1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Is Christian Grace The Equivalent Of Buddhist Enlightenment?

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Sunstone, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    76,156
    Ratings:
    +37,818
    Religion:
    Non-Theistic Mysticism
    Is the Christian concept of Grace (i.e. the experience of the presence of God) the equivalent of the Buddhist concept of Enlightenment?
     
  2. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Messages:
    4,416
    Ratings:
    +654
    No. And I don't think that grace is really the experience of the presence of God either. I'd say that enlightenment in Buddhism is more closely analogous to the idea of Theosis, though in the former this appears to come from the person themselves with no external influence whereas the latter involves both personal strivings and the grace of God, working in synergy, to achieve. Grace could, perhaps, be better looked on as the enabling power of God than as an experience of His presence.

    James
     
  3. Random

    Random Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,057
    Ratings:
    +694
    I consider it to be analogous to Enlightenment, though Theosis is properly the equivalent in my view.
     
  4. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    30,694
    Ratings:
    +6,350
    Religion:
    LDS Christian
    I'd say that Deification (or what you described in a previous thread as your interpretation of Theosis) would be about as synonomous with Enlightenment as anything else.
     
  5. ayani

    ayani member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Messages:
    5,767
    Ratings:
    +748
    James, that is an excellent assesment. :bow:

    i feel similarly. Buddhist enlightenment i have always likened to a breaking out of your small self and into the unfettered freedom of clear insight and non-attachment. grace i would compare more to God breaking down the confines of your small self, and freeing you by making His greatness known and filling your smallness with His great light.
     
  6. Kay

    Kay Towards the Sun

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    506
    Ratings:
    +93
    :soccer: Bump
     
  7. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2004
    Messages:
    28,667
    Ratings:
    +2,656
    Good post! so well worded!:)
     
  8. Ozzie

    Ozzie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Messages:
    3,321
    Ratings:
    +306
    Phenomenologically there is less to distinguish Enlightenment from whatever is its Christian correlate if an experience of the presence of God is not factored in. That is, absent a second person appreciation of a state, there is nothing to distinguish the two interpretations.
     
  9. Scarlett Wampus

    Scarlett Wampus psychonaut

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,207
    Ratings:
    +422
    Grace is imo a hard thing to pin down. I think Christian grace would, with the caveat that Ozzie mentioned, be the equivalent of Wu Wei in Taoism. So yes, very difficult to understand.

    I've heard a Catholic talk about experiences in prayer that she described as the grace of God that sound similar to Buddhist enlightenment experiences. Namely, she would lose a sense of separation from God and feel that God was praying through her as if she was an empty vehicle. At those times she would also feel as though she had dissolved to become one with the wider world too.

    Thinking of what JamesThePersian wrote I was reminded of something that Raymond Sigrist, a writer on Taoism, wrote about the concept of Te in Taoism. Te is the power of Tao hence the title Tao Te Ching can be translated as the Book (ching) of the Way (Tao) and its Power (Te). Perhaps the power of God is a much like Te: -

    [​IMG]De: Power

    G.D. Wilder and J.H. Ingram explain that the right side of this character is made of xin, the "heart", below the line; and zhi, "straight", the character above the line. Zhi consists of a pair of eyes and two crossed perpendicular lines indicating the number ten. "Before the days of the square and plumb line, ten eyes were called on to test the straightness of the frame of a house." (WI:38) With imagination, one sees that the character de depicts the ability of the heart (mind) to follow the nature of reality correctly. A.C. Graham describes de as the "potentionality to act according to the Tao." (GAD13) Both Graham and Arthur Waley translate de as "power" rather than "virtue" as some other translators do. It is simply ability, it does not express pedigree, moral excellence, or honor.

    De is not a passive force, it is definitely an intervening force, but it acts only at that strategic point and moment when the leverage is so high that the manifestation of the intervention is nearly imperceptible. De requires little energy (cf. wu wei) to effect changes in the field around it because it actualizes, and then collaborates with the field's own nascent power.

    De is the power to catalyze (without controlling the outcome of) changes in one's environment. It gives one the creative power to catalyze (but not specify the details of) positive changes in other beings.

