Author Topic: Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?  (Read 3013 times)

icy

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Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?
« on: May 17, 2014, 01:27:08 AM »
The inquiring mind of intellectuals will find Buddhism appealing for its non-dogmatic teachings and logics.  Buddhism has tallied with and far exceeded scientific explanations.  It is not a religion but a lifestyle leading to temporal and eternal happiness.  Its ancient wisdom has withstood much test and practicability in this modern and sophisticated world.  It is a no wonder Christian churches in Europe have been converted to Buddhist churches.  It is the trend today and will continue to be in the future.

Buddhism is a way of life and can certainly helps Christians in their journey with Christ with no divide and forced conversion.  Ultimately it is the goal that Christians wish to achieve on the judgement day that counts.




A small but growing number Christians in the West are turning to Buddhism for spiritual guidance. Many are reading books about Buddhism, and some are also meditating, participating in Buddhist retreats, and studying under Buddhist teachers. They are drawn to Buddhism’s emphasis on “being present” in the present moment; to its recognition of the interconnectedness of all things; to its emphasis on non-violence; to its appreciation of a world beyond words, and to its provision of practical means — namely meditation — for growing in one’s capacities for wise and compassionate living in daily life. As they learn from Buddhism, they do not abandon Christianity. Their hope is that Buddhism can help them become better Christians. They are Christians influenced by Buddhism.

1. Julia is typical of one kind of Christian influenced by Buddhism. She is a hospice worker in New York who, as a Benedictine sister, turns to Buddhism “to become a better listener and to become more patient.” As a student of Zen she has been practicing zazen for twenty years under the inspiration of the Vietnamese Zen teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, whose book Living Buddha/Living Christ gave her new eyes for Christ, proposing that Jesus himself was “mindful in the present moment.” She practices meditation in order to deepen her own capacities for mindfulness, particularly as it might help her be more effective in her life’s calling. As a hospice worker she feels called to listen to dying people, quietly and without judgment, as a way of extending the healing ministry of Christ. Like many people in consumer society, she sometimes finds herself too hurried and distracted, too caught up in her own concerns, to be present to others in patient and healing ways. She turns to Zen practice because it has helped her become more patient and attentive in her capacities to be available to people in a spirit of compassion.

From Julia’s perspective, “being present” to people in a compassionate way is a spiritual practice in its own right. She calls this attention “practicing the presence of God,” and she believes that this listening participates in a deeper Listening – an all-inclusive Love — whom she calls God, and whom she believes is everywhere at once. She turns to Zen meditation, then, not to escape the world, but to help her drawn closer to the very God whose face she sees in people in need, and to help her become gentler and more attentive in her own capacities for listening. In her words: “I hope that my Zen practice has helped me become a better Christian.”

2. John, too, is a Christian who practices meditation, but for different reasons. He suffers from chronic back pain from a car accident several years ago. He has turned to meditation as a way of coping more creatively with his pain. “The pain doesn’t go away,” he says, but it’s so much worse when I fight it. Meditation has helped me live with the pain, instead of fighting it all the time.” When people see John, they note that he seems a little more at peace, and a little more joyful, than he used to seem. Not that everything is perfect. He has his bad days and his good days. Still, he finds solace in the fact that, even on the bad days, he can “take a deep breath” and feel a little more control in his life.

When John is asked to reflect on the relation between his meditation practice and Christianity, he reminds his questioner that that the very word Spirit is connected to the Hebrew word ruach, which means breathing. John sees physical breathing—the kind that we do each moment of our lives–as a portable icon for a deeper Breathing, divine in nature, which supports us in all circumstances, painful and pleasant, and which allows us to face suffering, our own and that of others, with courage. “Buddhism has helped me find strength in times of pain; it has helped me find God’s Breathing.”

3. Sheila is an advertising agent in Detroit who turns to Buddhism for a different reason. She does not practice meditation and is temperamentally very active and busy. But over the years her busyness has become a compulsion and she now risks losing her husband and children, because she never has time for her family. As she explains: “Almost all of my daily life has been absorbed with selling products, making money, and manipulating other people’s desires. Somewhere in the process I have forgotten what was most important to me: helping others, being with friends and family, and appreciating the simple beauties of life. Buddhism speaks to my deeper side.”

