the world is seen in Christianity and Buddhism is completely different. For Christians, everything is a work of God - like an artist creating a painting or sculpture. Things are discrete, complete, existing entities. Humans essentially live forever after death in some place and they are the same there. Buddhism does not accept such a world view. There are no separate, unchanging beings that continue forever. In a way, they do not exist. They are interdependent, temporary and ultimately empty. The nature of reality is emptiness. I have been told that emptiness is experienced in meditation - emptiness is not a void but rather the totality of interdependence and non-duality.

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