    De empowers us to fully engage and enjoy life. This force arises spontaneously by allowing the psyche to naturally (zi ran) conform to the dynamic underlying patterns of circumstances, the Tao. Transformed by this process, one's own psychic structure becomes the key to the effective engagement of life.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. autonomous1one1

    autonomous1one1 Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,531
    Ratings:
    +244
    I agree with you, Godlike, (and James) on this one and enjoyed looking up your previous thread on Theosis. Enlightenment and Theosis are two great ideas for humankind, and imo should receive maximum attention. One problem in determining if they are exactly the same is that there are many definitions as people analyze them upside down and backwards. Theosis, e.g., has differences from Eastern, Western, Catholic, and Protestant definitions. I like the thoughts on Theosis at this web site: http://www.frimmin.com/faith/theosis.html.

    According to my definitions of Enlightenment and Theosis, they are from the same source experience and are exactly the same.
     
  11. Random

    Random Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,057
    Ratings:
    +694
    Indeed, thanks for the link, interesting site.

    Yes, it's a pity the mystical tradition of Orthodox Christianity doesn't emphasise theosis more, especially in the Catholic tradition: but I imagine the average layman could not even concieve of the meaning of union with the divine or Absolute, much less practice a tao or Way to attain to it. This is why I still say that although everyone has the potential for the gnosis, few there are @ any one place in time that possess it. Call that "elitist" if you wish, but until our reality changes, that's one aspect of it we must endure...for the time-being, anyway. It won't always be so.
     
  12. autonomous1one1

    autonomous1one1 Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,531
    Ratings:
    +244
    Yes, and I do see signs that more people are becoming aware. Take the referenced site for example where the writer derinitely has significant knowledge, and maybe experience (I haven't examined the whole site yet), and mentions that he had met a friend a couple of years ago that had realized union. And the concept of Theosis, although ancient, is recently arriving back on the scene of general knowledge with the Internet.
     
  13. Kay

    Kay Towards the Sun

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    506
    Ratings:
    +93
    Jon's site is great. :yes:
     
  14. autonomous1one1

    autonomous1one1 Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,531
    Ratings:
    +244
    Is that someone that you know, Neosnoia? Or perhaps someone on RF?
     
  15. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Messages:
    4,416
    Ratings:
    +654
    We emphasise Theosis plenty. I'm just a layman after all and its always been made clear to me that Theosis is pretty mch the crux of our faith. Our entire soteriology makes no sense without the idea, to be honest, and nobody could read the Fathers without seeing it there. One of the main practices we have, of praying the Jesus prayer is usually accompanied by he use of a prayer rope and I'd say that it's really quite normal to see lay folk with them. If they're practicing what is essentially a hesychastic practice you can be pretty sure that they know what the end goal is.

    James
     
  16. Kay

    Kay Towards the Sun

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    506
    Ratings:
    +93
    It was Jon's article on theosis and Christian mysticism that originally brought me to his site (via google). That was about 2 years ago I think. We "know" each other now via blog-land.
     
  17. anders

    anders Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    1,748
    Ratings:
    +167
    Defining "Grace" isn't easy. The word grace occurs 20 times in the NKJV OT, usually in the sense of "favor." Kabbalists explain the OT word as "Hesed represents the generous, benevolent (masculine) side of God." or "Hesed, meaning absolute love and mercy". (Another transcription is Chaesaed .) Neither of these explanations fit my (diffuse) understanding of Buddhist Enlightenment (awareness of the true nature of the universe?).

    Regarding the very unusual translation of 德 (I find 'power' in only the oldest (1943) out of six dictionaries), the general credibility of the discussion on de may be illustrated by

    Not a pair of eyes, but one eye, namely originally two eyelids, and a pupil which later was dropped. Also, the heart in 德 is a later addition.
     
  18. Random

    Random Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,057
    Ratings:
    +694
    Thank you, James. This is heartening to know: if only there were a greater consciousness of it in Western Europe and America where the Orthodox tradition is less well understood. :)
     
  19. PHOTOTAKER

    PHOTOTAKER Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    1,057
    Ratings:
    +89
    i thank for me Being LDS i see Enlightenment as comeing upon a greater knowlage than what cann't be accomplished by pain study, and it is accoplished though pray, medatation, study, and learning all things good. Grace for me at least is the strangth that cannot be found anywere besides what is suffitionat that God gives me, and this can be anything from pulling a hand cart, rasing children, to eternal life (there are many things and much more that can be said on it) and yes this unseen and great stangth can help in being more enlightend...

    will this is my view at least next week it might be a bit differnt ;)
     
  20. autonomous1one1

    autonomous1one1 Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,531
    Ratings:
    +244
    Thank you. A path not unlike my own this week when studying various definitions of theosis and got to Jon's article via google. I think I agree with you that he has created a great site.
     
Loading...