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Regarding Englghtenment

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User Info: KNessJM

5 years ago#21
But let's talk about this. "Worldly" does not mean "all other creation." I do not really like the term worldly, but when Christians talk about worldliness, they are generally talking about the sinful aspects of creation that are in need of redemption. Many Christians affirm that all of creation is spiritual and that we should appreciate and learn from every bit of creation. We merely affirm that creation is also flawed.

I was using the term in the way that fundamentalist sects of Christianity seem to use it: referring to things that are secular or non-Christian, be they organizations, people, practices, etc. Obviously there is a great deal of divergence in belief between all the various Christian sects, I was merely pointing out some of the beliefs that are in stark contrast to the Zen/Taoist principle of integration with all things. Some Christian beliefs are much more liberal (in the broad sense, not the political sense).

So we must be connected to creation.

This stood out to me as an example of the kind of difference I was getting at. The notion that there is a thing that can be connected to another thing, rather than both "things" being inherently inseparable. Also the idea of mankind being "above" other forms of creation, and being special.

A favorite Buddhist parable of mine is about the Bodhisattva of Compassion (a figure representing the deepest possible ideals of compassion). He was traveling from one village to another one winter day and was walking through the woods. He noticed a pair of young tiger cubs who were very sickly and emaciated. The mother tiger emerged from a cave and eyed him suspiciously, and she too was thin and malnourished. He realized that they were suffering because it was a harsh winter, and prey was scarce. He slowly approached the tigers, then laid down and slit his own throat with a knife so that they would not be hungry.

That is the type of "connection" I mean.
Quote of the Week: "He who is attached to things will suffer much."

User Info: the_hedonist

5 years ago#22
I think what I'm mainly trying to say is that there are similar concepts in Christianity. I think the biggest difference is that in Christianity, the focus is on a person/deity. You can see that simply in differences between the ideas of meditation in Buddhism and Christianity. Christians meditate on something, generally the nature of God, some specific attribute of God, or a specific passage of Scripture in order to unite themselves to God. You must clear your mind and it is a way of finding peace, but it is peace in God. This is a huge difference which ultimately is at the heart of most differences, it seems.

KNessJM posted...
That's a good question, I probably should have clarified earlier. Non-action is not the same as inaction. In Taoism, it is called Wu Wei. It's like doing things so naturally and effortlessly that it's as if you're not doing anything at all. It's being in complete harmony with your surroundings in every way, and seeing oneself simply as just another part of the things that are going on, not as an individual, separate from all the other things that may be happening. A common metaphor is a river. To practice non-action is to be a drop of water in a flowing river.

A similar concept in Christianity is abiding. In John 15, Jesus says that we must abide in him. To me, this means that I allow God to direct my life. I am acting, but the ultimate origin of my action is God, not myself. You could also call this walking by the Spirit. Again, the main difference is that we are talking about a deity as the origin, whereas you do not seem to be. The Bible says that it is Christ in me that is the hope of glory.

Interdependence and integration, as I'm using the terms, follow the same ideas. The idea is that everything is an inseparable part of the Tao. It's like thinking about your left index finer, your eyelashes, your spleen, and your right middle toenail. You can think of these things as separate entities, or you can think of them as all being part of the same whole: your body. It's a matter of perspective. (And on a side note, molecular physics supports these notions, but that's another topic for another time.) So by recognizing the interdependence of things, I can consciously stop trying to think of my self as separate and instead think of myself as a manifestation of the Tao.

I think this is a spot we can bring up another key difference in Christian theology. Christians have always affirmed mystery. We affirm truth that is revealed to us by God, but we also affirm paradox and that we do not truly understand things. So we at times believe things that appear contradictory. Like the Trinity, for example. God is three, yet he is one.

In this case, I can affirm with you that everything is one. Everything has its origins in God -black, white, good, evil, human, beast, male, female, etc. But God has created us with the ability to perceive differences. So while we are united in many senses, there is also division. Which I could say for the parable you mentioned. All creation is valued by God and created by him, but God has appointed that some of creation would be given greater honor. All of creation has its God-given purpose.

It saddens me when Christians forget our mysticism. Christianity is an inherently spiritual religion. It lends itself to mysticism so easily. But we think that is left to Eastern religions. We think that is too esoteric or strange. But God is spirit and Christians are saved by being united to him. So it is useful to me to point out similarities in the mystical aspects of Christianity and other religions, even if I concede that we are wildly different in so many aspects.
Thumbs up for rock 'n' roll.
~The Christian Hedonist~

User Info: KNessJM

5 years ago#23
I agree that there are distinct similarities between your interpretations of Christianity and my interpretations of Buddhism. I think these come about as more a product of "spirituality" rather than "religion". Focusing more on the subjective experiences of the individual rather than the dogmatic direction of the whole group.
Quote of the Week: "He who is attached to things will suffer much."
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