Your email address:


Powered by FeedBlitz

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 03/2005

Main | Ecstatic Contemplation »

06 April 2005

Comments

Sujatin

An interesting project. There is great value in faiths communicating and exploring together.

gareth

Hi,

As someone who once held very strong Christian beliefs, but now consider themselves to be Buddhist, I will be interested to see how this project progresses.

There are many parallells between both systems of thought, and many differences too.

I have heard that in The Gospel of St Thomas Christ speaks with great mindfulness, so much so that it has ben suggested by some scholars he may have spent some time in Buddhist communities in the east - although I don't believe a great deal of evidence supports this.

I suppose the strongest difference for me between the systems, is the Dogmatic from of much of Christianity as opposed to the challenge your teachings view of Buddhism.

Best wishes

G

Danny Fisher

Thank you for coming together on this project. I think it will be very exciting. I look forward to seeing where it goes.

Olympiada

Hi
I was doing a search for SPEAKING OF SILENCE, CHRISTIANS AND BUDDHISTS IN DIALOGUE which includes some dialogues of a new friend of mine, the very reverend father Thomas Hopko, and I came across your site. I am an Orthodox Christian convert, baptized on Zaccheus Sunday 1999, who is also a Buddhist. I was introduced to Buddhism in high school by my German teacher via the book Dharma Gaia.
I look forward to reading and commenting on your blog.
Regards
Olympiada

steve

Welcome, Olympiada :-) I occasionally post here, from a Christian (Presbyterian) perspective ... but at heart I'm an Orthodox wannabe. Fr Hopko's name is quite familiar to me, although at the moment I'm not quite certain from where (articles in "Again" perhaps? ... I don't have any books by him). Certainly "core Orthodoxy" comes tantalizingly near Buddhist spirituality -- I once read a remark by the Orthodox translator of Vladimir Lossky's work to the effect that "the Buddha is one of our unofficial saints." It was meant to be only faintly tongue-in-cheek. And I, for one, certainly find Pure Land Buddhism *the* closest in that parallel, and not a day passes where it (Pure Land) doesn't enrich me even more. Anyhow, welcome :-)

best,
steve

Olympiada

hi steve
thank you for the welcome. it is god's will that i be here. your friend ragamuffin diva is also my friend. my godfather is father paisius altschul, who facilitates the ancient christianity and the afro american experience conferences.

what is pure land buddhism?

and i have a question, i hope it is ok. do you have right about the sacred sexuality in buddism, like tantra? i am trying to find if there is any place for this in orthodox christianity.

oh i tried on the presbyterian religion for size before my conversion. i am very ecumenical.

oh and in regards to vladmir lossky, he is very advanced. i have tried to read him, but i am not ready.
regards
oly

steve

Hi Olympiada,

First a comment about Pureland (and how it seems to "interconnect" with Christianity, at least for me ... that part will be about probably more Presbyterian/Reformed stuff than you want to read :-P ... actually I'm too ecumenical too, but I still find things to value. And second, a comment about anything like tantra here ...

First, this actually is a Pureland Buddhist website (this particular weblog page just happens to be devoted to Christian-Buddhist dialogue). Go to amidatrust.com, and you'll find a lot of good introductory material on Pureland. I'm just getting my feet wet, as it were, in Pureland; but so far my sense is that the reason it is unusually easy to find "crossovers" from one faith to the other, is that unlike most Buddhist schools which rely on one's own ability to reach enlightenment, Pureland depends on a savior figure -- namely, Amida Buddha. The distinction generally is referred to as "self-power" versus "Other-power," Pureland being the latter. It gets far more subtle than that, and gets that way very quickly in my limited experience. But that goes beyond available space here :-) -- except to say Pureland stresses that despite that seeming difference, it *is* core Buddhism; and imho they are exactly right. Pureland in many many ways is almost Reformed (Presbyterian) theology stripped of its specific Christian referents (I'm sure that will get a heated argument going here lol!!), and made vastly, no, *infinitely* more universal and compassionate. Amida Buddha sovereignly saves *everyone*, sooner or later (whereas in Reformed Christianity, "my" tradition, the sovereign God saves only the "elect." Of course, there are Reformed folks -- of whom I am one -- including any number of "heavyweight" theologians, who read the New Testament as telling us that in the Incarnation -- God assuming humanity into the Godhead (or God "becoming human") is telling us that God has elected *humanity*, not just some of the "elect." *Everyone* is elected, and saved, whether they know it (yet) or not. If one takes *that* position in Reformed theology -- and I for one do -- then the distances are even closer. God has made a "primal vow" -- at the end of Genesis 3 -- much like Amida Buddha's "primal vow" (see the website home page and other pages) to save everyone: and that will in fact be so. It's all grace, through faith -- and that can be said by a Pure Land practitioner as easily as by a Protestant Christian. Definitions then become more complex ... but as starting points, the language is remarkably similar.

Second, on sacred sexuality ... Hmmmmm ... I rather doubt that exists in Pure Land, but Dharmavidya (whose email address you'll find among the links at the home page) would be a far better guide than I. And good luck finding a place for that in orthodox Christianity of *any* brand!! (Part of me wants to say -- "and I mean it!! Good luck!!!" ... but I'm joking :-P)
(I think.) Pureland certainly affirms other Buddhist "methods" as ancillary but very important; I'm just not sure where tantra practices might stand in the midst of that.

Lossky -- yes, really tough going. I think I absorbed more than I knew when I was reading him, but it was kinda like chewing gravel: builds jaw muscles, but wow, not easy to digest!

Anyhow, again, welcome :-) Make yourself at home here, starting with the home page and wandering to your heart's content ... it's a very very rich and fascinating place to be.

best,
steve

Olympiada

Hi Steve
I am interested in Tibetan Buddhism now as taught by the Naropa Institute. I will not go there, but I want to engage with the Buddhism it teaches. Know of any Naropa blogs? I am interested in the work of the Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chodron. That is the school I am drawn to.
I also went to an ethnic Chinese Buddhist temple as a teen, but Pema is my teacher now and Shambhala is the school I am drawn to beyond a shadow of a doubt.

steve

Olympiada,

I'd ask Trisha (at christian-buddhist/yahoogroups) about Naropa etc. I'm not entirely clear where her roots lie, but it's distinctly in a Tibetan way. Ditto a friend of hers, Dede, who also posts at christian-buddhist ... but rarely these days, due (I think she said?) to school pressures. Trisha also would have a lot of those links at her own website, the exact address of which escapes me at the moment (oceandrop.com or something like that) ... but again, just bring it up with her over there, and I'm sure a world of connections will open up for you.

best,
steve

The comments to this entry are closed.