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Featured Where Christianity and Buddhism Agree?

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Buddha Dharma, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    A comparitive discussion regarding Buddha and Krishna would be interesting..
     
  2. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Discussing how early Christians came to consider Jesus divine will lead us far afield. Let's just note that they did and continue with the comparison.:)
    One asymmetry between the two is that while Buddha lived for a long time and left a large literature of sayings, Jesus had a very short ministry that ended violently. Thus we have lots of materials regarding what Buddha thought, said and practiced....that for Jesus is understandably much less. Do you think this affects how well Christians can know about Jesus from the Bible, compared to say the Buddha from the Suttas? I typically come across the question "What would Jesus say or do or think?" and the answers diverge among Christians. For Buddha, such questions usually have quite objective answers, if we can successfully trawl through his 10,000 page thick Suttas and Vinayas diligently. :D
     
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  3. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    It is difficult to tell what Christianity proposes.

    It has been interpreted to justify doomsday cults, racism and slavery. But there is also the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain, which are IMO the closest that it comes to Buddha Dharma.

    Generally, though, it is just not very clear a doctrine.
     
  4. Lyndon

    Lyndon "Peace is the answer" quote: GOD, 2014
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    So Zen would be considered clear by comparison??
     
  5. sandy whitelinger

    sandy whitelinger Veteran Member

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    I realize that I'm jumping in late to the party.

    I see two subjective issues here. Perfection and bad. Try this supposition; we are perfect and there is no bad.
     
  6. sandy whitelinger

    sandy whitelinger Veteran Member

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    Perfection is not difficult when you start with the idea that you already are perfect.
     
  7. Lyndon

    Lyndon "Peace is the answer" quote: GOD, 2014
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    That would be delusional!!
     
  8. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    Because John, Paul and Simon have a different doctrine to Yeshua in the Synoptic Gospels, thus there is no concise answer...

    Here have a look at this table I've started, that shows 3 different distinct beliefs.

    In my opinion.
    :innocent:
     
  9. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    Yes, that's a very key difference between the two figures, I think.

    When you think about it, Jesus actually did get a lot said and done in just under three years time-span, relatively speaking, but compared with the Buddha's long life and extensive library of attributed discourses, it is like a pebble compared to the ocean.

    Jesus's preaching has a frenetic quality to it - the words, parables and pithy maxims of a generally young man of action - evidently on a determined mission that would lead fairly quickly to the big fiasco in the Jewish Temple, his betrayal, arrest, conviction and execution. And yet, he managed to have such an impact on his immediate circle of followers that they became convinced he was a pre-existent divinity after his death.

    The Buddha's discourses are long and more sophisticated in their presentation, as befits someone who had a long time to reflect on things, with a good deal more intricacy. And yet he too was viewed as a supramundane being after his death.

    That is why the four Gospels which tell us about the life and words of Jesus comprise 47% of the New Testament, whilst the Book of Acts (detailing the lives and early activities of Jesus's first followers after his death), the various epistles written by Paul and other sacred authors, and the Book of Revelation, total in at 53% of the combined volume of textual material.

    If you think about it, the New Testament is majority Abhidhamma Pitaka (scholastic re-working and expansion by Jesus's followers) - which gets extended to gazillions of books by the apostolic fathers and early church fathers - whereas the Tripitaka has enormous sections of Suttas.

    That said, it bears remembering that everything we find attributed to both Jesus and the Buddha in the Bible/Tripitaka, were composed by their disciples after their deaths.

    It's arguable that much of the Pali Canon was set to writing over a much longer span of time than the gospels: I mean, it was finally set to writing 454 years after the death of the Buddha at the Fourth Buddhist Council whereas the Gospels were all written within 30-60 years after Jesus's death, by the end of the first century. There are earlier Buddhist texts subsumed within the finished, canonical product and what they tell us is illuminating.

    In the same elapse of time in Christianity, we'd seen hundreds of gospels - such as the Gnostic tradition - attributing lengthy discourses to Jesus, the creeds, the writings of the church fathers etc. The big difference here is that the church fathers were far more selective and narrow in what they made into sacred scripture.

    If we limit Buddhist texts to the earliest strata of material, which scholars can identify with the oral tradition, we find perhaps a less systematized Buddha: the Sutta Nipata and Udana are thought by many scholars to be the earliest, from a pre-canonical/pre-sectarian phase of Buddhism in which a redaction of theology, through commentaries and editing by Bhikkhus, had not yet taken place. We can see this development reach a peak in the Abhidhamma Pitaka with its highly detailed reworking of the Suttas into a coherent system.

