63 comments on “Buddhism vs Christianity

  1. Great short, Delight.

    I just took my Chakrah test at a Buddhist site and…I’m very disappointed to find out that “Your Root Chakra is Weak.” I don’t think I’ll lose any sleep over it when I take my nap today.

    Found at a Buddhist web site:

    “Life exists in itself – there is no inherent meaning attached to life. However – as all human beings (and animals) wish for happiness and not to suffer – the purpose of life may be said to end that suffering.”

    So…there is no meaning to life. I have enough issues with depression than to believe in a system like this.

    Maybe a prayer wheel will help. (I don’t mean to be flippant, but these things are supposed to help you even though Buddha is not a God. Who am I praying to?)

    Think I’ll stick to my Bible. Let the words of my mouth and the MEDITATION of my heart be pleasing in Thy sight O Lord (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

  2. With all due respect, as a long time Buddhist you really don’t know what you are talking about, if you did you would then look back on his 1 min. vid with embarrassment. If you feel the need to boost your own view with a 1st grade presentation of another philosophy then you succeeded in calming yourself and the anxiety you felt when presented with a much older and sophisticated non-superstitious and rational system. I don’t mind others not wanting to be Buddhist, that’s your right but at least before you open your mouth up, try and find out about a subject 1st.
    God knows there are tons of books out there for the beginner, you can’t claim now days that you really don’t know about the subject you are criticizing. You a modern person you don’t want to come off as a propagandizing closed minded bigot do you?

  3. Just tired of the supposed know it all’s with the need to blab their ignorant soap box rhetoric using the internet. I could debate each of those so called factoids, but really don’t have time to go over each one, cause quite frankly I’ve heard this stuff all before and it gets a little tiresome and boring.
    But if and I want to say here that I’m really not interested in converting anyone or even hope to change anyone’s mind, but if you would like to learn something that you don’t know about so you can then make a reasonable critic of Buddhism I would be happy with that at least. You don’t have to believe it or accept it but from now on you will get a better understanding so when you hear someone saying that is factually wrong you can correct them or at least not go a long with a falsehood, which any honest person would not. Promoting a religion through lying by omission is unethical.
    So you pick anyone of those points he brought up and I will try to answer it the best I know how, support his contentions with some facts or logic, which by the way he very conveniently left out. ………………..M

    • Thanks, Marc. You’re probably aware that there’s a whole genre of “Christian apologia” on the Web, in which “experts” misrepresent Buddhist doctrines and spin their ignorance into a huge straw man. And then they knock the straw man down to demonstrate the alleged superiority of Christianity. And I’ve already wasted too much of my life trying to educate these people. Deconstructing all the ignorance packed into the video would take hours.

      The more interesting question, though, is what drives them to do this? Why do they feel so compelled to bear false witness against another spiritual tradition? I was raised to be a devout Christian and I still respect Christianity, although I took the Refuges years ago. I feel no urge to prove Buddhism is “better.” I wouldn’t go back, but that’s me. I would advise devout Christians to focus on following Jesus’ teachings, and don’t worry about what I’m up to. The world would be a better place for it.

      • Thanks for stopping by, Barbara.

        There is nothing demeaning or condescending toward Buddhism in the video. The man compares and mostly contrasts the two religions. The truth is that Buddhism is vastly different and quite opposite to Christian beliefs on many issues.

        • “There is nothing demeaning or condescending toward Buddhism in the video. ”

          Yes, when the guy in the video says “Buddhism relies on speculation, but Christianity is based on many facts,” he wasn’t being at all biased. (/sarcasm)

          Actually the historical Buddhism frequently warned his disciples against speculation about anything, but that’s not the only howler in the video. “Rely on self?” The Buddha taught that what most of us think of as the “self” is a kind of illusion, so what is one relying on? What he says about death makes no sense; it’s Christians who believe in eternal life, and Buddhism that teaches that there is no soul and the self is impermanent. Buddhism specifically does not “reject” all forms of desire but teaches us to not cling to desire and let it jerk us around. Suffering is neither good nor bad, but the Buddha’s teaching on “dukkha,” the word commonly translated as “suffering,” doesn’t mean the same thing as the English word “suffering.,” That’s not even a full minute into the video, and every single thing the guy said about Buddhism is categorically untrue. I didn’t see any point in watching further.

          “The truth is that Buddhism is vastly different and quite opposite to Christian beliefs on many issues.”

          I once was quite the devout Christian and even took Christian theology courses in college, which was a long time ago, but I formally became a student of Zen in the late 1980s and now write about Buddhism for About.com. So i understand the differences keenly. And the way Buddhism understands just about everything — life, death, good, evil, the self, the basis of existence, whatever — is radically different from how these things are conceptualized not only by Christians, but by just about everybody else as well. The biggest mistake the Christian apologists make is to filter Buddhist doctrines through Christian concepts, and it doesn’t work. You can’t begin to understand Buddhism that way. Of course, it doesn’t help if one obviously did no research whatsoever, like the guy in the video.

          In sort: The video is unmitigated crap. One falsehood after another.

      • I find your story very interesting… If I may ask, what was the chief factor (if any) for leaving the Christian faith?

        Also, do you still hold that the Bible contains truth (specifically the prophecies about Christ in the books of the old Testament)?

  4. Hey Barbara, I’m glad that you even tried, Bodhisattva vows and all that. It’s what keeps me from giving up on people which takes a lot.
    Yes D-in-T there are differences but not the way this was presented, you cling to these distorted points like a addict holding their stash, a false refuge that offers a temporary safety net, but I’ll show you the net has holes.
    So again pick 1 point which you seem to have conveniently not done and we can take it from there. ………………..M

    • “I find your story very interesting… If I may ask, what was the chief factor (if any) for leaving the Christian faith?”

