Author Topic: Christians and merits/Enlightenment  (Read 13038 times)

WisdomBeing

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Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« on: November 07, 2010, 02:09:48 AM »
I was just wondering - Buddhists pray to be near the Dharma in our next lives so we can continue our journey to Enlightenment. What happens to non-Buddhists? I ask because I am the only one in my family who is a Buddhist and most of the people I know are Christian.

Do Christians earn merits? How do merits help them? This is kind of in relation to the other thread about being good. If they are 'good' Christians, eg they pray to their god, and they obey the 10 commandments - but for example, they are not vegetarian or they gossip a lot, or do anything which contravene the Buddhist precepts but not the Christian, can they be reborn in the three upper realms? Or do they go to their heaven, like Buddhists may go to Sukhavati heaven even if they have not been enlightened?

Can Christians achieve Enlightenment? Or do they eventually in a future life have the karma to become near the Dharma and become Buddhists to be on the parth to Enlightenment?

Ok i know there are a lot of questions here..thanks in advance for sharing your opinions.
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

Big Uncle

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 05:29:04 PM »
I was just wondering - Buddhists pray to be near the Dharma in our next lives so we can continue our journey to Enlightenment. What happens to non-Buddhists? I ask because I am the only one in my family who is a Buddhist and most of the people I know are Christian.

Do Christians earn merits? How do merits help them? This is kind of in relation to the other thread about being good. If they are 'good' Christians, eg they pray to their god, and they obey the 10 commandments - but for example, they are not vegetarian or they gossip a lot, or do anything which contravene the Buddhist precepts but not the Christian, can they be reborn in the three upper realms? Or do they go to their heaven, like Buddhists may go to Sukhavati heaven even if they have not been enlightened?

Can Christians achieve Enlightenment? Or do they eventually in a future life have the karma to become near the Dharma and become Buddhists to be on the parth to Enlightenment?

Ok i know there are a lot of questions here..thanks in advance for sharing your opinions.

Dear WB,

Christians earn good karma by being good God-fearing followers. They abstain from all that displeases God and this is basically following good ethical conduct. Merit is earned through dedicating virtuous actions with that of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as we have not yet developed a selfless motivation. 

Christians do not have any concept of spiritual awakening except a very vague new age belief in being one with God (I am not an expert of Christianity but I have been a Christian before and this is what I perceived of its more esoteric traditions and thought). However, their good karma could lead them to a good rebirth and maybe seeds of seeing a Buddha image etc could awaken in future lives and they too may practice the Dharma. I know this makes Dharma seemed like the one true path... It is not and perhaps it is being Christian that is best for that person in that life.(ie it serves a good ethical guideline)

Sukhavati and Tushita is not a heaven in the Christian sense. It is not eternal reward of pleasure and excess. Tushita and Sukhavati is a whole world that lacks worldly distractions that we have here and everything fosters spirituality. Such places are also emanated from the mind of a Buddha and therefore to gain access is not so simple as just being good. It requires merit and concentrated effort called powa practice. Hence, Christians can never enter Sukhavati and Tushita unless they made a concentrated effort to connect with it. The best Christians do is enter one of the deva realms, which is actually more of a trap than eternal salvation according to the Lamrim.

Just by following strict orthodox Christian beliefs, there is no chance to gain full enlightenment. Enlightenment is not granted from an outer source, it is achieved from within our own minds. I noticed Christian practices are geared towards seeking 'salvation' from an outer source (God). Hence, I find it impossible for Enlightenment to occur in this manner. However, practicing good ethics with total sincerity would result in a good rebirth and each life time, any of the endless amounts of positive and negative karma could awaken depending on the right conditions.   

Hope this answer helps and if you are to share this with a Christian friend or relative, please answer with discretion as what I explained may not go down too well to a Christian.


WisdomBeing

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2010, 11:01:32 AM »
Dear WB,

Christians earn good karma by being good God-fearing followers. They abstain from all that displeases God and this is basically following good ethical conduct. Merit is earned through dedicating virtuous actions with that of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as we have not yet developed a selfless motivation. 

Christians do not have any concept of spiritual awakening except a very vague new age belief in being one with God (I am not an expert of Christianity but I have been a Christian before and this is what I perceived of its more esoteric traditions and thought). However, their good karma could lead them to a good rebirth and maybe seeds of seeing a Buddha image etc could awaken in future lives and they too may practice the Dharma. I know this makes Dharma seemed like the one true path... It is not and perhaps it is being Christian that is best for that person in that life.(ie it serves a good ethical guideline)

Sukhavati and Tushita is not a heaven in the Christian sense. It is not eternal reward of pleasure and excess. Tushita and Sukhavati is a whole world that lacks worldly distractions that we have here and everything fosters spirituality. Such places are also emanated from the mind of a Buddha and therefore to gain access is not so simple as just being good. It requires merit and concentrated effort called powa practice. Hence, Christians can never enter Sukhavati and Tushita unless they made a concentrated effort to connect with it. The best Christians do is enter one of the deva realms, which is actually more of a trap than eternal salvation according to the Lamrim.