    There is very little discussion of such systematic ideas as the three marks of existence, the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path and anatta in the Sutta Nipata, especially in its earliest stratum of texts - these being the Atthaka Vaga and Parayana Vagga.

    These two earliest sections of the Sutta Nipata are more focused on explaining what makes the ideal person, the ideal contemplative. There is no reference to structured monasticism in these texts, as with later Buddhism, rather the emphasis seems to be on solitary forest ascetics - hinting that these texts arise from a period before the emergence of the Sangha as we would know it.

    The Atthakavagga has far more archaic phraseology than the other Suttas. It utilizes and re-works brahmanic terms and words, which indicates that a uniquely Buddhist vocabulary had not yet emerged when it was written. The Atthaka is also referenced by other suttas in the canon, which suggests that it must therefore predate them.

    New Testament scholars can do the same for Jesus - and discern the Q Sayings Source as the most primitive material, although the synoptic gospels in general would be equivalent in primacy to the earliest Buddhist material I've just been discussing.

    I would opine that we should see the later New Testament books, the subsequent apostolic fathers and the early church fathers extending all the way up past the First Council of Nicea doing something similar for Jesus's teachings as what the Sangha did relative to the Buddha.
     
    #169 Vouthon, Feb 6, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  10. sandy whitelinger

    sandy whitelinger Veteran Member

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    Not at all. The concept of perfection is illusory at best.
     
  11. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    It may be difficult to tell what myriad Christian sects believe as a combined whole but scholars wouldn't say the same for Jesus IMHO.

    The Q source underlying the gospels of Matthew and Luke is fairly compact and clear in its ethical framework.

    There is still some debate as to the eschatological versus wisdom orientation of his teaching but there are also broad-lines of consensus in the scholarship.
     
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  12. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    While the Vinayas diverge, the Sutta pitakas don't diverge between the Sri Lankan and the Chinese recensions. Also in India, writing was never considered an important medium of communication among the learned cycles, and was considered an impure art. It was always the oral that was held in the highest regard, and this led to very sophisticated techniques of oral retention, that makes the transmission of Vedas possible.

    Vedic chant - Wikipedia

    In India, it's the written text that's more fluid than the oral rescensions.

    Given this , its seems more likely that Buddha's words were well preserved in the Suttas, especially those that have the large, complex, repetitive structure that is the unique mark of the Indian technology of accurate oral transmission.
     
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  13. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    This is very interesting sayak!
     
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  14. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    If you ever go to a Tibetan monastery or one of the classical Indian Sanskrit schools for Brahmins, you will see the monks chanting away day and night. In both these cases, they are mastering this kind of oral transmission technology. The proto-Sanskrit transmission of Vedas, which today retains the oldest living archaic Indo-European words and phonetics, has been declared a world heritage by UNESCO. I personally think that a far greater amount of research needs to be done in the style and techniques of Indo-Tibetan oral transmission, before we can understand which layers of the Suttas are likely to be the earliest.
    Tradition of Vedic chanting - intangible heritage - Culture Sector - UNESCO
    BBC NEWS | South Asia | UN boost for ancient Indian chants
    The lessons from Mediterranean traditions don't work for Indian texts.
     
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  15. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    Again this is fascinating, and yes I agree - it is likely an easier (not "easy" I should caution) academic exercise to discern the earliest layers of the Jesus tradition than it is to do the same for the Suttas, given the difference in oral transmission cultures (which I hadn't been aware of).
     
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  16. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    Let's discuss Buddha-nature.

    Is it akin to the "luminous mind" one reads about from the Pali Canon, as in a further elaboration of the same underlying idea?
     
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  17. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    You have read the Pali Canon?
     
  18. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    Buddha Nature, imo, is sentience: having a subjective mind where one can think abstractly. However, having a subjective mind also makes one vulnerable to delusion (confusing the subjective for the objective.) {I see the capacity for delusion as a result of sentience as original sin--your mileage may vary.} Buddha Nature is the capacity for sentient beings to awaken to their capacity for delusion and recognize it for what it is, and to dispel it.

    The subjective mind is a double-edged sword--the cure for delusion lies in plugging into the Buddha Nature aspect of awakening.
     
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  19. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    Yes, in the respect that it clears the mind of defilements/delusions, awakens the being, and leads to development of the mind.
    Pahassara Sutta: Luminous

    "Luminous, monks, is the mind.[1] And it is defiled by incoming defilements." {I,v,9}

    "Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements." {I,v,10}

    "Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind." {I,vi,1}

    "Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind." {I,vi,2}​
     
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  20. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    I think we should also talk about hell, as both Christianity and Buddhism share the concept.
     
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