      It’s a very long story, but basically I just didn’t believe it any more. Christianity requires accepting a lot on faith– that there is a God, that Jesus redeemed our sins, etc. I was old-church Protestant, so I was raised with the doctrine of Trinity and the Nicene Creed version of Christianity. But this doctrinal structure only works if you keep it inside a particular conceptual box. I wanted a spiritual practice that didn’t require believing in something purely on faith, that allowed me to explore the cosmos outside all the conceptual boxes. Eventually I found Zen, and that was it.

      “Also, do you still hold that the Bible contains truth (specifically the prophecies about Christ in the books of the old Testament)?”

      No, I no longer believe any of that. Nor is it important to me any more.

    • Marc, please realize that I have yet to make any arguments in our discussion. Hence, I cannot be accused of a clinging to any points like an addict. Name calling does not get you or anyone any points in debates. I will overlook this

      Having said that, I submit to you that the differences between our religions is monumental.

      Maybe we can discuss one point, if you desire.

      One of the most important doctrines of my faith is about sin and the depravity of man. Some theologians call it total depravity. Original sin is central to this doctrine, as the introduction of pre-existent evil in this universe. As a result, everyone of us commits evil acts that violate an ultimate standard which belongs to God. As evidence you can see a 3 year old lying (even though no one taught him to lie). You can see murder on the news. You can see hate, etc.

      According to the Barbara’s writings and others’ as well, Buddhism has no concept of sin. It is reasonable to infer that sin does not exist then. Buddhism then subscribes to an abstract system of transgression against an ill defined universal code, or against an impersonal god.

      This is one of the biggest differences in what we believe. Would you then not agree that this is a correct point?

  5. Ok cool now I know who you are Barbara, I’ve been happy to read your stuff for a few years now and would like to thanks you for setting things straight on many different topics. Notice how he hasn’t answered me yet? Beginning to think It’s never going to happen.
    So he thinks it’s right to put out the ranting’s of a attention seeking charlatan but when called on it he now knows he can’t defend, in my book you capitulated and lost the debate. Stop what harm you are doing to other beings minds and begin to take a look a little deeper into the nature of the world of existence around you. It’s easy to speculate about nonsense that doesn’t need proof such as you mentioned the Old T., in trying to justify your belief system, it’s a form of distracting laziness. So for the 3rd time and last pick a point, then defend it or admit you don’t know what you are talking about and be more carful in the future what you put out there.
    Ok so now this is for Barbara, I found my Lama in 76, he was appointed by the Dali Lama to be the priest for the Mongolian Kalmyk’s that live in Howell NJ. He was Khen Rimpoche Lobsang Tharchin, he was a 5th degree Hlarampa Lama there is a web site. He passed in 04 and 2 years later they found him. He is about 5 or 6 now. It was approved by H.H. himself.
    Hey I want you to know I appreciate what you are doing on your site, there is so much purposeful devious info out there that you really do have to wonder at these people’s motives and the sheer reveling in promoting sociopathic hate. Really sad, but oh well life is to short to waste to much time on.
    But like it says up top on this site about Truth, but the problem is when you think you have it and cling then it just becomes another distorted View…………M

    • Buddhism has no concept of sin, that’s true, but that doesn’t mean there is no wrongdoing, no evil. It’s just that we understand it differently.

      “It is reasonable to infer that sin does not exist then. Buddhism then subscribes to an abstract system of transgression against an ill defined universal code, or against an impersonal god.”

      No, the transgressions are against each other, all beings, and ourselves. There is nothing abstract about this. Buddhism has vast oceans of teachings and commentary on morality, on compassion, on loving kindness. We are challenged through practice to intimately experience the interconnection of all beings and thereby actualize compassion in the world. You really don’t need a God for that. To me, the concept of sin is the abstraction, and I think a “morality” that consists of following a list of external rules on fear of divine punishment is not true morality.

    • Marc — I think I’m hitting the wrong “reply” button sometimes — regarding motives, I grew up in the Bible belt, and based on that experience I’d say there’s a certain amount of tribalism involved. (Buddhists are not immune to that, as we see from what’s going on in Myanmar.) There’s nothing like a challenge to tribal dominance to bring out the worst in people.

  6. “I submit to you that the differences between our religions is monumental. ” Neither Marc nor I are saying otherwise. If anything, being intimately acquainted with both religions, I see the differences better than you do. You have no idea how truly monumental those differences are.

    Our complaint is that by promoting the video you are supporting lies and slanders of our religious tradition in order to elevate your own. I have absolutely no desire to engage in a “my religion is better than yours” shouting match. If you are committed to Christianity and have no interest in Buddhism, I’m happy for you.

    However, since you believe in sin, I am asking you to stop commuting the sin of bearing false witness. Do you think you can do that? If not, why not?

    • Barbara, I certainly am not shouting, nor am I interested in it. Everything I wrote was non-confrontational, neutral and detached, while both you and Marc are condescending and accusatory. You took offense at the video because, as Marc claimed it omits truth, or presents incomplete truth. That is a far cry from slander.

      And on the issue of false witness (lying)… I reject that statement. My comments provide the evidence against that accusation.

      I am beginning to think that it really bothers you that the cliche statements made in the video (even though they may be raw and incomplete) are based on reality.

      • “Everything I wrote was non-confrontational, neutral and detached, while both you and Marc are condescending and accusatory. You took offense at the video because, as Marc claimed it omits truth, or presents incomplete truth. That is a far cry from slander.”

