Friday, 26 November 2010

Crossing The Christian Buddhist Divide

Crossing The Christian Buddhist Divide Image
Lisa Simpson isn't the only one who figured it out. My heart says so, and ancient Buddhist texts do too. I could have called this "Bridging the Buddhist-Christian Divide." After all, I was never very religious but always spiritual.

What did Lisa figure out? I need not abandon my parent's religion or family traditions to practice Buddhism. Like most people I feel alienated, and I'm not interested in what the Church says. (It's not just the gay child molestation by celibate priests and the cover ups.) I love my Christian friends, and they love me, and Buddhism is fine with anyone who wants to practice, so what's the problem?

Old Catholicism is a mishmash, as if the Vatican cherry-picked its holidays, traditions, and customs from the mystical East. Not just monasticism and doctrine, the Holy See was built upon a Zoroastrian temple complex devoted to Mithra. It was converted to Rome's new way of ruling its vast empire -- turning "Jesus" into an instrument of conquest and European identity.

The Catholic Church boldly proclaims itself as the Holy Roman "Empire", the world's longest standing and most successful corporation. That's great. But I don't want to be part of the hegemony. I'd rather serve alongside Mother Teresa's nuns in India. Protestants may not be as bad, but fundamentalists are worse.

I love Buddhism! Christianity is inspiring and uplifting -- the mission of a humble shepherd who teaches in parables because it's too dangerous and too threatening to the Roman Empire to try to teach (save people) directly.

The Buddha taught in parables but lots of other ways as well. Jesus certainly knew about Buddhism. He followed the example not only of Shakyamuni Buddha, but also of India's ancient yogis, lamas, and Himalayan masters. He probably was told and believed he was Maitreya (the second coming), which could have given him a messianic complex.

* On April 15th I will mourn capitalism.
* On Halloween I will eat candy, dress up, and party -- without being a hedonist, witch, or Pagan.
* On Thanksgiving I will eat stuffed Tofu Byrd and lots of pie. (Maybe I am a hedonist).
* On Christmas I will give and receive gifts, especially from my Japanese friends who never sign the card "Santa" but always "Duncan Royale Hoteiosho."
* Every week I will do yoga at the gym.
* Everyday I will meditate with Buddha/Jesus and Kwan Yin/Mother Mary in mind.

Why? Because I'm an American! But more than that, I'm a citizen of the world. Now if a new Inquisition breaks out, fundamentalists may have something to say about it. But I'm comforted that Theravadan-Jewish-Buddhists (known as the Therapeutae-Essenes) were in ancient Egypt where Christ probably first came into contact with Buddhism:

"These Therapeutae were known under the name of the Essenes, or 'healers,' and they had their origin in Egypt. It was there that the Essenes principally dwelt for over 200 years before the time of Jesus. Their centre was Alexandria, site of the world's theological university, where the wisdom of the time was focused in those days, and where there was the greatest library in the ancient world" (firstnewtestament).


* Hitchens brothers take opposite sides in God debate

Famed atheist Christopher Hitchens and his lesser known atheist-turned-Christian brother Peter Hitchens debated Tuesday over whether a civilization can survive without God. Christopher, the elder of the two, argued that civilization can survive without God and noted that millions of people in modern societies today are living in a post-religious society. He began his talk by discussing the word "Christendom," or the Christian world, which has since disappeared.

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