When Sheila reflects on the relationship between Buddhism and Christianity, she thinks about the lifestyle and values of Jesus. She recognizes that Jesus himself had little interest in appearance, affluence, and marketable achievement, and that he was deeply critical of the very idea that “amassing wealth” should be a central organizing principle of life. She doubts that Jesus would approve of the business culture in which she is immersed, in which the accumulation of wealth seems to be the inordinate concern. For her, then, Buddhism invites her to rethink the values by which she lives and to turn to values that are closer to the true teachings of Christ. “I find this simpler way challenging,” she says, “but also hopeful. I hope that Buddhism can help me have the courage to follow Christ more truly.

4. Robert is an unemployed social worker in Texas, who feels unworthy of respect because he does not have a salaried job like so many of his friends. He, too, has been reading books on Buddhism, “Most people identify with their jobs,” he says, “but I don’t have one. Sometimes I feel like a nothing, a nobody. Sometimes I feel like it is only at church, and sometimes not even there, that I count for anything.”

Robert turns to Buddhism as a complement to the kind of support he seeks to find, but sometimes doesn’t find, in Christianity. Buddhism tells him that his real identity—his true self, as Buddhists put it—lies more in the kindness he extends to others, and to himself, than in the making money and amassing wealth. Like Sheila, he sees this as connected with the teachings of Jesus. “Jesus tells me that I am made in the image of God; Buddhism tells me that I possess the Buddha-Nature. I don’t care what name you use, but somehow you need to know that you are more than money and wealth.”

5. Jane is a practicing physicist who works at a laboratory in Maryland who goes to a local Methodist church regularly. For her, a religious orientation must “make sense” intellectually, even as it also appeals to a more affective side of life, as discovered in personal relations, music, and the natural world. But she also finds God in science and in scientific ways of understanding the world. She is troubled that, too often, the atmosphere of church seems to discourage, rather than encourage, the spirit of enquiry and questioning that are so important in the scientific life. Jane appreciates the fact that, in Buddhism as she understands it, this spirit is encouraged.

This non-dogmatic approach, in which even religious convictions can be subject to revision, inspires her. In her words: “I plan to remain a Christian and stay with my Methodist church, but I want to learn more about Buddhism. I sense that its approach to life can help me see the spiritual dimensions of doubt and inquiry and help me integrate religion and science.

6. Sandra is a Roman Catholic nun in Missouri who leads a retreat center. Twelve months a year she leads retreats for Christians, Catholic and non-Catholic, who wish to recover the more contemplative traditions of their prayer life and enter more deeply into their interior journey with God. At her workshops she offers spiritual guidance and introduces participants to many of the mystics of the Christian tradition: John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen. Even as she does this, she herself is on the very journey to God, and she makes this clear to people who come her way.

Sandra turns to Buddhism because she believes that its teaching of no-ego or no-self, when understood experientially and not just intellectually, is itself an essential dimension of the journey to God. She sees this teaching as complementary to, and yet enriching, the teaching of “death and resurrection” that is at the heart of Christian faith. In her words: “Christianity and Buddhism agree that the spiritual pilgrimage involves an absolute letting go, or dropping away, of all that a person knows of self and God. Indeed, this is what happened in Jesus as he lay dying on the cross, and perhaps at many moments leading up to the cross. Only after the dying can new life emerge, in which there is in some sense ‘only God’ and no more ‘me.’ I see the cross as symbolizing this dying of self and resurrecting of new life that must occur within each of us. Buddhism helps me enter into that dying of self.”