        First, the statements in the video are not partial truth or incomplete truth. As I’ve already explained, everything presented in the first 58 seconds (as much as I watched) was utterly inaccurate — not even remotely related to the truth — and intended to put Buddhism in a bad light. That is the very definition of slander. .

        Second, I believe both Marc and I have been more than patient with you, but now it is obvious that you lack the moral courage to admit you are wrong. As long as you host and promote the slanderous video, even after being plainly told it is slanderous, then you are, in effect, bearing false witness. This is a sin in Christianity and immoral in Buddhism also. And if you aren’t feeling even a twinge of guilt right now, I pity you.

        Good bye.

  7. Nope in that vid. they are only based on the what I can see is a primitive self serving misrepresentation.
    So evil predates the creation of the universe? Then the only existent reality before the universe came into being would be God?
    So God himself thought up the state of “sin” and then introduced it to a created world?
    What to see what would happen?
    And being GOD with full omniscience wouldn’t he know before creation how it all turns out?
    Then why would a kind and loving god put helpless beings through all this knowing full well the out come at the end? If there is a end.
    Buddhist hold that people are essentially good and they are just deluded by 1: ignorance/selfishness, 2: desire/passion, 3: hatred/anger.
    These are just mental afflictions, beings are sick and need to know how to remove these poisons, when that occurs then enlightenment dawns and you are no longer in their control and free of committing bad acts.
    If as you say we are TOTALLY depraved then that implies a Absolute and there is no way around it as a fundamental state of being then in your view we are doomed, and if it is the ultimate state of people then how do you account for the good that people do?…………….M

    • “Buddhist hold that people are essentially good and they are just deluded by 1: ignorance/selfishness, 2: desire/passion, 3: hatred/anger.
      These are just mental afflictions”

      Before a human can really discern between what is universally held as right and wrong, he/she can commit a depraved act.

      If human nature is good in essence, why does a three-year-old lie? I have seen with my own eyes.

      How can a young child who can be argued to be without moral agency commit a sin/transgression such as a lie?

      I argue he/she is too young to be deluded, and his/her actions are evidence for the depravity in him/her.

      • A three year old lies because his soul is not just three years old. His soul carries the accumulated sum of karma from past lives.That is the reason of the difference in nature of babies.According to christianity,all the babies should have same nature due the same original sin but this is not the case.

  8. If a Christian in this conversation should be criticized, it should be me. In the opening comments, I made light of a prayer wheel. My guess is that a prayer wheel is something important; perhaps not as important to the Buddhist as the Trinity is to the Christian. I’m sorry that i made light of something that is important to you.

    Let’s take the first comparison in the video. The chart states that Buddhism relies on self whereas Christianity denies self. How do you see error in this first statement, Marc or Barbara?

  9. Chris it’s cool, I’m personally not into prayer wheels, it’s a form of visualization another type of practice I don’t do.
    But getting to the self question, I wasn’t to sure what his point or reasoning he based this on, I think the crux of the matter is what you define the self to be. That we can discuss.
    If he meant that for Buddhists to gain salvation you yourself have to work hard towards that goal and not to expect it from a outside source then maybe he was correct. The Buddha’s can only teach and point the way out, you need to practice and apply the remedies to the mental afflictions that I mentioned above so they are eliminated and freedom and liberation is gained.

  10. Marc, I can understand why you aren’t sure what he meant here because he only uses the two terms “rely on self” and “deny self.” There is no elaboration.

    I found a quote that, I think, sums up the Christian position pretty well:

    “If anyone, man or woman, wants to follow Jesus, to be his disciple (be a “Christian” we tend to say), then he must do two things. He must “deny himself” and “take up his cross.” When Luke tells this same story, he clarifies that we are to take up our cross “daily” (Luke 9:23). What does this mean? The answer to this question shows why the path is so different from the world.

    “To “deny” yourself means to say “No” to yourself and “Yes” to God. Paul is not talking about asceticism — forgoing earthly possessions, not eating certain foods, ignoring the world, etc. To say it differently, the process of denial is “to humbly submit my will to God.” It is to go through life repeating the words that Jesus said the night before he died. When he was praying in the garden, he said to God his Father, “Not my will but yours be done.” It is what millions of Christians have prayed for centuries when they repeat what we call the “Lord’s Prayer.” “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”( Matthew 6:10)”.

    Here is my source if you would like to read the rest:

    http://www.transformedblog.com/2012/02/09/what-does-it-mean-to-deny-yourself/

    Before I ask you a few questions, I would like to state (and you are probably aware of this) that Protestant Christians (only 30% of them in America) believe that we are not saved by our works. This is the view of early Christians and the reason for The Reformation.

    In my view, the Bible teaches that no matter how many good works I do, it is never good enough to merit eternal life. It is a simple faith that God took my sins upon Himself and a trust that He will forgive my sins if I ask Him to. I must believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again to inherit eternal life. I think Keith Thompson sums up the correct Biblical view of salvation here:

    There are so many directions I could go here, but I want to stay on the subject. From your statement, it seems it is possible for Buddhist to gain salvation. You have explained in enough detail how that is accomplished. Am I understanding that it is possible for one to work his/her way to salvation through the practices of hard work you have mentioned? Am I correct to understand that this is how the self is liberated in Buddhism?