Just by following strict orthodox Christian beliefs, there is no chance to gain full enlightenment. Enlightenment is not granted from an outer source, it is achieved from within our own minds. I noticed Christian practices are geared towards seeking 'salvation' from an outer source (God). Hence, I find it impossible for Enlightenment to occur in this manner. However, practicing good ethics with total sincerity would result in a good rebirth and each life time, any of the endless amounts of positive and negative karma could awaken depending on the right conditions.   

Hope this answer helps and if you are to share this with a Christian friend or relative, please answer with discretion as what I explained may not go down too well to a Christian.


Dear BU,

Thanks for your reply. This is something I have been puzzling about. From what you share, it does seem like the only way out of samsara is through Dharma.. so it does become 'the only way'? And as everyone does good deeds, they will gain the good karma to eventually have contact with Dharma? Is that how it works?

Buddha gave us 84,000 ways to gain Enlightenment. I had thought that one would be the Christian way, one would be the Islamic way etc and that they were just different methods. But from what you share, which is kind of logical, it would seem that people in other religions would not reach Enlightenment?

Would the monks who are sincere in their Christian monasteries and their devotions to God not be able to be enlightened?

I'm still perplexed.



Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

iloveds

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2010, 06:12:19 PM »
I love the logic put forward by Big Uncle... it totally stands on itself and is true that the causes would be made for a good rebirth to follow to carry on creating the karma to come across the dharma.
 
On one of my travels through the muslim parts of the world I did however meet an iman, who gave me a blessing. Being sensitive to energies I can confirm I felt something. Now this is what perplexes me, because you see the exorcist movies etc... with good moral ethics, and beliefs, who is answering their prayers? Devas's?

dsiluvu

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2010, 05:16:09 PM »
It is fascinating to find out who exactly are answering the prayers for those non-Buddhist.
I use to think that maybe Jesus is a Bodhisattva/Buddha manifesting in a different form to benefit certain people in different parts of the world as that spiritual path would most suit them.

So if that little theory of mine is right, then would Jesus eventually lead them to a path where they can truly practice the Dharma and gain enlightenment?

Another question I have is if anyone can answer, how is it taking refuge/being baptized as a Christian wash away all your sins and guarantees one from going to the hell realms. They are basically guaranteed a place in heaven even if they murdered again! How does this logic work?     

Heartspoon

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2010, 02:56:41 PM »
Buddha taught that one should  not despise the Dharma of non-Buddhists for it is their source of happiness and benefit. One should not despise or harbour contempt for the doctrines of the Hindus, Christians, or other non-Buddhist religions because this attitude of attachment to one's own side while rejecting the possibility of differences is harmful to one's own spiritual career.

One whose Dharma career is tainted by narrow-mindedness and attachment to one's own interests while rejecting those of others will never overcome the many obstacles to the attainment of wisdom or insight.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2010, 03:02:48 PM by Heartspoon »

LosangKhyentse

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2010, 03:59:22 PM »

Then we should not even despise those who are Buddhists even if their views are different than our's. We should not despise any teachers, lineages or practice that may not match our own.

Being open to Hindus, Christians, Muslims, and all them should include those who are against our lineage.

Heartspoon

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2010, 04:06:45 PM »
You are right

Heartspoon

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2010, 02:45:00 AM »
It is fascinating to find out who exactly are answering the prayers for those non-Buddhist.


The same ones who are answering the prayers of the Buddhists

Heartspoon

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2010, 02:45:56 AM »

I use to think that maybe Jesus is a Bodhisattva/Buddha manifesting in a different form to benefit certain people in different parts of the world as that spiritual path would most suit them.

   

Yes

Heartspoon

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2010, 02:47:12 AM »

So if that little theory of mine is right, then would Jesus eventually lead them to a path where they can truly practice the Dharma and gain enlightenment?


Yes

Heartspoon

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2010, 02:51:57 AM »

Another question I have is if anyone can answer, how is it taking refuge/being baptized as a Christian wash away all your sins and guarantees one from going to the hell realms.

Taking refuge doesn't guarantee one from  going again to the hell realms. It's the same as for the Buddhists.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2010, 03:05:27 AM by Heartspoon »

Heartspoon

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2010, 02:53:05 AM »
They are basically guaranteed a place in heaven even if they murdered again!      

They are not guaranteed a place in heaven even if they murdered again.

Heartspoon

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2010, 03:03:51 AM »
! How does this logic work?     

It works the same as for the Buddhists.

Taking refuge is the first, basic step. It will immediately bring benefits but it doesn't guarantee that
one will not go anymore to the hell realms.
In order to attain this goal (not going to the hell realms anymore) one has to  transform one's mind
by practicing the instructions that are associated with the taking of refuge.

Heartspoon

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Re: Christians and merits/Enlightenment
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2010, 03:13:34 AM »
"Would the monks who are sincere in their Christian monasteries and their devotions to God not be able to be enlightened?"

All the sentient beings have the potential to become enlightened
« Last Edit: November 14, 2010, 03:21:22 AM by Heartspoon »