As you listen to their stories, perhaps you hear your own desires in some of them? If so, you have undertaken an empathy experiment. You need not be “Christian” or “Buddhist” to do this. There is something to learn from them even if you are not religious at all. Don’t we all need to live by dying? Don’t we all need to listen better? Don’t we all need to inquire and seek truth? There is something deeply human in their searching, and deeply human in our willingness to learn from them, even if we don’t share their faith. And even if we do.

by Jay McDaniel
http://www.buddhas-teaching.com/why-are-christians-turning-to-buddhism/

Klein

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Re: Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2014, 01:01:17 AM »
There is definitely a growing trend of people from all faiths turning to Buddhism for answers in their spiritual practice especially in developed countries such as the USA. People who live in cultures where they are driven more by their individualism than money would attest that their external acquisitions from money to relationships do not provide the inner peace and happiness they were told once they are acquired. They are still driven by emotions such as stress, depression, anger, jealousy, greed, anxiety, insecurity and so on. So immediate solutions are what they are looking for.

Buddhism provides solutions that can be achieved by everyone as taught by Buddha. Consistency is the key. Meditation is one of the methods to making our mind more stable and less out of control. This is very important as we are always so caught up in our busy lives which feed the neurosis in us.

I have personally heard from friends of other faiths that Buddha's teachings are very logical and pragmatic. They make a lot of sense. With these understandings, they begin to have new perspectives towards their lives. And with these new perspectives, their lives change for the better. They find more peace and happiness as a result even if they don't officially convert to Buddhism.

In Buddhism, merely accepting the religion is not good enough and is not the key to one's salvation. It is the practice that liberates us.

brian

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Re: Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2014, 05:07:44 PM »
Absolutely no doubt about it because Buddhism gives logic and truth. Like myself, a former Christian and now a staunch Buddhist LOL. Buddhism gave me logic answers. I did not get any answer to what i think is logic prior to this. For my own opinion, as long as people start to realise the truth about nature of life and samsara, it will be quite hard for some to see the truth in Buddhism and wish to convert.   

Big Uncle

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Re: Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2014, 07:26:02 PM »
Sorry to say, Christianity is very simplistic when compared to Buddhism and has very rudimentary understanding of the mind. Hence, it does not have effective contemplative traditions that can truly transform the mind. Buddhism is really geared towards not just transforming the mind towards virtue but towards realizing its fullest potential. Hence, it has many effective methods of harnessing, transforming and awakening the mind to its fullest potential.

cookie

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Re: Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2014, 06:50:31 AM »
The growth of Buddhism in the western countries is the main reason for more Christians turning to Buddhism.
Knowledge of Buddhism has come through three main channels: Western scholars; the work of philosophers, writers and artists; and the arrival of Asian immigrants who have brought various forms of Buddhism with them to Europe, North America and Australia.
Buddhist attitudes of peace, mindfulness and care for all living creatures have come to be of concern to many groups in the West. Buddhist believe that all things should be looked after: the earth, plants, birds, insects and animals. This is close to the feeling among many people in recent years that the human race should stop polluting the atmosphere and destroying the surface of the earth by cutting down forests.
More recently, Buddhist people have moved to the West. Many of them have been refugees from conflict. Many Tibetans, for example, fled from their country after the Chinese takeover in 1959. The wars in Indochina in the 1950s and 1960s led many Vietnamese people to move to and settle in Europe, Australia and America. Other Buddhists from countries such as Thailand have established businesses in the larger Western cities. They have all brought their Buddhist beliefs to their new homes, and helped to set up Buddhist centres.
Buddhism does not require any individual to convert. It attracts people to test out the principles and concepts on their own and observe the results and if it benefits them then continue to study more and put the Dharma to practice. It is a very experiential guide to life. It also is equipped with many methods like meditation which is a very powerful ancient practice which can garner positive results almost immediately.
Hence, it is only natural that in this degenerate world many who may be in different faiths will find Buddhism very appealing and comforting.

eyesoftara

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Re: Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2014, 05:24:31 AM »
It is strange and at the same time wonderful to read this story. Strange because in my limited mind I still draw line between religion and wonderful because I am a Buddhist first and foremost and in my "we and others" mentality to have the "other" joining us is wonderful. LOL. However, the deeper feeling of wonder stems from the fact that the Christians usually draw the line at accepting Christ and would not be open to other teachings/religion. The story said the Buddhism is a way of life and I am not too sure about that. However, it probably is a better justification for the Christian to practice the Buddhist meditation. Like Big Uncle, I know that Buddhism is complete in that the goal and the methods towards the goal of Buddhahood is alive and very sophisticated.

kris

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Re: Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2014, 07:39:18 AM »
There is no "best religion". There is only "best religion for a person", meaning a person may find religion A more suitable for herself, but another person may find religion B more suitable for himself.