    God’s blessings…

    • Jesus is trapped in samsara. He resides in his heaven believing it to be eternal, whereas Buddha is out of samsara. Buddha has transcended heavens, and is not subject to birth anywhere. You should know that there are heavens and hells in buddhism too but they are not eternal but can ve very long. Your God believes that earth is just 6000 ears old whereas Buddha has already stated that earth is eons old.Your God thinks that earth is centre of universe whereas Buddha has already stated that earth is as insignificant as the grain on the banks of ganges river. Your God claims to be omniscient but he doesnt know basic scientific facts. According to buddhism, you can spend millions of years in heaven but ultimately you will die .This appears to be eternal to your God.You cant expect your God to tell you about lifespan in heavens who himself cant think beyond 6000 ears old earth.
      Morale:Stop worshiping samsaric God.

  11. We all bet our life on a religion(Buddhism, Christianity, atheism, Islam) hoping that we bet the right religion
    Now, do we know 100 precent we got it right?
    Definitely not.
    But we have to play the odds
    Now, a Buddhist bets his eternity on Buddhism. If they are right… voila, my eternity is not in peril, I will just become one with the universe..
    That’s one religion I don’t need to bet…
    In the other hand, Christianity has one place called hell, eternal torment.
    If I don’t bet on it and Christianity ends up as the true religion , I am totally screwed for eternity.
    I can not afford not to bet on it. The risk is infinite.

  12. Yeah way complicated Chris, like I said before I’m not interested in trying to convert anyone to Buddhism, it’s hard and not for everyone to follow, people need to stick with what they feel the need to do and what does it for them.
    All I’m here for is to try and expel the wrong headed notions that were presented in that vid. It would be like if you saw me doing a vid that brought up the saying by Jesus of eat this bread which is my body and drink this wine which is my blood and think of me, and another quote, I do not come in peace I come carrying a sword, so I “naturally” came to the conclusion that Jesus was a violent promoter of cannibalism.
    Ok so what I meant by hard work was studying good reasoning about the true nature of reality, and practicing the first 9 levels of Shamata meditation, ” one pointed concentration ” and then there by achieving correct perception of Reality directly, which is beyond conceptual thought. You can’t just study the logic works and think your way into Reality or out of the suffering realms, you need to couple it with mind training.
    That is why you might read or hear someone say that Buddhism is not a religion, even though it appears to have the trappings, it’s more like what some have said as the Rational Faith and a system of mind training.
    Does any of this expand your understanding that Buddhist philosophy is much deeper than that shallow vid?………………M

  13. Hi Marc,

    Before I respond, I must say that I am always trying to help others understand my beliefs in an effort that they would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
    As you probably know, the book of Matthew ends with the words: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Like God, I wish all men to be saved. I make personal judgments about the beliefs of others, but it is God not I who will determine the fate of each person.

    I will admit that I would be upset by a video that would represent what most Christians call “communion” in the wrong way. You feel that way about this video and I am still trying to discover why.

    You finish a sentence with; “and then there by achieving correct perception of Reality directly, which is beyond conceptual thought.”

    Would you elaborate on this? I’m not sure I understand what you are saying.

    I do think that most would consider Christianity and Buddhism to be religions. I see Christianity as a relationship more than a religion. One can be “religious” about walking a dog.

    I understand that you see Buddhism as the Rational Faith and a system of mind training.

    You have helped me to understand some of the Buddhist philosophy.

    I would like to continue to ask about the comparisons made in the video.

    The video states that in Christianity “Death is not final.” It also states that in Buddhism “Death is final.”

    Is there truth in this statement in your opinion?

    God’s blessings…

  14. Oops…I almost forgot to let you know that I think you didn’t answer one of my questions.

    Is it possible for one to work his/her self to salvation through the practices of the hard work you have mentioned?

    Thanks…

  15. Delight and Marc,

    I wish to apologize to both of you here. Delight made a comment back on October 7th that Marc never replied to because I interrupted the conversation.

    Sorry guys. Maybe you can reply to that statement before we continue our conversation, Marc.

  16. Yeah I don’t get the death comment either, considering we have the doctrine of continuous rebirth in Samsara ( realm of cyclical suffering ) if the causal chain is not broken, and if he ignores the teaching of beginingless previous lives then this just shows the lack of knowledge in what you are criticizing.
    Ok next thing, on the 7th I think you might mean the point about the two being opposite, I don’t know….. if you want to hold to that, ok, I’m not interested in making distinctions, to me it’s gradation and understanding about the world.
    Now the work thing, I thought I kinda got to that, Enlightenment, Buddhahood, can’t bestowed on a person from the outside. The Buddha’s compassion would motivate them to just liberate beings from this world of misery and set every being free. But they are not gods, they can only teach and guide. Every being must work for his own liberation and then vow through absolute compassion to help others. If fact it is said that the only way to achieve Buddhahood is to gain Wisdom and develop compassion through helping other beings.

    “I understand that you see Buddhism as the Rational Faith” ok so lets maybe clarify this a little, the Buddha said just don’t believe what I tell you, or out of respect, investigate it, think it over, and if you find it useful then take it up as a practice.
    I think and I’m taking a little liberty here in surmising that your tradition or school of thought has the doctrine of grace being bestowed by God.
    In the Buddhist tradition if you follow the teachings and practice properly it does work, this has kept it going and alive for over 25 centuries now.
    “You finish a sentence with; “and then there by achieving correct perception of Reality directly, which is beyond conceptual thought.”

