Buddhist Christians?

Christianity and Buddhism — more alike that we think?

Despite the teacher’s constant downplaying of Christianity in a way that makes it clear he does not believe in the Christian beliefs (and perhaps is even trying to hide a desire to mock it), I feel that the more I learn, the more I see parallels between Buddhist teachings and Jesus’ teachings.

I do think that America (and likely Europe before) have “Westernized” the Christian faith, much in the way they have “westernized” modern medicine.  Modern medicine often starts from natural remedies — aspirin was discovered based on willow bark; red yeast rice lead to the creation of statins.  Yet, if we revert back to the origin, and start to bring more natural cures and treatments into medical practice (yoga, meditation, herbs, acupuncture, etc) this has been scoffed at as voodoo, quackery, and hippie stuff.  Yet science is, time and again, finding out that there is something to these practices that can be backed not only by increasing anecdotal evidence, but also by scientific literature.  Likewise, I believe that the Christian faith may have “quacky” or “mystic” origins that modern day teachings have lost track of, and would now scoff at, or find offensive.  Perhaps we should have a warmer embrace of some of the Buddhist views – and that perhaps Jesus himself was sharing the same teachings – but to say that aloud is to invite attacks from some church communities that I am tainting His word, that I am being blinded by “the enemy,” that I am opening myself to witchcraft by practicing yoga, etc.  But it is a statement I have made many times – that I believe we have put God in a Westernized box, so we can try to understand Him (even though the Bible tells us He is beyond understanding.)  That was have taken someone who is huge, miraculous, and abstract and tried to restrain Him to 66 books in the Bible (with some additions for Mormon and Catholic branches of Christian faith.)

When I dig deeper into the Bible, and the original meanings of Hebrew words, I learn there is so much more exciting “mystical-seeming” stuff that is right there!  Besides the oft-taught miracles of healing and turning water to wine, there’s the raising people from the dead, 40-days of fasting and meditating before Jesus sort of “came into his own”, Words as Power (God spoke things into existence; Vedic chants are words that they believe can cause things to happen; and in studying physics and anatomy/physiology, there are vibrational forces within spoken words – I wonder if there may be, of had been, some power there that has been lost.)  And perhaps I can make notes about that some time, but it is a long, long list of things to share — and I want to continue through this lecture first 🙂

By findingsilverlinings Posted in Musings

We All Have a little Keanu In Us

Buddhism and Modern Psych Week 2: The Eightfold Path

In the lesson today, I was caught off guard by the comment the professor made:

“Buddhist practice, in the spiritual sense, involves having a little Keanu Reeves in you, you know.”

Adorable Neo chibi by Claudiney

Adorable Neo chibi by Claudiney

And while I first laughed, I know this is a true allegory.  Referring to Neo of the movie series, The Matrix, The professor states how Buddhists felt the movie resonated with their beliefs that we all need to “wake up” and better see the truth of the world; and I know many Christian friends who said the same.  Both groups have made comments that the movie portrayed the fact that we are blinded by this current physical world, and cannot see the truth of the spiritual battles around us.  Like Neo (Keanu’s character), many of us feel sort of “stuck” in our lives, and that there’s something bigger and deeper out there, and that we want to WAKE UP! and see what the truth is — even if it’s scary, and dangerous, and takes a lot of work!

Christianity offers freedom through Christ; Buddhism offers it through the Eightfold Path  – and there are actually many overlapping guiding principles/rules here.

EIGHTFOLD PATH:

  1. Right View (understanding)
  2. Right Intention
  3. Right Speech (no gossip, insults, lies, etc)
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness (beginning meditation)
  8. Right Concentration (deeper meditation)

I look forward to learning more about each of these parts of the path!  Let us continue down this rabbit hole…

Perhaps Life Is Dukkha (suffering, craving, temporary)

But perhaps we can be delivered from it

and focus on the wonderful things in life

and break our attachments to things that bring us down!

By findingsilverlinings Posted in Buddhism

Meditative Ashtanga

I am in the process of learning the Ashtanga full series of yoga.  I never expected to enjoy it – I thought that it would become boring and routine to do the same set of poses over and over.  And, admittedly, since I’m still in process of learning the series, there’s a chance I will decide that later.

But today, I was loving it.  I have memorized Sun Salutations A and B, and was working through the Standing Poses.  But to be able to go at my own pace, and be forced to listen to my breathing to determine the rhythm of the asana flow, was shockingly meditative and calming.  I am so accustomed to power yoga, where ujayii breathing often is forgotten as I pant and sweat.  I may maintain a mental calmness through power yoga, but it is nothing compared to the physical calmness I felt in the series today.  It still created heat through the movements, still got me breathing, but it was all so controlled and expansive!

After working on that for 30 minutes, I sat down and meditated for 10 or 15 minutes to peaceful music. What an amazing way to start the day!

By findingsilverlinings Posted in Asana

Feelings and Illusions

Buddhism and Modern Psych Week 1: Feelings and Illusions

“To the man who is afraid, everything rustles” – Socratese.  But if we’re staring at the ground, fearing every rustling bush, we miss the expanse of the sky!

When first made to listen to scary “horror movie” type music, illusion images were more often perceived as threatening images (ie: rope was thought of as a snake instead of a rope 75% of the time)

The problem: happy music did not produce the opposite effect, or making people more often see the non-threatening squirrel/rope/pot.

Study showed that people who were made to watch a scary movie, such as Silence of the Lambs, afterwards perceived profile pics of various ethnic men as more menacing.  Are we creating our own fears and troubles?  I probably wouldn’t fear random men walking on quiet allies if not for so many movies depicting them as dangerous criminals.

We are more prone to fear and suspicion.

From a survival aspect, this may be a good thing — a “better safe than sorry, let’s be cautious” approach can protect you.  But do we want to be afraid of everything?  Is it better to stare in apprehension at the ground and jump at every rustle?

By manipulating people’s emotions, you can manipulate their perceptions.

Buddhism says feelings are not real or reliable, and so mediation helps up better see truth.