While there are many Christians turn into Buddhists, I am quite sure there are many Buddhists turning into Christians and other religions too. However, one thing common to the major religions in this world is all teaches compassion and kindness, and to me, that is the most important aspect.

In this era, we have too many people focusing on the differences between religions, saying mine is better than yours, etc and that is not helping all of us at all if we want to achieve world peace.

RedLantern

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Re: Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2014, 02:24:29 PM »

The reason being Buddhism today is one of "coolness" and "tolerance". It is a belief system that many feel can help them "detach" ,maintain neutrality,and find peace in the world of injustice and suffering. Some even say that Buddhist teachings and Christianity are compatible,and that one can be a Christian and at the same time adopt Buddhist teachings.

gbds3jewels

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Re: Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2014, 03:12:32 PM »
I think it's unfair to make a statement that Christians are turning to Buddhism. I'm actually one of them. I was a Christian who turned to Buddhism but when I was a Christian I've met a lot of people who were Buddhist before and turned to Christianity. I don't think one religion is more right than another but just to suit different needs.

Buddhism appeals to today's world and are fast becoming popular in the West because circumstances have allowed Buddhism to be better understood and known now outside the monastic environment. Religion in general has been degenerating and there are more atheist now than ever. Buddhism as a way of life and science of mind appeals to these free thinkers more than any other religion. So I wouldn't say it's Christianity per say that are turning to Buddhism.

Andrea Keating

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Re: Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2014, 11:07:01 AM »
There shouldn't be a label whether one is a Christian or a Buddhist.  It is your thoughts, attitude and behavior that define who you are. And in this day and age, perhaps Buddhism appears to be a better way to reach out to our needs.  Our endless chasing for materialism has become the main focus in life and made us very tired and sick spiritually. Buddhism addresses these issues and helps those who embrace it sincerely with practice to become a better and happier person.

angelica

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Re: Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2014, 04:06:28 PM »
In our life time, switching from 1 religion to another is very common. Everyone is trying to find the "best" religion that suit them. That is why Buddha has 84,000 teachings to suit the needs of different people.

Whether we want to label ourself Buddhist or Christian or any other religion, is not the main issue. What is important is about transformation of ourself to be someone better, someone that care and benefit others. Without the self transformation, we will not be able to achieve our goal to be happy and be out of suffering.

It doesn't matter which religion we are following, we must never bully, said bad things about other religion or have war with others that are not of the same religion or belief. We must respect other's freedom for religion. 

rossoneri

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Re: Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2014, 12:32:05 PM »
We tend to always compare with others since the day we were born, since the day one when we started schooling we were taught to be competitive in our examinations until now when we are a bit older we are still being competitive in terms of who is more successful based on what or who we are in this society.

Don't get me wrong being competitive is a very healthy behaviour because it pushes us to go out there and achieves our different goals in our life with honestly, integrity and ethically.

But we should not bring the samsaric kind of attitude and thinking when we are it comes to practicing religion, we not condemned other believes simply because we do not have the same faith or believe in their kind of method to be a good person to family and society.

Everyone should have their own choice of freedom in terms of which religion is more appealing to them because it is due to their own karma and the level of understanding. As long as what they believed in does not harm another soul.

MoMo

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Re: Why Are Christains Turning To Buddism?
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2014, 01:21:26 PM »
During my era and where I’m from, embracing Christianity was more associated with your education level and social status. There was not much systemized or organized Buddhism study widely available then. When the society progress and living standard started to get better and online information become more accessible.  The universal value such as moral discipline, loving kindness, self-worthiness and thorough meditation methods of arousing and enhancing these good qualities could be generally accepted by follower of other faith. One need not be a Buddhist to experience the result of practice that makes it appealing.