    You have different levels of awareness, touch, hearing, seeing, tasting, smell, and the 6th sense that arises from the information that joins together to form the mind of thoughts which we call the relative conventional self. All of us identify this as ourselves, this false sense of ” I ” as who we are. But there is another level that is covered up and obscured by the 3 poisons of mental afflictions. Just remove these and Enlightenment automatically arises, like the sun being obscured by clouds when they go you can see the sun was always there to begin with, that is why the Buddha taught that beings are essentially good underneath and eventually all will gain the state of happiness.
    “Mind is impermanent, Awareness is eternal.” The Dali Lama
    Stand on the shore next to the stream of mind consciousness and point at it, yes it is continuously flowing and changing and the place that you pointed to has now moved on, impermanent, ungraspable, yet always flowing ceaselessly.
    So Chris ask your self how many thoughts have you had since you just started reading this right now? Their coming along like on a conveyor belt, one after another, unstoppable, feeling real, but to function what are they shall we say resting on to do this? And what of the space that exists that is in between the thought you are having right at this moment and the next, where is the “YOU” then.
    Hint, it’s not nothingness………………..bye gotta go to bed……….M

  17. Ok..so I think I understand your position on salvation. Please correct me if I am wrong, Marc.

    Since you have the doctrine of continuous rebirth in Samsara, I’m guessing that means you are reborn over and over forever. In a sense, this is your “salvation.”

    There is an obvious difference in our “theology” as brought out by Delight and Barbara earlier. You wrote:

    “…that is why the Buddha taught that beings are essentially good underneath and eventually all will gain the state of happiness.”

    To quote Barbara:

    “No, the transgressions are against each other, all beings, and ourselves. There is nothing abstract about this. Buddhism has vast oceans of teachings and commentary on morality, on compassion, on loving kindness. We are challenged through practice to intimately experience the interconnection of all beings and thereby actualize compassion in the world. You really don’t need a God for that. To me, the concept of sin is the abstraction, and I think a “morality” that consists of following a list of external rules on fear of divine punishment is not true morality.”

    Thus, there is no question that we view humans differently. You view man as essentially good, whereas I view man as essentially bad or sinful.

    I think we have answered the death question. You agree with the video here I think, that death is not final. In this way, our belief systems are alike. I think when Mr. Conway is saying that Christians believe that death is final, he is referring to our death here on earth. We, or course, believe in everlasting life.

    On to chart point #3.

    Mr. Conway suggests that Buddhists “Reject all forms of desire.” Christians, on the other hand, “Encourage Godly desire.”

    Any comments on this contrast?

    Sleep well and God’s blessings…

  18. “Since you have the doctrine of continuous rebirth in Samsara, I’m guessing that means you are reborn over and over forever. In a sense, this is your “salvation.”
    Hi Chris, well no, you said the complete opposite, but thank you for making me have to clarify this, what I should have placed in this line is helpless rebirth, because of the cause and effect of karma and because of not knowing what to do and under the influence of mental afflictions you take a new rebirth over and over until you decide to end this ceaseless process, it’s not eternal, this is why the Buddha taught the way out of Samsara. Here it’s people are not bad or sin filled, they are just ignorant which is the incorrect perception on a very basic level of the self and the problems that arise from this.
    Next the desire thing, this in the past few years as Buddhism gets evolved and works it way through American culture had to be better defined and taught.
    For a while the word desire was looked upon as being a negative, only now as the level of study has grown a better understanding and not such a simplistic view has come about. Like you have “Encourage Godly desire” we say it’s ok as a motivator to have a desire to achieve Buddhahood, that’s purer motivation, desire for let’s say to smoke meth, hookers, booze, laziness, living to eat, a whole host of actions that will not bring lasting happiness put produce future suffering states of existence, it’s all based on motivation, one is pure the other compulsive neuroses.
    So 1 last thing, and I’m taking a bit of a risk here for me and for you, but if you really want to get a 1st class idea about the correct perception of the true nature of the self and reality is a book called (Transcendent Wisdom, A commentary on the 9th chapter of Shantideva’s guide to the Bodhisattva way of life) by the Dali Lama, this is actually a commentary written by the 14th century master Je Tsongkhapa who was a genius in explaining the most subtle points of Buddhist philosophy. But be careful, this kind of knowledge has power to change the mind and I really don’t want you to come away with the wrong idea. But at least in the future if someone you meet says the things like what was in that video you can say no you don’t have a clue……………………….M

  19. Hi Marc.

    As usual, I have a few questions.

    This is an intriguing statement:

    ” until you decide to end this ceaseless process, it’s not eternal, this is why the Buddha taught the way out of Samsara.”

    I’m curious. After a Buddhist attains the way out of Samsara, what is there?

    Question 2:

    You used the phrase ” Buddhism gets evolved.” Do you use this phrase to explain that some are still learning a truth that never changes? Or, is it that truth is evolving over time.?

    I appreciate the reference you have pointed me to. I am going to search the internet to see if I can get bits of it before I look into purchasing a copy of the commentary.

    Question 3:

    The 4th comparison in the video deals with the topic of suffering. The Buddhist position is stated to view “suffering as bad,” whereas the Christian view is that “suffering can be good.”

    I think the statement on the Christian side is correct. How about the one on Buddhism?

    I hope I haven’t thrown too much at you in one whack, but will you try and answer my questions for me?

    God’s blessings…

  20. 1— We as far as the Tibetan Mahayana system teachings, people that achieve liberation go to what is known as ” Pure Realms ” These are out of the forced cycling of the cause & effect trap of Samsara. Samsara is divided into 3 main divisions. 1st, the Desire realm, 2nd, the Form realm, 3rd the Formless realm.
    Each is then divided respectively into mainly 6 levels, then 4 levels, then 4 again.
    2— Oh I only meant that as it entered each country/culture it takes time for it to integrate fully till each culture makes it it’s own.
    3— That’s a very multi faceted question, if you look at the story of the Buddha in what he went through after as a Prince he left home to search for the way out of our human predicament he went through a lot to gain Enlightenment. There are some vids. on you tube if you want to watch what he did to gain victory.
    Suffering can be instructive in the sense that it teaches the defects of Samsara directly and helps develop what we call renunciation. There is a whole set of teachings called Lam-Rim, levels of the path, this teaches about the defects and why we should attempt to develop wisdom and compassion.
    Marc

  21. Thanks Marc.

    You mention “system teachings” in your first answer. Does this mean that there are many approaches to the teaching of Buddha, just as there are to the teachings of Jesus? It sounds like you have “denominations.” If so, are there many or few?

    The next statement in the video states that Buddhism is “Based on much speculation” whereas Christianity is “Based on many facts.”

    How do you respond to that statement?

    God’s blessings…

  22. The 2 main schools of thought are the Mahayana and the Hinayana.
    As people tried to discern what the Buddha taught different theories and logic systems arose, over time as monks, teachers, yogis, debated and sharped their understanding of Buddha dharma these different schools evolved, each with their own view of what the Buddha meant by Transcendent Reality. They sort of built upon the previous writings and logic to discern what the Buddha really meant. This is nothing new in human history, look how many different churches there are with their own types of practices. You can see how it is still developing with the Dali Lama subjecting Buddhist science of the mind to modern scientific knowledge of consciousness. If science proves that what some Buddhists hold is wrong then we have to remove it.
    Ok so I had to go back and relook at what he said about the speculation/ facts thing, and honestly this is so general and off the wall I have no idea what he is talking about, maybe you know where he’s coming from on that one, not very well thought out………………..M

  23. Hi Marc.

    Thank you for sharing the different schools of thought. There is a difference here between Christianity and Buddhism of which I’m sure you are aware. As Buddhism changes with the advent of scientific knowledge, Christianity is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

    That stated, I understand your confusion with the last comparison. After looking up the word, however, I think Mr. Conway was on to something. My Webster’s Dictionary defines “speculate” this way:

    “To meditate on a given subject.” This is the first entry. There is the type of speculation one would do when buying stocks or bonds. This is the second entry.

    I think you would agree that meditation is an important aspect of Buddhism.

    I agree with his second statement that Christianity is “based on many facts.” I could list many evidences for the Christian faith if you wish. This is, however, as you are aware not what saves the Christian. We can have as many facts as we want, but Christianity ultimately comes down to faith and God’s grace as stated in Keith Thompson’s video above.

    This takes us to the next point.

    Mr. Conway states that Buddhists experience “nirvana through extinction,” whereas Christians experience “heaven through grace.” I’ve just noted that this is the Christian view.

    Does your school of thought believe in “nirvana through extinction?”

    God’s blessings…

  24. Hey, the word extinction is a misnomer that is a left over from when Westerners 1st started to translate texts into English. Take for example the Buddha’s 1st Noble Truth, something like Existence is Dukka which was then translated as suffering, but is now rethought of as frustration.
    Same thing with the term extinction, or sometimes it’s also exchanged for the term blowing out, all it means on a simple level for this brief email is the ending of the holding to a false sense of self and the ending of the mental afflictions and karma to have to take rebirth in one of the Six Realms. This is what is known as becoming a Arahat saint, still an amazing and incredible accomplishment, but to the Mahayanist you still have to go through the 10 Bodhisattva levels to achieve the complete unexcelled enlightenment of Buddhahood.
    Hey I wish you luck in your quest, thanks for being polite and amiable to this, it was fun, so I’m going to say that maybe we aren’t that separate after all and I and we could be closer than others realize. Take it easy and good luck……..Marc

    JESUS: “A foolish man, which built his house on sand.”
    BUDDHA: “Perishable is a city built on sand.” (30)
    JESUS: “Therefore confess your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed.”
    BUDDHA: “Confess before the world the sins you have committed.” (31)
    JESUS: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the foregiveness of sins.”
    BUDDHA: “Let all sins that were committed in this world fall on me, that the world may be delivered.” (32)
    JESUS: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
    BUDDHA: “Consider others as yourself.” (33)
    JESUS: “If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.”
    BUDDHA: “If anyone should give you a blow with his hand, with a stick, or with a knife, you should abandon all desires and utter no evil words.” (34)
    JESUS: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”
    BUDDHA: “Hatreds do not cease in this world by hating, but by love: this is an eternal truth. Overcome anger by love, overcome evil by good.” (35)
    JESUS: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
    BUDDHA: “Let your thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world.” (36)
    JESUS: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her.”
    BUDDHA: “Do not look at the faults of others or what others have done or not done; observe what you yourself have done and have not done.” (37)
    JESUS: “You father in heaven makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.”
    BUDDHA: “The light of the sun and the moon illuminates the whole world, both him who does well and him who does ill, both him who stands high and him who stands low.” (38)
    JESUS: “If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”
    BUDDHA: “The avaricious do not go to heaven, the foolish do not extol charity. The wise one, however, rejoicing in charity, becomes thereby happy in the beyond.” (39)

    • I enjoyed reading the quotes, Marc. There are so many good teachers in the history of the world, including Buddha, and many others. But Jesus stands apart because of his death for sinners and his resurrection.

      You are welcome here anytime for discussion.

      • Jesus is trapped in samsara. He resides in his heaven believing it to be eternal, whereas Buddha is out of samsara. Buddha has transcended heavens, and is not subject to birth anywhere. You should know that there are heavens and hells in buddhism too but they are not eternal but can ve very long. Your God believes that earth is just 6000 ears old whereas Buddha has already stated that earth is eons old.Your God thinks that earth is centre of universe whereas Buddha has already stated that earth is as insignificant as the grain on the banks of ganges river. Your God claims to be omniscient but he doesnt know basic scientific facts. According to buddhism, you can spend millions of years in heaven but ultimately you will die .This appears to eternal to your God.You cant expect your God to tell you about lifespan in heavens who himself cant think beyond 6000 ears old earth.
        Morale:Stop worshiping samsaric God.

        • This is the proof of my claim:
          thedailyenlightenment.com/2012/03/the-buddhas-victory-over-a-god-demon/

        • So, I read a mythical story there. I ask again, do you have any evidence, historical, scientific or any kind to support your claims.

          The evidence I have as a Christian for my beliefs is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, the most document event of ancient history.

  25. Marc,

    I appreciated the “conversation.” Thank you for teaching me some things about Buddhism that I didn’t know.

    You got me to do a bit of research on the Bodhisattva levels. You have a very interesting religion.

    The quotes above are all very similar in nature, but one stood out to me as being the root difference between us.

    JESUS: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
    BUDDHA: “Let all sins that were committed in this world fall on me, that the world may be delivered.” (32)

    Ultimately, it comes down to who we believe can remove our sins. I think, per this discussion, that we know where each of us stands.

    Thank you for a civil dialogue.

    God’s blessings…

    Also, Thank you Delight for permitting and encouraging this type of discussion.

  26. Ok cool this went much better than I hoped, thanks for having open minds, we can both stick with what we feel does work for each person. Born in 1955 I was raised here in NJ Catholic so I’m very familiar with the tradition.
    In the East they do have a system of the Guru taking on the “karma” of others to ease and or remove their suffering now or in the future. I have no idea how that is done but you can see this has been going on for a very long time.
    “Ultimately, it comes down to who we believe can remove our sins.”
    Yeah this is a good amount of a different approach, it’s either a inner method to remove sin or rely on a external source. But by using further study I am sure for each of us it is a bit of both, just depends where you lean. My practice involves what the Tibetans call “shakba” confession techniques. It’s somewhat similar to what the Catholics use except there is no priest. You do the invocation of let’s say for now a certain type of Buddha and then confess your misdeeds, ( body, speech, mind ) which for most people are of the mind, then you do the vow never to do it again and then do so many repetitions of the correct mantra. Holding this mirror up to yourself day in and day out can be daunting if you choose not to ignore and lie to yourself about what you did. But if you can get through the rough part then it does remove the constant habitual messed up thinking. Also as I explained above about Absolute Reality, my teacher taught that with only a few moments of clear perception of Voidness, ( not nothingness, ok! ) it will remove Eons of bad accumulated karma, it’s that powerful. Through merit and meditation you gain Liberation. But also from the outside you can get help from Buddha’s, Bodhisattvas Lamas, so it’s not entirely on your own. I tell people that 50% of what I learned was just being around my teacher with this intangible contact that pervades the space.
    Anyway thanks, and if any other things come up please feel free to ask, I will come back once a week to take a look to see if there anything new, I’m not sure if it’s wise to give out my non-primary Gmail acc.
    Take it easy!, Marc

  27. Hi Marc.

    I’m glad that you are satisfied with our “conversation.” As I was born in 1958, you have me by three years. I was raised on the other side of the country, in California, at a time when there were many great events happening for young Christians. A church called Calvary Chapel and a great pastor named Chuck Smith (recently featured in one of Delight’s posts) helped thousands of young people seeking for truth to better understand the Bible.

    As a teenager, I went to many churches and studied all of the major religions. I won’t go into detail, but the story in the Bible was and is the only thing that makes sense to me.

    There is something in the Bible similar to Karma. It is a scripture that says: “You reap what you sow.”

    At this time, I don’t have any other questions but I appreciate your offer to help me understand your beliefs better. I’m sure I’ll think of something. Maybe I’ll go back to the video and continue looking at the comparisons there as time allows.

    I think we have only scratched the surface of each belief but I think we’ve covered the main difference.

    You wrote: “Through merit and meditation you gain Liberation.” As I have already stated, the only way to gain Liberation in Christianity is through Jesus Christ.

    I appreciate your openness to further discussion and I may get back here sooner than I think. Until then…

    God’s blessings…

  28. Here’s another example, ” Bread cast upon the water will come back to you ” So here is direct example of doing good works that will benefit a person directly in the future. We call this gaining merit, this in and of itself will not earn you Liberation it just helps set up the proper conditions to practice. A good body and level of intelligence, a place where the Buddha’s Dharma is taught, decent food, quite places, lack of sickness, good dharma friends to rely on for help, the list could go on and on. It generally falls under the teachings of Leisure and Fortune.
    My teacher was from the Gelugpa school in Tibetan Buddhism, same as the Dalai Lama, they were also known as the Prasangikas sect the Consequentialists, as in meaning watch what you do your actions produce results.
    So how do you teach people that some of things they are doing will have detrimental effects in the future with seemingly illogical statements like if you throw something into a stream or ocean some how if you wait long enough it will return? Or if you reap and nothing immediately happens and you get away with it for now then there is seemingly no connection between action and result.
    Sounds crazy, but if you even look at the modern theory of Chaos that in a normal conventional work a day world view is just plain nuts, but seems to adding up to a valid hypotheses. It’s all just on a higher level…………M

  29. Hi Marc.

    I’m glad you came back for more “discussion.”

    I looked up the theory of Chaos and this is the first part of the definition:

    “Chaos theory is the study of nonlinear dynamics, in which seemingly random events are actually predictable from simple deterministic equations.

    “In a scientific context, the word chaos has a slightly different meaning than it does in its general usage as a state of confusion, lacking any order. Chaos, with reference to chaos theory, refers to an apparent lack of order in a system that nevertheless obeys particular laws or rules; this understanding of chaos is synonymous with dynamical instability, a condition discovered by the physicist Henri Poincare in the early 20th century that refers to an inherent lack of predictability in some physical systems.”

    If you wish to view the rest, you can see it here:

    http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/chaos-theory

    It, in fact, describes the “butterfly effect” which I have “discussed” on my blog.

    If you ever want to check out my blog and make comments, it is chrisreimersblog.com.

    The definition goes on to state:

    “The two main components of chaos theory are the ideas that systems – no matter how complex they may be – rely upon an underlying order, and that very simple or small systems and events can cause very complex behaviors or events. This latter idea is known as sensitive dependence on initial conditions , a circumstance discovered by Edward Lorenz (who is generally credited as the first experimenter in the area of chaos) in the early 1960s.”

    I have looked up Mr. Lorenz’s biography and don’t know what his religious affiliation was. I saw that he lived to be 90.

    I think Mr. Lorenz was onto something. There are universal laws which I believe were created by the God of the Bible. An example would be the laws of gravity and thermodynamics. In fact, the laws of thermodynamics point to a creator. These laws are not the reason for my faith, but they do help one understand some of how our Creator God put things together.

    I’m sure you are aware that I do not believe in Darwinian evolution. I believe in a young earth. I believe in micro not macro evolution. A Darwinian would bristle at that there is a difference. I will listen to the Darwinists but I could never adhere to their position. At my blog, you can view evidences for a young earth by typing in the name Dr. Robert Gentry. He has had evidence for years that the earth is not millions or billions of years old. I do not base my beliefs on this evidence as, in the end, my belief is based on faith. Mr. Gentry’s discoveries, along with other discoveries that I’ve mentioned on my blog, are good evidences for the God of the Bible. One of my resources is icr.org. They are highly regarded by Darwinians with whom I have had discussions.

    Thank you for sharing some of your background with me. I hope you don’t mind the information that I’ve shared with you.

    God’s blessings…

    • Jesus is trapped in samsara. He resides in his heaven believing it to be eternal, whereas Buddha is out of samsara. Buddha has transcended heavens, and is not subject to birth anywhere. You should know that there are heavens and hells in buddhism too but they are not eternal but can ve very long. Your God believes that earth is just 6000 ears old whereas Buddha has already stated that earth is eons old.Your God thinks that earth is centre of universe whereas Buddha has already stated that earth is as insignificant as the grain on the banks of ganges river. Your God claims to be omniscient but he doesnt know basic scientific facts. According to buddhism, you can spend millions of years in heaven but ultimately you will die .This appears to eternal to your God.You cant expect your God to tell you about lifespan in heavens who himself cant think beyond 6000 ears old earth.
      Morale:Stop worshiping samsaric God.

    • ‘I think Mr. Lorenz was onto something. There are universal laws which I believe were created by the God of the Bible. An example would be the laws of gravity and thermodynamics. In fact, the laws of thermodynamics point to a creator. These laws are not the reason for my faith, but they do help one understand some of how our Creator God put things together.’
      In buddhism, we beleive that there are natural laws like law of cause and effect, which are not created by anyone but always existed from eternity. There is no first cause. If you claim that your God is the first cause then how was he created? Did he came out of nowhere?Buddha said that there are some Gods who consider themselves to be the only Creator yet this is the result of their delusion. One such God menstioned in buddhism is baka brahma.He took birth in his heaven after falling from higher heavens. Since he was the first being to take birth in this heaven and seeing lower heavens and hells forming before him, he came to erraneous conclusion that he is the Creator. He is karmically longer lived than other gods in his heaven. When the gods in his heaven fall down to lower heavens and even to earth, they practice austerity and remember their past life in heaven of baka brahma but nothing before this heaven. They can still see baka brahma in that heaven so they consider him to be the only creator and slread false doctrine of monotheism.

  30. Hi, I think we’ve taken a turn in another direction, I did want to be a paleoanthropologist when I was growing up and I’m seriously thinking of volunteering to go on digs in Africa when I retire, so that shows where I’m at on that subject, but it is a complicated and detailed discipline.
    So I have to be honest I don’t want to go down that road, while important for many reasons, this could lead to the same old endless point counter point tedious details that you can spend countless hours going back & forth, with more time devoted to web research and reading up. Careful though, using science to help prove religion can be a double edged sword. All good endeavors in and of it’s self, not my original intention here……….M

  31. Hi Marc.

    Fair enough. As I have written, ” I do not base my beliefs on this evidence as, in the end, my belief is based on faith.”

    What road would you like to go down?

    God’s blessings…

    • Marc, many have raised this question including myself. The answer is we do not know. This is how our God is revealed in the Bible. He is revealed as the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. They are co-eternal, consisting of the same divine nature, they are distinct, but the three persons are one.

      Christian philosopher CS Lewis writes about the Trinity as the one concept that makes Christianity the one true faith for him. Lewis says that it is such an esoteric concept that no human mind could have come up with it as an ontological concept of God. He concludes that such revelation in Scripture is divine.

      Note, there is no such name as ‘Trinity’ in the Bible, and there is no such place in the Bible where it says that God consists of three persons. It is a deduced doctrine from multiple texts throughout the New and Old Testaments, texts which span thousands of years and dozens of authors, texts which are internally consistent..

  32. Marc,

    I just saw your question, and I really have nothing to add to what Delight has stated. I think he has given an excellent answer. It is a mystery, but as Delight as written:

    “It is a deduced doctrine from multiple texts throughout the New and Old Testaments, texts which span thousands of years and dozens of authors, texts which are internally consistent.”

    Your question is a very good one.

    God’s blessings…

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